Did you know eating healthy fats helps us burn off body fat?
Unlike what I've grown up believing, low fat diets aren't good for us. Our bodies need healthy fats every day!
A couple of years ago, I decided to search for information online about preventing diabetes. Having a family history of it, I knew I was at risk for type 2 diabetes, and didn't want to develop it! What I found was Dr Ron Rosedale's book, The Rosedale Diet. Since then, I have seen some of the same information in other books (such as Dr. Mercola's No Grain Diet), as well as on various websites. Perhaps the most important thing I learned from my research was that my years of severely restricting my fat intake had not been of benefit to me! Our bodies NEED healthy fats! You are not doing yourself a favor by eating a very low fat diet!
Both The Rosedale Diet and the No Grain Diet are about a lot more than just consuming healthy fats though! Keep reading, and I'll tell you more about them, and also share with you some of my experiences and the recipes I've been enjoying since beginning this new way of eating!
Note: I am most familiar with Dr. Rosedale's diet, so most of my discussion will be about his recommendations, but I have included information about Dr. Mercola's diet when possible. I think the most important message of both is to stop eating grains and sugar and consume more healthy fats.
All images on this site, other than items for sale, were created by Janiece Tobey.
"Good fat turns you into a wonderful fat burner. It truly is a miracle food."
- Ron Rosedale, M.D., Author of "The Rosedale Diet."
Turns Out We Actually NEED Good Fats! - My entire life I've avoided eating fat as much as possible...until recently. Now I try to have some with every meal!
I've learned our bodies actually need good fat to be healthy! Here are a few reasons why:
- Our bodies need good fat in our diets in order to burn body fat!!
- Our brains need good fat in order to function properly.
Did you know that 60% of our brain is fat? Fats are needed to create neurotransmitters! That's why it's often recommended that ADD youth consume fish oil or flax oil. But don't we all want to have sharp minds that function well so we don't walk into another room only to forget what we came for? Good fats help improve memory, learning, and even our moods!
- Good fats help us not feel hungry as soon after eating!
- Good fats are good for our hearts!
They can reduce our triglycerides, lower our blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, and decrease the amount of plaque in our arteries.
- Healthy fats reduce inflammation in our bodies. This includes the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.
- It is even believed that healthy fats may reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
- Our lungs, eyes, organs, nerves and cells all function better with some healthy fat!
- Burning fats for energy provide us with a more consistent level of energy than does burning carbohydrates.
- Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) can't be absorbed unless fat is present.
- Healthy fats can help improve our moods and enable us to better cope with stress. Low fat diets, on the other hand, promote anxiety and depression.
"What happens when we don't eat enough good fat? Paradoxically, we become fat because we can't burn off excess fat."
-Ron RosedaleThe Rosedale Diet
So what are good fats?
Here are some of the fats Dr. Rosedale recommends:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Purchase it in a dark colored bottle)
- Almond Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Omega 3 enriched eggs (cooked in water)
- Nuts --Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Pine nuts, Pistachios, Brazil nuts, and Macadamia nuts (No peanuts!)
- Nut butters (but not peanut butter)
My Experiences With Consuming Good Fats:
For good fats, I am mostly relying on nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts and macadamia nuts...although I'll probably try some other nuts soon too!), omega 3 enriched eggs, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil. I'm planning to get some coconut oil soon and use that some as well. (Coconut Oil is a stage 2 food on Rosedale's diet. Dr. Mercola also recommends cooking with coconut oil.) I also plan to try avocado oil soon.
Update: I did begin including coconut oil in my diet. Coconut oil is powerful stuff. It's very good for you, but take it slow and easy at first, or you may end up with a detox reaction.
I also enjoy almond butter, which is another recommended food. I haven't used it a whole lot as I'm not really eating that many foods I can put it on. I did have it on celery once, and that was good. Dr. Rosedale does recommend some low carb crackers and a type of bread, but I've not purchased either of those yet. Almond butter would be great with a granny smith apple though!
Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Coconut Oil Touted as Alzheimer's Remedy
This CBS news link takes you to a short, yet very informative, video about how coconut oil is being used to help Alzheimer's patients, as well as help with many other diseases and health challenges. Well worth watching!
- Coconut Oil: Health Benefits and Why It is in My Diet
Wow! Check out the very long list of coconut oil benefits mentioned in this article!
- Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World
This is a New York Times article on coconut oil.
Coconut Oil and Kids
- How Coconut Oil Keeps My Kids Healthy
This article is about the uses of coconut oil for babies and young children.
