1. Stop counting calories and start counting nutrients.
Calories act differently depending on the type of food you're eating (sugar vs. healthy whole foods), and if you are counting calories instead of piling your plate high with vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and high-fiber foods, you are missing out on a major aspect of healthy weight loss, Gomer says. Instead of worrying about the number of calories you take in, start to see food in terms of nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, and all-important fiber, which is found in whole plant-based foods.
2. Avoid oils, which are full of hidden calories that add up.
When someone comes into Pritikin with heart issues and is hoping to lower their cholesterol, lose weight and get off their meds, the first thing that Gomer and her team will tell them is that they should avoid oils and especially saturated fats from animal products like meat and dairy. But even if you are not dieting for heart health, you should cut down on the oil you cook with, or dress your salad with, since even the ubiquitous olive oil one of the most calorie-dense foods on your plate.
Consider this: One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 126 calories and 14 grams of fat. One Oreo cookie has approximately 53 calories, and 2.3 grams of fat. It also has about 8.3 grams of carbohydrates. So while we don't want you counting calories, you do need to be aware that oil has more calories and fat than a cookie.
Eat foods that will release energy slowly into the body, keeping blood sugar low
High fiber foods are your diet's best friend since when you eat fiber, your body releases that energy slowly, like burning a candle instead of a match. That in turn keeps your blood sugar low and steady throughout the day and avoids surges that can tell the body to release insulin, the messenger that signals "too much sugar in the blood" so store the excess as fat. The best high-fiber foods to add to your plate are these, Gomer says:
Eat Leafy greens such as kale and spinach, but any salad greens will work, including romaine if that is what you prefer. "Greens are the bomb," she says. It's as simple as that.
Pile on the Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Shoot for 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day, and don't worry about the calories in these foods since your body will have to work harder to digest them in the first place, and they help your gut health and how you metabolize everything else you eat as well.
Add tomatoes and peppers, especially colorful ones. You've heard it before but eat the colors of the rainbow, since you get phytochemicals and antioxidants in these pigment-rich vegetables, so your body will benefit from the vitamins like C, E, A, all of which help you build a strong immune system, plus lycopene, which is known to benefit heart health and help your body fight certain kinds of cancer.
Choose root vegetables like beets and carrots to your salads. When you eat root vegetables you absorb all the healthy antioxidants from these colorful vegetables. Beets, in particular, have folate (vitamin B9), plus manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Studies show beets improved circulation, lower blood pressure, and increase exercise performance. Carrots, meanwhile, contain antioxidants such as betacarotene which has been proven to reduce the number of free radicals in the body and help protect against certain cancers.
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