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The Superfood Diet…Only Better!*
Posted February 1, 2016
Super food selection for health diet in porcelain bowls over distressed wooden background.
Of all the diets being hyped on the public, the SuperFood Diet is among the best. Though the one’s I have looked at are still very limited in scope.
One of the biggest problem with any “DIET” is the food restrictions. When you limit your food intake to a small variety of foods, you are doing two major things wrong:
- You limit the variety of nutrients you can put into your body.
- You maximize the concentrations of the same toxic elements you put into your body.
Don’t limit the nutrients you consume. We have all been taught since childhood (at least my childhood, I am very concerned about what our children are NOT learning today), that we need to eat foods from all food groups every day. These are: Whole Grains or High Fiber Cereals, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and beans/legumes; milk, yogurt, cheese; fruits, and vegetables. Despite my best efforts, I am sorry to say that chocolate, wine, and beer are not a food group!
I recommend you go beyond the food groups and add focus on the colors within the Food Groups; particularly within the fruit and vegetable groups. Each of the various fruits and vegetables have significantly different nutrients associated with their different colors.
The second problem where Diets go wrong, is that if you constantly eat the same foods, you are ingesting the same toxins. Most of our commercial grown foods come with some toxins in the form of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, industrial cleaner, mercury, waxes, growth hormone, steroids, antibiotics, drug residue, animal and rat droppings, insects and who knows what else.
An additional benefit of eating a variety of foods is that one food item may be able to detoxify the toxic residue of another.
Typically, the high fiber foods have a tendency to detox your body. Without going into biochemical details, which is too time consuming for this forum, considers the effects of your hair shampoo. You have been using a hair shampoo for quite some time and while it gets your hair clean, your hair doesn’t look as good as when you first tried it. You decide to use a new shampoo and like magic, your hair looks great. Unfortunately, after several weeks your hair looks dull again. What you are observing is the residue effect of shampoo. As you use the same shampoo for a period of time, the toxins in the shampoo leave a residue on your hair and you can see it. When you switch shampoos, the new shampoo washes out the old shampoo residue, but the new shampoo will also leave its own residue that will build up. The best thing you can do to maintain healthy hair is to keep switching shampoos.
The foods you consume leave their own residues/toxins behind. When you continuously switch the foods you eat, you do two good things: first, you allow the new food to help “clean” the residue of the old food and second, you give your body more time to allow the natural removal of build-up of residues from the old food items.
This is the concept behind detoxification programs that promise to remove toxic residues in your digestive track. The limitation behind programs like “Colonic Theory” is that the effect mostly targets the intestines, and there are many other places in your body where residues can build-up.
In order to combat both consequences of limited food diets, I am going to provide you with a far larger list of Super Foods. I also want you to expand your thinking to include varieties within a food item. For example, when you see apples on the list, think; there are over 7,000 varieties of apples that come in many colors: yellow, green, red, and many other shades of each. Consider the different colors of grapes, cherries, bell peppers, beans, melons, etc. remember, each color represents different anti-oxidants and phytonutrients held within that food.
The IFPA Super Foods:
Grains: Irish steel cut oats, whole grains, bran, wheat germ, flax seed, quinoa, chia, chia seeds, rye, barley, brown rice, pearl barley
Vegetables: broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, hot peppers, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach radish greens, cabbage (especially: fermented cabbage), artichokes, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, cauliflowers, leeks, lentils, tempeh, miso, ginger, beets, mushrooms, kombucho (fermented mushrooms), spirulina, sprouts, tomatoes, black olives, fermented foods, pumpkin, avocado, potatoes
Fruits: any berry, blueberries, red raspberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, acai berry, noni fruit, dragon fruit, pomegranate, rambutan, kiwi fruit, pears, grape fruit, apricots, cantaloupe, coconut, grapes, lemons, pineapples, limes, apples, watermelon, mangoes, papaya, peaches, banana, orange, plantains
Beans/Legumes: any bean, though males should limit their intake of Soy Beans, Tofu, etc. red beans, white beans, etc. all have slightly different nutrients, but most are high in fiber: (typically 7 grams of fiber per ½ cup), manganese, folate, magnesium, and more; garbanzo beans (chickpeas), lentils. New research in 2016 has advised caution on the intake of soy and all soy products: tofu, etc. watch for IFPA FitBits, subscribe at www.ifpa-fitness.com. Soy may be responsible for high cancer rates in China.
