by Vincent Kovar
While January is resolution month, for Seattleites, it is also prime vacation season. In addition to worrying about the proverbial summer body, we who are escaping the cloudy Northwest have to worry about being winter beach-body-ready for Puerto Vallarta or Palm Springs.
I frequently get asked, “What can I do in one month?” Well, the truth is, there’s a lot. I’m not talking about cayenne pepper lemon water, or fasting, or even Vogue’s wine-and-eggs diet from the 1970s (thought it’s fun to try).
I’m talking about eating real food using one of the current buzzy diets: paleo or keto. What’s the difference, and which one is right for you? BTW: On either path, the words “whole grains” are not your friend.
The keto diet is for losing fat, particularly around the waist. If you’re a bear or into bears, this one is probably not for you. You’ll eat a lot of (healthy) fats like avocados, coconut oil, and lard (yes, lard). It is however, very low carb. Basically, kiss all grains goodbye: no wheat, no corn, no oats, no rice (not even brown), not even quinoa. Also, no potatoes. And no fruits — their natural sugars are still carbs. On the keto diet, you’re aiming for less than 100 calories of carbs per day (that’s about 33 grams), which means you’re going to make friends with cauliflower, turnips, and brussels sprouts. (Some people do dairy-free keto, but there was no way I was giving up cheese.)
Instead of buying a lot of cookbooks (like I did), just google “keto” plus whatever you have in the pantry. My easy plan is to take a meat, a veggie, some seasoning (garlic, onions), and mix in some cheese. Grill in a skillet. Eat. I lost 2.5 inches around my waist in about three weeks, even with my liberal interpretation of “up to two glasses of red wine a night.”
So this diet will help you firm up a bit, get that nice glow in your skin, and get a glossy coat (yes, higher fat diets do make all your hair look fantastic).
But maybe you’re not worried about body weight and you like a little beef. A good way to shift from bear to muscle-bear(ish) might be paleo. The paleo diet (also called the caveman diet) lets you eat unlimited amounts of fruit and vegetables. It is not worried about carb-counting, so, among other things, you can have raw honey. (Note: the honey in grocery stores is pretty much just high-fructose corn syrup, by the way, so source your honey from an apiarist, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s.). Paleo is all about eating natural, and the caveman thing adds a bit of butchy awesomeness.
So, pasta is now spaghetti squash or kelp noodles, and potatoes are now turnips (swamp them in chorizo, you’ll love them). In less than a month, you’ll be measuring, feeling, and looking closer to your personal ideal than ever. Just watch out for the beer.
Oddly, both paths will clear your head, improve your sex drive, lower your cholesterol, and even assist with ADD and epilepsy — weird but true!
In summary, not all of us are going to have a six-pack (or even want them) — the sexiest “beach body”
is as variable as there are different kinds of queers. But we can all feel amazing in the bodies we have.