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.
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.