Five years ago, registered dietitian Connie Guttersen made a splash with her Sonoma Diet, allowing dieters to enjoy Mediterranean favorites like pesto, dark chocolate and wine. She’s back with The New Sonoma Diet (Sterling, $22.95), an updated version of the plan, which incorporates new research that puts a greater emphasis on anti-inflammatory foods and reducing belly fat. In this Q&A, she explains what’s new in the book:
Q. What led you to update the original Sonoma Diet book?
A. It became clear to me that a “one-and-done” diet book was not the way to go. The New Sonoma Diet is the next step in my personal commitment to help everybody, whether Sonoma veterans or newcomers, embrace a way of eating that encourages healthy habits, mindful choices, and an appreciation for the best nourishment available.
Q. What’s different in The New Sonoma Diet?
A. I’ve adjusted the plan to reflect new knowledge about the way some foods influence how we store or burn fat, with obvious weight-loss implications. Also, it turns out that certain nutrients have previously unknown health benefits for our minds, our appetite and our energy levels. Other nutrients play a key role in controlling inflammation, a much more important risk factor for heart disease and other serious health issues than previously thought.
New research has also upgraded the health-enhancing roles of substances we already knew were beneficial. Three examples are omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, probiotics, wine, and dark chocolate. In fact, one of the changes you’ll notice immediately is the addition of two new Sonoma Power Foods — beans and citrus fruit — bringing the total of these anti-inflammatory weight loss heroes to 12.
I’ve also placed a greater emphasis on what I call whole-body health — that is, going beyond mere weight loss from “dieting” to a focus on living for overall health, increasing the potential of your mind and body to reenergize and revitalize. To that end I’ve expanded the section on exercise as a way not only to facilitate weight loss, but also to keep your mind, body and spirit in balance.
There’s also an expanded collection of selections for people with special dietary preferences, including vegetarians and gluten-free eaters. I’ve also added information to the nutrition analysis regarding the glycemic load for the recipes, an emerging concept for an easy and convenient way to keep your blood sugar levels in check for easier weight loss (especially around the waist) and better health.
Q. Any favorite new recipes?
A. I really like the “Cook Once Eat Twice” feature, which shows you how to take one meal’s extras and turn them into quick and easy meals. Having a busy family of two kids — 10 and 13 years old — I understand how hectic dinner time gets and how limited our time is, especially for cooking. It is very important to me have dinner with my family, so this was a lifesaving tip I wanted to share with readers.