Diet Tips

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Primal Diet Food List

by laura on January 26, 2012 · 1 comment

primal diet food listMy Adventure, Primal Diet Food List

I am not big on the old cliche’ of New Years resolutions. On the other hand I do find that making changes in my diet is easier to do after the holidays are over.

This year I decided to try something new. The idea had been rolling around for some time. I kept reading about the Primal way of eating. It appeals to me because I tend to prefer a diet heavy in protein and fats. I have also put on some extra weight over the last year or so. My activity level really dropped due to illness and injury. I found that I was eating more carbohydrates and sugar out of boredom and possibly a desire for mood elevation.

So, shortly after the new year began, I started on my Primal diet adventure. So far, it has been the most effortless, craving free,smooth sailing diet that I have ever attempted. I have to say that I am very pleased. I have already dropped 10 lbs and I am feeling great. I suspect that removing the sugar and wheat from my diet has served me well.

More on that later, now lets get down to business and talk about the Primal Diet food list.

Primal Diet Food List, Protein Packed!

The Primal diet food list is low in carbohydrates. Therefore protein takes on a stronger role.  There are many great choices of protein. Some of the most recommended sources of protein in the Primal diet food list are:

  • Bison
  • free range chicken
  • grass fed beef
  • free range turkey
  • deer
  • elk
  • wild salmon
  • shellfish
  • organ meats

As you can see there are many choices of meat based protein in the Primal diet food list. Free range and grass fed meats are very important because grass fed beef for example contains different percentages and kinds of fats than beef that is raised cooped up in a tiny stall eating only grains and corn. This diet of corn and grains creates an unhealthy cow and that translates into meat that will make you sick if you eat it long enough. Grass fed beef, milk, and other dairy products are proven to be higher in vitamins and minerals as well as omega 3 fatty acids.

Free range chicken and wild seafood has also been shown to be higher in healthy fats as well as vitamins and minerals. In my opinion, I am happy to spend a bit more for good free range meats. They are superior in quality and that translates to good health and a huge amount of money saved on healthcare in the long run.

Fruits and Vegetables, Primal Diet Food List

The primal diet food list includes a large variety of fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables should all be fresh, not canned. The fruits that are recommended on the diet tend to be lower sugar type fruits like berries, cherries, and plums to name a few. Here is a list of some of the vegetables that you can eat while following the Primal diet food list plan:

  • kale
  • mustard greens
  • turnip greens
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • salad greens
  • cucumbers
  • carrots
  • celery
  • zucchini
  • artichokes
  • yellow squash
  • onions

The list goes on and on. There are a large variety of fruits and vegetable included in the Primal diet food list. Potatoes are also included in the list but are not recommended for those who are trying to lose weight unless they are very active. Sweet potatoes or yams are recommended over white potatoes because they contain more fiber as well as more vitamins and minerals in most cases. If you do decide to add in potatoes I recommend trying different types of potatoes like purple potatoes for example. Purple potatoes are one of my favorite varities. They are sweet and earthy and they are packed with antioxidants.

I have not consumed a large amount of fruits since beginning to follow the Primal diet food list. While fruits are perfectly healthy and necessary to a balanced diet, they do contain sugars. When I do consume fruit, it is usually berries of some sort because they are high in fiber, high in antioxidants, and low in sugar compared to other fruits. For me, berries are an important part of the Primal diet food list.

Paleo Diet Plan Menu

by laura on January 24, 2012 · 2 comments

diet plan menuPaleo Diet Plan Menu

The Paleo diet plan menu is full of simple, hearty food. It is based on the idea of eating what humans have evolved to eat. Foods that are not processed like most grains, flour, and sugars. A diet plan menu that is heavy in protein, fats, and veggies. Foods like coconut oil, avocados, and nuts are also included in a Paleo diet plan menu. The idea is that mankind is not designed or evolved to eat processed grains, and other processed foods.

