It's no secret that several celebs wisely took advantage of this year of extra "me time" and extra anxiety provoking news cycles to get their health in order. Adele was one of those celebs who's outward appearance made it obvious that some major changes were made! I looked into it and found out that yes- like seemingly 99% of celebs that have changed their diets in 2020, Adele opted for a plant-based/ plant-slanted option. Now there are a million ways to be plant-based, and I believe in individualized nutrition plans for everyone, so it's interesting to see what specific type of plant-based diet Adele chose. Maybe it's a diet you'd like to try! If nothing else, it can give you a few ideas to try in your diet to move a little closer to finding the ideal diet for you.
Now let's look at what Adele followed (or at least what I could dig up on the internet). According to a few sources, she followed a diet called "the Sirtfood Diet". The #sirtfooddiet as per their website it's "a diet of inclusion. It’s about what you eat, not what you leave out. It’s about eating your way to better health and the body you’ve always wanted." Sounds good to me! Focusing on loving your body and feeding it what it needs vs focusing on what a body doesn't need can be highly effective. On further inspection on the website, it looks like the inspiration for this diet came from the Blue Zones research (which I'm a big fan of also) which if you don't know looks at food and lifestyle habits of the very few regions of the world where humans live to their 90's and 100's regularly. The Blue Zones, and therefor this Blue Zone-inspired diet is rich in plants. The founders of this diet believe the key to all of this is the polyphenol content of specific foods- plant-based foods containing some of the most. As a clinician and reader of nutrition research, I can tell you that generally focusing on one macro or micronutrient in nutrition rarely gives you the full picture... but let's go with this because they're not recommending consumption of polyphenol pills, their recommending consumption of a variety of foods that contain polyphenols (and just so happen to mean a lot of whole foods that are plant-based). Now let's see what exactly this diet contains.
What it DOES have:
lots of non-starchy veggies
berries & other fruits in moderation (1/2 cup max per recipe)
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
certain nuts & seeds
small amounts of cheese
small amounts of whole grains (1/2 -1/3 cup per serving)
small amounts of starchy veggies (potatoes, squash, pumpkin)
matcha & coffee
green juice (made of mostly greens + 1/2 apple juiced)
lots of spices, herbs, and chilies
What it does NOT seem to have:
a large variety of foods (have ~20 sirtfood approved foods)
A typical day looks like this I gather:
Breakfast: Soy yogurt with mixed berries, chopped walnuts and dark chocolate
Lunch: A sirtfood salad made with kale, parsley, celery, apple, walnuts topped with olive oil mixed with lemon juice and ginger.
Dinner: Stir-fried prawns with kale and buckwheat noodles. Glass of red wine.
*Plus one sirtfood green juice per day.
Con: This is a very low calorie diet because they have very small amounts of starchy veggies and only allow 1/2-1/3 cup of whole grains a day. I read it's about 1,000 calories a day for the first three days, then it stays around 1,500 calories a day. That's too low for maintenance for many women, and even too low for weight loss for most women over 5' 2".
Pro: I do love how it includes daily greens in their raw form AND juiced. That's a great daily habit to have.
Con: Red wine is not a health food. If you compare the antioxidants of grape juice and red wine, you'll see the entire benefits of the red wine come from the grape juice. However in red wine, you're getting the cancer-causing & disease promoting alcohol. Daily consumption of alcohol is not something I'd recommend for anyone and this diet seems to recommend it.
Pro: Lots of healthy fats like avocado, seeds, and nuts.
Con: Lots of high cholesterol foods like eggs, cheese, and steak.
Con: It includes daily seafood. Seafood source really matters and currently the ocean is not a very clean and toxin-free place. I would have concerns about various heavy metal accumulation in someone consuming fish and shellfish daily.
Pro: Lots of non-starchy veggies and a little bit of fruit. Both things that are excellent for weight loss because of their low calorie density, yet they also pack a humongous amount of vitamins as well.
Will you lose weight on this diet?
Very likely because it is very low calorie.
Will you reverse any diseases like diabetes or high cholesterol?
This diet still contains cholesterol, including the most offensive foods: cheese and red meat. Even in moderation, regular consumption of these foods will increase many people's cholesterol to an unhealthy heart-attack prone range.
Diabetes improvement can be seen if weight loss to a healthier weight occurs, but the continued inflammation from eating red meat, dairy, and oil makes it not the first diet I'd choose to reverse diabetes.
Is this diet sustainable?
From researching the diet, it seems that they recommend that you eat as much as possible off a list of approved sirtfoods. This is a list of about 20 different foods that they found are high in polyphenols. To me, this is not sustainable in the regular person's life. Seasonally not all foods are available and if you don't live alone and have family you eat dinner with every night, I can't image someone eating only 20 foods for 20+ years.
What aspects of this diet can I include in my diet to help me lose weight?
Option 1: A daily green juice (here's one of their recipes)
Option 2: Incorporate more non-starchy veggies in your diet (they particularly like kale, onions, arugula, and red chicory)
Option 3: Add 1/2 cup of berries daily (also recommended by Dr. Gregor with the Daily Dozen!)
Option 4: Portion your whole grains & starchy veggies. I don't think that 1/3 cup of whole grains for the whole day is necessary or even healthy for longevity, but being mindful of how many servings of whole grains you consume each day will certainly help reduce the caloric density of your meals.
Option 5: If you eat smaller portions, include a small portion of a healthy fat & protein with each meal to keep you fuller.
Adele also focused on getting enough sleep & exercising regular with her trainer which have contributed to her weight loss and physique as well. You can't out-exercise a bad diet (for long) though, so I would estimate that a good 80% of her weight loss is attributed to her dietary changes.
If you want to learn more about how plant-based diets are excellent for weight loss, make sure to also check out my other posts:
I'm fully booked for December but I am taking new clients for January for my 3 month signature weight loss program using a personalized plant-based diet, habit changes, and a total lifestyle overhaul. If interested, apply here!
And also follow me on IG as I post daily suggestions for how to lose weight with a plant-based diet!