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 Weight Control 


Popular Diet Plans

The Origin Diet

The Origin Diet is a revolutionary health plan that combines age-old nutrition basics with modern science to help you look and feel your best. It was proposed by Elizabeth Somer, RD in her book, "The Origin Diet: How Eating like Our Stone Age Ancestors will Maximize Your Health," (Henry Holt & Company, 2001). Drawing from recent studies on evolutionary nutrition (see blood type diet) and in-depth reviews of current scientific literature, nutritionist Somer concluded that our ancestors who were eating a diet she calls 'The Origin Diet' had dramatically lower incidence of obesity and chronic diseases. She says that today's sedentary lifestyle and fast-food culture are out of sync with our evolutionary makeup and hunting and gathering heritage.

Somer says that you can make painless changes in the way you eat-such as incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet-to help align your body with its evolutionary needs. According to her, this will:

  • Reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, osteoporosis, memory loss, and even depression
  • Reverse the damage of atherosclerosis and bone loss
  • Lose weight quickly and keep them off
  • Boost your energy and mental clarity
  • Live longer, healthier, and happier

There are twelve steps to fine-tune your life so it's more in balance with your evolutionary roots. They are:

  1. Consume eight to ten servings of a variety of rainbow-colored fruits and vegetables every day, or at least two at every meal and , snack.
  2. Carbohydrates are the mainstay of the diet and come from a variety of starchy vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, and honey Your fiber intake should average about 50 grams or more a day.
  3. To cut back on saturated fat and boost your ratio of unsaturated 
    to saturated fats, consume only skinless poultry breast, fish, shellfish, and wild game as sources of meat in the diet. Choose only fat-free milk products.
  4. Healthful dietary fats come from the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, wild game, walnuts, and flaxseed meal and the unsaturated fats in nuts, avocados, olives, and olive and canola oils.
  5. Graze, don't gorge, consuming five to six mini-meals over the course of the day.
  6. Avoid or limit processed foods that include too much sugar, refined flours, salt, and additives.
  7. Drink water, at least eight glasses a day.
  8. If your weight creeps up by five pounds or more, voluntarily do what your ancestors were forced to do---create a temporary food shortage by lowering calorie intake and increasing daily activity.
  9. Supplement responsibly.
  10. Exercise vigorously five days a week and balance activity with days of rest.
  11. Set aside time every week to spend with friends and family.
  12. Avoid unnecessary stress and effectively handle the stress you can't avoid.

Based on these principles, Somers prescribed the following basic guidelines for the origin diet:

  • Eat regularly, starting with breakfast and every four to five hours throughout the day.
  • Keep meals and snacks light.
  • Eat slowly and until comfortably full, not stuffed.
  • Never allow yourself to become ravenous. Always eat when comfortably hungry and before feeling starved.
  • Include at least two fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and at least one at every snack for a minimum of eight a day. More is better.
  • Include two to three servings of calcium-rich foods-such as 1 cup nonfat milk, nonfat yogurt, or calcium-fortified soymilk, or 4 ounces canned salmon with bones-in your daily diet.
  • Include at least three servings of starchy vegetables-such as sweet potato, yams, white potato, winter squash, or corn-in your daily diet.
  • Include at least six servings of whole grains in your daily diet.
  • Include at least two servings of low-saturated-fat, protein/iron-rich foods-such as turkey or chicken breast, fish and shellfish, cooked dried beans and peas, tofu and soy products-each day.
  • If you also want to lose weight, cut back slightly on grains and/or fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

Somers says that it's the weight of food, not its calories, that satisfies our hunger pangs. So, the secret is to eat foods that weigh a lot, but pack few calories. That means focusing on foods with high water and fiber contents. She has provided a list of "good foods," (low energy density foods) and "bad foods," (high energy density foods.)

The following are her recommendations:

Some Of The Best (Low Energy Density) Foods

Food Calories
Per Ounce
Cooked spinach 7
Cooked chard 7
Raw bell pepper  7
Strawberries 8
Cooked broccoli  9
Grapefruit 9
Melon 10
Nonfat milk 10
Raw carrot 12
Soft tofu 17
Steamed shrimp 28 

Some Of The Worst (High Energy Density) Foods

Hamburger 83
Ice cream 90
Marshmallows 100
Rice cakes 105
Buttered popcorn 140
Potato chips 152

The Origin Diet details an eating and exercise plan that improves health and slim waistlines. Somer conducted two separate studies with many different subjects adopting the Origin Diet and found that they lost weight, lowered their cholesterol levels, improved energy levels, slept better, diminished their food cravings, and felt more mentally alert.

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