Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Signing Off

Hey all,

I'm running out of things to say about the Brentwood Diet, so will make this my last post, unless there's some earth-shattering news to share.

Want the skinny on the Brentwood Diet? Basically, getting through the first phase requires intense discipline. But, the diet works--and it works fast. Phase Two seems about committing to a healthy lifestyle and striking a balance. Everything is a choice.

Writing for this blog and managing the second phase of the Brentwood Diet put health news on my radar. For me, Phase Two isn't just about keeping on track with the diet, it's also an ongoing learning process.

Unlike most Brentwood Dieters, I'm not currently diabetic, pre-diabetic or someone with metabolic syndrome. I'm married to the patient. So, I don't experience the physical symptoms of those health conditions or know exactly what patients are going through, emotionally. While I've lived the Brentwood Diet and feel better because of it, the greatest benefits relate to my husband's health.

And no doubt about it, managing one's health is a life-affirming act of love--for oneself and one's family. And that's something to consider when the going gets tough on the Brentwood Diet.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Real Brentwood Dieters Eat Quiche

OK, the quiche they eat isn't quite authentic. Real quiche calls for eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust with some goodies like cheese, veggies and ham thrown in. Mmm. Phase One of the Brentwood Diet permits only eggs and vegetables. And definitely, any kind of crust is out. It involves the "F" word--flour.

So, perhaps a baked omelette or faux quiche might be more appropriate a name for the crustless concoction that true-blue Brentwood Dieters might indulge in during the first phase of the diet. Here are some recipes:


• Preheat oven to 350˚

• Lightly grease a 9" cake or square pan with olive oil

• Chop and microwave 2 or 3 kinds vegetables for few minutes. Or cook them in chicken broth and reduce the liquid. For example: onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, etc.

• Put pre-cooked vegetables in the prepared pan

• Beat 6 eggs, add pepper or spices to taste and pour on top of vegetable mixture

• Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and the middle is done. 4 servings


• Use recipe for Phase One, but if you'd like, saute the vegetables in a little olive oil. Also, once in a while, consider adding in a few ingredients forbidden in Phase One, like:

• Grated cheese such as cheddar, goat, gruyere, monterey jack, etc.
• Chopped ham or prosciutto
• Chopped sausage: chicken, turkey, chorizo, Italian
• Crumbled bacon
• Splash of skim milk

Of course, these ingredients (except the skim milk) contain scads of sodium and saturated fat, so use sparingly.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

News Brentwood Dieters Can Use

Recently, there's been a lot of press about the importance of lifestyle changes for those with the diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Many of the stories have to do with preventing, reversing or managing Type 2 diabetes.

The Los Angeles Times ran several stories on diabetes in its health section on October 26, 2009. One article showcased lifestyle strategies of diabetics who successfully managed their conditions enough to reduce or eliminate insulin and medications. One patient went on a low-carb diet, a la the Brentwood Diet.

Another LA Times' article talked about the doctor-patient relationship and stressed the importance of a partnership/team approach to managing diabetes. It also discussed non-compliance and the notion of being "in control" of blood sugar numbers. Sometimes patients who do everything right--diet, exercise, et cetera--still have high blood sugar readings.

A third LA Times' story mentioned a current study at USC's Keck School of Medicine about reversal of Type 2 diabetes ( through lifestyle changes. They want to know what methods patients have used to reverse their diabetes. That same piece touted the consumption of coffee, nuts, moderate alcohol and fiber to prevent the risk of diabetes.

Likewise, a U.S. News & World Report emphasized diabetes prevention. It noted that a recent study found that diet and exercise can delay the onset of diabetes in at-risk individuals for 10 years.

The good news is that Brentwood Dieters are right on track. You're doing everything in your power to manage your health.,0,7525276.story,0,3604643.story,0,6593991.story

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fill Up On Good Vibes

When it comes to your health, it's not just what you put in your mouth that matters, it's also what you put in your mind.

According to researchers, stress and holding on to negative emotions like anger, can seriously impact your health and damage your brain. Neuroscientist, Dr. Andrew Newberg, and therapist Mark Robert Waldman, both of the University of Pennsylvania, along with cardiologist, Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School, have spent years studying this phenomenon.

