This is a guide for people who don’t want to spend ridiculous amounts on over-hyped products who want to cut through all the conflicting knowledge out there. This is a no nonsense guide that allows you to make immediate changes which in return create immediate results. During the best of times our busy lifestyles tend to take a more important role to our diets. We come home, perhaps just after the gym (hopefully) and we are too tired to make a nutritious meal, so we tend to grab the closest microwaveable meal, beer, chips or that high sugar drink. Not only do we think that all of the best foods taste awful – which is a common misconception by the way. But we do consider all the best tasting foods to be sweeter and soaked deep fried in trans-fats. This list acts as a guide to help you replace bad foods with the good, we hope that you use this guide to your advantage. This is not a diet and should not be treated as such – we are merely changing and replacing bad habits with the good. We won’t be counting calories, weighing ourselves every day, starving ourselves needlessly or denying ourselves with crucial nutrients to survive. Try these changes for two weeks and see how you feel, if it does not agree with you then slightly tweak what you are consuming. We still maintain that eating a diet strong in fruits and vegetables some of these being superfoods is the best way to go. At Eat Live Life we usually have our cupboards stocked to the brim with these super foods which are more common than ever and even easier to prepare with the use of a blender!
Step 1 – A Key the key to weight loss success.
There’s no secret here, everyone knows this step – it’s simply: Throw out ALL the garbage that is currently in your fridge, freezer, pantry or any other storage area that you may have. Evaluate all the good things from the bad. If it’s in a box, it’s almost certainly impeding your weight loss efforts. Our aim here is to get a good start, even if it’s just baby steps. Once you gain momentum your confidence and your taste buds will change and you will start looking, feeling and living more than you ever have. We want to heal our digestive system and vital organs by cutting short the barrage of processed foods we eat on a daily basis.
Step 2 – Another IMPORTANT Step that you MUST take to Jump-Start your Health.
This is step is pretty much an add-on to the previous step, but I thought I would emphasise this step as it is definitely worthwhile to bring attention to.
Step 2 is: No Sugar, No Gluten, Avoid Soy, Avoid Artificial Sweeteners and MSG, Limit Dairy and Replace your Choice of Salt.
This step is crucial to weight loss and wellness. There have been significant studies in all of the above foods that have been proven to be less and less beneficial by the day. These foods are not high in nutrients and have little or no benefit to nourish, heal and reduce our waistlines. There is little nutritional benefit to consuming sugar, gluten and certain dairy foods. We want to consume foods that are nutrient rich, phytonutrient and micro-nutrient dense. Consuming these foods will heal the damage already done previously, detoxify your system, jump start your organs – heal your gut and help you lose the weight. If this is proving difficult to do, there are a huge variety of natural and safe substitutes to sugar, wheat, and Dairy. See below for excellent replacements:
Replacements for Sugar:
Stevia – this is a personal favourite and definitely one of the best. Stevia comes from the Stevia plant, which is a South American shrub which is 250 times to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia has been used in Japan to sweeten Coca-Cola for over 30 years and have no proven side effects. Stevia is a good alternative for diabetics and people suffering from Hypertension (High Blood Pressure). Have no fear – Stevia is not a sugar, it is a similar compound which tastes sweet. The best benefit of Stevia is that it contains ZERO calories, that’s right ZERO. So this can be added to almost anything without the worries of gaining any weight.
Manuka Honey – Manuka Honey is a great substitute, in our eyes it is the best out of all the different type of honeys due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties this honey contains. Please use this sparingly as it is still honey and you should not be overindulgent.
Xylitol – Another great sugar substitute which is only two thirds of the energy of sugar and is made from berries. Due to Xylitol’s low G.I. (Glycemic Index), means that Xylitol is released into the body gradually throughout the day – exactly the opposite of how regular sugar is processed in the body.
