5 Romanian Ways to Lose Weight

by Mira

Five Romanian diets, all very easy but not all of them that good for you. This is more an article about a cultural issue than one recommending a diet or another.

I was on Wordpress.com the other day, and someone wrote a post about not being able to lose some extra weight. I then figured I could write this article about some of the ways teenagers and women here have sought to lose some extra kilos after 1989 and before, during Communist times.

I haven’t tried all these diets, so I can’t vouch for their effectiveness from my own experience. Some people swear by them. I’ve heard people of my parents’ generation, for instance, recommend the cabbage soup regimen quite often. And girls and women of my own generation have tried it. Some endured the ordeal without being put off too much by this soup, while others, after eating this soup for several days, said they don’t want to see or smell it ever again.

So anyway, following you have five easy Romanian diet ideas, in case you were curious.

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a doctor if you want to lose weight. Your doctor will probably recommend some blood tests and other examinations before you start any diet.

5 Romanian Diets

Image doesn't have an associated link; it's here just so you can pin the article :). Read about these five diets below.
5 Romanian Diets
5 Romanian Diets
Photo: Pixabay

1. Cabbage Soup

Looking at Google results, I see the cabbage soup diet is as popular today as it was when I was a teenager. What’s new now is that magazines advise caution, explaining why this diet may have a yo-yo effect, how you can even collapse if you switch to cabbage soup and nothing else for a whole week, how if your heart muscle is deprived of the right minerals you will develop heart disease, etc. Other online magazines tell you how you can combine this soup first with fruit and veggies, and then with meat and rice. It all seems rather random as far as their suggestions go. Magazine writers make things up, and some people follow those suggestions to a T. Then there are people who invent their own things and pass them on.

In case you’re curious what this cabbage soup actually involves, here are the ingredients for such a recipe:Cabbage soup recipe. Romanian diet.

1 small cabbage

2-3 onions

1 celeriac

3 carrots

2 bell peppers

6 large tomatoes or two cartons of puréed tomatoes

salt and pepper; optional: lemon salt

2. Rice

This involves boiled rice for 2-3 days. I’ve talked to people who swear by it, and see now online that it has been transformed into a longer diet: 3 days of rice, 3 days of chicken, 3 days of apples. This invention doesn’t sound very healthy to me. The body doesn’t like to eat so much protein in a day (which is part of my peeve with the Dukan diet as well), and you're also not getting a whole lot of minerals. Moreover, I’ve heard from two people who tried fruit-only diets that they ended up gaining weight afterwards.

3. No Eating in the Evening (After 6:30 PM or 7 PM)

This one I believe in and it works for me, but it may not work for people with kidney and other problems (blood sugar, etc.), so do consult with your doctor first. This “no eating in the evening” diet is very popular over here. I’ve lived all my teenage years like this, and had a nice, flat belly. (I also walked a lot and exercised.)

As it happens, once you start working longer hours, you need some fuel later in the evening as well, especially if you work late, which is why I started eating late in the evening. Slowly but surely my back problems grew worse. I tried the Montignac diet once and lost 5 kilos in a week. Then 2-3 more kilos in the following weeks (3-4 weeks, I think). In time I put some of those kilos back-- and when I tried the Montignac diet again, it didn’t work at all.

The Montignac diet was the only “imported” diet, apart from the Mediterranean diet, that sounded good to me: basically you just don’t mix in one meal the carbs and protein; you also eat your fruit 30-45 minutes before the meal. After some time though, I came to really appreciate having many colors on my plate, as well as carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

Guacamole ingredients

Going back to the “no eating in the evening” diet, from my experience I can say that if you do this short-term you will lose weight quickly (I lost 3 kilos in 1-2 weeks); if you then decide to eat in the evening after a while, you won’t be putting the weight back, provided you eat healthy foods that agree with your metabolism. Here’s an article on How to Eat Healthy with Little or No Cooking


Salmon with tropical fruit and mintand some of my favorite recipes:

Salmon with Tropical Fruit and Mint

Cream of Broccoli Soup


Here's also an article of mine with general suggestions for losing weight, and with links to related articles from other Wizzley members.

4. Smaller Portions

This is a diet that many older people try. It seems to work for some of them. I don’t believe in it 100% myself, because when you reduce the caloric intake, your body burns muscle (since it needs the extra energy) and stores more fat. On the other hand, there are people who eat very little and don’t have those problems. (One of them is my mother.) Then there are studies that show a correlation between lower calorie intake and longer life span. So, in the end, I guess I think it’s a question of finding what’s right for your metabolism, your age, and your energy needs. And by “what’s right” I mean number of calories (approximately) and combination of protein, fats, and carbs.

I found, for instance, that peanuts or sunflower seeds work for me in the evening. Protein makes you feel good in the evening, when you may have less energy. I often eat kiwis after that as a last meal before bedtime. I guess that’s a small meal right there.

