AsI was scrolling through Facebook this morning, I saw another post about the carnivorous diet. Seeing that post got me thinking about all the different diets there are and how they all seem so different. Vegan and carnivorous are about as far opposites as you can get. That said, there are a few things that all diets have in common. That’s what I want to explore today.

Let me say up front that I have no problem with any diet someone wants to try. I’ve was vegetarian for years, paleo for different years, I’ve experimented with keto, intermittent fasting, and have even tried the carnivorous diet. What you choose to do is not important to me if it works for you. In my Healthy Steps ebook that’s available for free on my website, I recommend several options because I’m convinced different people need different things.

So what is common amongst vegan, carnivorous, keto, paleo, and low-calorie diets?

First, no one recommends you eat anything from the snack aisle.Regardless of what a diet wants you to include in your diet, they all want you to eliminate the garbage. Lay off the desserts, candies, cakes, soda, and ice cream. I have yet to read a diet that recommends starting your day with 2 sugary lattes, 3 cookies for lunch, and McDonald’s for dinner. We can all agree that removing junk food is a good thing to do for your health and your waistline.

The second thing every diet recommends is don’t eat way too much.Some diets don’t recommend counting calories — I fall into this camp, by the way — but that doesn’t mean they want you to stuff your face all day long without care. It’s always been my experience that even diets that don’t emphasize calories recommend you eat until you are satisfied and stop. No one is recommending you overeat.

The last thing every diet promotes is awareness. This idea might not be emphasized as a key strategy, but it’s fundamental to every diet there is. You must pay attention to what you eat. Some diets want you to pay attention to what you are eating. Others focus on what you shouldn’t eat. Quantity based diets focus on how much you eat. They all want you to focus on your food in some way. Simply being aware of what you’re eating will help you make better decisions.

I think that’s pretty much it.

  1. Don’t eat junk food.
  2. Don’t eat too much.
  3. Pay attention to what you eat.

Obviously, every diet puts its own spin on those recommendations and further complicates things, but what if the rules above dictated your diet? Would that be enough to get decent results?

Thinking about my life the past few months, I tend to think it would. This is basically how I’ve been eating here in Thailand. Options are somewhat limited, so I’ve been unable to eat exactly the way I want, but I still avoid the sugary stuff I know is bad, I try not to overeat, and I make a conscious decision about what to eat.

It’s worked surprisingly well.

I would like to encourage you to always keep these common threads in mind when you are eating. Whether you are following a diet or not, the three rules above will absolutely help you.

There are so many diets out there that promote so many different and conflicting ideas. It can be overwhelming and discouraging. Many people just throw their hands up and stop worrying about it. While I completely understand that approach, I think the common threads between all the diets might be a great starting place for everyone.

  1. Don’t eat garbage.
  2. Don’t eat too much.
  3. Pay attention to what you eat.

Those rules will serve all of us well.