If you think you might like kale smoothies, the Omni Diet is for you.
I tried the Omni Diet for two weeks earlier this month, and by “tried,” I mean I stuck with it 95% of the time. Author Tana Amen calls it “the revolutionary 70% plan + 30% protein program to lose weight, reverse disease, fight inflammation and change your life forever.”
It was really, really hard. And it certainly won’t change my life forever because there’s no way I can give up cheese for good. But for the most part, it works.
I would describe it as a sophisticated organic version of the Adkins Diet. I lost 10 pounds in two weeks, plus or minus 3 pounds water weight and whatever loss can be claimed by my gastrointestinal distress the last three days. The first time I tried the South Beach Diet a decade ago, I lost 5-and-a-half pounds in two weeks, but I don’t recall being as hungry as I was on the Omni Diet.
Amen claims you won’t get hungry. Baloney. The second week, I was literally starving, complete with the bad breath that comes from ketosis. And she claims you’ll lose your cravings. Also baloney. I will crave Spicier Nacho Doritos and Dark Chocolate Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups until the day I die.
The diet suggests plenty of anti-inflammatory foods (I ate more garlic and spinach in two weeks than I did the previous two months), vegetables like crazy, some fruit, nuts and seeds, and lean meats. Here’s what you can’t eat on the Omni Diet: Processed food (including sausage, bacon and deli meats), sugar, wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, dairy (yes, that excludes cheese) and alcohol (among the few times I cheated, I ate plain yogurt and corn on the cob).
The Omni Diet might have changed my life if I was suffering from ailments like arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus or high blood pressure, but I’m generally pretty healthy, just weak-willed. Ironically, I think the gastrointestinal distress I endured was brought about by some inadequately washed spinach in one of the dozens of salads I ate while dieting.
The book has some good recipes, even some tasty ones for morning smoothies (the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie is like eating dessert!). I found a lot of ways to eat kale, too, but smoothies are not one of those ways and a small kale salad just isn’t gonna cut it as an afternoon snack. Still, without relying on any processed foods, dinnertime was a huge chore. More than one evening, I was chopping, cooking, eating and cleaning for two hours. For one meal. Ouch.
I try diets like this every once in a while just because I’m sort of a freak and also because I think it introduces me to new foods and new perspectives. I’m using grape seed oil to cook with now instead of olive oil, for example. And I replaced my Splenda with Truvia. And I realized there is no reason whatsoever to eat hash browns for breakfast four times a week.
Amen has some good ideas, but the Omni Diet is just too extreme for me to enjoy — or even endure — for longer than two weeks.