Most people who are serious about losing weight are looking for simplified strategy. The Vegetable Revolution Diet approach is to have a simplified food guide that everyone can follow that stresses eating healthy foods, especially vegetables, to fill you up and avoiding foods that have high caloric load. The hallmark of this diet is the three servings of vegetables (a serving is 8 ounces, or a handful) with each meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, breakfast! The philosophy is that the vegetables are low in calories and provide an excellent sources of minerals and vitamins, give you fiber and fill you up and you will not need to each much higher calorie foods.
In the past, people have shied away from vegetables due to the fact they required a lot of preparation or went bad readily. Now vegetables are often pre-cut and washed and come in a large variety of preparations and are readily available in grocery stores. Frozen vegetables are excellent and convenient and even canned vegetables are good. Vegetables can be stir-fried with a vegetable spray like PAM, canola spray or olive spray or soy sauce (as long as you are not on a low-salt diet). Vegetables can also be flavored with spices, soy sauces, or tomato or marinara sauce. Vegetables can be made into soups as well.
Recommended vegetables include the following (the symbols next to some of them denote how they may be purchased or prepared--please see below the list for the code):
#Alfalfa/ Bean Sprouts
Collard or mustard greens
+Onions (especially Vidalia onions)
Salads (careful about the dressings and additions)
V8-or other vegetable juices
*Frozen-perfect for micro-waving
#Fresh-can be eaten raw
+Cut-up (found at most grocery stores) and perfect for stir-frying or microwaving
The only vegetables not recommend are potatoes and corn. Sweet potatoes and yams can be eaten in moderation.
For strict weight loss, avoid eating anything with sugar and also adhere to no-starch diet. Sugar includes honey, sucrose, fructose, molasses or high fructose corn syrup. Ingredients with sugar include sodas (except diet soda), cookies, candy, ice cream and cakes. Also, look at the ingredients of sauces and dressings. If it has sugar or fructose in the first four ingredients, avoid it.
Additionally, avoid starches. For most patients, this needs to be strict to ensure proper weight loss. Starches include all bread, tortillas, pasta, rice, potatoes, and corn. For the purposes of this diet, there is not much difference between whole grains such as brown rice and regular starches such as white rice, nor is there any difference between whole grain bread and white bread. After initial weight loss for about two months, patients could go on to a moderate amount of whole grains such as whole wheat bread or brown rice.
In addition, after the patient eats their three servings of vegetables with each meal, they can consume a moderate amount of protein, fruit, or dairy products, including milk. The dairy product should be as low in fat as possible. Skim milk would be recommended over whole milk, nonfat yogurt over regular yogurt, etc. During this time avoid eating fried foods and consumption of alcohol beverage except in small amounts.
With this lifestyle modification (its not really a diet as it should be continued for a lifetime), weight loss of one pound a week is expected. Most people report more energy and less brain fog on this diet. Give it a try!
Dr. Friedman has run the Obesity Clinic at MLK Ambulatory Care Clinic in Los Angeles.