As discussed earlier, “clean” foods are primarily natural, whole, raw, or organic foods that the body can effectively digest and utilize for energy without leaving excess waste or toxins in the body. Clean foods include lean proteins, good carbs, and healthy fats. “Balanced” foods mean that you will balance your meals by eating protein every time you eat a carbohydrate. So, if you have carbohydrates, you want to always include protein. Maintaining this balance between proteins and carbs is a very simple but incredibly effective method for preventing insulin spikes and aiding the body in burning fat.
Why protein every time you eat?
Protein counteracts the body’s overreaction to carbohydrates, which cause insulin spikes and fat storage. Proteins will also help you feel full longer and thus will help prevent overeating and food cravings. Protein will also help you build and maintain muscle mass, and, as we’ve learned, muscle naturally burns more calories than fat.
Eating clean and balanced foods will help you lose weight for all of the following reasons.
• It will help you address the underlying reasons your body stores fat.
• You will learn which foods will help you stay thin and maintain your healthy weight.
• You will have more control over your insulin and blood sugar levels.
• You will burn fat, especially the belly fat and love handles.
• You will gain control of your appetite and cravings.
Twelve Principles for Eating “Clean and Balanced” Foods
Look at the principles below as your instructions on how to eat “clean and balanced” foods.
Principle #1: Choose nutrient-rich foods, not empty calories.
This means you will eat foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating junk foods is like eating empty calories. You want your calories to provide you with nutritional benefits that will help you heal your body and maintain a permanently healthy weight. Before you eat anything, ask yourself, Is this a healthy, nutrient-rich food or empty calories? Commit to be mindful of everything you eat.
Principle #2: Eat protein with every meal.
Eat protein with every meal, and eat it first, before the carbohydrates or fats. You can also eat protein by itself. Eating protein foods does not cause insulin spikes, making them an important staple of eating clean and balanced foods.
Principle #3: Always balance carbohydrates with protein.
Whenever you eat a carbohydrate, eat some protein along with it. As a general guideline, the protein should be about half the amount of the carbohydrates. For example, if you had 30 grams of carbohydrates, then eat about 15 grams of protein along with it to prevent insulin spikes that cause excess fat to be stored in the body. You can use food labels to determine how much carbs (or “net carbs”) and protein is in food. (See the examples at the end of this section to better understand how to balance carbohydrates with protein at each meal.)
Principle #4: Don’t overeat carbohydrates.
It is important to not overeat carbohydrates. Limit yourself to no more than two servings of high-carbohydrate foods at any one meal or snack. This will prevent excess carbohydrates from being stored as fat. If you are still hungry, then eat more vegetables to satisfy your hunger. Do not try to eat other high-carbohydrate foods, which will convert to fat in your body, or too much protein, which will hinder weight loss by adding extra calories. One serving of high-carbohydrate foods is about 1/2 cup or 15 grams of carbohydrates. So, the maximum amount of high-carb foods you should eat at any one meal is two servings, which is 30 grams or about 1 cup, always balanced with a high-protein food.
Principle #5: Avoid sugar, salt, and trans fat.
We discussed a number of foods that cause weight gain and are bad for your health. However, these three are at the top of the list. Try to avoid them at all costs. They have no nutritional value and are simply bad for your health. Chapter 3 is entirely devoted to explaining how detrimental sugar is. Salt is also bad for your health and causes bloating, swelling, and fluid retention. As far as trans fat, the good news is that the FDA
regulates it, and food manufacturers now have to list how much trans fat is in each serving when trans fats exceed 0.5 gram per serving.
Principle #6: Eat at least five servings of fruits and veggies each day.
Fruit breaks down faster in the body than any other food, leaving us fueled and energized, and because it is a highly cleansing food, it leaves no toxic residue and acts as a strong cleanser for the body. You need to eat vegetables if you want to get thin, as studies have shown that those who eat a large variety of vegetables have the least amount of body fat. Veggies and fruits are naturally balanced be-cause they contain both protein and carbohydrates. They are made up of mostly water and fiber, so they can be eaten in larger quantities. However, there are a few exceptions. Consumption of corn and potatoes should be minimal and,
of course, always be balanced with protein.
Principle #7: Limit your intake of red meat to two to three times per week.
Red meat contains a lot of saturated fat, so try to limit your intake to two or three times a week. Instead, eat more protein from fish, poultry, and vegetable sources, such as brown rice, beans, and nuts, which contain good essential fats.
Principle #8: Eat two healthy snacks per day.
Snacks keep you from getting hungry between meals. Eating snacks allows you to feed your body every three to four hours, which keeps your metabolism revved up. See the list of healthy snacks provided later in this chapter.
Principle #9: Eat at least 30 grams of fiber per day.
Numerous studies have shown that high-fiber diets help you lose weight and protect against heart disease, stroke, and certain kinds of cancer.
Principle #10: Eat fruit by itself, one hour before or after meals.
The enzymes in fruit are digested better if the fruit is eaten alone. Therefore, fruit is perfect snack food.
Principle #11: Eat four to five times a day.
You will lose weight more quickly if you eat four or five times a day as opposed to only three meals (or fewer). Try to eat every three to four hours, and think in terms of three meals and two healthy snacks. Each time you eat, you stimulate your metabolism for a short period of time; thus, the more often you eat, the more you speed up your metabolism. Eating every two to three hours feeds your muscles and starves fat.
Principle #12: Buy organic as much as possible.
Buy organic foods, which don’t have chemical preservatives, food additives, hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics. Fresh organic foods are far less toxic than highly processed and packaged/frozen foods and leave less residue and waste in the body.
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