Replacements for Grains/wheat:
Gluten free is all the rage right now, but the bottom line comes down to a rather simple bit of philosophy – if you are sensitive to gluten then exclude gluten containing foods if you aren’t then go about eating them in moderation. Test your body, refrain from eating gluten containing foods for two weeks then re-introduce them back into your diet, your body may or may not react to this – it will give you an excellent indicator. Gluten free products are readily available, however many of these products are far worse then replacing gluten containing foods in the first place and many of them are additionally detrimental for your body. If you are inclined to eat foods made predominantly from wheat there are substitutions. Gluten based foods can be substituted for rice pastas, breads that have been made with gluten free flour which are a mix of 3-4 different gluten free flours – mostly made from almond flour, another great nutrient rich gluten free substitute. If you base your diet around a paleo lifestyle then you may want to skip grains alltogether. Grains have a high glycemic load and are known increase insulin levels in the body, avoid grains if you are looking to lose weight – then re-introduce them back in to your diet and see how your body reacts to this food, if there are no issues feel free to eat grains moderately. Please remember, that foods such as Oats do contain gluten and this is something that you should be aware of.
Avoid all forms of soy is possible. If you have to eat soy fermented forms of soy are fine to eat. Different fermented forms of soy are miso, tempe, and nato. Any form of un-fermented forms of soy is typically what you would want to avoid – such as tofu. 95% of the soy grown domestically is genetically modified. Research has shown that being exposed to GMO foods show that soy promotes infertility. Soy contains goitregens which are an inhibitor of thyroid function and is a contributor to hyperthyroidism. There are large amounts of amounts of estrogens in soy, soy also contains large amounts of phytic acid which typically inhibits nutrient absorption into the body.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners and Avoid MSG.
Artificial sweeteners are a huge red flag these are chemical based sweeteners that are created in labs which have been known to cause a huge range of diseases including cancer. Monosodium Glutamate is another chemical that is added to foods to enhance flavor. MSG also has a detrimental effect on your body and health also a known carcinogen.
Replacements for Dairy:
Almost all ordinary dairy products should be avoided. The only exception for dairy are grass fed butter and yogurt (kefir) from either raw cow’s milk or raw goat’s milk which is derived from organic pastured grass fed cows and goats, these two are exceptions as they contain nutrients that is required for our bodies to function in an optimal state. A good source of yogurt is extremely beneficial due to high levels of probiotics which promote a healthy gut. Avoid milk, cheeses and other forms of dairy that are not either yogurt, kefir or grass fed butter, this is due to their high saturated fat content, low nutrient content and extremely high traces of antibiotics, growth hormones, insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers and puss. The build up of acidity in cows is referred to as mastitis which is caused by inflammation of the mammary gland due to eating a grain diet, not a grass diet which is the natural food for cows. This puss is secreted into the milk and pasteurized, stripping all nutrients from the milk then packaged and served. There have been numerous studies that indicate that dairy does not contribute to the delivery of calcium to the body but in fact leeches calcium from bone structures. This is apparent within a study conducted called the China study, where rural Chinese were compared in terms of nutrition to their counterparts in urban areas. A great documentary that we recommend watching is Forks Over Knives.You can also purchase the book The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.
