Choose a Lifestyle, Not a Diet

Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 in Blood Sugar Balance, Essential Fats, Hormonal Balance, Just. Eat. Real. Food.

Choose a Lifestyle, Not a Diet

While hiking with a friend, she asked me what I thought about an “all-protein-for-a-week-to-lose-weight” diet she was thinking of starting based on a book she’d recently bought. I checked out the book review on Amazon. They claim it is all the rage and has been working for French women for 10 years. Surely it would do the same for us in American, right? Probably not.


The French are not “fat phobic.” Americans are.

In the 1950’s, Ancel Keys conducted research that claimed that if saturated fat remained a major component of our diet, our blood-cholesterol would rise and we’d die of heart disease. Though millions of research dollars were spent trying to duplicate the Keys connection between eating fat and developing heart disease, no study ever did. In fact we’ve discovered that the research of Keys “lipid hypothesis” was severely flawed. Still, through very slick marketing campaigns, Americans continue to be convinced that a low-fat diet is necessary for our heart health and mortality even though our obesity levels continue to rise.

Fat, the substance that makes food taste good and makes us feel satisfied, was removed from most processed foods and was replaced with refined carbohydrates (more specifically sugar and high fructose corn syrup).

“For a large percentage of the population, perhaps 30 to 40 percent, low-fat diets are counterproductive,” says Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, director of obesity research at Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center. ”They have the paradoxical effect of making people gain weight.” Today, with the standard American low-fat diet, as many as 68% of adults and nearly one-third of children are considered at least overweight (a body mass index of 25 or higher), with as much as 34% considered to be obese.

What you should know is that eating healthy fats, such as organic butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, organic whole milk, cheese and yogurt, and red meat from pastured, grass-fed animals, is GOOD for you and is necessary for your overall health. Consuming highly refined, processed vegetable oils (i.e. corn, soy, vegetable, canola, etc.) and anything with hydrogenated oils or trans-fats are BAD for you and should be avoided as they may “plasticize” your arteries.

Secondly, we Americans don’t seem to care about the quality of our food. The French cook their meals from real, whole food.

Local French markets and specialty food stores are full of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and baked goods with very few ingredients. In contrast, most Americans cook very little and what we do cook is canned, boxed, or frozen; processed, prepared foods chocked-full of chemicals (as flavorings, coloring, additives, stabilizers, etc.) from big-box providers. Have you seen how much space processed foods take up in the grocery store and how little space is devoted to whole-foods? It’s been staggering to see the growth of the frozen aisles in most major market chains over the last decade!

The French culture generally believes in the Slow Food philosophy which has three interconnected principles around the food they eat – Good, Clean and Fair:

  • Good Food comes from a ‘fresh and flavorsome seasonal diet that satisfies the senses and is part of our local culture.’
  • Clean Food is produced and consumed so it ‘does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health.’
  • Fair Food is available with ‘accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for small-scale producers.’

Is the food you consume Good, Clean and Fair??

If not, you are getting unnecessary chemicals and toxins that are adding to your weight and your health issues.

Back to whether or not to eat an all-protein diet for a week to lose weight . . . If you ask a SAD (Standard American Diet) medical professional their opinion about a high-protein diet, you might be warned that though you will lose weight, you may also risk kidney damage. But there is little research to back-up the assertion that eating large amounts of protein stresses your kidneys unless you already suffer from “mild renal insufficiency”. In fact, when researchers recruited bodybuilders and athletes to consume medium- to high-protein diets, they tested their kidney function for seven days and found every marker to be within normal range.

One of the downfalls of being on a low-fat diet is that we avoid some proteins because we feel they are “too fattening” and then we eat more carbohydrates so we feel full. But carbohydrates quickly turn to sugar and leave us wanting more . . . and then we snack.

Fat, on the other hand, makes us feel full and holds us longer, lessening our need to snack. Do you want the ability to focus, concentrate, and retain more information? Eat your healthy fats! The human brain is composed of 60%-80% fat with roughly 50% being saturated fat. And cholesterol? The richest concentration of cholesterol in the human body is in the brain. You need it!

My advice to my friend, my clients, and to you is this — You can eat an all-protein-for-a-week diet if you also:

  • Eat fresh, organic leafy greens and colorful vegetables at each meal
  • Source your protein well to reduce chemical exposures, eating pastured meats and eggs, and organic dairy products
  • Don’t be afraid of fat – use a little butter to cook your eggs, a spoonful of coconut oil to sauté your salmon filet, drizzle olive or flax oil over your salad, snack on half an avocado with a dollop of salsa
  • Eat nuts and seeds as a source of protein
  • Eliminate processed foods completely
  • Skip refined carbs and  limit your carbohydrate intake to between 50 to 150 grams per day (use a tool such as Fit Day to help you keep track)
  • Eliminate sugared, diet, and artificially sweetened beverages including juice.
  • Drink plenty of water – half your body weight in ounces daily – adding a lemon wedge or fresh squeezed lemon juice for flavor
  • If you want fruit, eat it as a snack between meals preferable with a bite of cheese, a few nuts, or a spoonful of nut butter

If you can do this for a week and feel good, try a second week, a third, a month. . . I imagine you will be happy with your weight loss, your decreased fatigue, and your overall increase in energy and vitality. Given time and consistency, you’ll get to where you want your weight to be.

Diets don’t work. Lifestyles do.

Figure out what your body needs to feel your best while getting the results you want. For me, eliminating wheat and other grains has given me a gradual, consistent weight loss. I’m working on 100% grain-free, but honestly I’m there 90% of the time after nine months. But I am seeing consistent, positive results in how I look and feel.

I welcome your questions and comments.

In good health,



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