- Autism and Virgin Coconut Oil
A mom describes her son's recovery from autism, and the role extra virgin coconut oil played in his recovery.
- Coconut Ketones: Fueling Brain Function & Reversing Autism; How MCFAs, a Gluten-Free Diet, and C
Coconut oil dramatically improved an autistic boy's behavior and speech. Now he's an honor student and received the most behaved award at school!
"Carbohydrate production stimulates insulin release, causing storage of carbs as fat."
-Joseph Mercola, Author of the "No Grain Diet"
Here's what happens when we eat grains or sugar.
Insulin is the body's way of storing fat on our bodies in case of famine.
When we eat grains or sugars, the glucose in our blood rises which sends a message to our pancreas to secrete more insulin. The insulin lowers our blood glucose levels, but it also tells our body to store fat. That's insulin's job --> to insure that our bodies have fat to fall back on in times of famine. So, the body figures that whenever we have extra glucose in our blood, we might as well store some of that as fat!
In addition, once our blood sugar drops as a result of the insulin, we feel hungry and crave something to snack on! It's a vicious cycle of rising and falling blood sugar levels, leading us to eat more and more food, and store more and more of that food as fat.
Over time our bodies may become use to having high levels of insulin, which can lead to "insulin resistance." It is believed that being insulin resistant often leads to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer of the breast, colon, and prostate.
Dr, Rosedale also brings up the subject of leptin. I'll tell you more about leptin in just a minute!
Don't miss the recipes!
There are a few low carb vegetarian recipes near the bottom of this page!
My Experiences With Going Grain And Sugar Free:
You'd think I'd be craving grains and sugars, wouldn't you? But I'm not experiencing many cravings at all. There was one time when I was preparing spaghetti with sauce, along with salad and french bread, for my son and a few of his friends, that a little craving popped up...but it wasn't for the spaghetti, as you might have imagined! It came after the boys had eaten and have gone off to play and I was cleaning up. Having to put the left over French bread away was hard, as I wanted to eat a piece. I was good and resisted though. That's been the only time I've really had to struggle to resist. I think it's because all the healthy fats keep me full and feeling satisfied, so I don't crave the things I'm not supposed to have.
Also, I've known for a couple of years now that I FEEL better when I eat a lot of veggies and very little grains or dairy products. My body just feels more energetic and alive with veggies. I feel weighted down by too many grains, and I crash a little while after eating sugary things, especially if I don't eat other things with them. So the Rosedale diet has me eating the very things that make my body feel GOOD!
"The Rosedale Diet is specially designed to control the key hormone that regulates both appetite and weight loss. That hormone is leptin."
- Ron Rosedale
The Rosedale Diet - An excellent "how-to' book about a low carb, high healthy fat diet
This is the diet I'm following, and loving. As a matter of fact, even though I didn't start this diet in order to lose weight, I have lost 15 lbs and I feel GREAT!
Recipes are included!
Leptin: An important hormone that helps controls hunger and also tells your body when to burn off body fat!
From what I've read in Dr. Rosedale's book, it sounds to me as if leptin plays the opposite role of insulin. Recall that I mentioned that insulin helps your body put on fat in case of a famine? Leptin says, "Okay, that's enough fat on you. Now it's time to burn some off!"
The problem is that just like many people have developed a resistance to insulin from consuming too many grains or sugars, so have many people developed a resistance to leptin. This resistance is caused by leptin levels staying high for so long that the body simply stops listening to the leptin. Thus, the body continues to store fat.
In order to get one's leptin functioning properly again, Rosedale tells us it's necessary to lower our leptin levels while our body relearns how to listen to it. (Have you ever heard that children listen to you more when you whisper than when you yell?)
Rosedale refers to his diet as a leptin sensitizing diet, as it increases the body's abilities to hear leptin and thus to realize more weight gain is not necessary.
"The dirty secret of high protein diets is that if you eat more protein than your body requires, the excess can turn toxic and can threaten your health. There is even growing evidence that a high protein diet significantly increases your risk of heart disease."
Low carbohydrate diets don't have to be high in protein!
The Rosedale Diet is NOT a high protein diet! This is good news for vegetarians like myself!
