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The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution by Marla Heller MS RD (2012): Food list

The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution book by Marla HellerThe DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution (2012) is an updated version of the DASH diet, with lower starch and “healthy” fats allowed, which claims to be as effective as the original DASH is for heart health and is now formulated for weight loss. The DASH diet was ranked #1 Best Diet Overall by the U.S. News & World Report diet rankings in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (the ranking is for the higher-starch version of the diet).

  • 2 phases – no starch or fruit, then low starch and fruits allowed.
  • Nonstarchy vegetables, lean proteins, beans, dairy, nuts and seeds, monounsaturated fats.
  • Low processed foods.

Below is a description of the food recommendations in the diet. Summary  |  General guidelines  |  What to eat  |  Foods to limit  |  Foods to avoid  |  Phase 1  |  Phase 2  |  Maintenance  |  Allergies and food sensitivities.  There’s a lot more in the book.

Get a copy of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution for explanations of the evolution of the DASH diet, forms to track servings and health, exercise suggestions, menus, recipes, and resources including recipe websites.

There’s an accompanying cookbook with over 150 recipes – The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook

The reasoning behind The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

The DASH diet – it stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – was designed to be a heart-healthy diet. The original DASH diet, from the early 1990s, followed the prevailing healthy eating advice recommending a high intake of carbs (“the pasta decade”). It also recommended very low fat intake, and held that most people were consuming too much protein. The “diabesity epidemic” appears to be the result of this advice. This newer DASH diet helps you take advantage of newer research regarding the benefits of reduced intake of refined grains and added sugars, the need for higher than previously recommended levels of protein, and strategies for preparing meals and snacks that are satisfying and help to curb hunger.

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution diet plan – what to eat and foods to avoid

There are two phases of the diet, then a lifetime maintenance plan.

If you have diabetes and are on medication for it, please consult with your physician and/or dietitian about adopting this plan, as it can significantly reduce your need for medication and you should not alter your medication intake without consulting first with your health care professional.

General guidelines for The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Do not skip any meals or snacks. If you find that you are getting hungry shortly after meals, then your serving sizes are too small, especially the protein part
  • Have a balance of bulky, filling foods (e.g. vegetables) along with protein-rich foods
  • Make half your plate nonstarchy veggies
  • If you start to feel a little light-headed or dizzy, have another snack (or make sure you had the snack in the first place)
  • Don’t be overly restrictive with salts
  • Get plenty of fluids, at least 8 glasses per day – another part of the book says that you only need 6-8 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. Caffeinated beverages, other liquids, water that comes from foods (including fruits, vegetables, and jello) all count towards this. Drinking water with meals does almost nothing to quench hunger, but eating foods that are high in water content, including (low-sodium) soups, fruits, and vegetables, helps you avoid overeating
  • Choose foods that you like

Foods to eat unlimited in general on The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Nonstarchy vegetables
    • E.g. asparagus, artichoke, bamboo shoot, beans, beets, beet greens, bok choi, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, garlic, green beans/haricots verts, greens, jalapeño peppers and other hot peppers, jicama, kale, lettuces, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, seaweed, shallots, snow peas, spaghetti squash, spinach, sugar snap peas, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip greens, water chestnuts, zucchini
    • Restrict or avoid starchy vegetables – potatoes, winter squash, corn
    • Feel free to carrots and tomatoes, which are often unnecessarily avoided in low-carb plans
    • Coleslaw
    • Rely on these for the bulk in your diet
    • Focus on making your plate colorful – e.g. salads should have more than just green lettuce
  • Beverages
    • Drink when you are thirsty
    • Water
    • Black coffee (phase 1 you can add a milk serving and make it a latte). Use only noncaloric sweeteners
    • Unsweetened or artificially sweetened tea
    • Diet sodas – sugar-free
    • Vegetable juices e.g. tomato juice, V8 juice – low sodium

