by Diane Sears
Updated 8 yearss ago
. "With the low-fat craze and the low-carb craze, people don't really eat nutrient-rich, real foods anymore," says Larson, who created the book and an accompanying exercise DVD with her husband, Andrew, a general surgeon.
"Everything comes packaged and processed. A lot of times you read the ingredients on the back of the food, and you don't even know what you're eating."
The couple originally designed "The Gold Coast" program to help Larson, 29, alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis after she was found to have the disease seven years ago. Today she's symptom-free, and she and her husband follow the diet with their 4-year-old son.
The plan emphasizes nutrition, exercise and dietary supplements, with a focus on improving quality of life. But the Larsons discovered an unintended benefit when they began testing the program on focus groups.
"The side effect is that people lose weight without having to count calories, carbs or fat grams," Larson says. "The vast majority of people aren't going to be successful in the long term tallying up every morsel of food they eat. They have to just learn a way to eat naturally and feel full naturally, on fewer calories."
Ivy Ingram Larson and her husband, Dr. Andrew Larson
The Larsons focus on natural products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken, lean meat and whole-grain breads and pastas. The diet encourages a sweet treat every day and even allows for a glass of wine. It avoids highly processed products, including corn oil and trans fats, which aggravate conditions ranging from heart disease to arthritis, Larson says.
The program recommends some type of activity at least three times a week, such as a half-hour of resistance training. During a four-week experiment at Cuts Fitness for Men in North Palm Beach, men who combined the recommended diet and circuit resistance training lost on average 7.5 pounds and 4.5 inches off their midsections.
» Vitamin supplements
The Larsons attribute 90% of good health to nutrition, exercise, proper sleep and stress management. To achieve optimal health, they recommend supplements, including a multivitamin, calcium, vitamins C and E, gamma linolenic acid and omega-3 fish oil.
For more information: Goldcoastcure.com