Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten


Eat lots of good carbohydrates like wholemeal bread, brown rice, potatoes, root vegetables, beans and pasta, all for their high energy, slow release calories and zero fat content. All fresh fruits, vegetables and salads to provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fish, poultry without skin.
Cut down on all visible fats - if you can see it don't eat it - and alcohol - one unit a day.

Avoid sugar, full fat dairy products, all high fat, high sugar cookies, cakes, desserts, sweets and chocolates, and all processed meat products.

Of all the nutritional disorders that affect the total population, obesity is the most common in affluent society. It is a major disease of civilization and as well as being irrefutably and closely linked to premature death, being seriously overweight is an almost certain guarantee that you will suffer from a range of other health problems.

Degenerative arthritis in any and all the weight bearing joints - ankles, knees, hips and lumbar spine - back pain, disc problems, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, varicose veins, foot problems and even an increased risk of breathing difficulties.

Being seriously overweight has social consequences too, as it restricts sporting activities leading to a gradual decline in overall fitness and a gradual increase in obesity. For many people being seriously overweight carries a heavy emotional burden and can lead to psychological disturbance. Relationship problems, lack of self esteem, poor self image - all these can combine to reduce the enjoyment of life both in social and employment terms.

Apart from plain bad eating one of the key factors is an individual's basic metabolic rate (BMR). This is the efficiency with which your resting body can burn up the fuel which you consume as food. The reason that two brothers living in the same home, eating exactly the same food, can have totally different body shapes, one fat, one thin. The percentage of brown fat in the body is also thought to be significant. This brown fat is able to store huge amounts of energy without causing obesity and those unfortunate people whose bodies have a smaller percentage of brown fat turn their surplus energy into white fat.

While there are some glandular disorders which cause weight gain, they are comparatively rare and usually treatable. Thyroid disorders are probably the most common. Steroid drugs, oral contraceptives, HRT (hormone replacement therapy), and insulin used by diabetics may cause weight gain too. But the vast majority of overweight people are overweight because they consume more calories than they burn.

Of all the multitude of weight reducing treatments, the only one that really works is to permanently change the way you eat. Slimming pills, injections, liposuction, crash diets and ‘miracle cures' are usually expensive, frequently hazardous to your health and never work long term.

Low calorie diets don't work because your metabolism slows down to conserve energy as you reduce your calorie input. At the end of a week or so of 800, 900 or 1,000 calorie a day consumption you feel tired, irritable and desperate. A two day binge puts back all the weight you lost and you're set on a life of yo-yo dieting. American Professor of Nutrition, Judith Stern, maintains that the overweight pear shape is at less risk of heart disease than the overweight barrel shape. Every time the pear loses weight quickly and puts it on again, it shifts up the body a little, and eventually the pear becomes a barrel, has lost no weight overall, and is at greater risk of heart disease.

Check your own waist/hip ratio. Measure your waist around the belly button, then round the biggest part of your hips. Then divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. For women the answer should be 0.75 or less and for men 1.0 or less. As the figure goes up, your risk of heart disease goes up.

Garbology is a new science which can show us how little people understand about government-inspired healthy eating messages. American archaeologists have recently started to study garbage tips, and by using core extractors they take samples from infill sites all around the US, which they can date very accurately from layers of newspaper. When the US Government recommended a reduction of animal fat to avoid bowel cancer, the garbage tips overflowed with all the fat that had been cut off bacon, steaks, and joints. But within weeks the garbologists were finding a dramatic increase in wrappers from processed meat products like salamis, sausages and bologna.

The next Government advice to protect against cancer was ‘eat more green vegetables' and supermarket sales boomed. Unfortunately much more was sold than eaten and the garbologists found tons of uncooked, uneaten green vegetables in the garbage tips. There's no point in buying it unless you eat it.

All the ideal height and weight charts are based on averages and many of them from quite long out-of-date insurance company actuarial tables. I believe the margin of error is greater than generally accepted because weight is not the only measure of health and fitness. Spiritual and emotional health are difficult to measure but play an enormous part in your total wellbeing. Peace of mind and a positive attitude increase the body's natural resistance and resilience and I am certain that being 10% overweight and happy is far better than striving to get 10% underweight and being miserable. In fact, life expectancy statistics confirm this.

As an approximate guide here is a chart of relative height and weight measurements. 10-15% above the indicated weight and you may consider doing something about it. 20-30% above and you should take some action.

