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Sonoma Diet

Sonoma Diet Diet
Sonoma Diet emphasizes food enjoyment, focusing on 10 nutrient-rich power foods. With a nutrition and culinary background, author Connie Guttersen, Ph.D., R.D., focuses on portion control, balance and flavor.

A registered dietitian, culinary professional and nutrition consultant to the Culinary Institute of America, Connie Guttersen spent 10 years counseling patients in weight management. In fact, her own vivid recollection of her father downing chalky shakes while the rest of her family dined on real food served as inspiration for her development of the Sonoma Diet. Guttersen advises dieters to embrace more healthful, whole foods, while simultaneously banishing processed foods, simple sugars, refined flour and saturated fats.

Dubbed the "Western Hemisphere's Mediterranean Diet," participants lose weight not by avoiding food, but by enjoying flavorful foods rich in nutrients. Instead of "dieting," the Sonoma plan takes a lifestyle approach, emphasizing food selection (what you eat), food combination (what your meal consists of) and portion control (how much you eat). Instead of calorie counting, measuring and weighing, Guttersen encourages participants to shift their focus from eating efficiently -- shoveling in as much food as they can as quickly as possible -- to eating consciously, savoring both the flavor and satisfaction that come from a good meal.

The plan emphasizes 10 power foods: almonds, bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli, grapes, olive oil, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and whole grains. Fiber-rich and, in many cases, full of heart-healthy fats, these foods help dieters stay full for longer periods of time. Not surprisingly, many of them are also at the crux of the USDA's Dietary Guidelines. Meals are carefully constructed to enhance flavor and maximize the body's absorption of nutrients. For instance, extra-virgin olive oil helps cut the intensity of bitter greens like kale while improving the body's absorption of the green's vitamin E.

In the first wave, you'll purge refined sugar and flour from the pantry. You'll focus on fiber rich vegetables, using only extra virgin olive, nut and canola oils in food prep. Guttersen offers food ratios for each meal based on a 9-inch tasting plate. For instance, grains should comprise no more than 50 percent of your breakfast. Wave 2 adds fruit, more veggies, fat-free yogurt, some sweets and wine (of any variety). Lunch and dinner plates progress, too. In the third and final stage, lifestyle maintenance kicks in.

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