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The Aztec Diet: Chia Power: The Superfood that Gets You Skinny and Keeps You Healthy Hardcover – February 12, 2013
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About the Author
Bob Arnot, M.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books on nutrition and health. He has been a medical correspondent for NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, the Today show, CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and CBS This Morning, and is a health columnist for Men's Journal. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida, and Vermont.
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According to Bob Arnot, "The blood of most people on a classic, carb-loaded Western diet has become a poisonous, angry stew of altered hormones and elevated blood fats, inflammation, cholesterol and sugars." Our carb overloading has lead to increased spikes in our blood sugar, which leads to fatigue, depression, and memory loss and can be tied to more serious illnesses and diseases like stroke, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's, etc.. So, the solution this book offers is that by eating like the Aztec's, you'll regain your health and improve your mood. By detoxing from the constant carb/sugar cycle, our bodies naturally stop craving carbs and sugar.
This is not a new concept. It has been the basic principle of resources ranging from Atkins to gluten free lifetsyle living. But it is a true concept. So, by outlining HOW to do this, consider this book another resource for learning.
Dr. Arnot claims in the book that the food Aztecs ate (beans, corn, turkey, fish, vegetables, fruit and super grains including amaranth, bulgar, quinoa and chia seeds) are the "healthiest foods on the planet and fueled one of the most powerful empires in history." NOTE: I disagree with the corn claim, so I omit this from recipes.
The thing that separates this book from the others on the market is the in-depth information and promotion of the chia seed. A superfood is any food that delivers maximum nutritional benefit at the lowest caloric intake. And that's exactly what Chia does. According to Arnot, chia holds eight times more omega-3 fatty acids than any whole food, six times the calcium than whole milk, three times more iron than spinach, and twice the fiber of spinach. If this is true, the chia seed turns the flaxseed into a washed up has-been. Chia also helps curb hunger and absorption of extra calories because absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands in your stomach to curb your appetite, which in turn leads to eating less. Boom! Superfood double punch.
There are three phases to the Aztec diet:
Phase I: The Chia Challenge (detoxes off sugar and carbs, reving up weight loss)
Phase II: The Accelerate with Lunch (helps you learn how incorporate more healthy foods into your everyday diet)
Phase III: Real Life Aztec Style (shows you how to maintain)
The really helpful part of this book is the list of good carbs and the ones to avoid, all given on a ranking system of 1-10 (healthy ), 11-20 (moderate), and 21+ (nuclear carb war on your system).
There is a two week long detailed eating plan included with the book, along with almost 100 Aztec recipes. I have only just purchased the book, so I haven't had a chance to sample the recipes yet, but will be updating this review as I do. The smoothie recipes look delicious and I can't wait to try the turkey burgers on my family.
You don't have to live carb-free forever. Whole grains have their place in a healthy, whole full, well-balanced diet. But if you have, like many of us have, carb-overloaded your system, detoxing out of that cycle and learning how to implement balanced whole grains back into your diet will cause seeming miracles in your health and weight!
I am not a doctor, so please make sure to consult one before deciding to undergo a major dietary change. But nothing in this book seems to be unhealthy, unlike philosophies touted in diets like Atkins.
But if your sole purpose is weight loss, this is not the book for you. These are major lifestyle changes. And it should also be noted that the author strongly endorses INTENSE physical exercise along with the dietary changes. Technically speaking, cutting anything out of your diet and working out hard will lead to weight loss. If you're not prepared to learn the ins and outs of nutrition and health, and more than likely completely changing your daily diet to something you're not used to, and you're not prepared to maintain that lifestyle for the long term, then this is not the book for you. You will more than likely get frustrated, not be successful, and quit due to discouragement, which only exacerbates yo-yo dieting. If you want to lose weight, cut your calories and elevate your heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day. End of story.
But if you are interested in living a healthy lifestyle with a clean diet (which will lead to weight loss and decreased inflammation), or are looking for more information and some new recipes to help boost your already healthy lifestyle, then this is a great book to add to your resources.
As Beth, my wife, was to be away for a month, I jumped on the A.D. plan, bought the Vitamix ($450!!) blender, and went with Bob's initial program. For me, it worked exactly as advertised: you do get a big loss up front (16# in 30 days, in my case). Personally, I find fruit smoothies to be delightful. Vegetable-based ones require some additional creativity. I treat them as a dip (scoop them up with slices of mushrooms, Wasa crackers, or pour them over a bowl of cooked kale), and/or flood the veggie smoothie with hot peppers or other favor bombs. On Beth's return, I will be ready for the next (less-smoothie-oriented) phase, however, so far, so very good!
A.D. also works hand-in-glove with "The China Study" (Dr. Colin Campbell); very highly recommended. You are (and, your health is), what you eat (by and large). Dr Campbell documents, via numerous scientific studies, how proper nutrition is all that is needed to control...diabetes...heart disease...high blood pressure, very nearly, every serious illness that ail us, given our fat-, sugar-, and carbohydrate-saturated Western diet.