I’m a bit of a movie nut.  This time of year, I like to check out all the movies nominated for the upcoming Oscar Awards.  While I appreciate the incredible work the actors do in their roles, I see them for what they are: actors with an incredible talent for acting.  They are not doctors or nutritionists or professional fitness trainers, so I won’t seek out their diet books or follow their political advice (heaven forbid!).  But, it’s shocking how many people do just that, even those who should know better. 

Dr. Oz recently featured actress Marilou Henner on his show, touting her ‘Energy Makeover’ diet as  ‘worth a try.’  Really?  Why? 

Now, some doctors ARE interested in Henner, but for her mind, not her body. 

Henner has a condition known as ‘Hyperthymesia’ or Superior Autobiographical Memory.   It’s a type of “Rain Man” obsessive-compulsive memory ability.  It’s so rare; 60 Minutes did a piece on it.  I think you should check it out before we go into why Henner’s ‘Energy Diet’ is only good for her, and not the rest of us mere mortals:  Here’s a link: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7166313n , http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7166315n

Now that you’ve seen a little glimpse of Henner’s life, I can’t blame you for wanting it; her memory ability: her movie credits, or even her well-organized closet.  But, that should be where it ends.

Henner‘s  ‘diet’ cuts out dairy, which is questionable at a time when many scientific studies tout the numerous benefits of dairy, including weight-loss: (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/diet-secrets-13-things-experts-weight-loss-good/story?id=15954615 ) .  But, Henner also claims we have to eat our protein, starches and fruit separately.  Also, we can’t drink water or anything else with meals.  Why? She claims eating a whole meal and drinking a glass of water “confuses the enzymes in our body and dilutes our digestive juices.”   While Dr. Oz just stood there and smiled, the doctors I visited with about it nearly choked on their carrot sticks.   

Henner has a role in this world: as an actress.  She’s a former dance major who dropped out of college to have a career on stage and screen.  But, I question the health impacts of her ‘diet’, not to mention, the feasibility of it; I can’t imagine anyone who could carry around a cooler -- full of food to eat nine different times in our busy day.  We’re working men and women.  We’re parents.  We’re not doctors, but if we want medical advice, we should ask one.  Henner is not a doctor.  In fact, as my Grandma Ella always used to say, “If it looks like a horse, sounds like a horse and walks like a horse, it’s not a giraffe.”    

At a time when 95 percent of Americans fail at diets because they are unsustainable, (http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/diet/5-reasons-most-diets-fail ) maybe we should stop chasing giraffes.   I’d rather support real farmers, real food, and keep my cheese, my pork chop, rice and asparagus on my plate and eat it all at the same time.  I mean, plain, good ole’ Iowa common sense has worked for me: eat well, work hard, be accountable every day.  Maybe it’s time for Dr. Oz to step away from the Hollywood elite and do a story about a lifestyle plan for people with real jobs, busy families and cluttered closets.  Now that would be much easier to swallow, and sustain.

 Written by Laurie Johns
Laurie Johns is Public Relations Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.