There are five key aims when striving to improve your health through better nutrition
- Enhance body composition
- Manage energy levels and energy production
- Respect your calorie requirements
- Develop sustainable eating habits
- Learn your individual preferences and tolerances
This means that the bulk of your nutrient intake should be geared towards meeting the above objectives. If it isn’t, your results won’t be as effective or impressive as they could be.
There exists a continuum of healthy eating, with very little in the way of an all or nothing scenario.
The further you move in one direction the better or quicker your results will be.
Equally, the more you move in the other direction, the slower your results will manifest or alternatively, the more problems you’ll experience.
Additionally, change is hard. There will undoubtedly be times when you experience cravings for particular foods or find yourself about to make certain decisions out of habit.
But remember, if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
Your main goal when eating healthily is the reduction or elimination of foods that offer little health benefit and are counterproductive to your goals.
It can sometimes help to think of the first 2-4 weeks as ‘a ‘detox’ or ‘rehab’ for your digestive system. The basic goal is to reduce or ideally eliminate most refined carbohydrates. This is because, in addition to improving your blood sugar levels, you’ll typically take in fewer calories, additives, toxins and other harmful chemicals.
The following plan is based on an 8-week period of elimination and reintroduction, but the most important part is the first 4 weeks. As you can see, there are no shortage of foods on the allowed list, so you should never be short of choice.
Day 1 - 14: Eat only from the allowed list, if a food is not on there, then no, you can’t have it. Start on a Saturday. In addition, try and have 2 pieces of fruit a day.
Day 15: Eat anything you want in any quantity for your evening meal, but make sure you have a) a protein and fat-based breakfast first thing in the morning, (something like smoked salmon with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes and baby leaf spinach would work) and b) a protein and 4 vegetable based lunch (for example chicken with courgettes, red peppers, chopped cabbage and sweet potato would be fine). There are a couple of caveats to this though. Firstly, you can't save any food. That means if you order a large Dominoes pizza and only eat half of it, the other half goes in the bin. Secondly, this is for mostly psychological purposes. Nutritionally it doesn't do much for you, but it may help with managing the overhaul of your nutrition if you have something to look forward to that you've done without for a fortnight.
Day 16 - 30: Go back to eating from the allowed lists, but you can include nuts and cheeses not on the "Fat Sources" list in small amounts.
Day 30 - 60: Slowly reintroduce more high fibre, carb dense foods such as Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, pulses/legumes (beans, lentils and grains).
Day 60-90: Slowly reintroduce more refined carb sources such as rice and potatoes and track how these make you feel. If you feel fine and your weight stays stable, enjoy. If they make you feel crappy or your weight starts to go up, limit them appropriately.
- Poultry - Chicken, Turkey, Duck
- Red Meat - Beef, Lamb, Venison
- Protein Powders
- Wild Meats - Crocodile, Kangaroo, Ostrich
- Oils - Olive, Macadamia, Avocado, Coconut
- Cheese - Feta, Parmesan
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Mange Tout
One of the key things to avoid when following this approach is making your food excessively bland, boring or puritanical. Healthy eating is supposed to be enjoyable, so for that reason be liberal with your use of herbs and spices.
In addition, the following dressings/garnish can be used liberally:
Red Wine Vinegar