Dr. Rosedale and Dr. Mercola (and many other experts) agree that grains, starches, and sweets are responsible for most people's weight gain. Eliminating grains, starches, and sugars, while consuming healthy fats on a daily basis, allows our bodies to reprogram their cells to burn fat instead of sugar. Yet consuming high amounts of protein in place of the grains and sugar (like some other low carb diets recommend) isn't good for us either, as Dr. Rosedale explains in the quote above. In fact, several pages of Dr. Rosedale's book are devoted to explaining why we should not be eating a high protein diet! He tells us that when we eat more protein than our bodies need, the extra protein turns into a form of sugar, causing leptin and insulin spikes, and leading to sugar cravings. Therefore, eating too much protein makes it harder for us to burn body fat! Eating too much protein can cause your body to turn muscle and bone into sugar, make it harder to burn body fat, is not good for your heart, produces toxic by-products in our bodies, and heats us up too much.
Dr, Rosedale says it's fine to get up to half or even more of our calories from healthy fat as long as you aren't consuming grains or sugars. (If you eat both, your body will burn the sugar or grain for energy and store the fat as fat.) So instead of replacing your grains and sugars with even more protein, replace them with healthy fats, such as those in olive oils, nuts, and avocados!
"The more protein that you eat, the more toxic waste you must spend considerable energy getting rid of. That energy could otherwise have been used more appropriately to maintain and repair yourself - to become healthier, slow aging, and live longer."
Getting Enough Protein On A Vegetarian Diet
- Do you worry about getting enough protein? Maybe you should instead worry about getting too much.
Neither The Rosedale Diet nor the No Grain Diet were designed for vegetarians. But I'm a vegetarian and am following Rosedale's Diet anyway. I'm feeling GREAT on this diet! I know a few other vegetarians on the Rosedale diet as well, most of whom have been on the diet considerably longer than I have. They too seem to be doing well.
I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years..even through the pregnancies of my two children.. and never worry about "getting enough protein." Back when I was first becoming a vegetarian, I read The American Vegetarian Cookbook From The Fit For Life Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond. She discusses protein requirements in her book in an easy to understand way. She explains that scientists (and she refers to several highly respected authorities or organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the National Research Council) have found we don't need more than 2 1/12% to 8% of our total daily calories to come from protein. Even spinach is 49% protein! Broccoli is 45%! Lettuce is 34%. Cabbage is 22%.
Marilyn says the question for vegetarians becomes not "Where do you get your protein?" or "How do you get enough?" but instead, "How do you avoid getting too much?" If you have access to her book, check out the full article as it's really interesting!
Do you eat nuts?
What's your favorite type of nut?
A comparison of Dr. Rosedale's and Dr. Mercola's diets.
Both seem to be excellent diets!
Both Dr. Mercola's and Dr. Rosedale's diets are very similar in that they recommend consuming no grains and no sugars, along with eating a diet high in good fats and non-starchy vegetables. One difference that I see is that Dr. Mercola says nuts should be restricted to walnuts, and Dr. Rosedale praises the health benefit of nuts and recommends them either with meals or as between-meal snacks.
Also, Dr. Mercola prefers full fat dairy products (or no dairy products) and Dr. Rosedale recommends fat-free cheeses and yogurts (if you eat any dairy at all), especially during the first three weeks. Both agree that dairy isn't necessary though and recommend limiting dairy if you choose to consume it at all.
(Please note that these are just my interpretations of what the two books recommend.)
I have not tried Dr. Mercola's diet. I am sure it is very good too! I simply found The Rosedale Diet first and fell in love with it!.
How I Use Nuts To Achieve A Healthy Weight:
My Experiences With Nuts
In all truthfulness, I don't see how I could make do on the diet without nuts. Not only are they an easy way to consume healthy "fat-burning" fat, they are just as convenient as more traditional snack foods, such as crackers, cookies, or popcorn. If I'm hungry NOW, I don't have to start cooking something before I can eat. I can just grab 5 or 6 almonds or other nuts and feel full for quite some time! At the same time, I know that my snack is helping me burn fat, rather than put on fat.
When possible, I eat raw nuts. Both Dr. Mercola and Dr. Rosedale agree that raw nuts are healthier than roasted ones.
How About You? Are you following the Rosedale Diet? - If you are already on the Rosedale diet, would you like to leave a little encouragement for those who are
Are you on the Rosedale Diet?
This guestbook is just for people who are already following the Rosedale Health Plan.
There is another guestbook at the bottom of this page for anyone else who'd like to leave a comment.
Also, don't miss the low-carb vegetarian recipes in the next section, below!
Low Carb Recipes
Note: Because I am following the Rosedale diet, these recipes may more closely fit Ron Rosedale's recommendations than they do Dr. Mercola's.
Super Veggie Lasagna - Thin layers of squash and zucchini replace the noodles!
