The Galveston Diet : Things to Eat and Avoid

Weight gain is common for middle-aged women, particularly around the time of menopause. The Galveston diet aims to reverse this trend and help menopausal women lose weight by fighting inflammation rather than cutting calories. It focuses on lean proteins, low carbs and whole foods and is thought to be more sustainable than food-depriving diets. It’s important to make lifestyle changes when you hit menopause in order to feel your best. Learn all about the Galveston diet and what you should eat and avoid below!

What is the Galveston Diet?

The Galveston diet was created by OB-GYN Mary Claire Haver, MD and focuses on weight loss for middle-aged women. It was designed to help reduce symptoms middle-aged women experience during menopause, such as a slower metabolism, inflammation and hot flashes. It emphasizes nutrients that are especially important for this age group, such as high fibre and anti-inflammatory foods.

The Galveston diet advises that you do a daily version of intermittent fasting, where you restrict eating to an eight-hour period, such as between 10 am and 6 pm. You fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day. Dieters are encouraged to maximize their consumption of lean protein, fatty fish, avocado, non-starchy vegetables, select low sugar fruits, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and avoid added sugars, alcohol and foods high in omega-6 fatty acids. Dairy and carbs are also significantly limited.

2 Health Benefits of the Galveston Diet

1. Solidifies Healthy Eating Habits
The Galveston diet advocates for eating healthy, whole foods, with a focus on those that contain fibre and anti-inflammatory properties. It also promotes preparing and cooking your own meals and snacks, which are really great habits to form.

2. Sustainable Weight Loss
You don’t have to count calories on the Galveston diet, which makes it quite sustainable. Instead of focusing on eating less, which can backfire, it has you add anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, like antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, lean protein, fatty fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Having a more sustainable diet leads to more health benefits down the road.

2 Drawbacks of the Galveston Diet

1. You Have to Pay
The Galveston diet is a pay-for program with three tiers: Signature, Gold and Platinum. The programs range in price from $59 to $199 and services include a hormone intensive plan, and the more expensive programs include recipe collections and coaching bootcamp. Paying the fee may not be worth it, as there are many healthy diets women can follow that are free.

2. Nutrient Deficiencies
Cutting back on so many food groups can lead to nutrient deficiencies. This can negatively impact your health in different ways. For example, the restriction of so called starchy fruits like bananas doesn’t make much sense as these foods are healthy and good for you and should be consumed on a regular basis.

5 Foods to Eat on the Galveston Diet

1. Lean Protein
Only lean proteins such as salmon, lean turkey and chicken and lean grass-fed beef are allowed on the Galveston diet. This is in order to avoid excessive saturated fat, which has been linked to weight gain.

2. Vegetables
Certain veggies are to be eaten on this diet, including ones with low starch and high inflammatory antioxidants. These include spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower.

3. Fruits
Fruits that are low in sugar and rich in antioxidants are promoted with the Galveston diet. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are all great fruits to eat!

4. Whole Grains
Whole grains are packed with nutrients like protein, fibre and antioxidants. They help you feel full and satisfied, which is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Whole grains include whole oats, whole grain rice, barley and buckwheat.

5. Good Fats
Heathy, unsaturated fats are a go for this diet. They include avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, and are a healthier choice for anyone trying to lose weight.

3 Foods to Avoid on the Galveston Diet

1. Processed Foods and Foods with Added Sugar
You should entirely avoid processed foods and foods with added sugar on this diet. Stay away from the middle aisle of the supermarket where snacks and packaged foods are often found. Breakfast cereals, canned veggies and fruits, savoury snacks, microwave meals, granola bars, bacon and other processed meats are all a no-go.

2. Dairy and Carbs
Dairy and carbs are extremely limited on the Galveston diet. The only dairy product allowed is Greek yogurt, because it is high in protein and contains probiotics. The only carb allowed is quinoa, because it provides protein in addition to carbs.

3. Refined Flours and Grains
Refined flour can raise your blood sugar and insulin, causing metabolic dysfunction. It’s depleted of nutrients and contains harmful additives. Refined grains are low in fibre, vitamins and minerals and digested quickly, leading to major swings in blood sugar levels. Examples include white flour, white bread and white rice. Many bread, cereals, crackers, desserts and pastries are also made with refined grains.

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