Over the past 10 years I’ve read countless books on nutrition, and I’ve experimented with just about every health and diet fad out there. Through all the complexities of this (mis)adventure, I have found the best approach to a healthy & sustainable weight and lifestyle is actually incredibly simple and achievable…
JUST EAT REAL FOOD!
Over this time I have become obsessed with creating wholesome REAL FOOD meals that promote healthy weight, whilst nourishing the body AND the taste buds, and I’ve never felt or looked better!
So here are my top tips for the best, most realistic, simple and safe fat burning, REAL FOOD formula:
- Tip #1 EAT Protein
The foundation of a fat burning meal is a healthy serving of quality, lean protein. Many of us have grown up to look to processed grains to build our meal upon- think toast, sandwiches, pasta, rice, cereal etc. Unfortunately these provide little in the way of nutrition, fuel and sustenance, and they are the perfect potions for promoting fat storage and tummy bloating (eeek!).
Why is protein so important?
Unlike refined carbohydrates, protein does not spike blood sugar levels, which is a fat storage promoter. Instead Protein supports and fuels your lean tissues, and it wards off sugar cravings by helping you feel full for longer.
Ensure every meal and snack has a healthy serve of REAL FOOD lean protein. Try to rotate between animal and vegetarian protein sources, and choose unprocessed, organic, free ranging and hormone-free meat, fish or eggs where possible.
- Tip #2) Avoid Refined Grains and Refined Sugar
A fat burning meal does not contain a serving of refined grains or starches (very unfortunate, I know!). Yes, I realize that this goes against everything that we have been taught, but clearly what we have been taught isn’t working for us, otherwise we wouldn’t be one of the most over weight societies would we? The tradition of plating up every meal with a jumbo serving of noodles, pasta, potatoes, rice, bread or chips is largely responsible for our expanding waist lines and declining health.
As I learned the hard way, the overconsumption of these refined carbs end up being stored as fat. Luckily, I have found that it IS possible to create fat-burning dinners that satisfy even the hungriest meat-and-potatoes members of your family.
This is often the hardest part for people to get used to. Grains and sugar are filled with fat-promoting carbs, and provide little in the way of nutrition, but they can be hard to give up. I promise that after a short while of committing to your new fat burning formula, you will feel so healthy and energized that all those pesky starch cravings will be well and truly behind you!
There’s really no cause, other than habit, to eat refined grains or sugar on a regular basis. Once out of the habit of eating them, you will no longer crave them and you may not even find your old favorites very appealing.
- Tip #3) Eat a Rainbow
Replace grains and sugars with antioxidant and nutrient rich, colorful, fiber-filled, COMPLEX carbohydrate veggies instead! Aim to eat every colour of the rainbow every day in delicious vegetables. You cannot possibly become the very BEST version of YOU by skipping this vital step! Eating foods full of life and vitality is the only way to FEEL full of life and vitality! Now that is great motivation don’t you think?!
Vegetables are very low in calories compared to the amount of space they take up in your stomach, so you’ll get full faster and longer on fewer calories. I pay particular attention to getting a good serve of leafy greens into EVERY single meal. Greens help to alkalize the body, which is very important for boosting your fat burning potential. Build your meal around greens, colourful vegetables and lean protein.
One of my favorite things to do when building a fat burning meal is to get a bowl, add a few handfuls of organic spinach or rocket, and then top it with a lean protein and some shredded raw or baked veggies. Add some healthy fats such as avocado or raw pumpkin seeds and a light homemade dressing and you’re looking at the perfect, quick and delicious fat burning meal.
- Tip #4) DO Eat FAT! (OMG, yep I said that!)
Eat fat to burn fat? Sounds crazy doesn’t it! However that’s what the latest scientific research is proving to be true! If you want to lose weight and be healthy, DON’T eat a low-fat diet!For the last 50 years Australians have been eating low-to-no fat diets, and the peculiar thing is we have gotten progressively fatter and less healthy.
To simplify a very complex topic, healthy REAL FOOD fats are an absolutely essential component to your fat burning formula. The right kinds of fats are vital for hormone regulation that influences our weight and health, and they are vital for the function of every cell in your body!
