As I read this book I couldn't help thinking how similar it is to the Zone diet. Low refined carbs, high fiber, lean protein, and a small amount of healthy fats. The only thing that's different is that you are aiming for about 35 grams of fiber per day; the Zone doesn't stress fiber as much, although it does clearly say that the more fiber, the better, because it fills you up.
So...I am now on day 2 of the 2-week introduction phase of the diet, and I'm not dying...yet. I don't feel too deprived on this diet because the foods you eat really are quite filling. I also like that after the first 2 weeks, there are no forbidden foods...you just have to eat appropriate portions since what you can eat is limited to a certain # of servings.
I had to buy a case of the GG Crackers online, because I can't find any stores here that sell them (and I'm in Seattle!!!). The crackers are definitely 100% fiber, and they taste like it. I've found that as I get more creative with how I use them, it gets easier. For instance, they're great with peanut butter. I also like them with light cream cheese and lox, or light cream cheese and cucumbers w/ cracked pepper.
So, basically it's a diet. If you're an absolute foodie like myself, you will feel limited, despite the author's claims. The notion that "you don't take away foods, you just add more fiber" is a little misleading, because you have to cut way down on processed carbs. However, processed carbs aren't off limits, you just really can't enjoy that chicken pot pie like you used to.
Overall, it's a sound diet. It describes the way humans are probably meant to eat. It's healthy, there are a million benefits to eating enough fiber, and you definitely feel less weighed down on it. However...the fun factor goes right out the window. I mean, seriously...have you ever seen a Nutritionist who looks like he/she has any FUN when he/she eats?
ADDITION TO ORIGINAL REVIEW, 7 weeks later:
I don't know if it's due to the diet, or due to me finally being enlightened about my relationship with food, but I have definitely been able to integrate the concept of more fiber/less refined carbs into the way I just live. After the first two strict weeks, I have definitely relaxed some of the "rules" (I mean, sometimes you need a slice of pizza) and found that I'm successful at 1) Not feeling guilty when I do indulge, or feeling like I've "failed" and 2) Being able to continue the diet without feeling that since I've gone off course, there's no longer hope. My main mantra is that if I follow the diet (which I now consider to be a lifestyle) 90% of the time, then I will benefit from it 90% of the time (I believe Dr. Sears of the Zone had a similar philosophy). There is no danger of going "out of the Zone", or getting "out of ketosis" i.e. Atkins. There is no physical state that you "must maintain" in order for the diet to work. You just pick up where you left off.
So...some things I've experienced while on this diet, and again--I can't claim that it's 100% due to the diet, or if it's because I am now finally "ready" to accept that living a healthy lifestyle means ADOPTING healthy habits--are below. I do believe this fiber diet has been a great initiation to a better lifestyle:
1. I have lost about 10 pounds in the last 7 weeks. This doesn't seem like a lot, but it has been gradual and I've accepted this as the way I will eat for life, not a crash diet. Also, I have NOT increased my exercise during this time. I'm o.k. with slow progress if it means I'll be able to do this for a lifetime and never have to diet again. I am slowly working more physical activity into my lifestyle. I feel much better, clothes fit better, and I carry myself with the confidence I had when I was in my 20's and weighed much less.
2. I was taking a proton pump inhibitor for my chronic heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. I was able to stop taking this medication after week one because I no longer have the above symptoms, and really believe that I won't need to take it ever again. I'm relieved for this because of recent evidence that suggests PPIs inhibit calcium absorption and therefore may lead to less bone density (particularly in the hip) and higher risk for bone breakage as I age.
3. My hunger is under control. I have learned how to be satisfied without being "stuffed" when I eat, and I am happier with smaller meals, thus fewer calories. I do not feel the low blood sugar crash when I get hungry between meals (meaning that I am not a crazed maniac if I cannot immediately eat), and I am much more aware of what I'm eating because of it. If I eat a really large lunch, I can easily eat a much smaller dinner and be perfectly satisfied. I no longer have cravings for junk, and believe me: I used to LOVE the junk.
RECIPES AND STUFF THAT'S WORKED FOR ME:
One thing that has been a great addition to this diet are Mama Lupe's low-carb tortillas (60 calories, 3 grams fat, 7 grams carb, 4 grams fiber in each 10-inch tortilla). They are the best tasting low-carb tortillas I've ever had, and I've tried many. I have not found them in stores, but order them online. I'll make quesadillas with fresh homemade salsa, use them for wraps with lunch meats, cheese and plenty of fresh veggies, or use them as I would normal tortillas when I cook Mexican food.
As for the GG crackers, some great success I've had:
1. With peanut butter and apple slices
2. With dijonaisse, lunch meat and low-fat cheese and pickles
3. As pizza crust: line them up on the bottom of a baking sheet, add your favorite tomato topping (or make your own by simmering fresh diced tomatoes, plenty of garlic, oregano and salt to taste), add the italian cheese blend you can find in the bags already shredded, and top with chicken italian sausage that you've taken out of the casings and cooked in a skillet (may need a bit of olive oil since the good chicken sausage is low-fat). Throw the whole thing in a 375-degree oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and getting to be golden. The crackers soften up a bit, but hold up to the firmness needed to hold the toppings.
4. I've been adding a tablespoon of ground Flax Meal (you can find it at health food stores, or online) to my morning yogurt for an added boost of fiber, plus the great benefits of heart-healthy omega-3's.
Flax has a wonderful, nutty taste and adds great texture.
5. I make a home-made Chinese Chicken Salad with cabbage, shredded carrots, diced chicken or turkey breast, sesame seeds and whatever sesame dressing (I like Girard's Chinese Chicken Salad dressing--it's fairly high fat but I consider it my daily indulgence--the glass triangular bottle). Then, instead of the high-fat fried chow mein noodles, I'll add 1/2 cup of Fiber One cereal for crunch. The salad still tastes great, and packs a nice fiber punch.
6. I have been very dedicated to preparing meals and setting aside "leftovers" or putting something together for lunch the next day at work. Because of this, my lunches are healthy and support my diet, and I save money because I don't eat out every day like I used to.
Best of luck--if this diet resonates with you and you can work with it as a lifestyle change, I have no doubts that you will benefit from all the great things FIBER can do for you!