Paleo Diet Plan Menu, Breakfast

A great Paleo diet plan menu breakfast is usually centered around filling proteins and fats. Here are some of my favorites:

  • A smoothie with berries, coconut, flax, and protein
  • Scrambled eggs with salsa
  • Steak and Eggs
  • Pumpkin muffins made with almond flour
  • pancakes made with almond and or coconut flour and eggs
  • an omelette with lots of veggies

Paleo Diet Plan Menu, Lunch

There are lots of choices for a great Paleo diet plan menu lunch. Salads are easy to prepare ahead of time and take with you on the go. You can add in lots of yummy stuff like crunchy pecans or almonds. Your favorite dressing and even some crunchy bacon. Here is a list of some of my favorite Paleo diet plan menu lunches

  • lettuce wrapped taco
  • greek salad
  • lettuce wrapped burger
  • salad with pecans, pears, and cucumbers

Paleo Diet Plan Menu, Dinner

There are so many choices for a delicious and satisfying Paleo diet plan dinner. Plan your meal around your favorite protein and veggies, there are many choices. Fresh herbs, spices,  garlic, onion, and lemon juice are great to add flavor and create more interesting meals. It is also fun to remake your favorite meals, Paleo style. It is so easy to re-do recipes like burgers, meatloaf, stir fry, pepper steak, and more. Here is a list of some of my favorite Paleo diet plan menu dinners:

  • chicken stir fry
  • steak with asparagus and mushroom sauce
  • lettuce wrapped turkey burgers with sweet potato “fries”
  • pulled pork
  • paleo style meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes
  • asian shrimp with slaw and cashews

Nuts are allowed on the plan and are a great addition to so many different dishes. They also make a great snack that will keep you going in between meals.

Nut butters are another snack or meal option. Cashew nut butter and almond butter are available in most supermarkets, they are both satisfying and full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Eggs are a staple of the diet and are extremely versatile, try to buy free range organic eggs. They are much more nutritious and more delicious. There are many wonderful options to keep you satisfied on the Paleo diet plan menu.

Diet Plans For Teenage Girls

by laura on December 27, 2011 · 2 comments

Diet Plans For Teenage GirlsBreakfast Is Required, Diet Plans For Teenage Girls

One of the most valuable bits of advice I can give to a teenage girl who is dieting. Please don’t skip breakfast! Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day.

First, eating something first thing in the morning literally “sets” your hunger level for the rest of the day. If you skip breakfast you may not be hungry for a little while but before you know it you will find yourself to be very hungry. Being very hungry is just about the worst thing that you can be while dieting because it almost always leads to bad food choices and overeating.

Another thing about eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking, it gets everything “moving”.  The truth is that the more efficiently your body eliminates waste, the easier it will be for you to lose weight and also eliminate toxins from your body.

Another important factor in diet plans for teenage girls is a protein heavy  breakfast. I always find that when I eat a breakfast with lots of protein it sets me up for success. I don’t feel overly hungry at lunch or dinner and I make much better choices.

Here are a few of my favorite breakfasts diet plans for teenage girls:

  • greek yogurt with berries and a sprinkle of granola
  • oatmeal, fresh fruit, and turkey bacon
  • egg white omelet (1 whole egg+2 whites) 1 oz cheese, fresh fruit
  • whole grain pancakes with fresh fruit

Let’s Do Lunch, Diet Plans For Teenage Girls

Lunch is always something to look forward to. A break in the middle of your busy day. And one of the worst things that you can do while dieting is to skip meals. When dieting you gotta think *big picture*. Skipping meals sets you up for long term failure.

There are so many great choices for lunch. Avoid the fried foods, pizza, and carb loaded meals like pasta. Instead try a delicious soup, a sandwich loaded with veggies and lean protein, or a big salad with all your favorite veggies , lean protein, cheese, and your favorite dressing. When I am craving pizza while dieting I usually buy some of those low fat wraps or pitas and make a turkey pepperoni pizza with tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of parmesan and mozzarella. This is a fun meal for diet plans for teenage girls, and I recommend rounding it out with a green salad. It can be a bit high in sodium so don’t eat it every day.

Don’t Skip The Snacks!, Diet Plans For Teenage Girls

Don’t be afraid of adding snacks to diet plans for teenage girls. Snacks are a very important part of any diet plan. Snacks maintain your blood sugar and keep you going. Fruits and veggies are my favorite snacks. These types of snack really get your metabolism buzzing away. I also love veggies and hummus. A crisp apple and mozzarella cheese stick.  Cheese, whole grain crackers, and a pear. These are some of my favorite snacks that can be added to a diet plan for teenage girls.

