The three phase weight loss plan
Now that you understand how you have arrived at your current state of health, you can take the necessary steps to improve your life by detoxifying your body and restoring it with proper nutrition, and in the process find your ideal body weight. I know good health should always be the motivation for how we live our lives, but let’s face it—many of us really decide to get on top of our health only when we don’t like the way we look. It’s shallow, and I am just as guilty when it comes to vanity, but I’ve now embraced good health and quality of life as key goals.
It used to be easier, and when I think back on my past, during the periods when I was slim and looking good, I realize I used to eat and drink anything and everything, no matter its health consequences. I paid a big price. I would freely eat pasta with cream sauce, drink as much wine as I wanted, and the desserts—oh, my sweet tooth! It wasn’t until I gained some weight that I really cared about what I was eating. Of course, cancer changed all of that for me. It made me recommit to my health in a way that would keep me on course for life.
In this post, we take all the general steps you’ve learned to date on the website and apply them in the fat burn three-phase action plan:
- DETOX PHASE: Days 1 to 30
- LEVEL 1—WEIGHT LOSS PHASE: Days 31 through reaching your goal weight
- LEVEL 2—LIFESTYLE PHASE: Maintaining your weight and health for the rest of your life
All readers should start with the Detox Phase. In the Detox Phase, you will clean out your pantry and fridge. In addition, I ask you to stay within fairly strict guidelines for your daily meals. What you will love about this phase is that you will see results quickly! But it’s not just fat you are losing—you are eliminating toxins stored within the fat, with the goal of a clean, healthy system that is working at its peak.
After the Detox Phase, you start the Weight Loss Phase. During this time you will eat within the outlined nutrition guidelines, which comprise a variety of proteins, healthy fats, whole-grain carbohydrates, lots of fresh vegetables, and fruit. You will continue to avoid sugar, chemicals, processed foods, and alcohol.
Once you reach your goal weight, you will live the Level 2—Lifestyle Phase, a simple plan to maintain your weight and good health forever. When you find your ideal weight and your body is detoxed from the chemical onslaught, you’ll learn here how to make everyday choices to continue this lifestyle for the long, healthy road ahead of you.
This goal is within your reach. This new body is yours for the taking. This level of optimum health is achievable! Let’s get started.
GETTING Weight loss
Those of you who are familiar with my Somersize program will recognize the basic tenets of the Weight loss nutrition plan. As always, I upgrade and improve my philosophies based upon the new knowledge I gain from the experts I am fortunate to have constantly feeding me information.
Many of the millions who have used my weight loss plan understand that to truly change your lifestyle, you must eliminate processed foods and retrain yourself to eat the foods you find at the perimeter of the grocery store—fresh produce, healthy fats, clean protein, and whole grains. If you adopt this notion, you will see most of the other questions you have will answer themselves. That being said, I am barraged with questions like this: “I have a bottle of salad dressing that contains guar gum, sucralose, and modified food starch … is that okay to eat?” In most cases, if you ask, you already know the answer. While some of these products may technically comply with the guidelines of my weight loss program, you are always better off avoiding packaged, bottled, or processed foods with preservatives, chemicals, and fillers. The Weight loss plan embraces this commitment to clean, real food at a new level. I have always recommended eating real food, but the damaging effects of the alternatives are now clearer than ever to me.
Weight loss: THE BASICS
- Eliminate Insulin Triggers (foods that raise insulin levels: sugar, refined grains, starchy vegetables, and alcohol) and bad fats (such as trans fats).
- Commit to clean, real organic food. Eliminate chemicals, toxins, fillers, and preservatives. Eat organic whenever possible.
- Combine Proteins with Healthy Fats and Vegetables. Eat from the Weight loss list of Proteins and Healthy Fats, in combination with Vegetables (low-starch).
- Watch those Carbohydrates. Eat approved, nutrient-rich Carbohydrates, in specific portion sizes, at select meals.
- Eat Fruit on an empty stomach, to maximize digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Eat three meals per day. To increase metabolism, you must not skip meals.
- Hydrate. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
- Wait two hours between meals or snacks if switching from a Carbohydrate to a Protein/Healthy Fats meal or vice versa.
