Experiment: The Fast Metabolism Diet
So, earlier this year several patients started coming in to my office talking about how much they loved this new 28 day program, the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD). When looking at it, I was intrigued. I love trying new whole food "diets" to increase my options for clients and love that many of them have large networks full or resources for them. I have to admit, though, that much of the time the end result is that I don't end up recommend them for one reason or another- results aren't great, too expensive, poor compliance, etc. This one was different. I was 4 days into the 28 day program when my husband, who has never joined me on one of my experiments, said "it doesn't look any different from our regular food" and decided to jump on board. The end result was that we both felt great and lost over 30 lbs between the 2 of us (9 for me and 22 for him). I am someone who has always easily lost weight with minimal effort until the past couple years, when my sweet youngest daughter threw my thyroid into a spiral that I am still slowly working my way out of. The weight loss was very nice and I fit into some of my old clothes again, but I also loved how I felt overall while doing this program. We ended up doing it again several months later with a friend, who also loved it and notes that she has never felt so good.
So, what is this program? Basically, it's like interval training for your metabolism. Each of the 4 weeks are split into Phase 1 (2 days of high carb, low fat), Phase 2 (2 days of low carb low fat) and Phase 3 (3 days of high fat, moderate carb and protein). It's about keeping your body guessing. There are also 3 days of exercise- cardio in phase 1, muscle development in phase 2, and relaxing techniques during phase 3.
For those who are interested, I have put together my list of tips to help make this diet easier.
1. PREP AHEAD
I found that prepping every couple of days for the whole phase made things easier. Chop all the veggies ahead of time, especially mushrooms, onions, pepper, and garlic, since these can be used throughout and help add flavor.
2. HERBS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Without fat for flavor in phase 1 and 2 we used lots of herbs like rosemary, basil, sage, cayenne, and more and things like garlic salt and Spike became staples for seasoning.
3. BROTH IS YOUR BUDDY
During the first couple phases we learned to cook with broth a lot more than usual- we would use it instead of oil to sautee, roast veggies, or make soups.
4. MAKE IN BULK
Making large batches was the best way to go- I'd put a bunch in the freezer and pull it out a week or two later and dinner was a breeze!
5. KEEP IT SIMPLE
There are lots of recipes out there. I would find them online and try the more simple ones. Crockpot recipes are my favorite and some we still eat now, long after the program is over.
Some of my favorite recipes are here:
GRAVY (cook a bunch of mushrooms, onions, and garlic in broth. Add tamari to taste and any herbs you want. Blend in blender.) Put in mason jars and freeze for later for easy dinners.
BALSAMIC TURKEY:one of my favorites! I added extra veggies and cheated by buying a precooked turkey breast (was all I could find) and sticking it on top of the veggies in the slowcooker part-way through.
Staples of the FMD for us were:
Phase 1: frozen berries for the fruit snacks, rice pasta for dinner that we'd just throw a bunch of veggies and protein into, wild rice mix (would make meatloaf with rice, lean beef or turkey, celery, onion, and smothered in Frank's hot sauce
Phase 2: soup and salad, turkey sausage, egg muffins, and protein powder, lettuce wraps, lemon juice, Frank's, miracle noodles
Phase 3: avocado and olive oil!!! Lots of grilling with a side of veggies. Sweet potatoes.
I feel like a lot of times people need a launch point for dietary changes and seeing results quickly keeps them motivated. I love that this is a whole-foods dairy and sugar (and easily gluten) free diet that also helps people learn some great health meal ideas they can do later. My husband has asked to do it once a year just to keep on track and I've had great feedback from nearly all patients that have tried it. It does take some planning but I can say that it's effective and I think it can be a very useful tool. If you try it, please feel free to share recipes!
Hi, I'm Sarah. I'm a naturopathic physician in Hilo, HI and lover of good healthy food. I have two amazing daughters who are learning the benefits of proper diet and how tasty it can truly be. I love growing my own food and my little helpers are always eager to help plant and harvest. I believe teaching our children about where real food comes from and how to prepare it is one of the most important jobs we have. Feel free to connect with me and share recipes!