Foods encouraged to eat in limited amounts in general on The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Dairy
    • Cheeses – low-fat or nonfat – e.g. reduced fat / light cottage cheese, Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedge, Mini Babybel Light, Kraft 2% singles, light string cheese, 2% mozzarella
    • Yogurt – unsweetened or artificially sweetened. Should be 120 calories or less for an 8-ounce serving or less than 100 calories for a 6-ounce serving
  • Nuts, beans, seeds
    • Nuts – preferably nonroasted and unsalted – e.g. almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts
    • Seeds e.g. sesame seeds
    • Peanut butter – natural, not reduced-fat (keep in the refrigerator and store upside down)
    • Avocados are listed, but it’s not clear whether they’re considered an unlimited vegetable or should be limited because of the fat they contain
  • Legumes
    • Beans e.g. black beans, kidney beans – no added salt
    • Lentils
    • Soy foods
  • Lean proteins
    • Choose a portion size about the size of your palm
    • Lean meat – beef (broiled or roasted – top round, eye round, shoulder pot roast, round tip roast, shoulder steak, top sirloin steak, bottom round, top loin steak, tenderloin, t-bone, tri-tip, NY strip steak, ground beef 90% or 95% lean), pork (broiled or roasted – pork tenderloin, pork top loin roast, pork loin chop, pork center loin, pork sirloin, pork sirloin roast, Canadian bacon, lean ham, lean ground pork). Choose meats that are graded “select” and only occasionally have “choice” or “prime,” which are much higher in fat
    • Lean poultry – chicken (roasted and preferably skinless – breast, thigh), turkey (skinless breast, whole, ground turkey with only white meat, no fat or skin)
    • Deli meats – low-sodium, low-fat
    • Fish, including fatty fish – e.g. anchovies, bluefish, catfish, cod, cod liver oil, flounder, haddock, halibut, herring, mackerel, ocean perch, orange roughy, oysters, pollock, rainbow trout, rockfish, salmon, sole, swordfish, tilapia, tuna canned in water, white fish
    • Shellfish – e.g. blue crab, clams, lobster, scallops, shrimp – these are fine even though they are high in cholesterol, as they aver very low in total fat and virtually free of saturated fat
    • Eggs – egg substitutes and some whole eggs if desired. Choose eggs that are high in omega-3s
  • Heart-healthy fats
    • Avocados
    • Vegetable oils rich in monounsaturated fatty acid omega-3s, especially olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and other nut oils. Choose peanut oil for high-temperature cooking such as stir frying
    • Salad dressings / mayonnaise, especially those based on the above oils
    • Soft margarine that doesn’t contain trans fats; look for margarines with plant stanols or sterols, such as Smart Balance
    • Foods that are especially rich in heart-healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olives, and many cold-water ocean fish
    • Grass-fed beef can be another source of healthy fats
  • Beverages
    • Juices, e.g. diet cranberry juice – 4-6 ounces (no fruit juices in phase 1)
  • Non-nutritive sweeteners
    • Sugar alcohols (e.g. sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol – may cause diarrhea)
    • Other artificial sweeteners (e.g. Splenda, Truvia)
    • Natural non-caloric sweeteners (e.g. stevia)
    • While it has been popular to denigrate artificial sweeteners, they have a place in the diet for people who want to have sweet flavored foods but who can’t handle the calories and/or sugar. Note that artificially sweetened baked goods and pastries are still high in starch and usually have calories equal to the original foods, which goes against this diet.
  • Pantry items – these are not listed as unlimited
    • Guacamole
    • Bouillon/broth (low-sodium), mustard, tomato paste, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce
    • Fresh herbs including basil, bay leaves, cilantro, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
    • Spices including allspice, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, onion powder, paprika, poultry seasoning
    • Salt substitutes, including lemon-pepper
    • Lemon juice, lime juice

Fruits, starchy foods such as whole grains and starchy vegetables, and milk are not allowed in Phase 1 but are allowed in phase 2.

Get your minerals

Whole foods are preferable to supplements

  • Calcium-rich foods
    • Dairy – milk (not phase 1), yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese
    • Vegetables – broccoli, kale, bok choi
    • Beans – soybeans, tofu
    • Seafood – sardines and other fish with bones
  • Potassium-rich foods
    • Vegetables – asparagus, artichoke, avocado, bamboo shoot, beans, beet, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, celery, kale, mushroom, okra, potato (not phase 1), pumpkin (not phase 1), seaweed, spinach, sweet potato (not phase 1), tomato, turnip greens, winter squash (not phase 1)
    • Fruits (not phase 1) – apple, apricot, avocado, banana, cantaloupe, date, dried fruit, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwifruit, orange, peach, pear, prune, strawberry, tangerine
    • Nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts (probably not phase 1), filberts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts
    • Cereals and breads (not phase 1) – bran cereals, Mueslix, pumpernickel bread
    • Meat and poultry – pork and, at lower amounts, beef, poultry
    • Seafood – halibut, salmon, cod, clams, tuna, rockfish, rainbow trout, lobster, crab
    • Dairy – milk (not phase 1), yogurt
    • Miscellaneous – coffee, molasses (not phase 1), tea, tofu
  • Magnesium-rich foods
    • Vegetables – avocado, beet greens, cassava (not phase 1), okra, potato with skin (not phase 1), seaweed, spinach, swiss chard, wax beans
    • Fruits (not phase 1) – banana, figs, raisins
    • Legumes – beans, black-eyed peas, lentils
    • Whole grains (not phase 1) – amaranth, barley, bran, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, granola, millet, oats, rye, triticale, whole wheat, wild rice
    • Dairy – milk (not phase 1), yogurt
    • Nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, flax seeds, filberts/hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, sunflower seeds, walnuts
    • Seafood – salmon, tuna, lobster, halibut, cod

