The Diet Craze, Crazy Diets—The Whole thing is, well…..CRAZY!
What? Another diet.
Are you crazy? Let’s see—we have:
Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Paleo Diet, Vegan Diet, Low-fat Diet, Gluten -Free Diet, Dairy-Free Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Juice Cleanse Diet
Do the above diets work? Yes, if they are correctly followed you will lose weight….but is this a diet you can…or want….or for that matter, need to follow forever.
Do you want to avoid the warm, crusty Italian bread dipped in olive oil at your favorite Italian restaurant? Or eat a black bean burger between two lettuce leaves at the backyard cookout this summer? Is it necessary to resist the ice cream on a 90 degree day at the local shop that you visit a couple times a summer?
No, No and NOOOOOOOO!
No. If you look at other cultures…Mediterranean for one, (yes, also a diet fad promoted in America)—this lifestyle promotes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats from olive oil and nuts, full-fat yogurt, fish, beans, pasta and bread in moderation. This culture eats from ALL food groups. What they don’t eat –processed food, mindlessly.
In an article published in The Atlantic titled, “Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food,” Dr. David Katz, practicing physician at Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, analyzed all the fad diets and this is the verdict:
No diet is clearly best, but there are common elements across eating patterns that are proven to be beneficial to health. A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.” (2014)
Plant-based means not only fruits and vegetables, but nuts, seeds and whole grains–oats, wheat, quinoa, rye, rice–are all from plants–just make sure they aren’t processed (think steel cut/old fashioned oats, whole wheat flour, brown rice).
If people ask me how they should eat, I tell them like countries with a food culture- France, Italy, Greece, Asia, South America. They eat unprocessed, whole foods for nourishment…not out of mindless boredom. They avoid foods that harm their bodies (think neon blue yogurt?!?) They use community, hobbies or exercise-not food-to reduce stress and get through emotional difficulties. They find relaxation and joy in preparing and eating real food. They sit down for scheduled meal times. They don’t down Mickey D’s in the car.
Instead of eliminating food groups, we need to eliminate food that isn’t food (think Doritos, Cheetos, Oreo Cookies, Twinkies, Ritz crackers, Chez-its) and eating when we aren’t hungry (think work, evening TV, check out at stores, in our cars) and to medicate (think stressed, bored, sad).
So in the spirit of adapting a whole foods lifestyle, below is one-day’s worth of recipes. Bon Apetit, Buon Appetito, Enjoy!
When possible–Local, organic produce/ honey/bread should be used – You can even make your own yogurt and bake your own bread (but that’s for another post)
1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh berries
1 tbsp honey (local is the best)
5 chopped walnuts or almonds
– 1 cup of tea sweetened with honey
– 1 cup of coffee with REAL half n half or whole milk & spoonful of sugar
Enjoy the preparation and eating of this meal by taking a deep breath and assembling the ingredients carefully in the bowl and brewing your hot beverage. Sit down and slowly eat at the table or even in your favorite chair.
2 cups mixed greens, lettuce or spinach
2 cups chopped veggies of your choice
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tbsp feta, goat, blue or parmesan cheese
1/2 cup canned or grilled fish or beans
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Toss with salad and enjoy with a crusty piece of bakery bread
Beverage: Sparkling water, fresh brewed ice tea or coffee.
Take the time to sit and eat this meal without distractions.
Have a handful of almonds or a few cubes of high quality cheese and fresh fruit if you are hungry between meals. A fruit, cheese and nut plate is also a great option for dessert after dinner.
Focus on eating when you are really hungry not out of habit.
1 lb chicken breasts
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
2 minced/crushed garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, diced
2 cups cooked brown or white rice (not minute or instant)
1 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp Greek olives, pitted
Fresh lemon juice
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano & sea salt in a bowl. Add raw chicken to ½ cup marinade for at least 1 hour. Add vegetables to remaining marinade.
Prepare rice according to package directions.
Cook chicken on grill or in a pan coated with a drizzle of olive oil. After chicken is cooked, remove from pan, set aside. Add veggies and cook until just tender. Remove veggies from pan.
Place ½ cup rice on a plate, arrange vegetables around rice, place chicken on top Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese, Greek olives and fresh lemon juice.
Beverage: Sparkling water or glass of wine