Shortly after joining spark people, a member introduced me to the book. I was amazed at the results she was having. After reading the book, I was convinced that I had to try it.
So want the basics? Here they are:
Basically the book centers around the idea of eating foods that are high in nutrients. I was watching a documentary where Dr. Gerson of the Gerson Institute, said that obesity is simply the result of hunger. I thought that was an obvious statement, but she went on to explain that our bodies are not being fed the proper nutrients, due to eating diets of highly processed foods with little to no nutrients left in them, so our bodies flag us that we need more nutrients by feeling hunger. Feed it nutrients, and the cravings stop.
So true. I was obese, and malnutrioned! I didn't know that was possible. Yet, when I got sick a few years back, that is exactly why I was sick - I had lost all core nutrients and minerals in my body. The doctors gave me intense supplements. I'm talking liquid iron (awful stuff!) and large doses of other pills. I understand now, they were trying to save my life. Your body literally SHUTS DOWN when you don't have these stores, and I was in bad shape. But they didn't once talk about nutrition to me! Everything I learned about restoring and helping my body heal itself came from one person sharing their experience with ETL. Thank you!!!!!
NO COUNTING CALORIES
There is no requirement to count calories or monitor portion size. If you eat high nutrient, low calorie foods, its difficult to eat high calories. Trust me it's true! I, being an accountant, would track my calories. I would eat LARGE portions of food, track them, and find that I would barely skim 1200 calories. Awesome! My concern? Getting ENOUGH calories! I was so use to the feeling of deprivation on diets that at first I couldn't believe I could eat this way and still lose weight. So I would try to limit my portions, and I would track my calories. I found out it was true! I had to eat HUGE amounts of these foods to exceed my recommended calories.
SALAD IS THE MAIN DISH
So do you have to eat salad every day? Well yes. But that's not all.
- Raw vegetables - unlimited
- Cooked vegetables (your goal is to eat 1 pound of raw and 1 pound of cooked veggies daily)
- Beans, bean sprouts and tofu – 1 cup daily at least and more if desired
- Fruits – at least 4 servings daily
- Starchy vegetables/whole grains are limited to one cup daily.
- Raw nuts – 1 oz max per day
- Avocado – 2 oz max per day
- Ground flaxseed – 1 tablespoon per day
- dairy products
- animal products
- between meal snacks
- fruit juice, dried fruits
- salt, sugar
Breakfast - Fruit/Grain (fruit bowl/smoothies/oatmeal)
Lunch - Salad/Fruit (unlimited variations)
Dinner - Vegetables/Beans (stir fry's, chili, curries)
Now mind you, this is the 6 week plan for weight loss. You can restart the 6 week program until you reach a healthy weight. After that you follow a 90/10 or 80/20 plan - whatever works best for you, meaning for the majority of the time you eat this way and 10-20% of the time you eat off limit items as you wish. You don't HAVE to follow any plan after the 6 weeks and have reached your goal, but most people on ETL do end up eating this way long term.
Actually, as I was hearing and reading about this all over, and went back to my sparkpeople page I realize how I've wandered away from the 6 week plans. I am NOT done with my weight loss journey and I need to refocus.
Know what else though? After the work of learning to cook with these high nutrient foods and changing up my pantry, it is very easy. And even though I haven't done the 6 week program in a while, I do follow about an 80/20 plan - and I have been able to maintain my weight loss for longer than I have ever been able to in my whole adult life.
And best of all? I feel great. I use to put on and drop 10 pounds without even feeling it. But I am now in tune with my body for the first time. I can read when my body is signaling for nutrients ( I crave salads!), when I need more calories (beans/fruits/seeds) and I feel AWFUL when I eat too much of the items in the "rarely" category.
If you're struggling with diets and programs, tracking and health consequences - I would suggest you try it out!
If you're interested, every few months the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sponsors a 21 day vegan kickstart where they provide information and recipes to get you started. It doesn't mean you have to become vegan or vegetarian. But it will help you learn how to cook with those foods from the 90% category so that you can get started and have success.
Good luck! And if you have any questions about any of this or my experience on the plan, please feel free to ask in the comments or email me!