Today I’m going to reveal a way of approaching nutrition that will get you into those jeans that mock you for their tightness, help bring out your abs, guns and get your body healthy!
For some reason this is over looked a lot of the time and main stream mass media can be largely held to blame. I believe the foundation to optimal nutrition for all of us lies first off in 3 key areas.
If I asked you- what should your diet consist of? What would you say?
- Some protein, carbs and a little good fats
What if I asked- should you eat fat? What would you say?
- Yes, but only the right kind in small amounts.
- I’m not really sure, there seems to be so much differing information on this out there.
- Yeah maybe some olive oil and fish oil but avoid animal fat and things like butter
These are all pretty reasonable and common answers to a question like this. The overriding factor usually being confusion of source of fats, amount used and when. This is where comments through the mass media such as “Make sure you eat good fats”, “The right healthy fats are important” and “Fat is a killer!” come in and add fuel to the mystification flame.
I believe there doesn’t need to be so much bewilderment, however, I understand how there is when this stuff is pedalled around coupled with the kind of governmental recommendations that are as archaic as attempting to fit 2 animals from every species into an ark. Moreover, as inaccurate as a non Spanish speaking Spanish translator. Què? (that’s ‘what’ in Spanish. I think)
Yes we need the right kind of fats. Good fats as they’re known more commonly. The question that stumps most is what exactly? Well I have a list of fats that I eat daily and encourage my clients to eat, these I would call good fats. I’ll get into these in more depth shortly, but there’s more to it thatn just good fats.
When it comes to common nutritional advice, it’s this term good fats that irks me. It usually accompanies “Eat (insert varied recommendations on amount here) protein, (same here) carbs and a small amount of good fats”. Where is the consistency?
It’s not just fats that must be good.
Do you want to know what it takes to get a lean, defined shape and healthy body composition?
Before we get complicated and dive into amounts and percentages of total daily energy intake, calories blah blah blah…. We must first get the choices right. So, yes we need good fats, but what is completely lacking from any large scale recommendations is that your protein choices must be good (excellent) and your carbohydrate choices must be good (excellent) also!
Nutrition for complete and optimal health, body composition (yes this means a six-pack, tight shaped butt/thighs etc…), athletic performance and general living must include good proteins, good carbs and good fats. So before we go thinking about our perplexing good fat choices and leaving the rest of our diet as an argument for the dieticians, and getting confused with calories and macronutrient levels, we need to consider the quality of all our food sources. This is how we get in real shape. Remember this: abs are made in the kitchen!
Is this a revelation?
Ultimate nutrition to get you lean, ripped, defined shape & cruves, and healthy contains quality protein sources, quality carbohydrate sources and quality fat sources. This has to be the starting point for all nutrition plans.
So, let’s take a look at what is good and what is not. Below I have outlined a quick and easy table to get you going:
|Farmed meat pasture fed/raised)||Grain fed & hormone/antibiotic treated meat||Animal fat from healthy animals||Vegetable oils eg. Canola, sunflower||Leafy green vegetables||Sugar & refined grains eg. flour|
|Wild meat||Processed meat eg. hotdogs, commercial deli meats||Coconut oil- extra virgin cold pressed||Margarines||Root veggies eg. Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot||Starchy potatoes|
|Free range organic eggs||Cage eggs||Avocado||Buckwheat||Pasta|
|Raw nuts/raw nut butters eg. ABC- almond brazil & cashew nut butter||Nuts containing vegetable oils etc||Fish oil from wild fish||Processed low fat foods||Black/wild rice||Noodles|
|Raw dairy, organic full fat unhomogenised||Low fat/processed dairy||Olive oil (extra virgin), Apricot kernel oil/almond oil||Fruit especially berries and dark skin fruits|
|Pure protein powders- WPI||Protein supplements containing ingredients you can’t pronounce||Raw nuts/raw nut butters|
|Free range organic eggs|
Firstly, what about these mysterious ‘good fats’?
In my opinion, we are too afraid of fat, we hold it at arm’s length thinking- “It’s got FAT in it, which means it’ll be in me and I’ll get fat!” Well, as we started out here today, when it comes to eating fat- good fat choices is the key!
Some fats are amazing for us; they provide us with energy, nutrients and all sorts of supportive additions to our bodies proper functioning. On the other hand, some are rubbish and may as well be labelled poison!I
What fats should I eat then?
I recommend daily consumption of fish oil, be it from eating oily wild fish or supplementing with a quality capsule or liquid from wild fish or krill, extra virgin coconut oil, and animals fats from healthy pasture fed free range animals. This is a hotly debated topic and a real can of worms, however having done a lot of reading and reviewing of research and review articles (and always constantly searching out more) I am happy to recommend appropriate consumption of animal fat. It has amazing nutritional benefits and when eaten with nutrient dense vegetable assists in the absorption of these vital nutrients, which without those amazing fat sources we struggle to absorb and digest.
So have pasture raised butter on your greens, cook your quality meat with the fat on, use ghee and coconut oil to cook with, eat avocados, just make sure it is in moderation and part of a complete and balanced diet. This way you are getting the real nutrients you need and require, especially while doing the appropriate exercise and resistance training. For more information on training get in touch, or start by reading my training plans here.
As well as these I advocate extra virgin olive oil on salads and cooking on low heats, but not high heats as it becomes rancid and loses its amazing beneficial properties, apricot kernel oil which is great for many reasons including the skin especially sensitive skin so can be used as a topical treatment as well as a dietary supplement- I use this daily in my breakfast smoothie, and avocados. Other sources of good fats we’ll cover in more detail next time, such as eggs and nuts, just make sure they are part of your balanced diet… starting to see a theme here?