Super Veggie Lasagna
1 yellow squash
1 bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
About 15 leaves of spinach
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/3 tsp Parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup non-fat cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1 egg (Omega 3 egg, if possible)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350. Place yellow squash and zucchini on cutting board and cut in half or thirds, depending upon the length of each vegetable. Then slice long thin strips out of each (a little less than 1/4 inch thick). Place in casserole dish (I use a glass loaf pan) and pour about a tablespoon of Olive Oil on veggies. Roast in oven until the veggies are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. (Check with a fork to see if they are tender.)
While the squash and zucchini are cooking, slice the onion and begin sauteing in olive oil in a skillet. Cut the bell pepper, and add it and the spinach leaves to the skillet. Cut the garlic. When the onion, bell pepper, and spinach are tender, add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and herbs together.
Place the zucchini and yellow squash temporarily on a plate. If there is much oil left in the pan, you may wish to remove some of it. Then place a single layer of zucchini and/or squash on the bottom of the pan. Scoop about half of the onion mixture on top of the squash mixture. Place about half of the cottage cheese mixture on top of that, and then repeat all three layers again. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.
Super Veggie Lasagna is great with a salad, and serves about 4.
Note: Although I added a fresh sliced tomato to my dish in the photo above, it didn't end up adding any additional flavor, but did create extra unwanted liquid in the bottom of the dish. I don't intend to include the tomato next time.
Lentil Walnut Veggie Burgers - Lentil Walnut Veggie Burgers are super yummy!
Lentil Veggie Burgers
4 1/2 cups of cooked lentils or two cans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup of walnuts, chopped
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp mustard
9 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups of chopped onion
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Use hand blender (or food processor or just a fork) to mash the lentils. Be careful not to overmash them. The burgers will cook better if the lentils stay slightly lumpy. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well with a spoon. You can cook these in the oven or in a skillet.
To cook in a skillet, preheat some olive oil in the pan and then cook the burgers like you would pancakes. Allow to cook about 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
To bake, place parchment paper on baking pan and spoon the lentil mixture in burger sized amounts onto the paper, shaping each burger as you go. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes on each side.
Makes around 8 to 11 burgers, depending upon their size. Serve with salad or seasoned veggies with olive oil.
With your choice of veggies, herbs or spices, and healthy oils!
This is my most frequently prepared dish. It's quick to make and delicious! And no, I don't treat this as a side dish. It's my main course!
I vary the veggies and the herbs or spices, so it's a new dish every time I make it!
Stir-fry veggies with extra virgin olive oil added after they have cooked.
The stir-fry dish pictured above contains broccoli, onions, zucchini, bell pepper, basil, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and almonds.
Veggies with cumin and EV Olive Oil
This stir-fry veggie dish contains cabbage, fresh green beans,
broccoli, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and cumin!
Another Stir Fry dish
This dish contains broccoli, green beans, garlic, water chestnuts,
sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil.
Select one or more veggies. (You are certainly not limited to the ones below, but keep in mind that corn, potatoes, pumpkin, yams, lima beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas are on the "Avoid" list on the Rosedale diet, and that carrots, parsnips, peas and most beans are a stage 2 food - which means it's recommended that you eat them in limited quantities and only after you've been on the diet for at least three weeks.)
Here are a few veggies you may wish to try in your stir fries:
fresh green beans
Wash and cut the veggies you've selected. Steam or stir-fry them. (When I"m stir-frying more than one veggie, I start with the one that takes the longest to cook - cabbage or onions, for example, and gradually add in the others so that they are all tender about the same time.)
Then add your choice of herbs and spices.
Here are some herbs and spices you might want to add:
Cajun or Mexican blended seasonings
Crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh squeezed lemon or lime
Top with your choice of healthy oil, such as:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional: If you'd like, sprinkle a few almonds or other nuts on the top!
What's your favorite healthy fat?
Eggplant Parmesan - A Lower Carb Version
Yogurt With Cinnamon And Walnuts
Before you get too excited, let me explain that this is nonfat unsweetened yogurt. To it, I've added some chopped walnuts and a generous amount of cinnamon. (I don't measure the cinnamon in this, but suggest you try the "add some and taste" method of finding out how much cinnamon YOU like in yours!)
I really enjoy this dish! I find it hard to avoid eating it too frequently. Yet even though it's unsweetened, Rosedale lists fat-free plain yogurt as a stage 2 food and recommends that it not be consumed in quantities greater than 1/2 cup, nor eaten more often than twice a week. (I think this is because of the sugar that's a natural part of milk.)
