We Love Books Linky {June 10}!

The story of a book that changed my life!

This is the book.


 And this is the story.........
One of my passions is reading about and researching health and diet.  The year before I retired from teaching, I was sick and fat.  My blood work wasn't good, with triglycerides dangerously high.  My daughter, who is a doctor, said, "Mom, you've got to do something to change that now!"  So, I began the search to find the diet that would work for me.

#1. The diet had to be healthy. Through lots and lots of reading, I learned a great deal about which foods promote your health and which do not.  There are so many different opinions by qualified experts out there that it can become quite confusing.  But I didn't take anything at face value.  With each new piece of expert advice, I would dig deeper to find proof that this advice was sound.  From there, I dismissed some theories, combined other theories, and carefully observed my own body's reactions to food, which led to my conclusions about what was healthiest for me, and, thus, the search for MY perfect diet. 

~ My diet needed to be mostly REAL FOOD, not pre-packaged junk with tons of ingredients I couldn't even pronounce.


~ My diet had to have plenty of vegetables the color of the rainbow, both raw and cooked, organic as much as possible.  I had found all the evidence I needed that vegetables supply a plethora of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.  The different colors supply different nutrients.


~ My diet had to include lots of good fats called MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids).  MUFAs are the heart-healthy, disease-fighting fats found in olive oil, olives, flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds, nut & seed butters, avocados, and even chocolate!  These fats actually help you lose fat, especially belly fat.
I now make lots and lots of guacamole and I love it!  The one MUFA that I try to get every day is flaxseed oil, usually in a mid-afternoon berry shake.  Flaxseed oil seems to benefit me almost immediately in the way I feel.


~ My diet had to include fruits and berries (organic if possible) in moderate amounts.  Every day I try to get some berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), usually in an afternoon shake.  I also eat a moderate amount of apples, bananas, pineapple, peaches, nectarines, etc.  The fruits and berries help to satisfy sweet cravings, especially when accompanied by a small amount of chocolate.  Yum!


~ My diet had to have protein-rich foods from eggs, poultry, fish and moderate amounts of beef and pork (cage-free, grass-fed if possible).  I try to eat beef or pork no more than once or twice a week.  Lucky for me, I like both chicken and good fish. When I say good fish, I mean high quality sustainably harvested wild fish that are free of harmful levels of mercury and other contaminants.  Absolutely no farmed fish!   The only company I trust for my fish is Vital Choice.  My favorites are their wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon and their sardines in spiced olive oil.  The Omega 3s in the salmon and the high-calcium content in the sardines are an added plus.

~ My diet had to be low in flour/grain products.  For many, switching to whole wheat or whole grain bread/flour works well.  But, for me, it doesn't.  Too much wheat or whole grain (even gluten free) upsets my intestinal balance; I actually do better on regular white bread than whole wheat.  Yet, too much white bread or any white flour product has no nutritional value and will make you fat.  But, for the reason given above, when I do use bread, which is seldom, it is simply bread made from unbleached, unbromated white flour.  I have, however,  found a wonderful little recipe from Your Lighter Side for low-carb gluten-free bread that has no flour at all called Oopsie rolls, for the times when I want to eat a little more bread.  This same basic recipe is used for a great little cream puff recipe too!  Otherwise, I sometimes make desserts using almond flour or coconut flour. 


~ My diet had to be nearly sugar-free. I'm often known for saying, "Sugar is evil!"  I truly believe that sugar is one of the most unhealthy substances you can put into your body. I don't just mean sugar in itself.  I also mean flour products that cause your body to make more sugar than sugar does.  I mean sugar by any name - agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, coconut sugar and syrups, organic cane juice, cane syrup, fruit juices, all artificial sweeteners including aspartame, NutraSweet, sucralose, sugar alcohols such as Xylitol and maltitol or any ending in "tol."
The only sweetener I personally believe to be ok is stevia (in small amounts).  The only problem is, just as with white sugar, it is bleached white when it is processed.  That means a bleaching agent has been used and residue from it is in the stevia or sugar.  I have considered growing or purchasing online green stevia plants/leaves and preparing it myself into a sweet syrup, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe, someday. :)
So, what to do for a once-in-a-while homemade sweet treat?  I will occasionally allow myself a small amount of real (usually raw) sugar accompanied by a few drops of  Sweet Leaf's Stevia Clear or the NuNaturals' brand.  I have also found a product (although bleached) called Stevia Cane that combines pure cane sugar with stevia; you use only half as much to any recipe as you would sugar.  (DO NOT be fooled by the product called Stevia in the Raw that you can buy in the grocery store; it's first ingredient is erythritol.)  Other ways to sweeten cookies, muffins, etc. include simply using a ripe banana or some Medjool dates.  I also use a small amount of chocolate chips once in a while. 

I have to remind myself that any of these sweet treats are to be enjoyed occasionally only.  The thing is, if you eat more than a small amount or even a small amount several days in a row, your body starts to crave sweet things again, which can easily and quickly sabotage your dieting efforts.  It's definitely all about control here.

Sorry about all the sugar ramblings, but I'm passionate about this!

#2.  The diet had to be one that I could stick with.  That means it had to be uncomplicated, easy to follow, and not too restrictive.  It had to be as simple as cherry pie!


#3  The diet had to be one that achieved weight loss within a reasonable amount of time, and could easily transition into a satisfying eating plan for life.

