The Diet

Posted on September 21, 2008

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Shortly after returning from my first trip to Germany, I decided that I needed to do something about my increasing weight. While beer, bratwurst, and schnitzel taste good, they are also very filling. While not obese, I was getting close to the line of being overweight.

I am not a diet person. I hate diets and the thought of tracking every little thing I ate in a journal made me cringe. I am a list person and I could see it becoming an all consuming task. When I stumbled on a diet advocated by Dr. Dean Ornish, it clicked and seemed like something I could do. I started it on a trial basis, and now nine months later it has taken firm hold.

The diet is fairly simple, though I would not encourage it for most people as it represents a huge change. The foundation is a vegan diet – which means no meat or dairy. Meat includes seafood and chicken. Dairy includes milk, cheese, and eggs. On top of that is a focus on very low fat foods, moderation of alcohol, and reduction of sugar intake. Low fat means avoiding adding fat to cooking, no nuts, no potato chips, no peanut butter. Sugar includes corn syrup, white flour, and white rice.

You may be asking yourself what foods are left. As I said, this is why I do not advocate this diet for most people. The above guidelines eliminate many of the foods that Americans routinely eat. Much of the world eats this way throughout their whole lives though. I eat very well – lots of brown rice, beans, tofu, and vegetables. My food is flavorful and I feel good after I eat. As a bonus I can eat as much as I want, no tracking of calories and volumes.

Following this diet, I lost twenty pounds and now am maintaining a healthy weight well within the normal range. I feel good and I like the side benefit of having a smaller carbon footprint and much lower grocery bills. Reading “The China Study” by Dr. Thomas Campbell further reinforced the health benefits of this diet. He links animal-based proteins to the growth of cancer cells. It is interesting even if you do not agree with it.

Do I ever “cheat”? The simple answer is yes. But cheating is rare and the “forbidden” foods make up less than 5% of my intake. By occasionally eating outside the diet, it makes it much easier to stay within the diet most of the time.

My promise to you dear reader is that I will not become another boring blog following the eating habits of a poor, lost soul. I promise that this will be the sole post describing my food choices. There is nothing worse than entry after entry lamenting the steady tick down – and up – of pounds. The meals skipped and sacrifices made, followed by the sneaked snickers bar, and gorge-fest of pizza and coca-cola. Who would want to read this, could it really be interesting to the author? If I was crowned President of Blogs, my first act would be to ban blogs on dieting.

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