Replace your Salt:
There is a huge misunderstanding of salt. Salt is a mineral, and therefore as a mineral our body requires it to function at full capacity. Re-evaluate your salt intake and use only high quality salt such as Himalayan pink salt/crystal salt the better form of this salt is stoned ground rather than steel ground. If you do purchase salt please do not purchase iodized salt otherwise known as table salt – these are dangerous and do far more harm than good. Your consumption of Himalayan salt intake should be around 6 grams a day at maximum. Incorporating the right varieties of salt into your diet may have the following benefits:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Contains chloride for neurological function
- Increases metabolism
- Aids in digestion
- Helps adrenal function and hormone release
Eating a standard western diet has had dire consequences on our health. This is mostly on part due to fast food consumption, sugar intake, processed food consumption, toxins from our environment, stress and consuming foods which are devoid of nutrients to name a few. This bombardment has left our bodies working in overtime to repair the damage. Most of the typical foods that we consume are almost indigestible and require the stomach to work harder to breakdown these foods, which may take up to weeks or months to breakdown leaving our stomach, intestines and colon filled with putrefied foods. Toxins are constantly bombarding our system this can be through the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume. These toxins often accumulate in our body over time and are often stored within our organs, and fat cells. Toxins are an important factor that contributes to weight gain. Another factor is processed food consumption, the biggest player to weight gain. These foods do not play a limited role in weight gain they play an ongoing role. For example a diet consisting of hamburgers and fries will make you gain weight, however toxins from these types of foods such as additives, pesticides, hormones, trans-fats, sugars and salts again have been embedded on a cellular level which means these toxins have penetrated cellular membranes throughout your body and have lingering effects on our internal organs. Once these toxins are out of the body, your organs will function at optimal performance and will begin to increase metabolic levels and the efficiency in which nutrients are absorbed and fats, proteins and carbohydrates are broken down and processed. Two methods of detoxification:
- Juice Fasting: Detoxification is a way of expelling toxins from your body. There are many different methods that can be used to detoxify your body. But the most common, safest and easiest way is to go on a juice fast. The juice fast can be as short as 3 days or it can be up to an extended period of time. Joe cross from the documentary “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead,” fasted for 60 days lost just over 38 kilos cured his ailments and regained his energy and lust for life. Juice fasts conducted in the correct manner will have extremely great benefits in detoxifying your body, losing weight, regaining your vitality, and curing disease. Juices are high in nutrient content and have the ability to flush the entire body from harmful toxins. Juice fasts have to be adhered to caloric intake and consumption of the right type foods and nutrient profiles so that your body receives the best spectrum of all essential fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
- Sweating and Exercise: Is a great way of detoxifying your body. Sweat releases many toxins that are stored in the body through the pores of the skin, and exercise is the easiest way to sweat. Using a sauna also allows the body to sweat out toxins – remember to stay extremely hydrated for this method of detox.
Remember, detoxification is not limited to going on juices fasts it can be simply incorporating a clean fresh diet of organic fruits and vegetables sustained over a period of time.
Step 3 – Drink less alcohol and stop smoking
This is a somewhat obvious step that everyone should take notice of. Alcohol is one of the major contributors to weight gain. Alcohol also has detrimental effects on the body when consumed in larger amounts. Please limit yourself to 1 glass of wine a day. Please avoid beer as this contains gluten. Clear spirits such as Vodka are processed easier and can also be consumed once a day. Smoking is one of the worst possible things you could do to your body, I know it’s another obvious one but people should be aware this is a highly important topic and could not be stressed enough.
Step 4 – Incorporating Raw Foods into your diet
Raw foods are the easiest and safest way to consume nutrient dense foods that the body needs to repair itself. The easiest way to consume raw fruits and vegetables is to consume them as they are which is quite easy with fruits, whereas leafy greens can be thrown into a large garden salad. Leafy greens are the most nutrient dense foods in the world and it is great to incorporate some if not most green leafy vegetables in raw form into your diet. Sometimes large amounts of raw vegetables and fruits are quite difficult to eat throughout the day and require time to masticate (chew) and to digest. Juicing and creating smoothies are the easiest ways to inject vital nutrients into your system, with minimal effort and How to use time.
Step 5 – Drink plenty of water
Drink at least 8-9 cups of water per day. You are not limited to the amount of water you drink as athletes and people who are active can consume upwards of 14 glasses per day. When consuming water it helps to be aware that your local water might be contaminated with fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals and water borne bacteria. It is always a great idea to find great water purifiers and filters. At home a filter such as a reverse osmosis system is perfect for filtering drinking water and the water you bathe with. If you cannot afford a higher end filtration system you might want to look at water Ionizers.