Dinner Diet Plans For Teenage Girls

It is very important that all meals be balanced and complete. This is especially important for teenage girls who are still growing and developing. Meals should be balanced and varied and calorie count should never be lower than 1500 calories in my personal opinion.

Rather than trying to stick with a very low calorie diet, teens should be encouraged to be active. Keeping busy can be one of the most effective parts of diet plans for teenage girls. Calorie needs and nutritional needs of teens are greater than that of an adult. I recommend adding a high quality complete vitamin and mineral supplement to any diet plan but this is even more critical to any diet plan for teenage girls.

Some great dinner ideas for diet plans for teenage girls are:

  • whole grain pasta primavera with 1oz of cheese and green salad
  • grilled lean steak with asparagus and brown rice
  • taco salad with grilled chicken, black beans, salsa and low fat ranch dressing

There are so many wonderful choices for dinner. One of my favorite ways to make my diet more interesting is to take my favorite meals and remake them with healthier ingredients and add more veggies and legumes like beans and lentils.  This helps you to feel satisfied both mentally and physically.

In my opinion teens should never be put on a diet that eliminates any food group. This is dangerous enough for adults. Teens need to eat foods from all food groups and change it up as much as possible. I can’t stress how important a varied diet is to getting all of the nutrients and trace minerals that are required for good health and good mood. The best diet plans for teenage girls is to just cut back on sugar, skip the sodas, and try to eat only healthy carbs like whole grains.

Diet Food List, Dukan Diet

by laura on December 11, 2011 · 3 comments

diet food listDiet Food List, What’s The Dukan Diet?

The diet food list for the Dukan Diet is fairly simple and straightforward. The Dukan Diet is on my top ten list of diets because it is simple and very effective. If I learned one thing while living in Paris for a year it was this, French women don’t play around when it comes to dieting. They know how to do it right and they know how to do it quickly. They lose weight eating nutritious, delicious, filling foods. Sounds good to me.

The Dukan Diet is an effective four step diet. It consists of the following steps:

  • The Attack Phase. Pure protein diet for a short period of time. (2 to 7 days)
  • The Cruise Phase. Pure protein days alternate with proteins and vegetables days. (3 days per lb desired loss)
  • The Consolidation Phase. A transition phase to prevent rebound weight gain. (5 days per lb lost)
  • The Permanent Stabilization Phase. Permanent stabilization of weight loss following three simple rules. (for life)

What’s Cooking?, Dukan Diet Food List

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The Dukan diet is fairly restrictive in the diet food list area. But on the up side, you can lose weight quickly on the Dukan Diet food list if you follow it to the letter.  The Dukan Diet also recommends daily exercise. Personally I think that any diet plan that does not recommend daily exercise of some sort is simply irresponsible.

The Attack Phase of the Dukan Diet food list includes the following foods.

  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Buffalo
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Tofu, Seitan, TSP
  • Nonfat Dairy Products

The Cruise Phase (alternating protein diet with protein and vegetables)of the Dukan Diet food list includes the following foods:

  • All above listed proteins
  • All vegetables except the following: potatoes, corn, dried peas, beans, lentils, avocado, grains are also not allowed including quinoa.
  • limit oils

The Consolidation Phase (transition):

  • add one serving of fruit per day to the previous routine
  • add two servings of whole grain bread per day
  • add one serving of cheese per day
  • add two servings of starchy foods per week (lentils, polenta, quinoa, etc.)
  • fatty meats may be eaten a few times per week
  • two celebration meals per week = party time (whatever you like) within reason
  • one day of pure proteins per week
  • oat bran for added fiber

The Permanent Stabilization Phase

  • Eat what you want for 6 days out of 7, keep consolidation foods as your base
  • keep good habits of program
  • one pure protein day per week for life
  • exercise daily, do not use stairs and escalators walk whenever possible
  • take 3 tablespoons of oat bran per day for life

Conclusion, The Ducan Diet Food List

The Dukan Diet food list is rather simple and straightforward. It is also rather effective. Once you get down the routine of the plan it is easy to follow. And if you enjoy eating meats and other proteins, this diet shouldn’t be hard to follow. As I mentioned before, it is a diet that must be followed strictly in order to have  sustained success.

