Is it your goal to drop excess pounds as well as keep your heart out harm’s way? Then you may consider going on the Ornish diet.

The Ornish diet is named after its creator — Dean Ornish, an American physician. He made a splash in the medical community back in the early 90s when he suggested that a vegetarian diet is capable of not only preventing heart disease, but also reversing it.

Since then and also after numerous scientific investigations that proved he was right, a lot of doctors have been recommending the Ornish diet to their patients, in particular those with cardiovascular problems.

This diet plan essentially requires you to embrace a vegetarian diet, although some animal-based food products such as yogurt and cheese are allowed in great moderation.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains — these are the ones that you need to add generously to your everyday diet while on the Ornish diet. Actually, you may consider it as a lifestyle rather than a diet especially if your intention is to remain fit and heart disease-free for as long as you’re breathing.

Clearly, a plant-based diet like the Ornish diet can help promote weight loss as well as fend off heart disease due to the fact that it’s high in fiber and at the same time low in saturated fat and bad cholesterol, both of which can wreak havoc on one’s figure and heart health.

What’s so nice about the Ornish diet is it does not completely keep you from consuming animal-based food products. For instance, you are allowed to add some dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk.

However, it’s important to note that you should consume them in moderation only — only 10 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. And also, the Ornish diet highly recommends dairy products that are low- or non-fat. So when grocery shopping, make sure that you spend plenty of time reading labels.

While dairy products are allowed, other animal-based food products are restricted by the Ornish diet. They include beef, pork, poultry and even fish that are revered for their heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition, you should also steer clear of anything that yields fat — even the healthy kind of fat! So in other words, the likes of olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds and avocados should be eliminated from your shopping list.

The problem with the Ornish diet is some people may have a hard time avoiding the restricted foods for life. This is most especially true since fat — be it unhealthy or healthy — is the one that makes food taste great and at the same time leaves the tummy feeling heavy and satisfied.

Aside from watching what you put in your mouth every mealtime, the Ornish diet also recommends you to mind your lifestyle in order for you to get rid of those unwanted pounds and also keep your heart and the rest of your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape.

For instance, exercising for not less than 20 minutes 5 times a week is a must. Got no time to devote 5 days of your week to exercising? Worry not! That’s because the Ornish diet permits exercising for only 3 times a week — although every session should last for not less than 60 minutes.

The Ornish diet also calls for ditching cigarette smoking. While there is no need for you to turn your back on alcohol, it’s important to consume it in moderation.

By the way, you should also keep stress to a minimum since being stressed all the time is bad for your figure as well as your heart. Doing yoga and meditating are some of the recommended stress-busting activities, although you may also opt for others that you feel can help lower your stress levels effectively.

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