The only way to reach the Zone and stay there for a lifetime is by your diet. The Zone Diet is not a diet, but a blueprint for how to balance a meal to optimize your hormonal response for the next five hours, thus allowing you to control the levels of inflammation in your body. All you need is a hand, an eye, and a watch to follow this blueprint for life and to dramatically reduce your risk of obesity and the other major chronic diseases associated with diet-induced inflammation.
Following the Zone Diet blueprint is easy. At every meal, divide your plate into three equal sections. (You need an eye for that.) On one-third of the plate put some low-fat protein that is no larger or thicker than the palm of your hand (that’s because some hands are larger than others). This doesn’t have to be animal protein, but it has to be protein-rich. For vegans this means either extra-firm tofu or soy imitation-meat products. For lacto-ovo vegetarians, it can also include dairy and egg protein-rich sources in addition to vegan sources of protein. For omnivores, the choice of proteins is even wider. Next, fill the other two-thirds of your plate with colorful carbohydrates, primarily non-starchy vegetables and small amounts of fruits to balance the protein as shown below.
Here are two very practical hints when it comes to carbohydrates. First, the more white (white bread, white pasta, white rice, and white potatoes) you put on your plate, the more inflammation you are going to create. Second, the more non-starchy vegetables you consume and the fewer grains and starches you eat (ideally none), the better the results. Scientifically, it’s called lowering the glycemic load of the meal.
Finally, you add a dash of fat (that’s a small amount). The fat should be rich in monounsaturated fat, and low in omega-6 and saturated fats. This could be olive oil, guacamole, or nuts.
Now, why do you need the watch? If you have balanced your plate correctly, then for five hours after the meal, you will not be hungry because you have stabilized blood sugar levels. Because of those stable blood sugar levels, you will also have peak mental acuity for the same time period. The lack of hunger and improved mental focus also indicate that you have been successful in reducing inflammation in your body during that same five-hour period.
That’s it. It seems easy enough, except you have to do it every five hours for the rest of your life to maintain hormonal balance and the resulting control of inflammation. That’s a small price to pay for a longer and better life. And if you have a bad meal (and we all will), don’t worry, since you are only one meal away from getting back into the Zone.
Since the Zone concept is simply a blueprint to balance your plate, this makes it compatible with all dietary philosophies, ranging from vegan to paleo. The balance on the plate doesn’t change, only the food ingredients you use to fill in the Zone blueprint.
To learn more about the science of Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition, go to www.DrSears.com.