Eliminate Insulin Triggers
To succeed in detoxifying your system, you need to start by cleaning out the fridge and the pantry. The first foods you need to eliminate are the ones that trigger a large insulin response; these are foods that are high in sugar or starch. This knocks out obvious foods, like cakes, cookies, candy, pies, muffins, and pasta or bread made with white flour, and it also includes foods with hidden sugars, like carrots, corn, potatoes, and bananas. Why is this essential to losing weight? When you eat sugars or high-starch foods, your blood sugar rises. It is then the job of the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone responsible for balancing blood sugar. When we are young and everything is working optimally, we eat sugar, then insulin is released to balance the blood sugar, and the sugar is burned off as fuel. As we age, problems arise when our systems can no longer process the amount of sugar or starches we are regularly ingesting.
Let’s recap what we learned about insulin earlier. The reason insulin is called the fat-storing hormone is that it is solely responsible for deciding if the sugar you eat is needed for energy or if it should be stored as fat for later use. If you don’t need energy, the insulin will place that sugar into your fat cells, particularly those around the midsection. If you are thick through the middle, it’s probably because you are ingesting too many sugars and starches.
Since insulin is such an important factor in deciding if food is burned off as fuel or stored as fat, a major part of the plan is controlling our insulin levels. What happens when you eliminate Insulin Triggers (sugars and starches) from your diet? When your body needs an energy source, it first looks to the food you eat. If there are no quick forms of energy, such as sugar and white flour, your body will need to look for the next available supply of energy—your stored fat! Your body will then rely upon burning off your stored fat to fuel itself with energy. And unlike the ups and downs in energy you get from eating sugar and processed foods, your fat reserves supply a steady source of slow-burning energy. This is how we supercharge your metabolism and transform you from a carb-burning machine into a fat-burning one.
Insulin Triggers are those foods that have the most detrimental effect on blood sugar levels, and are easily determined by looking at the food’s glycemic index.For example, beer ranks higher on the list than pure sugar—meaning it is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar and a subsequent spike in insulin. Now it should be pretty clear why those who drink too much beer end up with a beer belly! Other foods high on the list include sugar, white flour, honey, carrots, potatoes, and bananas.
The Food Reference Guide contains a list of Insulin Triggers to eliminate. The big ones are sugars (sugar, corn syrup, honey, etc.), white flour (white bread, white pasta), white rice, high-starch vegetables (potatoes, corn), high-starch fruit (bananas), and alcohol. (Sorry! I know you love that white wine. Me too. Sigh!) For the Detox Phase, you will avoid these foods completely. No worries—we have all-natural sweeteners to replace sugar, and you will learn to love whole grains in place of the white-flour breads and pastas. During the Level 1—Weight Loss Phase, I have substitutes for these foods that will make you feel like you are cheating, but you will continue eating low-glycemic-index foods to release all that stored energy in your fat cells. Once all the stored sugar is cleaned out of your cells and you have reached your ideal body weight, you will enter Level 2—Lifestyle Phase. This is how you will live healthfully for the remainder of your days—even while you splurge on select special occasions.
DIABETES, A ONE-TWO PUNCH
Diabetes is a huge problem in this country, with tens of millions of sufferers (and millions more who have no idea they have it). Many people are confused by this condition and what the difference is between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It’s important to understand the causes of each, so you can take the best, appropriate steps for safeguarding your health.
Type 1 diabetes is a genetically preconditioned disease, usually considered autoimmune in origin, where a person does not make enough insulin; when that person eats sugar, this lack of insulin response does not allow the cells to absorb that sugar. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that develops over time due to poor eating habits. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but in the past few decades so many children have developed it, they had to alter the name. This increase is due to the shocking decline of nutrition in our diets that has led to rampant obesity and the health-related diseases that come with it. Sadly, this condition continues plaguing the citizens of our country at younger and younger ages.
Type 2 diabetes starts with insulin resistance. Normally, if we eat sugar or carbs and don’t need them for immediate energy, insulin signals the cells to store glucose for future use. But with insulin resistance, the cells don’t respond normally to insulin and glucose can’t enter the cells as easily. Blood glucose levels remain high, and the pancreas keeps producing insulin in a continuing effort to store the sugar. When insulin resistance is very high, there is plenty of insulin available, but it can’t do its job of moving blood sugar into cells, so both the insulin and the blood sugar are high. This stage is called type 2 diabetes. In time, this process wears out the pancreas and insulin production slows or even stops. If insulin production stops, this is also called type 1 diabetes—as there is no insulin—but it comes from exhaustion of the cells which make insulin, not from an autoimmune process.
