6 Week Challange FAQ's

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Here is a list of some of the most asked questions in regard to this meal plan.

Could restricting my intake of animal products or eating a strict vegetarian diet cause me to develop vitamin deficiencies?

A strict vegetarian diet is deficient in meeting the vitamin B12 needs of some individuals. If you choose to follow a complete vegetarian (vegan) diet, it is imperative that you consume a multivitamin or other source of B12, Like Shakeology or fortified soymilk.

What about drugs for weight loss?

Remember: for anything to be effective, you have to be on it forever. Even if the drugs were remarkably effective, you would have to be prepared to stay on them forever; the minute you stopped, the benefits would slowly be lost.  In the long run, it is still your diet that determines your health and your weight. The amphetamine-related appetite suppressants have received much
press, and they were quite popular until their dangers became more well known. They were never approved for long-term use, so it wasn’t very wise for people to use them.

Can’t I eat chocolate, ice cream, or other junk food ever again?

You can eat anything you desire, on occasion, but just don’t make a habit of it. Try to be very strict the first three months in order to document how much weight you can expect to lose when you eat sensibly. We are all tempted by these treats. It is easier to resist if you get them out of your house completely. All cheats should be done outside of your home. If possible, associate with friends who will support you in recovering your health—or may join you in trying to be healthy.  Once you regain your health and feel great, you are less likely to crave these foods or be so tempted. Then, when you do deviate from a healthful diet, it is likely you will feel poorly, have a persistent dry mouth, and not sleep well. If you go off your diet and eat junk food on occasion, mark it on your calendar and consider it a special occasion that you won’t repeat too often.

Nobody is perfect; however, do not let your weight yo-yo. You must adhere to the plan strictly enough so that you never put back on whatever weight you do take off.

Is exercise essential for success in weight loss, and what type of exercise is best?

Exercise is important, but if your ability to be active and exercise is limited, do not despair. The more aggressive menu plans will still enable you to lose weight. Obviously, those unable to exercise require a stricter diet.  Some people have health conditions that preclude them from exercising much.  However, you should still try to devise an exercise prescription to fit your capabilities. Almost everyone can do something; even those who cannot walk can do arm exercises with light weights and use an arm cycle.  Exercise will facilitate your weight loss and make you healthier. Vigorous exercise has a powerful effect on promoting longevity.  If you have the will to adopt this plan and take good care of yourself, you will find the will to exercise. “No time to exercise” is not an excuse. If you have time to brush your teeth, take a shower, or go to the bathroom, you can make some time to exercise. Take frequent five-minute exercise breaks—walk stairs or stand up then sit down slowly in your chair twenty times. Lots of people with no time to exercise or join a health club can usually go up and down stairs in their home or place of work. Try doing as many flights as you can two or three times a day. Walking twenty or more flights a day is an effective way to achieve your goal. Most people have a health club in their house—that is, a stairway leading to the upstairs floor, and most have one going down to the basement as well. Walk up and down the two flights ten times in the morning before they shower and ten times at night. It takes only five minutes, but it really works.

Is a vegetarian or vegan diet healthier than a diet that contains a small amount of animal products?

It is not known for sure.  A preponderance of the evidence suggests that either a near vegetarian diet or a vegetarian diet is the best. In the massive China-Cornell-Oxford Project, reduction in cancer rates continued to be observed as participants reduced their animal-food consumption all the way down to one serving per week. Below this level there is not enough data available. Some smaller studies suggest that some fish added to a vegetarian diet provides benefit, which is likely a result of the increased DHA fat from fish.  This same benefit most likely could be achieved on a strict vegetarian diet by including ground flax seed and nuts that contain omega-3, such as walnuts.

Is a high-nutrient, low-calorie diet the best one for everyone?

The same diet is not for everyone, but the H = N/C formula never changes.

I don’t drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Is that bad?

Only those eating an American-style diet, so high in salt and so low in the high-water-content fruits and vegetables, need to drink that much water.  Three glasses a day is usually sufficient; but if you are exercising or in the heat, then you obviously need to drink more to replenish those liquids lost through perspiration.

How do you modify your recommendations about superior nutrition and disease prevention for children or those not needing to lose weight?