Then I found the Flat Belly Diet, and it seemed to fit the bill for all three of the above conditions for my perfect diet. 

#1. The Flat Belly Diet is healthy with 1600 calories per day and includes vegetables, protein-rich foods, fruits and berries, options for grains, and MUFAs at every meal.  It avoids saturated and trans fats, as well as sugar. It also includes lots of dairy, which I'm still not sure how well I tolerate, but it worked fine during the diet.

Side note: I love my milk, cheese, and dairy in general; but sometimes wonder if it causes some tummy upsets.  If it does, it isn't often.  Although many experts try to convince us that alternative milks (almond, soy, rice, coconut, etc.) are better choices for us, I'm not convinced.  But many people do believe it and start consuming a lot of one particular kind.  I think too much of any of these alternative milks can have more long-term consequences than milk for most people.  Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a box of almond milk for example?  The long list is full of unhealthy additives!  No thanks, I'll stay with real milk, at least for now.  If milk does become an allergy or sensitivity issue, there is always the option of making homemade almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk.  Also, some dairy sensitive folks do fine with hard cheeses.

#2. The Flat Belly Diet is a diet I can stick with.  It is uncomplicated, easy to follow, and is not too restrictive.  Following four days of an anti-bloat jumpstart menu, the diet begins with only 3 rules to follow:
          Rule #1: Eat a MUFA at every meal.
          Rule #2: Stick to 400 calories per meal/snack (4 per day) 
          Rule #3: Never go more than 4 hours without eating.

Now, it does sound pretty easy, and it is.  But, in the beginning you have to be patient and learn how to count the calories carefully; you will soon realize that about half the calories are the MUFA.  You are given snack pack options with the calories counted for you, as well as a list of foods and their calories that you can create your own snack packs from.  Then they provide another list of options for calorie-counted breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. These snack pack and meal options are what helped me through the beginning weeks, and helped me to learn how to count up the calories.  Later, I found food lists, such as the one in the back of the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook that gave the calorie count for the different food groups.  After making meals using these resources for a while, it becomes pretty easy to know what and how much to eat at each meal.  Easy peasy from there! 

As for the four-day anti-bloat jumpstart, it is important to do and to do it exactly as given.  It calms your intestinal tract and prepares your body for a four-meal-a-day schedule.  It brings down the cravings and makes the diet so much easier to stick to.  During the jumpstart, you must drink a pitcher of "Sassy Water" throughout the day (the recipe is given).  You are also given a shopping list and the four-day menu.  You must follow it exactly to get the full beneficial effects.

#3. The Flat Belly Diet is the only diet in which I have succeeded in losing a significant amount of weight within a reasonably short amount of time.  It all began that spring when I realized I needed to lose weight immediately.  School had just ended for the year (late May), and I could concentrate on my diet over the summer.  I ordered the Flat Belly Diet book, read it front to back, studied it carefully, and began my diet.  I followed it word for word, because I had to!  My triglycerides were in the thousands, and normal is under 150; that's an incentive!  By the end of July, I had lost 20 pounds, and another 5 by the time school started in mid-late August.  My triglycerides were down to 121, and my cholesterol numbers were down too!  All this from simply eating healthy and moderate exercise!  (Although, I really didn't exercise more than just a little moderate walking.)  And I felt great when I returned to my final year of teaching!

This diet makes it easy to transition into a lifestyle of healthy eating.  After returning to school, I did not follow the diet strictly, but continued to eat in the same healthy way that I had learned from it.  By September, I had lost another 5 pounds.  That was nearly four years ago, and since that time my triglycerides have remained in the 100s and 200s range, even with some weight gain on and off when I let myself  slide.  I find I do best if I try to stay on the diet most days, except for S days.  I learned about S days from a diet called the S Diet.  You simply stay on your diet, except for Saturdays, Sundays, and special days like holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.

But, yes, I am still a slider when life gets so stressful or too busy that I forget to remember that the Flat Belly Diet lessons are easy to follow.  I must continually remind myself: Rule #1: eat a MUFA, Rule #2: 400 calories 4 X day, Rule #3: never go more than 4 hours without eating.  It's that simple!

I made a Weekly Menu Template to plan ahead and pencil in or type in my menu for
the week.  This helps to keep me focused on the foods I should be eating.
 You can click on the image below to download it.

If you are interested, you can purchase the Flat Belly Diet at
amazon.com.  Click on the image.


Thanks to Deanna Jump for another Tuesday of Let's Talk about Books!


Now head on over to Deanna's blog to find some other great books, and link up!
Happy Tuesday!



  1. I just picked The Flat Belly Diet book up at my local library, but haven't had a chance to read it. I loved your post and am anxious to get started on my own get fit journey! Thanks for all your information!

  2. What an amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing and linking up!

    *Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas*

  3. Sounds great! I need to get control of my diet and am confused. Too much information that is conflicting.
    I need a low sodium option also. It looks like this one might fit. Any ideas about sodium content? Obviously the fresh fruits and vegetables are fine.


  4. I would think the sodium content would not be great on a diet like this, as it is simply real food. Processed food is where most people get too much sodium. I would consider using Celtic Sea Salt if you use salt to flavor your food or in baking. It has a greater amount of magnesium than others, which helps to counteract the sodium.


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