I’ve seen and read a lot of stories and articles on how to lose weight since the New Year began. They all seem restrictive.
I’ve also seen a lot of advice from so-called experts who tell you to eat less protein and more fake “health” foods like whole grains.
I don’t think it’s a very good idea to constantly deprive yourself. In my opinion the mainstream advice is a recipe for being tired and hungry all year.
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 you won’t get the blood sugar spikes that cause inflammation and fat gain. Plus, your body will get the nutrient-dense and energizing foods it needs so you can have optimal health all year.
- Swap breading for seeds. 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 using breading. This is especially tasty for replacing breadcrumbs to coat chicken and fish. The seeds have healthy fat, fiber and protein.
- Trade in white rice for cauliflower. 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 processed white 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, plus the cancer-suppressing compound sulforaphane.
- Replace spaghetti with 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.
- Squash the grains with… well, squash. Squash is loaded with nutrients, and is low on the glycemic index. For example, if you cube butternut squash, you can add it to a salad that has nuts, chicken, and vegetables. Immature squash, called summer squash, is great for replacing potatoes in “potato skins.” I just slice it in half, add some cheese, bake, and I get a delicious starch-free snack.
- Out with vegetable oil, in with avocado. Puree avocados and use them as a replacement for 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.