Meatless Eating Decoded

Jay Z and Beyonce

Always one to take on a new challenge, Jay-Z recently announced that his newest "Holy Grail" is a vegan lifestyle. "Psychologists have said it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. On the 22nd day, you've found the way," Jay Z wrote on his Life+Times website.

“On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!! This all began a few months back when a good friend and vegan challenged me to embrace a 'plant-based breakfast' every day. It was surprisingly easier on me than I thought…”

Jay, who calls the challenge “a spiritual and physical cleanse”, will post his progress on Life+Times. And yes, for all those wondering, Beyonce will be joining her man in the challenge.

Celebrity diets are nothing new. There’s always a no carb, cayenne pepper concoction or raw food snack somewhere that helped our favorite stars lose 20 pounds, urging us to do the same. But what about lifestyle changes? In many ways, dietary changes like veganism are more than just a way of eating, they a way of life. There are so many different rules that differentiate dieting options that it can be hard to keep up. For many, chosen dietary habits are related to health, disease and even religion. Here is a break down of some of the most popular types of food diets their benefits:

Vegan: Hov and B won't be eating a T-bone steak, cheese eggs or Welch's grape anytime soon. Veganism excludes any animal-based product in the diet, including dairy and eggs. The main difference between vegans and vegetarians is that vegans eliminate all animal derived products from their diet. Though I’m not sure B and Hov will also be putting their wardrobes on the diet, many vegans also do not wear leather, fur, or wool.  So what do vegans eat in a typical day? Foods such as legumes, grains, fruit and limitless vegetables.  There are also a ton of vegan products available in many grocery stores, including vegan hot dogs. A plant-based diet has numerous health benefits for the body, including increased energy, delivering essential vitamins and antioxidants to the body, and has been linked to decreasing the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Omnivore: This is a person who eats both meat and plant-based food, the all around meat and potatoes American.  In an ideal world, the ratios of meat would not outweigh that of plant-based food, but overconsumption of meat in this country is common, and unfortunately, the preparation of meat by distributors can be dangerous for your health. If possible, always choose hormone-free or organic meets. Locally sourced meat products are key; knowing where your food comes from is power.

Flexitarian: No, this is not a person who flexes while they eat- though how dope would that be?  Flexitarian combines the words flexible and vegetarian to describe a person who eats a mostly vegetarian diet an on occasion, meat. The aim is simply a diet high in plant-based foods and low in animal products. Many people claim to lose weight on this method of eating because it relies primarily on plants as a source of food.

Pescetarian: If you love seafood, this might be your best option. Pescetarians eliminate all meat from their diet, but do eat fish and shellfish. Fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which fight against heart disease. Additionally, most fish is high in protein but low in fat.

Locavore: A locavore is someone who eats only locally produced food, more specifically food grown within 100 miles of his or her home.  As a general rule of thumb, whether a locavore or not, it is always extremely important to know where your food is coming from. If you are interested in locally sourced food, joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group or shopping at a farmer's market is an excellent way to do so.

Raw Foodist: A raw food diet may seem restricting, especially if you like to eat out, but there are many more options growing around the country to guide you, from cafes to food blogs. Raw foodists consume foods that are uncooked and unprocessed, including sprouts, beans, dried fruits and whole grains. Followers of this diet believe that cooking food destroys some of its most vital nutrients and enzymes. Additionally, many have cited increased energy, mental clarity, and a healthier digestive system. Need an example of the power of the raw food diet? Look no further than Annette Larkins who looks 40, but is actually 71.

If you are considering trying any of these diets, always listen to your body and consider talking to your physician.