What Should I Eat?

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Are you continually stressing over what’s the “healthiest” breakfast to eat?

Do you ever wonder why on some days you have a ton of mental and physical energy, while on other days the brain fog is so thick you can barely see past your glasses, and your mood is so low you wonder how you’re going to make it to 5:00?

Are you discouraged because your “diet of the day” is not allowing you to lose the pounds it promised?

I know I’m sounding like a 2:00 a.m. infomercial, but I swear I’m not selling you anything. I’m just so excited to share with you this interesting information.

Last week I attended a fascinating lecture by Dr. Mark Liponis, the Medical Director of Canyon Ranch Health Resorts, and an internationally recognized expert in preventive and integrative medicine, as well as co-author of the New York Times bestseller, UltraPrevention and the author of UltraLongevity.

The day’s lecture was based on his latest book, The Hunter/Farmer Diet Solution: Do You Have the Metabolism of a Hunter or a Farmer? Find Out…and Achieve Your Health and Weight-Loss Goals!

Dr. Liponis explained to our group of frustrated females and fellas that in order to feel well, attain our health goals, and yes, even drop the extra weight that seems to have taken up permanent residence in our bodies, we must know if we are a Hunter or a Farmer.

Well not literally, but do we have the metabolism of a Hunter or a Farmer?

Do you fair better eating a low-carb, low-glycemic, protein-filled diet like the Hunter, which includes mostly fish, poultry, lean meats, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, berries, nuts, fruits, beans and legumes, soy, and dairy foods?

Or does the low-fat, high-grain diet work better for your metabolism, like the Farmer, who mainly eats whole grains, vegetables, bread, pasta, potatoes, cereals, eggs, beans and legumes, berries, fruit, seafood, and skinless poultry?

Dr. Liponis explained the importance of knowing answers to such questions as: Do you gain weight mostly in your belly and chest, or your hips, thighs and butt? Can you go for hours without food, or do you get hungry often? Is your blood sugar (glucose) 100 or over, or is it below 100? There are 18 questions in the book to determine if you’re a Hunter or a Farmer, but in the meantime, if you’re curious to find out which you are, you can go to, www.hunterfarmerdiet.com/take-the-hunter-farmer-diet-quiz).

The “one size fits all” diet plans will become a thing of the past as we learn more about, nutrigenomics, in which testing our genes will tell us exactly what we should be eating for our health. But until that test is as standard as testing our HDL and LDL, we can use Dr. Liponis’ solution to determine what each of us should eat for breakfast … and lunch … and dinner.

The key to losing weight and staying healthy, whether you’re a Hunter or Farmer, is to eat the right diet for your metabolism.

I was absolutely fascinated by my own experiment. Though I’ve been following an eating plan that includes mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and lean animal protein because that’s the “diet de rigueur”, I’m still frustrated by why I can’t seem to lose my unwanted fat. I exercise, I limit my consumption of alcohol and sugary treats, and I avoid processed foods. So what gives?

Here’s what I’ve been doing wrong:

First, I’m a classic Farmer. When I gain weight, it seems to reside in my butt and thighs. I get hungry often. My blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides are low. I tend to feel faint when I’m without food for too long, experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia. (Guess what, Mr. S? I’m not moody, just get me some food!), and I wake up in the morning HUNGRY!! When I eat fatty foods, like steak, or overindulge on nuts, or smear my gluten-free bagel with a teaspoon (or two) of ghee (because ghee is so good for us), I tend to put on the pounds. I never knew why … I’m eating healthy foods, right?

Dr. Liponis says, “The best diet for a Farmer would be a low-fat, high-fiber, high-grain diet that includes protein.” And he advises that in order to not overeat when we do eventually sit down to a meal, it’s necessary to eat something often, even every hour if we’re feeling hungry.

So for me as a Farmer, in the past when I would feel my brain melting or my energy waning about 3 hours after breakfast, I typically went for caffeine to give me a mental and physical lift. Isn’t that why the 10:00 coffee break was created?

However, this really wasn’t what my body needed. The caffeine was making me crave more food so when I finally got to the table at lunchtime, I ate quickly, I overate, and I my food choices were less than stellar  (hello my good friend, bacon double cheeseburger!).

As I learned, for the Farmer, a better choice would be to eat a small bit of something with carbs every couple of hours to elevate my decreased blood sugar level, and to avoid my high-fat mega-marathons. Yesterday my 4 snacks during the day included a handful of low-fat cereal, half an apple, some green juice, and some raw veggies with crackers and hummus. All were low-fat and high-fiber, and the carbs kept my energy up.

Note the small size.

It sounds like a lot of food along with three meals, but remember—a snack is a snack, not a meal. By keeping it small, you’ll feel full all day long and have no need for gorging on whatever you can find later on.


If you’re a Hunter, on the other hand, your health and weight issues would be best served by eating a low-glycemic diet by reducing your consumption of carbohydrates, and eating more protein to fuel your metabolism. Hunters have problems metabolizing sugar.  Not just actual sugar found in cookies and pies, but also foods that convert to sugar, like pasta, bread, corn, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and squash. Hunters that continue to eat high-sugar foods are more likely to become obese and have issues with diabetes.

Hunters tend to store their weight in their bellies, and they seem able to go for hours before needing sustenance.

The Hunter’s diet looks similar to the “Atkins-type” diets, but Dr. Liponis suggests that Hunters eat their protein in the form of fish, skinless poultry, and eggs rather than red meat, since Hunters tend to have high-cholesterol issues.

By reducing their consumption of high-sugar carbs and grains, the Hunters will be able to reduce their often-high triglycerides (greater than 150) and high blood sugar or glucose (greater than 100) levels.

If you go to Dr. Liponis’ website, www.hunterfarmerdietsolution.com, you can get more info on this exciting health plan.

The Hunter/Farmer Diet Solution book includes meal and snack suggestions as well as offering a wonderful collection of Canyon Ranch recipes that fit the Hunter diet as well as some that fit the Farmer diet.


So to my fabulous Farmers and happy Hunters, if you’ve been struggling to feel healthy and trying unsuccessfully to lose some extra weight, why not give this plan a try? Just remember, to the Hunters out there, just because you have the green light to eat animal protein, keep it lean! And to the Farmers, just because you’ve been given back your grains, don’t overindulge. Balance, moderation, and a lot of veggies will keep you on track!


Until Next Time,

Be Well,




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10 Responses to “What Should I Eat?”

    • Suzy

      Wow Jennifer, even split. Because the book doesn’t address that issue, I would go to Dr. Liponis’s website and ask him what he would suggest. Maybe he should have an odd number of questions. Good Luck. Thanks for the comment.

  1. Bill Goldenberg

    Great article Suzy. I like the photos too. Not crazy about the Hunter diet I’m going to have to switch to though.

    • Suzy

      Thanks Bill for the compliment. Mr. S too is having a hard time relinquishing all those yummy grains that he for years has grown to love. But in the long run, you’ll feel and be healthier without them. A happy hunter you’ll be.

  2. Carolyn

    HUNTER ALL THE WAY (I think, at least from what you said in your blog)!!! The ONLY thing I mind giving up is the SUGAR … BUT I DON’T think SUGAR is on the FARMER’s LIST either!!

    AND I ALWAYS FEEL BETTER when I eat low carbs … more protein!! I NEVER realized that diet wouldn’t be great for everyone … it’s ALL starting to make sense now!! I could NEVER understand why everyone didn’t lose weight that way!! I always assumed they weren’t being disciplined enough!! CAN’T wait to get the book … THANKS!!

    • Suzy

      I know Carolyn, it’s quite an eye opener. I think Dr. Liponis has helped so many people because many of us were eating the wrong way for our metabolism. As far as straight SUGAR goes, you’re right…it’s not on the Farmer or Hunter diet, but it’s the Hunters that seem to have more problems with it. Thanks for the comment.


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