The beginning of the New Year is “the” most popular time of the year to start a new eating plan. There are dozens of new weight loss books on the market, with enough conflicting ideas to make it challenging to know where to start.
Let me make it easy by suggesting that you add ONE thing to help you lose weight, turn back the clock on aging, and enhance your health.
What would you guess that ONE thing would be?
If you guessed adding more clean protein, you’d be close, as eating clean protein (especially first thing in the morning) revs your metabolism and helps you to feel full and satisfied—meaning it helps you lose fat and later, maintain your proper weight. By choosing clean protein from a protein smoothie, wild seafood and free-range, grass-fed animal protein, you also cut out the pesticides and hormones that are so common in the American diet today.
Another close guess would have been to add more healthy fat to your diet. Adding healthy fat will lower inflammation and improve your hormone profile that impacts appetite control. Healthy fat comes from avocado, virgin olive oil, nuts and nut oils, cold water seafood, eggs from cage-free, organic fed chickens, and even truly dark chocolate.
However, the ONE thing you can do that would provide the most benefit to your health and your waistline is to eat more FIBER. You may not realize it, but fiber is a health rock star. Eating more fiber makes you feel full and satisfied—so you naturally eat fewer calories and you lose weight. Fiber lowers your blood pressure, inflammation levels, blood sugar levels, and improves your cholesterol profile. It is loaded with anti-aging nutrients, and is the #1 way to slow aging.
How much fiber do you need? If you have been following my blogs, you know that I recommend at least 30 grams of fiber every day (I average 40-50+ grams of fiber daily myself). Let me share what I ate yesterday as an example:
Breakfast Fiber content
Chocolate Heart Shake® protein powder, (2 scoops) 9 grams
1 cup frozen unsweetened cherries 3 grams
Almond milk (30 calories per cup) 12 ounces 1.5 grams
Spinach, frozen (1 handful) 1.5 grams
TOTAL Fiber 15 grams
Minestrone soup (1.5 cups) 9 grams
Carrot, 2 small raw 3 grams
TOTAL Fiber 12 grams
Almonds (1 handful, about 1 ounce) 3 grams
Apple 3 grams
TOTAL Fiber 6 grams
Turkey meatballs 1 gram
Ratatouille (2 cups) 6 grams
Broccoli (1 cup) 5 grams
TOTAL Fiber 12 grams
Pear 3 grams
Dark Chocolate (1 ounce) 1 grams
Pistachios (1 ounce) 3 grams
TOTAL Fiber 7 grams
TOTAL ONE DAY FIBER INTAKE: 52 GRAMS
In a nutshell, if you want to focus on ONE simple step for 2015 that will give you the greatest benefit to your health, waistline, and lifestyle, then enjoy eating at least 30 grams of health-boosting fiber every day.
Here is another example on how to get to 30 grams daily:
- 2 pieces of fruit (one cup of berries or cherries counts as one fruit) 6 grams
- 2 handfuls (about 1 ounce/handful) of nuts 6 grams
- 3 cups of veggie (carrots, peas, broccoli, peppers, beets, etc.) 10 grams
- 1 ounce of dark chocolate 1 gram
- ½ cup of beans in soups, salads, side dishes or dips (like hummus) 7 grams
Total fiber from this basic day would be 30 grams. As an alternative, if you don’t have the beans, or you miss some of the veggies, have 2 scoops of protein-fiber powder in a smoothie (my Chocolate Heart Shake has 9 grams of fiber per serving and my Vanilla Heart Shake has 6 grams of fiber per serving).
I wish you the very best of health and happiness for the New Year and beyond!
Steven Masley, MD