Insulin resistance is the true enemy when it comes to numerous health problems, including high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, poor cholesterol levels, chronic inflammation, increased risk of heart disease, and some forms of cancer. Numerous studies document the correlation of high insulin levels with these diseases, yet many people are still more worried about eating a steak or a dollop of sour cream than they are with eating chemically processed, sugary foods that send your insulin levels soaring. Fat is not the enemy! Sugar, starches, and the other insulin triggers are the foods you should be most concerned about limiting.
Now you understand why it is vitally important to eliminate Insulin Triggers to improve your health and keep your metabolism burning on high. Take a look at every food in your house; carefully check the ingredient lists. If it contains any form of sugar, white flour, or any of the foods on the Insulin Triggers list , it needs to be removed from your diet. Rid your pantry and your refrigerator of these foods, including sodas, candy, crackers, white pasta, white bread, poor-quality protein bars, chips, and more.
Don’t worry—you will look and feel sooooo good, it will all be worth it. The Weight loss plan will teach you the habits we all should have been raised with to enjoy good nutrition for life. Use this opportunity to create a new lifestyle that creates radiantly good health for you and your family. You may not have had the information before … but now, no more excuses! Take this chance to change your life.
Eliminate Unhealthy Fats
In addition to high-glycemic-index foods, we will eliminate unhealthy fats. As I have mentioned, the worst offenders are trans fats. Trans fats come mostly from partially hydrogenated oil, which changes the structure of the oil to make it solid and make products that contain it more shelf-stable. Trans fats are the worst type of fat. All those products that claim to taste like butter but are not actually butter—trash them and get the real thing.
I have commented at length about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids. The best oils to include in your diet are olive, perilla, flaxseed, and fish oils. In addition to trans fats, eliminate corn, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, sunflower, and vegetable oils.
Commit to Clean, Real, Organic Food
You know how I feel about this. Now it is your turn to make a commitment to selecting the highest-quality food you can find. I know how expensive it is to eat this way. Do what you can, and where you do not have access or cannot afford these products, use the tricks outlined in the previous posts to avoid the worst offenders.
And by all means, make some noise! Demand more organic products at your store. If we demand more organic foods, the prices will eventually come down. We must start somewhere. Demand information on the protein sources you purchase—are meats grass-fed? Remember, we do not want corn-fed protein! Ask about your fish—is it farmed? Insist on wild-caught selections. Fruits and vegetables—find nearby farmer’s markets, or plant some seeds in the backyard or in a pot garden and grow a few of your own fruits and vegetables. Yes, it’s an effort; it’s also your life.
Sprays, pesticides, poor-quality protein sources, chemical fillers, preservatives, genetically modified foods, and artificial sweeteners all add to our toxic burden. Weight loss will help you release that toxic burden so you can finally lose the weight and get healthy. Once you get your system cleaned out, do your best to avoid those foods and conditions that created this unhealthy environment in the first place.
You will find a complete list of toxins to eliminate in the Food Reference Guide. Some get overwhelmed by the list and put on blinders. Every choice you make to ingest one less chemical is a step in the right direction. Do what you can! Again, you want to do your best here, knowing none of us can possibly eliminate all the toxins we come across each day.
Combine Protein, Healthy Fats, and Vegetables
In the Food Reference Guide, you will see I have clearly divided real, healthy, nutritious foods into the following categories: Protein, Healthy Fats, Carbohydrates, Vegetables, and Fruits. These are the foods that nurture our bodies. This is the real food our bodies need to thrive. This is the food that will turn off the overactive hunger signal because the body will have the fuel it needs to work optimally.
At breakfast you may choose to have Carbohydrates or Protein, but at lunch and dinner, you will always start with Protein, then add Healthy Fats, plus lots of fresh low-starch Vegetables. This combination of foods fuels your metabolism. Putting it into action simply means you will start with any of the foods on the Protein list, then add any of the foods on the Healthy Fats list, plus any of the foods on the Vegetables list. For example, start with chicken, cooked in olive oil, and served with broccoli; this type of simple combination of Protein, Healthy Fats, and Vegetables will become the mainstay of your meals. You will learn how to add Carbohydrates along the way, but the foundation is the Protein/Fat/Vegetable combo.
