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Wild Diet: What is it and What Can You Eat?

wild diet book and a plate with wild diet food collection
Last Updated on July 27, 2022

The Wild Diet is a way of eating based on Abel James’ book of the same title. The premise is that changing the way you eat will help you burn fat instead of sugar. According to James, the ideal way to lose weight and get healthy is by doing a more flexible version of the paleo diet.

While there seems to be a mile-long list of celebrities who have tried the paleo diet, the Wild Diet is like paleo’s quieter sibling. 

But what does the wild diet entail, exactly? And is it effective? We’ll explore all those questions and more here.

An Overview of the Wild Diet

salad fresh veggies

The Wild Diet encourages people to eat like our ancestors, but with an updated twist: you’ll eat lots of organic meat, vegetables, and seafood while on this diet. However, since it still emphasizes being low in carbohydrates, so, you won’t eat whole grains or legumes.

While you’re welcome to eat occasional fatty foods such as bacon or heavy cream, the Wild Diet encourages consuming leaner protein sources.

In his book, James offers guidelines for eating the Wild Diet’s approved foods. The primary goal is to ensure two-thirds of your plate contains non-starchy vegetables. You should then have one serving of protein the size of your hand, with the remainder of your plate filled with fruit and healthy fats.

Processed foods and those with added sugars aren’t part of the Wild Diet.  However, you’re welcome to dine out as long as you make Wild Diet food choices. It’s also okay to have some dark chocolate once in a while if you have a sweet craving.

Furthermore, you must exercise as part of this diet, although it’s not the main component. You’ll receive an exercise plan as part of the book, which advocates only one 7-minute high-intensity workout each week.

Food You Can Eat on the Wild Diet

salad food meal

During your time on the Wild Diet, vegetables will be your most significant food source. You should aim to eat lots of non-starchy vegetables, including eggplant, carrots, leafy greens, and pumpkin. 

Starchy vegetables are often root-based, such as potatoes and beets. You can eat these foods, but you should limit your intake. 

Furthermore, the Wild Diet encourages you to eat fruits in moderation due to their high sugar content. So, whether you want to snack on some berries or a banana, you need to limit these foods.

The Wild Diet also has strict regulations around the type of protein you consume. You should ensure your protein meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • Organic
  • Grass-fed
  • Pastured
  • Wild
  • Locally raised

Chicken, eggs, wild-caught fish and seafood, veal, and elk are some of the many examples of meat that the Wild Diet encourages you to eat.

You’re also welcome to consume fats and dairy in limited quantities, such as:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Butter (from pasture-raised cows)
  • Whole cream
  • Coconut milk

Foods You Can’t Eat on the Wild Diet

Sadly for the carbohydrate lover, carbs, including legumes, are off-limits on the Wild Diet. These include but aren’t limited to:

  • Bread
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans

Furthermore, there’s no forgiveness for eating comfort foods like potato chips, sugary drinks, baked goods, and other processed foods.

Wild Diet Pros

Below are some of the pros of adopting the Wild Diet.

Intuitive

The Wild Diet focuses on eating healthy, whole foods. Except for removing grains and legumes from your diet, the types of foods you can eat are intuitive, meaning you won’t have to spend hours in a supermarket reading nutrition labels.

No Calorie Counting

Not only will you not count calories on the Wild Diet, but you won’t count fat, carbohydrates, or any other nutritional group. Instead, you’ll need to eyeball your plate, ensuring that you fill at least two-thirds of it with non-starchy vegetables.

Nutrition Boost

The Wild Diet helps people forgo unhealthy processed foods and replace them with whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. As a result, you might boost your immunity, have a healthier gut, and strengthen your bones.

Encourages Exercise

Admittedly, exercise isn’t a significant part of the Wild Diet. However, it still encourages people to work out via interval training, which is more than many diets do.

Wild Diet Cons

Before embarking on the Wild Diet, below are some items to consider. 

Expensive

Not only does the Wild Diet encourage eating lots of protein, which is naturally costly, but it wants you to eat organic, grass-fed, or wild-raised protein. These are often the most expensive types of meat, fish, and eggs, making this diet challenging for people on a tight budget.

Few Carbohydrates

You could miss out on essential nutrients since you can’t eat grains or legumes on the Wild Diet. Furthermore, you may get a headache, become constipated, or feel muscle cramps due to few carbohydrates.

Long-term Difficulties

The Wild Diet isn’t easy to sustain in the long term because of its highly restricted nature. Furthermore, while you’re allowed to go out to restaurants, you’ll need to plan carefully to ensure they offer food compatible with the diet.

Benefits of the Wild Diet

The most significant benefit of the wild diet is that you’ll be eating whole, healthy, and unprocessed foods. As a result, you may experience the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Lower blood pressure

Furthermore, you’ll likely consume fewer pesticides and other chemicals than before starting this diet.

Risks of the Wild Diet

Among the most significant risks of partaking in the Wild Diet is that this diet is high in saturated fat. Therefore, it could cause a cholesterol build-up in your body, raising your LDL cholesterol levels, which could cause heart disease and stroke.

For this reason, if you’re considering starting the Wild Diet, we recommend you speak with a doctor. That way, they can advise you on whether this is the right fit for your current health.

References

Malia Frey, What Is the Wild Diet?, retrieved from https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-the-wild-diet-4151169

Abel James, What Is the Wild Diet?, retrieved from https://fatburningman.com/what-is-the-wild-diet/

Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, The Wild Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/the-wild-diet

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