The Sonoma Diet
How The Sonoma Diet Works
Like the South Beach and Atkins diets, The Sonoma Diet begins with an induction phase.
Called Wave 1, this 10-day span is meant to wean you from sugar and highly processed foods, while teaching you about nutritionally balanced meals and portion control.
"Baby steps simply don't work," says Guttersen, so Wave 1 begins with a dramatic household purge of all processed foods or those laced with hydrogenated fat. White rice, potato chips, butter, fruit juice, sausage, bacon: adios!
Because of their natural sugars, wine, fruit, and several kinds of vegetables are also banned the diet's first 10 days, the better to "naturally recalibrate your body."
The allowed foods list for Wave 1 is fairly long and includes lean beef, eggs, asparagus, eggplant, low-fat cottage cheese, soba noodles, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, and unlimited herbs and spices.
To spur compliance and aid the reader in sticking to the plan, the book includes more than two dozen recipes for this phase, including Greek Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Mushroom Omelet, and Steak and Blue Cheese Wrap.
Wave 2 allows the same foods as Wave 1 and is the part of the diet Guttersen recommends you stay with until reaching your target weight. This wave includes a roster of more than two dozen fruits, a wider array of vegetables, some sugar-free sweets, and up to 6 ounces of wine daily.
The day after you reach your target weight you enter Wave 3. This phase is about extending The Sonoma Diet lifestyle into "a permanent way of existing happily on this planet," Guttersen says.
To that end the author recommends you use this phase to seek out exotic fruits and vegetables, enjoy sweets as rare, special treats ("and nothing more"), have fun with physical activity, while still keeping refined foods and hydrogenated fats out of the pantry and out of your life.
Speaking of physical activity, where's the mention of exercise in these waves? It's there, but it just isn't the focus of this book, the author admits.
Between explaining the diet, offering an extensive sheaf of recipes for each wave, answering questions, and providing well-measured doses of encouragement, you'll find a small sprinkling of fitness advice; the bulk of it is on roughly two pages.
If you want detailed suggestions on amping up your physical activity even as you power down your junk food consumption, you'll need to look elsewhere.
What the Experts Say About The Sonoma Diet
WebMD interviewed health professionals Elisa Zied, MS, RD, and Roger Clemens, DrPH, about The Sonoma Diet, and they had good things to say -- and a few reservations.
Fearing just another entry in a sea of tricky, hard-to-follow diets, Zied was instead pleasantly surprised by The Sonoma Diet.
"I was very excited that [the book] was written by a registered dietitian. That's always a good thing," Zied said. She also appreciated the book's emphasis on food enjoyment.