Like the Mediterranean diet, but with more wine

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Created by registered dietician Dr. Connie Guttersen, the Californian Diet is inspired by the food and lifestyle choices of those who live in the coastal American state. Similar to the popular Mediterranean diet, which has already claimed the accolade of ‘diet of the year’ for 2019, the Californian diet is all about blending simple yet flavour-rich ingredients to create delicious meals.

The Californian diet claims it can help those who follow it achieve a slimmer waist in just 10 days whilst still allowing you to eat a variety of foods – but there’s a catch (of course).

The Californian diet involves sticking to very strict portion sizes, as well as incorporating 12 different ‘power foods’ into your daily meals.

The ‘power foods’ include vegetables like beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli and spinach, as well as staples from the Mediterranean including olive oil, whole grains and almonds. Fruit also makes an appearance on the list, with blueberries, citrus, grapes and strawberries all classed as ‘power foods’ which should be eaten regularly.

There are three different ‘waves’ to the Californian Diet, the first of which is the hardest and most restrictive in terms of portion size. However, following wave 1, the diet becomes much less restrictive, even allowing wine and chocolate to be consumed (yes, really!) – which sounds like the kind of diet for us.

What are the 3 waves in the Californian Diet?

Wave 1 – Lasting for 10 days, the first wave of the Californian Diet is focused on weight loss and reducing your dependence on sugar and white flour. For breakfast, your plate should be no bigger than 18 inches in diameter and the meal itself should contain only 25 percent grain to a 75 percent portion of protein – or cereal and milk in equal portions.

For lunch and dinner, your plate size increases to 23 inches in diameter, but meals should consist of 20 percent cereal, 30 percent protein and 50 percent vegetables.

Wave 2 – aimed at maintaining the weight loss achieved in the first wave of the diet, the second wave can last anywhere between two weeks and a few months.

While breakfast remains the same as in wave 1, for lunch and dinner you can now eat 25 percent protein/dairy, 25 percent fruits, 25 percent vegetables and 25 percent grains. As well as the introduction of dairy into the diet, wine and chocolate are also allowed in small quantities too.

Wave 3 – The maintenance phase of the diet, the aim of this final wave is simply to continue eating healthily now that you have broken any ‘bad’ diet habits in the first two waves. This doesn’t mean never touching sugar ever again – after being allowed chocolate in wave 2, in wave 3 you are now allowed to indulge in the occasional snack or treat now and again – it’s more about keeping portions small and trying to stick to the same basic ratios as in the first two waves.

For more information about the Californian Diet, take a look at the book, The New Sonoma Diet. Consult a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist before starting any diet.