Committing 100 percent to a new diet plan can be difficult, especially when the diet excludes or removes certain foods you are used to eating. Authors Dr. Jamie Noll and Caitlin Herndon recognize the challenge that full commitment can present, and have offered a solution. Their new book, The 95% Vegan Diet and its accompanying workbook, is designed to help readers follow a realistic vegan diet plan, mostly.
The co-authors believe that a major factor that prevents diet success is guilt. You may be following your diet plan just fine, but then give in to a craving. According to Dr. Noll and Herndon, that’s nothing to feel guilty over. “The number one reason I see people fail at weight loss/attempt to become healthier is what I call the ‘guilt factor’,” Dr. Noll said. “I’ve seen it time and time again in my practice. For example: I’m going to go on the Atkins diet because I don’t care about bread anyway. The problem is they are dying for that pasta – so they have some – but then they don’t forgive themselves.”
Dr. Noll added that the reason it is the 95% Vegan Diet, and not 100%, is to allow people some wiggle room and give them permission to forgive themselves for not sticking to the diet. “I want to show people that they don’t have to be perfect. They can forgive themselves and still have excellence in good health. Five percent is the margin in good science before we consider something statistically different.”
She isn’t the only one who believes committing, at least part of the time, to a vegan diet is a good choice. Mark Bittman, author of Vegan Before 6, has supported a similar diet for some time. In a recent article in the New York Times he said, “It’s increasingly evident, however, that a part-time vegan diet – one that emphasizes minimally processed plant food at the expense of everything else – is the direction that will do the most to benefit human health, increase animal welfare and reduce environmental impact.”
There’s no question that a diet that consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables with limited amounts of processed food is a healthy option. However, there are plenty of people who believe committing to a plant-based diet is too challenging. Both Bittman and Dr. Noll disagree. In his article, Bittman said, “It just takes a little thought and a little will, though perhaps less will than you might think at first.”
Dr. Noll offers additional advice, saying, “Don’t just stop eating animal products and expect to be successful,” she said. “Understand how you will go about ensuring you will be eating a truly healthy vegan diet.”
That’s what she hopes will happen as people follow the 95% Vegan Diet. “In the almost 30 years I have been a dietitian, I have watched the American public being led down many different paths by unqualified people who write diet books that have no basis in scientific evidence,” she said. “I wanted to write a medically credible book that provides people a solid foundation from which to trust themselves to make informed health decisions and show people how to confidently implement a plant-based diet.” By combining guidance for a plant-based diet with the ability to periodically indulge, Dr. Noll is empowering dieters to make their own healthy decisions.