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Remember, exact numbers aren’t always important. These numbers are to be used as a guide to getting in the proper number of exchanges. You can use this as a guide to plan your daily meals. The key is sticking to your minimums and maximums and getting in three meals and three snacks. In the pages that follow are easy-to-follow meal plans and eating suggestions to help you keep on the diet.
Carbohydrate exchanges for hormonal diet
Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits, milk, and starches. As discussed in Chapter 2, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Fruits and vegetables are the best carbohydrates to eat. Carbohydrates that are rapidly digested cause insulin surges and disrupt hormonal balance.
Vegetables (Minimum 5, Maximum Unlimited)
One vegetable exchange yields 0–5 grams of carbohydrate, 0–2 grams of protein, zero fat, and 0–25 calories.
An exchange is one cup of fresh vegetables or one-half cup of cooked vegetables. Therefore, three vegetable exchanges have the same calorie content as one starch exchange. It is very difficult to overeat vegetables. This explains why they are unlimited on the Hormonal Health Diet. Besides, all that fiber contributes to early satiety before you can possibly overeat on vegetables!
Fruit (Minimum 5, Maximum Unlimited)
One fruit exchange yields 15 grams of carbohydrate, zero protein and fat, and about 60 calories.
Despite their higher carbohydrate content compared with vegetables, fruits are unlimited in this plan. Because of their high water and fiber content, one becomes full easily without overconsumption of calories. It is also for these reasons that fruit juices and processed fruits are not unlimited; they can be found in the starch category.
Though not truly a starchy food, processed fruits are easily consumed in a quantity that rapidly provides large amounts of calories without the corresponding fullness. Processed fruits and juices are high in calories and have a very high glycemic index, as discussed.
Keep plenty of fresh fruit around. Most fruits will last in the fruit and vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for a week or so. Mangoes, melons, and pears may be left on the kitchen counter until they ripen (become softer and develop a sweet smell) and then moved to the refrigerator.
The Hormonal Health Diet allows for unlimited fruits, with three exceptions: bananas, grapes, and watermelon.
These three fruits, although very healthy, have a higher glycemic index and can be overeaten. Bananas, grapes, and watermelon are not off-limits. Just remember, these fruits should be eaten in moderation. Try to have no
more than five servings total of these three fruits each day.
You must have a minimum of five fruit exchanges every day. Table 11.3 lists portion sizes that equal one fruit exchange.
Milk (Minimum 0, Maximum 3–4)
One milk exchange provides 12 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein, and variable fat. (Maximum 3 exchanges for weight loss, 4 exchanges for weight maintenance.) The choice of milk and yogurt will determine the amount of fat.
However, this diet plan strongly urges skim and low-fat or nonfat products. An allergy to milk or lactose intolerance can eliminate this group from the diet. For those of you who fall into this category, there are other options. Soy milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk, and there is such a large variety of soy products on the market.
The protein content and carbohydrate content vary greatly, so it is wise to label shop for the product with the most protein and least carbohydrate and fat content. Eden Soy Original and Extra Original provide 13 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams of protein, and 5 and 3 grams of fat, respectively.
Be aware that some varieties provide as much as 27 grams of carbohydrate, equivalent to almost two carbohydrate exchanges. By eliminating or restricting milk in the diet, you risk inadequate calcium intake. Most soy milks are fortified with calcium; however, this may not be enough.
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Starch (Minimum 0, Maximum 4–6)
One starch exchange provides 15 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein, zero fat (unless prepared with fat), and 80 calories. (Maximum 4 exchanges for weight loss, 6 exchanges for weight maintenance.) Starch is frequently considered the culprit in failed weight loss attempts. It is not that starch is bad for you, but of all the macronutrients starch, protein, and fat it is the most overeaten.
Additionally, starchy foods in meals and snacks all too often are accompanied by fat or sugary condiments, such as butter and jellies. When choosing foods from this group, strive to choose high-fiber, unprocessed varieties. This will add bulk to your diet and consequently provide early satiety. The best starches have a low “glycemic index.”
