The foods reintroduced in the second week of the program are what I would want to consume if I were stranded on a deserted island: nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, berry fruits, and wine. Lean protein, olive oil, and leafy greens are great for staying alive, but wine, cashews, and chocolate are worth living for!
If the goal of the first week of the program is to teach a diet structure that allows for weight loss by reducing carbohydrates and insulin levels to lower inflammation, the goal of reintroducing all of the week 2 foods is to pleasurably sustain good health. Nuts, dark chocolate, and berries are all rich sources of antioxidants, plant compounds that help to support our immune defenses by controlling inflammation. Increasing the diversity and quantity of antioxidants promotes continued weight loss by helping patients to lower inflammation even while increasing the number of carbohydrates in their diets over the next few weeks of food reintroductions.
Perhaps the most important thing about week 2 foods is that for most people, nuts, dark chocolate, and berries are convenient and pleasurable foods that are joyfully included in their diets. All the science aside (and there is a lot of science supporting the health benefits of nuts, dark chocolate, and berries), having pleasurable and delicious food is what makes the Diet Improved Nutrition Program so successful. We could rename this the dark chocolate and red wine weight loss plan. This program promotes eating beautiful, delicious, colorful plant foods and supports living a social lifestyle. Both of these factors will result in improved health.
Did you know that:
- Dark chocolate has been studied for helping patients to be successful on a weight loss plan. Study participants who consumed dark chocolate saw more weight loss compared with study participants who did not have dark chocolate.
- Blueberries and strawberries are referred to as brain berries due to their antioxidant compounds that decrease brain inflammation and promote longevity and improved cognition.
- Nuts are good sources of fiber and antioxidants and are linked with longevity. The MIND diet for cognitive health recommends eating five servings of nuts a week for chronic disease prevention.
- Drinking 1 alcoholic drink at the end of the day has been shown to initiate a brain detoxification process that is thought to be the reason moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
I could go on and on. Did you know that a dark chocolate bar slathered with almond butter topped with flaky sea salt is delicious? That laughing with a good friend enjoying a nice glass of wine together changes our hormones and benefits our metabolism on a cellular level? These foods are prioritized to be reintroduced early in the program because of their superior nutritional benefits. Often when I am teaching nutrition classes, berries, wine, dark chocolate and nuts are referenced in almost every presentation for their role in disease prevention and health enhancement. Alcohol may not be part of every person’s program but can easily be replaced with a small amount of dark berry juice such as pomegranate, concord grape, or tart cherry as these all show additional health benefits.
Cheers to you and all the delicious food in week 2.
In improved health,