Weight without clothes HEIGHT
(without shoes) MEN
Weight without clothes
1.95m/6ft4in 181lb/80.4kg
1.92m/6ft3in 176lb/78.2kg
1.89m/6ft2in 171lb/76kg
1.87m/6ft1in 166lb/73.8kg
152lb/67.6kg 1.84m/6ft 162lb/72kg
148lb/65.8kg 1.81m/5ft11in 158lb/70.2kg
144lb/64kg 1.78m/5ft10in 153lb/68kg
140lb/62.2kg 1.76m/5ft9in 149lb/66.2kg
136lb/60.4kg 1.73m/5ft8in 145lb/64.4kg
132lb/58.7kg 1.70m/5ft7in 140lb/62.2kg
128lb/56.9kg 1.68m/5ft6in 136lb/60.4kg
123lb/54.7kg 1.65m/5ft5in 133lb/59.1kg
120lb/53.3kg 1.62m/5ft4in 130lb/57.7kg
116lb/52.4kg 1.60m/5ft3in 127lb/56.4kg
113lb/50.2kg 1.57m/5ft2in 123lb/54.7kg
110lb/49kg 1.55m/5ft1in
107lb/47.6kg 1.52m/5ft

Body Mass Index - BMI

Body Mass Index is a universally standard way of calculating the relationship between height and weight. To work out your own BMI divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. This calculation is known at Quetelet's Index:-

BMI = Weight in kilograms / (Height in metres)squared

The resulting number is an excellent guide. Anything between 20 and 25 is within the ideal weight range. 25-30 is overweight, 30-40 is moderately obese and over 40 is grossly obese. These figures are based on the American Metropolitan Life Insurance calculations.

In the UK, Government figures showed a significant increase in the amount of obesity (BMI greater than 30) and overweight (BMI over 25) between 1980 and 1987. The average weights of men had increased by around 1kg between the ages of 16-49, and 3kg between the ages of 50-64. By 1993 the number of men in Britain who were overweight had gone up by 43% and the women by 30%. The number of seriously obese Britons doubled between 1980 and 1993, rising from 6 to 13% of men, and from 8 to 16% of women.


This Seven Day Eating Plan is bursting with nutrients and full of delicious produce. It's ideal for anyone who needs to lose some weight and a useful guide to regular sensible eating.

You may want to lose a few pounds, but remember we're all targets for the multi-million pound slimming business which is more concerned with extracting pounds from pockets than it is with the nation's health. Most dietary advice includes worthless pills, unhealthy meal substitutes or extreme diets based on pseudoscience and hocus pocus. This plan provides good nutrition, happy eating and real food. You won't be hungry, you will be healthy and you will lose pounds if you need to.

This week's eating provides you with all you need of most nutrients, but to make sure that you don't miss out on any of the essential vitamins or minerals it's a good idea to take a simple one-a-day vitamin and mineral supplement which you can get from any chemist, health food store and even off your supermarket shelf.

No-one will stick to a ‘diet' which is full of dreary food lacking eye appeal or taste, so this eating plan contains mouthwatering recipes that not only look good but do you good as well. Healthy eating is the only sane way to shed the surplus pounds so, start with these simple changes:

Choose leaner cuts of meat and eat more fish and poultry. Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk (not for the under 5's) and look for lower fat cheeses and yoghurts. Eat much more fresh fruit and vegetables - around a third of your food - a minimum of five helpings a day, excluding potatoes. Do eat lots of potatoes - but not fried - pasta, rice and beans but all without cream or fatty meat sauces.

Normally you should eat good breakfast cereals like porridge, muesli or wholewheat products without added salt and sugar, and at least five slices a day of wholemeal bread - be very mean with the butter. Avoid all sugar if possible and watch out for the hidden fat in biscuits, cookies, cakes and meat products.

More often it's what you do to your food, rather than the food itself, that piles on the weight. Don't fry, but grill (broil), steam or bake instead. Roast meat or poultry on a rack in the pan - so it won't soak up the fat. Never eat chicken or duck skin - they're oozing with fat. Avoid all thickened or creamy sauces. Use low fat yoghurt or fromage frais instead of cream. Try using a smaller plate - it looks like you've got more in front of you - and take plenty of time over your meals so they're more satisfying.

Never miss breakfast and don't go for long periods without food. If you're making a conscious effort to cut down your consumption, then keep your vitamin and mineral levels up to the mark with a good daily supplement. Women need some extra calcium too.

This is definitely not a starvation level existence, but a diet of good meals. It is possible to eat well and lose weight if you need to. But it's also essential that your new regime should be satisfying and enjoyable. Most diets fail because you give up in despair or disgust at the thought of one more cracker and cottage cheese. Don't forget to drink at least 3-4 pints of fluid each day.

Increase your calorie output by a little more exercise - a brisk 20 minute walk each day will do - and you could certainly be a whole lot healthier and if necessary, pounds lighter in just a few weeks.

Remember that weight loss depends on burning up more calories than you consume and exercise is a vital part of this equation. Eating two slices of bread and butter a day less and walking for ten minutes each day more will produce a regular weight loss of one pound a week. It's as simple as that. What you need is a sensible calorie intake that will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs and you with all the energy you need, both physically and emotionally. By increasing your physical activity by whatever means are suitable to your own personal health and fitness, your bonus in terms of health is many-fold. You don't just lose weight more easily, but you improve your cardiovascular system. You increase muscular strength. You build stamina and maintain mobility. In addition, exercise produces the ‘feel-good' endorphins in your brain and this is a huge bonus.


Baked beans on toast with a grilled tomato; a cup of tea or coffee with semi-skimmed milk. Have either drink with breakfast every day.

Light meal:
A large portion of coleslaw made with red, white and green cabbage, carrots, sultanas, onion, apple, plain yoghurt, a little olive oil and a tablespoon of cider vinegar, with a small cup of cottage cheese and a piece of fresh fruit.

