Food for Thought: Dr. Ludwig’s “Always Hungry?” diet

Shepherds Pie

Always Hungry? Shepherd’s Pie

I needed to lose a few pounds before a surgery and my wife recommended I read Always Hungry? by Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard nutritional researcher. In a nutshell, the eating method (which Ludwig does not call a diet, and which he does not promise will make you lose weight) in this book resets the body’s insulin function so you are less likely to crave foods that are unhealthy for various reasons, including packing on the pounds. The more moderate version of the diet has you limiting (not eliminating) simple carbohydrates such as white sugar, white potatoes, white flour, white rice and alas, alcohol. But there was also a extreme, fast-start version with a two-week meal plan and that’s what I opted for. I wanted to see how these foods tasted as well as how they affected me.

The best thing on the diet (and according to Dr. Ludwig this is a pretty unanimous vote) is the Shepherd’s Pie shown above. Its base is a funky Eastern European melange of chopped onion, fennel and cabbage mixed with ground beef and on top of that, substituting for the potatoes, a poultice of ground cauliflower and cannellini beans. It’s delicious and filling and I would happily eat it on its own merits. Dr. Ludwig’s Frittata is another excellent dish, as the original recipe for the shrimp curry I modded here. In fact, virtually everything I’ve covered on the blog for the past month (since my fruitcake post) would fit into the regimen.

Does it work? I’m now back to regular eating with very few concessions to the plan (I’ll substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes when I can, for example, a change that’s hardly punishment) and hovering at a good 10 pounds below my starting weight. A key is that the good doctor includes a good amount of treats (dark chocolate! whipped cream!) which keep you from feeling deprived so you’ll stick with it. You can still eat brisket (as long as it’s not sauced, but we would never do that) and Snow’s beans and cole slaw* so there’s reason not to investigate at least. Check it out.

*One minor tweak: you can’t use Hellman’s/Best Foods mayo for the cole slaw because it contains sugar, so you’ll have to find a sugar-free brand or make your own, possibly using Ludwig’s not-bad eggless recipe.


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