The Full Plate Diet: Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight?

July 01, 2011 | Mary McIntosh

Riverside Church members, in Washougal, Wash., have embarked on a health adventure: the Full Plate Diet. The adventure began with a Taste and See Health Seminar on March 14, which introduced the principles for healthful living that Seventh-day Adventists are known for. A vegetarian diet addresses the health problems of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer. However, we also fight the problem of eating too much and gaining too much weight. In an obese nation, we should be examples of a fit, healthy lifestyle. So what is wrong?

One problem is lack of exercise. Another is stress. Another is food that is too rich with fat and oil. We find it difficult to control not only what we eat but how much we eat. Solution: The Full Plate Diet. Sound strange? Perhaps it isn't. The key to this new diet is to include more fiber and less fat in our vegetarian meals. Adding fiber adds satiety without adding calories. The food is delicious and healthful, and meals are satisfying.

Weight loss for each participant averages 1–4 pounds in the first two weeks. After that, weight loss is more gradual. Combined with an exercise program, weight loss is greater and tends to be more permanent. One participant reports that she lost one pound per week for a total of seven pounds just by substituting brown rice for white rice, sweet potatoes for white potatoes, and oatmeal "powered up" with nuts for shredded wheat.

The class at Riverside Church was conducted by Jack McIntosh, health educator, and Linda Schrader, health instructor. Each Monday night at 6:30 the session began with cooking demonstrations and delicious food samples, plus a health lecture by Jack. Recipes made maximum use of fiber food power — from "Powered-up Salad" and "Powered-up Potato Soup" to delectable desserts like Fresh Strawberry Pie with a rich nut crust.

The first Full Plate Diet class was held at Riverside church last fall. With this spring's class over 30 participants have completed the class. Half of the participants in the spring class were not church members. Two will be baptized soon. The Full Plate Diet was devised by a team of physicians and health educators at Lifestyle Center of America. The class runs for eight weeks. Each participant receives the N.Y. Times bestselling textbook, The Full Plate Diet, and workbook. Go to for information, recipes, a fiber calculator, and a blog.