The Ornish Diet: 3 Great Snacks

The Ornish Diet was originated by Dr. Dean Ornish. His decades of research indicated that comprehensive lifestyle changes can reverse severe heart disease, without surgery or drugs. He advocates a low-fat diet that allows you to eat more and weigh less. Ornish argues against diets that make you feel deprived and rob you of necessary nutrition. Here are some of the food rules that you must abide by when following the Ornish Diet.

Foods to Eat

  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Vegetables

Foods to Eat in Moderation

  • Nonfat dairy products
  • Nonfat or low-fat commercial foods

Foods to Avoid

  • Meats (all kinds)
  • Oils (all kinds)
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts and seeds
  • High-fat dairy
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

Ornish encourages people to eat foods that are very low in fat, high in complex carbohydrates, and high in fiber. He argues that high-fat foods raise the cholesterol level and lead to cardiovascular problems.

The Ornish Diet advocates cutting out all oils because oil is liquid fat. Olive oil, safflower oil and canola oil are included in this definition. Many people think of olive oil as a healthy oil. Dr. Ornish argues against this. He advocates for cutting out all oil whatsoever. The more oil you consume, of any type, the more weight you will gain, according to this diet.

The Ornish Diet encourages dieters to focus on cooking flavorful dishes. The following are examples of a few flavorful snacks:

Bean and Salsa Dip

  • 1 15-oz. can of pinto beans
  • 3 tbsp. Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp. sweetened Chinese chili sauce
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 16 oz. fat-free sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups chunky hot salsa, drained
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley
  • Corn tortilla chips

Put the beans in a food processor and mix until smooth. Mix in the hot sauce and lime juice. Use a large platter and spread the bean mixture on the bottom. Spread the chili sauce over the beans and sprinkle it with green onions. Add sour cream and salsa as desired. Garnish with parsley or cilantro. This dish serves five people and has 149 calories per serving.

Grilled Asparagus

  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 5-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup diced roasted red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed in cold water
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice

Boil the asparagus until barely tender. Season it with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together the other ingredients to make a vinaigrette dressing. Place the asparagus on a hot grille, turning them once until they are well warmed. Remove the asparagus and place them into a large bowl with the vinaigrette, tossing lightly. This dish serves four and contains 62 calories per serving.

Hummus and Pita Bread

  • 1 cup dried garbanzo beans. Soak overnight and drain.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 garlic cloves (oven roasted) and 1 clove (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste

Bring the beans, vegetable stock and bay leaf to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer. Cover it for 2 to 3 hours (until tender). Drain the beans of liquid. Save the stock. In a food processor, puree the beans while adding lemon juice. Add the bean stock if you want a creamier texture. Add remaining ingredients and mix. This serves 4 to 8 and has 140 calories per serving.


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