In the past, when I heard mention of the Atkins diet I thought of a meal that was heavily concentrated on meat. I envisioned a big piece of steak and some vegetables. I thought it was a fad diet.
At a recent press event held in Donna Karen's studio, I not only learned that Atkins is not just an all-meat or a fad diet but that it is one of healthiest plans out there since it revs the metabolism to burn fat by relying mostly on vegetables rich in fiber. Even better is that the Atkins plan incorporates all of food groups and even allows the dieter to eat carbs after the first two weeks.
The core of the plan is simple. It is broken down into four phases. The first phase is designed to turn the body into a fat-burning machine with the elimination of refined carbs and fruits for two weeks, while the second phase or Ongoing Weight Loss, allows you to add more types of food and some carbs back into your diet like nuts, berries and yogurt. Next comes the third phase, which is called Pre-Maintenance where you keep adding more carbs while also gaining control. The final phase or the Lifetime Maintenance phase is where dieters reach their goal weight.
To make this process easier, Atkins has a fantastic support system and various cookbooks to get creative with meal planning. At the event, I had the chance to learn more about the New Atkins Cookbook and test out food like salmon, whole-wheat goat cheese pizza and a crustless ginger cheesecake. The book follows the principals of the Atkins plan developed by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, but it also includes modifications that allow for flexibility. While looking through the book, I loved seeing over 200 original low-carb recipes like Spicy Pecan Pancakes (see recipe below), Portobello Burgers, Hummus and Avocado Salad that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less! I loved that these were simple meals that the whole family can go - a lifestyle plan that is not a diet.
The delicious food was prepared by Dontella Arpaia, famed restaurateur, judge on Iron Chef and new mom. Dontella spoke of how much she loves being a new mom, but also how hard it has been to lose her baby weight. Through her honest and frank discussion she spoke about how her metabolism changed post-baby and how now that she is 40 it is harder to shed the weight. To take action she recently started with the Atkins and is already loosing inches and loving how she can eat anything in the later phases.
Focusing on switching the body into a fat-burning machine, Atkins is not just a meat and egg diet. It is based on the principals of eliminating carbs (at first) to allow the body to burn fat instead of relying on carbs and glucose as its primary fuel source. Now with the New Atkins Cookbook, this plan can be easily incorporated into your life as it helps you to make smart decisions for both weight loss and maintenance.
Spicy Pecan Pancakes from the New Atkins Cookbook
- Olive oil cooking spray
- ¾ cup Atkins Cuisine All Purpose Baking Mix
- 1 tablespoon granular sugar substitute
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup plain unsweetened soymilk
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
- Combine the baking mix, sugar substitute, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, soymilk, butter and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture; stir until combined, and then add cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans. Stir again and let stand 5 minutes.
- Mist a 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Scooping from the bottom, pour 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into the pan; use the back of the spoon to spread into a 4-inch circle. Repeat 3 times; cook until small bubbles form at the edges of the pancakes and the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip; cook until browned on reverse side, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Serve with sugar-free pancake syrup or another low-carb topping.
For additional information, please visit: http://www.atkins.com/Home.aspx
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