Processed Fruit Exchanges
One processed fruit exchange provides 15 to 19 grams of carbohydrate, zero grams of protein and fat, and 60 to 85 calories. These foods include dried fruits and juices without added sugar. They are a concentrated source of carbohydrates and are limited on this diet owing to the fact that they are easily consumed in large quantities
before you get full. For example, one-half glass of orange juice is more quickly consumed compared with a whole fresh orange.
Yet both provide the same amounts of calories and carbohydrates. Although the nutritional value of processed fruit is slightly less compared with their fresh source, these fruits remain rich in potassium, many vitamins, and
Protein (Minimum 6, Maximum 8–10)
One protein exchange provides 7 grams of protein, zero carbohydrates, and variable fat depending on the cut of meat or the choice of meat substitute chosen. (Maximum 8 exchanges for weight loss, 10 exchanges for weight maintenance.)
This diet plan recommends very lean and lean meats and meat substitutes. A very lean exchange will provide 0 to 1 gram of fat and 35 calories, and a lean exchange will provide 3 grams of fat and 55 calories. Grill, bake, or broil meats in such a manner as to remove all possible fat.
Egg whites are unlimited. Yes, on this diet plan you may have as many egg whites as you want. Egg whites are pure protein, without any fat or carbohydrates. In any weight loss program, adequate protein intake eliminates hunger and prevents muscle loss. I recommend an egg white omelet as a delicious way to get in your protein. But egg whites can also be used in recipes in many creative ways.
Fat (Minimum 0, Maximum 2–4)
One fat exchange provides 5 grams of fat, and zero protein and carbohydrates. (Maximum 2 exchanges for weight loss, 4 exchanges for weight maintenance.)
All fats have the same number of calories. It is important to realize that even a “good” fat is still fat, providing the same amount of calories as a “bad” or saturated fat. Although unsaturated fats are recommended, they are limited as part of a healthy diet.
Free Food Exchanges Unlimited
The foods in this section may be consumed in unlimited quantities on this diet.
• Club soda or mineral water
• Diet shakes (low-calorie)
• Diet soft drinks
• Egg whites
• Flavoring extracts
• Gelatin dessert, sugar-free
• Herbs, fresh or dried
• Pepper rings, hot
• Pudding, fat-free, sugar-free
• Soy sauce
• Sugar substitutes
• Worcestershire sauce
BACK TO BASICS
The Basic Meal Plan is a simple version of the Hormonal Health Diet. It is designed to be:
• Easy to plan for (preplanning is key in any diet—see below)
• Easy to prepare
• Easy to follow
The Basic Meal Plan is designed to help you achieve hormonal balance by emphasizing the eating guidelines presented in this book. The diet uses a 3-day rotation schedule. You should follow the days in order, starting again at day 1 after you finish day 3. I suggest you fol- low this diet for 10–14 days before moving on to a diet with more variety, such as the 7-day meal plan.
Make a special effort to adhere to this diet as best you can. The quantities of fruits, vegetables, and egg whites on this diet are the minimum you should consume; you may always have more. If you are excessively hungry, eat only the “free foods” that you are allowed to have in unlimited quantities. These include free food exchanges, freshfruits, vegetables, and egg whites. (Quantities for bananas, grapes, and watermelon are limited to a maximum of 5 exchanges per day.)
Many people, including myself, are able to follow this meal plan on a daily basis without getting bored of the simple meals. You do not have to follow such a simple eating style, however. After you become familiar with the basics of the diet, you can learn to be more creative with your meals, eliminating the monotony of this simplified approach.
Part of the fun of this eating style is that the choices are endless. The key is learning new ways to combine proteins, starches, fruits, and vegetables into delicious recipes that allow you to stay on the diet and not get bored.
In the pages that follow, the Basic Meal Plan is presented as a 7-day version of the Hormonal Health Diet. The 7-day Meal Plan is designed to be a transition from the Basic Meal Plan. As you get used to this style of eating, you should be able to design your own diet, maintaining the appropriate amount of protein, starches, and fats. And
don’t forget about fruits and vegetables minimums always apply. The key to long-term success is variety. Never let yourself get bored with the diet.
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