Foods to restrict or avoid in general on The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Fats – not heart healthy
    • Saturated fats, including coconut oil, palm oil, and foods containing them
    • Flaxseed oil – the author is not convinced of its health benefits as it is not a food that has been extensively consumed by humans
    • Trans fats / partially hydrogenated fats and foods containing them – these include many pastries, cookies, and snack crackers, which either contain trans fats or have replaced them with coconut oil or palm oil
    • Limit fats high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as corn oil, soybean oil (often called vegetable oil), and safflower oil
    • You can have butter rarely and in small amounts – choose it for special meals for its flavor
  • Sugary foods
    • Avoid completely in phase 1, minimize in phase 2
    • Sugar, honey, agave, molasses, maple syrup, and other sugars
    • Baked goods and pastries
    • Soda with sugar
    • Candies etc.
    • Energy bars
    • Any other sugary foods
  • Salty foods
    • Limit salt – although guidelines are not given in this book, except that you should not be overly restrictive with salt
  • Caffeinated beverages other than with meals or snacks

Phase 1 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

This is a 2-week transition phase to reset your metabolism. This protein-rich eating plan claims to keep you satisfied longer and to help jump-start your weight loss. Your digestive hormones, liver, and pancreas get a break from their typical diet – by not including starchy and sugary foods, you will ensure that you won’t have blood sugar spikes, and you will avoid the highs and lows that are typical of most eating patterns, and this calms your hunger. As you go through the initial phase, the book claims that you will find that your appetite decreases.

Suggested meal planning in phase 1 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Have some protein at each meal and snack
  • Breakfasts
    • Egg substitutes (okay to use real eggs with some cheese 1-2 days in this phase), or egg alternatives. See www.eggbeaters.com/recipes/healthier-breakfast-recipes for additional breakfast ideas; stick with the egg recipes and skip the waffles, French toast, and pancake recipes
    • 1-2 slices Canadian bacon or ham, or soy alternatives
    • Tomato juice or V8 juice if desired
    • Roll-ups made with ham, turkey, or lean roast beef and low-fat cheese and/or lettuce as the wrap
    • Artificially sweetened yogurt
  • Midmorning snacks – at least 2 of the following:
    • Low-fat cheese, such as The Laughing Cow Light Wedges, Mini Babybel Light, light string cheese, or light cottage cheese (4 ounce size)
    • Veggies, including celery, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, sliced peppers, grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
    • Nuts (1/4 cup or less). If having nuts and cheese, limit nuts to 1 tablespoon
  • Lunches – choose one of the protein-rich main courses, and all of the other side dishes (it looks like this means protein plus lots of veggies or salad plus jello)
    • Salad loaded with a variety of veggies and protein foods. No croutons. Although light cheese is preferred, you can occasionally have regular cheese
    • Stuffed tomato with egg salad, egg white salad, chicken salad, and/or tuna salad
    • Roll-ups made with ham, turkey, or lean roast beef and low-fat cheese and/or lettuce as the wrap
    • Veggies and/or side salad with dressing
    • Sugar-free jello
  • Mid-afternoon snacks, and before-dinner snacks, if needed
    • Same as morning snacks. Additional choices include:
    • Pepper strips dipped in guacamole or salad dressing
    • Peanuts in the shell – a serving is 10, which would be 20 individual peanuts
  • Dinners – include all of the following:
    • Lean meat, fish, poultry, or meat substitute
    • Nonstarchy veggies
    • Salad with dressing
    • Sugar-free jello

