Below you will find some hints and strategies for being successful during the 8 Week Lifestyle Challenge. Just like preparing for a test in school, in order to succeed, you have to prepare. Taking a few simple steps in advance of Day 1 of the Challenge will allow you to be more successful.
We have some great resources available to aid you in your journey along the way. Did you know that our practice’s website includes an educational page with links to Facebook, Twitter, our Blog and YouTube? We will be using all of these resources in the program.
In addition, we have our book and wellness guide, May You Live a Long and Happy Life which is available through our office. The cost is $20 and we offer to fully refund your money if you do not find the book helpful and wish to return it. We are still waiting for our first return.
If you want to be successful with the healthy eating challenges presented each week, the best thing to do is make your home a safe and encouraging environment. That means out with the bad and in with the good! Here are a few suggestions:
Get rid of:
All breakfast cereals with greater than 5 grams of sugar per serving
Salad dressings that include sugar, soybean or canola oils as an ingredient
Chips, cookies, pretzels and most snack foods
Corn and other vegetable oils
Soda and Juices
Below is a suggested shopping list:
Low glycemic vegetables: These should be the mainstay of your diet. We recommend six servings per day. A serving size is half a cup. A half cup serving has approximately 10 to 25 calories. Examples of low glycemic vegetables include: artichokes, asparagus, bamboo shoots, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, broccolini, bean sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chives, onions, cucumber, pickles, eggplant, green beans, bok choy, chard, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, kale, beet greens, lettuce, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula, watercress, mushrooms, okra, radishes, kelp, snow peas snap peas, sprouts, tomatoes, vegetable juice, water chestnuts, zucchini and summer squash.
Medium glycemic vegetables: These include vegetables like white potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, winter squash and corn. Serving sizes need to be small as these vegetables have a relatively high glycemic index. We recommend no more than one small serving per day. The serving size is approximately half a cup or ½ of a medium-sized baked sweet potato. As a general rule, I recommend avoiding corn and white potatoes. Corn has an extremely high glycemic index, and corn oil is an Omega 6 food which contributes to an unhealthy ratio of fatty acids in our body. If you want to get really fat, eat corn, potatoes, drink beer and go to sleep.
Fruit: Two to three servings per day. Each serving of fruit has approximately 80 calories. Examples include a medium apple, three medium apricots, a half cup of blackberries and blueberries, 1 1/2 cups of raspberries and strawberries, 1/2 of a small cantaloupe, 15 cherries, one whole grapefruit, 15 grapes, one-quarter of a small honeydew melon, one half of a mango, two small nectarines, one orange, two small peaches, one slice of cantaloupe, two small tangerines. Avoid high glycemic fruits such as pineapple, bananas, raisins, and dates. Eating fruit helps satisfy our sweet tooth, provides fiber, vitamins and minerals and prevents us from indulging in the foods we should not indulge in.
Proteins and Legumes: Ideally, I recommend three servings of protein, and two servings of legumes a day. Legumes contain protein and are more positively associated with longevity than more traditional protein sources. Thus, you might choose legumes as one of your 3 sources of protein a day, versus a more traditional protein choice like chicken. A serving size of protein is approximately three ounces which is the size of the palm of your hand. Legumes such as beans, kidney beans, black beans, peas, and lentils have a serving size of approximately a half cup. Other sources of protein include 3 ounces of fish, 3 ounces of poultry, 3 oz of lean cuts of beef, 3 oz of baked tofu, organic soy burgers, two eggs and three-quarters of a cup of cottage cheese. A serving size of legumes will equal approximately 110 calories and a serving size of protein will equal approximately 150 calories. Protein shakes without sugar in them (rice protein, whey protein or organic soy protein) are an excellent alternative if you travel frequently and need a substitute. Try and focus on fish and legumes as your main sources of protein.
Nuts and Seeds: These are a great source of protein, but they are also very high in calories. I find that this is where a lot of people get into trouble. They eat nuts because they enjoy them and like the fact that they are a low glycemic food. However, nuts are extremely high in calories so be aware of what a serving size of nuts is and enjoy nuts accordingly. A serving of nuts includes: 10 to 12 whole almonds, 7 to 8 walnuts or pecans, eight peanuts, two tablespoons of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds, one tablespoon of nut butter. We recommend 1 serving of nuts or seeds a day, or you can substitute one nut serving for a legume serving.
Grains: One serving equals 75-100 calories. I recommend 1-3 servings a day, the goal being 1 or 2 versus 3. Good grain choices include: a 1/2 cup cooked, brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, buck wheat, millet or bulgur wheat, 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal, one slice of whole wheat bread, 1/3 whole wheat tortilla.
Dairy: I have reservations about recommending dairy because of some literature that suggests that casein, a dairy protein, may be atherogenic (contributes to heart disease). If you must consume dairy, my recommendation is one to three servings per week. Keep in mind that many people are lactose intolerant and don’t realize it. We have a number of patients in our practice whose muscle aches and/or allergies become better when they stop consuming dairy. One serving of dairy has 80-100 calories. Examples include: 8 oz of low-fat organic yogurt, 1 cup of organic milk. Choosing dairy alternatives like organic soy milk and organic almond milk are wise choices.
Beverages: water, flavored water, seltzer water (if no reflux issues), decaffeinated coffee, decaffeinated tea, herbal tea or green tea. Alcohol in moderation (approximate 150 calories per drink). Red wine is the best choice; beer and whiskey are the worst choices.
Fats & Oils: I recommend four teaspoons per day. Good sources: olive oil (cold pressed virgin), safflower oil mayonnaise and organic butter in limited amounts. I am also including 1/4 of an avocado in this list as it is primarily a fat. Olive oil is always the preferred oil. Canola oil and soybean oil would be okay if they were certified organic but the fact that non-organic canola and soybean oils are genetically modified causes me to not recommend them. Using a little ghee, if made using organic butter, is okay too.
Herbs and Condiments: Recommended: mustard and soy sauce, lime, lemon, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon, ginger, basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, cumin, turmeric, garlic and curry.
Sweets and Sweeteners: I recommend eating fresh fruit if you need to satisfy a craving for sweets. As for sweeteners, I am not a big fan of Stevia and other sugar substitutes because their sweetness still helps maintain the sugar addiction, regardless if the source is sugar or not.
Look for future Blog posts that incorporate these approved ingredients in delicious recipes as part of the 8 Week Lifestyle Challenge.
Look for recipes on our Facebook Page as well!
Happy Grocery Shopping! Here’s to your good health!