5. No Sweets

When everything else fails, or before anything else, some people try to give up sweets. I've been able to do it only twice, when I followed the Montignac diet. I do try to cut back on my sweets, but eliminating them completely is quite a challenge.

I do use the natural sweetener stevia more and more these days though. I haven't noticed much change in my blood sugar or any weight-loss benefits, but stevia is a safe natural sweetener and I'm assuming that it's better for my body than honey or sugar, given that I'm trying to reduce my blood sugar count. I do love honey, though, and honey, too, has a great number of health benefits, so if you can eat sugars at all, I would recommend you keep honey among your sweeteners. But again, I'm no medical professional and this is not intended as medical advice. I can't stress how important it is for you to know your body well before you change your exercise regime and nutrition.

5b. Drink Tea Instead

I find that flavorful tea curbs my need for sweets. Some teas are naturally sweet (take, for instance, blends that include licorice), and most of them are great to enjoy with or without sweeteners. I'm thinking of white tea blends, green tea with dried flowers, and so on. Of all teas I drink, I find that only masala chai really needs honey.

Save me a cuppa! -- Greeting card

Ad Zazzle

Friends and tea make a sweet combination -- Greeting card

Ad Zazzle

Because tea finds happy -- Luggage tag

Ad Zazzle

Because tea finds happy -- T-shirt

Ad Zazzle

And Then There's the Dukan Diet

I don’t have much to comment about this one, because I haven’t looked at it closely, but it seems suspicious that you have to follow this diet -- or some of its principles -- all your life. I’ve seen people lose a lot of weight on this one; I’ve also seen people who started gaining weight as soon as they stopped it. Again, I’ll have to read more about it to have an informed opinion. As it is, I’ve seen people doing rather different Dukan diets, some starting with 10 days of protein (which, if you ask me, is so not healthy), and others starting with only 4 days.

So yes, the Dukan diet is quite popular here these days.

If you’re reading this page and have had diets that worked for you, I’d appreciate a comment below. Thank you!

Two of the Best English-Language Books with Romanian Recipes: Taste of Romania and Transylvanian Desserts: My Mom's Recipes

Taste of RomaniaTransylvanian Desserts: My Mom's Recipes

Jamie's My Favorite Cook These Days. The Food Escapes DVD Box Includes Tasty Dishes from Around the World. And Jamie's 15-Minute Meals is Tasty, Healthy, and Very Practical

Jamie's 15-Minute MealsJamie Oliver's Food Escapes
Updated: 10/18/2020, Mira
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Mira on 05/10/2014

Sounds good. :) Incindentally, that's how I have my tea, too: white (if the tea is black) with no sugar. And yes, rooibos vanilla tea is absolutely wonderful :).

Guest on 05/10/2014

I'm currently on my third pint of builder's brew today. Time now 2.45pm. Together with my favorite electronic music station, this is helping creativity.

Guest on 05/10/2014

Good old builder's brew, Mira. I'm a Brit, we drink it by the truckload. White, no sugar. I also love rooibois with vanilla and most kinds of mixed fruit tea.

Mira on 05/10/2014

O my! That can't be bad though :). And there I was thinking I drank lots of liquids :) So 5 pints is well over 2.5 liters. That's a lot of tea :D Good for you! What kind of tea do you prefer?

Guest on 05/10/2014

Oh yes, I definitely drink. I am a teapot with legs! First thing I do when I wake up is run to the kettle, or the tap if I'm late. Last thing I do at night the same. I'm prone to dehydration so I have to make sure I'm not thirsty when I go to bed or I won't sleep. I drink around 5 pints of tea a day, average, so well over the minimum 8 glasses of water rule. Plus water, juice and wine.

Mira on 05/10/2014

And you don't drink anything in the morning either? I find I have to have something warm right when I wake up. I prefer tea but I often have to drink coffee, as wake up and find I'm not ready for the day :)

Guest on 05/10/2014

Sometimes, depends. The 3pm slump is a killer. But I definitely can't eat at 5.30am when I wake up and don't often want to eat at 8am when I get to work. So it's later when I've settled down, ticked a few boxes for things to do and start needing a break from the screen that I wander off into the kitchen, make a brew and have a pack of 2 breakfast biscuits, or sometimes a smoothie. Now I have access to a work microwave again, I can indulge my passion for porridge too.

Mira on 05/10/2014

As I said, I'm amazed that you can go so long without a meal. Ten hours is a long time for me. No snacks at all?

Guest on 05/09/2014

I tend to do most of my eating around 10am-noon. Then supper around 10 hours later at about 8-9pm. Breakfast and lunch are rolled into one, and when we're on holiday with a brunch, we tend not to eat again until 8pm which gives us a long day to sight see or shop or laze or walk or... I'm definitely one of those types who could live on two meals a day if not surrounded by humans munching three.

Mira on 05/09/2014

I've also heard people who basically eat two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. Say they have just tea in the afternoon. I'm always amazed at how little some people need to live on.

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