Linda Carney MD
Ideally Suited for:
For those wanting to optimize their health and longevity. Requires an openness to changing preferred tastes and habits for increased health benefits.
Calories from Fat:
< 15% calories from fat.
Enjoy multiple servings of raw or cooked vegetables for breakfast and lunch. Include dark green, leafy vegetables at both meals for cardiovascular health. Starchy vegetables (tubers) like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taro, and yuca should help form the basis of both meals to meet energy and satiety needs. Add other types of vegetables to create a rainbow of colors in your diet. Do not juice the vegetables nor blend them in smoothies, although smoothies may be necessary for those with limited ability to chew.
Breakfast and lunch should each include a healthy serving of cholesterol-lowering beans, lentils, or peas to provide the energy and satiety needed for the most productive hours of the day. High in fiber and other nutrients, legumes contain starch, which has sustained cultures down through the ages. Soy Curls and tofu are both minimally processed soybean products which, when used occasionally, can add interest and variety to the diet. Avoid hydrolyzed soy protein and soy protein isolates.
Grains and grain-like seeds are best eaten whole and well cooked. When whole grains are ground into flour, they become a more calorie dense food and thus may cause weight gain. One exception to this rule is 100% whole grain pasta because it has to be rehydrated.
Give your digestive tract a rest by eating a lighter meal of fresh or frozen fruit with whole grains for the third meal of the day. The fruit should be eaten in its whole state. Juicing and blending are processes that separate the fiber from the sugar in fruit thereby causing a sudden rise in blood sugar. Because the water has been removed, dried fruit is likewise a processed food that should be used sparingly. If you eat dried fruit, choose fruit preserved without sulfur and rehydrate the fruit by soaking it in water before eating it.
Animal Products & Meat Substitutes:
Eat no animal products or meat substitutes whatsoever. Obtain all nutrition and energy from whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods. Tofu and Soy Curls are minimally processed whole foods which can be included in the diet, but should only be eaten occasionally and always with plenty of vegetables because of their higher fat content.
Oils, Nuts, Seeds, and other High-Fat Foods:
No oil at all should be added to foods. If BMI is normal, raw nuts may be eaten sparingly (1 oz. per day). One tablespoon of chia or freshly-ground flax is also allowed. Because avocados are high in fat, they should only be used as a condiment; a one-ounce serving is about 1/5 to 1/4 of a regular-sized avocado. Coconut should be avoided because of the high saturated fat content.
Timing of Meals and Snacks:
Breakfast should be eaten before 8:00 a.m. It should be the largest meal of the day and include plant foods from all four categories: beans, greens, squash, and yams. Although a slightly smaller meal, lunch should also be comprised of beans, greens, squash, and yams. Whole grains can be added to meals to increase satiety. Supper should be finished by 6:00 p.m. and ideally be a lighter meal consisting of whole grains and fruits. Avoid snacking by taking in enough calories at meal times and by drinking water before the urge hits. Eventually, the stomach will be trained and the urge to snack will greatly subside.
Salt & Sugar:
Breaking the reliance on salt and sugar optimizes health. Use the salt shaker sparingly at the table as needed, but add no salt to food during the cooking process. Salt can be replaced with lemon, herbs, and spices. To sweeten foods, dates make an excellent choice.
Vinegar, Chilis, Irritating Spices, and Other Condiments:
Nearly all premade condiments contain irritating or questionable ingredients. Many have sugar, oil, or high levels of salt. Most have vinegar or spices such as black pepper or chili peppers which may irritate the mucous membranes, causing thickened mucous secretions. Learn to enjoy the natural flavor of whole foods or try new recipes for homemade condiments free from unwanted ingredients.
Drink two glasses of water before breakfast to start the digestive tract working. Adults should finish six more glasses before 5:00 PM so that nighttime sleep won't be interrupted by a need to use the bathroom. Avoid drinking at mealtimes or within 30 minutes of a meal.
Alcohol use is implicated in Vitamin B12 deficiency as well as being a risk factor for cancer and other diseases. Alcohol is not part of an optimal diet.
Plan to be asleep before 10:00 PM. Our body does its optimal repair work during the hours of sleep before midnight.
Weight goals should determine the calorie concentration of food choices.