Protein provides essential amino acids; the building blocks needed for most every human function from thinking to walking to breathing. Humans need about 9 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. (For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you’d need to consume about 72 grams of protein each day.) I suggest a 6- to 8-ounce serving of protein at each meal. This means that a piece of chicken, meat, or fish about the size of the palm of your hand is what you are aiming for. One of these servings will net you anywhere between 36 and 48 grams of protein, dependent on the source. This will help fill you up and make you feel satisfied. Protein sources include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, and more.
Next, add some Healthy Fats. I use olive oil at most meals. I use it to marinate and cook my protein. I sauté my vegetables in it. I drizzle it on my salads. For certain meals, I will use coconut oil, or when I want a neutral taste, grapeseed oil. I also use butter and full-fat dairy products like sour cream. I eat Healthy Fats freely, but I don’t go crazy eating sticks of butter just because I can. Fortunately, your body will not allow you to overeat these foods. Unlike with refined carbohydrates—where you can eat bag after bag of chips, crackers, and cookies—eating fats sends a signal to your body that you are satiated.
The Vegetables in the plan are all low-starch vegetables to supercharge your day with antioxidants and fiber. Broccoli, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, fennel, lettuce, celery, and so many more choices will fill your meals. While there is no limit to how many servings of these vegetables you include, you must include at least six servings of vegetables each day. I know it sounds like a lot, but a serving is 1 cup of raw vegetables or greens, or ½ cup cooked. That’s really not that much. If you have a big salad for lunch, that’s probably four servings right there. Then you have a cup of cooked green beans for dinner and you are there. I eat more than six servings per day, but this is the minimum to make sure you are getting enough natural fiber and antioxidants.
This is a shift from my Somersize guidelines. The reason I am adjusting the program is that I don’t want you filling up on proteins and fats with no vegetables. Again, I am retraining you to eat real food, well balanced and in reasonable portions. I found that with Somersize, some people understood the balance of the program and adopted a lifestyle of healthy foods, but others would just eat bacon cheeseburgers and never include a vegetable. While you can lose weight eating only proteins and fats, you must include vegetables for both the essential nutrients and the antioxidant benefits. On the other hand, if you are used to filling up on starches, eating your fill of vegetables will also be a shift for you!
Once the low-carb movement hit, suddenly we shifted from counting fat grams to obsessively counting every carb in sight! I have never believed in eliminating carbohydrates—it’s just that some are much better for you than others. As mentioned, the Weight loss plan asks you to eliminate Insulin Triggers (it’s all about those hormones), but some of these foods will be brought back, in moderation, as you progress with the phases of the program.
In the Detox Phase (days 1 to 30) we will eliminate all Insulin Triggers (sugar, white flour, potatoes, corn, alcohol, etc.), but we will include moderate amounts of approved Carbohydrates (whole-grain bread, brown rice, beans, nuts, whole-wheat pasta, nonfat dairy products). Once we reach Level 1 we slightly increase the approved Carbohydrates with our meals. For Level 2, you will learn to handle a few of those Insulin Triggers every now and then and see the return of the potato.
The key in adding these approved Carbohydrates is eating them at the right time and in the right quantity. We are a nation that overeats carbohydrates—especially refined carbohydrates. Now you get to eat carbohydrates, but only the good ones.
Up to three servings Carbohydrates per day
While in the Detox Phase, you will eat up to three servings of Carbs, but you cannot combine them with any fats. You may choose to have all of these servings at breakfast in a Carbohydrate-only meal, or you may have one as a midmorning snack and one as a midafternoon snack.
WEIGHT LOSS PHASE
Up to four servings Carbohydrates per day
In Level 1, you may have up to four total servings; again, you may eat them alone at breakfast or as a snack, or you may add one serving to a meal with Protein, Healthy Fats, and Vegetables.When you are adding a serving of Carbohydrate to a Protein/Fat/Vegetable meal, it’s important that you don’t go crazy on the Fats for that meal. This gives you a little more freedom.
Carbohydrates at your discretion
During Level 2, you will have even more access to good carbs, now that your cells are cleaned out.
NOTE: If you are gluten intolerant, obviously you will have fewer choices on this list, but you still follow the guidelines, using beans, wild rice, quinoa, and other gluten-free carbohydrates. If you’re a little confused, don’t worry. This will be clearly laid out for you in the sample meal plans.
