Found your (diet) tribe?

December 21, 2018 7:12 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Have you found your diet tribe? Or are you more of a lone wolf in the jungle of nutrition?! In September’s Health Food Business magazine, Patrick Holford, a nutritionist, author and pioneer in the field of natural health, asked the question – which diet tribe are you?

Which diet tribe are you - and how can NGF help you?


Like football fans, Holford said, we seem to be splitting into ‘diet tribes’. There are paleos, vegans, low-carbers, gluten-free fans, keto-enthusiasts and fishetarians – to name just a few. Each group assiduously follows its own diet plan, avoiding certain foods and elevating others to high nutritional status. Frequently, what one group discards, another group takes as its basis.

The groups each have their own theories to support their diets. Holford doesn’t have a lot of time for many of them, particularly those based on evolutionary theory. He is blunt: whatever we ate as cavemen, we’ve come a long way since then: ‘we adapted to better digest carbs with the arrival of more complex amylase digestive enzymes’, he explains. These, plus the use of fire in cooking, transformed our digestive abilities. Put simply, many more foods became much more digestible.

Thus, Holford argues, our brain size expanded and our ability to put down community roots and build up civilizations increased. He recognizes too, that worrying about specific elements of a diet is a first-world luxury: ‘for large chunks of humanity, grains stand between mankind and starvation’.

A tribe of the young?

Holford has his own axes to grind and his own nutritional propositions, which not everyone will agree with. But he makes very interesting sociological points. Those aged 18-34, he says, are significantly more likely to align themselves with a specific diet. Millennials, in particular, put more trust in social media influencers advocating a particular dietary lifestyle than do older people.

He points out that this is a trend that runs counter to the UK’s government’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ nutritional guidelines, such as the Eatwell plate initiative. Seeing yourself as one of a particular tribe, rather than as part of a national mass, makes it more likely that you’ll resist nationwide dietary advice, turning instead to what your own particular dietary gurus advocate.

No tribal warfare here

We always say, at Naturally Good Food, that we cater for all people, following all kinds of healthy diets. And we do! We count keen paleos among our customers, along with many vegans, hundreds of people on restricted ‘free from’ diets, and plenty who are interested in finding alternatives to traditional foodstuffs. So long as we can help these people eat healthily – and sensibly – we don’t much mind what they call themselves!

We recognize that we’ve got a long way to go, as a species, before we work out what an optimum diet really is. Splitting into tribes is one part of the process of working out and exploring good health and nutrition. So keep an open mind – and of course, don’t believe everything you read online – but do examine all the evidence out there to get an idea of what should work best for you.

Here’s how we can help a number of tribes at Naturally Good Food:

The Paleo Tribe: you need raw food and you avoid grains. You might like our nuts and seeds, our raw nut butters, our coconut, almond and tapioca flours, our non-dairy milks and creams, our honeys and syrups, our cold-pressed oils and our raw cacao products.

The Vegan Tribe: you’ll be interested in our special vegan range and in particular, our wholefoods section.

The Low-carb and Keto (ultra-low-carb) Tribes: you’ll probably be hunting after our fish, our coconut oil and other cold-pressed oils, our nuts and seeds, and our dark chocolate.

The Gluten-free Tribe: we’re gluten-free specialists at Naturally Good Food, supplying pharmacies across the UK with gluten-free food on prescription for diagnosed coeliacs, and offering free from food to anyone interested in altering their diet. We’ve got a vast range of gluten-free options, with an alternative for every foodstuff you can think of. Check it all out here.

The Vegetarian, Fishetarian and Flexitarian Tribes (et al): if you’re frequently avoiding meat, then make sure you swing by our wholefoods range, to ensure you’re still obtaining the right amounts of vitamins and minerals, protein and fibre from other foods.

Found your tribe?


On a final note, it’s worth pointing out that – almost inevitably – some people are now promoting an actual ‘tribal diet’. Tim Spector, from King’s College London, spent three days eating alongside the Hadza tribe in Tanzania, one of the world’s last surviving pre-agricultural societies. Chomping down on porcupine (‘once you’ve taken the fur off and the quills it was pretty much like most barbecue meats’) and guzzling baobab drinks, he reckons he was well on the way to joining the Hadza in enjoying the world’s most diverse set of gut bacteria.

Whatever your tribe – and for those who are simply not tribal kinds of people – Naturally Good Food caters for all your genuinely healthy needs!

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This post was written by Yzanne

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