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The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, and Joy Paperback – May 1, 2009
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"The Love-Powered Diet is thoroughly researched and beautifully written. It gets my highest recommendation." - Neal Barnard, MD, author of The 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart and president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
From the Author
This is the third incarnation of a book I originally wrote in the early 1990s. At that time, I'd kept off 60 pounds for seven years; now it's been nearly thirty -- something that rarely happens, but if it happened for me, it can happen for you. What I share in The Love-Powered Diet is a combination approach that saved my life: (1) change from the inside -- this has nothing whatsoever to do with food; it has to do with internal wiring, a revamp of which is absolutely essential to transform a compulsive eater, chronic dieter, or food addict; and (2) a thorough introduction to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, the way I've eaten for all this time, never dieted, and haven't had to worry about weight. In a way, this is two books in one, and if even only one half speaks to you, it could change everything for the better.
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How I wish I had had this book 36 years ago when I had bulimia, which was 7 years of pure hell. I found it quite humorous when Victoria described fishing some cake out of a trash can during an eating binge, until I suddenly recalled the disgust and self-loathing of having done it myself as a young woman struggling with this food demon.
This is not a diet book in the sense that it prescribes a meal plan, food restrictions, calorie counting or carb/fat/protein ratios. In fact, there are not even any recipes! The diet to be given is LOVE (for yourself) and Victoria tells you how.
Victoria's solutions for low self esteem, which so often leads to binging, range from spirituality with no particular religion (in fact, there is even a list of prayers from a wide variety of philosophies/religions), 12 Steps, journaling, tips on how to get to the self-love consciousness of what she calls "zero point," and proven insights such as blatant honesty. Meditation is also a strong tool, and Victoria shares her own daily ritual which is loosely called meditation, but is more like self-reflection. (For people who get bored chanting mantras, her routine would be perfect!)
Though the book doesn't prescribe a specific diet (except for love!)Victoria nonetheless strongly recommends her own way of eating, which is vegetarian. In fact, I was delightfully surprised to find she went on to become a raw vegan! She writes, "I myself have taken to the high-raw lifestyle in the past year and although I don't care to make it a religion or go a hundred percent raw, I must say that I feel younger, lighter, and more alive than I have in years." As another recovering food addict, I am happy to hear that, since the raw diet did so much to heal my own eating disorder.
This book will also educate you on the pitfalls of the SAD (standard America diet) way of eating, benefits of organic, sprouts, and other factors of health besides diet. Every chapter is filled with sidebars with all kinds of fascinating information.
Highly recommended for anyone who uses food for a substitute for love.
Susan Schenck, author of The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet
Beyond Broccoli, Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn't Work
Two of my favorite excerpts:
--"The body is a reflection of what's going on inside: emotionally, intellectually and spiritually."
--"When you change your diet, not with a specific goal weight in mind but because your life and world will be better when you do, your body will take it from there."
Second, as someone who has slowly gained weight over the years since graduating from college, I get tired of this big fad in psychology now that states everyone who is overweight has an eating disorder or emotional issues. No, we all don't. The reality is that most of us in the U.S. are overweight because we are too sedentary (driving everywhere, sitting at desk jobs all day and then watching TV and sitting in front of the computer when we get home), and we eat too many fake, processed foods instead of real foods (including real quality meat). I work in a large international firm with MANY foreign employees and clients (Japanese and European). None of them are fat, and none of them are vegetarians or raw food only eaters either. (I know because I order the catering for meetings and I see what they eat for lunch. I also am good friends with many of them, and several have told me the same thing about their views of Americans and our diets).
The author also promotes a diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat for everyone, without making any distinction between eating a McDonalds hamburger and eating an organic chicken breast sauteed in olive oil. Everyone's body is different, and some people respond better to diets higher in protein. In particular, this is downright dangerous advice for people who are hypogylcemic. I suffer from reactive hypoglycemia, which occurs within half an hour of eating meals. The dietary cure for that is to focus meals around protein and a moderate amount of fat (so food digests slowly). A meal of rice and beans without meat and fat would make me violently ill.
She also states that eating vegetarian will get rid of an obsession with food. The reality is that all of the naturally thin (without dieting) people I know are meat eaters. The most food obsessed people I know are vegetarians -- it's like the new version of anorexia. All they do is write and talk about every last morsel of food they ate and how good it was, complete with posting pictures on facebook. None of my meat-eating friends do that. I don't know what it is about being a vegetarian that makes so many people so obnoxious about it. Why can't they eat that way if that's what feels right to them, and keep their eating habits to themselves instead of pushing their views on everyone else? (Never mind the fact that many vegetarians have cats and dogs, so they're still participating in the killing of animals for food if they feed their pets).
I'll just sum up by saying to buy this book if you are a vegetarian (or are considering becoming one) AND you also believe that your are overweight because you are depressed or have a food addiction or an eating disorder. If not, skip this book and buy another much better book by Victoria Moran ("Fit from Within"). I also highly recommend "Intuitive Eating," by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, if you want to really learn how to listen to YOUR body and eat what it needs to be healthy, and not follow other people's dietary rules that may only work for them.