Thursday, September 6, 2012



Green Leafy Vegetables (The greener, the better!)
Oat Meal
Dairy (Non-fat or low-fat ONLY)
High Fiber Content
Almonds other nuts and nut butters (Natural with no salt or sugar added)
Smoothies (Not the fast food kind)
Protein (Legumes and lean cuts of meat)
Olive Oils (For cooking and salad dressings)
Whole grain bread, cereals and pasta
Eggs (Excellent source of protein, but limit daily consumption to two)
Raspberries and other berries

Let’s be clear: diets simply don’t work, and the only thing they are successful at doing is leaving us with a feeling of failure in the end. A lack of understanding about the correct way to lose fat can set people up for big-time failure. Even if we have initial success on one of these diets, the toll it takes on our body is not at all worth it. Extreme diets that promise big weight loss in a short amount of time cut out macronutrients like carbs and fats — which is horrible for our hormone balance and metabolism.

   If you’ve ever tried a diet before, you may have been indoctrinated into thinking that the key to your happiness is “weight loss.” This is one of the slickest terms used in the diet industry because weight loss includes the loss of not only fat, but valuable lean muscle tissue and water as well. Muscle is essential towards building a healthy body, because each lb of lean muscle burns an additional 50 calories of fat per day and keeps our metabolism humming along. Proper hydration is also essential, because water is required in order for our organs and digestive systems to work efficiently at processing what we consume and for ridding our bodies of fat and harmful toxins. Many of the diet fads that claim miraculous results are simply masking water loss, and as soon as you begin to drink what your body requires, you’ll gain the lost weight back, plus some, because the necessary muscle that burns fat has also been compromised.

   Quick-fix dieting has become so popular that in the past 10 years it's estimated that around 70% of our adult female population and 30% of adult males have tried some form of diet and failed over the long-term (Raising hand to be included in this statistic). There’s a new diet phenomenon occurring every few months, and the only long-term and lasting weight that we actually lose comes not from our guts, waists, hips or butts. It comes from our wallets!!

   Most diets require a significant change in our normal eating habits over an extended period of time. This becomes the problem. We may try a new approach for a few weeks or even a few months. Once the success of the initial water weight we’ve lost begins to wear thin or we simply get tired of eating those restrictive high-protein, low-fat, low-carb, rice-only, green foods only, food that was blessed by a Tibetan monk only….OK…that may have gone a bit too far, but I’m sure you know what I mean. We simply want what we want and we like what we like because they fit in with our lifestyle and the people around us. Therefore, the key to truly making a change is to first change our minds so that lifestyle and the folks we surround ourselves with will also change. Something tells me you are beginning to see where this may be headed.

   To lose body fat, we can’t focus just on caloric intake and macronutrient ratios. We need to plan out our meals so that we can decide what we eat and when. In addition, we must consume carbs, fats, and proteins in ratios that are best for burning fat. It is also vital that we eat these foods in a particular manner. That means gone are the June Cleaver days of only eating three large meals. Instead, we need to now target 5 to 6 times every 3-4 hours. As counterintuitive as this may sound, it really works!

   By consuming more frequent smaller meals, our body has a constant supply of nutrients. As a result, the body will no longer be forced to store extra nutrients and calories as fat. This also has the additional benefit of providing an increased fat-burning metabolism throughout the day.

   Another reason for eating smaller meals is that we can maintain lean muscle mass by not forcing our systems to burn muscle tissues during extended periods when glucose, glycogen, and fat are no longer readily available. As we discussed earlier, lean muscle not only puts us on the road to looking like an underwear model, but each pound of it requires us to burn an additional 50 calories of fat each day. Therefore, by adding 10 pounds of lean muscle to our frames we can burn up to a lb of fat each week just by breathing.

   Finally, our body seems to manage smaller meals more efficiently while our blood sugar levels remain constant and diminish cravings. In fact, when our stomach is empty it can be as small as our fist. Surprisingly, it can reach the size of a gallon jug when full. Just imagine the stress we place on our digestive systems as a result of our individual and collective gluttony.