Foods to eat unlimited in phase 1 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Nonstarchy vegetables
    • Unlimited, minimum of 5 servings per day for any appetite size
    • See list above under General – foods to eat
    • Serving size – ½ cup cooked vegetables, 1 cup leafy greens, 6 ounces vegetable juice
  • Sugar-free jello/gelatin – unlimited

Foods encouraged to eat in limited amounts in phase 1 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Dairy
    • 2 servings per day for smaller appetite, 2-3 servings per day for moderate appetite, 2-4 servings per day for large appetite
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
    • Serving size – 8 ounces yogurt (1 per day), 1 ounce cheese, ½ cup cottage cheese
  • Nuts, beans, seeds
    • 1 serving per day for smaller appetite, 1-2 servings per day for moderate appetite, 1-2 servings per day for large appetite
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
    • Serving size – ¼ cup beans, ¼ cup nuts, ¼ cup seeds
    • Choose nuts in the shell to slow you down, and choose nuts that are not addictive for you
    • No clear guidelines on portions of vegetarian proteins for vegetarian diets
  • Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs
    • 5-6 ounces per day of cooked meat or protein for smaller appetite, 6-8 ounces per day for moderate appetite, 8-11 ounces per day for large appetite
    • 3 ounces is about the size of the palm of a woman’s hand; 4 ounces is about the size of a woman’s palm and thumb; 5 ounces is about the size of a man’s palm. 1 egg = 1 ounces, 2 egg whites = 1 ounce
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
  • Fats – heart-healthy
    • 1-2 servings per day for smaller appetite, 2-3 servings per day for moderate appetite, 2-4 servings per day for large appetite
    • Serving size – 1 tablespoon salad dressing, 1 teaspoon of butter or oil
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
  • Other foods
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
    • No serving sizes given

Foods to restrict or avoid in phase 1 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • All foods in the general “foods to avoid” list above, plus:
  • Starchy foods (other than beans)
    • No foods made from flour e.g. bread, pasta
    • No grains e.g. rice, etc.
    • No starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes, winter squash
    • No foods fried in batter
  • Fruit
  • Milk
  • Alcoholic beverages

Phase 2 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

This phase includes whole grains and fruits, as well as lots of nonstarchy vegetables and lean proteins, and more dairy. The aim is to help you continue to lose weight, slightly more slowly after the initial reset phase.

Suggested meal planning in phase 2 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Have some protein at each meal and snack
  • Breakfasts
    • Egg substitutes (okay to use real eggs with some cheese 1-2 days in this phase), or egg alternatives
    • 1-2 slices Canadian bacon or ham, or soy alternatives
    • Tomato juice or V8 juice or other juice – 4 ounces
    • Roll-ups made with ham, turkey, or lean roast beef and low-fat cheese and/or lettuce as the wrap
    • Milk or yogurt or hot chocolate made with skim milk, cocoa powder, and sugar substitute
    • Whole grain cereal, less than 5 grams sugar per serving. A serving is 1 ounce by weight (1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal) and should be less than 100 calories. Watch out for serving sizes on cereals. Use fruit for sweetening
  • Midmorning snacks – 1-2 of the following, and make sure you include some protein:
    • Low-fat cheese, such as The Laughing Cow Light Wedges, Mini Babybel Light, light string cheese, or light cottage cheese (4 ounce size)
    • Veggies, including celery, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, sliced peppers, grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
    • 4-6 ounces yogurt, unsweetened or artificially sweetened
    • 1 serving fruit
    • Nuts – ¼ cup or less, which is about 20 nuts. If having nuts and cheese, limit to 10 nuts
  • Lunches
    • Salad loaded with lots of veggies topped with a good protein source, with dressing, without croutons, occasionally with regular cheese, preferably with light cheese, or
    • Egg salad, egg white salad, chicken salad, and/or tuna salad, or
    • Roll-ups made with low-fat cheese and ham, turkey, or lean roast beef
    • And some of the following: veggies and/or side salad with dressing; 1 serving of fruit; 4-6 ounces yogurt (unsweetened or artificially sweetened) or 8 ounces milk, 10-20 nuts; sugar-free jello
  • Mid-afternoon snacks, and before-dinner snacks, if needed
    • Same as morning snacks. Additional choices include:
    • Pepper strips dipped in ¼ cup guacamole, hummus, or salad dressing
    • Peanuts in the shell (20 individual peanuts)
  • Dinners – include all of the following:
    • Lean meat, fish, poultry, or meat substitute
    • Nonstarchy veggies (top with reduced-fat cheese if desired)
    • Salad with dressing
    • Milk, if desired
  • If you are craving pasta, have pasta sauce (meaty or with beans – you want the protein) on top of veggies. Top with cheese, and brown under the broiler in an ovenproof dish. Or use spaghetti squash as your pasta replacement

