Top 55 Lean Body Foods

by Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
 
 
Boost Your Energy, Balance Hormones and Lose Body Fat
 
 

In many of my Newsletters, I like to provide a healthy snack or meal recipe that not only is delicious and healthy, but also helps to get you closer to that hard-body appearance that everyone is looking for, while also more importantly, improving your health for life. In this article, I’d like to give you healthy food ideas in a different way. This time, I figured I’d just give you some ideas of what I stock my fridge and cabinets with.

Remember, if you don’t have junk around the house, you’re less likely to eat junk!  If all you have is healthy nutritious foods around the house, you’re forced to make smart choices. Basically, it all starts with making smart choices and avoiding temptations when you make your grocery store trip. Now these are just some of my personal preferences, but perhaps they will give you some good ideas that you’ll enjoy.
 
Some of these will be obvious healthy choices, such as fruits and veggies… however, others on this page I think will surprise you!

Alright, so let’s start with the fridge. Each week, I try to make sure I’m loaded up with lots of varieties of fresh vegetables. During the growing season, I only get local produce, but obviously in winter, I have to resort to the produce at the grocery store.

Most of the time, I make sure I have plenty of vegetables like onions, zucchini,  spinach, fresh mushrooms, red peppers, broccoli, etc. to use in my morning eggs.  I also like to chop up some organic chicken or turkey sausage or grass-fed bison sausage into the eggs, along with some swiss, jack, or goat cheeses (preferably raw grass-fed cheeses when I can find them).

By the way I’m talking about whole eggs, NOT egg whites.  Always remember that the yolk is the most nutritious and nutrient dense part of the egg, so only eating egg whites is like throwing away the best part… and no, it’s NOT bad for you because of the cholesterol… whole eggs actually raise your GOOD cholesterol.  Try to get free range organic eggs for the best quality. Here’s an entire article I did on the topic of whole eggs vs egg whites.
 
Coconut milk is another staple in my fridge. I like to use it to mix in with smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for a rich, creamy taste. Not only does coconut milk add a rich, creamy taste to lots of dishes, but it’s also full of healthy saturated fats. Yes, you heard me right… I said healthy saturated fats!  …Healthy saturated fats such as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), specifically an MCT called lauric acid, which is vitally important for your immune system.

If the idea of healthy saturated fats is foreign to you, check out my article about why saturated fat is not as bad as you think.
 
Back to the fridge, some other staples:
 

    • Walnuts, pecans, almonds – delicious and great sources of healthy fats.  Try to get raw nuts if possible as the roasting process can oxidize some of the polyunsaturated fats in some types of nuts making those damaged fats slightly more inflammatory.  Overall, nuts are still healthy even if they are roasted, but raw nuts are optimal.

 

    • Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt (grass-fed and organic if possible) – I like to mix cottage or ricotta cheese and yogurt together with chopped nuts and berries for a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.

 

    • Chia seeds and/or hemp seeds – I add these highly nutritious seeds to yogurt, smoothies, or salads for a great nutty taste and loads of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals. Don’t use pre-ground versions of these seeds as the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and prone to oxidation, creating high levels of free radicals if you use pre-ground seeds.  No grinding is necessary to properly digest these seeds.

 

    • Whole eggs – one of natures richest sources of nutrients (and remember, they increase your GOOD cholesterol so stop fearing them).

 

    • Salsa – I try to get creative and try some of the exotic varieties of salsas.

 

    • Avocados – love them…plus a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients. Try adding them to wraps, salads, or sandwiches.

 




 

    • Butter – don’t believe the naysayers; butter adds great flavor to anything and CAN be part of a healthy diet… just keep the quantity small because it is calorie dense… and NEVER use margarine, unless you want to assure yourself a heart attack.Most important — choose organic butter only, since pesticides and other harmful chemicals accumulate in the fat of the milk which is used for butter, so choosing organic helps avoid this problem.  Also, and MOST importantly, always choose grass-fed (pastured) butter as it will contain higher levels of healthful omega-3 fats and the fat-burning conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) …Kerrygold is a popular pasture-raised butter in most stores.

 

    • Nut butters – Plain old peanut butter has gotten a little old for me (and peanuts aren’t as healthy as other nuts due to aflatoxin concerns), so I get creative and mix together almond butter with pecan butter, or even cashew butter with macadamia butter…delicious and unbeatable nutrition!  Using a variety of nut butters gives you a broader range of vitamins and minerals and other micronutrients, and gives you variety instead of boring old peanut butter all the time.

 

    • Leaf lettuce and spinach along with shredded carrots – for salads with dinner.

 

    • Home-made salad dressing – using balsamic vinegar, spices, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo’s Choice oil blend. This is much better than store bought salad dressing which mostly use highly refined canola or soybean oil (canola and soybean oil are both very inflammatory in the body).  Here’s an article showing why to NEVER use store-bought salad dressings.

 

  • Sprouted grain bread for occasional use — My personal belief from years of nutrition research is that we’re not really meant to consume the massive quantities of grains (not even whole grains) that we do in this day and age… a small amount may be okay, but our digestive systems are still primarily adapted to a hunter/gatherer type of diet with only a very small amount of grains, therefore I try to only have breads and other grain-based foods on cheat days.  Just remember that too much gluten (which is still in most sprouted grain breads) can cause some degree of damage to your gut health even if you’re not officially gluten intolerant.

 
Some of the staples in the freezer:
 

    • Frozen berries – during the local growing season, I only get fresh berries, but during the other 10 months of the year, I always keep a supply of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. to add to high fiber cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, or smoothies. I also get frozen goji berries sometimes for a little “exotic” variety.

 

 

    • Frozen chicken breasts – very convenient for a quick addition to wraps or chicken sandwiches for quick meals.

 

    • Grass-fed steaks, burgers, and ground beef:  Grass-fed meats have been shown to have as high as, or even higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than salmon (without the mercury).  Also, grass-fed meats have much higher levels of fat-burning and muscle-building conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to typical grain-fed beef that you’ll find at your grocery store.  I recently found an excellent on-line store where I buy all of my grass-fed meats now (they even deliver right to your door in a sealed cooler) – www.healthygrassfed.2ya.com

 

    • Frozen buffalo, ostrich, venison, and other “exotic” lean meats – Yeah, I know…I’m weird, but I can tell you that these are some of the healthiest meats around, and if you’re serious about a lean healthy body, these types of meats are much better for you than the mass produced, hormone-pumped beef, chicken, and pork that’s sold at most grocery stores.

 

  • Frozen veggies – again, when the growing season is over and I can no longer get local fresh produce, frozen veggies are the best option, since they often have higher nutrient contents compared to the fresh produce that has been shipped thousands of miles, sitting around for weeks before making it to your dinner table.

 
Alright, now the staples in my cabinets:
 

    • Various antioxidant-rich teas – green, oolong, white, rooibos (red tea) are some of the healthiest.  One of my newest favorite teas is yerba mate, which is a south american tea that is loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients. I’ve found some delicious yerba mate mixes such as chocolate yerba mate, mint mate, raspberry mate, etc.

 

    • Oat bran and steel cut oats – higher fiber than those little packs of instant oats, which are typically loaded with sugar.  If I’m trying to reduce body fat and get extra lean, I make most of my breakfasts based on eggs and veggies and bison sausage, but if I’m on a muscle building phase, I increase carbohydrate intake and use more oat bran and oatmeal.

 

    • The only healthy oils I have in my cabinets are virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Macadamia oil may also be a reasonable choice as long as it’s not “refined”.  But other than that, all “vegetable oils” (which is usually soy and corn oil) are total junk and very inflammatory. Never use soy or corn oils!  Also, always avoid canola oil, as there is nothing healthy about canola oil, despite the deceptive marketing claims by the canola oil industry.

 

    • Cans of coconut milk (loaded with healthy saturated MCT fats) – to be transferred to a container in the fridge after opening.

