If you have been following this blog since its inception, you know I made my way toward a healthy whole foods plant based diet a few years ago. So what’s so different now? Well, one significant thing is that I seriously strayed from the whole foods part! In following Chef AJ and Jean Pierre’s Ultimate Weight Loss Program, I have committed to eating only whole foods, still plant based of course. My new focus is on avoiding all processed foods like the plague, particularly sugar, salt, and oil.
These three ingredients, aptly nicknamed SOS, are found in massive proportions in processed foods. These are the ingredients carefully incorporated into food-like forms so that the company selling the food knows you’ll keep coming back for more. The combination of flavors and textures is no accident. Almost any commonly craved snack food, be it ice cream, potato chips, french fries, kettle corn, funnel cake, cheese cake, chocolate, cookies, or donuts is a variation on those three major tastes: sugar, oil, and salt.
All three are highly concentrated and therefore highly addictive. Unless you’ve been living under rock candy, you’ve heard that sugar is bad. I won’t waste your time explaining that one. Oil is a little more challenging to accept as detrimental, until you think about what it is and where it comes from. It’s 100% fat. It’s highly processed which means it’s a far cry from its natural state and affects your body in ways your body was never meant to sustain. Here’s a throwback in case you forget that oil is oil is oil. Yes, even olive oil.
Flour is another ingredient that is a major no-no. This one was (relatively) new to me. While most flour keeps really bad company (right alongside SOS in cakes, cookies, muffins, pizzas, pastas, and donuts), even flour touted as healthy can be problematic as well. The easy explanation here is that it is so highly processed from its whole natural form (the wheat berry, the corn kernel, etc), that your body digests it way too quickly. As a whole grain, the neat little package containing the bran, endosperm, and germ get digested very slowly. Your body breaks it all down and you get a little dose of glucose after some time. When you eat flour, the surface area of the grain has been so drastically increased that you end up getting an almost instant shot of glucose to the bloodstream. The result in the body is that eating flour is more similar to consuming sugar than a whole grain.
Alcohol is also highly processed, highly destructive, and I’m sure you’ve heard its fairly addictive too. So, that’s out.
Truly, what I eat are real foods as found in their whole natural form, as much as possible. In a nut shell, I’m eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Doesn’t sound like much? Well there are about 75 non-starchy vegetables, at least a dozen starchy vegetables, around 25-30 legumes, and around 10 different whole grains. It’s pretty easy to keep a variety of things on my plate without getting bored or feeling deprived.
Grocery shopping is not complicated. In fact, I hardly ever read labels any more. Most food doesn’t have a label. You don’t need nutrition facts to tell you what’s in broccoli! I walk through the grocery store, mainly in the produce section, and use a simple test. If it looks pretty much the same as I would find it in my garden, I grab it. If it looks like it might have come from a lab or factory or processing plant, I keep walking.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Ultimate Weight Loss Program by Chef AJ and John Pierre, there’s a new 21 Day UWL Challenge beginning April 13th. The deadline to participate is 3/31/15. That gives you enough time to receive your 4 CD/DVD’s in the mail. You would watch or listen right away to start learning about the program details and get yourself prepped in advance of the actual challenge. There will be a kick-off conference call and then 3 more weekly group coaching phone calls, specifically for people in the UWL program. If you think it might be a good fit for you, check it out.
Disclaimer – I do not get paid to promote the Ultimate Weight Loss program and I don’t want my readers to feel that this is a sales pitch. I am not affiliated with UWL except as a program participant. I simply wish to share an amazing resource in case there are readers out there who have tried dieting, have tried moderation, and who might be able to relate to some of the things I have been through. I can’t say enough about how beneficial this program has been and continues to be.
Chef AJ said to me once (when I asked if I REALLY had to give up xyz…) If your way was already working for you, you wouldn’t need me. Even though I was once close to a whole foods plant based diet, I was still making my own rules and exceptions. What’s different for me now is that I quit trying to eat as normal or mainstream as possible. In a society where it’s becoming mainstream to drop dead of a heart attack, experience the pain and suffering of obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or all the many types of cancer, well I’m ok not being normal. I quit trying to do things my way and decided to get with the program.