For you Somersizers—I realize this is all new information. The purpose for this shift, again, is to condition you to eat properly balanced meals, in proportions that accelerate weight loss and support your body nutritionally. While these approved carbohydrates will produce a small insulin response, I have found adding this small amount of low-glycemic carbohydrates supports serotonin production (one of our feel-good hormones) and helps us to feel satiated. In the past, I recommended you get your carbohydrates from low-starch vegetables, but as I said, people were opting out of eating vegetables at all. Now, as you can see, I’ve insisted on including vegetables, and I’m giving you the option to include a small portion of approved carbohydrates with meals or snacks.
Your weight loss patterns will help you determine the amount of carbohydrates you include in your daily meal plan. If you are not losing steadily, you may need to back off on the carbs. If you are losing steadily, stay within the serving amounts recommended. Each of us has a different metabolism, and you need to customize the plan to work for you.
Fruit contains natural sugar, but it still causes a rise in your blood sugar and a release of insulin. Unlike refined sugars, however, fruit also contains a good source of fiber, which slows the effect of sugar in your bloodstream. Plus it’s loaded with nutrition—all those fabulous antioxidants! While some low-carb programs recommend eliminating fruit, there are too many health benefits to be that extreme. Instead, the Weight lossplan guides you to eat fruit in a way that maximizes your digestion and allows you to reap the benefits of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients clinically proven to reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Plus, fruit is nature’s most amazing sweet!
It’s always better to eat whole fruit than to drink fruit juice. The whole fruit provides much more fiber, and remember, that slows the absorption of blood sugar into your body. Fruit juice is very high in natural sugar—especially juices that contain fruit juice concentrate as sweeteners. Similarly, dried fruit is very high in natural sugar. Therefore, it’s best to eat whole fresh fruit to avoid those intense surges of insulin and to get all of nature’s benefits. Frozen fruit is a great asset in making fruit smoothies, for an icy treat. This is the only place where I will sometimes add a little fruit juice—to make my morning smoothie.
Alan provides a good example to understanding how much natural sugar is found in fruit. He has a serious addiction to fresh fruit. He craves it. Now that I understand his gluten sensitivity, it all makes sense. Because he was fighting a serious allergy to gluten, his body was not absorbing nutrition. This is what made him feel so tired; his body was craving sugar as a means for survival. Whereas with my granddaughter the food intolerance fueled a craving for sugar, with Alan this fueled his craving for fruit. While fruit is certainly a better choice than candy or refined sugar, Alan was eating fifteen to twenty pieces of fruit a day. He thought this was great for his health, but when he had his blood work done, he was actually prediabetic … all from eating fresh fruit! This just goes to show you, sugar is sugar. Now that he is off gluten and properly absorbing nutrition, his fruit cravings have subsided and his blood sugar levels are back in check, plus he feels so much better—no bloating, fatigue, or constipation.
To maximize nutrition, digestion, and weight loss, fruit should be eaten on an empty stomach and not combined with any other foods. When we have a substantial release of insulin, we want to make sure that food will be burned off rather than stored as fat. If we have a big breakfast of fruit, eggs, butter, and sausage, the proteins and fats do not cause any rise in blood sugar, but the insulin release spurred by the fruit may lead to the rest of the meal being stored as fat. So if you want Fruit and Protein for breakfast, you would eat your Fruit first, then wait an hour before you have Proteins and Healthy Fats. Again, it will become very clear how to do this when you see the Weekly Menus to come; you’ll understand the flow of this process.
Here are the guidelines for eating Fruit:
- Eat Fruit alone, on an empty stomach.
- Eat Fruit alone, one hour before a Protein/Healthy Fats/Vegetable meal.
- For breakfast, eat Fruit alone, then wait at least twenty minutes before Carbohydrates.
- Eat Fruit alone, as a snack at midmorning, or late afternoon.
- As a snack or for dessert, eat Fruit two hours after a meal.
- Fruit is not recommended after dinner, with the occasional exception of berries.
Eat Three Meals a Day
A significant aspect of this program is that we lose weight by eating. Food fuels your metabolism. The shift is that you will be eating nutritious food, rather than the processed, packaged, dead foods found in bags and boxes at the grocery store or in the diet section. For this reason, you can’t skip meals. You have to eat. (Isn’t that nice?) When you skip meals, you force your body to live off your fat reserves. While this seems like a good idea in the short run, if your body is not receiving nutrition on a steady basis, it will become trained to store your food as fat, rather than burning it off as fuel. This is the body’s natural survival instinct. Low-calorie diets will cause initial weight loss, but then the body will shift into survival mode and hold on to that next meal for fear you will not feed it again soon.
