Life on the Nothing White Diet

by guest blogger Maya Rodale, writer of historical tales of true love and adventure

Earlier this year, my mom pledged to adopt the nothing white diet, as in no white food. I also swore off white flour, sugar, and dairy to see if this shift in diet might help with my feelings of fatigue and generally blah-ness. While I was no means perfect in adhering to it, I did notice an improvement.

Dairy. I cut out milk, half ‘n’ half, and cheese, and anything made with those ingredients such as ice cream or hot chocolate. My exceptions were butter (because really, life is too short to go without) and dark chocolate (because it is good for you). Immediately, I felt less sluggish and lost five pounds. Also, I spent less money and less time at Starbucks by ordering a small black coffee instead of my triple-shot latte with whole milk.

White flour. This one is tough. Whether it’s bread at a restaurant (almost never whole wheat) or choosing between GMO corn tacos or white-flour tortillas, white flour is everywhere. I was doing pretty well so long as I was cooking all my own meals—but extensive traveling put an end to that. Here’s what I’ve noticed, though: After eating white-bread-based food, my stomach hurts, as if there’s this giant dough ball in it. I feel much better without.

Sugar. Did you know that sugar is in everything?! It was even in the organic whole wheat bread we had been buying! It’s in even “good” snacks like the dried fruit or granola bars (though I found Kind Bars, which are made with honey). Cutting out sugar also means cutting out almost all beverages other than water, tea, and coffee.

Tips for trying this at home:

  • Keep a food diary or food checklist. If you have to write it down, you will be less likely to eat it. I organized mine by categories (fruit, protein, dairy, “baddies”) so I could see at a glance how I was doing.
  • Cut one vice a day. Perhaps Wednesday is no-sugar day, Thursday is dairy free, Friday is white flour free. It’s a mental trick that will help you cut down consumption without feeling too deprived. Also, the end result is largely the same since all these “baddies” tend to hang out together. (Hello, baked goods!)
  • Stock up on good stuff. Make sure you have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand. Heck, wash it and put it in a pretty bowl to facilitate snacking. Sip green tea with ginger and lemon.
  • Give yourself a chance to succeed. Weaning yourself off this stuff is hard. But a funny thing happened—after a few weeks my palate changed and I didn’t want to eat a ton of crap. It’s no longer a “rule” to not eat something, it’s simply a preference.

On the whole, I do feel better—and not just self-righteous. My moods and energy levels have evened out. I feel lighter, not in a lost weight way, but in a purity way. It’s not easy, and I haven’t been perfect, but on the whole I’m sticking with it!


Maya Rodale is the author of multiple historical romance novels, as well as the nonfiction book Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. She has a Master’s degree from New York University and lives in Manhattan with her darling dog and a rogue of her own mayarodale.comHer latest book is The Tattooed Duke.


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6 Responses to Life on the Nothing White Diet

  1. Bonnie April 6, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    Katie, who is now 97 and still enjoying life, was a fan of Leylord Kordel’s books on eating healthy back in the 1950’s. A similar plan for eating.

  2. Laurie April 6, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I thought I tried every trick for eating healthier. And not being willing to deprive myself is always my down fall. But I never heard of giving up one vice each day. I love that. Sounds so totally non-harsh but I bet it is effective for making long term change.

  3. Laurie Norman April 6, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    You don’t have to have the dairy to have dark chocolate. There’s a chocolatier in Naperville IL called Le Chocolat du Bouchard that makes dairy free dark chocolate and it is delicious. The owner has has cured herself of migraines and the pain of fibromyalgia. In fact, I am going to try her dark chocolate regime and see if I can get some relief of pain, too. I think I’ll cut out white flour, too. Down the line, dairy and sugar, too. I’m just not ready for those yet. 🙂

  4. Maya April 11, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Laurie, I was supposed to do a reading and that very chocolate place but had to cancel! Bummer–I would have loved to have 1) tried the chocolate but even more 2) hear about her migraine cure. Amazing!

  5. Catherine Clark April 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Raw milk is wholesome, and while white, is a MUCH better alternative to nasty factory farmed milk! We get cow milk in winter, and once spring comes on we can get goat and a little later even sheep milk, which I thought would be weird, but is totally smooth and yummy! Plus, raw milk has NONE of the issues commercial milk has, at least for me! Easier to digest, also. Raw cream is better than ice cream – no sugar added – rich, creamy, and utterly delish! I am also learning to make breads that are soaked at least 24 hours before baking (gluten reducing) with whole grains and boy, are they great!

  6. N/A November 6, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of
    content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1
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