“Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food is ingredients”
Eating should be enjoyable, simple, make you feel completely satisfied, and ignite your body’s natural fat-burning power.
This page could be a web site in itself so I’ll use the Blog to rant further and try and keep this to specifics. The opening quote, as with many pages, says so much in so few words and is really my philosophy in a nutshell. Or as Tristan Haggard puts it: “My diet is here for me to thrive, to allow my body to function in a way I can enjoy life”
Everyone seems to want a name for a diet or to be on a specific diet or exact plan and if that works for you then great. For me, as I explain in the FAQ page, its more about trying to generally eat right. I eat what would probably best be described as a low (not “no”) carb, high good fat diet (i.e. no flour, no sugar, no bread, no pasta, and no high-fructose corn syrup!).
I do not follow a specific plan and or quantities (as of yet).
I try and practice intermittent fasting as best I can.
The word diet refers to what we habitually eat (and drink) and rather than have the positive lifestyle connotations it should, it is more readily associated with weight loss plans and a temporary abstinence or hardship. If you can wrap your head around that and look for habitual changes that will positively affect your health the idea of diet becomes something quite different to the way you may view it now.
I never approached my diet with any weight loss goals in mind – and even if this is what you are looking for – your insides are more important that your outsides. In other words a primary goal of your diet should be reducing inflammation (you can be skinny on the outside, fat on the inside so to speak). Reducing inflammation reduces your risk of many minor and major diseases and will likely relieve many more minor symptoms or irritations you may have – weight loss naturally follows.
It’s not about getting weight off, it’s about keeping it off
I’ve added a diet FAQ page to help answer any initial questions you may have
What I Eat
I try and eat lots of –
- Quality Olive oil, Coconut Oil and (grass fed) Butter
- Free Range Eggs
- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Malungay, green leaved veg (e.g. Spinach, Kale or Kangkong etc.), Zucchini and Egg Plant
- Organic* Cucumber and Celery
- Quality cheese
- Kimchi – there are lots of different types to try*
- Organic* Salad leaves – Lettuce, Arugula and Young Spinach Leaves
- Organic* Tomatoes
- Quality (grass fed) Beef or Lamb
- Quality (wild) salmon, tuna or other fish, especially small fish like Sardines or Anchovies
- Shell fish – mussels, prawns
- Citrus fruit – lemon or Calamansi
- Coconut milk/cream
- Full whipped cream
- Apple Cider or Balsamic Vinegar
- Macadamia Nuts
- Chia Seeds
- Cocoa (dark chocolate… start with 72% and work your way up)
I try to limit how much I eat –
- Carrots, Green Beans or starchy veg
- “Grass fed” pork or chicken / meat
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potato (love sweet potato chips/fries cooked in coconut oil)
- Ham, sausages, salami and other cold cuts
- Cream cheese
- Fruit (banana, melon, mango etc)
- Good quality natural honey
- Stevia (natural sweetener)
- Greek Yogurt
- Soya or soya products
- Ice Cream 🙂
I try never to eat –
- Anything cooked in or with Canola oil, Seed oil or Vegetable oil*
- Margarine or trans-fats*
- Corn or beans/legumes*
- Sugar (in anything where it can be avoided), fructose, syrup, corn syrup etc. – including things like bottled sauces, mayonnaise and alike*
- The ‘big carbs’ – rice, potato, pasta
- Wheat/Gluten/Grains/Oats – any bread
- Anything that comes in a packet (or heavily processed food, and that includes all cereals) where I don’t understand the ingredients 🙂
- Any fast food (McDonalds, KFC etc.) – ever
*Indicates more information on the FAQ
Making the Change
For me, knowledge has been key to making changes, I ‘categorize’ (in my mind) certain food types the way you would categorize smoking (assuming you are a non-smoker), so I don’t see it as hard not to eat bread or pasta as I view them the same way I do smoking. In other words, from my perspective you will always fight a loosing battle trying to lose weight for the sake of losing weight. If your diet choices are primarily based on knowledge and understanding (beyond the ‘I know junk food is not good for me’) then you will make sensible choices (more often) and weight loss will follow.
What gets measured gets managed: I keep a record of what I eat my journal. I have had several different versions of this. The one which I use now and has worked best is where I note the time I ate and then whether the food falls into the –
- what I should eat lots of column,
- what I should eat less of or
- what I shouldn’t be eating.
