Sunday, October 13, 2013

#58 (2013/CBR5) "The Omni Diet" by Tana Amen, B.S.N., R.N.

The Omni Diet (2013) by Tana Amen is another one of those books I spotted on the "New Books" shelf at the library and picked up on a whim. I'm a sucker for nutrition books. I like to read and compare them, and the premise fit with what I've already decided is healthy eating.

Tana Amen is a nurse and was apparently plagued by health problems for years. She experimented with a number of diets and came across what she calls the "Omni Diet," which involves eating 30% lean protein and 70% vegetables. Tana Amen is apparently the wife of a famous minister and also works with Dr. Oz. I'm not familiar with any of these people, so all of that name dropping didn't do anything for me, but it's likely that Amen already had a strong following before she wrote this book.

On the whole, I like what Amen recommends, and I like how she discusses the pretty dramatic effects that different foods can have on your body. Her diet recommendations are pretty straightforward and pretty strict. Basically, if you eat lean meat and vegetables, your body is going to be much better off. She limits most grains, all sugar, most salt, and all dairy. She also recommends eating organic--for both vegetables and meat (free range, too). There are some smaller sections on recommended supplements as well as a quick chapter on exercise with a beginning exercise program you can do at home. The end of the book consists of probably over one hundred pages of recipes.

I'm certainly not so strict with what I eat, but I like the idea of eating primarily lean protein and vegetables, so I agreed with much of what Amen had to say. However, her ideas seem like a combination of the Paleo Diet and the Zone Diet. She takes the principles from each, but seems to pretend that she's come up with some brand new way of eating that she's discovered.

This book focuses on motivating those with really unhealthy lifestyles. The exercise section, especially, seems geared toward those that never exercise and are intimidated by the idea. I actually got annoyed by her harping on how excessive exercise was bad for you and moderation was key. In addition, Amen promises a lot of weight loss in her diet, something that is not my primary focus.

Even after the many diet books I've read, I still found some helpful information on the best oils to use and some advice on supplements that was new to me. On the negative side, there were no footnotes. Amen often wrote in generalities to support her point, but the reality is often more complicated. Once, while disparaging GMO's, Amen stated that obesity, cancer, etc. had all increased since GMO's have been introduced. I think there could certainly be some problems with GMO's, but there are a million reasons why the disease rates have increased, some of which she'd already gone over in her book. She was discussing possible effects that weren't even clearly correlated with GMO's let alone caused by them. In addition, Amen does not appear to appreciate the significantly increased cost of some of her recommendations. Organic, free range meat is not only difficult to purchase, but it is also prohibitively more expensive.

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