Thanks Dr. Barnard

Neal BarnardWhen I first found out that I was having some pretty serious health problems I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  It made sense that being told you’re a diabetic means you have to change the way you eat, but how was a big question.  Thankfully a family friend who happens to be a physician recommended Dr. Barnard’s book “Program for Reversing Diabetes”.  I will admit that it’s a pretty radical diet.  I will also admit that I don’t actually follow it that stridently any more even though I should probably get a little closer to it than I a now.

Dr Barnard advocates a strict Vegan diet no matter what ailments you are suffering from.  He has a number of books out that more or less advocate the same style of eating .  It comes down to eliminating all meat and animal products from your eating habits and severely limiting the amount of fat you consume.

For three months I stuck to it and I must say I felt a lot better for it.  However, being a chef and general lover of food I found it really difficult to sustain.  I like meat, I love cheese and although I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth I had been consuming WAY to much sugar.  Physically and mentally I felt amazing when I imposed his limitations, except for the intense craving for my savoury favorites.   Allowing myself a meat dinner once a week took the edge off and it didn’t seem to screw up things too badly.

A dietician cautioned me about not getting enough fat in my diet and I understood her reasoning.  Commonly held belief says we need approximately 24 grams of fat a day to maintain a healthy balance in our bodies and trust me when you honestly break it down, that’s not very much.  Well Neal Barnard’s plan calls for quite a bit less than that.  Remember it is extremely important with a vegan diet to make sure you are getting enough protein as well.

So although I do recommend having a look at his logic and success rate it is also important to me to have a lifelong sustainable food plan that isn’t going to drive me away too easily.  My tastes have certainly changed from taking Dr. Barnard’s recommendations.  Sweets are really unpleasantly too sweet for me and I really don’t miss the cheese too much.  My feeling is that it’s more important to not go crazy obsessing about any eating format but to also not use that for an excuse to just let healthy eating fall by the wayside. His books contain excellent resources and tips for improving your diet at the very least.  The recipes (sorry Bryanna Clark Grogan) are not really all that enticing and contain far  too many artificially low-fat, fake meat sort of components.  I prefer more naturally occurring and self made alternatives whenever possible.

I’m still looking for the right balance.  Right now a little closer to a vegan diet would help me out and as I write this I feel I can get back there again.

Wish me luck and good health and I wish the same for you.

Click on the picture above to get to some of Dr. Neal Barnard’s videos on youtube.

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