21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: Main Kickstart Forum: what should I eat (and living with inconsistency)
Created on: 08/29/13 08:24 PM Views: 641 Replies: 2
what should I eat (and living with inconsistency)
Posted Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 8:24 PM

I've been following the Kickstart program since 2/1/13, and except for a few bites of fish I've been quite conscientious. I really love this new way of eating and being in the world. In my enthusiasm though I've now read a number of books, many by the doctors, advisors and "celebrity' contributors to the Kickstart program. And in my reading I've become slightly confused. While Kickstart suggests a vey low-fat menu, some of the recipes included as "tips' use quite a bit of coconut oil and olive oil. Some use a healthy portion of nuts. Some of the physicians associated with PCRM feel that starch should play a primary role in a heart healthy diet (Dr. McDougall) while other physicians limit grains and encourage more nuts (Dr. Fuhrman). Another eliminates all processed food, avocados, oils, coconut water, sugars and limits grains (Dr. and Rip Esselstyn) while others (the Skinny Bitch authors) allow for some (vegan) junk foods.

I understand that of course there are individual variations but I'd like to be as healthy as possible. What's recommended in regard to grains, fat, avocados and nuts? Judicious use or no use?
Don't get me wrong; I love the program and have tremendous respect for all of these authors. I'm just trying to figure out what I should be doing.

Thanks so much for advice.

what should I eat (and living with inconsistency)
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 at 6:26 AM

Indeed there are many schools of thought on the ideal diet, even among plant-based recommendations. In terms of health, disease prevention, and evidenced-based research, we would recommend a low-fat, vegan diet. That would mean really reducing, and for some, eliminating the higher-fat plant foods like avocados and nuts. At least until some initial goals (such as blood labs or weight) are met. For most, a very small amount of nuts/seeds are okay, but the challenge is sticking to that small amount (don't sit down with a bag of nuts if you can't eat just a few). Starchy foods and grains are not deterred on our plan either, because research shows they can be part of an overall healthful plant-based diet. They don't contribute to disease, and more importantly, bring with them lots of helpful nutrients like fiber, protein, complex carbs, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.

Essentially, our recommendations are more in line with Ornish, Esselstyn(s), and McDougall. Like these physicians, Dr. Barnard is tackling an epidemic of disease and is very keen to stick to what the research shows to be the most effective.

It's not to say those other books aren't enlightening and inspiring, because I think they are! But if you want to try other vegan plans and see what works best for you, I totally encourage it. Nothing is more convincing than personal experience.

I hope this helps!

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: what should I eat
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Since my first introduction to this type of eating was from Dr. T. Colin Campbell's The China Study, I tend to follow his ideas and those of the other doctors he mentions in the book (I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend it) which are Drs Esselstyn and MacDougall. Drs Ornish and Barnard are also food heroes of mine.

I've been very happy with all the advice and recipes I've gotten from their cookbooks and other sources.


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