The American Dietetic Association has named March National Nutrition Month. But to help us think a bit more deeply about our eating habits, the ADA has a second message that coincides with the themed month: Nutrition From the Ground Up.
So if you’re wondering if that means eating more foods from nature, you’re right, and if you’re thinking that this message is a call to build a healthier diet, you’re also right.
One of the foundations of developing a healthy eating plan is consuming plenty of plant-based foods, or foods from the ground. And while fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are full of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, they also share the common denominator of containing fiber.
We now know that most Americans don’t get enough of the 25 recommended grams of fiber a day, but rather than relying on the new line of processed foods that are added with synthetic fibers, which can cause gastrointestinal distress and may not offer the same health benefits as fiber in its natural form, we thought we would focus on a diet that is all about helping you eat more fiber: The F-Factor Diet.
Here is a summarizing look at what The F-Factor Diet is all about and how it can help you slim down and improve your health.
The F-Factor Diet, by Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D., is a four-week plan that encourages you to add certain foods to your diet rather than eliminating specific foods.
Zuckerbrot believes that if we all eat more fiber we’ll be thinner and healthier. Fiber is found in plant-based foods and by itself does not contain nutrients, but it is its indigestible form, which is not absorbed or digested by the body, that produces its effects, namely a healthy digestive tract. Fiber has been linked to regularity as well as lower cholesterol levels, balanced blood sugar levels and weight loss.
By focusing on whole foods that are naturally fiber-rich as your mainstay eats (think tons of veggies and fruit), you’ll see the number on the scale creep down while also seeing your health improve. Clearer skin, smoother hair, a livelier step are all promised as well as improvements in key health markers like cholesterol levels and a diminished risk of certain cancers, like colon and breast cancers.
Perhaps the most important element of a diet is the food. And as we previously mentioned, The F-Factor Diet is all about putting healthy foods into your diet, not taking the bad stuff away. You’ll still get to eat from your favorite Chinese take-out dive, nosh on a nostalgic Fudgesicle or feast on pancakes for Sunday brunch.
The F-Factor Diet lays out a very detailed menu plan for you to follow the entire four weeks of the weight loss plan. Portions, brand names and recipes, when used, are clearly explained leaving little guesswork on your part. Each daily menu plan also provides a breakdown of calories consumed, carbohydrates consumed and of course, grams of fiber consumed.
Three meals and two snacks are allowed and they are all comprised of a fiber-rich vegetable, grain or fruit and a lean protein source.
Each day, you will consume 900 to 1,400 calories with grams of fiber hovering around the 40 to 50 mark and carb grams kept between 50 to 70.
Even though Zuckerbrot includes the four-week menu plan on her website, you must purchase the book in order to make the recipes cited on the diet plan.
Here is a sample day on The F-Factor Diet from week three.
Breakfast: One container of 0 percent Fage yogurt with 1/2 cup of All Bran cereal, 3/4 cup blackberries and one ounce of walnuts.
Lunch: Turkey burger on a whole-wheat bun topped with lettuce and tomato and a tossed salad.
Snack: One whole-wheat, high fiber tortilla topped with tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese.
Dinner: Two cups of mixed greens, macaroni and cheese (recipe included), one cup of steamed broccoli.
Dessert/Evening Snack: Sugar-free jello