Tana Amen, creator of the Omni diet, is a nationally recognized speaker and nutrition consultant. She's also a registered nurse and heath expert. The Omni diet is a program that Amen used to help treat her own digestive troubles, infections, and thyroid cancer. With this program, you'll eat healthy foods in a specific ratio to keep yourself healthy as well as controlling your weight. As with any new diet, it's important to talk to your doctor before getting started.
How It Works
Amen calls her Omni diet, "the ideal balance of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, and lean meats that give your body everything it needs for peak performance, maximum weight loss, and optimal health," on her blog.
The diet is 70 percent plant-based and 30 percent protein. By eating this way, you're able to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, combat illness and disease, and obtain a healthy number on the scale. The diet progresses in four phases that help you learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices that align with the Omni program.
Unlike other diets, Amen advocates making several changes all at once rather than shifting into things gradually. In her book,The Omni Diet: The Revolutionary 70% Plant + 30% Protein Program to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, Fight Inflammation and Change Your Life Forever, she claims this is the best way to wean yourself off unhealthy foods, such as sugar and refined carbs. During this phase, you'll throw out much of what you keep at home and replace it with healthy foods that fit the 70-30 ratio of the diet. The following foods are acceptable during Phase 1, according to Amen's book.
- Fresh, organic vegetables - excluding white potatoes
- Small amounts of fruits, mostly berries
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Lean meat, fish, and poultry
- Cage-free, organic eggs
- Certain oils, including macadamia nut, coconut, almond, grapeseed, and olive oils
- Limited amounts of dried beans and lentils
- Herbs and spices, both fresh and dried
Phase 1 lasts for two weeks, and Amen promises many noticeable changes right away. By sticking with the 70-30 ratio, you can expect the following in the first two weeks on the plan.
- Weight loss of up to 15 pounds
- Loss of sugar and carb cravings
- Reduction of pain and swelling
- Better digestion
- Clearer skin
- More energy and focus
Amen strongly encourages dieters to plan their meals and snacks so staying within the 70-30 ratio isn't difficult. Achieving the right number of each might take a little practice, but Amen says that by the end of Phase 1, you'll be ready to move on feeling better and stronger.
During Phase 2, you'll reassess your eating habits and pump up your workouts. Calorie goals don't change during this phase, but Amen recommends starting a food journal to prevent old habits from sneaking back in to your routine. The basics behind Phase 2 is to ramp up your efforts and stay on track with the changes you made during Phase 1.
During Phase 3, the restrictiveness of the diet is reduced a bit. Amen allows for following the Omni 70-30 ratio 90 percent of the time, with the other 10 percent being unhindered by the diet's guidelines. Adhere to the following rules during Phase 3, which are outlined by experts at Chewfo.
- Add in small amounts of grains and legumes, though you don't have to if you prefer to stick to your current eating habits.
- Limit alcohol to two drinks per week and avoid sugary drinks and gluten-containing beer and liquor.
- Enjoy three bites of forbidden foods during your 10 percent time off, then stop to prevent a binge.
- Plan ahead so you can enjoy treats at social gatherings.
- Avoid any foods that trigger health problems, such as poor digestion.
The final phase of the Omni diet is the maintenance phase. It's the same as Phase 3, but is intended to last a lifetime. You'll continue with the healthy plant-to-protein ratio, limit alcohol, and stick to the good choices you've learned to make during the first three phases of the plan.
Sample Meal Plans
Any diet is infinitely easier at the outset if you have specific ideas that you can learn to mix and match to create your day's meals while still adhering to Amen's Omni diet guidelines. Her book is chock full of meal ideas and recipes, but check out these to get started.
Amen urges dieters to eat within an hour of waking up. A healthy breakfast, "increases focus, stimulates the hormones associated with satiety, and gives you the mental clarity to make better decisions all day long," says Amen. Try these simple ideas for a quick and easy morning meal from Tana Amen's personal website.
- Feel Good Eggs Ranchero is a delicious combination of beans, spices, eggs and greens that start your day out right.
- If you prefer a sweet tasting breakfast, try the Gluten-Free Blueberry French Toast, which tastes decadent, but adheres to the diet's guidelines.
