Tired of strict diets? Forget them forever! A panel of experts from Harvard, Yale and other leading universities recently said that a very flexible eating style is unbeatable. They call it the “flexitarian” or “super keto” plan and many agree that it actually works.
What is a flexible or super keto diet?
“You start by eating all kinds of healthy plant foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, tofu, beans, whole grains and even olive oil. And then you can also add high-quality protein from cheese, eggs, seafood and meat, ”explains flexibility expert Travis Stork, MD, author of The diet to lose belly (Buy from Amazon, $ 16.75).
Other than that, there are no rules. Truly! “‘Flex’ means you tweak it to make it work for you,” adds Dr. Stork.
To this end, an increasing number of flexitarians are choosing to stock up on products and avoid excess carbohydrates. “It’s easy and it works so well,” says Debbie Yearwood, 68, a retired Oklahoma woman who is 110 pounds leaner. “He’s like a super keto!”
Debbie lost 110 lbs!
Debbie Yearwood remembers standing helpless amid the billowing smoke. “There was a fire in my building, but between my Parkinson’s and my weight, I couldn’t go down the stairs,” recalls Oklahoma’s grandmother, 68.
After being helped to escape, she promised to make changes. “I read that keto can help with weight and Parkinson’s symptoms, so I started using the Lose It! app to track my carbohydrates.
It worked. “But I wasn’t feeling as good as I could,” she admitted.
The internet has led Debbie to gradually become flexible, focusing on seafood, more vegetables, beans and oats. With her Parkinson’s in remission, she adds: “My bipolar disorder, blood pressure and cholesterol have also improved.”
Debbie lost 110 pounds and took 11 meds out. “Sometimes I run up and down the stairs just because I can! I’ve lost thousands of pounds over the years, but this is the first time I can’t. “
How does the flexible diet work?
Yes, going flexible can work better than keto – and even better than popular low-fat vegan diets. Such as? Studies show that most of us simply give up on extreme plans.
“Long-term success is the real goal and the flexibility it offers,” observes Stork. The best part: “No matter what choices you make, you’re not off the wagon.”
So, eat healthy versions of what you love. “Think of pizza as a vegetarian delivery system. You can opt for a cauliflower crust, then stack peppers, onions and mushrooms, “she says.
And if you want to indulge in odds and ends from time to time, “make up for it later.” It’s not cheating, it’s flexing.
Secrets for quick results
To amplify short-term results, try one (or all!) Of the flexible options below.
Keto bursts. “Trying plant-based keto for a few days can be a good way to start losing weight,” says Dr. Stork, who personally uses the strategy. Just skip the starch and high-sugar fruit by filling up on healthy proteins, veggies, and good fats. The initial shift to a low-carb diet triggers a wave of special immune cells that help fight countless diseases and boost metabolism, according to exciting new research from Yale.
“Keto may actually work better in small doses,” notes study leader Vishwa Deep Dixit, PhD. This is because every time you start over, you prepare yourself for another wave of weight loss supercells. Plus, only keto for short periods means you never feel deprived.
Fiber magic. “Fiber is the unknown hero of both weight loss and overall health,” Stork insists. It turns out that it increases the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract that are linked to every aspect of good health. Research shows that fiber-loving gut bacteria play a huge role in whether we are naturally lean or not.
Cruciferous vegetables. All vegetables are good for us, but if you want to shrink easily, “stock up on cruciferous vegetables,” urges Stork. Groundbreaking research shows that options like broccoli and kale release a chemical called sulforaphane that changes our fat tissue in a way that reduces its prevalence.
Another success story
Californian grandmother Shay Gaudon, 46, has been trying to lose weight since she was 17.
“I’ve always felt limited to diets and have had a hard time following them,” she shares. “But with each, I gained a little knowledge of what is good for my body.” So when the health organization she works for shared an article on the benefits of flexitarian-style nutrition, she says, “She really piqued my interest.”
Shay found recipes that blended keto and vegan elements, and she and her husband soon got stuck in stuffed zucchini, lean french fries, and protein-packed burgers. “I felt so satisfied, I realized that hunger and cravings were not going to be as much of a problem for me as they used to in the past.”
Also not a problem: tight belts. Shay steadily dropped five bounties as her energy shot up. “I can walk every day. My blood pressure normalized and my low vitamin D level and anemia disappeared, “she reports.
“I love what I eat and I love how I feel. This was the best decision I’ve ever made! “
Note: Be sure to speak to your doctor before trying any new diet regimens. A doctor will be able to offer you the best advice with your health in mind.
A flexible recipe to start: Carrot Cake Bites
Try this delicious and easy flexible treat!
- 1/3 cup of coconut flour
- 1/4 cup ground chia seeds
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup maple keto syrup
- 1/4 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
Mix the flours, chia and spices. Blend in the food processor with the syrup, carrots and vanilla. Form 20 balls. Roll in coconut. Cool until it firms up. It serves 20.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.