Read about how Alton Brown lost weight as chronicled on an episode of Good Eats. We will go through his list of foods to eat and to avoid and include some recipe ideas from our blog and from Alton. Foods on the lists include kale, avocado, sweet potatoes, fruits, carrots, and more.
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What do you think of when you hear the word "diet"?
Just let that ponder in your head for a moment. We will get back to this shortly.
Now, if you are a hardcore Alton Brown or Good Eats fan you may have noticed that he dropped a significant amount of weight from the middle episodes of the series to the later episodes.
I remember when people start noticing he lost the weight that thought he was sick or had some type of disease.
Nope, he actually just changed what he ate.
Those changes were documented in the Good Eats episode "Live and Let Diet".
How Alton Brown Lost Weight
Back to that original question. What do you think of the word "diet"?
I am not a big fan of diets, because people most of the time put the weight back on, since they don't necessarily like the diet they are doing.
Diets seem to be about restricting. Most of them aren't sustainable for the long term, which makes for just a temporarily life change.
Alton did something a different.
Instead of following one of those diets, where you have to count things and are overly concerned about what you aren't allowed to eat, Alton made lists.
The lists that Alton made instructed him to what to eat daily, 3 times a week, 1 time a week, and never. The key thing to the diet is eating foods that are nutrient rich.
Food Lists for Weight Loss
Here is the list of food he ate (and didn't eat). Click the links to get some ideas of recipes you have make for each food.
These are foods that Alton is suppose to eat, each and every day.
Fruit is super easy for me. I can't imagine a day without fruit. If you are looking to try out some new varieties, check out our fruit review page for the latest.
Nuts are harder for me as I really don't like them on their own. In chocolate is another story but I think that might be someone defeating the purpose!
Leafy greens needs to be more than just iceberg or Romaine lettuce. We are talking about kale, swiss chard, Arugula, watercress, collards, etc. These have more nutrient and more flavor. You can eat baby versions for salads, which I what I regularly do. I find that baby kale is not as strongly flavored as full sized kale. Same with spinach.
If you have an air fryer, making kale chips is easy to do and a simple way to eat kale. Even my youngest will go for kale chips.
My wife and I both loved eating cooked carrots and could do so everyday. Alton has said before that some nutrients in carrots are only available when cooked and with fat.
? Try our recipe for Spinach & Arugula pesto.
3 times a week (at least)
These are foods that he doesn't have to necessarily have every day but needs to have 3 times a week.
Oily fish and me aren't friends. I do take vitamins that contain Omega 3 fish oil from small fish.
We like to make yogurt in our Instant Pot. We can make a gallon of yogurt for under $3. What a great deal. We can control what else goes into it. I would like to say I can eat it straight up plain, but I do end up adding honey to it, but at least I am in more control of the sweetness level.
I have grown to like sweet potatoes when they are crispy. I don't like a baked sweet potato.
Avocados are a great base for a dressing that you can use with those lefty greens. That dressing is what you see pictured in the image at the top of this post.
Alton once used avocados in a chocolate pudding. Does that count?
1 time a week
This is a list of foods that he wants to limit to just once per week.
I don't drink alcohol so that one can limit to zero. I think one steak a week or a burger is a great plan. It's what I do myself already.
I do like that he allows himself to still enjoy pasta and a dessert. Might I suggest his Cacio e Pepe as your pasta for the week.
0 times a week (or NEVER!)
These are the foods that he needs to deny himself completely.
- Fast Food
- Processed Meals
- Canned Soups
- "Diet" Anything (anything that has the word diet in it's name)
Yeah these are all of my list too. I don't purposely eat fast food only if there is no other option for whatever reason.
I use to eat deli sandwiches everyday, now I opt for salads instead with homemade salad dressings.
Can't remember the last time I bought canned soup. I use to eat Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup but switched over to my own, much better version. And I have never bought anything diet. Yuck!
One key component to his diet is eating breakfast.
Every single day.
No skipping, ever.
It is indeed the most important meal of the day. I understand if you struggle with this one, I do myself. It's hard to find good, quick breakfast foods. If I can a smoothie packed with good fruits, yogurt, and oats is a great option.
My Thoughts on the Diet
I think his diet plan sounds interesting.
You don't have to worry about measuring things, or counting carbs, you just eat the foods on the list.
There is a lot of flexible in it (fruits is a vast category).
This plan with the right discipline could be maintained over the long haul and that is key to maintain weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
I haven't followed his plan exactly, but I have done things where I eat something everyday, or limit something to once a week. I find where it's not an impossible challenge to overcome.
Some people criticize his list for missing out on some foods. But I don't think that it's just literally a list of everything he ate. Chicken is not listed anywhere or any other type of meat besides limited the red meat and oily fish.
It is meant to be a guide for what he needs to be eating and what he needs to be limited. Seems everything else in the middle is fair game. I don't how scientific it all is, but I think from a psychological prescriptive (I did major in Psychology in college!) this is a good plan.
Have you tried Alton's "diet"? Tell us your experience in the comment section below.
? For some great Alton Brown recipes I recommend picking up the book "Everyday Cook".