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The "Plan A" Diet: Combining Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition with the Timeless Wisdom of Scripture

The "Plan A" Diet: Combining Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition with the Timeless Wisdom of Scripture

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The "Plan A" Diet: Combining Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition with the Timeless Wisdom of Scripture

349 pagine
11 ore
Jul 2, 2019


“A great blueprint for changing your life . . . This book provides food for the body and for the soul.” —Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND, author of Food Over Medicine
By combining her decades-long study of both nutrition and scripture, Cyd Notter has created The “Plan A” Diet to serve as a message of hope to those who are nutritionally confused, suffer with declining health, or continually flit from one failed diet plan to another. The book provides a simple, achievable answer for permanent weight loss and improved health, as well as useful insights for dealing with resistance to change.
Research confirms that plant-based nutrition is more powerful in restoring health than drugs or surgery, and is proven to be the only diet capable of reversing our number one killer: heart disease. Readers ready to take an active role in their health are equipped with a meal plan, tips for evaluating conflicting information, and an optional transition strategy. Prayer and biblical support has also been included to encourage people of faith.
By correlating today’s unbiased science with the wisdom of applicable scripture, the book illustrates why God’s first prescribed diet for mankind—His “Plan A” Diet—remains the ideal food to this day.
Jul 2, 2019

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The "Plan A" Diet - Cyd Notter



Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!

(Psalm 35:27, ESV, underline mine)

You’ve picked up this book for a reason. Perhaps you’re searching for a healthier lifestyle plan or perhaps you’re gaining weight and recognize that the time to make some serious changes is now. Maybe you’re tired of feeling sick and tired, and the current healthcare system isn’t providing much relief. You may have tried popular diet plans, yet nothing works long-term. Or it may simply be that you’re somewhat curious and open to new ideas. For whatever reason you’ve decided to open this book, I’m delighted you’re here. I’m also confident the material presented in the following chapters—both scientific and scriptural—will be of benefit to those willing to read and apply it. No matter what types of foods you currently consume or for how long you’ve consumed them, it’s never too late to experience the results and blessings this plan offers.

Nutrition became an interest of mine in the early 1990s, but there’s no question I had it all wrong in the beginning. Having given up meat for ethical reasons, I was not initially concerned about my health until a few years later when I stumbled upon a wellness class being offered in my area. The four-week class, which was sponsored by Wellness Forum Health based in Ohio, seemed somewhat interesting and offered something fun to do with my girlfriends. Little did I know the science-based teachings of that class would mark the beginning of a major turning point in my life. My eyes were opened so profoundly that I was inspired to pursue nutritional training on both a personal and professional level. Now as a long-time nutrition and health educator, my goal is to share with you what I’ve learned to be solid, evidence-based dietary advice from a host of credible doctors and researchers. The logic behind their teachings is based on decades of independent research which will be addressed throughout this book.

Another Diet Book?

You’ll be happy to know that our health is not primarily determined by our genes or what our relatives may be currently suffering.¹ Our health is largely determined by something within our control: the three to five pounds of food we ingest each day. Depending on your outlook, this may or may not be good news—it certainly lays much of our health responsibility at our own doorstep. When it comes down to the biggest factor that impacts our health, I love how Dr. John McDougall sums it up: It’s the Food!² Not just the foods for this week or for twenty-one days or until you lose a few pounds, but the foods that will sustain you while providing the best health protection for the rest of your life. This plan is not your typical, temporary diet of restriction (my guess is you’ve already tried such plans and failed). The included 7-day meal plan isn’t meant to imply that this is a short-term diet; it simply serves to act as a springboard into a new lifestyle pattern to be embraced long-term.

You’ll see the term whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet used throughout this book. Let me clarify that those words do not refer to food that is purchased at the Whole Foods grocery store (although you can certainly shop there). A WFPB diet refers to eating plant foods in their whole, natural state—in other words, as close to nature as possible. The foods consist of a large variety of starches, including potatoes, rice, corn, yams, and squash; legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils; vegetables and fruits of all types, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. You’ll notice that the words vegetarian or vegan aren’t being mentioned. That’s because a vegetarian diet can include animal-based foods such as eggs and cheese, and a vegan diet can technically include potato chips, candy bars, and pop—none of which is being recommended here. I speak from experience. For many years I consumed an unhealthy vegetarian diet complete with frozen pizzas and ice cream, and later graduated to an unhealthy vegan diet that contained a lot of highly processed fake meats and cheeses.

