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December 11, 2012


I was considering, in a half-assed sort of way, trying this, with you as inspiration. But now I've decided to head straight to the buffet. But HOORAY five pounds!

I hate to be the naysayer, but any diet that completely deprives one on a food group cannot possibly be healthy. Your body, especially your brain, needs two things to survive: oxygen, and energy (carbohydrates.) I know many, MANY people claim success with this diet, but there are plenty of other, healthier diets based on moderation and balance that, I believe, your body will appreciate more.

Don't beat yourself up for not sticking to it. I've also noted that when one completely denies oneself something for too long, eventually one gorges. (I spent a whole summer denying myself cheese, and ended it with a dinner consisting of 27oz of triple creme brie, Stilton, and a delightful Comte. With a bottle of wine.)

Last March, I tried a modified sort of anti-sugar diet. All veggies and moderate amounts of fruits (about 2 pieces a day) were allowed, as were whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, etc. No processed sugars, white flours, processed grains like white rice, etc.; no processed fruits like orange juice.

It was actually pretty great-- it took about 3 weeks to start to control the sugar cravings, and I lost about 10 pounds. Sadly, losing weight so fast affected my milk supply and so I went back on sugar for the sake of my baby. (ahem.)

Like the above poster, I don't think that a diet that completely eliminates a food group can be healthy; my theory was that carbs were fine in their natural, dug-from-the-ground state but not once they were processed. So a baked sweet potato = good, a baguette = bad. Trying something like that should keep your body from reacting negatively, because it's still getting the carbs it needs, but also getting the fiber, vitamins, and etc from the whole foods. I'm going back on that diet starting after New Years, since the kid will be 20 months by then and ought to be able to live with less breastmilk if that happens again, and because I know there was no point in trying to get through cookie season (um, I mean, the holidays) on a diet.

Mara: I like the principles of the diet you outline. I'm slooowly adding back in the things you mentioned: moderate fruit, all veggies, whole grains (with the occasional small dessert a few times a week). Christmas will be a free-for-all, of course, but my hope is to keep the empty carbs and sugar in check so that I can get back to my normal eating habits in the new year, which tend toward moderation, holiday binging aside.

NurseJen: I have to agree with the principle that eliminating an entire food group isn't the best thing for me. That's why I didn't try it before now despite Husband's success. BUT, I will say that it did seem to achieve an important goal for me, which was to reset my sugar expectations. Even though I lost control of it at the end there, I find myself craving lots of other things now, not just sugar. Things like apples and cheese, which are fine to have. Bread, too, yes, but at least I'm not craving ONLY sugar all the time, which is what it was like just a few short weeks ago. This was a rather dramatic experiment, but probably no less healthy than the path I was on just before.

Susanna: I wish I could be better inspiration. Maybe head to an Indian buffet instead for more tasty veggie options?!


The diet is not meant to deprive you forever. That rarely works for anyone. It is just a short-term elimination of simple sugars (empty carbs) that you add back in in a better form after 2 weeks. The idea is to break the habit of eating useless carbs all day long which in turn causes cravings for said carbs. Look in your cabinets. A lot of the foods we keep there have absolutely no nutritional value, yet we eat them when we get hungry as a convenient choice. It makes it even harder when you are writing a dessert cookbook and are dosing yourself with sugar multiple times a day!

After the 2 weeks you eat oranges (fiber!) instead of sugary juice. You have brown rice instead of white. Whole grains. All in moderation. You stop reaching for the cereal, crackers, snacks and cookies that are marketed to us as healthy but are just useless calories. And hopefully if the cravings are gone, a good balance can be restored.

I lost >30 pounds over the last year by re-setting my diet to a reasonable balance (and exercising moderately). But first I had to break the carb cycle.

Tammy, you didn't lose control. One nite of desserts at a holiday party is fine as long as you keep a healthy balance in your daily diet.

Tammy, I really feel you do your readers a disservice by portraying this as a failure. You worked hard and did really well and saw results. The orange compromise was a way we kept you on the plan while adding back a healthy source of vitamins and some sugar with the benefit of the whole fruit.

You didn't fail and you are much more balanced than before, something you thought wasn't realistic or even possible a few months ago.

Kudos to you for sticking with "Phase 1" (as they call it) for as long as you did! It really only serves to rid you of your sugar and simple carb constant cravings, as your husband said. So once that's over, move on to something more sane. I said this in another comment but really it can't be said enough: Beans are your friend. Put chickpeas in everything. Faith Durand has a lovely chickpea casserole in her book "Not Your Mother's Casseroles", try it!

Love the "Stormy" South Beach (diet) pic. Made me laugh.

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