The Sonoma Diet
What Is The Sonoma Diet
The Sonoma diet. Does the phrase conjure images of plum-dark wine and succulent salmon enjoyed overlooking verdant grape vines?
If so, that may be the aim of Connie Guttersen, PhD, RD. The author of The Sonoma Diet hopes you'll see her diet plan as marrying pleasure with health, where every meal is about "celebration, not deprivation."
The secret to losing weight forever, says Guttersen, a registered dietitian and dietary consultant, is not in avoiding foods you love but enjoying the right foods in the right amounts.
Even in the most restrictive phase of the diet -- the 10-day induction period -- whole grains and cereals, eggs, low-fat dairy, and nuts are on the menu. And after the induction period almost nothing is forbidden, including wine and occasional sweets.
Almost nothing is forbidden. What's limited at the start, and discouraged throughout this diet plan, are foods with saturated fats, refined white flour, and added sugar. As a matter of fact, if you're not ready to literally purge your pantry of processed foods, you may not be ready for this diet.
However, The Sonoma Diet would be ideal for those with a love of fruits, veggies, wine, and healthy foods.
It would also suit people motivated to follow the restrictions of a structured plan, who have the time and desire to cook, and who are willing to stock a pantry free of sugar and trans fats, adds Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian and former spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), and author of So What Can I Eat?!
What You Can Eat on The Sonoma Diet
The Sonoma Diet is all about "generous amounts of delicious, nutrient-dense foods," says Guttersen, who acknowledges that the diet works because "we've inherited from our Mediterranean friends a lengthy roster of delicious foods."
Like the Mediterranean way of eating, the Sonoma diet's roster is rich with a range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts. Guttersen has, however, singled out 10 foods as her diet's power foods:
- Bell peppers
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Whole grains
Guttersen praises almonds for their heart-healthy fats and bell peppers for their powerful health-imparting nutrients delivered with few calories.
Blueberries contain an "astonishing" amount of heart-strengthening antioxidants says Guttersen, while broccoli is recommended in "virtually unlimited amounts" for its vitamin C, calcium, and ability, says the author, to clear away potentially carcinogenic toxins.
Whether as a fresh fruit or wine, grapes get a big thumbs up in The Sonoma Diet for their phytonutrients while also being "the very symbol of Sonoma's healthy way of life," says Guttersen.
Extra-virgin olive oil -- oil from the first pressing of the olives -- is praised for antioxidant riches and its ability to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, while spinach is deemed nearly miraculous for packing iron, calcium, vitamin K, folate, and antioxidants into so few calories.
The Sonoma Diet is big on satisfying cravings with whole, healthy foods, and this is where strawberries come in, praised not only for being nutrient-rich but also delectably sweet. Tomatoes, deemed eminently versatile and potentially cancer-fighting, are also "pride of the kitchen."
Finally, fiber-filled whole grains are "your secret to success," says Guttersen, who maintains they boost metabolism and reduce the risk of cancer. This suite of foods includes whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, cereal, and brown and wild rice.