The Flexitarian Diet
Are you ready to lose weight, be healthier, prevent disease AND add years to your life?
Then you're ready for The Flexitarian Diet (McGraw-Hill).
Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner didn't cook up the term "flexitarian" -- it'a a cute combo word that means flexible vegetarian -- but she did write the recipe-packed book being rolled out by major publisher McGraw-Hill in early October.
"The scoop is you don’t have to give up your carnivorous cravings," Dawn tells Diet.com. "You simply ingest few extra vegetarian meals here and there.
"The idea is you choose a flexible vegetarian way to live. It's not necessary to go cold turkey on meat; instead you start beefing up vegetarian recipes."
Dawn says there have been hundreds of studies that link vegetarian or semi-vegetarian eating to preventing or lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other ailments.
"One study found you can boost your life by more than three years by eating more fruit and veggies -- and less meat!" Dawn says.
"People who eat plant-based diets weigh naturally 15% less than carnivorous counterparts!
"It's facts like these that ring a bell with a lot of people who are sick and tired of dieting."
During her candid interview with Diet.com, Dawn confessed the issue of flexitarianism is personal.
"I was a closet meat eater -- a vegetarian who’d sneak meat," she says. "I wanted the health benefits of a veggie diet but i didn't want to give up meat. This is hands down the best thing you can do while still participating in 'meaningful meat events' like barbecues, Cubs games and Thanksgiving!"
Yes, the Chicago resident openly digs into a hot dog or two while watching her beloved Cubs play ball.
"I grew up in typical Midwestern home where there was always meat on table," she says.
"Becoming a total vegan was something out of line and out of touch with who I am!"
Instead, Dawn began working more fruit and veggies into her diet -- and she began suggesting that to clients as well. Five years later, Dawn has a hot new book about to hit the bookstores. In it, you'll find a little science and a lot of recipes -- 100 mouthwatering treats to be exact.
"Follow my plan and in 6 to 12 months you'll find yourself lighter, more energetic and way more healthy," she says.
"If you make the needed lifestyle changes you'll see big changes in your blood work. Your cholesterol level will be on the right track because you'll be eating far fewer saturated facts.
"The book is 60-percent recipes for a reason. At the end of day clients want you to tell them what to eat.
"When they have a meal plan to follow and recipes to cook, they do better."
Dawn's favorite meals include:
Lunch: A Southwestern veggie burger with guacamole. It's under 400 calories and very satisfying, she says.
Breakfast: Her patients really her green apple and sun butter toast which is whole grain toast with sunflower seed butter and sliced green apple. It's crunchy and filling.
Her personal favorite is Swiss muesli which is uncooked whole grain oats. You take the old-fashioned rolled oats and soak them in skim milk, soy milk or unsweetened almond milk. You add chopped apple and nuts like almonds. For extra sweetness, drizzle with honey.
Dinner: Cilantro and peanut stir fry. Substitute chicken or beef id you desire.
"I have a very important equation for followers of the Flexitarian Diet: switch out 1/4 cup of beans for every ounce of meat," she notes.
Tips like that allow you to tweak your own food favorites.
Snack: Pizza popcorn. Dawn admits being a big fan of popcorn. It's natural and whole grain. For her recipe, you simply sprinkle the popped corn with oregano and a little bit of Parmesan cheese.
"After reading about the flexitarian diet in 2003 I finally felt like I fit in," she says. "I no longer had to call myself a vegetarian while eating meat in my closet… I am a flexitarian!"
In addition to the health and well-being benefits, you can save money by following this plan.
"Meat is a costly item," Dawn says. "My plan allows you to decrease how much meat you eat. You will definitely save money.
"Also, most ingredients can be found in a traditional grocery store rather than a pricey specialty store."
You'll also be leaving a lighter carbon footprint by choosing more non-meat meals. It's less taxing than meat on the whole ecosystem.
Dawn says Greece, Spain and many Asian cultures follow a flexitarian lifestyle.
A Few Final Words
By being flexibly vegetarian -- adopting more plant foods and new edibles in your diet, while slightly reducing your meat intake and getting to better know your local produce aisle or farmer's market -- you'll be hooked into better health.
Your immune system will get multiple boosts and ward off diseases like cancer and diabetes. You'll stretch out your life expectancy and out-supplement your vitamins.
Then there's the added benefit of weight loss.
Dozens of nutrition studies have scientifically proven that people who eat a vegetarian diet weight on average 15 percent less than non-vegetarians due to a lower intake of fat and calories, and more fiber.
Follow the Flexitarian Diet and you can expect to see a 20-pound average weight loss in six to 12 weeks -- and you'll maintain it for life.
Now that's something we find very easy to swallow!
About the Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian and a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. She is the nutrition editor for LifeTime TV's website, MyLifetime.com, hosts the "Healthy Eating" segment on Chicago's "Fox News in the Morning" and teaches cooking classes at The Chopping Block Cooking School.
September 22, 2008
Super Healer: Garlic
Recently, one of my family members was diagnosed with cancer. As devastating as it is for our family, we have taken this normally tragic situation and have come together to find ways to support his journey and learn some cancer-prevention tips along the way. In addition to his regular medical treatment, my family member is taking things into his own hands and is trying a few natural therapies. One suggestion another family member made was to try garlic. I've always known that garlic was a wonderful herb for building and maintaining optimum health, but I never really connected the dots when it came to cancer.
