Not everyone is dieting so that they can fit into a size one smaller than the one they’re wearing now, as some are looking for overall health improvements. There have been a lot of new ways in trying to improve health by eating, and one that has caught on was invented by Andrew Weil, MD. Weil is a former Harvard student that has received some attention over the past few decades from his work as a writer in the world of alternative medicine.
Weil has written several books about healthy eating, and has written a plan named after himself called Dr. Weil’s Anti Inflammatory Diet. The key to this diet is to control the body’s inflammation that can lead to serious health problems down the line such as cancer and heart disease. Inflammation typically happens when your body is fighting off a disease, and Dr. Weil says that your body doing inflaming too much can be controlled by eating.
While the Anti Inflammatory can certainly improve your overall health, it can also be a useful tool for weight loss. Let’s take a look at the aspects of Dr. Weil’s diet to see if it might be the right plan for you.
Inside the Anti Inflammatory Diet
Dr. Weil says that chronic inflammation is not only caused by eating, but other factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, stress and toxins from smoke, among others. Although Dr. Weil himself claims that the Anti Inflammatory Diet is not intended to be a weight loss program, it can lead to weight loss as the foods you eat will reduce inflammation.
You might be surprised to hear that Weil suggests you eat between 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day on the Anti Inflammatory Diet, though you can eat less if you are looking to lose weight. Obviously, if you are only about 10 pounds overweight, then you shouldn’t be eating 3,000 calories per day. Dropping weight just takes the standard Anti-Inflammatory Diet and scales it down calorie-wise.
Your eating on the Anti Inflammatory Diet should be varied and contains 20 to 30 percent of your calories from protein, 30 percent from fat and 40 to 50 percent from carbohydrates. If you are following a 1,500 calories per day diet, you should be eating between 180 to 240 grams from carbs, 450 grams of fat and 60 to 100 grams of protein. Dr. Weil has a pyramid to follow the plan, so let’s take a look at how much you should be eating each day:
Vegetables – Veggies are at the base of the pyramid, and you should be eating four or five servings each day. The suggested options are the leafy green vegetables, as well as ones like broccoli, cabbage, kale, carrots, peas and squash. You can actually eat more than the suggested amount, but four to five servings is the minimum.
Fruits – Along with vegetables at the bottom of the pyramid is fruit, which should be eaten three or four times per day. This includes berries, oranges, grapes, apples and just about any other fruit you can think of. Dr. Weil says to keep it organic when possible, and that even frozen fruit is allowed with the more variety the better.
Whole Grains – Three to five servings each day of grains should be eating, which include quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat. What makes this a big part of the Anti Inflammatory Diet is that grains will help your digestive system, which is a source of regular inflammation.
Pasta – When we say pasta, it’s only the al dente type, not fried. It’s also two or three servings per week, not daily. The healthy types of pasta include rice noodles and any organic pasta, which are sources of good carbs.
Beans/Legumes – Back to the daily foods, you should be eating one or two servings each day from the beans and legumes category that include chickpeas and lentils.
Healthy Fats – There are both “bad” and “good” fats, and you should have five to seven servings daily from the “good” fats department. Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, as well as eggs and sunflower oil.
Seafood – This one has a bit higher of a range as you should eat two to six servings per week from the seafood category. This doesn’t include fried shrimp, but instead healthier options like salmon and cod.
Whole Soy – One or two times per day, Dr. Weil says you should be eating foods rich with soy that include soymilk and tofu, while avoiding powders that advertise that they have soy.
Asian Mushrooms – Any Asian mushrooms can be eaten as much as you want each day, as long as they are cooked. Shiitake, maitake and oyster mushrooms all fall under this category and can boost your immune system.
Protein – One or two times per week, you should fill out the rest of your protein needs from other sources that include lean meats like chicken and turkey, as well as organic cheeses.
Herbs and Spices – Just like mushrooms, you can have as many herbs and spices that you can take. Healthier spices such as chili peppers and turmeric actually have anti inflammatory properties that will help you through the diet.
Tea – You can probably drink as much tea as you want on the Anti Inflammatory Diet, but it’s suggested that you stay between two and four cups per day. Green and oolong teas are the most common ones that people have been drinking for health for ages.
Supplements – For overall health, a daily multivitamin supplement is highly suggested, especially if it contains vitamin C and fish oil.
Wine – Wine appears on the pyramid, but you don’t actually have to drink it at all. If you do like wine, you can have up to two glasses per day of organic red wine. You don’t need to pick it up if you don’t like red wine, but stay away from beer.
Sweets – Only once in a great while should you be eating healthier sweets on the Anti Inflammatory Diet. Sweets that fall under this category include dark chocolate and dried fruit without added sugar.
Losing Weight with the Anti Inflammatory Diet
Thankfully there aren’t a lot of resources that you have to buy on the Anti Inflammatory Diet, so you can focus on just following the pyramid and decide what you want to eat from there. That can actually be a bit difficult for people as structure has helped many lose weight. Those that don’t like stringent plans will find this one beneficial, and it’s very adjustable so that you can lose weight while improving your overall health just by cutting calories.
You should also be adding exercise to improve your overall health and boost weight loss, though Weil doesn’t say that you should be training for a marathon or bodybuilding competition on his diet, but should make fitness a part of your plan. Stretching, walking, swimming and other cardio exercise is encouraged for 30 minutes per day.
The Anti Inflammatory allows you to eat out as much as you want as long as you are following the pyramid, but always continue to watch the calorie count. There are no promises on the plan for how much weight you will lose as, again, Weil said that the plan wasn’t focused on dropping weight. As a matter of fact, experts have ranked this diet pretty low when it comes to dropping the pounds quickly as the minimum recommended calorie count is 2,000.
Summing it Up
Most people don’t get into a diet program solely looking to lower their body’s inflammation while also hoping to lose weight, but this diet’s growing popularity has done just that. Some that have gone on this diet expecting to lose weight might have been disappointed to see that the scale didn’t move much as they were still eating enough calories to maintain weight with some ending up eating too much.
There also haven’t been a lot of studies that controlling your body’s inflammation levels can reduce your risks of diseases greatly. Still, it’s hard to argue that this diet isn’t healthy. It’s actually rated among the healthiest of the popular diets out there since it boosts the amount of good fats that you take in and strays away from processed foods, red meats and sugar.
As long as you are watching how many calories you take in, you can still lose weight on this diet, but it can be hard to get all of the necessary servings that the Anti Inflammatory Diet suggests. Overall, it’s a good diet for a lifestyle change when it comes to your eating habits, but not the best when it comes to weight loss, especially if you’re looking to drop pounds quickly.