Fish: wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, smelt, anchovies, small-cold water-wild fish, limit or avoid large fish: tuna, shark, swordfish, and grouper, due to mercury toxicity
Eggs-Dairy-Cheese: low-fat, organic, drug and hormone free milk, kefir, hard cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, egg whites (preferably eggs from grass-fed, hormone/drug free eggs), grass-fed goat cheese and feta
Nuts and Seeds: almonds (highest concentration of nutrients/calorie/ounce); one ounce of almonds = 191 calories/3.4grams/fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, but be careful, all nuts are high in calories; walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, brazil nuts, etc. Seeds are also very nutritious, but again, be careful of the high calorie content, pine nut.
Miscellaneous: green tea, any REAL tea, coffee (preferably French pressed), dark chocolate (at least 70% coco: 1oz =150 calories), extra virgin olive oil (preferably from Lebanon, Greece, or Spain), garlic, red wine, wine, turmeric, curry, cayenne, pepper
Nutrition experts concur that the top 30 “slimming” super foods are: grape fruits, black beans, oats, avocado, wild salmon, blueberries, broccoli, brown rice, pears, wine, kidney beans, almonds, green tea, lentils, bananas (slightly green), eggs, dark chocolate (at least 70% coco), orange, potatoes (with the peel), pine nuts, white beans, grass-fed goat cheese or feta, grass fed, low fat milk garbanzo beans (chickpeas), pearl barley, quinoa, plantains, celery, leafy greens, apples
You have a list of 115 Super Foods. When you consider the varieties of each of the 115 foods, you have an opportunity to have a near limitless variety of foods to ensure you get all the nutrients you need to achieve your health, fitness, nutrition and Body Composition goals.
In regards to your Body Composition goals, you must think in terms of your Energy Needs. If you are a couch potato, you will have your greatest energy need the first thing in the morning after sleeping your required 7-8 hours. If you are living right, your greatest energy needs will be post intense exercise and secondarily breakfast. Most of the current research shows that you must remain within about 400 calories of your Energy Balance. If you go above 400 calories of Energy Surplus, you will probably begin to store the excess surplus as fat. If you go below 400 calories of Energy Deficit, you will probably begin to burn calories from the breakdown of your muscle tissue or worse, your internal organs that are comprised of proteins. Therefore, it is essential you plan your caloric intake to match your energy needs. This is the basis for the nutrition plans that require you to eat smaller meals, 6 times/day.
If you wish to gain muscle, you should consume enough calories to fuel your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), plus the calories you need for your physical activity, including your exercise activities, plus an additional 400 calories to be used for the repair of tissues stressed by exercise and for the adaptation you are trying to achieve through your exercise activity: i.e.: building muscle.
If your goal is to lose weight and please, I expect all IFPA Certified Personal Trainers to educate their clients that the goal should never be to lose weight, the goal should always be to lose fat to the point where it achieves your clients’ Body Composition, within the confines of health and safety. You should follow the same calculations as above: BMR + physical activity – 400 calories. This 400 calories deficit will ensure that the body will make-up the deficit by burning your body’s energy stores that you see as fat. Diets that claim to help lose an excess of 2 pounds/week will inevitably cause you to lose lean body tissue: muscle, bone, internal organs, etc., that you can never afford to lose.
There are no such thing as quick weight loss programs that are safe or healthy. Burning fat takes time. Therefore, even if you go to the recommended low side of calorie restricted diet of 1500 calories/day and increase your physical activity, you will only be able to burn a maximum of 2 pounds of fat/week. The fact is, any program that promises more than 2 pounds of fat loss/week is either lying to you or is varying degrees of unhealthy. It is also very unsuccessful long term. All of the research on quick weight loss programs clearly show you will gain all the weight back and add 10-50% more fat than you started with. Why would anyone put themselves through the pain, suffering, and sacrifice of these restrictive diets only to look worse and feel far worse months later? Do it right and live a far longer, healthier, and happier life!
To calculate your BMR, a rough estimate would be to multiply your desired body weight by 11. Never go below 1500 calories/day without medical supervision, and your doctor had better have a darn good reason to prescribe a diet under 1500 calories. I know many doctors are big fans of the Ketogenic Diet, but I AM NOT! Doctors will tell you that Ketones are proof that you are burning fat. Most Nutritionists and Biochemists will tell you Ketones are evidence you are burning proteins, proteins derived from the breakdown of muscle and other lean body tissues: bone, internal organs, etc. a slower, more manageable weight loss enables all your weight loss to come from FAT LOSS, and if you exercise properly by incorporating weight training, you can actually build muscle, while you are losing fat.
