Linda Carney MD
Ideally Suited for:
Those looking for a maintenance lifestyle that boosts energy and balances good nutrition with current preferences for flavors and seasonings.
Calories from Fat:
< 20% calories from fat.
Eat several servings of cooked or raw vegetables at two meals each day. Vegetables come in several categories; try to get some of each type--green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, tubers, seeds, bulbs, buds, stems, flowering vegetables, and succulents--on a regular basis.
Super high in fiber, legumes contain energy-rich starch, which helps form the hunger-satisfying basis of any whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet. Beans, lentils, and peas are packed with nutrients and help lower cholesterol. After about two weeks of eating legumes and avoiding animal products, the body adjusts and gas becomes much less of a problem. Plan to eat legumes at two different meals every day.
Carbs are good and starch is your friend as long as grain is eaten in its whole, unrefined state. Grains and grain-like seeds such as brown rice, barley, or quinoa make a good base for stir-fries and other one-dish meals. Pasta or breads should be labeled "100% whole grain" in order to avoid refined flour.
Fresh or frozen fruit should be eaten daily. With grains, fruit makes a lighter meal that some people prefer first thing in the morning and others enjoy for supper. Fruit also makes a convenient snack or a sweet ending to a meal. Dried fruits are calorie dense foods; use them sparingly since it is easy to eat an excess of calories with very little volume. Fruits are best enjoyed whole rather than in a juice because juicing removes the fiber, leaving all the sugar.
Animal Products & Meat Substitutes:
Completely exclude meat, eggs, and all dairy products from the diet. Prepackaged meat substitutes like frozen veggie burgers are factory-made, processed foods which are less than optimal for health. Tofu and Soy Curls are lightly-processed, whole-food products that may be used to add interest and variety to the diet.
Oils, Nuts, Seeds, and other High-Fat Foods:
Avoid adding oil of any kind to food. Raw or dry roasted nuts can be eaten sparingly (1-2 oz. per day). One to two tablespoons of chia or freshly-ground flax seeds per day may be used instead. Avocados and coconuts are high-fat whole foods. Avocados should be eaten sparingly, and coconut only rarely due to the high amount of saturated fat it contains.
Timing of Meals and Snacks:
Research shows that a strong breakfast and eating the majority of the day's calories before 3:00 p.m. helps prevent obesity. The adage "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper" is a good rule to follow for optimizing health. Try drinking a large glass of water when the urge to snack hits; the urge may pass within a few minutes. If it doesn't, having whole foods like grapes, apples, or carrot sticks on hand can help prevent snacking on junk food.
Salt & Sugar:
Use only as much salt or sugar as is needed to make food palatable. Gradually reduce the amount of salt and sugar added to food. As the taste buds heal, the natural flavors of fruits and vegetables will become more appealing.
Vinegar, Chilis, Irritating Spices, and Other Condiments:
Although condiments add wonderful flavor and variety to meals, they can be a hidden source of oil, sugar, and sodium. Becoming a label reader can help you find and eliminate excess amounts of these health-sabotaging substances from your diet.
Drink two glasses of water before breakfast to start the digestive tract working. At least eight glasses of water are necessary per day for keeping the body functioning well.
Cancer and other disease conditions plus many other societal problems are associated with alcohol use. Limiting alcohol is good, but eliminating it all together is better.
Our bodies repair themselves best in the hours of sleep before midnight. Aim for no later than a 10:00 PM bedtime.
Weight goals should determine the calorie concentration of food choices.