Are fruits and veggies the key to weight loss?

crazy fruit and vegetable dietsAh…food. I love it. I love to eat it, read about it, look at pretty pictures of it, collect books about it. I occasionally like to cook it. For most of my pre-adult and adult life, I’ve been fairly obsessed with food.

In high school, I went on a self-titled Crispix diet, where I ate nothing but dry bowls of the cereal. I’d shun family meals out to dinner in favor of holing up in my room, eating my meal bite-by-crispy bite. I gave up red meat when I was 16.

In college, I gained about 20 pounds, even though I was a collegiate athlete (softball), eating fast food and drinking much more frequently than my children ever need to hear about.

My Diet Roller Coaster

In a desperate attempt to lose weight one afternoon, I skipped breakfast and lunch, biked about 25 miles and then came home and ate an entire bag of Baked Lays because I was shaking so badly.

I spent most of my 20′s thinking I was a bit overweight, and spent much coin and energy on how to shed those last few pounds to get to my ideal body weight/shape. Like many other millions of people, I became obsessed with the low-fat craze, buying those stupid boxes of Snackwells, and snacking way too frequently on them.

I was a devout worshiper of Splenda and many other sugar-free foodstuffs, which the consumption of severely compromised my digestion.

Fruits and Veggies for Weight Loss

After recovering from IBS in 2006 (through my own trial and error), I began my journey toward more natural food, eliminating high fructose syrup and trans fats from the grocery list. I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which righted my course even further. I bought a juicer, a BlendTec blender and started caring about where my food came from and what it was made of.

In the winter of 2010, my mom and I did Kevin Gianni’s The Raw Food Challenge, which is a seven-day long literal feast on delicious and nourishing raw foods. Though hard to maintain in my particular family life, it provided me with a base understanding of how good physically and mentally the right food can make you feel. Interestingly, throughout my early 20s, I gained and lost a lot of weight. Once I started eating more naturally, my weight has hovered within the same four-pound range, no matter what I eat.

My newest food endeavor is called the 80/10/10 Diet, by Dr. Douglas Graham. I discovered it while perusing It’s a low-fat raw food diet that’s based on 80 percent carbs (mostly from fruit), 10 percent protein and 10 percent fat.

His website states:

“Dr. Doug Graham has taken the increasingly popular and tremendously successful low-fat, plant-based diet and turbo-charged it for unprecedented, off-the-charts results. Eclipsing even the astounding benefits so well documented by renowned health professionals who also advocate low-fat eating, Dr. Graham’s plan is the first to present a low-fat diet and lifestyle program based exclusively around whole, fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables. From effortless body weight management to unprecedented vibrant health and disease reversal to blockbuster athletic performance, The 80/10/10 Diet delivers in ways no other plan can even hope to match.”

His premise is that eating 80/10/10 is the way humans are programmed to eat in nature, which makes complete sense (to me, at least). If you were dropped off in the middle of “the wild” one of the first things you would want to do is find food. As a human, no doubt your first thought would be to hunt down a a rabbit or squirrel, kill it and then eat it raw (unless, of course, you are the crazy – though wildly entertaining – nut-job Bear Grylis).

You would probably seek out fruit, usually ready to eat in it’s own natural packaging. Seeds and nuts would be available much more sparingly, so you would eat those less frequently.

The two best parts about this way of eating? First, there are no real recipes to prepare. For example, one breakfast is simply: eat two pounds of bananas. (yes, really). Second, it is the most environmentally-friendly diet ever, since you don’t have cardboard boxes, plastic wrapping, and other wasteful packaging that comes with any trip to the grocery store.

My plan right now is to start by eating 80/10/10, or 811 as devout followers call it, for breakfast and lunch and then eating a regular dinner with my family. As the weather evolved here in snowy Michigan, I look forward to getting out to farmers markets and picking some really fresh food.

What sort of crazy diets have you done either in the name of health or weight?

[Photo: muammer/Flickr]

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About Julie Hurley

A married mother of two young children, Julie Hurley is a freelance writer with a strong interest in natural living and is the Director of Public Relations at Principia Media. Visit her personal blog at: