I used to take seminars from a fitness professional who would say, “This is what I believe to be true right now. But, I reserve the right to change my mind in the future”. Well said, right?! But first, let’s consider how often things do change. While generally inadequate, the dietary guidelines get revised every so often as new research becomes available. Computer software gets updated constantly. Clothing and hairstyles change. You get the point, right?
Here goes: Today, I believe that it is truly not in our best interest to avoid fruits, beans, and whole grains in order to lose body fat. In fact, I think avoiding these foods may even prevent fat loss, and makes it much harder to keep lost weight off for good.
Most of my clients come to me for fat loss, so I’ve spent many years in workshops and seminars, learning and reading from the best about fat loss. If you want to lose weight, the best way I was taught was to eat a diet of lean proteins (dairy, chicken, fish, meat), healthy fats, lots of veggies and just a few fruits. You were “allowed” un-processed, whole grain starchy foods at breakfast or after workouts.
This “fat loss” diet was really meant for the short term, and then ideally we’d shift to a maintenance diet. Well, when does maintenance ever happen, really? So, in essence we ended up eating an animal rich diet, while missing out on many nutrients like fiber and vitamins and minerals that comes from all the nutrient dense foods we’d been avoiding. It became ok to eat a “meal” of animal protein and call it good. When in reality, eating only protein is eating a nutrient deficient diet.
And, when we aren’t eating things like potatoes, oatmeal, beans, and plenty of fruit, we never really feel satisfied, do we? In fact I see clients crave sugar when they try not to eat nutrient dense carbohydrates. This dissatisfaction can lead to big cheat meals, which when high in calories can really set us back from reaching our goals.
Plus, there is a ton of research on the benefit of eating a diet full of plant based, whole foods. These are things like greens, berries, fruits, vegetables, oats, quinoa, seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, legumes, spices and herbs. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat animal foods, just make sure to build in tons of the plant based foods too! The plant foods have all the nutrients, fiber, water, vitamins and minerals that our bodies crave.
Maybe you’re not sure how to get started so here are some simple ideas of how to incorporate more beans, whole grains and fruits into your diet:
Breakfast Try oatmeal with berries, nuts and cinnamon or a smoothie with bananas, strawberries and spinach.
Snacks Try hummus with carrots, jicama, cucumbers or bell peppers
Dinner Try a lentil vegetable stew or black bean soup with a hearty salad.
I bet you are worried about the protein in the above suggestions, but please don’t be. We get more than we need, and I will write more on this topic in the future. In the meantime, please start to enjoy the foods that you’ve missed!
Here’s an article about eating fruit http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/making-the-case-for-eating-fruit/
One of my goals this year is to learn new recipes and cook more plants. If you want to join me, let me know and we can share recipes and ideas 🙂