Almighty veggie diet loses body weight and enhances wellbeing 

Posted September 16, 2022; Updated September 26, 2022. 

Walter Sorochan
         Waltergood.jpg
HSD, MPH, MSc, BPE Emeritus Professor San Diego State University;
Health educator/researcher

I, Walter Sorochan, almost 94 years old and 5' 9 " tall, got a wonderful surprise when I visited my personal physician September 1, 2022. The purpose of my visit was to have him check my kidney function. I weighed in at 169 pounds. The surprise was that I had slowly lost 9 pounds of body weight over a year when I least expected it. Body weight in 2021 was 178 pounds [normal]; compared to 169 pounds in 2022. It was in 2021 that I fine tuned my almighty veggie diet to nutrient dense foods low in calories.

During 2021, I swam laps two to three times a week and also did stretching and flexibility exercises each day. I minimized walking as I have a broken lubricating capsule between my right hip-joint and right femur bone, resulting in discomfort when I walk too much. Swimming in a non-gravity state allows all body muscles to be active and no pain or discomfort.

Although I have been a vegetarian for over 50 years, I would eat salads like most other persons. I would grab a ready made commercial salad [Mediterrean diet] from the grocery store and assume that it was made by persons with nutrition knowledge and that it had a mix of balanced vegetables. Instead, It was mostly green lettuce or spinach sprinkled with a few little tomatoes, cucumber, some diced carrots, a few olives and cheese that gave the salad a little color and taste but not balanced nutrition. But in 2020, after reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman's theory about nutrient density and low calorie level, I changed my perception of general salad to a salad with specific food ingredients low in calories.

 I fine tuned my veggie diet to selecting nutrient rich vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts with low calories this past year. I call it the Almighty Veggie Diet!

Yes, I have been on a nutrient dense [loaded with minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants and amino acids] low calorie vegetarian diet for a year now. I had previously stopped eating addictive foods and drinks, had never smoked and seldom if ever drank alcoholic beverages.

I do not eat foods spiced with fat, sugar and salt. This includes foods such as meats, pizza, spaghetti, ice cream, pies, cakes, cookies, French fries, and processed foods like popcorn, saltine crackers and other snack/junk foods that stay on grocery store shelves for a long time.

I did not have any side effects like upset stomach, bloating, indigestion, headache or pain.

We, the general population, select food on the basis of taste and not nutritional merit. Doing so has resulted in the majority of people eating a high calorie but low nutrient diet, referred to as the Standard American Diet [SAD]. That is an addictive problem most persons have today and our culture ignores it.

I confess my addiction to sweets, snack foods and pizzas was really based on how food tasted. I never once asked what nutrients were there in a food I ate? Yes, although I stopped eating addictive foods loaded with fat, salt or/and sugar, my brain continues to remember these addictive foods. I do yearn for a pizza and sometimes breakdown every three months for three small slices of pizza. Eating addictive food loaded with cheese fat, cholesterol and salt once every three months is not healthy but the bad cheese fat will be used up quickly and not be deposited in the arteries. Although my almighty veggie diet broke the addiction stranglehold, I had become a fat and salt pizza addict for life! Once an addict, always an addict.

There was more good news from my recent 2022 visit to the doctor: Blood pressure in 2022 was 133/63, compared to 2021 = 127/41; pulse rate was 54. BMI was 25.00. My doctor concluded that I was in very good health. My arteries are clear and blood carrying oxygen is flowing as needed to my heart, brain, eyes and other tissues. My doctor had prescribed a blood thinner, plavix, a year ago to avoid a possible stroke. In spite of my doctor's good intentions, I stopped taking it a week later. My blood pressure supports my decision to not take plavix!

I attribute my weight loss and very good wellbeing to my finicky diet, discipline and giving up addictions prior to beginning the almighty veggie diet. Giving up my addiction to three linked addictions, donuts, coffee at a restaurant setting, was actually easy. My mental attitude of wanting to live a long time reinforced giving up these three addictions. I am thankful to medical doctor Joel Fuhrman's book Eat For Life where he discusses a nutrient diet low in calories. He wrote the book to help his obese patients lose weight. And I became informed about eating nutrient density foods very low in calories.

