The Galveston diet is designed specifically to help middle-aged women lose weight that they gained from menopause.
The diet is designed to reduce inflammation throughout the body to help aid weight loss.
The Galveston diet has a one-time fee, and one expert points out that there are other diets out there middle-aged women can follow to stay healthy for free.
This article was medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition, and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.
Many women gain weight during middle age, particularly around the time of menopause. The Galveston diet, which was invented by Mary Claire Haver, MD, an OBGYN, aims to reverse this trend, using a diet plan consisting of lean proteins and low carbs.
The Galveston diet is designed to help menopausal women lose weight by fighting inflammation rather than cutting calories. Despite many personal stories of success on the diet’s website, there are no scientific studies that prove this diet is any better at helping you lose weight than other healthy, balanced diets. Here’s what you need to know before trying the Galveston diet.
The Galveston diet is designed for menopausal women
The Galveston diet is primarily designed to help you combat weight loss during menopause. However, it also offers advice on how to relieve other menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes.
The crux of the diet is to reduce inflammation by limiting the hours in which you eat and cutting out foods that can trigger inflammation like gluten and sugar.
Foods to eat on the Galveston diet
Here’s what you can eat while following the Galveston diet:
Meats: Only lean proteins are allowed in order to avoid excessive saturated fat, which has been linked to weight gain.
Lean turkey and chicken
Lean grass-fed beef
Vegetables: Veggies that are low in starch and high in inflammatory-fighting antioxidants are encouraged.
Fruits: Fruits that are lower in sugar and high in antioxidants are advised.
Fats: The diet allows mainly unsaturated fats, which are a healthier choice for anyone trying to lose weight.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Nuts and seeds
Foods to avoid on the Galveston diet
The only dairy product recommended is Greek yogurt because it has more protein than other yogurt varieties. Similarly, the only grain the diet includes is quinoa, again because it provides protein in addition to carbohydrates.
While following the Galveston diet, you should avoid processed foods and food with added sugars. The website recommends entirely avoiding the middle aisles of the supermarket, where snacks and packaged foods are found.
When to eat on the Galveston diet
The diet not only places strict limits on what you eat, but also when you eat. While following the diet, you are advised to do a daily version of intermittent fasting in which you restrict your eating to an 8-hour period, such as between 10 am and 6 pm, and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
The intermittent fasting aspect of the diet is meant to help reduce inflammation and burn fat. In order to get all the details of the Galveston diet, you need to pay a one time fee of $59, which gives you access to a curriculum covering inflammation, hormones, and other health topics. There are also meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists available.
Should I try the Galveston diet?
It’s important to make lifestyle changes when you hit menopause, says Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health. “Women need to be aware that if they don’t change something at menopause — eat less and exercise more — they will gain weight.”
Though the diet has somewhat rigid restrictions, Faubion says that it does not seem to be harmful. However, she adds that paying a fee may not be worth it. “There are many diets that focus on lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and are low in saturated fat that women can follow, the Mediterranean being one.”
The guidelines for what menopausal women should eat are not much different than for other women, Faubion says. However, “midlife women tend to gain a pound or two per year, and avoiding that weight gain is very important to avoid increased cardiovascular risk over time.”
If you want to avoid rigid restrictions or paying for dietary guidelines, you may want to try a similar option like the Mediterranean diet.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that affects around 4 million adults in the United States (1Trusted Source).
Though research is limited, scientific evidence shows that some diets reduce pain and symptoms related to fibromyalgia.
This article reviews which foods to eat and avoid to help manage fibromyalgia, along with 10 tasty recipes.
Fibromyalgia and diet
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that’s characterized by widespread muscle pain. Due to chronic pain, many people with fibromyalgia also have sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, and depression (1Trusted Source).
The cause of fibromyalgia isn’t yet known, and the condition cannot be cured. People with fibromyalgia must manage their symptoms through medical treatment and lifestyle changes (1Trusted Source).
One way to help symptoms is by following a certain diet.
Though little research has been done, some evidence points to certain dietary approaches that may help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. These include (2Trusted Source):
Low-calorie diets. Weight loss may help with fibromyalgia symptoms, so a low-calorie diet may be a good approach.