Step 6: Eat High Quality Meat and Animal Products
Consuming meat has been part of our existence as human beings. There are many cultures around the globe that consume incredibly high amounts of meat and animal fat and still remain incredibly lean and healthy. On the other hand there have been reoccurring vegetarian cultures in India documented for around 2000 years. The aim here is not to be dogmatic and to follow your body. There simply isn’t a better indicator then your own body. Again, it’s about making the right choices, and eating a diet that is higher in plant foods proves more beneficial, rather than consuming a diet that is solely centered on consuming animal products. High quality animal products have added benefits that a plant only diet cannot accommodate for and one of these is the crucial vitamin B12, although you can take vitamin B12 supplements a naturally occurring source is far better. Another important note is to consuming incredibly high quality animal products ones that are organic and have been grass fed, pastured and organic rather than grain fed from feed lots – this makes the world of difference when choosing animal products. The final key is ratio: the ratio between plant foods has to be greater than animal products, this is something that has to be stressed it is incredibly simple to incorporate, but a lot of people are willing to eat the other way around.
Step 7: Read product labels
Read labels and buy products that are 100% true to quality and have a proven track record with creating safe and nutritious products. There are a number of fake foods out there that can inhibit your weight loss and also have the ability to block nutrition that enters the body hindering your body’s own fat burning abilities. See here for our post on food additives.
Step 8: Avoid all GMO products
This is an important note. Genetically Modified Organisms have become far more common place. GMO foods are modified to resist pesticides and all attacks on crops making them more economically viable through generating a larger harvest. Unfortunately, genetic modification changes the structure of the plants and has been show to be extremely carcinogenic. Most common GMO food stuffs are corn and corn products such as high fructose corn syrup, soy and soy products such as tofu, tomatoes, papaya, GMO rice, potatoes, milk from cows that have been injected with bovine growth hormone and canola oil.
Step 9: Get Exercise
Walking is an extremely beneficial mode of exercise. Walking allows people to be active with little or no impact to joints. While being outside, walking is a great way of absorbing sunlight, fresh air and burning calories. Walking has been shown to boost metabolism the following day after a half an hour walk.
Interval training is the fastest way to speed up the fat burning process in the least amount of time possible. It requires a person exercise in short bursts of high intensity and then to come back to a normal resting heart rate between each short burst of energy. This is repeated over a number of sets.
Weight training and resistance training can greatly benefit your entire body. Building lean muscle increases the rate of body fat that is being burned. More muscle means that the faster fat will be used as energy.
Boxing is another way of generating heart pounding cardiovascular exercise. Boxing is very much like interval training where energy is required for short periods of time.
Yoga is the flexibility and conditioning component. Yoga opens up the way your body functions as one unit. Yoga allows all muscles in the body to be conditioned, strengthened, fortified and keeping the body working in unison. Yoga decreases the risk of injury due to increased flexibility and releases many of the body’s natural hormones – it lowers stress and keeps your mind calm and alert.
Step 10: Sleep
Get lots and lots of sleep. Sleeping allows the body to recover and recharge from day to day activities. Sleeping, especially deep sleep (REM sleep) is essential for the body to rebuild cells and restore brain function. 8-9 hours of sleep is great when you can get it.
Step 11: Breathing and Meditation
Meditation is an underutilised component of generating overall wellness and incorporating meditation to your daily routine will centre your mind, alleviate stress and expands your consciousness. Breathing is a crucial part of meditation and proper oxygenated breathing techniques have shown to be incredibly beneficial. These steps are only the basis of health and wellness, they are successful principles that when adhered to are extremely beneficial to regaining your health and taking charge of your life.
Something to remember:
The word superfood conjures exotic sometimes rare fruits or ingredients that are often expensive. We have listed equivalent foods that are equally as potent yet just as affordable. It’s all about making changes, start small and work your way up.
Try some of the things we have mentioned in this post, if you feel like it’s too overwhelming start with one thing! The first step is the hardest, once your past the first step everything becomes easy.
I hope this has helped you in some way!
Photo credit: Riley Kaminer