Now most readers, and especially the overweight and obese ones, will assume that they can read Fuhrman's book and loose weight. Unfortunately, It will not work as well as they might hope.

According to scientists using neuroimaging technology research, most persons have more than just one addiction like food. You may not be aware of this, but one addiction can be linked or transferred to another addiction; also referred to as cross-addiction. Cross-addiction is a term that conveys the idea that a person in recovery can transfer their addiction from one substance to another. The replacement addiction could also take the form of an activity  that is typically okay but is otherwise unhealthy in excess.

Most persons have many food addictions. Instead of trying to stop addiction to all foods, they will have more success stopping addiction to one food at a time.

Compulsive overeating of foods that are rich in sugar, fat, and salt is fueled by the release of chemicals like dopamine in the brain. These chemicals create an impulsive need to feel good and continue eating, which can cause unhealthy weight gain and other physical problems.

Those who are most successful in losing body weight gave up most of their other addictions as well as food. These included smoking, alcohol, drugs, medications, gambling, internet, video games, shopping and even risky behaviors. They relearned how to live!

Some addictions, like food, are more important than others and probably easier to break. Breaking an addiction of any kind is very difficult because the brain saves the good feeling memory of addiction. It is the brain appestat that resists giving up it's happy memory days of addictive feeling good. One needs discipline, a meaningful purpose in life and a desire to be healthy to change! Since all addictions are psychological in nature and brain related, trying to lose body weight and addictions need special help from your family doctor. Those trying to lose weight often disrupt their electrolyte balance and this can cause many problems. So work with your informed medical doctor.

If you are a food addict, you will continuously feel hungry and the need to snack most of the time. Those on processed, sweet and junk foods always complain about being hungry. Indeed, some persons never stop eating. But I never feel hungry now as my brain is not addicted to food. I eat to live ... give my body what it needs!

How do you know which foods are best to choose for a good meal? To answer this question, Dr. Fuhrman created the aggregate nutrient density index, or ANDI. The ANDI ranks many common foods on the basis of how many nutrients they deliver to your body for each calorie consumed. The ANDI score is based on portion sizes of foods eaten rather than calories.

Foods are rated on an ANDI scale of 1-100 in the new 2020 ANDI table below. 100 is super good while 0 is terrible. With the ANDI score, Fuhrman points out that ANDI is a motivational tool that tells you the foods with the best nutrients and fewest calories. Fuhrman suggests that you do not need to do a tedious food or meal analysis. Select most nutritious or highest ANDI scores for a meal.

Nutrient Density Table

Food ANDI Serv/amt Cals Fat Fiber
Units score   kcal gm gm
Avocado 23 1/4 cup 109 10.5 4.6
Beans Pinto boiled 52 1/2 cup 122 .05 7.5
Beets boiled 45 2 beets 22 0.1 2
Broccoli flower 90 1/2 cup 10 0.15 0.03
Carrots grated 45 1/2 cup 11 0.02 1.5
Onions red medium 60 3 slices 16.5 0.0 0.6
Spinach 82 1/2 cup 6.9 0 0.9
Tomatoes cherry 60  5 items  16 0.0 3.3
Strawberries 45 5 items 19 0.0 1.0
Blueberries 45 50 berries 39 0.2 1.6
Sunflower seeds 34 1 ounce 175 15 3.2
Food ANDI Serv/amt
Units score  
Mustard Greens cooked 112 1 cup
Cabbage 90 1 cup
Kale raw 90 1 cup
Cauliflower 90 1 cup
Green beans 64 1 cup
Romaine lettuce 64 2 cups
Peas64 1 cup
Mushrooms60 1/4 cup
Pumpkin 45 1 cup
Walnuts 45 1 cup
Cherries 45 2/3 cup
Corn 45 1 cup
Food ANDI Serv/amt
Units score  
Sweet potato 45 1 cup
Almond seeds 26 5
Rice wild cook 26 1 cup
Grapes 19 1 cup
Mango 19 1 cup
Orange 19 1 tem
Almond butter 13 1 Tbs
Potatoes white 12 1 cup
Iceberg lettuce 11 2 cups
Apple, banana 11 1
Peanuts 11 .5 cup
Orange juice 7 1 cup
Chocolate dark 7 1.5oz
Food ANDI Serv/amt
Units score  
Salmon wild 7 4 oz
Seafood lobsters 5 4 oz
Sardines 5 4 oz
Eggs 4 1 item
Poultry 3 4 oz
White pasta 0
Beef, pork, lamb 0  
Hotdog 0  
Ice cream 0  
Pizza 0  
Fr fries, chips 0  
Soft drinks 0  