The dark, intense color of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries is a key to the nutrition locked inside; the more intense the color, the higher the antioxidants. Berries are also very high in fiber. By now you are an expert in knowing that fiber reduces the effect of insulin. For this amazing reason, berries get a bit of an exception from the rest of fruits. While you are in the Weight Loss Phase, it’s okay, on occasion, to add berries after a meal. This really helps when you are at dinner and everyone is ordering dessert. Get yourself a nice bowl of fresh berries. It’s still best if you can wait two hours after your last meal, but this is a place where I teach you how to create only slight imbalances. I would much rather you have a little bit of insulin from berries than completely blow it by ordering a cupcake loaded with sugar and white flour. And I feel great knowing you are building your immune system with all those amazing phytonutrients. Berries can be quite expensive, but at some mass retailers, like Costco, you can find large containers for the same price you might pay for one little container at the grocery store. This allows for fresh berries more often! A luxury, and it’s a little easier on the wallet.
On the Weight loss plan, we feed the body at least three times a day, plus snacks as needed. The key is clean, real food, filled with nutrition. This actually increases your metabolism. Plus, once you are giving your body the nutrition it craves, you will require less food to feel satisfied. Some people eat small meals every couple of hours, while others stick to three meals. You have freedom with this program, but you must feed the body, without overeating, in order to get results!
While experts may have varying opinions on many aspects of health, one issue where we generally find consensus is on keeping the body hydrated with water each day. Why is water so important to our bodies? Water assists in all aspects of the functioning of the human body. All living things must have water to survive. People can’t live for more than a few days without water. Water is the main ingredient in the fluids of the body’s systems. Fluids travel through your body, carrying nutrients and waste to and from all your cells and organs. Water also keeps your joints lubricated.
When your body generates a lot of heat, water comes up through your skin as perspiration, and it evaporates into the air. This process cools down your skin, which cools down your blood, which cools down the whole body. That’s why water is especially important when you are exercising or when the weather is hot. Give your body the water it needs! Our bodies lose two to three quarts of water every day and we must replace it. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. If your mouth gets dry and you feel thirsty, you are already experiencing the first sign of dehydration.
Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. You may need less water if you eat foods that have a lot of water in them, like fruits, vegetables, and soups. Other liquids count toward your water intake. Sodas contain water but are filled with chemicals, sugar, and empty calories, so they are not part of the Weight loss plan. Chemicals are not sexy. And sugar causes weight gain … definitely not sexy!
Water is also essential in the digestive process. Starting in the mouth, saliva is made mostly of water, and it helps break down food in the mouth. Then your digestive juices are made mostly of gastric acids and water to keep things moving properly. Here’s another tip to maximize your digestion; try not to drink too much water with your meals, since it can dilute your digestive juices. Your stomach acids are strongest right before you begin a new meal. These acids break down the food and pass it from the stomach into the intestines. If those acids are diluted, you have less power to process the food. Best to drink your water between meals, or eat at least half of your meal before you drink water to optimize those essential gastric acids.
As for flavored waters, as long as they are free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, or juice, you may have them. Still, my preference is purified, noncarbonated water, maybe with a little lemon. And remember, stay hydrated!
Wait Two Hours Between Meals or Snacks
Remember, when you eat Carbohydrates you will have a rise in your insulin—therefore, I recommend that you don’t eat fat, or eat only minimal fats, when you choose to add that Carbohydrate as a snack or to a meal. As a rule, if you are eating a Carbohydrate as a snack, wait two hours before your next Protein/Healthy Fats meal. This will continue to isolate the insulin produced by the carbohydrates. After two hours, you may choose to have a Protein/Healthy Fats meal. The insulin will now be processed and you do not have to worry about the insulin carrying those higher-calorie proteins and fats to the fat reserves. Again, it’s important that you do not add even approved Carbohydrates to a meal high in fat.
SUPERFOODS AND SPICES
Superfoods are foods readily available with more natural power than a packed medicine cabinet! These foods are nature’s way to reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, lower your cholesterol, and boost your immune system across the board. Like superheroes, they each have different powers, but all fight for good against evil. Some have a high phytonutrient content, some are excellent sources for essential omega-3s, others are packed with protein or loaded with antioxidants, some are natural digestive cleansers, and more. And they can all be found in their whole, unprocessed state at the local grocery store. These foods are some of the best choices to boost your immune system and give your body the essentials for good health. And they taste delicious! Make it a habit to include them often in your daily meals.
