We all know that feeling, the years are passing by us and with it our waistlines continue to grow. These unhealthy pounds just keep tacking on unrelenting as we age, and it gets more difficult to really do anything about it. Things like cholesterol, blood pressure or even diabetes creep up on us through an entire life that was stretched too thin and was too difficult. Not only do we struggle with weight gain on a day to day basis, but we also continually face our own body’s attempts to counteract any weight loss we are able to achieve. This even happened to a world renowned marathon runner, after 30 years of taking care of himself, once he hit the ripe “old age” of 40. Mark Bittman is now the famous food columnist, who wrote the now famous book “Vegan Before 6”. In it he details one of the most interesting takes on dieting that’s been released in recent years, the “flextarian diet” which he used himself to lose over 40 pounds.
This diet centers around a very simple diet, but executes it in a novel way. Before 6pm, you eat like a vegan, with few if any animal products in your diet, and lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. However, after this time, you begin to eat only meat products, which include all sorts of options. The science of this diet is what he spends the bulk of his time explaining, but there’s now a lot of supporters for this program. For years, Bittman wanted to go to a vegan lifestyle but couldn’t maintain it for dinner. Dinner is what he often referred to as the most “social meal of the day” and as such, it wasn’t possible for him to cut out all dairy and meat continually. This pragmatism lead to this breakthrough, when he successfully lost over 40 pounds and stopped himself from developing diabetes (which he was in the early stages of at the time).
After one month of starting the diet he later called “VB6”, he had lost 15 pounds. Can you imagine? That kind of weight loss is practically unheard of with any traditional diet or exercise program. Yet Bittman did it in a single month, and kept it off. After two months his cholesterol and blood sugar levels were normal again, and his sleep apnea which he struggled with for years had disappeared altogether. After four months he had lost almost all the weight. Bittman noted that he just wanted to “see what happened” and wasn’t expecting these sorts of results. Yet, once he cut out the processed foods and sodas (aka empty calories) he found himself feeling so much better. In doing so, he cut out at least 2000 calories from his diet, and wasn’t even as hungry as he used to be. “Processed” foods as he calls them, are no joke to our bodies. They contain a plethora of harmful fats, carbohydrates and calories.
The Power of A Vegan Diet Without the Strict Requirements
This book that Bittman has wrote is actually what he calls “a personal journey”. This is not a prescription or a method that needs to be strictly adhered to, but a general strategy that can help people change their lives. For Bittman, and for many people on the VB6 diet, his health is the major concern. There are concerns about not having adequate protein on a vegan diet, but this is way overexaggerated with this plan. There are plenty of protein sources from vegetables and legumes, but also from meats that you eat after 6pm as well. The goal here is to change your physiological and psychological states, not just one or the other. This has proven to be the most effective way to lose weight, particularly with people who have regularly struggled with it in the past.
There are some major obstacles with any weight loss. As an example, people who eat lots of processed foods will often feel lethargic, lacking in the essential vitamins and minerals our body needs to survive and thrive. Bittman stated in a recent interview that he still loves his meat, he just finds himself craving less of it. That’s the goal of this plan, and the studies on it are proving it to be a very good weight loss program. Not only do people get their diet and health under control, they cut their risk of a lot of chronic disease (as is typical with any sort of weight loss). The more plant based foods you eat, the better you feel and the better you body is able to function. It just makes sense, until recently humans just weren’t able to get these sorts of high carbohydrate foods in great numbers.