The Zone is a real physiological state where the levels of inflammation are constantly balanced. This means the turning on (i.e. initiation) of diet-induced inflammation (inflammation created by the foods we eat) is being constantly balanced by turning off (i.e. resolution). Being in the Zone is defined by your blood chemistry, not your diet philosophy, but to reach the Zone requires the dietary control of your hormones.
What is the Zone?
The Zone is a real physiological condition in your body where cellular inflammation is controlled — not too low that you can’t fight off infection, but not too high where the body begins to attack itself.
What Happens If I Get Out of the Zone?
You gain weight, you develop chronic disease at an earlier age, and you age at a faster rate. These are three pretty good reasons why you want to stay in the Zone.
How Do I Get into the Zone?
Your diet is the key. An anti-inflammatory diet like the Zone Diet will get you to the Zone and keep you there for a lifetime. The Zone Diet is designed to control the expression of inflammatory genes. The Zone Diet can be enhanced by anti-inflammatory supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols.
What Are the Food Ingredients Used in the Zone Diet?
The primary ingredients are low-fat protein, colorful carbohydrates rich in polyphenols, and fat that is low in both saturated fat and omega-6 fats. The secret is balancing these ingredients to get the appropriate hormonal responses at each meal. What the Zone Diet Food Pyramid looks like is shown here.
The less white (white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white potatoes) you put on your plate, the less cellular inflammation you are going to create.
The Zone Diet Made Easy
All you really need to follow the Zone Diet is one hand, one eye, and one watch. At each meal divide your plate into three equal sections. On one-third of the plate you place some low-fat protein (like chicken, fish, or vegetarian sources like cheese or soybean products). The amount should be no larger or thicker than the palm of your hand.
Next fill the other two-thirds of the plate with colorful carbohydrates consisting of non-starchy vegetables and fruits.
Finally add a dash (that’s a small amount) of fat low in saturated fat and omega-6 fat to the meal. These fats include olive oil, nuts, or guacamole.
You know if you are successful if you are not hungry for the next four to six hours while maintaining peak mental focus. This is why you need a watch.
Can I Be Even More Precise?
Yes. First use the Body Fat Calculator to determine how much protein you need to maintain your muscle mass. Then spread that amount of protein throughout the day, balancing it with the correct amount of colorful carbohydrates. If you want even more precision in making your own Zone meals, use the Zone Food Block Guide or simply use our Zone Recipes.
How Do You Measure If You are in the Zone?
A simple finger-stick blood test can tell with precision. But the easiest way to determine if you are in the Zone is never being hungry and maintaining peak mental acuity throughout the day.