It’s broad-stroke, in the sense I do not write down every ingredient. E.g. It will say Salmon and mixed veg. Both fall in the good column. Salmon and sweet potato chips, the salmon goes in the ‘eat lots of’ column and the chips in the ‘I should eat less’ column. Its notes and usually a mess but I can track intermittent fast periods, note alcohol free days and it works from the perspective of ‘what gets measured gets managed’. I only make entries once a day and scribble in snacks as well.
A few things to bear in mind f you change –
- Getting your body fat adapted* takes some time – allow at least a couple of weeks.
- During this period its not unusual to have some drowsiness and lack energy
- Sugar is an addiction and like stopping any addiction may (or will) have its challenges (see the FAQ page for some ideas)
- If you remove, for example, processed carbs from your diet you need to replace it with something (preferably healthy carbs) – so the key is knowing what great nutritional food you will fill yourself with
- Have healthy snacks ready (suggestions on the eating routines page). While its better not to snack if it helps try having cheese, nuts, cold cuts, vegetables and alike ready to snack on.
Reduce Temptation: If you don’t have “junk food” (used in the broadest sense) in your fridge/larder you will be much less tempted and or able to revert to bad habits… so spend an hour to have a ‘clear out’… that’s any carbs, breads, sugar, heavily processed or packaged foods… and start fresh (you can use the accumulated food to donate to charity – Giving)
Taste: Be ready for some changes in taste, your food will generally not be as ‘sweet’, but likewise be ready for a new you
How to Shop
You may have heard this before but ‘generally stick to the outside isles of supermarkets unless you need toilet tissue’ 🙂
If you can support local farm shops, groceries and alike you will put something back into your local community and be more likely to get ‘organic’ food then all the better.
Bulk shop… whatever works in your schedule but if you plan you have far more chance of success.
Reading Food Package Labels: Forget “Nutrition Facts” and or “Low Calorie” (both a waste of space) – look at the ingredients themselves. The quick avoidance plan –
- If sugar (or any variation such as fructose corn syrup) is in there put it back (remember most will not stipulate how much – which usually means lots!)
- Grains, gluten and or wheat are often hidden even where you would not expect to find them… back on the shelf
- You don’t understand the ingredients or it’s clearly got enough additives and preservatives to to have a shelf life beyond your own… back it goes
Be ready… there are very few bottled sauces or packaged foods that will pass the test. In fact look at your basket/trolley when you are done: there will be few if any boxes/packets – you may even turn a few heads.
Look for quality food: Grain fed meats? You are eating grain. Vegetables sprayed with pesticide? Better to try and find organic. Buy quality oils and spend a little on other quality products – its your health and you save in the long run.
How to cook
I have avoided recipe pages as the list of references and resources I provide are awash with them – when you are clear on your ingredients you will find it easy enough to find books or online resources with tons of ideas.
You can bulk prepare most healthy options and some items keep for weeks let alone days. This helps if prep time is an issue.
If you have more time look at –
- Make your own sauces
- Baking using coconut flour and alike
How to eat out
Remember don’t stress. Plan ahead – this may mean eating at home before a meal out or party. While this may seem to defeat the object of going out in the first place to some degree, but if you know the restaurant or party will only serve food you would prefer to avoid then being partially full will alleviate initial temptations and make it easier to eat lightly or select the healthier options. (You can take this a step further and plan a fast for the period). This does not have to be anti-social and is more comfortable once you’ve done it a couple of times.
That said if you are going out and are prepared to be a little flexible its usually not too difficult to ask the kitchen if they will replace the processed carbs on a dish with more vegetables or salad. You can skip sauces or have a slight cheat day if you are in good shape. Ask the restaurant what they cook in and if your food can be cooked in olive oil, butter or coconut oil then all the better.
Buffets: The good news is that you only want the expensive stuff :-). You are going to avoid all the processed carbs, breads and ‘fillers’ which will no doubt be out in abundance. Meanwhile, you can pig out on rare salad items, smoked salmon, good cuts of meat, sashimi and veg.
How to eat while travelling
This really follows your ‘eating out rules’ and again involves prior thought or planning. I usually find it easier to fast as airports (stations and road side stops) tend to be a den of fast food and other rubbish – things you want to avoid and it can actually be a good time to plan a longer fast. I usually stick to coffee and water. If your travels are longer either contemplate what you are prepared to ‘cheat’ on (see FAQ) or take homemade food/snacks along with you.