Meal Plans I Like

Hi friends! How are ya?

Green is back!


It feels like it’s been forever since I broke out the juicer, but there is nothing in the world like fresh juice in the morning. [You can read all about juices vs smoothies *here*]

I feel the same way about juice as I do about yoga: if I skip out, I regret it, but when I just do it, I’m so glad I did. Cleaning the juicer is a slight pain (not too bad, but still an extra thing to clean), and driving to yoga is kind of a pain, but both: 100% worth it.

+ ch-ch-ch-chia pudding 😀


-1/2 C gluten-free oats (uncooked)

-2 T Chia Goodness

-1 C almond milk

-1/2 scoop Sun Warrior

*Set all in the fridge for 15 minutes to gelatinize, then added:

-Diced organic peach


Perfect 😀

So this morning, I thought I’d write a little bit about eating plans that I actually do like, since mine has yet to be published 😉 There are hundreds of diet books and plan options out there, and 99% of them are garbage, but here are a few that I really enjoy and agree with most of the advice they advocate. The 3 books I chose are pretty different from one another, but main thing they have in common is that they can all be followed as a lifestyle– they’re not intended to be used to drop a few el bees and go back the former style of eating.


{Some of my fave cookbooks}

Raw Food Detox Diet or Detox 4 Women, both by Natalia Rose

natalia-rose Source

Why I like it: the eating style emphasizes raw foods during the day, cooked foods at night (or raw foods all day). The idea behind raw foods is that leaving them in their uncooked state (or dehydrating below 118* degrees) preserves the nutrient integrity of the food, as many foods lose nutrients through the cooking process. [Only very few, like tomatoes, are actually more nutrient-dense after they’ve been cooked] These books also focus on “quick-exit” meals, which digest quickly and help the body eliminate excess waste, ie weight. 

I love the fact that this book emphasizes whole, organic fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and goat dairy and eggs if you’d like to add those in, too. The recipes in this book are very simple, but extremely flavorful. I still make Natalia’s salads and raw soups on a regular basis.

The cons: I followed this style of eating for quite a while and really enjoyed it. I had so much energy, my skin looked amazing, but was turned off by the emphasis on food combining. When you food combine, you only eat certain types of food together (such as a starch with starch, a flesh with flesh, fruit alone, etc). Vegetables “combine” with everything, and some foods double as another type of food. *It’s not as confusing as I’m making it sound—my friend Gena has an excellent post on food combining if you’re curious. Also, I didn’t like the fact that it said I couldn’t have eggs in the morning or during the day, only for dinner. I like eggs for  lunch a little too much 🙂

Also, her sample meal plans were a little too light for my activity level, but easy to bulk up or adjust according to the fuel I needed.

Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno


Why I like it: this eating style focuses on pure, unprocessed foods, including fruits, veggie, nuts, legumes, dairy, fish, meat. If it came from a plant in the ground, eat it, if it came from a factory plant, don’t 😀 The book has a heavy emphasis on protein and carbs and tons of recipes. It was written by Tosca Reno, who is married to the founder or Oxygen Magazine and entered her first physique contest at the age of 42, after totally transforming her lifestyle.

The cons: The recipes are pretty bland. If you’re a foodie, you will definitely find yourself adding spices and herbs or adjusting the recipes to make them taste better.

South Beach Diet by Dr Arthur Agatston


Why I like it: I’m still a big advocate of South Beach because it taught me how to eat. It was the jumping pad for my weight loss journey and I learned so much from reading this book. It helped me kick my focus from calories to the types of food I was eating (healthy fat, lean protein, smart carb, etc), and I still follow a Mediterranean style of eating to this day. I think it’s a great starting point for those who want to change their eating habits, and the author is a world-renown cardiologist.

 The cons: Fake food. South Beach advocates quite a few processed foods in their meal plans, but are easy to adjust to include only whole foods. Like I said though, it’s a great starting point, and when I was eating 100% processed foods, this style of eating helped me transition to more whole foods.

Are there any eating plans or lifestyle books you love? I try to read as many as possible, so when I have clients tell me they’re following so-and-so eating plan, I know what they’re talking about 😀

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  1. joi on July 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Great books I have a bunch of raw food cookbooks and has some really neat things as well. I used to follow fit for life. It puts emphasis on raw whole foods nd very strict food combining. As I am naturally thin, this put me over the edge and I loat way too much weight for my activity level. Also I didn’t like that you only eat fruit in the morning. Think all that sugar first thing is not good for anyone. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen on July 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I don’t know that Michael Pollan’s books are necessarily comparable, but I loved them and the “plan” they kind of lay out. I’m always curious as to people’s thoughts on the different “plans” out there, this was interesting.

    • mary on July 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      Pollan’s plan is “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. I love it.

  3. Kristi on July 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I love Tosca Reno and Oxygen!! 🙂 So happy when I scrolled down and saw her photo 🙂

  4. Brigid of Vegging out in T-Town on July 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read Tosca Reno, so I’m glad to see your recommendation.

  5. Sam on July 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Gina, I have a reader’s request (if you haven’t already written a post about this… I haven’t been able to find one by searching) for you. Would you mind writing a post about the difference between hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc, and which areas of the body/health they benefit? I would like to add something to my diet, maybe to smoothies, but I am so confused as to what might be the best choice for me, which ones blend the best, if you can taste them and what they taste like, and so on! I’d really appreciate a post about this. Thanks! 🙂

  6. Alexa @ Simple Eats on July 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I’ve really never followed any eating plans, but I really like any sort of “clean eating” books. I like to just combine a bunch of ideas and make it my own!