Foods to eat unlimited in phase 2 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Nonstarchy vegetables
    • Unlimited, minimum of 5 servings per day for any appetite size
    • See list above under General – foods to eat
    • Serving size – ½ cup cooked vegetables, 1 cup leafy greens, 6 ounces vegetable juice
  • Sugar-free jello/gelatin – unlimited

Foods encouraged to eat in limited amounts in phase 2 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • Dairy
    • Make sure you get 2-3 servings per day for smaller appetite, 2-3 servings per day for moderate appetite, 3-4 servings per day for large appetite
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
    • Serving size – 8 ounces yogurt, 1 ounce cheese, ½ cup cottage cheese
    • Also add nonfat milk / skim milk – serving size 8 ounces. If you are lactose intolerant, choose lactose-free milk or take lactose digesting tablets to reduce the lactose
    • Buttermilk, nonfat sour cream (not containing titanium dioxide) – listed in recipes, no serving size given
  • Nuts, beans, seeds
    • 1-2 serving per day for smaller appetite, 1-3 servings per day for moderate appetite, 2-4 servings per day for large appetite
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
    • Serving size – ¼ cup beans, ¼ cup nuts, ¼ cup seeds
    • No clear guidelines on portions of vegetarian proteins for vegetarian diets
  • Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs
    • 5-6 ounces per day for smaller appetite, 6-8 ounces per day for moderate appetite, 8-11 ounces per day for large appetite
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
  • Fats – heart-healthy
    • 1-2 servings per day for smaller appetite, 2-3 servings per day for moderate appetite, 3-4 servings per day for large appetite
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
    • Serving size – 1 tablespoon salad dressing, 1 teaspoon of butter or oil
    • Also add: olives, some regular mayonnaise
  • Whole grains and other starchy foods, if desired
    • 2-3 servings per day for smaller appetite, 2-3 servings per day for moderate appetite, 3-4 servings per day for large appetite. Try to avoid going over 3 servings of whole grains per day
    • Cereals e.g. oatmeal (unsweetened), grits, wheat, high-fiber cereals without added sugar, Grape Nut Flakes, Wheaties – serving size is ½ cup cooked cereal, 1 ounce dry cereal (80-100 calories). Try to get cereals with no more than 5 grams of sugar, and less than 250 milligrams of sodium
    • Breads e.g. whole wheat / whole grain bread, including “light” or “lite” kinds – serving size is 1 slice bread, ¼ bagel, ½ English muffin, ½ hamburger bun, ½ hot dog bun
    • Baked foods – if you bake with whole grain flour, store it somewhere cool or refrigerated to avoid rancidity
    • Pastas – serving size is ½ cup cooked pasta
    • Starchy vegetables e.g. corn, potatoes, sweetpotatoes/yams, winter squash – serving size ½ cup
    • Brown rice – serving size 1/3 cup
    • Popcorn – serving size 2 cups
    • For people with sensitivity to gluten, it’s fine to substitute gluten-free GF whole grains for wheat products
  • Fruit
    • Make sure you get at least 2-3 servings per day for smaller appetite, 2-4 servings per day for moderate appetite, 3-5 servings per day for large appetite
    • Fresh fruit, e.g. apples, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, clementines, grapes, honeydew melon, mangos, melons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, pomegranate, pineapple, plums, raspberries, strawberries – serving size –1 cup diced raw fruit
    • Dried fruit – serving size ¼ cup
    • Canned fruit – serving size ½ cup
    • Unsweetened applesauce (serving size not given)
    • No more than 4-6 ounces of fruit juice e.g. orange juice; another part of the book says 4 ounces. It’s better to have whole fruits
  • Other foods
    • See list above under General – foods to limit
    • No serving sizes given
    • These foods can also be added: Some ketchup, BBQ sauce, hoisin sauce; Some jelly or jam; Low-calorie, low-sugar, low-fat ice cream bars e.g. Healthy Choice Premium Fudge Bar

Foods to restrict or avoid in phase 2 of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