   While it is important to eat smaller meals more often, knowing what foods to include in our meals is just as important to get fit. Therefore, every meal should include a lean protein source, natural/unrefined carb, vegetable serving and a source of healthy fat (unsaturated).
Take a break and go to your refrigerator right now and thoroughly assess what you see.
   Are the contents reflective of where you really want your family to be? If your “ice box” (did I forget to mention that my upbringing put the “K” in Kuntry?) is about to explode with food that would cause a billy goat to go into cardiac arrest, it’s time for someone at your house to start rethinking their grocery list like, yesterday! Now, if your house is anything like my house, then the “lady of the house” does the grocery shopping. Therefore, ladies….please know that the life of everyone under your roof is now in your hands.
   If your new lifestyle is to be enjoyable, it’s impossible to imagine having to forever forego many of the foods and beverages that bring your family joy. Therefore, as you’ve heard time and time again, moderation is the key. That’s why when we change our lifestyle we also have to change our grocery list. To do this, simply remember the acronym, GODHASPOWER!
Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables provide a great variety of colors from the bluish-green of kale to the bright kelly green of spinach. Leafy greens run the whole gamut of flavors, from sweet to bitter, from peppery to earthy. Young plants generally have small, tender leaves and a mild flavor. Many mature plants have tougher leaves and stronger flavors. Collards, Swiss chard, bok choy, and spinach provide a mild flavor while arugula, mizuna, and mustard greens provide a peppery flavor. Bok choy is best known for use in stir-fries, since it remains crisp even when cooked to a tender stage. You should always choose crisp leaves with a fresh vibrant green color. Yellowing is a sign of age and indicates that the greens may have an off flavor. Salad greens provide a whole range of important nutrients and phytochemicals (chemicals from plants) to keep us healthy.
   Leafy vegetables are ideal for weight management, as they are typically low in calories. They are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease since they are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein and beta-carotene. One study showed that an increment of one daily serving of green leafy vegetables lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11%.
Oat Meal: The primary benefit of oatmeal is that it is made from oats, which are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Unfortunately, the best types of oatmeal are not the flavored little packages that you simply pour into a bowl, add water and nuke in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Although quite tasty, those little bad boys are usually packed with sugar. An old school box of Quaker Oats or similar brands is the best. Simply add fruit and nuts to jazz up the taste and satisfy that sweet tooth.
Dairy:  Were you aware that man is the only animal species that continues to drink milk as an adult? Other species drink milk only as an infant and they only drink momma’s mammary moonshine. Therefore, I’m of the Oliver “Stonecean” school of thought that our dependency on dairy is largely due to a very successful marketing campaign launched by the dairy industry. When it comes to us humans, up to two-thirds of the world’s population–including around 50-90% of Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Native-Americans and Asian-Americans–are lactose intolerant, according to the Surgeon General’s 2004 report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis. Lactose intolerance is not a term of endearment for the old curmudgeon who lives next door to a group of young stoner dudes who just formed the band “Lactose.” Lactose intolerance means that you lack or are low in the enzyme lactase, which digests milk. So you are unable to consume much milk-based food. After discovering that I too suffered from a mild case of lactose intolerance, I am no longer a fan of most dairy products. However, I am a big fan of the probiotics found in yogurt because they are very beneficial bacteria in our bodies systems that are also contained in certain dairy foods. Probiotics have a known link to building up the body’s digestive and immune systems.
High Fiber Content:  Eat more fiber! Yeah, I’m sure you’ve probably heard this tip perhaps once or twice before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health? Dietary fiber–found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes–is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation and is commonly classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber). Fiber provides other health benefits as well, such as lowering risk of diabetes and heart disease. Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates–which your body breaks down and absorbs–fiber isn't digested by your body. Therefore, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon, and out of your body. It might seem like fiber doesn't do much, but it has several important roles in maintaining health. Fiber is like a bouncer at “Club GI.”
Almonds:  These are one of my favorite snacks and please be sure to buy them unsalted. There are various proven benefits of almonds in our daily life, and topping the list is fat burning. They have a good fiber content ratio and as you know, more fiber content helps in proper digestion as well as increased energy level. They also help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and reducing excess fat accumulated around your waist.
   An often overlooked benefit of almonds is the heath benefit gained from its tryptophan content, which is very good for brain development. Having almonds around will help you in relieving stress and controlling your mood swings by making you feel good. Magnesium content in almonds helps reduce the risk of cardiac arrests. It increases HDL and helps reduce LDL, thereby controlling cholesterol levels. A handful of these little dudes perform dietary wonders, and don’t worry about the bad press that they are high in fat. Almonds contain unsaturated fat, the good kind.

