The Ornish Diet: Food, Menus, FAQs, and Recipes

The Ornish Diet

Everything you need to know about the Ornish Diet Plan, including foods to eat, menus, FAQs, shopping lists, and more.

Dr. Dean Ornish, a physician and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, devised the Ornish Diet. The diet is a low-fat, Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet that emphasizes plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It is believed that when you eat mainly fresh vegetables and nutritious grains, it’s difficult to overeat; therefore, weight loss is easily achieved.

The Ornish Diet promotes exercise, stress management, and interpersonal interactions. The diet divides food into five categories: the healthiest (group one) and the least healthy (group five). When it comes to exercise, Ornish emphasizes aerobics, resistance training, and flexibility. Also, stress management via breathing and meditation, spending time with and receiving support from loved ones, and smoking cessation is all part of the diet plan. We’ll discover what to eat and not to eat, as well as what to drink and not to drink, in this post.

What is the Ornish Diet?

Both the Mediterranean and Ornish diet allows you to consume the “whole” forms of fruits and vegetables as their primary source of nutrition. Refined sugars, processed meals, and harmful carbs are all prohibited. The Ornish diet allows for two portions of “bad carbohydrates” each day, but the Mediterranean Diet encourages them to be consumed only as a treat or on rare occasions. The diet allows for only 10 percent fat consumption per day, whereas the Mediterranean diet allows for roughly 29 percent fat consumption per day.

The Ornish Diet is most recognized for its enablement to cure heart disease, reduce weight, decrease blood pressure, and avoid cancer. To follow the diet, eat as many beans, legumes, fruits, grains, and vegetables as you need to feel satisfied. Consume low- or nonfat dairy products in moderation, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Food to Eat on The Ornish Diet

Here is a list of foods allowed on the Ornish diet

The Ornish Diet
Ornish diet- what to eat

Most of the foods are low in salt, which is beneficial to most individuals.

  • Fruits: Pears, Lemons, Pomegranate, Apple, Bananas, Strawberries, Blackberry, Blueberries, Grape, Oranges, Apricot.
  • Vegetables:  Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage.
  • Legumes: Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Lima Beans.
  • Protein: Tempeh, Tofu, Egg Whites.
  • Spices: Garlic, Cumin, Turmeric, Coriander, Cilantro, Parsley, Cinnamon, Nutmeg 
  • Seeds and Nuts: Chia Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios, Almonds, Cashew Nuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Peanuts, Flax Seeds.

Foods Not to Eat

Nothing is entirely off-limits; however, the amount of food you may consume depends on your ultimate aim.

  • Poultry: Turkey, Chicken, Duck.
  • Meat: Red Meat, Beef, Pork, Chevon.
  • Refined Carbs: Pretzels, Potato Chips, Pastries, Cake.
  • Saturated Fats: Bacon, Sausages, Butter.
  • Dairy: Milk, Yogurt, Cheese.

What to Drink on The Ornish Diet

You are allowed to take the following drinks

The Ornish Diet
Ornish diet- what to drink
  • Water
  • Smoothies

What Not to Drink

Please avoid the following drinks on this diet

  • Coffee
  • Wine
  • Beer


Thank you for taking the time to go over our Ornish Diet guide. Our free embedded checklists are available for download and use at any time. This will come in handy when it comes to meal preparation and grocery shopping.