  • All foods in the general “foods to avoid” list above
  • Beverages
    • Alcohol – only in moderation. Red wine is best. Limit to 3 ½ ounces for women, 7 ounces for men. Replace 1 fruit serving with one 3 ½ ounce glass of wine. Beer – each regular beer replaces 2 grain servings, a light beer replaces 1 grain. Other alcoholic beverages – 1 shot replaces 1 grain
    • Smoothies – use occasionally only, and count as your dairy and fruit servings. In general, choose whole fruits and vegetables to get the bulk and slow digestion
  • Refined grains and sweets
    • Eat rarely, 2-3 times per week
    • Cookies – serving size 2 small cookies
    • One recipe contains quite a lot of honey and another has maple syrup – presumably they’re allowed in phase 2 but should be restricted
  • Processed starchy foods
    • Avoid rice cakes, pretzels, and similar foods – although what “similar foods” means isn’t described
    • No foods fried in batter
  • Fatty foods
    • Some bacon included in recipes
  • The author isn’t a proponent of low-carb breads or pasta – she advises to save your carb calories for really special foods, and don’t develop the habit of reintroducing unneeded breads or pastas

Maintenance plan

Follow phase 2. You can expand your repertoire to occasionally include more of the starchy foods, such as the grains (mostly whole grains of course) and starchy vegetables. Still keep these to a minimum unless you are very physically active.

Use the same serving sizes as phase 2. For refined grains and sweets, here are the daily serving recommendations – 1-2 servings or less for a smaller appetite, 2-3 servings or less for a moderate appetite, 3-4 servings or less for a larger appetite – serving sizes not given.

DASH diet – gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives

The most common food allergens are wheat (gluten), peanuts and tree nuts, dairy (cow’s milk), fish and shellfish, soy, and eggs. Dairy and nuts are part of the key foods for the DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution, so here are ways around the allergens / sensitivities

  • Dairy sensitivities
    • True allergy to cow’s milk – try goat’s milk products and other non-cow-sourced dairy foods if you can tolerate them. If not, follow your doctor’s or dietitian’s advice regarding dairy.
    • Lactose intolerance – the author says that there shouldn’t be a problem with yogurt or cheese. Many people find that they can consume all dairy foods if they add Lactaid drops to their milk or use Lactaid milk. Others might be able to use acidophilus milk without having any symptoms
    • Nondairy substitutes are fine – make sure that they have similar calcium and vitamin D levels as the dairy foods they replace. Avoid those products that are highly sweetened
  • Nut allergies
    • Try avocados as a great substitute, as they have similar nutrients to nuts
    • Or forget about this food group and get your healthy fats from olive oil and/or fatty fish. You may need to have a few extra servings of fruits (not phase 1) and veggies to be sure you are getting enough potassium
  • Gluten sensitivity or true celiac disease
    • There are no grains in phase 1
    • In phase 2, substitute any gluten-free grains that you enjoy
  • Other types of food allergies
    • E.g. eggs, seafood, beans
    • Make substitutions with foods having similar nutrients
    • If you have more complicated allergies or other food digestive issues, you may want to consult with a dietitian to adapt the DASH diet for your personal needs

Health benefits claimed in The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: allergies, brain fog, some types of cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, gall bladder diseases, gastric reflux, heart attack, coronary heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure/hypertension, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, kidney stones, liver diseases, metabolic syndrome / Syndrome X / insulin resistance syndrome / dysmetabolic syndrome, overweight/obesity, stroke

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, not endorsing it.

Get a copy of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution for explanations of the evolution of the DASH diet, forms to track servings and health, exercise suggestions, menus, recipes, and resources including recipe websites.
Buy now from AmazonDiet book
There’s an accompanying cookbook with over 150 recipes – The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook
Buy now from AmazonCookbook
See Marla Heller’s website http://dashdiet.org for details of the old and new versions of the DASH diet, recipes, health links, and tips. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/dashdiet (includes some Q&A), Twitter is https://twitter.com/dashdiet. There’s also some discussion in SparkPeople forums.

How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment or question below.

{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Hannelore Hinman February 1, 2014, 4:19 pm

    Went for weigh in today…….ive been on for 3 weeks.
    Lost 5lbs……..im not unhappy but thought it would be just a tad more.
    I went to dr. Last week and already he cut my med in half!
    Loving that…….

