Book review: Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast: The Kick-Ass Plan to get Lighter, Tighter, and Sexier… Super Fast, by Ani Phyo – Part 1

anis fat blast coverI must admit, I have had this book for quite some time now – about a year – and had always wanted to try out this “15 Day Fast Blast” – a diet plan of wholly raw foods -, but had been somewhat apprehensive about it all this time. Why? Although I’ve been experimenting with a high raw diet for the last 2 years, and have been wanting to go completely raw vegan for that period of time, the “fear factor” of consuming only raw foods for 2 weeks kind of got to me. Could I do it? Would it be difficult? Would I be hungry? Going on a “diet” is synonymous to me with being deprived, and I like my food too much to want to be deprived, especially if I’m unsure of what the results will be. Well, one year later, I finally did it, and the only thing that I regret is that it took me this long to finally embrace the challenge!

Ani Phyo, for those who don’t know, is a household name in the world of raw vegan cuisine. She is an expert in the raw kitchen and has already put out four other raw recipe books to date. This book was my first introduction to her food, but it’s a bit of foray from her other books that read exclusively as “cook” books; this book is primarily written as a diet plan that promises the reader that they will lose 15lbs in 15 days by following the daily meal plan as provided.

I had my doubts as to whether the weight loss of 15lbs would or could work for me, since that would put me at 120lbs, and I’ve never been that weight in my life! (ok, not since about grade 10, but I was still growing then, so it doesn’t really count) I definitely have more than 15lbs of fat to lose, but despite my already fairly healthy vegan diet and my regular exercise regime of 5 workouts a week, it is extremely difficult for me to manage my weight to get it in the 120s. So this diet was going to prove, once and for all, that if I ate the best diet possible in the world (a raw vegan diet of whole fruits and vegetables) and continued with my exercise, would the weight just “naturally fall off”? (as is always promised by various vegan and raw advocates in the community)

Apparently, once you transition to a vegan diet, your “excess” weight is supposed to naturally come off, without effort. That certainly never happened to me when I went vegan years ago (in fact, I gained a lot of weight). So would it work for me when following a 100% raw vegan diet of fruits and vegetables? That was the question, which you will discover the answer to shortly!

I love the way this book reads. Ani guides you along the path, as your mentor, giving you encouragement and motivation every step of the way. Her language is fun and invigorating. Her words are consistently conveyed in an upbeat manner, and I must say that it’s this continuous positive re-enforcement that is a key to keeping the reader moving along to actually do everything they need to do to begin the program. She focuses on regularly checking in with your emotions during the program, and so you feel that she is with you there every step of the way.

I would think that the 15 day food meal plan program, itself, would be quite daunting for the average person entrenched in a lifestyle of the Standard American Diet to face. But it was even daunting for me, even though I was already familiar with most of the foods needed for the program! I think what was intimidating to me was the whole proposed process of putting all these foods together, multiple times a day, to create creative dishes that I was not so used to eating. (not raw, at least) Luckily for me, I already had all of the non-perishable ingredients (except for the matcha powder) in my pantry, so it was just a matter of buying fresh produce like apples, tomatoes and greens to really get started.

But I can understand that if a person didn’t already have ingredients called for in this program such as spirulina, coconut oil, miso paste, cacao powder, and stevia, it would certainly be more of an effort (plus a great monetary expense) to have to purchase all of those items at once. Not to mention that the majority of the recipes call for using a $500 high speed blender, which most people don’t have. (though, of course, you can get through the plan with a regular cheap-o blender, and it shouldn’t diminish the experience too much)

Once you have the required ingredients, however (and yes, there is a very convenient set of shopping lists in the book to follow), the food making part is super duper easy, and super duper FUN! Yes, the “blast” part about the diet (in my opinion), is that it’s really just a blast to be able to make all this delicious and nutritious food to eat!

Packing my soups for the day!

Packing my soups for the day!