What are the ‘bad fats’ then?
Unfortunately we live in a world where some terrible decisions have been made that still affect us daily and remain highly present in many foods, recipes and even ‘expert’ recommendations. But to keep this simple for you, avoid the following:
- Vegetable oils, such as canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil
These oils are full of trans fats, or unsaturated fats and should be flat out avoided for the horrible affect they have on the human body. We struggle to deal with the contents of this stuff and they cause all sorts of oxidative stress and cellular damage that I won’t bore you with, but suffice to say these are not only not good for you, they are BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH! For a nice little summary on butter vs. margarine have a read of this article.
But I thought fat was a killer?
This is the common thought and unfortunately the rubbish we are sold and have had shoved down our throats since a guy called Ancel Keys started the dreadful snowball that is the ‘Lipid Hypothesis’, which essentially states that dietary fat causes high levels of cholesterol which in turn causes heart disease . This took over and anyone proving anything to the contrary was in effect shunned and their research not backed or funded. Governments took this theory and its skewed and biased evidence as fact and we end up where we are today; fat will kill you!
A great book to read on this subject is ‘Good Calories Bad Calories’ by Gary Taubes, it explains this process very well.
What the latest and best research is actually showing (and even a lot of the old ignored stuff) is that is very little link between cholesterol and heart disease and it is in fact systemic inflammation which leads to increased risk of heart disease, and has been shown to be linked to high levels of sugar and refined carbohydrates. A term known as ‘The Cholesterol Myth’ is slowly making its way into mainstream media and you can read about it here . I strongly suggest you arm yourself with this information and question what your GP is pushing, especially if you are hearing the term “we need to put you on cholesterol lowering drugs”.
For more information on saturated fats and their amazing benefits, have a look here, this article outlines things really well and should help you understand that yes indeed there are good fats and we should not be afraid of them! However, products like margarines that ‘lower your cholesterol’ are not it! Nor are ‘low fat’ or ‘no fat’ options. If the fat that, was most likely beneficial to begin with, has been removed then it no doubt contains chemicals and sugar that will cause damage and make you fat! Simple.
I need an example of saturated fats usefulness
I’ll give you two! Think of our first food. What do we consume only for the first 6 months or so of life? Breast milk. This is high in fat, including saturated fat and guess what else- cholesterol, which is crucial for proper brain development. So why do we shy away from these key nutritional components as adults?
If you look into the diets of indigenous Inuit’s you’ll see that up to 75% of their diet is from saturated fat, as well as meat and other occasional contents when available in season. They did not have modern diseases, nor even have a word for cancer.
Hold on, I’ll make it three! ME. I consume copious amounts of animal fat, fish oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts and eggs. Now I’m not advocating everyone eat as much as I do, as I train pretty hard, remain very lean year round and eat a lot to put on lean muscle. But the content of my diet is the key take home here. I’m healthy, energetic, I sleep well and I am ripped. Simple.
So, yes we need healthy fats! But we also need healthy protein and healthy carbohydrates! Get these contents right, then you can address the amounts and timings of your food intake which when all nailed together will give you the ideal nutritional plan to get lean, ripped, sexy and healthy!
See how you go with the above table over the coming week, and the fats outlined here and next post I’ll get into much more detail about our good protein and good carbohydrate options are and why they should be ruled in or bad ones ruled out. Note that I avoid eating bad food choices as much as possible, so there may be many more things that I have not included, simply because they are not even on my radar. If you find yourself questioning something that isn’t in here, then drop me a line and ask.
But as a rule of thumb: if it’s processed and has been altered from its natural state to get to your mouth, leave it out where possible.
All the best, and until then… Want to drop body fat and get lean and healthy? Choose quality food options!
Read part 2 here
Great article Mike, this will help me heaps!
What brand of butter and ghee do you get and where do you get it. I have searched everywhere for organic Australian butter (I like to buy local where possible) but can not seem to get it, even at the farmers market. I can get organic milk and cheese, but not butter. I can only seem to find Danish organic butter.
I think you do pretty well anyways!
I use a ghee by Miller, it is Australian made. However, when it comes to butter it’s a bit more erratic. At the moment I have Lurpack, which is a product of Denmark. I’ll look into it a bit more for you, but I think there are some good products available. Watch this space…
Great post. Can you go one step further and tell us the brands of the products you eat? Eg, the yogurts, milks and oils you use?
I don’t always stick to the same brands, but some get a decent amount of time:
Where possible I get Cleopatra’s Bath Milk which is simply raw milk. You can get this in a number of health food stores in Sydney. Outside of that you should be able to get some raw milk at the various farmers markets around the place. Second to raw milk I use organic, unhomogenised full fat milk. There are quite a few brands around. Paul’s Pure Organic has a good full fat unhomogenised option. I mostly shop at Harris Farm Markets which have their own brand of this, as well as natural pot set yoghurt. Which is what you want- no sugars added, just full cream milk and cultures, try Barambah Organics or Jalna Biodynamic Organic. Also a natural greek yoghurt usually does a great job here, Farmer’s Union is good as well.
The coconut oil I currently have is Banaban extra virgin cold pressed. There are many good brands out there, just get to a good health food store, and go for extra virgin. Same with olive oil too- less processed. I use Melrose apricot kernel oil in my smoothies and in small amounts as a skin product on my face post shave.
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excellent post. great information.
Thanks Frank. Part two coming out Thursday…
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