  • TJ March 24, 2014, 1:25 pm

    It has been 6 days and my home scale indicates I have lost 4 lbs. At age 70, it has done nothing but inch upwards, not downwards, for years. My weight gain began years ago when I elected to stop the estrogen replacement therapy, mostly around belly and hips, along with a craving for sweets which I never used to have. I am Italian and could live on bread, cheese, and coffee with cream, anything “bready”. For some reason, this eating plan, which I stumbled upon but knew of, as an RN, seems the easiest to follow. Although I love to shop for groceries, cook, feed people, I have fewer people to cook for, usually myself only, and this plan is teaching me to “keep it simple”, fresh, clean, healthy, and not to obsess over food and preparation. The 4 lb wt loss is encouraging this morning, as last evening I began to think I could just add 1 slice toast and some fruit for bkfst, but, I am resolved to wait out another week, and hope for another 4 to 6 lb wt loss. Actually, I weigh so much that I may just extend Phase I for another week, total of 3, until I am sure I can be happy with limited bread, etc. There is no time restriction to getting exercise, I live alone, but Retirement brought some depression and isolation, along with the joy of having all that time for myself. Every evening, I promise to get up and go for a walk, but I do not. I will commit to doing just that tomorrow, Tuesday, as I think I could lose a few more if I simply walk for 30-45 mins a day. I have CDs for home exercise (aerobic), as well as for yoga, I just cannot get motivated to follow through, but, perhaps with continued weight loss, I can get motivated. For some reason, the last 6 days have not been difficult to stick with and the results have been great, so far, for someone who has had no success just eating the way she knows she should eat, but, eating entirely too much of bread, pasta, beans, etc, and cookies, pretending that they are “in moderation”. I will consider purchasing this book, having taken ALL of the many diet plan books to the 1/2 price book store!

    • Amy March 27, 2014, 8:41 pm

      Keep up that motivation to start exercising…I am “fixing to light into it” myself! At retirement age, things just seem to take twice as long to get done as they used to. But I have lost 48# since Dec. 18th, and it is so nice to be able to bend down and tie my shoes without difficulty, and my acid reflux is gone. So don’t get discouraged and keep hope alive.

  • Kat January 14, 2015, 2:01 am

    Are almond milk, chia seeds and flax seeds allowed on phase 1?

    • Penny Hammond January 14, 2015, 4:29 pm

      Nuts and seeds are listed as heart-healthy fats which should be included in phase 1 (serving size 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds).
      All of the foods you list should be okay – just make sure the almond milk is unsweetened.

  • Cindy January 19, 2015, 12:42 am

    We are just starting the Dash Diet and I don’t see it explained clearly about mayonnaise. Can we use it in making tuna salad, in meat roll ups etc. Can I assume we buy a fat free mayonnaise (if I can find it?)
    Is this really a fat free diet, is that what we have to watch out for? Then is everything that says “fat free” okay to have?

    • Penny Hammond January 19, 2015, 10:18 am

      This isn’t a fat-free diet. It encourages you to eat limited amounts of “heart-healthy” fats, mostly vegetable oils high in omega-3, avocados, and nuts/seeds (examples listed in Foods to Limit). The fats you’re supposed to avoid on this diet are saturated fats, trans-fats, and fats high in omega-6 (examples listed in Foods to Avoid)

      Mayonnaise is listed in some of the recipes, either low-fat mayonnaise or regular mayonnaise made with olive oil. It’s something to eat in limited amounts.

      If you want to get low-fat or fat-free products, check the ingredients list. Many of those foods are highly processed and contain a lot of sugar, which you’re supposed to avoid on this diet.

      • Cindy January 19, 2015, 3:08 pm

        thank you, I am studying the food lists. Mayonnaise is what I couldn’t find an answer to.. (especially in Phase 1).
        I was puzzled in how to make ‘coleslaw’ and ‘tuna salad’.

  • Kristina January 30, 2015, 10:47 am

    I am going to start the diet in a week, but as I was looking at the sample menus, the breakfasts say tomato juice or V8. What if I gag at the thought of drinking this juice? Is there a good substitute? Thanks!

    • Penny Hammond February 3, 2015, 5:13 pm

      You could probably substitute with a drink from another breakfast, e.g. light cranberry juice, orange juice, skim milk latte, or skim milk hot chocolate.

  • Steve Williams March 14, 2015, 3:31 pm

    Hey,

    Are unsalted/roasted sunflower seeds considered grains?

    During phase 1, can you have eggs( eb bests ) for breakfast every day?

    In phase 2, is 2% milk okay?

    Thanks,

    Steve W.

    • Penny Hammond March 15, 2015, 5:54 pm

      Sunflower seeds are considered seeds – a food to eat in limited amounts.

      Eggs are included in most of the breakfast menus in phase 1 – there are a few days when other foods are used instead. I don’t see anything saying you shouldn’t have eggs for breakfast every day, but you might want to vary what you eat a little.

      The book says “skim milk” in some places and “milk” in others – although it implies that nonfat milk and skim milk are best. 2% milk isn’t full fat so you could consider it skim milk – so it should be okay on this diet during phase 2.

  • Barb April 8, 2015, 4:55 pm

    I see a lot of eggs for breakfast in Phase 1. Unfortunately I do not like eggs in any form or fashion. Can I substitute with a protein shake?

    • Penny Hammond April 12, 2015, 1:37 pm

      You’re right, about half of the breakfast menus contain eggs.
      You could try repeating non-egg breakfasts from other days.

      In general, this diet leans towards unprocessed foods, and protein shakes can be pretty processed. You could try making your own shakes, as long as they contain enough protein – you could try adding some nut butter such as natural unsweetened almond butter or peanut butter to the shake, just keep in mind that the serving size for nuts is 1/4 cup so the serving size for nut butter would probably be 2-3 tablespoons.

  • stuart April 20, 2015, 11:50 pm

    What about almond flour? Cookies, cakes, etc. Would it be the same as nuts?

    • Penny Hammond April 21, 2015, 10:45 am

      It would probably be something to eat in limited amounts… just be careful that sugary baked goods such as cookies and cakes are supposed to be avoided completely in phase 1 and minimized in phase 2.

  • Alysha May 8, 2015, 2:51 pm

    Are mushrooms okay to eat in phase 1? I know they are a vegetable but I’m seeing no mention of them anywhere.

    • Penny Hammond May 8, 2015, 5:18 pm

      Mushrooms should be fine in phase 1 – they’re listed as a potassium-rich food and they’re not carby. I’ve updated the phase 1 veggies list to include all non-starchy veggies listed in the book – thanks for pointing that out!

  • milton mckeever June 12, 2015, 2:32 pm

    are apples ok

    • Penny Hammond June 15, 2015, 12:20 pm

      You’re not supposed to eat any fruits on phase 1 of this diet (first 2 weeks), but you can eat apples and other fruits in phase 2.

  • Carol August 8, 2015, 11:38 am

    Just wondering why you can’t drink skim milk in phase 1 when you can have lite yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese? I don’t drink coffee or tea and usually have a glass of skim milk for breakfast. Just wondering……

    • Penny Hammond August 9, 2015, 4:06 pm

      It’s not clearly stated in the book, but it’s probably because milk has a higher natural sugar content – milk sugar (lactose) is converted to lactic acid in yogurt and most of it is expelled with the whey when making cheese, so yogurt and cheese are naturally lower in sugars than milk.

  • Aquaria August 20, 2015, 8:25 am

    Never, ever put the filth of margarine in your bodies.

    Butter is far better for you than the filth of margarine ever will be. It’s gotten an unnecessary and moronic bad rap from utterly stupid morons who do NOT know what they’re talking about with what is actually healthy.

    Saturated fats ARE necessary for several key functions in the body. Eliminating them from your diet is stupid and counterproductive.

  • Minnie January 5, 2016, 3:05 pm

    This link is great, thank you! It did state you can have avocados but is a whole one considered one serving?

    • Penny Hammond January 5, 2016, 7:08 pm

      Avocados are listed as a heart-healthy fat, a vegetable, and a fruit – which makes it difficult to work out the serving size!

      In “Some Good Sources of Fiber” (p.96), a serving size of 1/2 avocado is given.
      In the recipe for Blackened Chicken with Avocado-Papaya Salsa, 1 avocado is used for the 4 servings.
      It’s probably a safe bet to assume that 1/2 avocado is the serving size.

  • Michelle February 6, 2016, 6:32 pm

    Can you explain how coleslaw is unlimited? Is it the precut cabbage mixture without any sauce ? Do you recommend adding anything, like dressing or just eat raw? Thanks.

    • Penny Hammond February 15, 2016, 2:46 pm

      It doesn’t sound like there are restrictions on what’s added to your coleslaw. On p.29 Marla says “Hit the deli counter for coleslaw”; on page 39 she says “Most fried chicken places have coleslaw as a side”
      She also gives a quick recipe for Italian coleslaw. Use bagged coleslaw and add very thin strips of red pepper and some grated carrots. Dress with Italian or other oil and vinegar dressing. (p. 41)

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