  7. April on July 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    This is so old school, but “Fit For Life” totally changed my life/eating habits almost 13 years ago. The ‘only fruit in the morning’ works for me and i feel my absolute best. I can totally see where it doesn’t work for everyone, however i find when i food combine i feel my best…so i try to do it. Also, if you are a veggie, it is pretty simple as veggies combine with most everything. I really need to check out Tosca Reno and Natalia Rose, i am sure i would love their books.

  8. Jennifer on July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I also really love Tosca Reno but like you said, the recipes are pretty bland. I also love The Flat Belly Diet by Liz Vaccariello. It helped me lose weight for my wedding and it has healthy yet yummy meals in it. However, I don’t care for their 4 day anti-bloat starter. Also the New Abs Diet for Women by David Zinczenko.

  9. Laura (Cookies vs. Carrots) on July 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions! I can’t wait for yours to be published 🙂

  10. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on July 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Awesome bit of info! I also like Weight Watchers because they really taught me to choose my food in real life situations, and not from a pre-packaged meal

  11. lynsey on July 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I’m interested in starting to eat organic. I’ve made small steps here and there but I took a look at the “Raw Food Detox Diet” book on Amazon. It looks really interesting. My question is: I’ve lost 110lbs. I did it by exercising and counting calories–I still do both–workout for 45 minutes 7 days a week and calorie counting (although more of an estimate now that I’ve reached my goal weight). How will eating organically affect me? I know it does not focus on calories whatsoever. I want to do it, but I’m afraid the additional calories will cause me to gain weight.
    Thanks for your advice and wonderful postings!

    • Fitnessista on July 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      eating organic doesn’t affect the calories in the food- it just means that it was produced without harmful chemicals or pesticides

      • Fitnessista on July 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm

        ps mayjah congrats on your weight loss success!!

  12. Kathleen on July 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    What is Chia goodness?

  13. kellyo on July 12, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    As a life-long dieter, Tosca Reno has really been helpful to me. Great post!

  14. Alissa on July 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Where do you get the 105 degree book? Thank you for this post, it came at the perfect time! My boyfriend and I are trying to get back to being healthy through eating and working out. Have you tried Appetite for Reduction? While on amazon looking up your books it kept popping up. Thank you!

    • Fitnessista on July 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      from working in the kitchen there- they don’t sell it :/
      i haven’t heard of that one! i’ll have to check it out

  15. Sam on July 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Hi! i read your blog almost daily and saw something which i thought you might like 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      love jenna’s blog! my mouth started watering when she posted that tart 🙂

  16. Emily on July 12, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for a great post! I’ve been trying to decide to buy South Beach Diet or The Zone. I haven’t seen anyone mention The Zone..has anyone tried it?

  17. Jayme @ Runner-n-Spice on July 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Tosca Reno changed my life! Love her. She’s from Southern Ontario (like me!)

  18. geetha on July 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    South Beach and Clean Eating works great to keep in mind our macronutirent proportions!

    • geetha on July 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm


  19. Stephanie on July 13, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Just FYI I don’t think Gena at choosingraw believes in food combining anymore. Actually in one of her recent posts she said she took it off of her website (although I didn’t check). Love your website!

  20. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on July 13, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I love Natalia Rose too. She is so smart and concise with her instructions. She also really makes raw food accessible to the average eater! I think the other two are to high in protein for me, but to each his own!

  21. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on July 13, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I love Natalia Rose too. She is so smart and concise with her instructions. She also really makes raw food accessible to the average eater! I think the other two are to high in protein for me, but to each his own!

  22. char @ char on a mission on July 13, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Tosca Reno’s book was the first book that I read that actually got me more aware of what I was eating. Then, when I found out she lived 15 mins away from me, I reeeeally started taking interest in food (I actually bumped into her, not too long ago: I love Natalia Rose too – my only cons are the fact that she emphasizes eating more at night. I’m more of a ‘eat big in the morning’ type of person, that would be a really hard adjustment. Right now I’m reading a book by the guy that created GREENS+ and I absolutely love it. His whole philosophy is matching me to a T right now!!!

  23. The Get In Shape Girl on July 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Tosca’s Clean Eating diet helped me lose inches & totally transform my body to be built like I never knew possible!

  24. Ciera @ Rose and Thistle on July 13, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    That’s quite the collection! Am off to look up the Tosca Reno one on Amazon 🙂

  25. Kristie on July 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I recently gave up being vegetarian and switched to the Slow Carb Diet (from 4-Hour Body). It has *completely* changed my body, and it’s been the only eating style that has ever helped me lose weight. It’s similar to South Beach, but what do you think of the missing ‘fast-release’ carbs? You can have anything to eat one day a week, so I try get in lots of fruit that day, but I still wonder if I’m missing out on something important in my diet. The results are great, though, and I’ve never felt better. My energy levels are through the roof! Right now my plan is get to my “goal” weight then slowly add in more fruit. The breads, though? I thought I couldn’t live without them, and now I hardly want it at all. Bizarre!

  26. Ruthiey on August 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Gina, I just ordered a bunch of these books. I’m very excited to be more informed about eating raw food and a’m currently following the South Beach eating plan.

    I just wanted to thank you. You are such a great example of taking elements of ideas and incorporating them, but not being obsessive. I so appreciate the fact that you write about it on your blog! You are a role model to me!

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