I would expect, as parents, we all have the same goal of trying to get our children to eat more nutritious foods: more vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, and legumes and beans. However, no child will eat healthfully if he is allowed to eat unhealthy foods on a regular basis.  The only way to have a child eat healthfully is to clear all unhealthful foods out of the house, so when the children are hungry they are forced to pick from healthy choices. They will at least eat healthfully when they are home if they are presented with only healthy food choices.  Nevertheless, the dietary rules in this Plan would be too calorie-restricted and too fat-restricted for a child or thin athlete.  However, the principles for healthy eating and longevity do not change. All that has to be done to increase the caloric density and fat density of the diet is to add more wholesome sources of fat and calories, such as raw nuts and seeds, nutbutters, and avocados. Starchy vegetables and whole grains can be consumed in larger amounts, and vegetable and grain dishes can be flavored with sauces and dressings made with nuts and seeds.

Is it dangerous to eat more fruits and vegetables because of the increased consumption of pesticides? Do I have to buy organic?

The effects of ingesting pesticides in the very small amounts present in vegetation are unknown. Bruce Ames, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of California at Berkeley, who has devoted his career to examining this question, believes these minute amounts pose no risk at all.  He and other scientists support this view because humans and other animals are exposed to small amounts of naturally occurring toxins with every mouthful of organically grown, natural food. The body normally breaks down self-produced metabolic wastes and naturally occurring carcinogens in foods, as well as pesticides, and excretes these harmful substances every minute.   Since 99.99 percent of the potential carcinogenic chemicals consumed are naturally present in all food, reducing our exposure to the 0.01 percent that are synthetic will not reduce cancer rates.  These scientists argue that humans ingest thousands of natural chemicals that typically have a greater toxicity and are present at higher doses than the very minute amount of pesticide residue that remains on food. Furthermore,animal studies on the carcinogenic potential in synthetic chemicals are done at doses a thousandfold higher than what is ingested in food. Ames argues that a high percentage of all chemicals, natural or not, are potentially toxic in high doses—“the dose makes the poison”—and that there is no evidence of possible cancer hazards from the tiny chemical residue remaining on produce.  Others believe a slight risk may be present, though that risk may be difficult to prove. There certainly is a justifiable concern that some chemicals have increased toxicity and are potentially harmful at lower doses than are used in rodent experiments. No scientist believes that this means we should reduce our consumption of vegetation, but many (including me) believe it prudent to reduce our exposure to the multiple toxic residues present in our food supply. I certainly advocate avoiding the skins of foods that are reported to have the most pesticide residue. And, of course, all fruits and vegetables should be washed before eating.If you are concerned about pesticides and chemicals, keep in mind that animal products, such as dairy and beef, contain the most toxic pesticide residues. Because cows and steers eat large amounts of tainted feed, certain pesticides and dangerous chemicals are found in higher concentrations in animal foods. For example, dioxin, which is predominantly found in fatty meats and dairy products, is one of the most potent toxins linked to several cancers in humans, including lymphomas.  By basing your diet on unrefined plant foods, you automatically reduce your exposure to the most dangerous chemicals.  According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov), the most contaminated produce, ranked from highest to lowest, are:

Rank Score (200 – Most Toxic)
1 strawberries 189
2 green and red bell peppers 155
3 spinach 155
4 cherries (USA) 154
5 peaches 150
6 cantaloupe (Mexico) 142
7 celery 129
8 apples 124
9 apricots 123
10 green beans 122
11 grapes (Chile) 118
12 cucumbers 117

Source: Environmental Working Group, compiled from FDA and EPA data

 

These twelve foods account for more than half of the total pesticide exposure. They are the key foods to avoid (unless you purchase organically grown ones).  It makes common sense to peel fruits, if possible, and not to eat potatoskins unless you are able to purchase them pesticide-free. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of lettuce and cabbage, if not organically grown; other surfaces that cannot be peeled can be washed with soap and water or a

commercial vegetable wash. Washing with plain water removes 25–50 percent of the pesticide residue. Some people avoid strawberries completely unless you purchase organic—frozen organic strawberries from the health-food store are a great option.  Every study done to date on the consumption of food and its relation to cancer, though, has shown that the more fruits and vegetables people eat, the less cancer and heart disease they have. All these studies were done on people eating conventionally grown, not organic, produce. So, clearly, the benefit of conventional produce outweighs any hypothetical risk.

What about the argument about our ancestors being huntergatherers who ate lots of meat?

Of course there were primitive populations who ate high-meat diets and there were primitive people who ate plant-predominant diets. Humans were desperate for calories, so they ate whatever they could get their hands on.  The two questions we have to look at are: How long did they live on that diet?  What diet for humans gives them the best protection against disease and the greatest chance for longevity in modern times?  Personally, I want to do a lot better than our prehistoric ancestors did. A comprehensive overview and a sensible interpretation of the scientific evidence support the conclusion that we can increase human longevity and prevent disease if we make specific food choices. We still retain our primate physiology, a physiology that has a dependence on high vegetation consumption, that is relevant to explain our ability to thrive on a plantpredominant diet.

