by Susan Hamilton
I'm passionate about what I say," Ann Louise Gittleman declares. "I'm just as anxious as my readers to stay trim and healthy."
The author of 16 best-selling books and recently named one of America's top 10 nutritionists by Self magazine, Gittleman is a pioneer in dietary, environmental and women's health issues. She hosts one of the top four diet boards, "Fat Flush with Ann Louise Gittleman," on iVillage.com, the most popular women's health site on the Internet.
For 14 years, her insights, articles and books have educated the public on important nutritional issues. But her experience with nutrition goes back much further.
"As a teenager, I had sensitive skin and was weight-conscious," the author reveals. "I learned that different foods affected my weight and skin."
An avid reader, Gittleman devoured alternative health books, like those by Adele Davis and Linda Clark. "It lit a fire from within and became a passion," she says. "Nutrition became a mission, a calling for me."
Through her own experiments with different diets, as well as research and work with the renowned nutritionist Hazel Parcells, Gittleman found her path. Studies of biochemistry at the New York Institute of Dietetics and nutrition at Columbia University followed, culminating in a master's degree.
With the high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet craze sweeping the country in the 1980s, Gittleman found herself working as the director of nutrition at the Pritikin Diet Center. Ever the sleuth, Gittleman discovered deficiencies in Pritikin's nutrition program. Her research led to the writing of her first book, Beyond Pritikin. Here she suggested that some fats are good and also introduced a two-week diet to flush fat from the body.
This was the beginning of the Fat Flush Plan. But as Gittleman says in the preface to her latest book, "The discovery of my Fat Flush Plan didn't happen overnight. It progressed naturally out of every area of my life, from my personal weight control quest and working alongside my nutrition mentors to a wide variety of professional experiences spanning my entire career in counseling, consulting and researching."
So what is the Fat Flush Plan? It's a diet plan that detoxifies the liver and increases metabolism through the use of healthful essential fats, balanced proteins and a variety of carbohydrates, as well as exercise. The weight loss and cleansing diet's two trademark secrets are unsweetened cranberry juice and flax oil.
Three phases of the diet include a two-week jumpstart for the metabolism, an on-going cleansing program with expanded food choices and a maintenance program for lifetime weight control.
But what makes this plan different from other diets? "It puts the liver on vacation so it can return to its fat-burning function," Gittleman discloses. "You know that roll of fat that many people have at their waistlines?" she inquires. "It's from a fatty liver."
So why does the Fat Flush Plan work when other diets haven't?
"It targets what I call the five hidden weight-gain factors," Gittleman says. "They include an overworked liver, lack of fat-burning fats, too much insulin, the stress-fat cycle and hidden fluid retention."
What makes the Fat Flush Plan so successful?
"Because it works dramatically," Gittleman responds. "It rids the body of pockets of fat that are not lost with other plans."
With those on the plan numbering in the hundreds of thousands and the iVillage board hopping with successful Fat Flushers, it's no surprise that The Fat Flush Plan has been on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. Gittleman will speak at Auntie's Bookstore next Wednesday evening about the Fat Flush phenomenon and her book.
"I will share how the plan is resonating with men and women on all levels," says Gittleman. "I bring my experience with every diet under the sun and will answer questions from my perspective."
Gittleman says she is pleased to call the Inland Northwest home now, having recently moved to the Coeur d'Alene area. She is working in conjunction with the five local Pilgrim's Nutrition stores to have ongoing Fat Flush support groups. As a kickoff to the ongoing classes at Pilgrim's, she will also deliver a lecture on the Fat Flush Plan on April 9 at 6:30 pm at the downtown WestCoast River Inn.
She is currently working on a cookbook of Fat Flush recipes that utilize aromatic herbs known for their weight-reducing capabilities. The book will feature "meals in minutes" that are healthy and help with weight loss.
This fall, Gittleman plans to hold a Fat Flush Intensive at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. "This will be three to four days where I will take participants by the hand and walk them through the Fat Flush Plan," Gittleman reveals. The intensive will cover everything on the plan from grocery shopping to spa time. And the chefs at Beverly's will prepare exquisite yet low-calorie meals.
"I'm excited to work with people in the Inland Northwest," Gittleman says. "People are really ready for Fat Flush now."