Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A New Year Diet

It's that time of year, everyone is thinking about losing a few pounds, it's America's favorite pastime.  Many people have mentioned it to me over the last couple weeks, they want advise, they want help. "What really works?" "How do you stay slim?" "What exercises should I do?"


In my opinion, it's not the exercises that will sculpt your body, it's the food you fuel it with.


Don't walk away thinking that weight training isn't important, it is, I wouldn't look the way I look if I didn't lift heavy weights on a regular basis. But you can lift heavy weights all your life and if you eat like crap, you will look like crap, simple as that.


Oh I have seen some young males who can get away with eating all sorts of fast food and still have beautiful hard bodies, but they should at their age, they are in the prime of life with testosterone surging through their bodies. Testosterone is natures way of making muscle and males have about 10 times more than females do.


So to get the body you want, the body we all want, you need to take a look at your diet.  Unless you are competing, you really don't have to weigh or measure everything, but you can if you are OCD or just plain bad at eyeballing portions.


Stick to the foods that have proven to be successful: lean protein sources, good fats and complex carbohydrates.


I was asked just Saturday, where to start? The obvious first choices are eliminate garbage like chips (they are evil), alcohol, candy, crackers, all packaged snack type foods.  


Then make the right healthy choices. 


Protein: This is the most important, after all the word protein comes from the from Greek prōtos, first.


Be sure it is a lean protein source which can be any number of things: skinless turkey breast, skinless chicken breast, fish, shellfish, beef, buffalo, canned tuna, eggs (or egg whites). Sure, you can eat some pork on occasion. Stay away from sausages though- bad joo joo!


Then, your carbohydrate, the "starch": whether it is potato, oatmeal, brown rice, other whole grains; CUT IT IN HALF. That's right, whatever you would normally put on your plate, take half away and leave it like that.


Now, vegetables: DOUBLE the amount you would normally have. Yes indeed, and no butter or oil please. And if it is salad, don't put on salad dressing, that bottled stuff is typically chock full of calories. Of course, you can go in search of a nice low cal dressing, just be sure to check out the serving size and stick to it. Your best bet is to make your own with a very small amount of olive oil (good fat) and vinegar or lemon. 


Get used to eating and enjoying vegetables, they are your friend. Take a look at the picture at the top of the page, these are the vegetables I made on Monday for the next couple days. Some are plain, some are not. 


Clockwise, starting at the front with the red vegetable: Radicchio, a bitter green like a small red lettuce. I cut this up in thick pieces and tossed it with a fat free vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, grainy mustard, truvia, pepper); then I roasted it in the oven for about 15 minutes.


Sauteed mixed peppers with some olive oil; curry cauliflower and carrots (I will explain below); Soo Foo (my very small container of a mixed whole grain); steamed broccoli, eggplant that has been roasted in the oven, and in the center, sauteed mushrooms.


Over the course of the next three days I will eat all that, and I will get a delivery of more and cook yet more produce.


The cauliflower is great! I will combine it with chicken and mushrooms, or maybe peppers, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.


To make the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 400 (hot oven); cut the cauliflower into small florets, place in a baking pan or large dish so they will be in one layer. Sprinkle over a very small amount of olive oil, toss well. Sprinkle a small amount of kosher salt and a generous amount of curry powder, toss well. Spread evenly over the baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake 10 minutes to steam, then remove the foil and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until some start to lightly brown, toss and serve warm or room temperature.


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