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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarian Books

Each issue the VIP birds endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book or books that contribute to vegetarian enlightenment.

This month we review a book that that advocates six food categories in the perfect diet.

The Perfect Formula Diet:
How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now
with Six Kinds of Whole Foods

By Janice Stanger, Ph.D.

Perfect Planet Solutions, 2009
Paperback, $18.95

Some people search for the perfect formula for beauty; others strive for the perfect formula for success; still others are on a quest for the perfect formula for peace and serenity.

Biologist and expert on human behavior, Janice Stanger embarked on her 14-year-journey to find the perfect diet. She believes she has found it and wants to share it with the world in her book The Perfect Formula Diet.

Well trained in research that led to her MBA as well as a Ph.D. in Human Development and Aging, she began her intensive study of nutrition that involved "analyzing more than a thousand studies and observing what happens when you adopt a whole foods diet."

Stanger describes her health in this testimonial for the diet: "My energy level is now intense, I no longer fall asleep except at night (and then I sleep soundly), and I haven't had a sinus, bronchial, or ear infection or burning tongue and mouth since starting my current diet. Headaches are exceptionally rare. Best of all, depression and food cravings are distant memories.

Perfect Formula Diet "At age 57 I'm at my Perfect Weight and in Perfect Health. I take no prescription or over-the-counter meds. I don't have allergies, arthritis, skin problems, digestive problems, or any eye or autoimmune diseases. I don't have diabetes or cancer and my cholesterol is 145. My blood pressure is typically about 90 something over 60 something."

Stanger's enthusiasm for the diet is astronomical because she feels it has aged her in reverse and led to her health being better today than it was 30 years ago. The diet has had a highly positive effect on her physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The crux of diet is described in Chapter 6 that carries the same name as the book title. In this chapter the author describes the six categories of "Perfect Foods."

  1. Vegetables
  2. Fruits
  3. Legumes
  4. Whole Grains
  5. Nuts and seeds
  6. Herbs and spices

Stanger believes it is important to balance each of these "Perfect Foods" by volume:

  • One quarter vegetables
  • One quarter fruits
  • One quarter legumes and/or potatoes
  • One quarter whole grains

She also recommends a handful of nuts or one or two tablespoons of nut or seed butters four to six times weekly. Also suggested are two tablespoons of ground flax seeds daily as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. The author advises, "Eat flavorful foods with generous amounts of fresh or dried herbs and spices." Unlike so many other diet gurus, she makes positive statements about the value of potatoes, provided they are not fried or topped with butter, sour cream, or other fats.

The diet does not include meal plans, portion sizes or servings. Dieters are encouraged to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. To help the novice, Stanger provides extensive lists of food choices in each of her six categories of "Perfect Foods." Although she extols the benefits of a plant-based diet, she is aware that this diet is lacking in vitamin B12 and possibly vitamin D and recommends taking supplements to avoid deficiencies in these two important vitamins.

This volume is not just a diet book; it is a lifestyle changer. In separate chapters Stanger considers issues like exercise, obtaining sufficient sleep, environmental concerns, relating to other people, and diseases of dietary excess.

Sprinkled throughout the book are statements of facts gleaned from her research. The I-never-knew-that-list of facts includes statements like these:

  • Legumes favorably alter the bacteria in your colon, similar to the action of probiotics.
  • Evidence indicates that trans-fats promote both heart disease and cancer.
  • In a recent study, eating more fruits and vegetables led to more minerals in the bones of teenage boys and girls as well as older women
  • People who eat more whole grains have a lower risk of being or becoming overweight.

Janice Stanger The book concludes with a chapter devoted to resources including books, websites, food sources, recipes, restaurants, magazines, and videos. Instead of including her more that one thousand references in the book and using more paper, she has decided to post them on her website: http://www.perfectformula.com and encourages her readers to check out these sources themselves.

Although The Perfect Formula Diet is one of many books that encourage the adoption of a plant-based diet, this one should be a considered choice because it presents its case in an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow manner. It is packed with information supported by research and could be a textbook for any course on healthy vegetarian nutrition. Janice Stanger has created an excellent guidebook for those who are considering a plant-based regimen. She, herself, is a positive living example of the power and benefits of this diet and lifestyle. Her radiant health makes her a poster person for the program she espouses.

Click here for past book reviews

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