Once again, Jennifer Aniston is in the eye of the celebrity gossip storm; but this time, it's not for wanting a baby ... it's for eating like one! Aniston's life has always been one of dietary restrictions, with very few nutritional faux-pas and no excess (apart from her beloved unhealthy cigarettes).
So, you can imagine the response of most to the eating plan with which she has recently been linked. Called the blend -- or "Baby Food" -- diet, it relies mainly on pureed foods. The idea is that only pure foods blend well -- think about pureeing the majority of "bad" foods -- pizza, burritos and barbecue ribs. (Insert collective "ugh" here).
Is the Baby Food Diet the last frontier for A-listers who have tried it all? Is it healthy? Is this trend a craze or here to stay?
Let's look at the positives: The Baby Food Diet consists of lots of veggies, lean meat and lots of water to flush it out, so it is healthy in that regard.
But, where's the catch?
First, how long can one live like this? I'm French, and I can tell you joie de vivre is what it is all about. So does this mean that I'm okay with a few extra pounds? Au Contraire! But, I realize, in the long run -- a few pounds up, a few pounds down -- 'it all comes out in the wash' (one of my favorite American sayings!). But, back to joy ... there doesn't seem to be much joy in eating mush all the time!
Here are some other thoughts for those who might consider regressing to an infant's way of eating:
(1) Social Life: Turning to a puree-based form of nourishment is not a light decision for those who enjoy the company of other, non-pureeing people. Ever been invited to a puree barbecue party? And do you really want to bring a Cuisinart to that buzzed-about restaurant your friends are dying to try?
(2) Family life: Chances are that your family will not enjoy this new menu, unless they are all no older than one year! Unlike simply watching portions, or trading high fat foods for lower fat versions, you will either need to cook a completely separate meal for others in your home or trade your teens in for infants. (I am joking, here, this is not a real option.)
(3) Mood: Boredom is likely to hit the Baby Food Dieter after the initial weight loss that typically occurs at the start of each new "crash" diet. To succeed over the long haul, the dieter will have to resort to a high level of motivation and be comfortable with self-deprivation to stay the course. Mood swings are likely to hit as more and more energy is spent to stay on the "right" track.
(4) Nutrition: Such a diet is not dangerous if followed for up to three days. However, it can be after more than 72 hours as it lacks essential nutrients, healthy fats, Omega 3s, and indispensable vitamins like Vitamin C, which are destroyed with the heat necessary to properly puree food.
(5) Physiology: We need to chew our food. The act of chewing helps us quickly release and assimilate the molecules of nutrients from the food. Keeping food in our mouths longer while chewing also helps the tongue recognize the food's flavors. Once the flavor is recognized by the tongue, a message is sent to the brain, which in turn sends a message to the digestive system so that the right digestive juices can be released.
(6) General Health: There is a very low caloric intake associated with this diet. Such a pronounced reduction of calories leads to a rapid, and often, drastic weight loss where muscle mass will be hit first. Don't take this first step to a life of yo-yo dieting!
In view of the six points I just listed you've probably surmised that I'm advocating just ditching the Baby Food Diet? Well, not exactly ...
The Baby Food Diet can easily be adapted to make it a healthy, socially-sustainable program by:
(1) Only partaking in pureed meals for up to three days once every few months.
(2) While on a pureed program, opting for a breakfast of 10 soaked Brazil nuts (great source of brain-friendly selenium) + 1 banana + 1 fresh fruit puree
(2) Starting all your subsequent meals with a broth-based soup which will curb your appetite by at least 25%. This is what Aniston's nemesis, Angelina Jolie, reportedly does when she needs to get in shape quickly.
(3) And, as with any eating program, make sure you change your recipes often to avoid boredom and stay on the wagon.
Bottom Line: Only purees, every meal, every day? That's a diet to avoid in its strict form!