For the women that tell you “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to build muscle and look like those women in the Muscle Magazines.” Feel free to tell them that to achieve that look requires decades of extremely intense training and $50,000-$150,000/year of extreme use of Body Building Drugs! Show them pictures of athlete, fitness models who have beautifully fit bodies, but have not done the drugs that masculinize their face and bodies. It is a good idea for your female clients to find pictures of women they wish to emulate, and post them around their home, office, car, etc. as continuous reminders of their goals!
If your goal is fat loss, and you are planning to consume the caloric minimum of 1,500 calories/day, you will need to consume an average of 250 calories/meal. That is why I have prepared the list of 115 IFPA Super Foods. 250 calories is not much, that is 20 ounces of Pepsi (NOT on the list of IFPA Super Foods), a small candy bar (also not on the list) or a handful of nuts (that is on the list). Super Foods provide the highest amount of nutrients for including antioxidants and phytonutrients for the least amount of calories of all foods.
If you consume your calories from the list I provided, you should be able to maintain an excellent nutrient intake for your 1,500 calorie investment.
By consuming smaller meals on a more frequent basis, you accomplished several important goals. Smaller meals enable you to maximize the assimilation of nutrients from each meal though you must have some fat, protein and carbohydrate in each meal to optimize assimilation of nutrients. 6 smaller meals/day enable you to maintain both energy balance and blood glucose levels. Blood glucose level maintenance is critical to avoiding feelings of hunger, deprivation and lethargy. If your blood glucose levels remain in the normal level, you will not feel hunger. Hunger only begins when blood glucose levels drop. The high fiber foods recommended in the IFPA Super Foods List also helps to moderate blood glucose levels. The 6 meals/day also allow you to select a far greater variety of foods.
Another problem with restrictive diets is that the limited food items soon cause a tedious boredom in food consumption. Most of us love a variety of foods and get beyond bored eating the same things over and over again. The variety of food items on the IFPA Super Food List will also help you keep your clients on track and provide you a far higher degree of success at achieving your clients’ goals.
If you work out first thing in the morning, you should not consume a meal prior to working out. Consuming coffee prior to your workout will help you. Consuming a protein shake and specific supplements such as BCAAs, Green Tea, Extract, Creatine, Glutamic, etc., 30-45 mins prior to working out will probably help you and the protein shake will count as meal 1. You would then consume a meal immediately following your exercise activity and then the rest of your meals every 2 ½-3 hours and plan on having your last meal/snack approximately 3 hours prior to sleep.
For you to get the optimal benefit from my recommendations, you need to plan; “Those who fail to plan…Plan To Fail!”
Schedule when you will wake-up, drink your coffee, workout(s), eat each of your 6 daily meals and drink your green tea, tea, water (plan on drinking enough to keep your urine clear) consider putting a slice of lemon or lime in your drinks. Also consider drinking hot water with your lemon/lime.
You will need bigger meals when your energy levels are low: breakfast/post workouts.
You need to count the calories of everything that goes in your mouth. The items with little or no calories: coffee, tea, water, grape fruit, celery do not require caloric counting but should still be logged in your food diary.
You also need to track how many calories you expend each day, BMR + Physical Activities. There are many caloric counting guides available. There are comprehensive charts in the IFPA Book on Sports Nutrition available on the IFPA website: www.ifpa-fitness.com. It comes with the IFPA Sports Nutrition Certification Course or you could purchase the book separately.
If you would like more detail on how to build comprehensive meal plans based on the energy balance concepts provided here, I recommend the IFPA Advanced Sports Nutrition Certification Course.
You have the power to build a road map to success to achieve any and all Body Composition goals. Likewise, you have the power to build a far healthier, happier, and longer life. It is important to remember that Rome was not built in a day and the body you want will probably take longer than a few days. It is also important to remember that virtually everything that has value is worth your time, effort, and energy. Regardless of how many mistakes you make with your lifestyle that has led to the body you have, your time, effort, and energy can transform where you are now into a work of art. It is truly up to you.
“The Journey of a thousand miles, begins with but a single step.”
Start now! A year from today you will be joyful that you did!
Article courtesy of Dr Bell, IFPA President and CEO.