 

    • Tomato sauces – delicious, and as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, they are a great source of lycopene. Just watch out for the brands that are loaded with nasty high fructose corn syrup.  You also want to make sure that the tomato sauce is made with olive oil instead of unhealthy soybean oil or canola oils. Also get tomato sauces in glass jars instead of cans, as canned tomatoes are notoriously high in the dangerous chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA) due to the acidic leaching of BPA from the can lining.

 

    • Stevia – a natural non-caloric sweetener, which is an excellent alternative to the nasty chemical-laden artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.

 

    • Raw honey – better than processed honey… higher quantities of beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Honey has even been proven in studies to improve glucose metabolism (your efficiency in processing carbohydrates).  I use a small teaspoon every morning in my teas.  Yes, I know that even honey is pure sugar, but at least it has some nutritional benefits… and let’s be real, a teaspoon of healthier raw honey is only 5 grams of carbs… certainly nothing to worry about, and a better choice than refined sugar.

 

    • Organic REAL maple syrup – none of that high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima crap…only real maple syrup can be considered real food. The only time I really use this (because of the high sugar load) is added to my post-workout smoothies to sweeten things up and also elicit an insulin surge to push nutrients into your muscles to aid muscle recovery.

 

    • Organic unsweetened cocoa powder – I like to mix this into my smoothies for an extra jolt of antioxidants or make my own low-sugar hot cocoa by mixing cocoa powder into hot milk with stevia and a couple melted dark chocolate chunks (delicious!).

 

    • Cans of black or kidney beans – I like to add a couple scoops to my Mexican dishes for the fiber and high nutrition content. Also, beans are surprisingly one of the best sources of youth enhancing antioxidants!  Did you know that black beans and kidney beans have more antioxidants than blueberries…it’s true!

 

  • Dark chocolate (as dark as possible – ideally more than 70-75% cocoa content) – This is one of my treats that satisfies my sweet tooth, plus provides loads of antioxidants at the same time. It’s still calorie dense, so I keep it to just 1-2 small squares after a meal… but that is enough to do the trick, so I don’t feel like I need to go out and get cake and ice cream to satisfy my dessert urges.

 
Lastly, another thing that’s hard to go wrong with is a good variety of fresh fruits and berries. The staples such as bananas, apples, oranges, pears, peaches are good, but I like to also be a little more adventurous and include things like yellow (aka – mexican or champagne) mangoes, pomegranates, kumquats, papaya, star fruit, pineapples, and others. Also, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries (the highest fiber berry) and cherries are some of the most nutrient and antioxidant-dense fruits you can eat.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this special look into my favorite lean body meals and how I stock my cabinets and fridge. Your tastes are probably quite different than mine, but hopefully this gave you some good ideas you can use next time you’re at the grocery store looking to stock up a healthy and delicious pile of groceries.

Ok, those were some of the healthiest lean-body foods you can stock your cabinet with, BUT see the next page below for 23 foods to AVOID if you want to be lean:

Next Page:  AVOID these 23 “healthy” foods that make you fat and unhealthy 

Good Trans Fats vs. Bad Trans Fats

by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
 
 
Artificial trans fats are one of the most prevalent poisons in our food supply; but most don’t know that healthy natural trans fats DO exist.
 
 
I’m going to talk about something today that most of you have probably never heard… that there is a distinction between good trans fats and bad trans fats. There is some evidence that the good trans fats can help you with fat loss, muscle building, and even cancer prevention, while the bad trans fats have been shown to cause heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and the general “blubbering” of your body.

I’m sure most of you have heard all of the ruckus in the news over the last few years about just how bad man-made trans fats are for your health. If you’ve been a reader of my newsletter and my Truth about Six Pack Abs e-book program, then you definitely know my opinion that these substances are some of the most evil food additives of all and are found in the vast majority of all processed foods and fast foods on the market today.

In my opinion, man-made trans fats are right up there with smoking in terms of their degree of danger to your health. After all, they are one of THE MAIN factors for the explosion of heart disease since approximately the 1950’s.

With all of the talk about trans fats in the news these days, I wanted to clarify some things, particularly regarding bad trans fats vs. good trans fats. If you’ve never heard of good trans fats before, let me explain in a bit.
 
