A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

UltaSimple Diet Report

I followed Dr. Hyman's UltraSimple diet to the letter for seven days starting on Sunday, May 23. By the end of the week, I had lost three pounds, and two inches from my waist. I felt fine all week and had no cravings whatsoever for snacks, sweets, even caffeine. After the week was ended, I gradually (but not as gradually as Dr. Hyman recommends in his book) added back foods to my diet one by one.

The hardest part of the regimen, for me, was giving up caffeine. As recommended in the book, I did this in advance, and it was very painful--literally. I had a massive hangover (times ten) the first day. I was so nauseous and lightheaded that I went to bed for most of the day. I felt that if I even turned my head the slightest bit, I'd retch. I also had a killer headache. The next day, however, I was almost all better. This all happened four or five days before the diet was to begin. By the time it did, I was virtually decaffeinated. I say "virtually" because, according to the diet, two cups of green tea (with or without caffeine) may be taken daily. So, although I had cut out all coffee and black tea (of which I drink A LOT, I am sorry to say), I was still getting a bit of caffeine from the green tea.

This diet does require a good deal of effort and organization. I didn't see the point of bothering with it unless I followed it to the letter. In this respect I think I'm better than the average person. I'm kind of a nut about doing things by the book. Also, I work from home and have the flexibility to shop for, prepare, and eat the meals and snacks at the proper times as detailed by Dr. Hyman. I think that the average person would have difficulty submitting to all of these rules and limitations. Still, as Dr. Hyman points out, it's only one week. I think that anyone with as much determination as I had could have figured out how to stick to this regimen for seven days.

I did the "enhanced" version of the diet, which included some extra supplements and vitamins, yoga, exercise, detoxifying baths, and a first-thing-in-the-morning drink of organic extra-virgin olive oil and fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice (that's BEFORE the hot water and organic fresh-squeezed lemon juice that comes BEFORE the protein shake breakfast). I figured if I was going to carve out a week of attending to nothing much besides this regimen, I might as well go for broke.

The foods to which I was limited were not bad. The protein shakes were not too tasty, as they were a base of tasteless, gritty rice protein powder mixed with water. Half a cup of fruit and a couple of spoonsful of almond butter didn't go far enough to make them very delicious. I got used to them, though. The UltraBroth looked vile, but didn't actually taste too bad. I drank it cold. Lunch was half a cup of cooked brown rice with two cups or more of any vegetable (or combination of vegetables) steamed or lightly sautéed in olive oil. Dinner was the same, with the addition of half a cup of lean chicken or fish, tofu or beans. I sautée just about everything in olive oil before I eat it anyway, so I found the meals appetizing. I could use all I wanted of salt, garlic, hot pepper, and any other herbs and spices. Snacks were extra helpings of Ultrashakes or UltraBroth, but I was too full to need them.

My diet was already rather similar to this spa regimen, so I didn't expect results as dramatic as those of a participant who wasn't used to loads of vegetables, organic, minimally-processed foods, and so on. I was pleased with the results overall, and since going off the regimen I've tried to reduce my intake of caffeine and sugar, continue some of the supplements, and just generally pay a little bit more attention to the way I eat. I like Dr. Hyman's approach a lot.

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