By choosing the right foods for health reasons, a few of the happy side effects will include weight loss, disease prevention, disease reversal, elimination or reduction of medications, clearer thinking, increased energy, improved mobility, and less pain. In his book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, Dr. T. Colin Campbell remarks, Not only is WFPB the healthiest way of eating that has ever been studied, but it’s far more effective in promoting health and preventing disease than prescription drugs, surgery, vitamin and herbal supplementation, and genetic manipulation. This is great news for those who are no longer willing to outsource their health outcomes to a broken medical system.

Two Types of Plans

The evidence boils down to one simple fact: The more whole plant foods we consume, the healthier we’ll be. Americans are sadly lacking in this area. According to a 2015 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 87 percent of the adult population is not eating enough vegetables, and 76 percent is not eating enough fruit. Half of the US population consumes less than one cup of fruit and less than one-and-a-half cups of vegetables daily.³ These results are troublesome, to say the least. And to make matters worse, 60 percent of children aren’t eating enough fruit, and 93 percent don’t eat enough vegetables. That means only 7 percent of kids are eating enough veggies! It’s the observation of many in the nutrition field that people aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables because they’re consuming a poor diet overall. That’s why it’s imperative to strive for both goals: increasing our fruit and veggie intake while also improving our entire dietary pattern. That’s where The Plan A Diet comes in.

My goal is to encourage and equip you to incorporate a great deal of plant-based foods into your diet while eliminating or drastically reducing the intake of animal products, processed foods, and added oils. There are two types of plans included for your consideration: The Plan A Diet™ (100 percent plant-based) or the Plan B Transition Approach (90 percent plant-based while transitioning to 100 percent). Both plans are detailed in the following chapters. You will learn not only the science behind the success of these plans, but also the skills to adopt them. By following the recommendations in this book, you’ll never be hungry nor will you have to rely on willpower. And because all the side effects are good ones, you’ll be motivated to stay the course. Personal testimonials from my clients and friends have been included, which I’m sure you will find remarkable and inspiring. Questions have been provided at the end of each chapter for personal reflection or for use in a group discussion. I encourage you to keep an open mind and prayerfully consider the evidence outlined in this book. I also strongly suggest you investigate these findings for yourself using the criteria spelled out in the "How to Manage a Temple" chapter.

Advise Your Doctor

This book has been written as general dietary information and should not be construed as personal medical advice designed specifically for you. Please consult with your physician to let him or her know you are making dietary changes—not because this eating plan is bad for you. Just the opposite! These changes will most likely lead to the reduction or elimination of many medicines you may currently be taking, especially for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, GERD, migraines, arthritis, digestive issues, and a long list of other ailments. These health conditions may improve quickly—sometimes in as little as three days. Please monitor your biomarkers and discuss with your doctor the need to adjust any medications. Remember that you are in charge of your diet plan and your healthcare decisions! Be respectful yet mindful of well-meaning healthcare providers with little to no nutritional training.⁴ After reading this book and adopting the lifestyle changes recommended, the odds are very high that your calendar will no longer be littered with doctor appointments.

A Note to the Family

While the information in this book will be helpful to anyone who wants to improve their health or lose weight, I’m gearing it toward my Christian brothers and sisters by including prayer, biblical principles, and Scripture verses for reflection and encouragement.

If you do not come from a faith background, or if you hold a negative view of Christianity for some reason, I urge you to stick with me and keep reading anyway. Health is a great equalizer; the natural laws that pertain to the physical body apply to everyone, regardless of spiritual beliefs. You will still benefit greatly from the scientific research on which this plan is based. Please do not be put off by the scriptural references, but rather observe how these general principles might apply to your life. I think you’ll be surprised to find that most of them will.