Apparently, one of the biggest culprits found with stress and negative emotions is the hormone, cortisol. Prolonged cortisol in the system can lead to lowered immunity, increased blood pressure, blood sugar imbalances, increased abdominal fat and other health problems.

Fortunately, just 12 minutes a day of mediation can reduce stress, anxiety and depression and may even slow the aging process, too. Yoga, journalling, deep breathing, guided imagery, deep breathing, other techniques and even yawning (who knew?) are also beneficial. Using the loving-kindness mediation to give a shout-out of love to yourself and to others--especially, to people you're having difficulties with--can reap rewards on many levels.

It seems like meditation and relaxation practices are just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wired For Health

Recently, Wired Magazine ran two pieces that might interest Brentwood Dieters.

The first article titled, "12 Shocking Ideas That Will Save The World" featured a whole slew of controversial planet-changing actions. But, one of the simplest ideas dealt with common sense: that people must take responsibility to save themselves or as the subhead explained, "Cheat Death." According to Ralph Keeney of Duke University, "55% of deaths for people age 15 to 65 can be attributed to poor decisions." Choices like not wearing seat belts, smoking, drunk driving, obesity, etc. The article went on to detail ways to incentivize or penalize people into making smarter choices.

The second article, titled, "The Buddy System," explored 50 years of medical data to reveal that our social networks effect our health and happiness. For example, researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler reviewed the famous Framingham Heart Study to delve into the power of social networks. They found that overtime people got fatter--in 1948 10% of the population was obese and today, 40% is. But the kicker was that the key factor that predicted obesity was close, personal relationships. People were, "Fat by association." On the flip side, heathy habits were also contagious. In the 1970s, 65% of people aged 40 to 49 smoked and that number dropped to 22% by 2001. It seems that the company we keep really matters and influences our lives on levels we might not even be aware of.

Basically, the stories in the high-tech magazine backed up some tried-and-true wisdom with hard data. They related that both personal responsibility and other people impact our health immensely--and there's something both obvious and ironic about that. (Check out

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Phase One, Round Two

We're on the 10th day of our return to Phase One of the Brentwood Diet and doing all right. OK, it's really a quasi comeback: tomatoes, salmon and hangar steak made it past our lips. And I don't feel any guilt except for the steak. No sirloin or ribeye, the lean cut we tucked into still came with some saturated fat.

So far, I lost a little over four pounds. David did not weigh himself at the beginning, but thinks he lost about the same amount. That's just under half a pound a day--which isn't a world record for the Brentwood Diet, but isn't shabby, either. Certainly, we're tracking well, even with our cheats. We plan to return to Phase Two on Wednesday.

Although I'm fantasizing about fruit and yogurt at this very moment, things have not been so bad this time around. Hunger isn't an issue and cravings aren't intense. Again, we were pretty low-carb to begin with, so the adjustment was not huge. And mentally, two weeks or so is not a lot to endure.

Anyway, we'll go the distance to five pounds. That doesn't sound like much. But, it's funny: shedding just a few pounds makes a difference in how you feel.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Entertaining Shalts & Shalt Nots

I'd like to add an 11th commandment to the Brentwood Diet: inflict not the Brentwood Diet upon your guests.

While in Phase One, you may find it easier to cook for others than to be a dinner guest. You have total control over what's served. You don't have to make a big deal about your dietary needs. And don't need to ask if you can bring something. But unless you have a sadistic streak or want to discourage certain guests from ever eating over again, do add some civilian food and drink to the mix. Odds are that health-conscious guests will appreciate any low-cal, non-processed offerings. Course after course of Brentwood-Diet-only food might not win the cook compliments, though.

Most hosts ask about food prohibitions and preferences; and would keep carb-loving buddies in mind when making up the menu, anyway. But it's easy to slip up. Once we served a brunch and included whole slew of normal food, including dessert, but forgot to buy bread. Luckily, we had crackers on hand. Remember, people expect the basics--like bread, salt and butter. Of course, chocolate comprises an essential, fifth food group for some, if not one of their primary reasons for living.

Handling the temptations of leftovers is as easy as making up goodie bags for your guests. This worked well when we hosted Thanksgiving. People seemed happy to take home stuffing and pumpkin pie, etc. And hopefully, they shalt return for future dinners.