Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't Resist Temptation

Resistance is futile. It's hard to say no to the chocolaty-gooey-goodness of the Milky Way Bar that calls out to you in the night. To those salty-crispy-crunchy Herr's kettle-cooked potato chips. Or even to that rubbery-tomatoey Digiorno frozen pizza wedged in the back of the freezer. What's more, your favorite snacks don't just tempt you at night. Cravings can't tell time: they can hit you 24/7.

So, what's a Brentwood Dieter to do with a cupboard full of taboo edibles? Dump 'em or donate 'em. Yes, that's harsh. And if you have non-dieters around, it may be out of the question. But, exiling your favorite foods helps keep you on the straight-and-narrow path of the Brentwood Diet. Which in turn, helps you to reach your goal weight and manage your health. Your friends, family and local food bank make good candidates for your giveaway.

Next time you forage for a midnight snack, you'll open the fridge to find a crisper full of red bell peppers, Persian cucumbers and celery sticks. Bet you'll have the willpower to turn down those crunchy-juicy-healthy treats.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

5 Survival Skills

1. Cook With Chicken Stock/Broth. Homemade, salt-free chicken broth is your secret weapon. Use it instead of oil to cook vegetables, fish or chicken. It adds flavor without the fat.

2. Eat Veggies For Breakfast. An egg or two every morning just doesn't cut it. It's also boring as hell. Mix things up a bit with microwaved asparagus, steamed spinach or a cheese-free omelette with mushrooms and onions. 

3. Don't Skimp On The Protein. Eating too little protein can cause your body to feed on its muscles instead of plowing through your fat reserves. Two skinless chicken breasts or 8 oz. of fish or turkey work well.

4. Stock Your Freezer With Vegetables. Having massive quantities of vegetables on hand is a must. Most canned vegetables come loaded with sodium. And face it, sometimes the thought of chopping yet another mountain of fresh produce is too much to bear.

5. Slurp Soup. Surprise: chicken broth and vegetables star as the main ingredients. Use your imagination or modify existing recipes. Puree the vegetables for a thicker soup. And go wild with exotic spices or turkey broth.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Salt: the pixie dust of deliciousness

Salt possesses magic powers. No lie. Sprinkle it on almost anything and guaranteed, the food's flavor shifts into overdrive. That's why it's added to everything from canned vegetables to restaurant fare to the uber-natural offerings at Whole Foods. Which makes avoiding salt all the more difficult. And while finding low-salt alternatives isn't too hard, hunting down no-salt prepared food borders on the impossible. 

That means a lot more cooking from scratch. Forget about take out. If you're the sort who thinks the microwave takes too long, or if you only use your oven to store shoes, then sticking to the Brentwood Diet and managing your high-blood pressure will be tough. For everyone else, you'll save money, eat obnoxiously wholesome meals without any added preservatives or chemicals and learn nifty tricks like how to roast peppers. 

After a few weeks of salt-free eating, your taste buds will re-set themselves to zero. So when you eventually eat something seasoned with the forbidden condiment, it may actually taste too salty. Like Grey Poupon mustard. But, everything else will taste damn good. 

Pathetically Short List Of Salt-Free Foods:
• Westbrae Natural Stoneground Mustard No Salt Added
• Alessi Balsamic Capers
• Trader Joe's Alaskan Pink Salmon No Salt Added
• Trader Joe's Tongol Chuck Light Tuna No Salt Added

(Giving up salt isn't the only way to help control hypertension. Dialing up on your potassium, calcium and magnesium intake makes a difference, too.  Learn more about it at www.dashdiet.org)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Losing weight on the Brentwood Diet without losing your mind or making midnight runs to Taco Bell

The Brentwood Diet* is not for wimps. It's not for someone who wants to shed a few pounds to look good in a swimsuit, either. It's a diet designed to help patients with diabetes or metabolic syndrome manage their conditions and avoid medication, if possible. Basically, metabolic syndrome consists of a scary combo of health issues--high triglycerides, high-cholesterol, high-blood pressure, insulin resistance and ample belly fat--that increase a person's risk for diabetes, heart attack and stroke. So yeah, the Brentwood Diet is hardcore. But, it's that way because the stakes are high.

Created by Dr. Eric Mizrahi of the Brentwood Family Health Center, the Brentwood Diet kicks sand in the face of the Miami Beach Diet. Sort of like the Atkin's Diet without the fat, the Brentwood Diet features protein in the form of mono-chromatic meat and fish only: white fish along with skinless, white-meat chicken, turkey or ostrich. Vegetables of the non-starchy variety make up a big part of the menu. Needless to say, salt, desserts, white flour, bread and sugar are taboo. Dairy, fruit and alcohol make the the list of forbidden foods, as well. Getting the picture? 

Now, the Brentwood diet practically vacuums the fat off your body. We're talking around three to five pounds a week. But, most normal humans find sticking to it a tad difficult, to say the least. That's one of the reasons why Dr. Mizrahi insists his patients keep a bag of cut-up veggies within arm's reach at all times. It's also a reason for this blog, which explores the challenges of keeping on a high-protein, low-carb, low-fat, no-salt diet. And chronicles my husband, David, and my journey into the low-carb lifestyle. By the way, David went on the Brentwood Diet because of health concerns and I did it for support, and well, to look good in a swimsuit. 

*This is your kids-don't-try-this-at-home legal disclaimer. The Brentwood Diet is a doctor-monitored diet. And you want MD supervision on it because lots of things come into play, health-wise. Like if you have kidney issues, this or any high-protein diet is not for you. And if you don't eat enough protein while on the Brentwood Diet, your body can cannibalize your muscles for fuel. Yikes! If you're interested in going on the diet and live in the LA-area, check in with Dr. Eric Mizrahi at (310) 471-7714 and online at: www.brentwoodfamilyhealthcenter.com