Vegetarian diets. These diets are rich in anti-inflammatory fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. The strongest evidence is for raw vegetarian diets.
Low FODMAP diets. FODMAPS are types of carbs that some people can’t digest. Low FODMAP diets exclude most dairy products, grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s a very restrictive, highly anti-inflammatory way of eating.
A diet high in anti-inflammatory foods may also help manage fibromyalgia symptoms, as chronic inflammation is one of the suspected causes of the disease (3Trusted Source).
Regardless, this disease and its symptoms are highly individualized. Different diets may work better or worse depending on the individual.
You may benefit from working with a registered dietitian if you’re following a more complex eating pattern, such as a raw vegetarian or low FODMAP diet, to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Foods to include
Types of foods that are typically part of dietary approaches for fibromyalgia include (2Trusted Source):
Low calorie: low calorie, high protein, high fiber, or filling foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
Vegetarian: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds; some vegetarians may include eggs or dairy products while raw vegetarians eat only uncooked plant foods
Low FODMAP: only foods that are low in FODMAPs, including most meats, rice, some fruits and vegetables, and limited dairy products
You should also add a variety of anti-inflammatory foods that fit into your preferred eating pattern, as they may help alleviate symptoms. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source):
Herbs and spices: turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, garlic, cloves
Note that some of these foods, such as honey and chickpeas, are higher in FODMAPs. As such, avoid them if you’re strictly following a low FODMAP diet.
Foods to avoid
On the other hand, foods that are typically avoided in the dietary approaches to fibromyalgia are (2Trusted Source):
Low calorie. Exclude empty calories like chips, cookies, cakes, ice cream, sugary drinks, added sugars, and added fats.
Vegetarian. All vegetarians exclude meat from their diet. However, raw vegetarians will also exclude cooked foods.
Low FODMAP. On the low FODMAP diet, you need to exclude all foods that are high in FODMAPs. This includes wheat, dairy products, beans, garlic, and onions.
Anti-inflammatory. To decrease inflammation you should also avoid pro-inflammatory foods, which include highly processed foods, refined carbs, fast food, and processed vegetable oils like soybean oil or corn oil (6Trusted Source).
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by muscle pain. Some dietary approaches may help manage its symptoms, including anti-inflammatory, low calorie, raw vegetarian, or low FODMAP diets.
The following recipes are appropriate for various dietary approaches to fibromyalgia, and they all contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
1. Shakshuka for one (vegetarian, low FODMAP)
Shakshuka is a North African dish made by simmering eggs in tomato sauce. However, this take includes some healthy, anti-inflammatory additions like spinach and fresh parsley (4Trusted Source).
At only 286 calories per serving, it’s also an ideal meal for anyone following a low calorie diet to help manage their fibromyalgia.
It’s likewise appropriate for anyone following a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which includes eggs and dairy products.
Simply swap the onions and garlic for garlic- and/or shallot-infused olive oil to make it FODMAP-free.
Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go meal solution, and this vegan smoothie is compatible with a raw vegetarian diet for fibromyalgia. Because it contains only 340 calories per serving, it’s also an appropriate meal for low calorie diets.
It contains blueberries, strawberries, and purple cauliflower, which are all rich sources of anthocyanins — antioxidant pigments that give these fruits and vegetables their bright colors (10Trusted Source).
Anthocyanins are also highly anti-inflammatory, with one study showing they improved sleep quality in people with fibromyalgia. However, more research is needed (10Trusted Source).
This salad can be eaten warm or cold, so it’s a great vegetarian and low FODMAP dinner or lunch option. It also contains only 280 calories per serving, making it a good choice for low calorie diets as well.
It’s rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants from pomegranate, including vitamin C (9Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Pescatarian (sometimes spelled “pescetarian” with an e) is a word sometimes used to describe those who abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. A pescatarian, or someone who follows a pescatarian way of eating, maintain a vegetarian diet with the addition of fish and other seafood such as shrimp, clams, crabs, and lobster.
In other words, a pescatarian is a person who eats fish but doesn’t eat steak, chicken, pork or any other kind of meat, only fish and seafood. That’s not all they eat. Pescatarians also eat mainly vegetarian foods such as tofu, beans, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and grains.