The 15 day program is broken down into 3 phases. In Phase 1, Ani says the purpose of this phase is to “reboot your body”, so that you can start with a “clean slate and a clean engine.” Fair enough! It consists of a purely liquid diet, and you may think that that means you’re going to go hungry, but this was not the case at all. You’re constantly drinking in your nutrition throughout the day, and, honestly, my stomach couldn’t even take in all of the prescribed daily meals: a shake for breakfast, a shake for a morning snack, a soup for lunch, another shake or soup for an afternoon snack, and another soup for dinner. I found that it really was too much for me, and so my initial fear of “being deprived” was really nothing to be concerned about, since the breakfast shake and dinner soup was about all I could take in each of these days. The drink meals, I found, were satisfying, tasty, and filling.

Ani says her test subjects lost an average of 3-5lbs in Phase 1. Since I was on a low calorie diet (and still exercising), I managed to lose a total of 2.8lbs in Phase 1. It could have even been more, I think, if my sleep scheduled hadn’t been messed up with working a graveyard shift and therefore hadn’t been sleep deprived. (because you lose your weight while you sleep and you’re not going to lose any weight if you only get four hours of sleep in one day! As a result, I didn’t have any weight loss at all on my 3rd day.)

So I was excited through Phase 1. This diet was really working! Oh, I should mention that I certainly began my “detox” headaches during this phase, and that part wasn’t fun. I also think it was a result of the low calorie diet. I felt very weak during this phase from taking in few calories, plus the exercising. And then Phase 2 came along.

In Phase 2, the majority of the daily meals still continue to be delicious shakes and blended soups, but green/vegetable salads with dressings are also added in – and so the solid food begins!

The addition of salads was really exciting for me, because I really love salads. I really love smoothies as well (or “shakes”, as Ani calls them), and already incorporate these largely into my diet. For any given day, I’ll start my day off with a green smoothie and then have a large green salad with veggies and either beans or tofu for my main meal. But I must admit that I tend to always make a variation of the same smoothie and same salad for every meal, so it was exciting for me to experiment with such a wide array of different recipes every day in these meal-type categories. In fact, I don’t think one single recipe is ever repeated in the diet plan, which calls for making an average of four different recipes a day (with leftovers as your “snacks”). For a foodie like me, this is great – it was always a pleasant surprise to see what kind of delicious concoction would be produced when blending a medley of specific ingredients together. In fact, every day I was excited for the food to come for that day. Only thing is, the food doesn’t just magically appear – you have to spend the time to make it!

So, this brings me to the topic of time management for the 15 Day Fat Blast Program. The meals may be quick and easy to whip together as individual “dishes”, but since there are so many of them to make for the day (or throughout the day, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to spend most of your day at home), you really have to schedule the time to create your lovely raw food.

If I was working an 8 hour shift and I knew I had to make all my food for the day before going out to work, I would schedule a full hour beforehand to prepare everything, plus wash the (minimal) dishes. This was the case for the first half of the program. For the latter half, I was working mostly at home, so I allowed myself short 30 minute breaks throughout the day to make and eat/drink each meal, whenever I became hungry. If you’re a busy person like me, it is essential to make sure you plan out the time to make your food, since this is a key to the success of following the program!

Cabbage Salad with Cucumber Miso Dressing - sooo good!!

Cabbage Salad with Cucumber Miso Dressing – sooo good!!

But really, once you have all the ingredients, and have the time to make the food, there really isn’t a lot more to it. All you need to do, according to Ani, for this program, is to eat! Eat lots of delicious food that happens to be raw, and you’ll lose 15lbs in 15 days. (and she recommends repeating Phases 1 and 2 before moving on to Phase 3 if you have more than 15lbs to lose) Exercise isn’t even a required component of this program, and I’m sure many people will be happy with that. However, for me, I was convinced that I still needed to exercise (for my petulant body) in order to have a chance of success on this program. Because, generally, if I don’t exercise every day, I gain weight. For example, I exercised a lot during the 3 days of Phase 1, and if I hadn’t, I’m convinced that I wouldn’t have lost those 3lbs.

Continue here to Part 2.

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