Salmon. This cold-water fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. This good source of monounsaturated fats helps lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, plus helps with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis. Remember to avoid farmed salmon—insist on wild-caught.
Eggs. An excellent source of protein. Look for organic omega-3 and DHA-fortified eggs for added benefits. For those who have a hard time affording organic protein, organic eggs are the least expensive form of organic protein and are versatile for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Nuts. They are one of nature’s perfect foods, rich in protein, healthy fats, and good carbohydrates. You’ll find they are rich in omega-3s, manganese, copper, and ellagic acid (shown to support the immune system and provide anticancer benefits). Nuts are heart-healthy, promote cognitive (brain) function, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Even though they contain protein, fat, and carbohydrate, I have categorized them as Carbohydrates in the program, and recommend about ten nuts per serving.
Quinoa. This ancient “grain” from the Incas has a crunchy, nutty flavor. While it may look, taste, and act like a grain, it’s actually a relative of leafy greens, like spinach and Swiss chard. This is an excellent choice for vegetarians, because it contains the nutrients of a complete protein, meaning it has all eight essential amino acids! It’s also a good source of lysine, which the body uses for tissue growth and repair (and can help heal cold sores, by the way). It’s packed with manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus, and studies show it could be beneficial for fighting migraines, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. What I love is that it cooks in minutes and it has a low glycemic index, 35. Therefore we categorize it as a Carbohydrate for this program. Try it warm for breakfast with nonfat milk.
Sweet Potato. If you think sweet potatoes, topped with brown sugar and marshmallows, are just for Thanksgiving, you are sorely mistaken! This amazing vegetable contains root storage proteins with significant antioxidant benefits, including glutathione, which, as we’ve discussed, is one of nature’s most important antioxidants. They are also loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, manganese, copper, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron. Because they are a little high on the glycemic index (54)—technically they are Insulin Triggers—we will wait until we are on Level 2—Lifestyle Phase to incorporate them, when your cells are cleaned out and ready to absorb their nutritious goodness!
Olive Oil. You know by now what a fan I am of olive oil. This monounsaturated fat has excellent health benefits. In this country, high fat intake usually refers to fake fats in processed foods, including dangerous trans fats. In other parts of the world, high fat intake is actually synonymous with excellent health, because these people eat the right kind of fat! The Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, creates a lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, asthma, and atherosclerosis. A clinical study showed that after six years, those most closely following a Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, had half the risk of overall mortality. I buy extra virgin olive oil by the case (much less expensive this way) and I reach for it several times a day.
Tomatoes. By now most of you have heard about the amazing studies on the benefits of lycopene, a phytonutrient. Lycopene is a carotenoid found in tomatoes, and, in fact, is found in higher concentration in cooked tomato products, like tomato sauce and even ketchup (naturally sweetened, please!). This phytonutrient has been proven to have antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties because of its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage. Studies have shown lycopene aids in prevention against the following types of cancers: colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic. Plus, lycopene has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant in preventing heart disease. I grow my own organic tomatoes, and they are truly nature’s gift.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Kale, Broccoli, Red Cabbage
Kale. This dark green leafy vegetable is the undisputed king of the nutrient-dense world of nature. Kale includes ten to fifteeen glucosinolates to fight cancer, which work by activating detoxifying enzymes in the liver that help neutralize carcinogenic substances. Just one cup has 88 percent of your vitamin C requirements for the day, plus nearly double the amount of vitamin A you need daily to keep vision and lung health at optimum, in addition to manganese, fiber, calcium, and a host of other nutrients. I love it sautéed with olive oil. So good. So good for you.
Broccoli. While not quite as nutrient dense as kale, broccoli has the same amazing benefits for cancer fighting and cell cleansing. It’s an all-around good guy and a staple several times a week in my meals. It’s high in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as folate, dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, and more. I love it with olive oil and lemon.
Red Cabbage. Cabbage is packed with anticarcinogenic sulforaphane. Like others in the cruciferous vegetable family, this cancer warrior has been shown to prevent colon cancer, promote proper estrogen metabolism in women, and lower the risk of heart disease. Consumption of cruciferous vegetables is known to reduce the risk of lung, colon, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancer. Now, research reveals that cruciferous vegetables provide significant cardiovascular benefits as well. Green cabbage is good too, but red cabbage provides ten times the nutrients.