Smoothies: The best smoothies are nutrient-dense, providing vitamins and oils necessary for good nutrition. Fat is required for biological functions and is burned by your body for energy; a good smoothie should have some dietary fat. Simply blending a banana with ice and skim milk does not make a good smoothie; there is almost no fat for the body to use in assimilating the vitamins, and there is little nutritive content at all. A healthy smoothie contains natural almond and peanut butters or other nutrient-dense foods. Smoothies are a great, simple way to get in the extra nutrition you need.
Protein:  High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are the hottest thing since mink tank tops. Body builders have known about the benefits of guzzling down protein shakes since the time when just uttering the name “Schwarzenegger” in the wrong part of town would nearly get you a “Deboesque” (from the movie, Fridays) punch to the face.
   Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues and to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
   Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a "macronutrient," meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called "micronutrients." But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. So you may assume the solution is to eat protein all day long. Not so fast, say nutritionists. The truth is, we need less total protein than you might think. But we could all benefit from getting more protein from better food sources such as lean cuts of meat, natural butter (almond and peanut) spreads and various types of legumes.
Olive Oils:  A hardening of the arteries occurs when particles of LDL cholesterol stick to the walls of the arteries. Eventually these particles build up and form plaque. This plaque narrows the blood vessels and increases the work load of the heart in an effort to get oxygenated blood to the entire body. The result can be a heart attack or stroke.
   Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids, and vitamin E. Scientists have identified a compound in olive oil, oleuropein, which prevents the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. It is the oxidized cholesterol that sticks to the walls of the arteries and forms plaque. Replacing other fats in your diet with olive oil can significantly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.

Whole Grain Bread, Cereals and Pasta:  Hailed as the "staff of life" for its historical importance to human survival, grains are an essential part of a healthy diet. Also called cereals, grains are the seeds of grasses, which are cultivated for food. They come in many shapes and sizes, from large kernels of popcorn to small quinoa seeds.
   All types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates, various vitamins and minerals, and are naturally low in fat. But grains that haven't been refined–called whole grains–are even better for you. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium, and magnesium. So whenever you can, choose whole grains over refined grains. Ideally, whole wheat bread should be sugar free and contain no high fructose corn syrup. Oats can be used for hot oatmeal as well as flour in baked goods even though the rolled oats have not been ground into powder. Flaxseed meal can be used just like any other type of flour for making baked goods. If you look around, you usually can buy several different types of brown rice and other exotic grains that can be cooked just as if it was brown rice. If brown rice is not available from your grocery store a close second would be parboiled rice. The practice of parboiling rice is more than two thousand years old and started in India. Parboiling is a steaming process that drives nutrients, especially thiamine, from the bran into the grain. Of course, brown rice is still the preferred choice. Remember, when deciding on your whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas; always opt for choices with the lowest glycemic index (GI).

Eggs:  Our little white oval friends have gotten a bad rap over the last few decades. (Whew! It sure is nice to know that sometimes “white” things can get a bad rap from time to time as well.) After being deemed “bad” for the heart by health experts, eggs have been the subjects of criticism and scrutiny over the past few decades. But are they really all that unhealthy for us? In the last few years, numerous health organizations have been vindicating the eggs' reputation.
   It was previously thought that eggs raised blood cholesterol levels–one of the main causes of heart disease. The yolk in a single large egg contains five grams of fat, so it was only natural for nutritionists to assume that eggs clogged up people's arteries, especially since they also contain dietary cholesterol.
   Bottom line: a few eggs each day are not as bad as we once thought and their levels of cholesterol have really decreased over the years. Therefore, have one or maybe even two and simply enjoy.
Raspberries and Other Berries:  Unless your first name is Marion, there’s not much bad information folks can say about a berry, and depending on your taste, any berry will do (except Crunch Berries). Sales of berries are soaring, so much that suppliers are reporting that they are struggling to keep up with the high demand. So what makes berries so healthy? To start, they have a high content of antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals, which enable them to prevent or fight off disease and treat certain disorders. They are also great immune system boosters that can help in our fight against Alzheimer’s and cancers. Some berries are even believed to assist in helping us to lose fat.
Now that you are fully aware of GODHASPOWER, it should be easier than you initially thought to begin your family’s healthy eating lifestyle conversion. Remember, it’s still OK to eat those cookies and cakes on occasion, but hopefully your entire brood will begin to reach for the apples, almonds, and bananas instead of the chips.

About the Author: James Hackley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a philanthropist who earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia.  He's the founder of Omega Consulting Enterprises, chaplain of a local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va. His latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at ,, and

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