Reasons to Go Pescatarian
Although the word is not commonly used and a pescatarian is not really a vegetarian, often people adopt this kind of diet for two reasons: one, they have health concerns (such as high cholesterol) and want to cut out meat but still get healthy protein. The other common reason to go adopt a pescatarian diet is to build up to a completely vegetarian diet. With this method, they may eventually phase out fish and seafood but will do so over time.
Other reasons for adopting a pescatarian way of eating include many of the same issues that motivate people to go vegetarian or vegan: a reduced environmental footprint and animal cruelty concerns. And some people follow a pescatarian diet for religious reasons. Pescatarians often believe that moderate consumption of fish or fish oils, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, is necessary for optimum health, although vegetarian alternatives, such as flaxseed oil and hemp foods are available.
While it’s true that fish is a good source of protein, this shouldn’t be the sole reason for eating a pescatarian diet. There are plenty of meat-free and fish-free sources available to vegetarians and even vegans, including eggs, low-fat dairy, beans, lentils, nuts, and more. It’s certainly possible to maintain a protein-rich diet without consuming meat or fish.
Are Pescatarians Considered Vegetarian?
No. A pescatarian is not a vegetarian or even a type of vegetarian. There is much confusion over what a vegetarian is and isn’t, but no definition of the term ever includes fish or seafood.
A vegetarian diet excludes all animals, and fish are animals. Therefore, a diet that includes fish, or a person who consumes fish cannot be properly called a vegetarian. A pescatarian is not a vegetarian, and a vegetarian diet does not include fish.
What Are Semi-Vegetarians or Flexitarians?
A “semi-vegetarian” -or a “flexitarian” is someone who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, occasionally supplemented by meat, though there’s no real agreed-upon definition of how often one can eat meat and still call themselves a semi-vegetarian or a flexitarian. Pescatarians are not restricted to “occasional” fish and may eat fish as little or as frequently as they prefer.
These labels are somewhat personal. If you state that you are a pescatarian, semi-vegetarian, or flexitarian, be prepared to explain your diet choices to those that ask. While it’s none of their business, it’s likely that friends, family, and even strangers will be curious about your dietary habits, restrictions, and reasons.
It’s a pitch Hollywood celebs love: that the alkaline diet — also known as the alkaline ash diet or alkaline acid diet — can help you lose weight and avoid problems like arthritis and cancer. The theory is that some foods, like meat, wheat, refined sugar, and processed foods, cause your body to produce acid, which is bad for you.
So, according to the “science” behind this diet, eating specific foods that make your body more alkaline can protect against those conditions as well as shed pounds. The alkaline diet really rocketed into the news when Victoria Beckham tweeted about an alkaline diet cookbook in January 2013.
What You Can and Can’t Eat
Most fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes are alkaline-promoting foods, so they’re fair game.
Dairy, eggs, meat, most grains, and processed foods, like canned and packaged snacks and convenience foods, fall on the acid side and are not allowed.
Most books that tout the alkaline diet say you shouldn’t have alcohol or caffeine, either.
Level of Effort: High
You’ll be cutting out a lot of foods you may be used to eating.
Limitations: Many foods are off-limits, and so are alcohol and caffeine.
Cooking and shopping: You can get fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. It may take a while to learn how to prep and cook your meals when you use fresh foods.
Does It Allow for Restrictions or Preferences?
Vegetarians and vegans: This diet is mostly to completely vegetarian. It also works for vegans, in that dairy is off-limits.
Gluten-free: The diet excludes wheat, but to avoid gluten completely, you’ll need to check food labels carefully, as gluten is not just in wheat.
Besides wheat, the diet nixes most of the other major triggers for food allergies, including milk, eggs, peanuts, walnuts, fish, and shellfish. It’s also good for people who are trying to avoid fat and sugar.
What Else You Should Know
Cost: Many web sites with information about the alkaline diet also sell courses, books, supplements, and alkaline-infused water, food, and drinks. You do not need to buy these things to follow the alkaline diet. There are many free alkaline food charts online that list foods you can buy at the grocery store.
What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:
Does It Work?
