I’ve seen and read a lot of media stories and advice columns on how to drop weight since the new year began. They all seem to have a lot of warnings about what not to eat. But I don’t think it’s a very good idea to constantly deprive yourself.
Even worse, I see a lot of advice from so-called experts who, when they do tell you what to eat, want you to eat less protein and more fake “health” foods like whole grains.
In my opinion, that’s a recipe for being tired and hungry all the time.
A better idea would be to upgrade what you eat. Replace some of the nutrient-poor, processed, starchy foods common to the Western diet with a few alternatives.
I think you’ll find your food tastier, and your body will get the nutrient-dense and energizing foods it needs so you can have optimal health all year.
- The first swap you can make is to trade in breading and bread crumbs for seeds. If you are a regular reader, you know I recommend eating bread only in small amounts. It’s usually very high on the glycemic index, which means it spikes your blood sugar and your body will probably turn it into fat.
One way to cut down on the bread without feeling like you’re depriving yourself is to chop up or crush sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of breadcrumbs to coat chicken and fish. The seeds have healthy fat, fiber and protein.
- Trade in rice for cauliflower. Have you ever tried this? You can finely chop or “pulse” fresh cauliflower in a food processor and it will resemble rice. Then you can steam or sauté it and enjoy it just like you would any kind of rice.
Cauliflower is a great way to replace starch with natural fiber, and to add essential B vitamins and vitamins A, K, and C. Cauliflower also has the essential nutrients choline and calcium.
- Swap another processed food – spaghetti – for zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler and you can make zucchini resemble spaghetti noodles. Heat the strips in a skillet with olive oil and you’ll have a fresh pasta replacement that gives you a huge boost of vitamins A and C, and is a great source of potassium.
- Replace beans with complete, pure protein. I’m talking about grass-fed animal meat. Beans are good for you, but they don’t have all the essential amino acids you need each day. And there’s no replacement for meat if you want optimal health and a lean, fat-burning body.
People who eat low-carb, high-protein diets lose fat and gain muscle.1 Plus, red meat is your only good, natural source of vitamin B12, which studies have shown can protect your cognitive abilities as you age.2
- Out with vegetable oil, in with avocado. Puree the avocados and use them as a replacement for those man-made oils. It might shade things a bit green, but you’ll get rid of all the harmful processed vegetable fats and give yourself a big health boost.
To me, avocado is almost a superfood.
In every cup of avocados there’s 2.89 grams of protein, 10.79 grams of carbohydrates, and 7.3 grams of dietary fiber. They have amino acids, linoleic acid and 12 different minerals.
Avocados also have 13 different vitamins, and each cup gives you 20% of the vitamin A, C, B6 and folate you need every day. And one cup of avocados also gives you 160 mg of omega-3s.
1. Phinney S. Ketogenic diets and physical performance. Nutrition & Metabolism. Aug 2004. 1:2
2. Walker J, et. al. "Oral folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplementation to prevent cognitive decline…" Am J Clin Nutr January 2012 vol. 95 no. 1 194-203