A Diet Taxonomy: Free vs. Restrictive

Above is a diagram I dreamed up to show diets in terms of what their followers DON’T eat.  Over the years, driven by my impulsive, neurotic, experimental temperament,  I have experimented with all of these diets, except cannibalism.  Hope you enjoy my illustration and that it is not too busy.

Questions to readers: Does the diagram help?  How? What have you tried any of these, and what have you learned?

Note: Animal Products = milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, etc …

For those unfamiliar with a particular diet, I offer the links below:


Filed under Health

5 responses to “A Diet Taxonomy: Free vs. Restrictive

  1. Do Fruititarians exist?

  2. It is an interesting diagram and not too busy.

    Have you ever heard of breatharians? They claim to eat nothing at all, just breathe, and I guess, drink water. They probably sneak out for donuts when no one is looking.

    I’m not sure that these would fit in your scheme, but I employ two filters to limit what I choose to eat not shown in your diagram: (1) how far away the food was grown/produced, favoring strongly foods that employ local farmers and food manufacturers and (2) organic vs. non-organic food.

    So, while tending strongly towards being a vegetarian, I’d sooner eat a chicken breast my neighbor raised and slaughtered than a slice of watermelon from 8,000 miles away.

  3. @ William,
    Yes, and I travelled across Iran and Afghanistan once. I will have to write that up someday.

    @ Dan,
    (1) Yes, I have heard of saints purported to do just that. Indeed, donuts sound like a more likely explanation!
    (2) Ah yes, we have communicated about your “Localitarian” philosophy before. I am waiting for you to come over and enjoy our chickens with us. But your suggestion would complicate the picture — in a fun way. But I am afraid it might get unwieldily if I add much more. Good thought though.

  4. Tim Smith

    The diagram in this post is very helpful. Knowing what to avoid is a helpful way to approach the ‘business’ of eating. I seem to thrive best on a diet that is heavy on the vegetables, moderate on the fruits and grains, and light on meat products. The only foods that I exclude are the ones I don’t care for on gustatory grounds. I have experimented with changing protein amounts, limiting grains, and limiting dairy but in these forays I am going for the ‘how do you feel’ effect, not for an adherence to any prescriptive dietary plan. Food is so tied to economics, emotions, convenience and so many other variables that it behooves us to really think about what we put into our bodies; it is often a private complicated affair, that can erupt into pathologies. Also I find it intriguing that serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is manufactured in the gut; talk about a literal mind/body connection! Informative post. Links are helpful.

  5. Thanx Tim. I love making diagrams — they capture how I think much better than paragraphs. 🙂

    The problem with a low-carb diet is getting there. One has to train one’s cells to use fat as their primary energy source — this takes time and the transition can be awkward.

    But the changes in terms of wt, blood pressure, GI issues and more can be very rewarding. The problem is, if you go off a low carb diet, weight gain is huge and quick because your body is trained to soak up every last carb it absorbs! Ouch.

    I agree with you, finding a diet that works for your own body and your own temperament is very important. But one way to evaluate that ‘fit’ is by seeing how much fat you carry around and how much energy you have.

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