Maybe, but not for the reasons it claims.
First, a little chemistry: A pH level measures how acid or alkaline something is. A pH of 0 is totally acidic, while a pH of 14 is completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Those levels vary throughout your body. Your blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Your stomach is very acidic, with a pH of 3.5 or below, so it can break down food. And your urine changes, depending on what you eat — that’s how your body keeps the level in your blood steady.
The alkaline diet claims to help your body maintain its blood pH level. In fact, nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.
But the foods you’re supposed to eat on the alkaline diet are good for you and will support a healthy weight loss: lots of fruits and vegetables, and lots of water. Avoiding sugar, alcohol, and processed foods is healthy weight-loss advice, too.
As to the other health claims, there’s some early evidence that a diet low in acid-producing foods like animal protein (such as meat and cheese) and bread and high in fruits and veggies could help prevent kidney stones, keep bones and muscles strong, improve heart health and brain function, reduce low back pain, and lower risk for type 2 diabetes. But researchers aren’t sure of some of these claims yet.
People who believe in the alkaline diet say that though acid-producing foods shift our pH balance for only a little while, if you keep shifting your blood pH over and over, you can cause long-lasting acidity.
Is It Good for Certain Conditions?’
Following an alkaline diet means choosing fruits and vegetables over higher-calorie, higher-fat choices. You will also shun prepared foods, which often have a lot of sodium.
That’s great news for heart health because these steps help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which are big risk factors for heart disease.
Getting to a healthy weight is also important in preventing and treating diabetes and osteoarthritis.
Some studies have found that an alkaline environment may make certain chemotherapy drugs more effective or less toxic. But it has not been shown that an alkaline diet can do this or help prevent cancer. If you have cancer, talk to your doctor or dietitian about your nutritional needs before starting any type of diet.
The Final Word
The emphasis on fruits and vegetables that is at the core of alkaline diets offers the promise of healthy weight loss. No special gear or supplements are required.
You’ll have the best success with it if you like to choose and experiment with new foods and love to cook.
But following an alkaline diet will be tough for many people.
A lot of favorite foods that are allowed in moderation in other plans (including lean meat, low-fat dairy, bread, and sweets) are forbidden here. Protein is limited to plant-based sources such as beans and tofu. This means you will have to make sure you get enough protein and calcium.
Eating out also can be a challenge. If you travel a lot for work or have a busy schedule, you might feel bogged down by all the food selection and prep.
Finally, many alkaline diets fail to address a major factor in weight loss and wellness success: exercise. You should include fitness in any healthy eating plan that you choose. The American Heart Association and the CDC recommend getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. If you have any medical problems or are out of shape, talk to your doctor first.
By Nicole Lyn PescePublished: Oct 10, 2019 1:24 pm ET
A new study suggests that diet can help mental health
Load up on fish and leafy greens.
Stop feeding into your depression.
Many of us turn to comfort foods when we are feeling down, which are generally defined as those dishes and snacks that are easy to make (or order out — thanks, GrubHub GRUB+1.46% and Postmates — or open from a package) that are filled with nostalgic or sentimental value. (They’re also often loaded with sugar, salt, fat and/or refined carbs.)
But new research shows that we’re doing comfort food all wrong. In fact, cutting out processed foods and adding in more fruits, vegetables and fish doesn’t just make you healthier — it may also make you happier.
A small, randomized trial published in PLOS Onethis week (just in time for World Mental Health Day) looked at 76 adults ages 17 to 35, who all scored “moderate to high” on a scale of depression symptoms used by doctors, and who also consumed diets that were high in processed foods, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.
The subjects were split into two groups. One was encouraged to eat healthier by receiving money for grocery shopping, a small hamper of pantry items, as well as tips to eating healthier, whole foods. Researchers checked in on them twice a week for three weeks to see how their diets were going. The control group, on the other hand, didn’t receive any food, money or nutritional guidance.
And at the end of three weeks, those on the diet who ate more fruits, vegetables and fish — aka a Mediterranean-style diet — saw their moods significantly improve, and their “moderate to high” depression scores dropped within a normal range. Those in the control group who had stuck to their less healthy diets didn’t see change to their moods or scores. Three months later, the subjects who continued with the healthy eating habits continued to have elevated moods and more improved life outlooks.