The Dukan diet also includes some other simple but effective ideas. One of those ideas is that adding salt to your food stimulates your appetite. I have found this idea to be true. If you can enjoy your food without adding salt then I recommend doing so. It can greatly reduce the appetite.

Exercise is also vital to this program. Movement is encouraged and the idea of taking advantage of every day opportunities to move is taught. For example, take the stairs whenever possible. It seems so simple but these little choices each and every day really add up to a lot of movement and calories burned.  Walking is also highly encouraged and also risk free, even for the obese.

I hope that this post will be helpful to anyone interested in learning about the Dukan Diet and the Dukan Diet food list.








Diet Pills That Work

by laura on December 7, 2011 · 2 comments

diet pills that work

diet pills

Diet Pills That Work, Do They Exist?

I know diet pills that work. As someone who has dieted both successfully and unsuccessfully many times over the past 20 years, I believe I have found the answer to this question.

The answer is yes and no. Confused much? Do yourself a favor and keep reading because I believe I have most of the answers when it comes to this question. There are diet pills that work, but……

There are many different types of diet pills. Some work by literally speeding things up, most importantly your heart. Some block nutrients and fat from being absorbed, some fill you up with fiber. There are pros and cons to each type of diet pill. These are diet pills that work, but there is also a price to pay. Unfortunately, there is no diet pill without consequence.

Types of Diet Pills That Work

Diet pills that work can be split into two main categories; prescription (RX) and over the counter or (OTC). I am not a big fan of pharmaceutical companies, but the diet pills they produce generally work, at least temporarily. You can also find some OTC diet pills that work, but you probably won’t find them in your local drug store or grocery store. In my experience, the diet pills that are sold in the drug/grocery store and on TV do not work!  The diet pills sold through these sources are usually weak formulations of herbs that do nothing for your diet in reality.

The types of (RX) diet pills that work are appetite suppressants such as Meridia, Bontril, Adipex and Phentermine. These drugs alter neurotransmitters in the brain,an increase or decrease in certain brain chemicals can lead to a decrease in appetite.

These drugs are generally stimulants as well, they speed up the heart rate. These drugs can only be taken for a short period of time and can be very dangerous. They tend to work for temporary weight loss but not long term. Most people gain back the weight lost and sometimes more once they stop taking this type of diet pill.

Another type of diet pills that work are Xenical also known as Orlistat. Orlistat doesn’t suppress the appetite, instead, it works in the intestinal tract to keep your body from absorbing about 30 percent of dietary fat. This drug is only recommended for people who have a body mass index of 30 or higher.

This drug is can be very dangerous if used for more than a few months because it can block the absorption of highly important vitamins like  A, E, D and Iron. It can also block the absorption of other important nutrients. For this reason, it cannot be used long term. In my experience orlistat works, but it is a crutch so to speak. Once you stop using it, you will probably gain back any weight that was lost. It can also cause lots of gas, loose stools, greasy stools, and embarrassing accidents.

 Diet Pills That Work, What Doesn’t Work?

You can find many types of diet pills over the counter. These are the types of diet pills that generally do not work. Fat blockers, carb blockers, OTC appetite suppressants. Some carb blockers may slightly decrease carbs but unless you are making other changes to your diet, these alone will not cause you to lose weight. Fat blockers such at chitosan have not been shown to be effective in studies. In my own personal experience I have found that OTC appetite suppressants do not work at all and I have tried many different brands and price ranges.

In summary, save your money by staying away from OTC remedies which usually don’t work at all. The diet pills that work are not sold OTC for the most part. And the diet pills that do work, only do so for a temporary fix. In my experience, giving my body healthy, nutritious food and all of the vitamins and minerals that it needs has helped my diet success more than anything. If you are craving foods and are hungry all the time, there is a good reason for it. You are most likely missing some vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients in your diet. Your brain will naturally tell your body to eat until you get what you need.

