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
Lose Weight And Eat Well... On $6 A Day!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Michael Ozner is a renowned cardiologist and a diet expert. In other words, he is a perfect fit for the Diet.com audience of overweight men and women who are at risk of heart disease. Please see what he has to say about eating well and saving money during a time of rising weight and rising prices.
Special for Diet.com
by Michael Ozner, M.D.
Government figures show that we're in the midst of the worst case of food inflation since the 1990s. During these tough economic times, it's possible to eat delicious home-cooked meals that not only save you a bundle of money, but help you live longer and lose up to 8 pounds a week!
It costs a lot less to eat three meals a day at home than to dine out -- even at cheap, fast-food restaurants. What's more, these scrumptious meals are satisfying, help you trim down without trying, and have been shown to prevent a host of illnesses and diseases. What's not to love?
Here are some daily menu ideas from my book, The Miami Mediterranean Diet, along with an approximate per-serving cost, to show how you can feed yourself all day long for less than one trip to a typical fast-food joint.
4 Breakfast Ideas
Oatmeal with raisins and almonds, $.25/serving
Wheat toast with chunky peanut butter and honey, $.25/serving
Cheesy Apple Raisin Cinnamon Omelet (p. 123), $.75/serving
Broccoli and Cheese Frittata (p. 128), $.80/serving
Serve any of the above with one fresh fruit (e.g., orange, apple, banana, pear), $.50/each
4 Sample Lunch Ideas
Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Soup (p. 91), $1.25/serving
Pizza Margherita (p. 109), $1.00/serving
Veggie Wrap (p. 215), $1.10/serving
Smoked Fish and Roasted Pepper Sandwich (p. 221), $1.00/serving
Serve any of the above with a vegetable salad or fruit salad, $.75/serving
4 Sample Dinner Entrees
Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce (p. 175), $2.25/serving
Shrimp in Spicy Black Bean Sauce (p. 178), $2.50/serving
Pasta with Red Clam Sauce (p. 170), $2.40/serving
Florentine Roasted Pork (p. 174), $2.50/serving
4 Sample Dinner Side Dishes
Greek Rice (p. 185), $1.35/serving
Broccoli with Fresh Garlic (p. 188), $1.25/serving
Sautéed Vegetables with Fresh Thyme (p. 199), $1.20/serving
Spicy Couscous (p. 198), $.90/serving
4 Sample Desserts
Yogurt Nut Cake (p. 236), $.75/serving
Sweet Mango Mousse (p. 237), $1.35/serving
Sweet Italian Rice Pudding (p. 240), $.85/serving
Crème de Banana Baked Apples (p. 241), $1.00/serving
Michael Ozner, MD, is a nationally known cardiologist and author of The Miami Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease (BenBella Books, 2008). He is medical director at the Center for Prevention and Wellness, Baptist Health South Florida, and medical director for the Cardiovascular Prevention Institute of South Florida. Find out more about him at www.cardiacoz.com.
July 7, 2008
Trimming Portions, Pinching Pennies
A downturn in our economy is proving to be good for your waistline.
With less people eating out and food prices soaring, restaurant owners are looking for ways to trim the portion sizes they serve without their customers really noticing.
As reported in the Chicago Tribune, chefs are using less expensive ingredients as they are “putting the great American portion – a monstrosity by international standards – on a diet.”
Other tricks up their apron sleeve: smaller plates and lighter silverware (so “each bite feels heavier than usual on the fork”). With fancy plate rearranging, many restaurants can make their servings appear larger despite 25% less food.
This weight loss expert is taking notice and asking: “What took them so long?”
Restaurant portion sizes have been out of control for years; a makeover was badly needed. What used to be small, medium and large are now large, extra large and enormous!
I once had a patient who relocated to the United States from Europe and within a couple of years, she had gained (what I called) 30 American pounds.
This happened without her even really noticing. But as she ate out more than usual, she did what everyone else was doing – she finished what she was served on her plate. Also affecting her weight: she walked much less than back home in Europe because in America she was so much more dependent on her car.
With the help of an American doctor, she learned the strategies to use so American-size food portions didn’t have to lead to American-sized weight gain.
The bottom line seems to be a bad economy can end up being good for the obesity epidemic. Go figure.
April 22, 2008