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« Can a Plant-Based No-Added-Fat Diet Survive "Real Life"? My Fourth of July Trial on the Esselstyn Diet - House Guests, Restaurants, Road Trips, and Dinner with Friends. Let the Numbers Speak for Themselves. | Main | Some Q & A about the Esselstyn Diet Challenge. Why Do It? What about Oil & Fat-Soluble Vitamins? What About Omega-3s? And My Top Recipe Picks of Week Three »

July 10, 2010


Gael in Vermont

I gotta' hand it to you! As well as you were doing before and as many changes and tweaks you've made in the past year, you've outdone yourself. This has been such a lesson for me. You've made such delicious looking meals and reaped the benefits. But I think the key is, and the hard part for most people, is the prepping it takes to make this happen. Once you learn some tricks and prepare pieces of the meals ahead of time, it doesn't take long to pack up daily food and snacks. It does take time and commitment to your health. Even though I don't have a Trader Joe's in Vermont, I do have 4 fabulous food co-ops in a 10 mile radius of my home (think stores like Whole Foods) and 3 fabulous farmers markets so I will look for your suggested products. I know this kind of lifestyle change would be unthinkable and undoable for most people, but you can't keep your head in the sand forever (well, maybe you can). Like Dr. Phil says: "There are consequences for every action." I congratulate you and can't wait for your numbers.

William Kruidenier

Thanks for this detailed report! Beautiful pics -- who wouldn't want to eat this way all the time? :-) Thanks for taking time to share this info. Looking forward to your lipid numbers!


Thanks for the recipe ideas (though I'm wishing there was a Trader Joe's around here!). I've been considering going towards an oil-free diet, but I kept running across Ann Esselstyn's advice to eat the same thing every day. I really enjoy cooking, and eating the same thing over and over again wouldn't work for me. But these recipes look great.

The Healthy Librarian

Love your comment Gael! You're so right about the prep part. Once you figure out the do-ahead tricks, it's not that much different than packing any old lunch, or making any old breakfast.

William, thanks for nice post on your blog. Your tomatoes look fabulous.

Molly Jade, I'm with you. I can do the same breakfast most days, cause it's a no-brainer, and I like having some simple lunches to fall back on---but I love variety & I'm always trying out new recipes. This no-oil "thing" is a lot easier than I thought it would be--and I thought it would be impossible to cook without it.

It's working on a lot of my old-time favorite recipes. A 450 degree oven & parchment paper & a silpat sub for frying, liquid subs for oil in sauteeing, and lots of dressings work just fine wo oil. Plus that Cuisinart Green Pan is AMAZING.


Your meals look and sound amazing. I have no doubt that this sort of diet can be delicious and satisfying, but I have a couple of questions about a totally fat free diet. Does Dr. Esselstyn address the argument that we need essential fats for our brain and cell membranes? Also, it is my understanding that phytonutrients tend to be better absorbed with a little fat, so it would seem that adding a bit of walnuts, avocado, or almonds to each meal would be useful. Years ago, vegan fat-free proponent Dr. MacDougall eventually came around to thinking that it was a good idea to add a small amount of whole plant fat to daily intake -- not sure of his current views, tho'.

Chris G.

Inspiring! Keep up the great work and the wonderful recipes!


Congratulations! I have been oil-free for awhile and have had similar experiences. People who haven't tried it can't understand show omething so "small" can make such a difference. I have two ideas about why this might be: 1) By eliminating oil you increase the caloric contribution of carbohydrate relative to fat. Both the brain and muscles prefer carbohydrate, hence more energy for both 2) fat of any kind "sludges" in the blood, making it sticky and less able to transport oxygen, which would also affect energy levels. Be sure to check out Dr. John McDougall's contributions to this. Esselstyn has remarked that reading McDougall led him to initiate his own research. As to the other commenter's question on McDougall's recommendations: whole foods that are higher in fat are allowed if one is at their ideal weight with no CVD, but they are not necessary. All the EFAs are found in plant foods, nothing extra need be added, and plenty of nutrients will be absorbed.


For mollyjade: Can you elaborate on the "eat the same thing every day" recommendation? I cook on the weekend and eat the same couple of dishes all week due to lack of time - didn't know I was doing something "right."

Hank Roberts

Good clear blog on the issue, referencing Dr. Lands:


I started making my steel cut oats in a rice cooker set to brown rice mode. So when I wake up they are ready having cooked earlier in the morning with the timer setting. Then I throw some brown rice in there after breakfast and set the timer to have it ready at 11:30am.

It makes a huge difference on the diet when the prep-time on a meal like this is basically reduced to 2-3 minutes.

Healthy Librarian

Thanks, Morgan. Recently I've been seriously thinking about getting a rice cooker. A chef/vegetarian/serious exerciser & health blogger over at Front Burner says her Zojo Rice Cooker is one of her top Kitchen tools. What kind do you use?

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