The sad reality is that Christians fare no better than the general population when it comes to weight and health issues, and, as a result, pleas for the healing of many food-related conditions permeate our prayer requests. I’ve witnessed so many believers suffering needlessly, losing quality of life, and being forced to deal with the pain stemming from obesity and diet-related illnesses. With a heavy heart I’ve watched the anguish family members must endure because of losing a loved one prematurely. Such sad realities have contributed to the writing of this book.

I’m convinced that God does not want His kids to make themselves unnecessarily sick. He delights in our welfare and desires the very best for us. If you’re a parent, imagine how it would feel to watch your children naively partake in behaviors that would bring damage to their physical well-being. And even once they were enlightened to the dangers of their actions, they made no efforts to change or learn how to make better choices. Perhaps some of you can already relate to this frustration in some sense. I believe it grieves God to see the damage we often inflict upon ourselves through our lifestyle choices—damage that not only robs us personally in so many ways, but which can also affect our loved ones and our ability to serve the Lord in kingdom work. This does not need to be so, my friends. There is a much better option.

Lastly, I’ll demonstrate how the evidence-based research presented in this book not only conforms to the teachings of Scripture, but how in many ways the research and the biblical teachings prove to affirm each other. Some referenced verses will not pertain specifically to food but are being noted because the underlying principles apply to any area of life, including our food choices. My heart’s desire is that the evidence presented here will awaken, enlighten, and encourage everyone, especially my fellow Christ followers, to examine their hearts in these matters and subsequently choose to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Jesus came so we could have a full and abundant life…

…and He delights in the welfare of His servants!

Father, help us to remain committed to hearing the evidence outlined here. Help us to recognize any personal filters or biases that may already be stirring a resistant attitude in our hearts. It can be unsettling to replace some of the foods we’re accustomed to, and we may even feel anxious to consider it. If we have been contributing to our own health issues, we ask that You open our eyes and help us to get on the right path. We need Your strength, Your wisdom, and Your resolve through the Holy Spirit to know we can do all things that are in Your will for us. You delight in our welfare, Lord, and so may we do our part to delight You in return with a renewed commitment to our health. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Then God said, I’ve given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth, and every kind of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food. To all animals and all birds, everything that moves and breathes, I give whatever grows out of the ground for food. And there it was. (Genesis 1:29–30, MSG)

What The Plan A Diet Is Not

Although technically everything we eat is considered our diet, the word diet can have a hundred different meanings depending on whom you talk with. So let’s begin by clarifying that The Plan A Diet is not a typical diet of restriction for a specified amount of time, nor is it a diet of deprivation that will require super human efforts to refrain from eating. It isn’t a short-term fast or cleanse, and you won’t need to purchase any magical supplements or powders. Nor is it a diet book with various phases of eating patterns to be implemented one after another until you reach a maintenance level. It does not rely on food combining, willpower, or mathematically tracking food intake.

The success rates of typical diets are dismal. Diets which require us to count calories, count carbs, count points, weigh foods, or decrease portion sizes can

Losing weight permanently and regaining health does not mean counting or weighing smaller portions of the same unhealthy foods.

leave us feeling hungry and frustrated—and who wants that? Those types of diets are temporary fixes that don’t last. Losing weight permanently and regaining health does not mean counting or weighing smaller portions of the same unhealthy foods. Evidence that traditional diets don’t work can be found by looking at a 2013 study showing that out of 188 countries, not one has lowered its obesity rate since 1980.⁵ The world sadly continues to grow more obese. If you care to guess which country ranks the highest for obesity rates, and you guess the United States, you’d be a winner. We’re ranked as the most obese country in the world despite all the diet plans available and the millions of dollars spent on weight-loss efforts.

The lengths to which well-intentioned people will go to lose weight quickly—without regard for their health or truly questioning a diet recommendation—are remarkable. For example, in addition to the mainstream diet plans we see advertised through the media with their celebrity spokespeople, a quick google search reveals such things as the cabbage soup diet, the cookie diet, the leek diet, the baby food diet, the green coffee diet, the moon diet, the fast food diet, various e-diets, and so on. I remember going on a cottage cheese and canned pears diet at one point in my life. Questionable diet plans such as these often appeal to those looking for the next magic bullet.

