Flat Belly Diet Feed

Better than butter? A schmear of avocado

Avocadotoast Remember the bad old days of dieting, when people were told not to eat avocados because they were "fattening"?

Thank goodness that nonsense is over. Avocados are a superfood -- full of monounsaturated fat (MUFAs), vitamins and fiber.

Avocados have been pretty inexpensive lately so I've been buying a few a week. Aside from guacamole, avocados can be a great substitute for spreads and sauces like butter, mayonnaise and cream cheese.

Take today's lunch. I had some leftover turkey chili from last night, which was virtually fat free. I like to make sure that my meals are balanced with protein, carbs and protein, so I added a slice of toasted sourdough bread (it's lower on the glycemic scale than other breads because of the acidity). And to it I added an ounce of mashed Hass avocado with a squirt of lemon juice and a pinch of my fancy-pants salt. (Yes, that's a Shrek plate.)

That ounce of avocado only has 45 calories and a bonus 2 grams of fiber. Take that, butter!

Sassy Water in a can: Knudsen Sparkling Essence cucumber

Sparklingessencecucumber The Flat Belly Diet has become so ingrained into my daily eating pattern that I don't even think about how to add monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) into my diet.

The Sassy Water, a refreshing spa-type water flavored with lemon, ginger, cucumber and mint, is a bit more effort. But I had the opportunity to try R.W. Knudsen's new line of Sparkling Essence waters, and its cucumber flavor is about as close to Sassy Water as you can get in a premade form.

The new line of waters comes in four flavors: cucumber, blueberry, lemon and mint. The mint was a bit meh but I love all the other ones. They're not sweetened with anything -- the flavors come from organic extracts mixed with carbonated spring water. So it's just a hint of flavor.

But the cucumber flavor turned out to be my favorite of them all. My son couldn't wrap his head around the idea: "Cucumber soda?"

It's really refreshing and has notes of cucumber and lemon. If you really want to make it taste like Sassy Water, you can mix the mint and cucumber flavors together.

Sparkling Essence waters come in a 4-pack of 10.5 fluid-ounce cans and can be found at stores including Whole Foods. Check HERE for stores near you (click Where to Buy in the upper right corner).

My Alli-MUFA-Weight Watchers Momentum diet approach

Alli Avocado Hungry monster

My game plan in 2009 is to incorporate everything that has worked well in the past for me (temporarily) and combine them for a 3-pronged attack on flab.

  • I used Alli earlier this year to jump off a plateau, and didn't suffer any side effects, so that's prong 1.
  • And I really enjoyed the appetite-satisfying MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) from the Flat Belly Diet, so I'll make sure one of those is included in every meal -- prong 2.
  • Prong No. 3 is Weight Watchers new Momentum plan. I just plain need to pay someone to weigh me. I also like Weight Watchers Simply Filling emphasis on real, whole foods.

So that's my plan to Look Fine in 2009.

The recipe for Sassy Water is revealed

LemonwaterPrevention magazine nutrition director Cynthia Sass is one of the architects of the Flat Belly Diet, which launched at the start of the year and has become quite popular.

Until now the recipe for Sassy Water, a staple of the diet's 4-day Jumpstart, has been privvy only to people who had bought the book. But this morning I found a video for the recipe on Flatbellydiet.com.

Click HERE for the video.

My Flat Belly Diet Q&A with Prevention editor Liz Vaccariello

Through the help of the SparkPeople.com Flat Belly Diet team members,  I sent off some questions about the diet to Prevention magazine editor and Flat Belly Diet author Liz Vaccariello. Here's the Q&A:

Q. Is there a point at which adding the MUFAs raises the percent of fats too high? Nutrition guidelines suggest your fat  intake be something like 20% to 30%. When I follow the diet I seem to be  consuming almost 40% or more of my calories from fat....Of course I'm trying to  eat less than the recommended 1,600 calories so maybe my fat ratios are too  high.

LIZ: Well, first of all, I must congratulate you on your  interest in nutrition! For women over the age of 18, the recommended intake of  total dietary fat is between 20% and 35% of total calories, according to the  Institutes of Medicine, but studies have shown that diets can be healthy if they  contain up to 40% calories from fat, especially if the fat sources are  healthful. On average the Flat Belly Diet provides about 35% of calories from  fat, mostly in the form of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs,  which have been shown to help reduce the risk of many different types of  disease. Consuming more of this healthful fat as part of your daily calories can  actually help you stay on the plan because fat keeps you feeling full and  satisfied in between meals.

In regards to your  last note — that you're consuming fewer calories than the diet recommends — I would  discourage this. It is very difficult to fulfill all your nutrient needs on a  diet containing 1500 calories or fewer, and it's even harder to get enough MUFA.  If you are cutting portion sizes of carbohydrates and protein, your fat ratio  will indeed be higher. If you are absolutely certain that 1600 calories is too  much for you to lose weight safely, I'd advise cutting a snack pack in half,  rather than trying to shave calories from individual meals. It's easier to  maintain the correct balance of nutrients that way.

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