Maybe it’s because I was born and raised in a superficial city like Manhattan, but I don’t know anyone who isn’t on a perpetual quest to lose a pound or two (or more…). These days it has become INSANE. I had dinner plans with a friend a few weeks ago and she canceled on me because she was on a one-month Sakara Life Cleanse. She was starving and didn’t want to be around food. We were supposed to meet at Butcher’s Daughter – an insanely healthy (and delicious!!!) vegetarian restaurant. I told her why don’t you just order a salad without dressing? No. What about tea? No. What about just water, I asked…NO….Why? She was so hungry she couldn’t be near ANY FOOD. I repeat, we were going to a vegetarian restaurant, it’s not like we were going to be around steak-frites and souffle.
These kinds of extreme “cleanses” and diets never work. They’re not sustainable. A diet shouldn’t be a quick fix (there is no such thing!) it should be a healthy pattern of eating. I have interviewed HUNDREDS of nutrition and wellness experts over the years but with my upcoming nuptials I knew if I was going to speak with anyone about myself personally (i.e. not for a story), it would be someone at F-Factor. Founded by Tanya Zuckerbrot (checkout her Instagram for awesome healthy eating inspo), it’s one of the only places where, in speaking with them, I’ve learned useful and realistic tips, tricks, and snacks. Tanya even helped New York magazine food critic Adam Platt loose weight! Checkout Can a Food Critic Diet Successfully?
A few weeks ago I went to the F-Factor New York City office. They offer two packages. Each package includes a one-hour intro session, a two-hour education session (in which the registered nutritionist you work with gives and explains the diet plan they made for you based on the intro session) and six follow-up 30 minute sessions. The package is $5,000. If you want to work with Tanya (she only sees very select clients), it’s $15,000. Needless to say this isn’t an office for anyone counting their pennies. If you have the means, however, there is nowhere better you could go.
Like I said, I interview wellness, health, and nutrition experts on a near daily basis, but I knew that my diet could take some cleaning up. They were the only ones to offer insight that wasn’t obvious. I only did the intro session (you can do it for $450), and I’m trying to see if I an apply what I learned without splurging on the full package (Tanya also has two books). Among the most useful takeaways was that there is a big difference between “healthy” and “healthy for weight loss.” While my diet was full of healthy things like lentils and quinoa, these foods are insanely high in carbs. The RD I met with, Danielle Hamo, suggested I make cauliflower based recipes like this, instead. Easy and delicious! Speaking of cauliflower, a lot of the recipes F-Factor suggests are cauliflower-based, if you’re super busy checkout Caulipower to help whip them up.
She also pointed out that the veggies I was eating were starchy (peas, corn…) and I could easily switch them for non-starchy veggies like broccoli and eggplant and lower my carb count. This tip exemplifies why I think F-Factor is so much better than their competitors – they work with you and your lifestyle to come up with something sustainable. The changes are meant to be small but impactful. Plus they’re available 24/7 meaning that when you’re out at dinner and don’t know what to order, they will help you. Also alcohol is not off limits, again they work with you and your lifestyle.
The heart of the diet is fiber and to that end Tanya popularized high fiber, low calorie, low carb crackers called GG Crackers. They’re bland and don’t taste great on their own, but topped with some almond-based cheese (I’m obsessed with Kite Hill.. so, so delicious!) and smoked salmon they’re amazing. Daiya is another alternative to regular cheese and they have a pretty wide selection of products (side note, it’s not low in calories and it’s high in saturated fat and sodium, but their Cheezecake is so yummy semi-frozen – and compared to standard cheesecake the nutrition profile is actually a big win, especially because there is no cholesterol…with most cheesecakes you’ll end up eating around 700 calories and 100% of your DV for saturated fats!). Anyway…back to GG crackers. Avocado and eggs work great too and if you checkout their Instagam they have a done of low calorie but seriously delicious recipes like the above lasagna – even pancakes. The focus is on easy, quick, and healthy recipes.
Again, I’m sure if I were to do the full package I would see results a lot quicker since Danielle would give me a diet plan, but just working in the crackers and the tips she gave me I can already tell a difference.