Enter the Superfoods
When I had a final list of foods that should allow me to lose weight, and keep that weight for years, I decided to google all of them to check all their benefits and make sure that I’ll get all necessary vitamins and minerals from them. I wanted to avoid any supplements (if possible) and I wanted to check whether I’ll have any side effects because I’m missing some mineral or vitamin. I also wanted to check whether I should exclude some of them because of something bad. E.g. goitrogens found in raw cruciferous veggies are bad for low thyroid if eaten in excess and if iodine intake was low at the same time. Nightshade veggies cause arthritis problems for some people. Legumes can cause stomach problems.
After meticulously checking each food on my list, I decided to call this diet a Superfoods diet. Most people associate the term superfoods with some sort of exotic berries, like Acai berry, Goji, or Noni. Those berries are great; they’re full of antioxidants, but you can’t live on them. When I’m talking about superfoods here, think about regular superfoods, like spinach, broccoli, quinoa, olive oil, garlic, kale, salmon, ginger, basically food that has nothing bad in it and has health benefits.
I also wanted to have a diet that will keep my appetite and cravings under control. Some people might think that counting calories is all that matters, but they don’t take appetite and cravings into equation and I wanted to make sure that I don’t have any cravings. Think about it, what chances you have to shed successfully off some pounds if you’re hungry all the time and you can’t take pizza and chocolate bars off your mind? Zero!! It is much easier to be on a diet when you’re not hungry all the time and when you don’t crave any food. How that can be achieved? By switching to superfoods!! Switching to superfoods will change your palate, it will clean your body of toxins and it will stabilize your insulin sensitivity and blood sugar level. That is half of the job!!
Glucose drives insulin. Insulin drives fat. Fatty acids will not be released into the blood stream to be used as energy if the glucose level is high. If you eat a diet that causes your blood sugar to be frequently high, all energy you consume that is not immediately needed will be stored in your fat cells and will not be released. You will not get to use all of the 700 calories you eat at one meal, only the 100 or so you need immediately, and thus you will soon be hungry again, and will overeat. But if your blood sugar is stable and you can access that stored energy you will not be hungry and won’t overeat. It doesn’t matter if you are eating fat or glucose your body will convert what it’s got to what it needs. Every major nutritional philosophy pegs sugar as being a major problem. Circulating saturated fatty acids found in the blood (known as triglycerides in the lipid panel), are indeed a major risk factor in heart disease, but the majority of these saturated fatty acids are almost without exception the result of liver secretions, and are the consequence of a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates.
Some people are more sensitive to the hormone effects of insulin and cortisol than other people are. The more sensitive you are, the more you’re likely to get fat. Insulin is the primary hormone that fixes fat in the fat cells. This is why Type I diabetics lose weight: they’re not producing enough insulin. Since insulin is manufactured in direct response to carbohydrates, if you don’t eat them, you won’t have a mechanism by which to store fat.
Since superfoods are whole foods and completely opposite of processed foods, switching to superfoods will have a double effect on your body. You will stop eating processed foods, meaning zero intake of any chemicals, additives, food colorings, flavor enhancers and all other nastiness found in processed food. You will also stop getting chemicals found in processed food packaging. Think about how bad plastic can be for your health or bisphenol-A (BPA) found in can linings. And at the same time you’ll be eating whole foods superfoods which do not contain any chemicals found in processed food, but contains phytonutrients and antioxidants and that whole food superfoods will detox your body. That detox will regulate your blood sugar level and insulin sensitivity and that will lower your sugar cravings. After 10-15 days all these changes will result in your palate change and you won’t crave processed food with flavor enhancers and you will learn to appreciate natural taste of the whole foods. That is half of the job on your path to a healthier you.
And after that change you will feel great, energetic and your body won’t crave the salty and fatty food you used to snack or sweet and fatty food you used to gobble on a daily basis. 280 calories from a chocolate bar and 280 calories from a lean protein meat with fiber loaded salad are not the same. More water, more fiber means much bigger amount of food, much more stretch, you will get much fuller and you’ll stay fuller much longer, not to mention antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients you’ll get from that meal.
When you choose the right foods, and understand how these foods react with your body, you will not have cravings for processed food anymore. When I started this diet for the first time, I have thought sometimes, Hey, I have lost some weight, I deserve a treat, I’ll have pizza for lunch or I’ll have a small chocolate bar, but after a few weeks I realized that I don’t need it and that I don’t crave it at all. And every time I had it, I figured out that I didn’t need it at all. So I skipped it and that’s it. And I felt much prouder of myself.
So, after 8-9 months on Superfoods diet, I went from 275 pound (125 kg) to 195 pounds (89 kg) in the beginning of 2010. I felt great, looked decent and decided that additional weight loss would have to wait for a while. Since then, my weight went from 195 pounds (89 kg) to 210 pounds (95 kg) and back. And in March 2014 I decided to try to go under 195 pounds and describe that effort in a blog. But because I wanted to share everything about Superfoods diet, my investigation turned into a book. I’m writing this in June 2014 and I’m at 180 pounds (82 kg) and looking to go under 180 pounds in following months. Whole my family felt better because of the Superfoods diet, my wife has lost some weight (I’m not allowed to say how much) and her waist line has been perfect ever since.
UPDATE: Below are pictures from November 2014, after 3 months of kettlebells training:
If you’re preparing yourself for a diet, along with processed food and sweets that you have in your pantry and freezer, make sure that you clean from your fridge the following:
- Any juices – orange, apple … they’re processed food too.
- Any frozen prepackaged “low-fat” versions of regular meals.
- Any protein / granola bars – make sure to check the amount of sugar, protein, fat and fiber in it. Some might be ok as a snack, but they have to have enough protein and fiber and be low on sugar and fat.
- Any processed meat but ham without sugar (ham is OK for first one or two weeks)
- Any diet deserts.
- Diet pop might be OK for first one or two weeks when your body still might crave sugar, but you should plan to stop using it once the cravings diminish.
When I mentioned that switching to Superfoods will have a double effect on your body, you can look at that fact from the other perspective. Basically, there are really only 2 health problems, toxicity and deficiency and these conditions can lead to vast array of diseases (actually symptoms of toxicity or deficiency).
Toxicity is bigger problem than deficiency with modern American diet. Processed food is toxic. Toxicity is a state of being infested and overwhelmed with materials that are known to cause problems in the body, specifically to the central nervous system. The body has filtering systems to be able to deal with the toxins that it is exposed too. However, when these systems become overloaded, toxins can accumulate in the body and cause hundreds of different symptoms and lead to chronic disease. Toxicity combined with nutritional deficiency is a recipe for disaster. Our bodies need good nutrition to be able to rebuild and repair properly.
If the body has the right supplies or materials it can heal itself of almost anything. If you are toxic, you can cleanse. If you are deficient, you can replenish. Processed food is toxic. Superfoods cleanse. Superfoods replenish any deficiencies. Superfoods are solution.