Now, this was a very small trial, and more randomized control trials are needed to establish whether there really is a cause-effect relationship between diets and depression. The control group in this case did nothing, for instance. Future research should compare the outcomes of people who eat healthy with those trying a different intervention, such as social support, to show how effective a new diet would be in comparison.
And no one is saying that simply eating more vegetables can take the place of therapy and medication in treating depression and other mental health conditions.
But as study co-author Heather Francis, a nutritional neuroscience researcher from Macquarie University in Sydney, told Live Science, “These findings add to a growing literature to suggest that healthy diet can be recommended as an effective therapy to improve depression symptoms, as an adjunct to pharmacological and psychological therapy.”
One in five U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and one in six U.S. youth ages six to 17 also have a mental health disorder. It’s estimated that serious mental illness causes $193.2 billion in lost earnings in the U.S. alone each year, and costs the global economy $1 trillion annually, NAMI reports.
Previous studies have also suggested that changes to diet — and following a Mediterranean diet, in particular — could improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
A 2018 meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults found that those who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had a 33% lower risk of developing depression over eight to 12 years compared with those whose diets were the most opposite. What’s more, a 2018 study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry came up with an Antidepressant Food Scale. And topping its list of the 12 best foods loaded with nutrients that influence depression were bivalves (clams and mussels) and seafood packed with vitamin B12, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as leafy greens, lettuces, peppers and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli) also packed with iron and vitamins.
On the flip side, those familiar sweet or salty comfort foods that provide a pick-me-up in the moment can end up making you feel worse. Foods that spike your blood sugar (like sweets, white breads and processed starches like pasta and french fries) often lead to a “crash” later on — like feeling shaky, lethargic, irritable or anxious in the afternoon.
In fact, a systematic review of 12 studies that looked at diet and mental health in children and adolescents found that eating more saturated fat, refined carbs and processed foods led to worse mental health.
It’s basically a meal delivery service. Yes, it’s created with the help of a credentialed advisory board. Yes, the meals (or, ahem, “Fuelings”) are designed to restrict calories while providing nutrients. Yes, it’s convenient. But Optavia, in its structure, is very similar to Nutrisystem or the more modern Kettlebell Kitchen, in which the company ships you prepared meals and you eat those prepared meals.
Optavia offers more than 60 food options (excuse me, “Fuelings,” geez) to choose from, including oh-so-exciting delicacies as “Beef Stew,” “Chicken Cacciatore,” “Turkey Meatball Marinara,” and I’m sorry if you just fell asleep.
If you go from a diet heavy in calorie-dense foods, a diet that includes a lot of (let’s just pick a totally random example here) red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, to a diet that includes a lot of, ahem, beef stew in small portions, well then you’re going to reduce your calorie intake and lose weight. In the short term.
What about in the long term? That’s entirely on you.
A 2017 study reviewed the results of 25 weight loss programs and found that “commercial weight-loss programs frequently fail to produce modest but clinically meaningful weight loss with high rates of attrition suggesting that many consumers find dietary changes required by these programs unsustainable.”
Maybe you can sustain eating the same 60-ish Optavia Diet Fuelings over the course of a few months, but can you sustain eating them over the rest of your life?
I mean, that’s a lot of stew.
Is the Optavia Diet healthy?
Here’s where you need to be careful.
Look, if you’re the kind of uber Type A person who can stick to regimen of basically eating the same thing every day for months on end, maybe the Optavia Diet is for you.The Lathe of Heavenamazon.comBUY IT NOW
But if you’re an actual human, you’re going to grow bored of beef stew. You’re going to start to hate beef stew. And when you start hating what you eat, you start hating the process of eating. And you start feeling guilty when you veer off your Fuelings and back to food.
Think about that for a moment: Is hating what you eat worth losing weight? Is it worth feeling guilt and shame about eating something that isn’t labeled as a Fueling?
The National Eating Disorders Association reports that 95 percent of people who diet regain their lost weight in five years.
PAUL KITAPaul is the Food & Nutrition Editor of Men’s Health.