Main meal:
Chicken breast (skin removed) covered with a sliced courgette (zucchini), thin strips of red pepper, a little garlic, the juice of a lemon, half a glass of dry white wine and quarter of a pint of vegetable stock (from a cube) cooked in a covered casserole for 30 minutes at 175°C/350°F/gas mark 4, with carrots and parsnips mashed together. A baked apple (cooked in the oven at the same time). Remove the core, cut off the bottom quarter, put it back in the hole and stuff with 30g ground almonds mixed with orange juice, sprinkled with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.


Porridge with half water, half skimmed milk, a slice of wholemeal toast with a little butter and honey.

Light meal:
A large bowl of vegetable, bean and barley soup - 45g pot barley, 900ml water, 4 sliced carrots, 1 chopped turnip, 2 sliced leeks, 2 sticks celery, 1 chopped onion, 15ml tomato puree, black pepper, bring them to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Add a can of kidney, butter, haricot or any other sort of beans, cook for another five minutes to make six large portions. Serve with a green salad with oil and vinegar dressing.

Main meal:
Any grilled fish with a green vegetable followed by some soft cheese with a large stick of crunchy celery.


Half a grapefruit, 2 poached eggs, 2 grilled tomatoes.

Light meal:
2 or 3 large flat mushrooms or a good handful of button mushrooms fried in a little butter very gently in a covered pan for about 15 minutes on wholemeal toast with a salad.

Main meal:
Grilled lamb chops with most of the fat removed with peas and carrots, a portion of dried fruits soaked and served with low fat natural yoghurt mixed with a pinch of cinnamon, grated lemon rind and a teaspoon of honey.


A mixture of an orange, an apple and a pear sliced into a bowl with a carton of natural yoghurt and a teaspoonful of honey,

Light meal:
A sandwich of wholemeal bread without butter, a mashed banana, a couple of chopped up dates, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of any chopped nuts. A fresh pear and a few grapes.

Main meal:
Chicken cooked any way you like, but not fried, with at least two different vegetables. Chopped ready to eat Californian prunes and apricots soaked in the juice of a lemon, an orange, a tablespoon of brandy, half a teaspoon of sugar.


2 boiled eggs, 2 slices of wholemeal toast spread very thinly with butter.

Light meal:
A bowl of bean and barley soup (left over from Tuesday) with a wholemeal roll.

Main meal:
Put a fillet of hake, cod or any white fish on a finely chopped onion, tomato and garlic mixture in a large piece of cooking foil, sprinkle more of the mixture on top of the fish, season with pepper and a little olive oil. Wrap the foil into a parcel, bake at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes. Serve with a salad of watercress, orange segments and chicory. A piece of soft cheese (Brie, Camembert etc) and a bunch of grapes.


As much fresh fruit as you like.

Light meal:
Italian toast - bruschetta. Toast a thick slice of coarse wholemeal bread until lightly brown on both sides. Rub one side with a cut clove of garlic, dribble on a little olive oil and pile with thin slices of fresh tomato - a wonderful snack for any time of the day or night.

Main meal:
Chicken, beef or lamb casserole - remove skin and fat, cut into cubes, seal for a few seconds in hot oil, remove the meat with a slotted spoon, add onion, garlic and celery, continue cooking till soft but not brown, add vegetable stock (from cube) with diced parsnip, carrot, swede, leek, turnip, potato, return meat to the mixture, cover tightly and cook at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for one to one and a half hours till meat is tender. 2 tangerines in segments with a small carton of fromage frais and a teaspoon of honey.


2 slices of wholemeal toast with a little butter and honey. A glass of fresh orange juice.

Light meal:
Green pasta and tuna fish. While the pasta is cooking put 4 coarsely chopped spring onions including the green tops into a frying pan with a little oil. When they're soft add a small can of drained tuna and stir until warm but not cooked. Drain the pasta, return to the saucepan, mix in the tuna and spring onions and serve. A piece of fresh fruit.

Main meal:
Stir fry lamb. Remove all fat from the meat and cut into thin strips. Put in a shallow dish with 15ml olive oil, 10ml soya sauce, 30ml dry sherry and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Then in a wok or thick bottomed frying pan heat some olive oil, add the lamb and some of the marinade, stirring vigorously for three minutes. Add a small leek thinly sliced lengthways, stir for another two minutes, then add a chopped spring onion, a chopped clove of garlic and a little freshly grated ginger and cook for another three minutes. Serve with a tomato and onion salad. Half a small melon.

You must drink at least three pints of fluid each day - water, diluted unsweetened fruit juices and some tea, herbal teas and a little coffee. You may have one glass of wine or half a pint of beer or one small measure of spirits each day as well. This is seven days of delicious healthy eating which I hope you will enjoy. It is not a diet but a guide to help you change the way you eat for the better.


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10 Day Detox With Kim WildeMichael Van Straten's 10 Day Detox With Kim Wilde

"In this video, we will take you through a series of easy to follow and achievable steps. You too can safely and effectively lose weight as well as significantly increase energy levels".

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