The Bad Trans Fats

First, the bad trans fats I’m referring to are the man-made kind. These are represented by any artificially hydrogenated oils. The main culprits are margarine, shortening, and partially hydrogenated oils that are in most processed foods, junk foods, and deep fried foods.

These hydrogenated oils are highly processed using harsh chemical solvents like hexane (a component of gasoline), high heat, pressure, have a metal catalyst added, and are then deodorized and bleached. A small % of the solvent is allowed to remain in the finished oil. This has now become more of an industrial oil rather than a food oil, but somehow the FDA still allows the food manufacturers to put this crap in our food at huge quantities, even with the well documented health dangers.

These hydrogenated oils cause inflammation inside of your body, which signals the deposition of cholesterol as a healing agent on artery walls. Hence, hydrogenated oil = inflammation = clogged arteries. You can see why heart disease has exploded since this crap has been loaded into our food supply over the last 5 to 6 decades.

As time goes on, and science continues to unveil how deadly these oils really are, I feel that eventually they will be illegal and banned from use. The labeling laws were just the first step. In fact, certain countries around the world have already banned the use of hydrogenated oils in food manufacturing or at least set dates to phase them out for good.

However, keep in mind that as companies are starting to phase out the use of hydrogenated oils in processed foods, they are replacing them, in most instances, with highly refined polyunsaturated oils such as soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, etc, etc. These are still heavily processed oils using high heat, solvents, deodorizers, and bleaching agents. Even refined oils are known to produce inflammation in your body…a far cry from natural sources of healthy fats.

Don’t be fooled by the new onslaught of foods claiming “trans fat free”… if they use heavily refined oils (even if they’re non-hydrogenated), it’s still pure evil for your body, and very inflammatory.

Once again, for the best results, your best bet is avoiding highly processed foods altogether and choose whole, natural, minimally processed foods. Your body will thank you!
 




 
The Good Trans Fats

Ok, after having trash talked the man-made trans fats, let me clearly state that there is such a thing as healthy natural trans fats. Natural trans fats are created in the stomachs of ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, etc. and make their way into the fat stores of the animals.

Therefore, the milk fat and the fat within the meat of these animals can provide natural healthy trans fats (best in grass-fed organic versions only).

Natural trans fats in your diet have been thought to have some potential benefit to aid in both muscle building and fat loss efforts. However, keep in mind that the quantity of healthy trans fats in the meat and dairy of ruminant animals is greatly reduced by mass-production methods of farming and their grain and soy heavy diets. Meat and dairy from grass-fed, free-range animals always have much higher quantities of these beneficial fats.

One such natural trans fat that you may have heard of is called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and has been marketed by many weight loss companies. Keep in mind that these man-made CLA pills you see in the stores may not be the best way to get CLA in your diet. They are artificially made from plant oils in a manner similar to hydrogenation, instead of the natural process that happens in ruminant animals. Once again, man-made just doesn’t compare to the benefits of natural sources.

Here’s a great site I found that I use to order all of my healthy grass-fed beef and other free range meats. The service is impeccable and they deliver right to your doorstep in a sealed cooler. It’s worth it to know that you and your family are actually eating meat that’s good for you instead of the normal grocery store junk.

Now that all of your labels should be listing grams of trans fat, keep in mind that if a quantity of trans fat is listed on a meat or dairy product, it is most likely the natural good trans fats that we’ve discussed here (*I only recommend grass-fed meat or dairy). Otherwise, if the quantity of trans fat is listed on any processed foods, it is most likely the dangerous unhealthy crap from artificially hydrogenated oils, so stay away!

One more important note about food labels and trans fat listings… keep in mind that food manufacturers are allowed to label a food “trans fat free” if 1 serving size contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat. So you may see some products with hydrogenated oils as one of their main ingredients, but if they make the serving size small enough so that it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, they can label it as trans fat free… now that’s BS! just another example of their broken system!
 
Next Page:  AVOID these 23 “healthy” foods that make you fat and unhealthy 
 
 

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