- For those who like to drink their morning meal, the Mango Passion Smoothie is a great choice full of fruit, greens, and flax.
Lunch is an important meal because it keeps your blood sugar stabilized and prevents you from getting so hungry you make unhealthy food choices later in the day, according to Amen. Try these easy and delicious lunch ideas, and you'll be less likely to forgo your noon meal.
- The Asian Fusion Chicken Salad combines healthy oil with protein-packed chicken and lots of flavorings for a meal that will fill you up without tasting like diet food.
- Try Amen's Sassy Cucumber Mint Salad for a refreshing, light meal that combines several herbs and vegetables for a colorful and flavorful dish.
- If salad isn't your meal of choice, go for a bowl of Crowd-Pleasing Cioppino, which is a delicious blend of seafood, spices and vegetables.
Amen advocates making dinner an enjoyable time to spend with family but cautions you to stick to the Omni plan guidelines so you don't overdo it. The following dinner meal ideas are tasty while also taking the guesswork out of preparing an approved meal.
- Free Range Bison Meatloaf allows you to enjoy a classic comfort food without guilt.
- Try the Fettuccine Alfredo with Lemon Garlic Shrimp if pasta is a dinner meal you simply can't pass up.
- Chicken is easy to prepare and versatile so the Sizzling Chicken Kebobs are an ideal choice if poultry is your go-to dinner choice.
"Smart snacks play a crucial role in a healthy diet," says Amen. However, it's important to stay away from junk food and choose snacks that adhere to the 70-30 ratio and that offer up lots of incentives in terms of health and weight control. These snacks are some of Amen's most recommended.
- Go-Well Trail Mix contains plenty of nutrients and allows you to enjoy chocolate between meals.
- If you prefer sweet snacks, try Amen's Frozen Banana, which contains enough natural sweetness to satisfy your cravings.
- Traditional Hummus is a delicious way to make vegetables more palatable and adds a good dose of protein to your day.
Any diet plan has good and bad aspects. Weighing those are a good way to decide if a specific program is right for you. The Omni diet is no exception. There are several pros of the program that might make it the ideal choice for you. Check out the following reasons why the Omni diet is a viable option, courtesy of Every Diet.
- Tana Amen is a trained expert, so her advice and tips are reputable and likely to be healthy for most people.
- The diet places a heavy emphasis on nutrient-dense foods that promote good health and help you control your weight.
- The diet reduces the number of harmful environmental chemicals you're exposed to by recommending organic foods.
- The program comes with recipes that help you on your way.
While the Omni diet is based on sound research and expert knowledge on the part of Amen, there are some things to consider that might make the program difficult for you to stick with. Understanding what you're up against can help you plan to overcome these hurdles if the diet is otherwise your best choice. Consider these drawbacks of the diet from the experts at Every Diet.
- The organic and free-range foods advocated by the Omni diet can be more pricey than regular foods.
- The plan eliminates all sugar and dairy, which is not easy for everyone to adhere to.
- The plan also suggests using Amen's supplements, which might not a healthy choice for everyone.
Part of any healthy diet and lifestyle plan involves exercise and the Omni diet fits the bill in that regard. The plan calls for at least 30 minutes each day. Amen suggests starting a walking routine that you can enhance and rev up your workouts as you get used to the changes involved with each phase of the diet.
According to Every Diet, the Omni plan is effective for helping you drop weight because it is a low-calorie plan that eliminates unhealthy sources of calories, such as sugar and refined carbs. The anti-inflammatory nature of the diet can also help reduce the risk of many health conditions. Talk to your doctor about its potential effectiveness for your goals and health status.
Making It Work
Anytime you overhaul your eating and exercise habits, you're bound to face hurdles. That doesn't mean you can't be successful with the Omni diet. To make it easier to stick with, Amen suggests ways to shop that will take the guesswork out of meal prep. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Amen recommends planning so you can buy the right foods without blowing your budget.
These steps can get you well on your way to making the right changes. Having a copy of Amen's book for quick reference can also help make the Omni diet a success for you.