I know butter or margarine is not recommended, so what do we put on bread, vegetables, or corn?

Butter is loaded with a dangerous amount of saturated fat, but stick margarines have hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats that raise LDL, the bad cholesterol. Adjusting the type of fat consumed, researchers found that butter caused the highest cholesterol level and that varying amounts of margarines and oils had various harmful effects.14 The best answer is to use nothing, or buy whole-grain bread that tastes good without adding a greasy topping. If you love the flavor of butter, try Butter Buds or sparingly use a spread that contains no hydrogenated oil, such as Spectrum Essential Omega Spread, instead. Lots of my patients like no-salt tomato sauce on bread, or a tomato-salsa blend, avocado, or stewed mushrooms. Of course, the best way to get out of the habit of eating those greasy toppings is not to eat bread at all.

Are soy products and soybeans a healthy food to eat?

Soy products such as soy burgers, soymilk, and soy cheeses are much more popular and available today. Recently, the FDA approved soy-containing products as heart-healthy and allowed health claims for soy protein.  Studies have shown soy’s beneficial effects on cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is no reason not to expect the same results from beans of any type—it’s merely that more studies have been done on soy than on other beans. You should be aware that soy nuts, soymilk, and other processed soyproducts do not retain much of the beneficial compounds and omega-3 fats that are in the natural bean.

How much salt is permissible on this nutritional program?

This Plan is designed for those who want to lose weight and for those who want to maintain in excellent health and prevent disease. Any excess salt added to food, outside of what is contained in natural foods, is likely to increase your risk of developing disease. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.  For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food. The famous DASH study clearly indicates that Americans consume five to ten times as much sodium as they need and that high sodium levels over the years has a predictable effect on raising blood pressure.

What about coffee?

Clearly, excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages is dangerous.  Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.  Coffee raises blood pressure and raises both cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease. One cup of coffee per day is not likely to cause a significant risk, butdrinking more than this one-cup maximum can interfere with your health and even your weight-loss goals.

How much alcohol is permissible?

Moderate drinking has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease in more than forty prospective studies. This only applies to moderate drinking—defined as one drink or less per day for women, and two drinks or less for men. More than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other potential problems.  . One glass of wine per day is likely insignificant, but it is not recommended to take higher levels of alcohol consumption.

I feel best when I eat a high-protein diet, with plenty of animal products. Does that mean these recommendations, to eat a plant-based diet, are not for me?

 The main reasons for this are as follows:

A diet heavily burdened with animal products places a toxic stress on the detoxification systems of the body. As with stopping caffeine, cigarettes, and heroin, many observe withdrawal symptoms for a short period, usually including fatigue, weakness, headaches, or loose stools. In 95 percent of these cases, these symptoms resolve within two weeks. It is more common that the temporary adjustment period lasts less than a week, in which you might feel fatigue, have headaches or gas, or experience other mild symptoms as your body withdraws from your prior toxic habits.  Don’t buy the fallacy that you “need more protein.” The menus in this plan offer sufficient protein—and protein deficiency does not cause fatigue. Even the vegan menus supply about 50 grams of protein per 1,000 calories, a whopping amount. Stopping dangerous but stimulating foods causes temporary fatigue.

Do you recommend low-calorie or no calorie sweeteners?

Sweetening agents, such as NutraSweet (aspartame), are added to more than six thousand foods and drugs. Many people use these sweeteners in an effort to control their weight. It doesn’t work; it just perpetuates your desire for unhealthy food. When researchers compared the caloric intake of women fed aspartame-sweetened drinks with women given higher-calorie beverages, the women given the aspartame merely consumed more calories later.  It is not the solution.

Bottom line: try to enjoy your food choices without sweeteners. Fresh fruit and occasionally a little date sugar or ground dates is the safest way to go. It is recommended to drop colas, sodas, sweetened teas, and juices. If theydon’t contain artificial sweeteners, they are loaded with sugar.

I eat out frequently, which makes sticking with this plan very difficult. How can I make the transition easier?

Choose restaurants that have healthful options, and know the places that will cater to your needs. When possible, speak to the management or chef in advance. When traveling, look for restaurants that have salad bars. This is notan all-or-nothing plan. Every person exposed to these ideas can improve over his or her current diet. People have a tendency to like best the foods to which they have become accustomed. So, keep in mind that eventually you will lose

the desire for some of the unhealthful foods you are eating now and you will enjoy the pleasures of healthy, natural foods more.