Berries. I have already told you about my fondness for berries. Talk about buzzwords in the world of phytonutrients—berries rank the highest in phytonutrients of all fruits, plus they are high in vitamin C and potassium. What does that mean for you? Just by enjoying nature’s sweet treats, you can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Plus, since we know inflammation is the root of chronic disease, why wouldn’t you indulge in berries and benefit from their anti-inflammatory qualities? Go for the deepest-colored berries, such as acai, blueberries, and pomegranates, for the highest antioxidant levels.
Yogurt. Loaded with calcium, iodine, riboflavin, and vitamin B2, this treat helps protect bone health. Studies show yogurt provides excellent bone protection, especially for growing young girls. Yogurt is also revered for its live bacteria cultures (probiotics), proven to help you live longer and fortify the immune system. Added benefits include prevention of yeast infections in women and improvement in cholesterol levels (lowering your bad and raising good). Try the Greek varieties with a little agave nectar—oh my.
Dark Chocolate. I didn’t make this one up—dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants. The darker the better; I recommend at least 60 percent cocoa. Those antioxidants found in this delectable treat have been proven to help lower blood pressure. Look for varieties with pure ingredients and low sugar content. If you are eating cheap chocolate, it’s all fillers and you’re not getting the antioxidant benefits. As with berries, if you are going to stray a little from the strict guidelines, cheat with dark chocolate. It’s not part of the program to include chocolate on Detox or Level 1, but it’s the best “cheat” if you are going to go there. And it’s a staple once you are on Level 2. Have one or two squares in the afternoon, or if everyone else is having dessert, pull out a little stash from your purse to keep you away from the really bad choices.
Spice for Life: Super Herbs and Spices. More of the brilliance of nature—herbs and spices not only provide natural flavorings to enhance and make our food more delicious, they are also an incredible source of antioxidants. Brilliant! You will see in the recipe section that I deliberately add things like turmeric on your eggs and chicken, fresh herbs on seafood and salads, marinades with ginger, and cinnamon sprinkled on yogurt. Yes, these are added for flavor, but they continually act to detoxify the body as well. These antioxidants destroy free radicals and protect your body on a cellular level. So the more herbs and spices you take in, the greater your ability to fight off disease and detoxify your system. Include these herbs and spices liberally in your meals!
- Black pepper
- Curry powder
- Garlic (fresh)
- Mint (fresh)
- Cayenne pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
Coffee. Maybe I’ve talked myself into this because I really don’t want to live in a world without my morning cup of coffee. That being said, I have updated my position on coffee. Simply, caffeine creates an insulin response, so I have always recommended decaf. Like all things, however, I have to adapt my information as I receive it.
To me, it’s simply not morning without my coffee, so I’ve found a way to enjoy a real cup of caffeinated coffee without upsetting my meals. First thing in the morning, I have one cup of real, organic coffee, then I wait an hour before I have my breakfast. This works for me to isolate the insulin response from the caffeine. Oh, and how I love that little perk from the coffee! I have my coffee and usually work out, then have my breakfast.
You can continue to enjoy decaf coffee, but I only recommend Swiss Water process. Chemicals including methylene chloride, ethyl acetate, and formaldehyde are generally used for decaffeination. Users of chemicals typically refer to the decaffeinated coffee as “naturally decaffeinated,” which only means that “natural” chemicals are used. Only one company uses pure water and no chemicals in its patented Swiss Water process to extract 99.9 percent of the caffeine. These decaf beans are more healthful and have no chemical residues.
Whether you are interested in regular or Swiss Water process decaf, I have found a company that uses a new, all-natural technique of roasting unadulterated coffee that seals in essential minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and more normally lost during the roasting process. And the best part about this coffee is that it doesn’t upset your stomach! So many of us love our coffee, but can’t drink it because of the acid content. Now you can enjoy delicious coffee without bitterness of aftertaste, with those amazing antioxidants (4 to 22 percent of your RDA!) and low acid for the millions with reflux or heartburn. Visit my website for more information.
Now that you have the basic overview of the program, let me take you through the three phases of the plan so you can see what a typical day might look like. Remember, Weight loss is a lifestyle plan. Your meals may vary greatly from mine, but this section will give you an idea of how you will enjoy these fabulous foods while the pounds melt away.