THIS DIET HAS BENEFITS WITH THE QUALITY OF FOODS AND THE DISCIPLINE IN EATING DURING THE DAY….
To start losing weight, Dr Stossier says you need to be aware of your digestive system’s rhythms. ‘Just as our bodies and minds tire towards the evening, so does our digestive system,’ he explains.
‘In the first half of the day – when we are rested and raring to go – we can digest basically anything at all. This is, therefore, the time to eat your main meals of the day, and it is also the best time to eat raw foods such as fruit and vegetables, which can be difficult to digest.
‘Dinner should always be something light and easy to digest, like soup, lightly cooked vegetables and fish – and eaten before 6pm ideally, to allow thorough digestion before you go to sleep.’
According to Dr Stossier, a thorough chewing technique is another indispensable element to losing weight quickly, and encouraging overall health and well-being.
When you chew more, you tend to eat less because – unlike when you thoughtlessly bolt your food – your brain has the time it needs to send signals to your stomach, telling it when you’ve had enough.
You also tend to eat less when you chew well, because chewing helps the nutrients in food to be released and absorbed more effectively. A wellnourished body suffers from fewer cravings.
You should chew every mouthful of your food between 30 and 40 times, at every meal, until food is liquid. It could be helpful to count at the beginning of your chewing training, to get you into the rhythm of it.
Practise on a small piece of dense wholemeal bread (bread that is a couple of days old is particularly good, as it’s extra chewy). Really savour the bread as you chew – and move it around your mouth. Try to think about the nutrients you are putting into your body as you chew.
At first, you will only manage to get to 15 or so, but this soon improves with practice – and chewing your food thoroughly will become almost unconscious after a couple of days.
Like many diets, water plays a big part in the programme – but it is the way it is used to encourage good digestion and weight loss that’s interesting.
Dr Stossier recommends a cleansing cup of warm water first thing in the morning – before food – then two to three litres of filtered water throughout the day (at the clinic, quartz crystals are dropped in the bottom of water carafes to ‘cleanse’ and improve the water).
All your water has to be drunk between meals.
Dr Stossier explains: ‘If we drink while we are eating, we dilute our saliva just at the very moment we need it in a concentrated form to digest our food. Drinking water between meals – no less than 15 minutes before a meal and no less than an hour after a meal – is the best habit to get into.’
Aside from water, you can drink milk, herbal teas and fruit or vegetable juices. Tea and coffee are off the menu, because of their caffeine content, as are fizzy drinks. If you really must have something to drink with a meal,
Stossier recommends tiny sips of herbal tea or a small glass of wine. Wine is allowed because it can help to dissolve fat during digestion.
There are no fads or gimmicks to this intelligent diet, just a commonsense approach to weight loss. ‘There is no mystery to losing weight; cut down on carbohydrates – and the amount you eat overall – and increase your intake of unsaturated fatty acids,’ says Dr Stossier.
‘We are told, as a dietary rule, to always eat plenty of carbohydrates for energy,’ he explains. ‘But following a diet high in carbs can cause weight problems. Carbs are converted into sugars as they are digested – so if we eat a lot of carbs, the pancreas has to produce large amounts of the hormone insulin to balance blood sugar levels, metabolise them, and to use their energy.’
‘Unfortunately, a biproduct of having a lot of insulin in the blood is that any excess energy from the carbs we have eaten is quickly stored away in our bodies as fat.’
As long as insulin levels remain high, we will also store the other components of food, such as protein or fat. This can have a massive influence on our weight.
Stossier doesn’t like to break our diet down into percentages, but he believes that if we focus on fresh fruit and vegetables and good-quality proteins and fats, we really won’t be hungry enough to fill ourselves with carbohydrates – and, in particular, the unhealthy types, such as those made with white flour and lots of sugar.
Cut down on carbs by taking much smaller portions, and choosing wholegrain varieties that fill you up.
Fats are also important to overall health and are an essential part of this diet. But fats are not all created equal.
As you would on any healthy diet, it’s important to avoid the unhealthy saturated types – in particular hydrogenated fats or trans-fats (often found in processed foods and margarines).
In moderation, whole fresh milk, cream and butter are better, because they are natural. But it’s best to avoid very fatty cuts of meat and processed meat products such as sausages.
But the fats you really need to eat are the omega oils 3, 6 and 9 – found in cold-pressed nut and seed oils such as olive, linseed, hemp and sunflower. Not only can these fats help to keep you healthy, but they improve your overall health and even help you to lose weight. Omega oils (Omega 3 in particular – found in hemp and linseed) have also been found to encourage fat-burning in our bodies.
The ideal is to have approximately two tablespoons of one of these oils every day – so use them as much as you would salt and pepper. Drizzle over food, or stir into your cooking.
Nuts and seeds – which contain omega fatty acids in natural form – are great as a snack (although Dr Stossier claims you won’t feel the need to snack if you follow the diet carefully) or sprinkled over salads, fish, porridge and so on.
Proteins are an important part of a healthy diet, but you should avoid too many. A diet heavy on proteins can put the body’s detoxification organs, such as the liver and kidneys, under enormous pressure, leading to the potential for toxin overload in the body.
Dr Stossier suggests that we should eat fish and other animal proteins, such as cheese and meat, a maximum of every second day. Better for you are vegetable sources such as pulses, seeds and nuts, which provide the amino acids we need to stay healthy in a more easily digested form.
If you are going to eat animal proteins, white meat, such as turkey, veal and chicken, is less likely to cause digestion problems, followed by lamb, then red meat and last of all pork.
All fish is fine and it’s worth bearing in mind that cream cheese – and goat’s and sheep’s cheeses – are more easily digested than hard cow’s milk cheeses.
Don’t forget fibre, which is essential for optimal digestion. So where appropriate, opt for wholemeal cereals, pasta, noodles, wholegrain rice and so on.
Eat your greens, reds, yellows and purples. Other foods you should make a beeline for on the Viva Mayr Diet are brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, which are packed with protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and are a good source of fibre.