Now one of the questions on the feedback form is, "Do you eat lots of fruits and vegetables?"
The most common reply: yes. And it's always a lie.
But the truth comes out pretty quickly.
When I take a look at their daily diet record, many of these clients aren't eating any vegetables at all. Not a single vegetable all day.
Listen, I guarantee you that not eating fibrous vegetables means that you are not going to reach your fat loss goals.
If you want to be lean, but don't think you need any vegetables at all to accomplish this goal, then I'd like to know what color the broccoli is in your world, because getting lean just isn't going to happen for you.
You can bump up the lean protein and knock down your sugar intake, but if you aren't pumping up the greens in your diet, you're going to be frustrated with your fat loss.
Find out more about proper eating from female health and fitness expert, Rachel Cosgrove.
Craig Ballantyne: Do you have any super foods that you think absolutely must be in everyone's diet for health and wellness purposes?
Green vegetables are a super food. I usually try to get my clients to have some kind of vegetable at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. They can throw some spinach in their eggs, have a salad at lunch and broccoli at dinner for example.
The other super food besides green vegetables is essential fats, whether it is from foods or in supplement form everyone should be getting their Omega 3 fats. Over and over again in the research Omega 3 fats prevent all types of diseases and are truly a super food. So eat fish and green vegetables!
CB: Where should someone start if they want to take their healthy eating to the next level? (i.e. beyond just eating regular supermarket chicken and vegetables). What are some tips to eating as healthy as possible?
Get out of your rut. Too many people get stuck in a rut of eating the same thing every day. You should rotate your foods. If you eat a food today, you shouldn't eat it again for four days. This is called a rotation diet and works great for your health and for decreasing inflammation. Basically if you have chicken today, don't eat it again for four days.
This is really hard to do and I dont usually give a true rotation diet to too many people but I do emphasis variety and trying to eat different foods throughout the week.
Basically each time you go to the grocery store try to buy something different, try buffalo or ostrich meat or a different type of fish. Grab a new vegetable you have never tried.
CB: What ratio of carbohydrates, fat and protein is best for fat loss or is this something that must be approached individually?
This is individual, depending on metabolism and activity level.
Following a Low Junk Diet cuts your carbohydrates back pretty low though so I suppose if I were to recommend anything, it would be lower carbohydrate where all the carbs are from fruits and vegetables.
I would never say no carbohydrates though. You have to be careful because if you cut back too much you'll be too tired to move and then you'll burn less calories and it'll back fire on you. I also like to cycle in a higher carbohydrate day once or twice a week.
CB: What are some common Western-diet foods that cause problems such as fat gain, inflammation, food allergies, etc.?
Fast food, processed junk, sodas- again, stick to whole, natural foods. Remember "Green Faces."
(The majority of people would do well sticking to whole, natural foods. We have a nutrition plan we start people on at our gym to eliminate the junk from their diets called "Green Faces" and it consists of eating foods that are green or that had a face. That's it, nothing else.)
Allergies are usually from bombarding your body with the same foods over and over again. Most common allergies are wheat, dairy and sugar. If you are having symptoms of allergies such as post nasal drip, fatigue, bloat, gas, excess mucus, etc. try eliminating wheat, dairy and sugar and see if your symptoms disappear. It is most likely one of these foods.
CB: What are the benefits of eating organic food? How does a customer know if the food is organic?
For myself and my clients I recommend eating organic when possible.
Organic food will have lower amounts of pesticide residue. Don't let this scare you though, eat more fruits and vegetables, organic or conventional, and you'll be healthier. Just be sure to wash your produce well before eating.
I have started to see more and more organic foods in the regular grocery store which makes it easier to get. It will say "Certified Organic" on it, meaning it was grown on an organic farm. I also love to visit the local Farmers Market every week, this is a great way to get a variety of really fresh vegetables, some organic.
CB: What are the best teas for us to be drinking? Where should we buy them (commercial grocery store, real Chinese health food stores, etc.)?
Green Tea has thermogenic, anti cancer and cardio-protective properties. What better way to start off your day! Skip the coffee and have green tea. You can find organic green tea at your regular grocery store.
CB: Thanks Rachel. It's easy to eat well for fat loss and health, you just have to plan ahead. So plan, shop, and prepare on the weekends so that you have great meals and snacks all week long.
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men's Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines and all over the Internet, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit http://www.TurbulenceTraining.com