Monday, April 20, 2009

Columnist's Experiment Would Be Easy On Spartan Diet

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Huget wanted to find out how hard it would be to meet all the USDA's Dietary Guidelines by eating food and without supplementing with vitamin and mineral pills. She turned to a registered dietitian named Danielle Omar, who attempted to put together the actual meals necessary to meet the nutritional requirements for a "hypothetical 35-year-old, 5-foot-4-inch woman who weighs 130 pounds and exercises three times a week."

I recommend that you read the article here. Here's my summary: They found it challenging and, in the end, gave the following bad advice:

* "Resign yourself to eating some processed foods"

* "supplementing your diet may be prudent, particularly when it comes to Vitamin D"

* "consider supplementing with calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids (for cardiovascular health) and folic acid"

Here's where they went wrong in their thinking, at least from a Spartan Diet perspective:

1. Exercising 3 times a week is inadequate. Even the very set of government guidelines she's trying to match advises to exercise "most days of the week," which is more than three. The Spartan Diet calls for plenty of exercise 7 days a week. Going an entire day without any exercise damages the body, and prevents proper metabolism. They tried to meet a 1,800 calories per day maximum, but that low number is necessary only because exercising 3 times per week is totally inadequate. By getting enough exercise, they could have kept their hypothetical victim trim, and eat well over 2,000 calories per day.

2. Omar struggled to get sodium intake down to recommended levels. The reason is that they assumed you have to buy ready-made foods, which we do not recommend for people on the Spartan Diet. Make your own foods, and keep salt to a minimum.

3. The advice to "resign yourself to eating some processed foods" is not explained in the article. Why? We recommend that you never, ever eat processed foods of any kind. You cannot achieve maximum health while eating industrial, science-fiction foods where some of the good stuff has been removed and non-food ingredients have been added.

4. Omar recommends drinking milk, which we recommend against.

5. Omar says to "sneak in as many fruits and vegetables as you can." On the Spartan Diet, fruits and vegetables aren't "snuck in" to the your diet. They are central.

6. The article says that you're "likely to fall short" on nutrition from fruits and vegetables, warning that "11 bananas to meet the target for potassium." Then they add parenthetically that beans, potatoes and orange juice are other prime sources of this nutrient. Yes, that's right. Beans, potatoes, orange juice, melons, peaches, avocados, tomatoes, squash, lentils, wild fish, nuts and many other foods are loaded with potassium. If you eat whole, raw, fresh foods in adequate variety and you'll easily get plenty of potassium -- as well as fiber and all the rest.

7. Omar concludes that people still need to supplement their diets with vitamin D, calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid, but that's only because she is not emphasizing sunshine and Spartan Diet foods, which provide plenty of everything and then some.

In a nutshell, the reason this experiment was so challenging is plain to see right there in the article. Omar's recommendation to drink milk and to go ahead and eat some processed foods causes nutritional deficits, because both displace or theoretically replace whole and nutrient-rich foods.

Omar recommends inferior or compromised actions, rather than best actions. She doesn't recommend exercising more than three times per week. She recommends inferior vitamin D pills instead of sunshine. She recommends Omega-3 fatty acids pills instead of flax sees (a daily requirement on the Spartan Diet). She recommends folic acid pills instead of the superior folate, which is plentiful in dark-green leafy vegetables, beans, peas as well as many fruits, vegetables and seeds.

The other problem with this advice is that there is zero consideration regarding food quality. Tomatoes are tomatoes, olive oil is olive oil, soup is soup. On the Spartan Diet, quality is everything. Organic process is higher in nutrients. Organic extra-virgin olive oil is vastly more nutrient-rich than any random bottle of olive oil available in American supermarkets.

I invite Jennifer Huget and Danielle Omar to contact us, and we'll show them how to sail past the government's pathetic minimum dietary recommendations with the most delicious, strength and health promoting diet ever.