Cheesy Cauliflower Fritters
Salad With Nuts and Olive Oil - Blueberries are optional
Salads are a quick meal anytime! If you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil as a dressing and nuts in place of croutons, you're taking in two healthy fats along with your raw veggies!
In the salad above, I've added walnuts, a hint of Parmesan Cheese, and a few blueberries (a stage 2 food on Dr. Rosedale's diet) to my romaine lettuce. I do at times add herbs to my salads as well.
A Delicious Cabbage Soup Recipe
Delicious Low Carb Pizza with a Cauliflower Pizza Crust - This low carb pizza was sooo good! I think it's better than regular pizza!
I had this cauliflower-crust pizza this evening, and thoroughly loved it! I'll definitely be making pizza this way again! In fact, I may try using the same basic crust recipe to make bread for other things. It was so good!
Notes: I did sprinkle some sea salt, black pepper, and a tiny amount of crushed red pepper onto the pizza crust, in addition to mixing into the crust the herbs the recipe calls far. I cooked the crust (before topping it) a little longer than the recipe called for (about 10 minutes more, checking it often). I used red onion, orange bell pepper, and Mozzarella cheese as the toppings. After taking the pizza out of the oven, I added some Italian Seasoning.
Vegetarian Taco Salad
My most commonly eaten salad right now is a version of Taco Salad. I use romaine lettuce, red or green bell pepper, onions, avocado, and a few black beans. (If I have any on hand, I often throw in a small handful of broccoli sprouts too, for the nutrition of them!) I drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top! Yum!
Avocado Salsa - on green leaf lettuce
This salsa contains onion (I used a red onion), bell pepper, fresh cilantro, cumin, tomato, avocado, salt, and olive oil. My husband ate it with chips, but I put mine on a bed of green leaf lettuce, and found it to be quite delicious!
Fresh Avocado slices, dotted with salsa
Avocado is a very healthy fat. Eat avocados often!
Fresh avocado slices dotted with salsa is one of my easiest recipes. To make it, cut an avocado in half and scoop out the inside, removing and discarding the pit. Cut the avocado into small pieces or slices and dot lightly with salsa. Don't use too much salsa, especially if it's not homemade, as it has sugar in it. In fact, during the first three weeks of the Rosedale diet, tomatoes are off-limits. After three weeks, they are allowed in moderation.
I find that avocados with salsa goes well with a poached egg on the side.
( I cook poached eggs a little longer than it says here, but that's just my personal preference!)
Tex Mex Zucchini
More Low Carb Vegetarian Recipes - And low carb sides for anyone, vegetarian or not.
- Portobello Mushroom Burgers (Serve without a bun, for a low carb meal)
Recipe contains: portobello mushroom caps, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and provolone cheese.
- Zucchini and Eggs
Recipe includes: olive oil, zucchini, egg, salt, and pepper.
- Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Recipe ingredients: cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, egg, oregano, garlic, garlic salt, olive oil, pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings.
- Low Carb Mashed Cauliflower
Recipe ingredients: Cauliflower, any combination of butter, milk, cream, salt and pepper. Optional: minced garlic or garlic powder or cheese - for variety.
- Low Carb Cauliflower "Rice"
Recipe Ingredient: Cauliflower
- Mini Eggplant Pizzas
Recipe ingredients include: eggplant, olive oil, salt, pepper, pasta sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
- Mockafoni and Cheese
Like macaroni and cheese, but on a low-carb diet? Try Mockafoni and Cheese! Cauliflower replaces the pasta!
- Low Carb "Fried Rice"
It's amazing what you can do with cauliflower! I make this low carb "fried rice" often, adding sauteed onions and bell peppers. It's really good! You have to be careful not to let the cauliflower overcook while the onions and bell pepper cooks.
"Remember, eating fat doesn't make you fat - the inability to burn fat is what makes you fat."
And what makes it harder for us to burn fat?
1. Eating grains and sugars, as our bodies burn them first while storing any extra foods as fat. Also, grains and sugars cause more insulin to be released which tells our bodies to store fat, rather than burn it!
2. Not eating enough high quality fats! Remember: We need fat to burn fat!
Thanks for visiting my low carb healthy fats site!
Think you'll try Dr. Rosedale or Dr. Mercola's diet?
Did you find any low carb vegetarian recipes you'd like to try?
There's a guestbook at the bottom of this page for your comments!
© 2010 JanieceTobey