Garlic is known as one of nature’s most potent antibiotics; and studies suggest that it has the ability to stimulate cell growth and has a super rejuvenative effect on the entire body. Garlic has been know to help open up the blood vessels, stimulate circulation and helps reduce blood pressure - especially when Cayenne Pepper is added to the diet. Garlic can help dissolve cholesterol in the blood stream, and is effective against bacteria while protecting the body’s normal intestinal flora. Overall, this wonderful food contains many vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Garlic has been reported to have aided in some of the afflictions and condition of, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, candida, circulation, colds, digestion, fungus, heart conditions, high blood pressure, infections, intestinal issues, liver, lungs, prostte and yeast infections. Additionally, garlic has helped improve sinus problems, strep infections, respiratory ailments, immune function and disentery.
Cooking with Garlic also helps in the above mentioned conditions, however the active ingredient or parts can easily be destroyed by heat. There are 50 compounds in Garlic and some studies suggest that 10 of them are active in reducing cancer, so, it is best taken RAW, however this can lead to objectionable odor or bad breath.
Try taking Garlic with Aloe and/or Chlorophyll (naturally found in green plants); this will aid in its digestion and removes much of the Garlic breath, in turn it will contribute largely to the success of its use.
Whether any or all of the alternative therapies work or not, one thing is for sure, using garlic will surely improve our overall health and wellness.
The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism, edited by Malcom Stuart
The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine by Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.
September 20, 2008
Never Be Fat Again: The Science Behind Slimming
MIT-trained chemist Raymond Francis got tired of dead-ends with doctors and took his health – and weight – issues into his own hands.
His first book was Never Be Sick Again. He's back with his mind-boggling new effort: Never Be Fat Again (HCI).
Francis has found the answer to the obesity plague that has left 2-in-3 Americans overweight! Using basic science of how your body works, he’s come up with a 6-week plan he says will permanently break the fat cycle.
"What makes Never Be Fat Again fundamentally different is that, unlike most weight-loss books, it actually promotes permanent weight loss," Francis says.
"It is an established fact that weight-loss diets don’t work. This is because most weight-loss books are scientifically and nutritionally unsound, and many are so unsound, they are dangerous. This book provides a revolutionary understanding of overweight. Never Be Fat Again identifies overweight as a serious chronic disease — a disease caused by massive cellular malfunction—resulting from nutrient deficiency and exposure to environmental toxins.
"The book proposes the NBFA Lifestyle to address these causes. By addressing the true causes of overweight disease, permanent weight loss can be achieved... without counting calories or feeling hungry or deprived. Best of all, overall health dramatically improves while the pounds are being lost."
Francis says the biggest problem with most approaches to weight loss is that most approaches focus on cutting calories.
"We know that this doesn’t work over 90 percent of the time," he says. "When you cut back on food, you increase food cravings. Even if you lose weight in the short term, it comes right back, and yo-yo dieting is dangerous and permanently harmful.
"Never Be Fat Again focuses on eating foods that supply cells with the nutrients they need, while avoiding toxins that we know will pack on pounds. In this way, hunger disappears and pounds melt away naturally and effortlessly.
"Further, most approaches fail to address the mental, physical, genetic and medical dimensions of overweight."
Francis says it is not how much you eat that matters, but what you eat.
"No one needs to feel hungry," he says. "You can eat as much as you like so long as the food is nutrient-rich and free of toxins. To achieve permanent weight loss, we must supply our cells with all the nutrition they need while avoiding toxins that interfere with our appetite and weight-control mechanisms."
Francis says identifying toxicity as a major cause of overweight is a breakthrough in weight loss.
"To permanently reverse overweight, or any other so-called disease, it is necessary to address deficiency and toxicity and restore cells to normal function," Francis says.
"By eating a diet that does not supply cells with all the nutrients they need, our appetite and fat storage controls are turned on. When the body knows it lacks nutrients; it turns on the appetite and tells us to eat. The problem is we typically eat more high-calorie, nutritionally-deficient foods, which add to our calories and pounds but keep the appetite turned on because we still lack nutrients. Likewise, the body senses the lack of nutrients as starvation, and it instructs the cells to store fat in order to protect us from the famine."
So how does toxicity cause us to be overweight?
"Certain toxins, such as aspartame, glutamates, prescription drugs and pesticides, can turn our appetite controls “on” making us hungry all the time," Francis says.
"In addition, they turn our fat-storage controls on. When these toxins are acting, even if you cut calories, you will still pack on pounds because you will be storing fat regardless of what else you do. Tragically, most diet books allow, and even encourage, consumption of foods that we know contain these toxins."
Francis says sugar is a deadly poison that may be the largest single contributor to the epidemic of chronic and degenerative disease plaguing America.
"Sugar is a major contributor to overweight," he says. "It is one of the deadliest poisons we are exposed to on a daily basis, causing both deficiency and toxicity. It causes nutritional deficiency because it is just empty calories, delivering no nutrients, while it consumes precious nutrients as the body tries to metabolize it.
"The toxicity comes because it sets off a cascade of chemical reactions in the body, producing chemicals that have a toxic effect on us. Every time you eat sugar, the effect on your body is like a 50-car pileup on the freeway — toxic spills, wreckage, injuries, chaos. Permanent injury is done from which you will never recover. Sugar wreaks havoc on your DNA, immune system, hormone system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, and cellular health—it ages you."
So what can the average person do right now to lose weight?
"Very simply, cut out processed foods," Francis says. "Cut all the empty-calorie foods containing sugar, white flour and other processed grains. This includes breakfast cereals, breads, cookies, cakes, chips, sodas and most packages foods.
"Eat primarily a plant-based diet consisting of organic fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, sprouts, nuts and a small amount of animal protein for those who desire it. Start a consistent exercise program, and work on the psychology that affects their weight."
August 18, 2008