There’s a saying that “the benefits of exercise are unbelievable…but if you have to exercise to keep your weight down, your diet is wrong”. This pretty much sums up the importance of our diets in achieving our ideal body weight. The outdated dietary paradigm states “calories in, calories out” and if you’re not losing weight then you’re just not cutting calories enough. As a result of this misconception the word “DIET” is loaded with stressful connotations as we’ve all experienced that reducing our food quantity to the point at which we start to lose weight for most of us cannot be maintained for more than a few days, or weeks at the most. Diets based on willpower alone will always fail!
Not all calories are the same as our body utilizes calories from varying forms of carbohydrates and fats differently. This is especially true for modern processed refined foods that overwhelm our “food reward brain response” by stimulating various hormonal triggers, especially high insulin. Insulin works as the fat storage hormone, converting excess calories to fat for later use. As long as your body remains permanently in storage mode then food cravings will increase and any form of healthy dietary choices becomes very difficult to achieve.
The very best foods are those that agree with our bodies. These foods satisfy your appetite and allow you to lose weight, even without exercise. They achieve this because such foods are delicious, do not cause high insulin / low blood sugar (snacking between meals) and most importantly are high in fiber, phytonutrients and are unprocessed, fulfilling our real nutritional and antioxidant requirements. A lifestyle based on these food ingredients is no longer a diet, but a healthy and satisfying way of living.
Coconut Oil, Coconut Butter and Coconut Flour are all low glycemic and the calories are only released slowly, avoiding the fast fat storage conversion of refined vegetable oils, flours and white sugar. The medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) in Coconut Oil have been shown to promote weight loss by having a metabolic enhancing effect, noticeable as a sensation of warmth after eating. This increase in the resting metabolism after consuming coconut products is combined with the additional effect of medium chain fatty acids being principally absorbed and stored in the liver for energy use and not stored as fat in the body as are regular polyunsaturated supermarket oils. Coconut products should form a basis for a lifestyle that supports healthy metabolism and weight loss. To check out examples of the complete recommended food list that compliments coconut products, see below:
Vegetables – Nutritious and low glycemic varieties:
- Avocado – actually a fruit
- Artichoke hearts
- Broccoli (along with other cruciferous veges contain powerful Phase II detoxification compounds i.e. myrosinase)
- Brussels sprouts
- Peppers (all kinds, but preferable to remove seeds, especially if high salicylates / lectins are an issue)
- Eggplant & Tomatoes – nightshades can be an issue for some
- Sweet potato and tapioca – contains important resistant starches for gut healthy intestinal flora
Flour alternatives – Low glycemic, gluten free and high fibre:
- Coconut flour
- Almond flour
- Tapioca/Cassava flour (not to be confused with Tapioca starch)
- Green Banana Flour
Oils and fats – Avoid / limit processed omega 6 supermarket vegetable oils in preference of:
- Organic Coconut oil: Virgin Coconut Oil, Coconut Butter or Odourless Coconut Oil for cooking
- MCT Oil – used in drinks, especially Bulletproof Coffee but only sparingly used for cooking i.e. frying an egg
- Virgin Olive oil – in salads and only low heat cooking
- Macadamia oil
- Avocado oil
- Grass-fed butter (avoid if intolerant to dairy products)
- Animal fats (if from free range animals)
Meats and seafood – aim to eat only free-range, grass fed or from wild caught fish and seafood from clean oceans. Get in the habit of eating smaller portions of these as protein will also be converted into sugars and stored as fat when we eat more than our body requires. Also excess animal protein can trigger excessively high IGF-1 a marker for cancer and accelerated ageing. All the longest lived “blue zone” cultures present today have only low to very minimal animal protein consumption so it is food for thought! Also we need to consider what the animal we eat ate, so if they were raised eating grains and legumes such as GMO soya bean then that is what we are actually eating.
- Grass-fed beef
- Eggs (duck, chicken, or goose)
- Fish; Bass, Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Tuna, Red snapper, Tilapia, Trout
Nuts – keep on hand for those times when a healthy snack is required but be careful to keep it to a handful, not a whole packet. BTW, Cashews are not actually nuts and are high in lectins so best avoided.
- Macadamia nuts
Fruits – limited to low glycemic and high antioxidant varieties (the unripe versions have a lower GI and higher resistant starch)
- Green Apple
- Mango (especially green Mango)
- Grapes* – very high in sugar so limit quantity
- Limes and lemons
- Oranges* – very high in sugar so limit quantity and always with the fiber intact, not as juice.
- Bananas* – preferably green
* to be taken only occasionally after weight goals have been achieved, or on a non keto day 😉
Culinary Herbs & Spices:
Pretty much all the herbs and spices, including:
- Cinnamon and many many more!
Processed & Refined Foods NOT on this recommended list:
- Soft drinks
- Packaged fruit juices
- No sugars except unrefined honey and coconut sugar in moderation
- Artificial sweeteners
- Supermarket polyunsaturated vegetable oils
- Legumes – except grain free fermented non-GMO soyabeans (miso, tempeh etc.) as a good vegetarian protein source. Anyone can reduce the lectin content of legumes by pressure cooking. Intestinal gas and colic after eating legumes is a sign of lectin intolerance and unsuitability in consuming legumes and beans.
- Biscuits and cakes
- Wheat and wheat flours
- Hash browns
- Pasta, spaghetti, lasagna etc
- Rice and rice flours (with the exception of Resistant Starch Rice on special occasions)
For a deeper understanding please check out the Keto and Paleo Diet articles at www.rainforestherbs.com