Obesity is a disease of malnutrition. This is my own personal belief and though not widely held, I believe it will be common knowledge in the medical and health community in coming years. Our diets are incomplete when it comes to nutrition, that is something that most people believe to be true. As I stated before, when the body is not getting enough of something it needs, it will continue to consume until it does, and thats how we get to the state of obesity.

If you are looking for the true and lasting answer to lifetime health and a healthy weight, you must look to nutrition, there in lies all of the answers. All diet pills that work, only do so temporarily.

Diet For Diabetic

by laura on December 1, 2011 · 1 comment

Diet for diabeticDiet For Diabetic, Here’s The Skinny

Diet for a diabetic, navigating the ocean of food choices currently available can be daunting. But it all comes down to a rather simplistic idea. Eating whole foods (unprocessed), filling your plate with vegetables and healthy proteins, and avoiding sugars of all kinds including alcohol.

Healthy carbohydrates are not completely forbidden in many diets for diabetics. Diabetics should focus on only the healthiest carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes (peas, lentils, beans), and low-fat dairy products.

Fish is an excellent source or protein in a diet for diabetic. Salmon, herring, and anchovies are rich in healthy fats.  Tuna, cod, and halibut are lower in fats and excellent sources of protein.  Mackerel and swordfish have  been found to have high levels of mercury , so they should not be eaten on a regular basis.

Nuts are a healthy, satisfying snack and are an excellent source healthy fats. Nuts also have a low glycemic effect. Fat should never be left out of any diet for diabetic because it is so critical to the health of every cell in the human body.

Try to eat a good combination of fats. A good variety of unsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats is best in my experience. All of these fats play a role in good health, even saturated fats. Saturated fats have been demonized in recent years but recent studies have shown them to be beneficial in many ways.

The fats that one needs to avoid in a diet for diabetic needs, or any healthy diet for that matter are trans fats. Trans fats are chemically produced by altering the natural chemical state of fat. This greatly affects the way that the human body utilizes it in a very negative way, which is why it is so important to avoid all together. Go for natural fats of all kinds in a variety of foods. Some great ones are avocados, almonds, walnuts, coconuts, and pecans.

It’s All In the Planning, Diet For Diabetic

Finding success in controlling your blood sugar and weight with diet for diabetic,  is all about planning. Planning out your meals and snacks can make an incredible difference in your ability to adhere to a plan. And with almost any diet ,after a few weeks, it becomes second nature and much easier to live with.

When planning your meals it is very important to keep close track of carbohydrates. There are many free online tools available that can be utilized to easily keep track of exactly how many carbohydrates you are consuming. Another option are the apps that are now available for smart phones. I find these very easy and convenient to use.  Many of these apps also include tools that can help you plan your shopping trips and meals.

Glycemic Index is another important factor in planning your meals. Try to eat only whole grains. The closer the grain is to it’s natural state the better. You want your grains whole, unbleached, not stripped of their natural nutrition. And the closer the grain is to it’s natural state, the slower it will be digested. When a grain is slowly digested, it is much less likely to cause blood sugar levels to rise or be affected in a negative way.

Diet For Diabetic, Sample Meal Plan

Your calorie intake should be based on your height, weight, and daily activity level. The following suggestions would be for a 1200 to 1650 calorie per day diet.

  • Breakfast  Whole grain english muffin, one poached or boiled egg, one piece of fruit.
  • Lunch   grilled sirloin, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup steamed green beans, one piece of fruit.
  • Dinner whole grainPasta with broccoli, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of low-fat milk.
  • Snacks whole grain crackers with one ounce of cheese and small piece of fruit.

As I said earlier, it really comes down to a few simple rules and eating foods that are closer to their natural state (unprocessed).  Don’t be afraid of fats and protein. Follow these simple ideas and you can’t go wrong in your diet for diabetic.

Dieter’s Tea | Dieter's tea

by laura on November 30, 2011

Dieter's tea


What is Dieter’s Tea?

Dieter’s tea is just one on of the available tools in the dieter’s arsenal. It is usually a concoction of various herbs like Senna, Eleutherococcus Senticosus, spearmint, marshmallow, orange peel, cinnamon and other herbs and spices that are known to have a diuretic and or induce bowel movements sometimes referred to as “cleansing”. In my experience, dieter’s tea is not hard to find. I have personally seen it in all of my local grocery stores and pharmacies.