It is my esteemed belief that Fuhrman rates beets too low as an ANDI score, as beets provide an essential methyl group rich in betaine that makes methylation, an essential biochemical process occurring in every cell in our body billions of times/second. He also gives avocado a low ANDI score in spite of it being loaded loaded with nutrients. As you can surmise, using ANDI scores to rate foods is not a perfect system. But it is the best we have at this time.

In spite of Fuhrman's view that viewers do not need to do a diet analysis, this author feels such a partial analysis in the table below does give the viewer a better awareness of the major nutrients [vitamins, minerals and amino acids] in each veggie food.

FoodNut Den ANDI Serv Amt Veggie Major nutrients
avocado 23 1/2 piece   vit:  B1, B2, B5, vit D, C;   Min: Ca, Cu, Fe, I, Mg, P, K, Se, Zn, S; Prot:   Alanine, aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, Glycine, Isolueucine, Luccine, Lysine,  Proline, Serine, Valine.; antioxidants 
spinach 82 3/4 cup   vit  A, B12, Folate, choline, vit D, Lutein;   Ca, Cu, Fe, I, Mn, Mg, K, Se, Zn;  fiber; antioxidants
broccoli flower raw 90 3/4 cup   vit  A, C, E, K, B2, B9;   Cu, Mg, Mn, P, K, Se, Na, Zn;  B3, B9.  fiber,
beets boiled 45 1/2cup   vit  A, B1, B2, B5, B7, B12;   Ca, Cu, Fe, K.  Mg, Mn, P, Se, Na, Zn;  essential methyl group
pinto beans 52 3/4 cup  Vit: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9;     Min: Ca, Fe, Mg, P, K, Zn, Mn, S, Ni, Mo, Co, B; amino acids;  antioxidents
carrots grated 45 1/2 cup   vit  A, B1, B5, B7, B12,  C, D;   Ca, Cu, I, Mg, P, K, Se, S; B9, carotene, anti-oxidants
tomato 60 6 cherrys   vit  A, B1, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, D, Choline, carotene;  Ca, Cu, F, Mg, P, K, Se;  Glutamic acid;  Lipocoene; anti-oxidants
sunflower seeds 34 1 hep tspn   vit  B3, B5, B7, B9, B12;   Ca, Cu, Fe, I, Mg, P, K, Se, Na, Zn, S; fiber
onions raw 60 2 slices   vit  B1, B2, B5, B7, B12;   Ca, Cu, Mg, K, P, Se; B9, choline

                      Nutrient Source: Food Data Central US Dept of Agriculture:   USDA: Food Data Central Another Food analysis:  NutrientValue

But getting back to the Almighty vegetarian diet.

So what is my almighty veggie diet? It includes very specific raw and fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Scientists refer these different colored foods as the rainbow diet.

The plates below, Best nutritious veggies, Fruits, and Nuts/Seeds, illustrate the best nutrient dense foods for a balanced healthy meal:

plate veggies plate circle nuts.jpg  

You are not expected to eat all these foods as one meal. At best, you would include probably five or six veggies in one meal and rotate the foods for variety. The same would be true for one or two fruits. I found it difficult to eat a perfect balance of the best veggies each day, as I would run out of avocadoes, broccoli or another food.  Having the perfect diet disrupted for a day had little if any affect on body function, as the diet was balanced out by other super foods. 

These vegetables [in illustration] were selected, over others, for a meal because most were super rich in specific nutrients and low in calories:

The top six veggies in the plate, above, should be first choice vegetables as these cumulatively provide a good balance of nutrients. These six .... avocado, spinach, broccoli, beets, beans and carrots, contain a balance of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that compliment each other. Onions or garlic should be added about three times a week.

These six can be rotated for other vegetables. For example:

The fruit plate [e.g. blueberries amount of 1/2 cup, rich in antioxidants] above neglected to include other fruits, like apples, bananas and raspberries. You should include one or two fruits in your main meal.