Then there are the more mainstream fad diets, including blood type diets, anti-grain diets, caveman diets, ketogenic diets, eat-more-fat diets, and calorie restriction diets. These plans are typically the low-carb, high-protein, high-fat diets that dangerously promote weight loss at the expense of health. The Plan A Diet does not promote a fad (see #5 below). Instead it will demonstrate that the long-term answer to weight maintenance and good health is simple, achievable, and proven. And it’s been available since creation.

Pattern Matters

Unlike a typical short-term diet or fast, The Plan A Diet is an overall dietary pattern to be enjoyed well into your old age and for the rest of your life. It’s fine to include certain foods in your diet for their above-average health properties (for example, including flax seed for its omega-3 content and cancer fighting lignans, or consuming berries for their antioxidant power); but remember that it’s the daily pattern of your overall diet that has the greatest effect on your health outcome. It’s highly unlikely that simply adding flax seeds or berries to the Standard American Diet (SAD) is going to yield many, if any, real health results. The best way to lose weight and regain your health is to change the entire pattern.

While it may seem daunting to make such extensive, permanent dietary changes, consider what’s motivating you to change your diet in the first place. Are you trying to lose weight so you can walk without pain? Trying to reverse type 2 diabetes or get off the cholesterol meds? Concerned about cancer or having a heart attack? Do you want to take an active part in your grandchild’s life? Would you like to save money by staying out of the medical system? Do you dream of traveling or staying energetic in retirement? Temporary diet fixes will not address those issues long-term. Keep your focus on what’s motivating you and enjoy the peace of mind that comes by putting the right foods in your mouth.

The Macronutrients

The Plan A Diet outlined below strives to get roughly 80 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat, and 10 percent from protein. You may be thinking, 80 percent of calories from carbs?! I’ll be huge! No, you won’t. You’ll actually lose weight as you fill up on the comfort foods you’ve been designed to eat.

If you remember one thing from this chapter, let it be this: complex carbs don’t make you fat—FAT makes you fat.

The key is to understand that not all carbs are created equal. You’ll be basing your meal plans around complex carbohydrates (potatoes, corn, beans, rice, veggies, fruit, legumes, and whole grains), not refined carbohydrates made with denatured flours, added fats, sodium, and processed sugars (donuts, white bread, snack cakes and corn chips).

If you remember one thing from this chapter, let it be this: complex carbs don’t make you fat—FAT makes you fat. To illustrate this point, consider a baked potato. A potato is a nutritious, low-fat, low-calorie, complex carbohydrate that provides the body with its preferred source of energy. Only 1 percent of the calories in a potato come from fat. That is, however, until we adulterate that potato by frying it in grease to make French fries (46 percent fat) or convert it into potato chips (56 percent fat). Or until we smother that potato with butter, cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits; now we’ve added a big dose of fat (and cholesterol) to an otherwise healthy food. As you can see, the complex carb potato at 1 percent fat is not the culprit adding to our weight struggles. Our troubles begin when the potato gets processed into a refined carb junk food or doused with high-fat toppings. (Fortunately, delicious, low-fat potato toppings are spelled out in this book.)

The biggest reason healthy carbs have gotten a bad rap is because both types of carbs—complex and refined—have been lumped into one evil category, causing much of society to develop carbophobia (the intense or obsessive avoidance of carbohydrates). Don’t fall prey to that mindset. Remember that there’s a big difference between a bowl of black bean chili (complex carb) and a slice of glazed coffee cake (refined carb). Today’s research continually affirms what we’ve known for many decades: A starch-based diet with the addition of vegetables and fruits is not only the healthiest diet on the planet, it’s the diet we’re physically designed to eat.

Getting back to the prescribed ratio of 80 percent carbs, 10 percent protein, and 10 percent fat, you may also be questioning the seemingly low protein and fat recommendations. Have no fear! Not only is this style of eating loaded with health-promoting fiber, it provides ample protein, calcium, essential fats, carbohydrate, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins (with the possible exception of vitamin B12, for which a supplement is recommended). We’ll be discussing more on these topics—especially the issue of protein—in the following chapters. Dr. T. Colin Campbell is among many lifestyle doctors today who refer to the 80–10–10 ratio of macronutrients as the ideal human diet.⁶ You don’t need to keep track of the 80–10–10 numbers or be overly mindful of them. Eating a variety of nutritious plant foods according to the food pyramid shown on page 15 will allow your body to sustain a healthy balance and select what it needs for optimal function.

