Eat Drink and Weigh Less by Walter Willet, M.D., and Mollie Katzen

eat drink and weigh less
Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less (EDWL) was written by Walter Willet, M.D., and Mollie Katzen. Willett is the head of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, and has published more than 1,000 scientific papers over the past 30 years. Katzen is known for her fantastic cookbooks, including the infamous Moosewood Cookbook. Together, this dynamic duo makes sure your diet is healthy and sound, and tastes fantastic! It’s sensible, easy to follow, and it works. EDWL was published in 2006, and Consumer Reports magazine rated it as one of the best diet books out there. But there are no media-catching gimmicks involved here, so you may not have heard much about it.

EDWL isn’t low carb, and it isn’t low fat. It’s a whole foods diet loaded with a wide variety of vegetables, lean proteins, and good fats. You’ll eat whole grains, but you’re still allowed some of the white stuff if you really can’t say no. The diet is also just as suitable for vegetarians as meat lovers, since you get to choose your own protein. Still, your diet will be mostly plant based which is better for your overall health as well as your waist-line. It just sounds sensible, doesn’t it?

The EDWL book contains a 21 day program complete with recipes, so you’ll have easy guidance to get you started until you become a pro. However, you will have to cook most of your meals from scratch so you’ll need to plan ahead. Katzen makes this easy by providing convenient tips at the end of each menu, which instruct us to precook certain ingredients so they’ll be ready to go the next day. Most of the recipes are really delicious, and we enjoyed our trial on this diet. If you don’t have time to cook, you can choose a “fallback meal”. This would be either a plate with a protein of choice, 2 or more green vegetables, 1 orange vegetable, and a serving of whole grains. Or you could prepare a large salad with a protein of choice and cooked whole grains that are sprinkled into the salad.

If you choose to follow the EDWL program, you’ll follow a very easy routine every day. Every breakfast contains roughly the same amount of calories each day. The same goes for lunch and dinner, and they also usually follow the same format such as the fallback meals above. This is perfect because you can mix and match the menus according to your personal tastes. Use lunch from day 5 and dinner from day 15 if you prefer. Lunches usually include a simple soup, veggies, fruit, and grains. The soups contain a vegetable such as broccoli or spinach in a vegetable broth. We quickly learned that the soup was only as good as the broth you purchased, so make sure you choose a brand you like since they can vary widely. We preferred Emeril’s organic vegetable broth.

Love wine? You can have a glass a day! You’ll heed Mom’s advice and eat breakfast every day, and you’ll never eat anything after dinner other than an occasional dessert. Exercise is also important, though the authors don’t include much information on the topic. The EDWL program sounds very much like the Mediterranean diet, and with good reason. The authors based the plan largely on the Mediterranean diet and structured it to make it easy to follow and promote weight loss. You couldn’t ask for a healthier weight loss plan!

Sample Menu:
Fruit Platter: 1 kiwi, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 banana
1 cup low fat cottage cheese or 2/3 cup yogurt
1 slice whole grain toast
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp sugar or honey, or non-caloric sweetener to taste
coffee or tea

2 Portabello Pizzas (recipe in book)
1 whole grain English muffin
Green salad, unlimited
Creamy Balsamic Dressing (recipe in book)
1 orange or 2 tangerines

Up to 1/3 cup Tangy Black Bean Dip (recipe in book) or 1/4 cup hummus
Vegetables, unlimited
10 tortilla chips

1 1/2 cups cooked whole grain pasta
Tomato sauce, homemade or commercial
1/2 serving protein of choice
Green salad, unlimited
Creamy Balsamic Dressing
Cantaloupe slices with fresh lemon juice

Eat, Drink, and Weight Less was well received, but never received the attention of books such as the South Beach Diet and Fat Smash Diet. Maybe it wasn’t gimmicky enough to catch the eye of the media. Regardless, good diet books never go out of style and this one should be available for a long time. The plan is truly one you can stick with for life.

Eat Drink and Weigh Less is available for purchase at your local bookseller or online from Amazon.


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