Saturday, January 8, 2011


Last month I was in the public library.  The purpose for my visit was to check out some of my favorite type of books - suspense novels.  I love Mary Higgins Clark, John Grisham, and that type of author.  It occurred to me to look in the self help/diet/nutrition section to see if they happened to have the Geneen Roth book, Women Food and God.  I've never read her books, but I've read some of her articles in magazines and she is extremely insightful.

The book wasn't there, but I did notice an intriguing title.  "Breaking the Food Seduction" immediately caught my eye.  Do you feel seduced by food?  I know I do. I decided to check the book out.  Despite the interesting title, I suppose I wasn't very optimistic.  What overweight person hasn't read numerous books about dieting, losing weight, etc.  When I began reading the book, I was amazed at some of the studies that were mentioned.

The book was written by Dr. Neal Barnard.  He is an advocate of a vegan diet.  For many people, myself included, this type of diet sounds so extreme.  As I read the book, I was enthralled by the research subjects that were able to change their eating habits, improve their health, and have fewer cravings.

In all of the years that I have gone from bingeing to eating healthy, I've never remotely considered a vegan diet.  When I'm in one of my healthy eating/losing weight "phases", I've always restricted calories and fat.  I've also been careful to eat complex carbs rather than simple ones, but I didn't typically put as much emphasis on fruits and veggies as I should.

One comparison that Dr. Barnard made really makes sense to me.  With most traditional diets, we are taught to eat everything in moderation.  This approach probably works well for many people.  However, for some it doesn't.  Imagine encouraging a smoker who is attempting to quit to do so by having 1 or 2 cigarettes a day.  Or telling a recovering alcoholic to drink alcohol once a day.  For some people, having some sugar and some fatty foods regularly in the diet is just a tease.  These small amounts can so easily lead to more. Who can eat one Oreo, a small amount of M & M's, a handful of chips?  I know I can't.

The reasons Dr. Barnard encourages a vegan diet are various, and it would take too long and would be too boring to mention here.  If you're interested, read "Breaking the Food Seduction",  I decided to follow the recommendation of trying the vegan diet for three weeks.  What have I got to loose?  It's very different from any diet/lifestyle change I've every tried before.  My prayer is that the high  fiber, no sugar, healthy diet will keep me full, keep my blood sugar more stable to ease cravings.

Can I eat this way forever?  Can I avoid sugar forever?  I don't know.  What I do know is that it is worth a three week try.  If during those three weeks I feel good, have less difficulty with cravings, and lose weight, I plan to continue for another three week period.

I plan to post tomorrow evening and let you know how my first day went!

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