The Omnivore’s Solution
Your past does not dictate your future.
I grew up in a single-parent household where Cap'n Crunch, Pop Tarts, chocolate milk, pan-fried steaks, and frozen pot pies were staples. Most of my relatives suffered from obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or dementia. Due to an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, I suffered for years with childhood illnesses. By the age of four, I had undergone upper and lower gastrointestinal studies for severe digestive issues. I had mononucleosis, recurring severe tonsillitis, frequent infections, and was on seemingly endless courses of antibiotics. Sickness was like a family pastime.
When I was 23, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that had metastasized into my lymph nodes and recurred three times, which is very rare. For the next eleven years, while my friends were falling in and out of love, studying for exams, starting careers, and having families, I went through surgery and radiation treatments. I was depressed. I felt helpless and alone, but I was one of the fortunate ones to survive.
My own health struggles lead me to become a neurosurgical ICU nurse, where I cared for extremely ill patients, people who were even sicker than I was. While standing at the bedsides of these patients I started to realize the impact that our eating and lifestyles choices can have in our lives. Too often I was treating someone who was dying of an illness that had been completely preventable: obesity, heart disease, diabetes. Many of these patients would express their regret to me, regret that they hadn't cared for their bodies, regret that they hadn't had healthier eating habits, regret that they hadn't lived differently. I watched their families suffer alongside..
I was also blessed to see the miraculous transformations that would happen for people who did end up getting another chance to make the right choices. They simply changed the way they ate and lived, and life-threatening illnesses (including diabetes and heart disease) would simply disappear like a bad dream. These experiences resonated deeply with my own health struggles. I realized I was one of the lucky few who had gotten a second chance, and I wanted to make sure I cared for my body and honored the fact that I had survived through so much illness.
That's when my adventure with nutrition began!
Your Body Doesn't Care About Your Food Philosophy
Being a conventionally-trained nurse, I tried the USDA food pyramid first. I adopted what we called "The Perfect Diet" at the time, which was 6-11 servings of grains, 5-9 servings of fruit and veggies, 2-3 servings of meat, and 2-3 servings of milk a day. This didn't go over well with my body. In no time, I was back in the hospital having my gallbladder removed. I also became insulin-resistant and was told that I had high triglycerides and cholesterol. So much for "The Perfect Diet..."
I then went to another extreme and tried being vegan for a while. At first, I felt great! Eliminating processed foods and super-sized sodas meant that my energy soared, and I felt like I was on top of the world. But the feeling didn't last long. Soon I was experiencing midday energy crashes, eczema appeared on my face, and I had trouble sleeping. When I went back to my doctor, my triglycerides and cholesterol were higher than they were before. Apparently, triglycerides and cholesterol have little to do with your consumption of dietary cholesterol.
This led me to the opposite extreme: a high-protein diet. With the high protein diet, my cholesterol and triglycerides dropped--which was thrilling--but I wasn't getting enough healthy plant foods. I knew this is one area the research is absolutely crystal clear on: 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies per day translate to long-term good health.
Through these extreme experiments, I was beginning to see the limitations of the partisan food politics of diet programs and nutritionists. I realized there was more to food than the dogmatists and extreme "diet dictocrats" would have us believe. I was determined to find out what that was.
A Middle Of The Road Approach
I've worked with thousands of people, designing practical food plans and addressing their everyday obstacles to health. Together, they've lost more than 250,000 pounds. I dug deep into the research on food, took classes, and reviewed health journals and scientific papers looking for answers. I continued experimenting with my own diet, while helping thousands of people lose weight and reverse their illnesses.
What I finally realized after all of my research and experiments, is that a bipartisan approach to food is the only way we could ever navigate the strange terrain of the modern foodscape. The middle of the road is often where life's answers are found. So it is also with diet. We are omnivores after all. We are built to eat not only meat, not only vegetables, but both. This is why I created "The Omni Diet."
"The Omni Diet" is a simple plan. Your daily food consumption should be: 70 percent fruits and vegetables and 30 percent high-quality, lean proteins. That's it: 70/30. By eating all of the types of foods that have the power to boost health, help you lose weight, and improve your brain function, thousands of people have changed their lives forever.
Today I'm 44 years old, and I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life. My blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, and hormones are all at optimal levels. I'm happy, completely fulfilled, and I live my life's mission each and every day. I always assumed I had just been dealt some bad genetic luck, but now I'm living my dream with passion.
And I know you can too.
That's why I started the Omni Revolution--to help you find what I have--a life that is filled with vibrant health, sparkling joy, and intense purpose. I want you to have the life you most want to live, as the person you were destined to be. If I can do it, you can do it. Wherever you are in your life right now, whatever your hopes and dreams, you can achieve them. It starts with what you put on the end of your fork. The power is now in your hands.
Join the Omni Revolution, where great health is about abundance, not deprivation!
Tana Amen, BSN, RN is a highly respected health and fitness expert, speaker, and media guest. She offers information, guidance, and support to hundreds of thousands of Amen followers who seek to dramatically change their health and their lives by changing the way they eat, exercise, and think. Tana is the author of three cookbooks and a coaching guide, which have sold more than 100,000 copies. Tana's fifth book, The Omni Diet will be released April 2013.