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Ornish Diet

Ornish Diet

The celebrated cardiologist wants you to go for veggies, and get exercise every day.

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Dr. Dean Ornish is a celebrated cardiologist who has written two books about losing weight - Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and Eat More, Weigh Less. His diet strategy originally began as a treatment plan for heart patients who desperately needed to get their dieting habits on a healthier track. The results were both lowered cholesterol and a healthier heart, but also weight loss. In these books he makes his findings available to you.

The Ornish Diet is vegetarian. Ornish concentrates on removing fats and cholesterol from your diet by consuming mostly whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. In Eat More, Weigh Less, Ornish explains that the average American diet looks like this - 40% fat, 20% protein and 40% carbs. The Ornish plan recommends 10% fat, 20% protein and 70% carbs.

You'll also be encouraged to just get up and move. Exercise is important if you plan on losing the weight and keeping off, as this plan claims to do.

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  • Consume whole, organic foods
  • Promotes daily exercise
  • No calorie counting
  • Eat only when you're hungry
  • Book provides hundreds of recipes
  • Enjoy carbs
  • Strict diet
  • Give up a lot of favorites- alcohol, meat, sweets
  • Nearly an all-vegetarian diet
  • Miss nutrients from meat and especially fish
  • Difficult to eat out

Dr. Ornish prescribes a program that allows you to eat all the food you want, whenever you want (as long as you're hungry) and watch the pounds drop. Best of all, he says that sticking to the rules means you'll keep it off.

There are three categories that foods can be assigned to. Eating what you're supposed to here will help ensure success:

  • Eat Freely
  • Eat Moderately
  • Banned Food

Ornish's diet is almost completely vegetarian. Meat and fish are strictly limited, as are most animal fats. Dairy can be consumed in moderation, as long as it is no-fat, and an occassional egg white is permissable. You'll eat a lot of complex carbs- legumes (beans, peas), whole grains, fruits and some dairy. You are absolutely not allowed simple carbs- alcohol, sugar and honey.

Ornish's book comes with about 250 recipes. You're probably curious how a vegetarian diet rich in grains and fruit can be satisfying. Here are a few examples of the delicious and easy to prepare meals:

  • Black Bean Burritos
  • Rice Pilaf with Saffron Peppers
  • Eggplant Lasagna
  • Wild Mushroom Pizza
  • Oatmeal with Raisins and Cinnamon
  • Buckwheat Pancakes
  • Baked Bananas
  • Apple Cider Sherbet
  • Peach Bread Pudding

You won't get to take this diet sitting down. Ornish instructs that some form of moderate exercise will need to be a part of your daily routine. How you reach that goal is up to you, just get up and move. Moderate exercise can be a brisk walk lasting 30-60 minutes, light weight training, low-impact aerobics or even stair climbing.


Any diet that strictly excludes any single group of food is concerning. There are nutrients in all foods that your body depends on. Think all things in moderation. However, The Ornish Diet isn't one to skip over. Dr. Ornish is an expert in his field and his methods have been proven with both heart and weight loss patients alike. Critics slam Ornish for the near removal of meat and fish, especially the latter as it provides important Omega-3 Fatty Acids. A vegetarian lifestyle isn't for everyone, but some health conditions could dictate a need to make that change. Exercise should be an important part of any diet or lifestyle and Ornish has not overlooked this. If you're willing to make the sacrifices to give up what could be some of your favorite foods, then Ornish says you can achieve your goals.

Common Misspellings

Ormish Diet, Amish Diet, Orish Diet, Deen Ornish, Omish Diet

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The Ornish Diet was developed by Dean Ornish M.D. and first detailed in his book ''Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease.'' It is a diet that is specifically formulated to reverse heart disease but has recently been used as a weight-loss program. This vegetarian diet emphasizes low-fat, filling foods, including legumes and other high-fiber choices.

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(Page 1 of 1, 11 total comments)


Some of his recipes DO include foods with a little sugar and alcohol - moderation is the key word here.

posted Dec 30th, 2012 6:08 pm



Great for reducing blood pressure, cholesterol.

90% of the recipes are totally delicious!

Desserts are hard, but we've come up with blending non-fat yogurt with berries etc and freezing that.

posted May 31st, 2012 11:38 pm



My husband and I have been on this plan for 10 days. His cardioligist recomended this diet to reduce his cholestoral.
At first it was a challange to remove meat and fats from our diet, but the reciepes are good and we have each lost 6.5 pounds. No hunger, counting calories or weighing foods.
Highly recomend watching the documentary, "Forks over Knives" this explains much of Ornish and Essellstyn's principle on healthy eating. This has been an eye opener for heart health, which is better than just losing weight!!!

posted Jan 18th, 2012 2:01 pm


I'm already a vegan and I can't follow this. No simple carbs, ever??? No thanks! I prefer Dr. Oetker to Dr. Ornish - mmmm muffins.

posted Feb 23rd, 2010 1:52 pm

sally lafferty

i have got the dean ornish books but i have not read it all yet, i see it is mainly vegetables, which i dont mind too much, but it is a vegetarian diet, i do mind all vegetables, and i think you need to eat fish and protein, in small amounts, i am not even sure if you are allowed low fat spread on it if i diont follow it 100 per cent i suppose it must do some good anyway, as i intend to cut down on alcohol, and increase my excercise, also do some meditation , which may all still help , i also like to use olive oil , or is it all or nothing , meant to be

posted Jan 21st, 2010 12:20 pm

Joanna Hrach


I began the Ornish Advantage Diet program thru our local hospital. I have since lost 14 pounds and my cholesterol and tiglycerides have dropped without taking any mediction. I can et out because mny restaurants are putting vegetarian items on their menu.

posted Feb 10th, 2009 10:56 am

Selina Mannion


I really love this diet. I lost 30 pounds on this diet. And I am still at it. People tell me how beautiful my skin is and how shiny my hair is when they never said that before. People tell me I look great. I use to always catch colds but now I don't. I have not gotten sick since starting this diet. The compliments I get on my body are non-stop. The only slight modification I made was I occaisonally eat pure peanut butter. or almond butter . The recipes kept me busy and I was never hungry.

posted Jan 13th, 2009 8:52 pm


After only 2 months on this diet I reduced my need for insulin by 80%. I miss some fat & dairy but have completely lost any desire for meat or fish. I spend more time cooking but truly enjoy this new way of eating and my new found energy.


After only 2 months on this diet I reduced my need for insulin by 80%. I miss some fat & dairy but have completely lost any desire for meat or fish. I spend more time cooking but truly enjoy this new way of eating and my new found energy.


This diet misses some of the common problems of dieters: if I had the will power to only eat when hungry or eat more fruits/vegetables, I probably wouldn't need the diet


Dr. Ornish's approach is a little too hard for me. i prefer a diet where you don't have to completely eliminate anything


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