Likewise, nuts can vary, but include about 5 almond nuts, two half-walnuts, and about four pieces of cashews. Seeds can vary, but a heaping teaspoon of sunflower, and super antioxidant flax and fennel seeds are best.

Avocadoes, almonds, cashews, flax seeds and sunflower seeds are nutrient rich and also moderately high in calories. You can cut the serving amount in half to low the calories. These calories are good fat that the brain and other body parts need. HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind of fat found in your blood. Healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, help absorb nutrients, fight fatigue, lower heart disease and stroke and even control your weight. But almighty veggie diet excludes meat and dairy products that are high in the bad fats or LDL cholesterol.

The almighty veggie diet assumes that all plants are grown in fertile soils. This may not be always true as our farms are being burned out of minerals,  causing deficiency in plant nutrients. Fossil fertilizers make plants grow but do not replace lost minerals. If this is so, you may need to consider ingesting plant source supplements.

Summary: Nutritionists in the past advocated eating five or six small meals throughout the day to help one control hunger, allowing food addiction to persist. As a food addict, you need to stop eating your addictive foods. A super veggie diet will not do much good if you persist in eating beef meat, chesseburgers, chicken meat, snacks, processed foods, French fries and drink coca-cola .... these foods are spiked with fat, salt and/or sugar.

This author/researcher eats only two meals a day, starting with one slice of toasted bread spread with almond butter and sprinkled with a heaping teaspoon of ground flax seeds, a blueberry muffin and one half slice of lemon juice squeezed in a cup of water for breakfast [no coffee]. Then a late afternoon dish of almighty vegetables with sunflower seeds, one or two fruits and nuts. I eat the main meal about 4:00pm and nothing thereafter so as to avoid reflux or gerd at night.  As my visit to the doctor confirmed, my almighty veggie diet works wonders for me.

For this diet to work, you need to eat it regularly and not mix it with cheeseburgers, French fries, coke, processed and snack foods. 

A major advantage of the above veggie diet is that you are no longer eating addictive foods and are not hungry much of the time.

Give your body what it needs .... the essential nutrients that make the body work and you live a longer life! Eat with your common sense information and not what tastes good. Processed, sweet and junk/snack foods, high in calories, are addictive and not needed by the body.

Having one cohort, Sorochan, as a guinea pig, on a year long strict diet adds credibility to the veggie diet that it is good medicine, in a small research way. My immune system was high and I did not get sick with a cold or or infection. This was not a planned research design although this author was very much aware of research protocol. Almighty Veggie Diet was refined as nutrient density foods with low calories. Future research design needs to be comprehensive [include monitoring the immune system as well as CVS,  lungs, and other body systems], would include a larger cohort database over longer time and needs to include food addiction. But Almighty Veggie Diet is a start!  Callaghan: Types & interpreting research studies 2021  Downer: Food is medicine action plan 2022 You do not need to wait decades for future research on almighty veggie diet; try it now and avoid incubating chronic diseases and disorders.

References:

Callahan Alice, Heather Leonard, & Tamberly Powell, " 2.3: Types of Research Studies and How To Interpret Them," Libre Text Medicine, May 1, 2021.  Callaghan: Types & interpreting research studies 2021

Downer Sarah, Emma Clippinger, Corby Kummer and Kurt Hager, " Food is Medicine: Research Action Plan," Food and Society Aspen Institute, January 22, 2022.  Downer: Food is medicine action plan 2022

Fuhrman Joel, "Nutrient Density," Dr.Fuhrman, May 19, 2016.    Fuhrman: Nutrient density 2016  Fuhrman: ANDI scores for foods 2017

Graber Eric, "Food as Medicine," American Society for Nutrition, February 22, 2022.  Graber: Food as medicine 2021

Harvard University, "Understanding addiction," HelpGuide.  Harvard Uinversity: Understanding addiction

Jeffrey, "Could You Be Replacing Your Addiction With Another? Addiction Center, March 18, 2016.  Jeffrey: Replacing addictions 2016

Sorochan Walter, " Nutrient Density: and good food choices," freegrab.net, October 31, 2021.  Sorochan: Nutrient density & good food choices 2021