The Ornish diet Overview:
Unlike most diets that highly restrictive in their nature, the Ornish diet comes with a new approach that you need to eat everything except in moderation. It was created by Dr. Dean Ornish, president and founder of the non-profit preventive medicine research institute in Sausalito, California; the premise of this diet is that it is based on real research and real people trying it, it cut off the risk of heart disease, helped people lost up to 24 pounds per year on average and helped improve the quality of cardiovascular mobility.
This is just to name a few since this diet helped its participants to maintain the benefits they have reaped from this diet, they did not just gain the weight back, they stayed healthy. It is scientifically proven by real people who have tried it for years that it made them feel better, lose a considerable amount of weight, prevented heart attacks, and even increased the longevity.
This approach to nutrition is really refreshing, since some diets go on about trying to stop certain elements in the body from functioning to prevent diseases, but this diet is all about living your life to the fullest with no regrets whatsoever, and it had definitely proven to be effective; it was able to reverse type-2 diabetes, progression of heart disease, slow down hypercholesterolemia and a lot of other benefits.
The way that you can eat when in the Ornish diet is to categorize food groups from group 1 that is the healthiest to group 5 in an array of spectrums, the last group is not necessarily bad, it just should be avoided at all costs. The main line of thought in this diet is that you need to chase off as much fat from your diet as possible. It is a low-fat diet that encourages eating as many fruits, vegetables, or legumes as you want.
It also places a large importance on stress management through yoga and physical activity. There is no calorie counting in the diet and it greatly encourages plant-based eating. The most prominent foods in the list of an Ornish diet eater should be vegetables, fruits, soy products, legumes, beans, egg whites, low or non-fat dairy products, and all organic foods.
Foods to eat on the Ornish diet:
Meats and dairy:
Recommended: Maximum of 200g red meat, skinless lean chicken and turkey, non-fat dairy products, very lean cuts of fish, etc.
Occasionally: red meat, low-fat dairy products
Never: full-fat dairy products, excess meat, cheese, hotdogs, street food with a lot of meat, etc.
NOTE: Meat and dairy consumption are highly restricted and Dr. Dean Ornish advises to keep them to a minimum.
Grains and starches
Recommended: Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, beans, steel cut oats, quinoa, lentils, beans, soy, etc.
Never: refine wheat, all-purpose flour, simple carbs, white bread, white rice, etc.
Recommended: egg whites only
Never: Egg yolks
Fruits and berries
Recommended: Apples, peaches, berries, bananas, prunes, bananas, plums, pineapple, etc.
NOTE: All fruits are highly encouraged in the Ornish diet since fruits and berries consumptions have been correlated to better heart health and fruits have very little to no fat. It is in the first food group; you can indulge in eating all fruits except for fried potatoes or any fried food.
Recommended: legumes, green leafy cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, all soy products, edamame, etc.
NOTE: All vegetables are highly welcomed in the Ornish diet.
Nuts and seeds
Recommended: eat nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, etc.
NOTE: Nuts and seed tend to contain a higher fat content, so watch out from eating too much of them, but make sure you get a wider variety of it.
Oils, fats, sauces, and sweeteners
NOTE: The Ornish diet does not encourage the consumption of any oils of any kind, and it places a big importance on vegetables. If it is for cooking oil, make sure you get the highest grade of the highest quality vegetables oils but in very small amounts as they tend to spike up the calorie count.
Maintain less than 10 percent of your daily calories in the fat. As for sauces and sweeteners, make sure you get as little as possible with no refined sugars or any artificial non-organic substances.
Recommended: Water, tea, coffee, skim milk, juices
NOTE: No more than one alcoholic drink per day, and limit caffeine intake as much as possible.
Samples for the Ornish diet in one day:
Sample Meal Plan 1:
2 egg whites boiled
Whole wheat bread toasted
Beans and lentils
Apple and kiwi
Sample Meal Plan 2:
Fat-free yogurt with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries
Whole wheat toast with reduced fat peanut butter
Cup of unsweetened organic green tea
150g of grilled chicken
Vegan burgers with soy, black bean, kidney beans, mushrooms, lemon juice, and egg whites
Whole wheat toast
Salad with tomato, potatoes, onions, corn, barley, spinach, broccoli, and kale
Sample Meal Plan 3:
Oats meal with 99 percent dark chocolate
Low-fat Greek yogurt
Strawberry and banana juice
Heated leftover vegan burgers
Glass of wine
Edamame and soy paste on whole wheat toast
Tips to help you with your Ornish diet:
One important element of the Ornish diet is the exercise aspect, you need to exercise for at least 30 minutes for five times per week, this could include jogging, swimming cross-fit training, and even weightlifting.
Yoga is also a big component of this diet as it will help you reduce stress and optimize your hormone levels greatly. Make sure to practice yoga every day for about 20 minutes to relieve the stress of the day.
Make sure to buy all natural all organic foods that have not been processed and shop all kinds of vegetables and fruits. Never buy packaged foods in cans or plastic.
Avoid meat as much as possible or any product made from it.
Final word on the Ornish Diet:
One big drawback to this diet, unfortunately, is the fact that it does not contain a lot of fats, zinc, and B12, which is why it is not recommended for teenagers for the possibility that it might disrupt their growth and pregnant women as they need all the nutrition they can get. This diet is also not going to be of good news to meat lover and heavy drinkers as it will greatly limit the amount of red meat and alcohol because of the health complications they might induce.
Nevertheless, this diet is very healthy for individuals who want to optimize their health, live longer, improve their heart condition and lose some pounds along the way. It will have some restrictions, but overall, it combines the best of all diets and gives a great approach to your dietary needs as it tries to fit each macro or micronutrient into the program.
You can also tailor the diet to your own needs, if you are an individual that is highly active, you can eat more and if you want to lose fat, you can also create a caloric deficit. This diet works for most people and it is worth a try if your goal is health and fat loss.