The “Nothing White” Diet

Every new year starts with a diet, right? Well, here’s mine this year: I try not to eat anything white. Before you scoff or laugh, let me explain. I have lived through every diet phase, trend, and obsession that has swept through America for the last 49 years (since, after all, we publish diet books and sell diets on the covers of all our magazines…well, except Organic Gardening). I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t and how things evolve over time. And I’ve had to learn to follow my instincts, too.

For example, many diets that rely on artificial ingredients like fake sweeteners, fake fats, or low-calorie foods just don’t FEEL right to me. My brain, which has read through almost every health study ever written, does a quick calculation and spews a judgment out of my mouth that usually sounds something like “bullshit” (OK, it sounds like a cough when it comes out). Which is not to say there isn’t some validity to those diets, but to me the goal isn’t just thinness, but also health. True health. The kind of health that leads to happiness and a long life (preferably, in that order). After all, everyone knows someone who is terribly thin and fabulous looking but miserable and often sick.

Don’t get me wrong, being thin is great. But being fit and healthy and happy is even better. But I have finally seemed to find what works for me, and while it’s based on lots of scientific research, I can’t cite a single study because it’s a product of my brain database of masses of studies. More important, it worked for me. And I think it’s going to be The Next Big Thing in diet trends, and I’ll tell you why.

Lloyd Braun from Seinfeld

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with Lloyd Braun. Yes, it’s the Lloyd Braun from Seinfeld. But more importantly, it’s the Lloyd Braun from Berman Braun, California media executive extraordinaire who works with celebrities all the time and even has met Simon Cowell, so basically, he is really cool and plugged in to what’s going on in Hollywood. Anyway, out of the blue he tells me that he recently lost lots of weight on this diet that he invented called The “Nothing White” Diet, which is EXACTLY what I had been calling my own diet. When the two coasts converge and collide with a simultaneous idea that has actually worked, I think it’s a sign that we are on to something.

What’s awesome is that the Nothing White diet is truly simple. It’s brown rice, not white rice (yes, even in sushi!). It’s whole wheat pasta, not white pasta (yes, even my kids will eat it!). It’s multi-whole-grain breads, not white bread. It’s cookies, muffins, and other treats made with whole wheat flour, not white flour. Because here is what happens when you eat white stuff: It makes you CRAVE more white stuff. It’s literally like a burning feeling in your stomach that says you need to keep eating more, more, and more again.

Obviously, it’s essential that you eat organically for many, many reasons that you probably know already—or you wouldn’t be reading my blog. And I’ve always said I eat as close to nature as possible, for example, real organic butter is not white, it’s yellow, so it’s totally permitted! And I’m a big fan of all of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules (especially when illustrated by Maira Kalman). But there sure are a lot of them, and most of them are just common sense. Really, other than Demand Organic, just remember “nothing white.”

Here’s my list of the of all the whole wheat, whole grain products that I know your whole family will love—because I’ve tested them out on my family and we all love them.

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12 Responses to The “Nothing White” Diet

  1. Maya January 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I’m trying this diet too! After cutting diary (except for butter) and other white stuff I feel much less sluggish. Yea!

  2. Donna in Delaware January 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Nothing white is right! I started that about 2 years ago. I am still drinking and using 1% organic milk and every now and then, organic jasmine rice, goat cheese and of course, organic low-fat yoghurt. I still use the organic white whole wheat flours, all-purpose and pastry. That’s the extent of my white foods. All else is brown and any other color. There is also a book out called Dr. Gott’s No Flour, No Sugar Diet, which, is akin to what Dr. Perricone was speaking about if you want to have beautiful skin, hair and nails. That no flour/sugar diet is a tough one. You will have to be extremely disciplined to do that one!!! Changing over from white foods is not as bad as one thinks, and a whole lot easier than going cold turkey with the no flour, no sugar diet. Baby steps people, baby steps! Good luck!

  3. Nyla January 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    what about egg whites? and milk? and yogurt? check out loseit.com ……best healthy living, easy, FREE method to maintain your weight, or lose weight, if need be. You can incorporate any restrictions you put on yourself – or NONE at all. Just follow the simple guidelines. please take a look.

  4. Iris January 5, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    You re-invented the Wheel! I am in my 70s and come from a slim family.When I was 10,my grandmother who was born in 1875, told me about the “secret” to never getting fat that she had learned from HER g-mother-and it was one sentence.Never eat anything white! Back in those days adults seldom drank milk, there were few highly processed foods that had hidden ingredients and fillers, and tho most fried chicken with (white lard!) there were few obese people compared to now and rarely was a child obese.” Works for me and those I love as it worked fro all 4 of my g-parents who lived to be more than 99!

  5. Charles Lee January 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I am 70 years old and have type 2 diabetes . I have struggled with my weight for several years . With diabetes , I can seem to shed the weight . I am 285 lbs now and have been as much as 352 . I have no energy at all . I retired in 2007 but now I am trying to work a part time job . I need energy , HELP

  6. Paul January 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    I am 69 yrs old, have type 2 diabetes. I have successfully lost a lot of weight by avoiding white foods. Also, have switched from whole milk to 2 per cent milk.
    I agree with Rodale recommendations of Not White. I looked at whole wheat pasta products that she suggested but I was flabbergasted by the cost. $8.00/pound! I would do without pasta completely before I pay that price.

  7. LINDA D PELLINO January 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    My husband is on dialysis and cannot have brown rice – any whole wheat products – no dairy. All the “healthy” things are restricted. Hard for me to eat healthy while he can’t.
    ldp54

  8. Eileen Marx September 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    This is all well and good but, I have celiac disease and can’t eat anything made with flour, white or otherwise! What do I do?

  9. alicia May 1, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I’m a dialysis patient who needs badly to lose weight but on dialysis they tell us not to eat grain bran wheat brown rice so what do I do:(

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