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Boomers' Sustainability Diet: What Not To Do

Bill Roth headshotWords by Bill Roth
New Activism

Editor’s Note: 3p correspondent Bill Roth used sustainability principles to get healthy, lose 20 pounds and keep it off. He documented his experience — and what he calls the Boomers’ Sustainability Diet — in a three-part series. This post is part three. In case you missed them, you can read the first part here and the second part here.

I have lost 20 pounds and kept it off by incorporating core principals of sustainability into my diet and lifestyle. My Boomers' Sustainability Diet is the easiest diet you have ever considered.

In my last article, I explained how I have lost weight by eating all I want of good food that I like to eat. I lost weight without being hungry! I even get to enjoy my happy hours. This diet is what we baby boomers are all about: You can still live life to the fullest while addressing health concerns tied to tummy fat.

This last article in my three-part series explains why good intentions are not enough. There are things we have been doing our entire lives that have gotten us into this situation where we are overweight and confronting serious health challenges because of our diets. Here is the list of five things you just have to stop eating if you are going to achieve sustained weight loss and improved health.

Five “cease and desist” action items

1. No fast food: No McDonalds, no Subway and no Pizza Hut. Fast food is not sustainably sourced. It is full of chemicals because the food has to travel 1,500 miles, on average, to reach the cash register. It is loaded with sugar and salt. I fought my millennial kids forever over this one, but once I stopped eating fast foods I began to lose weight.

2. No sandwiches. Today’s bread is laced with chemicals, sugar and salt. I just stopped eating bread, and I lost weight. The hardest part was to stop eating sandwiches. Sandwiches are what we eat most of the time at breakfast and lunch. Stop it! I eat lunch at Asian restaurants, so I can order chicken and broccoli (no fortune cookie!).

A lot of my lunches are chicken or fish with salad. I put salsa on my salads rather than salad dressing because I like how it tastes and it doesn’t have sugar or fat in it like most dressings.

Not eating sandwiches is hard to do in our culture. However, the extra effort of avoiding sandwiches is a key best practice in achieving sustainable weight loss.

3. No sugary or artificially-sweetened drinks. This might be the No. 1 action you can take to sustainably lose weight. This industry has corrupted our diet with all-you-can-drink, self-serving restaurant fountains, super-sized cups and promotional 24-can packaging. Research now finds that artificial sweeteners in "diet” sodas may have zero calories, but they still mess with our body’s chemistry in ways that add pounds.

My push to break my addiction to Diet Coke came after missing a six-month teeth cleaning due to a relocation. My teeth turned brown during this gap in teeth cleanings. I asked the hygienist why, and they asked if I drank Coke. At the time I was drinking 24 to 36 ounces of Diet Coke per day. Apparently just that amount will damage the color of your teeth. Imagine what else it is doing to your body. I stopped drinking Coke that day and have not looked back. I believe this is a major step in my achieving permanent weight loss.

4. No red meat. I was raised on meat and potatoes. A T-bone steak is my favorite food item. I stopped eating red meat over concerns that today’s cows are raised on hormones and steroids. When I stopped eating red meat, I began to feel better with more energy after a meal.

5. Make fried food a treat, not a norm. I have lived in the South for half my life. Eating fried everything was my diet. What tastes better than fried chicken with fried green tomatoes and fried okra? But fried food is fattening. Now I eat french fries as a treat about once a week, along with a fish taco salad. I devour my wife’s fried chicken, but out of respect for my diet she only cooks it a few times during the year. Get over it, my Southern friends. Think of fried food as a treat and not a norm.

Your sustainable diet will help the planet


Eating sustainably will do more than help you lose weight. It will help you reduce your impacts on our environment. You will reduce your packaging waste stream by cutting your consumption of industrial foods (fewer cans, bottles, plastic containers and single-use plastic bags). Cow production produces approximately 20 percent of our planet’s global warming emissions, so eating less or no red meat will reduce these climate-changing emissions. Drinking water rather than soda also saves water because it takes four units of water to produce one unit of soda.

The more you learn, the more concerned you will become


The more you investigate how to live sustainably, the more aware you will become of how badly the mass-marketed industrial food industry has skewed the link between food and human health. For example, I encourage the eating of more fish and chicken as an alternative to eating red meat. But there is no black and white line to be drawn.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a list of super green fish. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Super Green List," fish that are low in mercury and also good sources of especially healthy "long-chain" omega-3 fatty acids include Atlantic mackerel from Canada and the U.S., freshwater Coho salmon from the U.S., wild-caught Pacific sardines, and Alaskan wild-caught salmon (fresh or canned). This leaves obvious health questions about eating “non-super green” fish.

While my Boomers' Sustainability Diet is built on keeping it simple, the more you learn, the more you realize that executing a sustainable diet is a struggle in our industrial-food based economy.

Sustainability is the solving of root-cause problems


Solving root-cause problems defines sustainability. When successfully implemented, sustainability delivers benefits for people, planet and the economy. My experiences are that adopting sustainability to my diet and lifestyle helped me to lose weight, feel better, be healthier, reduce my environmental footprint and save money. Exactly the type of solutions we boomers need!

Image credit: Bill Roth

Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017

Bill Roth headshotBill Roth

Founder of Earth 2017. Author of The Boomer Generation Diet: Lose Weight. Have Fun. Live More that Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief of Triple Pundit , says is "Written in Bill Roth's lovable, relatable tone. A must read for any Boomer who is looking to jumpstart their health and have fun at the same time. I hope my parents read it. "

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