The Plan A Diet (and the Plan B Approach)

The Plan A Diet is a whole food, plant-based, no-added-oil diet that includes a wide variety of fiber-filled complex carbohydrates and densely nutritious foods. Starches such as potatoes, rice, corn, yams, and squash are central to the plan, with the inclusion of beans and legumes, non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lots of good clean water. Certain processed foods such as breads, pastas, soups, cereals, crackers, and snack bars are allowed, assuming the products contain only acceptable ingredients. A daily menu might include oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, zucchini-bean burritos or potato soup for lunch, and a salad with lasagna or stuffed peppers for dinner. Fruits and healthy desserts will ensure that your sweet tooth is satisfied.

Gone is the hassle of counting, weighing, or measuring your foods. There is no deprivation because you eat whenever you’re hungry and stop when you’re comfortably full (not stuffed). Consuming a calorie-dilute, high-fiber diet such as this will allow you to eat larger portions of food and fill your stomach with much fewer calories, as illustrated by the calorie density chart shown below:

Foods proven to be the most damaging to our health and weight are excluded from the plan, including all animal flesh (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish), eggs, dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream), processed meats (hot dogs, lunchmeats, bacon, salami, ham, jerky), heavily processed junk food, fast food, soda pop/sugary beverages, and all added oils. Yes, even olive and coconut oils are to be avoided since they’re 100 percent pure liquid fat and contribute to several serious health issues. The unbiased research that supports these positions should no longer be ignored. Remember that eating animal products, extracted oils, and fast food is how we’ve achieved the status of being the most obese nation on the planet. Take a deep breath and rest assured there are delicious, homemade substitutions for ice cream, cheese, and most of your current favorite recipes. I promise you will not be deprived of delectable comfort foods.

Faster Weight Loss

Although The Plan A Diet is a safe and effective way to lose weight, those wishing to accelerate the weight-loss process would do well to eliminate the higher-fat plant foods such olives, nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocados, and soy-based foods. These calorie-dense foods are near the top of the food pyramid for a reason; they should only be used sparingly—if at all—due to their fat content. Adding these foods as condiments to a dish is acceptable for most people (for example, adding a few nuts to your oatmeal, chopped olives to a quinoa salad, or sliced avocado to a burrito). But for faster weight loss and, in some cases disease reversal, the higher-fat plant foods are best avoided.

Another diet buster is added oils. As mentioned above, added oils are certainly not a part of The Plan A Diet—and that includes processed foods which contain oil (especially oil-filled margarines which are 100 percent fat). Just three tablespoons of oil per day—which isn’t unusual in the Standard American Diet—can add about 3 pounds to your weight each month, not to mention the damage oils cause to your artery lining and joints. Extracted oils are the most calorie-dense food on the planet, containing 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. As Dr. John McDougall likes to remind us: The fat you eat is the fat you wear.⁷ (Refer to the Be a Non-Conformist chapter for additional information about oils.)

Another bit of advice for faster weight loss pertains to a key point that’s worth repeating: Eat when you’re hungry but stop when you’re comfortably full. It’s not uncommon in our culture to eat until we’re overstuffed and bloated. Even when consuming a healthy diet, continuing to eat past satiety can hinder weight loss by adding extra calories and extra pounds. Keep in mind that your stomach is about the size of your fist (although it can expand to many times its size). Stop to consider if you’re truly still hungry before going back for seconds or when mindlessly eating over the sink.

Twigs and Tree Bark?

Honestly, how does the food taste? Let’s face it. No one will adopt this plan if the food isn’t yummy. Let me assure you the foods are delicious, pleasurable, and satisfying. I’m a long-time foodie who grew up in an Italian home, and I would not enjoy eating this way if it meant eating grass, rabbit food, twigs, and

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