Pros and Cons of Dieter’s Tea

In my opinion, Dieter’s Tea is really only useful if you are constipated.  Dieter’s Tea is one of those things that  I guess can be useful in certain circumstances. Tea helps with digestion to keep things moving, as well as to help bring a feeling of fullness before a meal so the individual  might eat less.

Dieter’s tea is also something that should be used only occasionally and carefully, if at all.  Some herbalists and toxicologists have expressed concerns in the consumption of senna which is ususally one of the main ingredients of dieter’s tea. Dieter’s tea can also contain helpful antioxidants as well, most of us need more antioxidants. Although there are much better sources of antioxidants.

Common side effects include: cramping, nausea, appetite loss, dehydration, abdominal pain, sweating and an increase in bowel movements. Using senna can lead to electrolyte imbalance and that can lead to irregular heart beats and even heart failure. Seems like a lot of risk to take on just to lose a few pounds that you will gain back tomorrow.

The weight that you loose when you have diarrhea is only very temporary water weight and won’t do much of anything for your appearance. Also, dieter’s tea should never be used when you are pregnant. It could cause really serious problems for your baby, so just don’t go there.

Dieter’s Tea, Is It Worth The Side Effects?

WIth all the negative side effects that come from dieter’s tea, you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it? If you are chronically constipated, there are so many other alternatives such as triphala. And chronic constipation usually means that there is a much bigger problem at hand with your diet or your health. Also, if you are taking any type of prescription drugs, check with your doctor first before you use dieter’s tea. Some of the herbs in dieter’s tea are strong and can interact with other drugs.

I will address constipation and it’s affect on dieting in another blog post. It is a big stinky issue to say the least. If you are using dieter’s tea because you are retaining water, try increasing potassium in your diet and decreasing sodium. You will quickly find that your body will release the water that it is holding onto within 3 to 4 days you could lose up to 10 lbs or more (in my experience). And this will be a healthier and long lasting solution as compared to dieter’s tea.

south beach diet foods

south beach style heart turkey chili


South Beach Diet Foods, Where do I begin?

The South Beach Diet foods are the reason why this is one of my absolute favorite diets. In fact it is in my top five most effective, easy to stick with diets. The main reason I am such a fan of this diet is the food! The south beach diet foods list is a long one, which satisfies one’s need for variety and this is also key for good nutrition.  I found that I lost weight quickly on south beach, and usually felt satisfied. It’s the kind of diet you can stick with for life and still enjoy the good stuff.


The Incredible List of South Beach Diet Foods

I found the south beach diet foods very easy to stick with. There were many different quick and easy meals that I was able to make for myself and it was easy if I planned ahead. Here is a list of just some of the south beach diet foods:

  • apples, apricots, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, avocado, bacon, barley, black beans, soybeans, cannellini beans, chickpeas (garbanzo), edamame, lentils, pintos, blackberries, blueberries, bread, broccoli, brown rice, broths, buckwheat, bulgur, cabbage, cantaloupe, capers, carrots, cauliflower, chipotles, cheese, cherries, chili paste, chili peppers, chocolate, cocoa powder, couscous, crackers, curry, dates, eggplants, fish, flour (non white), grapes, guacamole, ham, herbs, kale, kasha, lamb, lemons, nuts, miso, mustard, oats, olive oil, sesame oil, peppers, pasta, pickles, quinoa, salsa, soba noodles… and the list goes on and on!

Amazing Meals from South Beach Diet foods

I also wanted to mention some of my favorite meals while I was on the south beach diet. I had some tried and true favorites from the south beach diet foods list,  some of my favorites…

  • chicken Jambalaya
  • chicken breast stuffed with spinach and goat cheese
  • turkey chili
  • peanut chicken with noodles
  • peppery steak with horseradish
  • beef with asparagus and mushrooms
  • chipotle beef burrito
  • beef and bok choy fried rice
  • macaroni and cheese
  • tuna pasta salad
  • rice pudding
  • coconut wafers
  • mini cocoa swirl cheesecakes

As you can see from this list, which is just a sampling from the south beach diet foods list, there are so many delicious things to choose from! This is not hard to do, but you do have to stick with the program, no cheating!