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The Hallelujah Diet

The Promise

Eating a diet of mostly raw plant-based food may be the Holy Grail of weight loss. At least that’s according to the Rev. George Malkmus and his wife Rhonda, who developed the biblically inspired Hallelujah Diet. 

Malkmus claims his change to a diet of raw fruits, vegetables, and carrot juice saved his life after a cancer diagnosis more than 35 years ago.

The Hallelujah Diet consists of 85% raw and unprocessed plant-based food and 15% cooked plant-based food.

Why? The authors claim that meat can “get trapped” in our system, delay elimination, and cause toxicity and illness. The cornerstone of the program is the belief that eating raw foods is the best way to get the nutrients you need, restore damaged cells, and have long-lasting health.

How you eat is as important as what you eat on this vegan diet. The Hallelujah Diet recommends juicing fresh vegetables (especially greens) and fruits. Supplements, available from parent company Hallelujah Acres, are also recommended to help meet your nutritional needs.

Does It Work?

Malkmus credits eating the “garden foods God instructs man to eat” for his cancer recovery. But critics believe there is no proof that it can be used as a cancer treatment. Other critics have questioned whether the diet is unbalanced and could lead to nutrient deficiencies.

What You Can and Can’t Eat

The raw portion of the diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, oils, fats, seasonings, and dairy alternatives.

Drinks include freshly extracted vegetable juices and re-mineralized distilled water.

Steamed vegetables, baked sweet potatoes, whole grains, whole-grain pasta, squash (baked or steamed), and beans are among the cooked foods allowed.

As with any vegan diet, no meat, dairy, or eggs are allowed. If you’re accustomed to a nightly glass of wine, you’ll have to find a new way to unwind. Alcohol is not permitted on the plan. Neither are most soy products, processed fruits and veggies, refined grains, and certain nuts, seeds, oils, seasonings, soups, and sweets.

Level of Effort: High

This diet will probably be a radical change in how you eat.

Limitations: It can be hard to transition to a diet of mostly raw foods. The diet requires a lot of planning and preparation. Supplements are also encouraged to be taken at specific times throughout the day.

Cooking and shopping: Expect to spend a lot of time at the grocery store loading up on fresh fruits and veggies. You may have to seek out a specialty store if your local grocer doesn’t carry many dairy alternatives. A lot of prep work is involved for juicing, but there’s minimal cooking on this primarily raw plan.

Packaged foods or meals: Not required. But the Hallelujah Acres Marketplace sells vitamins, supplements, snack bars, and more online.

In-person meetings: None required, although dieters can attend healthy living workshops and seminars.

Exercise: Expect to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Since the diet is primarily plant-based and vegan, it is appropriate for vegetarians, vegans, and those following low-fat, low-salt, or gluten-free diets.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: Fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices can be costly, but Malkmus says it's possible to follow the diet on a limited budget. Cutting out meat, dairy, white flour, sugar, salt, and junk food can save money, he says. If you take the recommended supplements, they could cost you more than $2,000 a year.

Support: None, but you can find more information about the Hallelujah Diet and lifestyle on the Hallelujah Acres web site.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 19, 2013

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