Fats also help to satiate hunger, preventing binge eating and weight gain. Eating less fat means you will eat more carbs for sustenance, and most people end up reaching for more of the wrong types of carbs when their energy crashes. Dietary fats are very slow burning, so when you replace the fat with faster burning carbs your energy levels are like a roller coaster. Healthy Fats supply some of the best, and most stable sources of energy. So if you want to feel good all day long, you need to make sure you are getting enough fats, and the right types.
My favourite choices of healthy fats for my fat burning meals include ¼ avocado, sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp chia or hemp seeds, nut butter and cold pressed organic coconut or extra virgin olive oil dressings.
When it comes to cooking with fats, unfortunately most people use harmful, unstable and fat promoting vegetable oils when they cook. The low fat craze that swept this nation is partially responsible for misleading the public into this fat promoting practice.
The good news is that coconut oil is an amazing, REAL FOOD, healthy oil that not only tastes great but also helps promote fat loss. Among its many benefits, coconut oil is very stable, even at high temperatures. It’s filled with lauric acid, which boosts the immune system and wards off infections. Best of all, coconut oil has been shown to increase metabolism and thyroid activity, which boosts fat burning. Not only can you cook with it, but you can add it to smoothies and raw desserts too.
Ghee is the other fat I use for cooking when coconut oil is not appropriate. Ghee in moderation is incredibly nourishing. It has a delicious caramel sweetness that adds incredible depth of flavour to food, and it has a high smoke point (250 °C), so you can cook and fry with ghee and it will not break down into free radicals like many other oils.
- Tip #5) Quality NOT Quantity.
Try spending more and eating less. Quality REAL FOOD Ingredients are the building blocks to a healthy meal and are worthy of extra value, care and attention. Fast or cheap food just isn’t going to cut it! Be willing to spend a little more on the foods that you eat, and spare some extra time for sourcing the freshest produce direct from farmers where possible- this can help you save more cash too! Your greatest asset is your HEALTH! Invest in it today, because you are worthy of living in abundant health!
When choosing meat spend more on organic, antibiotic and hormone-free, and eat less of it. Add some economical vegetarian meals to your diet to compensate further. Avoid processed meats, like ham and salami, as these contain potentially harmful additives and lots of salt. Also avoid highly processed fake soy meats.
Choose quality foods that are:
- Fresh, organic and seasonal- check out your local farmers markets
- Have decipherable, pronounceable ingredients
- Whole foods as nature intended- you will cut down on harmful chemicals and packaging!
- Tip #6) Use A Healthy Cooking Method
The method in which you cook your meal determines the vitality of your food, how many nutrients survive, how many calories it contains, and the potential of added unhealthy fats.
Avoid preparing meals that are:
- Fried and battered
- Contain processed and packaged ingredients (flavour your food with fresh herbs and spices instead!)
- Doused with creamy sauces
- Cooked with very high heats
Choose these cooking methods where possible:
- Raw where possible
- Lightly sir fried
- Lightly grilled
- Lightly Steamed
- Baked on occasion
- When cooking vegetables always retain their vitality with a light and quick cook. They should be bright and crunchy!
- Tip #8) Stay Hydrated!
Aim to drink plenty of filtered water every day to flush out fat promoting toxins- 2-3L per day. The process of burning calories also requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.
Unfortunately coffee and tea do not add to your total water consumption- these can actually dehydrate the body. To counter this it is good to add another glass of water per cup of tea or coffee you consume.
Even better switch to green tea- organic green tea can help to boost your fat burning potential! Researchers say that substances found in green tea known as catechins may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decreasing body fat.
Your Fat burning Formula Simplified
Lean Protein + Vegetables + Healthy Fats = Fat Burning Formula
I PROMISE this way of eating truly delivers results without deprivation! Trust me, I love food WAY too much to give up flavourful, delicious dinners, snacks and desserts! Below are 3 of my favourite, brand new fat burning dinner recipes for you to prove that healthy food can absolutely be tasty food that the whole family can enjoy!
Real Food Recipes: