Weight Loss and Diet
I have written a few blogs and posts on weight loss before but I still get the question all the time so let me get deeper into the subject of weight loss, yoga and diet.
I will start these series of posts on weight loss and my goal is to answer all the questions and address all the confusion on the subject.
Lets start with the most important aspect of health and weight loss.
DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS
The most important aspect of your health, weight and state of mental/spiritual/physical well being is your attitude! The second most important thing to be aware of and is fully in your control, is your diet.
Your diet affects your moods, emotions, thoughts, spirituality, health, energy, beauty and of course your weight. This might be a far fetched idea for some of you but I will tell you that I am a strong believer in your diet as a main aid in your spirituality. The body, mind connection is your anchor upon this earth and affects us tremendously. In fact, I believe that your diet controls your genes and how they are expressed in terms of physical development and healing.
I have written multiple articles on diet, food and herbs that might have already geared you toward a more plant based diet.
If you are trying to lose weight in a healthy way here is my approach and advise as an herbal yoga student for life:
1. Adopt a plant based diet! Period
Unfortunately I can’t sugar coat this one. There is no way around this one. A plant based diet will save your life, health and the lives of millions of animals while saving the Earth. It will help you clarify your thoughts, even crystalize your thoughts and elevate your consciousness. Oh yeah, it will give you nice dimple free thighs and booty as well 😛
2. Drop all processed foods from your diet. It might seem hard in the beginning but stick to it. Every time you crave junk or processed foods, instead stuff your face with ripe bananas or lettuce with one of my dips that I have shared on MY BLOG and over time you will lose interest in anything processed. Processed foods actually taste bad once your palette is clean. I cannot see the appeal in donuts because the only thing that I can taste is rancid oils, white bleached sugar and dull white flour that is bland GMO and over processed. Artificial flavoring cannot cover up the lack of flavor and nutrition for me that is in DEAD foods. Learn to read labels and if the food that you’re considering to eat has a bunch of tongue-twister ingredients in it, well you should probably pass on it.
The taste of dates or even coconut sugar compared to white sugar is not even in the same category.
3. Drop all plant oils and animal fats from your diet. This is actually so important that I could have had it as the first bullet point. Yes, olive oil too. Yes! Flax seed oil too. Yes, grass fed butter too. OK you can make exceptions when you go to a restaurant or a party and all you can get is a salad with olive oil on it. Just make sure you don’t go to a restaurant that doesn’t serve anything that you can have on a healthy diet every day and you will be OK. No need to be dogmatic but make sure not to have added oils on a day to day basis.
Oils are processed foods! Its an extract of one macronutrient. A high in fat diet is proven over and over again to clog your arteries and add inches to your waist line. Yes, you can be lean and eat a high fat diet. In fact I have lived on raw macadamias out of the shell and veggies but you do have to calorie restrict and your fat distribution/body constitution and body composition will be less than optimal for your body. Plus who wants to eat tiny portions all the time and worry about weight gain just so they can slather their food with a processed, extracted oil from a whole food. Instead add small amounts of avocados, reduced salt olives, coconuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, perilla seeds, tofu, chia seeds, almonds, etc to your dressings and recipes. This will provide you with enough flavor and satisfaction while still keeping you healthy.
4. Adopt a mostly vegan or a complete vegan diet. Definitely drop the meat. That meat used to be an alive, beautiful animal at one point and there is no way around that one. For you to eat meat that means a living being needed to die a painful death and that’s not ok for the dawn of the new paradigm of humanity and the new collective awakening and individual consciousness that is currently emerging.
I have to admit I have been unwilling to say this so bluntly before as eating meat is a personal choice and I never give advice to people as to what they should do. But for the purposes of this article I have to be 100% transparent and honest or I won’t be of help to anyone.
I became vegetarian at the age of 15 or so (I don’t exactly remember but it was 7th grade or so- Bulgarian educational system) It was an inner drive and a decision I made on my own as my consciousness began to awaken. I didn’t know a single vegetarian until this point so I was really venturing into the unknown. Vegetarianism was not popular or hip in Bulgaria at the time. I made a decision to be different and follow an inner guide and be embarrassed about it in front of my friends but still did it. I have never looked back. It was the right thing to do for my body and soul. Do not follow societal codes, mainstream media and mass dis-information campaigns that are being perpetrated by governments and elitist backed think tanks. Be brave! Be unapologetic about who you are and your desire to be your own teacher and own guide through this dimension that we call life.
5. Drop eggs and diary out of your diet for the most part. I eat vegan almost 100% of the time. But if I go to Bulgaria and see somewhere in the mountains while backpacking a grandma selling her own yogurt made from the milk of her small herd that her 90 year old husband takes out every day (true story) be sure that I will buy yogurt from her. That is an exception and a consciously made exception at that. I also love to eat the honey that my father harvests from his bees. Bulgaria still has some of the oldest breeds of sheep and cows in Europe and if we don’t continue this tradition it will soon be replaced by mass corporate farming and sales of the cancer-causing milk of Holstein cows.
The yogurt in Bulgaria is grass and herb fed and coming from sheep breeds that are unknown here. The bacterial culture and the climate there is unique and the yogurt should not even be called yogurt 🙂 It’s it’s own unique thing and my heart aches realizing that a generation from now it will most likely be extinct unless we do something about it. It’s thick and cream-like and it smells like the unique herbs in the mountains. Yes, it is an acquired taste as I lovingly say “iIt smells like sheep’s ass” 🙂 But really it’s one of the things to try before you die. Put it on your bucket list and hope that the 80 year old grandma stays alive and takes care of her sheep for another 20 years until we the youth wake up from our mass coma. Maybe I will plan and do a yoga retreat in the coming year somewhere ecological and breathtakingly beautiful with food beyond your taste bud-believes.
I took this photo of this sweet woman while she was selling her home made fresh sheep soft feta cheese and at the same time she was generously asking me to wash my grapes I was munching on. You see she was genuinely concerned a total stranger is eating unwashed grapes.
6. Eat mostly carbs!!! Fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, millet, pumpkins, carrots, pasta, sprouted or real sourdough bread. Make carbs the majority of your calories and see your weight drop, your waist line become smaller and your muscles will grow. My partner finally decided to follow my diet and eat mostly bananas and pasta while training and guess what happened!? He had to throw all his shirts out as they would NOT fit around his biceps and shoulders any more yet his waist line has gotten visibly thiner and his belly is flatter. GO FIGURE! HEH!
7. Eat tons of veggies! Whatever is in season and local and affordable. I go to the store or farmers market not thinking I will buy anything in particular. I just buy whatever is in season and abundant.
8. Buy ORGANIC whenever you can. Definitely buy organic from the dirty dozen list. And absolutely avoid anything that MIGHT BE GMO. This would include but not limited to:
Basically if you eat out you are most likely eating GMO foods as all restaurants and food trucks, street stands use corn or soy or canola oil, soy sauce, corn starch, etc in their food.
Put your dollars in supporting the right cause. You do not have to spend a ton of money on food. If you are on a budget you can still keep your bills low and be healthy. Just focus on bananas, rice and potatoes as your staple. Buy them organic and buy veggies and fruits on sale to add a lot of variety. It’s as simple as that. And you will see your health improving. Don’t buy into the whole superfood fad. It’s another diversion from the truth and true health. Someone is always trying to make money while taking you away from simplicity and true health.
The Okinawa people have been the longest living people on the planet eating a diet close to 80 10 10. 80% calories from carbs. 10% from fat and 10% from protein.
7. Drink water on empty stomach. Drink 1.5- 2.5 liters a day.
8. Eat fruit on empty stomach or before your meals.
9. Do not get caught up in the high protein myth. Just eat whole foods and lots of them.
10. At first use a website like cron-o-meter that will calculate your ratios, Make sure you are getting 80% or more from your calories from carbs. If you feel hungry, dissatisfied or tired in the beginning just increase your carbs. Add dates to your smoothies. Or have dates for breakfast.
11. Do not mix nuts with fruit.
12. Do not mix fruit with veggies. Exceptions are OK, but dont make it a rule. Only tender greens such as lettuce can be combined with fruit.
13. Add your tips and questions or requests for follow up posts in the comments below. Really weight loss is more simple and painless than you think. In addition it’s affordable, satisfying and delicious. Check out my “What I eat in a day” posts for day planning ideas.
I am always full and satisfied and happy when I am following a high carb vegan lifestyle.
One supplement to add is b12 as our food supply is very “disinfected” and it’s better to just supplement with this as it is cheap and simple. Just one thing compared to the tens of supplements most diets recommend.
I will offer breakfast, dinner, pre and post yoga meal ideas in future posts.
Have fun getting healthy, enjoy the process and celebrate your health!
14. Almost forgot! EAT A LOT!!!! A LOT, A LOT, A LOT OF WHOLE PLANT FOODS!
Healthy sugars, sweet sap dripping ripe figs that I got last summer at a market in Bulgaria.
LOVE AND ETERNAL BLESSINGS
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Question Ali, I add a kale leaf to my breakfast fruit smoothie sometimes…Is that alright or is it better to leave it out? Also, alfalfa sprouts…very young and tender and sprouted my me…I also eat the kale in salads, etc during the day and evening so I get plenty of the nutrients …I respect your advise and following it has totally altered the shape of my body and my health status…So, yes to kale and alfalfa or no? (Those figs are my number 1 favorite food…such a short season…gotta eat them fast!!! ) Thanks Ali, xox, L
Thank you Ali:) interesting to read about how your partner transferred to low fat high carb. Mine is already convinced theoretically:) and he has education in the field and agrees with Dr. Campbell:)) but when it comes to practice, habits are too strong:) would be very interesting to read about it, because HCLF diet seems more suitable for girls and women who seek not to gain weight. And men may be afraid to loose too much weight on the contrary:) not to have enough energy and so on
it is difficult for guys to switch to more carbs. thats for sure. i think key is banana smoothies at night or in the morning and rice as a meal. asian tofu bowls at restaurants. overall it is a work in progress. hopefully soon i can share his results 🙂
Ali do you have quick put together sample menus? Is chia pudding made with coconut milk a good idea?