Does it ever seem like your fat simply refuses to budge? You’re not imagining it. “As the body turns food into fuel, it creates by-products that can actually bind to fat cells and block fat inside from being released,” confirms women’s health guru Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of the new book Radical Longevity.
These troublemaking compounds are called AGEs. While we have enzymes to get rid of them, here’s the problem: Any food cooked in dry, high heat — including virtually all processed food — dumps so many additional AGEs into our system, our body just can’t keep up. Unchecked AGEs attach themselves to various cells, a process that blocks fat burning and also hardens arteries, weakens muscle and bone ,and even impairs organs and brain cells. “Breakthrough research shows that these molecules are intimately tied to aging and every known age-related disease,” says Gittleman. “Target AGEs, and you’ll ‘unlock’ your fat cells and radically transform your health!”
Think of AGEs as being a bit like soot at the bottom of a fireplace — they’re no big deal as long as they don’t pile up. So how do we get rid of them? Little tweaks to the way we cook can make a big difference, because both browning and charring accelerate the production of AGEs. So a switch from, say, grilling and deep-frying to steaming and quick stir-fries can cut your AGEs by a whopping 81 percent, according to Helen Vlassara, MD and a team of Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers.
And since extreme heat is used to manufacture most food, limiting how much processed stuff you eat is also a big advantage. “Our research showed that avoiding foods high in AGEs could actually reverse the damage that had been done,” per Dr. Vlassara. And, yes, this translates into effortless weight loss. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen found that women who used these strategies for a single month lost 57 percent more weight and 61 percent more belly fat than those eating a traditional diet.
How does a five-day detox to reduce AGEs work?
A longtime fan of Ann Louise Gittleman’s books, Tracy St. Peter was excited to read Radical Longevity. “I’ve been wanting to learn more about aging in a healthy and graceful way,” says the Texas business owner, 60. She was surprised to find that her love of grilled and roasted meat and veggies might be driving what she thought was age-related weight gain, fatigue, and brain fog. “I started the five-day plan, and my body released more fat than it has in years.” Down more than a pound a day with zero hunger, Tracy continued using detox-inspired menus — and ended up three sizes smaller. “I also have tighter skin, a stronger body, fewer age spots, fewer wrinkles, less joint pain, and sharper focus. It’s so easy to do, and the rewards are incredible!”
Gittleman says many of us need to see immediate progress to stick with healthy changes over the long-term, and that’s why she designed a special AGE-blasting regimen in hopes it would make a big difference in a short time. Her secret weapon: Menus created with an incredibly high concentration of micronutrients that are thought to neutralize AGEs, including vitamins A, C and E from vegetables and polyphenol antioxidants in coffee, herbs, and spices. In fact, her recipe for “longevity coffee” — which contains a cup of joe plus two forms of protein, coconut oil, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger — is really what sets this plan apart. “It’s a nutrient powerhouse that tastes delicious and turns off hunger,” she says.
But it’s not all about plant foods either. Gittleman includes a generous amount of grass-fed beef in the plan’s signature soup. She explains that beef is rich in a vitamin-like compound called carnosine, which is proven to help reduce the number of AGEs the body produces.
One more thing: “Because most of what you eat in a day comes in the form of smoothies, tea, and soup, the nutrients are also much easier for the body to absorb,” Gittleman notes. “Essentially I tried putting everything I know about anti-aging and weight loss into one detox. But even I was surprised by how well it’s working! Women love it. They love the food, love how it makes them feel. How many plans are helping people normalize blood pressure and firm up a double chin in less than a week?” Also impressive, folks report whisking off up to 11 pounds and a full pants or dress size just in five days.
What do the results look like?
A friend who’d lost lots of weight turned Ruth Alexander on to Gittleman’s detox. “It worked so well for her and we’re the same age, so I figured it might work for me too,” recalls the California grandmother, 60. Though her main goal was to slim down, Ruth realized she’d been eating a lot of AGE-producing foods — packaged bread, chips, grilled and seared meat. That made her suspect that she may be feeling older than she needed to.
Excited to find out, Ruth made herself a big pot of Gittleman’s soup and got started. She loved everything: The soup, the morning coffee drink, snacking on jicama, even the dandelion tea she began sipping as she wound down each night. “What I didn’t expect was how easy it was. I had no hunger and I was excited about the food I was eating, no feeling of deprivation at all,” she recalls. After five days, she was already down 10 pounds and a full size. “But it felt like more because I lost so much bloat,” she recalls. “My energy is through the roof, my ‘everyday’ aches and pains are gone, my brain is sharper, and I sleep better.” She added a few more Radical Longevity recipes for variety and has continued to shed pounds. “You’ve got to try this. It’s so easy, and you’ll feel better than you have in years!”
What are sample recipes?
While using Gittleman’s Radical Longevity detox, simply enjoy this basic menu on any five consecutive days. If you wish to exercise, choose walking or a gentle activity. Want to keep losing after the five days is up? Continue sipping Gittleman’s special coffee for breakfast, build meals around antioxidant-rich foods, and cook with low, moist heat (such as steaming or poaching) as often as possible. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
BREAKFAST: For breakfast, blitz 8 ounces hot coffee, one scoop whey protein, one tablespoon of cocoa, one tablespoon of coconut oil, and one tablespoon of collagen powder, plus cinnamon and stevia to taste.
SNACK: As a crispy treat at midmorning and midafternoon, enjoy celery sticks and jicama with lime juice and seasoning. If you wish, nibble on a few olives too.
LUNCH AND DINNER: Cook your brown beef and set it aside. In same pot, cook veggies (such as onion, zucchini, cabbage and mushrooms), half a cup of grated daikon radish, and two teaspoons garlic for five minutes until until crisp and tender. Stir in six cups of bone or vegetable broth, one tablespoon of ground cumin, your cooked meat, and salt to taste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in a half cup of freshly chopped herbs, then simmer for five more minutes. Garnish and enjoy with lime juice and hemp oil.
HYDRATION: Get high-antioxidant hydration by sipping oolong, dandelion root, or yerba maté teas as desired. Also drink as much water as you like.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.