Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Year's Healthy Eating Plan

I recently watched a "Dr. Oz" episode in which chef Alton Brown discussed losing 50 lbs and keeping, yes, keeping it off. He then shared 4 list of food he eats or doesn't eat to maintain his weight loss. I thought they were really pretty good suggestions, not, by any means, all inclusive of foods you should eat for ideal health, but very much worth sharing with you. Some suggestions I'd add to his list include, for daily: eggs, prepared any way you like (the absolute perfect protein and great for collagen production for those vain ones out there.) Kefir, yogurt or pro-biotic supplements-absolutely imperative for a strong immune system. Wine, just a small glass daily for your cardiac and mental health! In addition, I'd say most of us only need red meat, the blood meat, only about once every 10 days. White starch, never! and absolutely try to avoid anything packaged and very little of food you don't know exactly where it came from or who has been handling it...guess that means: "EAT AT HOME FROM SCRATCH AS FREQUENTLY AS POSSIBLE!" Just my two cents.

List 1: Foods to Eat Daily

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Carrots
  • Green tea
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits

These foods should be a part of your daily diet. Whole grains, like oats, are rich in fiber so they fill you up and keep you satiated for longer. Also, soluble fiber keeps your cholesterol levels in check and lowers your risk of heart disease. And fruits, especially purple ones like blueberries, blackberries and Concord grapes are rich in antioxidantsand resveratrol, known to promote longevity. To get these foods in every day, Brown freezes the berries into pre-portioned packets and either uses them in smoothies or just eats them as is. Additionally, nuts are a good source of protein and you can fit them in easily every day by eating a handful about 15 minutes before a big meal to help curb overeating.

List 2: Foods to Eat Three Times a Week

  • Yogurt
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Oily fish
  • Tofu

These foods are healthy for you in moderation. For example, sardines are high in protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are very good for your heart; plus, the tiny bones contain calcium. Additionally, tofu makes a great low-calorie meat substitute that actually has more protein per calorie than ground beef. Brown frequently uses tofu in pasta sauces, tacos and stir-fry dishes. Cauliflower and broccoli are cruciferous vegetables that have been praised for their cancer-fighting properties, like antioxidants that help rid your body of toxins that might damage cells.

List 3: Foods to Eat Once a Week

  • Red meat
  • White starch
  • Desserts
  • Alcohol

These are foods you should only indulge in every once in a while. With alcohol, for instance, Brown’s motto is, “If you’re going to have one drink a week, make it count.” So choose a drink or dessert you really enjoy and savor it, rather than going for something that you might drink more of, but not like as much.

List 4: Foods to Never Eat / Foods to Avoid at All Times

  • Soda
  • Processed meals
  • Canned soups
  • “Diet” anything

These are foods you should cut out completely. Brown found that when he drank diet soda or ate processed foods, he would crave and eat sweet and processed things more often, contributing to his weight gain. And artificial sweeteners may be to blame. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can be addictive and put taste receptors into overdrive, causing the body to release more insulin – a hormone instrumental in storing body fat. So, instead, he stopped incorporating these foods into his diet altogether.

My additions:

Other foods to avoid: saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, syrups and any grains that aren’t 100% whole. Yes, you probably have to clean the junk out of your cupboards and shop carefully at first. Stay away from all foods processed; meaning, if you didn't combine those ingredients yourself, you shouldn't eat it.


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