Monday, May 10, 2010


As a holistic nutritionist, my primary concern is really health through diet. Now, everyone and their mother has an opinion on what is healthy and what should be included in one's diet. My philosophy is really pretty simple. Eat mainly a plant based diet with good quality protein and healthy fats. Eat mainly plants, which can be translated to eat a lot of vegetables, and everything else in moderation. If you want cookies, and I do, eat them from time to time, but not everyday.

Most of the people I meet are not so interested in health. What they are interested is reaching a certain number on the scale-weight loss. Argh! I say "argh" because I see people do and eat the silliest things in the name of dieting and truthfully, they are not always in the best interest of one's health. So I am going to go through popular diets to see what people are doing to lose the pounds.

I have decided to start a new segment of book reviews where I will tell you about the latest diet book that I have read. First up is "Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads" by Christine Avanti.

What a killer title. Avanti's book addresses the salad eating dieters head on. Either they are eating 1500 calorie bombs disguised as salads, or they are eating measly portions of lettuce and other raw vegetables that will leave them starving in a matter of minutes. Her two main points are to eat often, every 4 hours to be precise and to eat protein and carbohydrates together. Both of these concepts make sense. Eating frequently will prevent dips in blood sugar that causes whacked out hormones which can lead to weight gain or prevent weight loss. The concept of eating protein and carbs together is really important too because the protein will slow down the absorption of the carbohydrate. It all goes back to maintaining even levels of blood sugar. This is Avanti's main concept- that irregularities in blood sugar are the barrier to losing weight.

I like this book. Avanti has some really good ideas that are well researched and supported in science. It is not so technical that it will go over your head either. She includes simple recipes and suggestions for eating out which are always helpful for readers.

The only issue that I would caution people to consider with this or any diet book is that these books are written to sell. They are generalized so that they can be applied to everyone. Many people will see success with this plan, but not everyone. I, for one thing, hate to eat every four hours. It seems that when I try to eat several small meals as many books recommend, I am in the kitchen constantly. So this doesn't work for me, but it might work for you. I prefer to eat 3 well balanced meals and maybe have a snack in between if necessary, but it's not usually necessary, again-for me. Another thing is the PC combo (eating protein and carbohydrates together) will not work for everyone. I have a friend who does very poorly when she eats the two together. In her case, she eats carbs alone or with vegetables but experiences significant digestive trouble when eating the two together.

Remember that we are all individuals. What works for one might not work for another. Regardless, the concept of blood sugar regulation in general and specifically as it relates to weight loss is particularly important. While some will certainly see weight loss by eating several small meals frequently and making those meals PC combos, I would urge people to consider the source of the food too. Complex carbs are always better than simple carbs of white bread and candy. Avanti does suggest making wise choices, but that isn't a cornerstone of this book. I am always going to suggest making quality choices over quantity choices when it comes to food. So, even though a fast food hamburger might be a PC combo or might not be that many calories, the quality of the beef is questionable at best and the quality of that meal is way too low for me to even consider. Nevertheless, pick this book up if you are looking to understand more about blood sugar regulation and for some quick and easy recipes.

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