The first food we looked at was protein, which is used for building muscle and bone. Quality sources of protein include lean cuts of meat, poultry, and fish; and low fat dairy products like eggs, milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. Other good sources are nuts, peanut butter, and some types of hard beans. Other foods might contain some protein, but typically not enough to be counted as a main source.
Most people don’t eat enough protein in their diet, especially once they start an exercise program. Even if you try to get some in every meal and snack, you still might be too low on protein. If that’s the case, a quality protein shake supplement will help you get what you need.
Next, we looked at the most abused and misunderstood food group—carbohydrates. There are really three things to know about these—outside of the obvious need to knock out most, if not all of the highly refined, processed junk foods.
First, not all carbs are bad. In fact, most of them are fine for you—if you eat them in moderation. We need carbs for fuel, for both quick and long lasting energy, particularly when we’re exercising.
Fruits are made mostly of water, fiber and fructose, a simple sugar, which can be broken down very rapidly and used to get you going. There are lots to choose from, but most people don’t eat nearly enough fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, grapefruits, grapes, pears, kiwi and so on. As a result, they’re also missing out on a great source of critical vitamins and minerals.
Because they’re very low in calories and high in water and fiber, most people can eat as much fruit as they want, unless they’re diabetic. If you have that medical condition, you’ll need to be more careful with fruits and other carbs because of the effect they have on your insulin level, so consult your physician.
The second kind of good carbs are called complex carbohydrates because they have a more complicated chemical structure which takes longer to be broken down by the body. That makes them an ideal source of long lasting energy.
Good sources of complex carbs include whole grain breads and cereals; oats and oatmeal; long grain wild rice, barley, and whole grain pastas. Other sources include potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and some hard beans.
If you’re diabetic, you’ll need to be extremely careful with complex carbs because of the huge effect they have on insulin levels. Most everyone else will do well by getting one serving at each meal. That will give you the long lasting fuel you need, and also some good vitamins and minerals.
For most people, half a potato or sweet potato will be more than enough to meet your needs. You can also limit your bread to sandwiches made from just one slice of quality whole grain bread, instead of two. Go with thin crust pizza’s (without the cheese filling), and thin flat wraps when available.
Vegetables are the third type of good carbs. Extremely high in vitamins and minerals, vegetables are fibrous carbs (extremely high in fiber) and so are more difficult to digest. Since much of the food is passed through as roughage, not all the food is absorbed by the body, which makes vegetables extremely low in calories. It’s very hard to over eat vegetables but most people tend to skip this critical part of a healthy food regimen.
The best way to deal with fats is to construct a food plan that takes them into account naturally. In fact, we’ve probably run into them in other areas, like eating low fat dairy products, nuts, and fish. We can avoid foods higher in fat by eating more poultry, and eating only lean cuts of meat and even then, smaller portions.
If we’re doing all those things, we’re probably getting all the fats we need, but experts recommend we take a supplement to be sure. In the past few years, most people have become aware of the need to take Omega 3 (fish oil), but recently more attention has been paid to the need to include Omega 6 and 9. So that’s what I look for: a supplement that contains all three: Omega 3, 6, and 9.
So there you have it. It’s pretty simple really. We just need to take the basics and run with them. If you do that and also eliminate most of the junk, it’s hard to go wrong. Next week I’ll show you some of the sample meals that I’ve seen people use to get great results.
This week’s Biggest Loser was Carla Duke, who lost 2.5% of her body weight and 3.8 lbs. This brought her total weight loss for the three weeks up to 9.8 lbs. Second place went to Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 2.0% and another 5.2 lbs, bringing his total weight loss up to an amazing 20.0 lbs! Vince Porter was third, losing 1.7% and 4.4 lbs, and 10.8 lbs for the three weeks.
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