It is a myth that yoyu can not have a great body and eat great food at the same time.
Of course there is a few steps you need to take to achieve a great kitchen, that will ensre, that yo will have great meals every day.
Step 1: A safe home base
You may have heard this from us before – if not, you’ll
probably hear it again:
Consistency, not novelty, is the secret to uncommon results.
Ok, so let’s assume that I have come up with the ultimate solution to determine exactly how many calories, what food choices, and what supplementsyou’ll need to prevent disease, improve health, gain muscle, lose fat and become a better athlete.
In other words, what if we could easily give every man, woman and child in the world the “perfect nutritional plan”? They wouldn’t follow it. Don’t believe me? Think about this — how often have you seen people diagnosed with heart disease and/or cancer yet fail to take the necessary steps to improve their lifestyles.
They say they want to “eat better.” They see doctors and nutritionists who tell them how to “eat better” (which foods to eat). Yet they end up feeling guilty for not “eating better.”
Why is it so hard for them to make the change? Well, unless they really don’t want to change, the two biggest impediments to their success are:
1. Their habits — or their ingrained set of day to day food and activity related actions — remain poor because they don’t have a conscious, logical plan for changing them.
2. They aren’t ready for the tough times. Things might be getting better; then the tough times hit. They “get busy.” Eating well becomes inconvenient. No one else supports their decision to make a change.
When these inevitable circumstances come up, they bail. Habits are more powerful than momentary desire. Habits are more powerful than information.
Habits are more powerful than guilt. And only a concerted, conscious, daily effort to override habits will lead to success. So, in some respects, better nutrition is more about altering lifestyle habits and less about the food.
Sure, you’ve gotta know which foods are good to eat and plan to eat them.
But, as GI Joe once said, knowing is half the battle. Even if you know what’s good and expect to eat good foods, if the good foods aren’t
around when it’s time to eat, you’re doomed.
In other words, preparation and consistent application is the other half.
So how do you prepare for a lifetime of eating well? You need to develop good habits.
How can you do that? First step – start at home! And here’s an important
principle that will serve you well in this regard: If a food is in your possession or located in your residence, you will eventually eat it.
That’s right, if you wish to be healthy and lean; you must remove all foods not conducive to your goals (read as temptations) from your residence and replace them with a variety of better, healthier choices.
Now, before you go thinking that this is just a suggestion – one way to improve your body – we want to make it clear. This is the only way to improve your body.
Not once have I seen someone successfully violate this rule. Not once!
Now, we can feel the resistance mechanisms kicking in. You might be one of those people that likes a challenge – perhaps you want to prove me wrong in this regard.
Well, if you’re the type that likes a challenge – awesome – because I am the same way! I love challenges. But here’s a little nutritional secret we’ve learned long ago – your willpower and discipline will be challenged plenty.
Social events, lunch meetings, the McDonalds’s you pass on the commute home from work – these all present a formidable challenge. So why not ensure that home is your safe base – the place where you can feel safe from the complexity and derailing choices of the world?
I assure you that once you makeover your kitchen, your body will
So let’s start making-over. In the next few sections of this article, I am going to share with you a couple of lists of foods and spices that should be populating your kitchen cupboards, refrigerator, and spice rack.
I will also be clueing you in to which foods shouldn’t be within a few hundred yards of your home. However, before doing so, let’s talk appliances and kitchen tools.
I know, sounds boring – right? But listen up, without the right preparation supplies, your every day food prep will become frustrating, tedious, and
Step 2 – The Appliances
To begin your kitchen makeover, take stock of which kitchen supplies you have and compare your supplies to our list below. If you’ve got all of these kitchen gems, excellent – you’re ready to move on to step #3.
If not, time to start shopping. But don’t worry. While some of these items may be a bit pricey, you don’t have to spend a fortune to furnish your kitchen with everything you need to prepare great meals.
There are few essential items that should be lying around your kitchen at all times. Other, more specialized appliances and utensils may be nice to
have, but may not be necessary.
With some improvisation and creativity you’ll be able to get it done with only the basics (good knives, good pots and pans, measuring tools, food processor/blender).
1) Salter Nutrition Scale – This scale is an amazing piece of technology, not only does it weigh out your portions for you, it also is programmed with the nutritional profiles of over 900 foods.
This means that if you put a handful of carrots on the scale, it’ll not only tell you the weight of the carrots but it’ll tell you how many grams of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are contained in that serving size as well.
While this may seem a bit too obsessive, think of it this way. If you were to accidentally overestimate the portion sizes of two daily lean meat selections by just 50 grams per meal, you’d be eating an unexpected 200 calories per day.
This could mean an extra half-pound of fat gained per week if you’re already overeating! So take the food weights above to heart. Weigh your food so you can be happy when weighing yourself.
2) Measuring Cups and Spoons – For the same reasons I have you weighing your food above, I suggest picking up a good set of stainless steel measuring cups and spoons.
Eventually, when you get good, you can translate food weights into fluid amounts like cups or milliliters. For example, do you know how many cups
of oats makes 50g? If not, you’ll soon learn.
It’s fine to use a pinch of something here and a dash of something there, but if you’re closely watching your calories, weighing and measuring ingredients accurately is the key to approximating the nutritional information listed with each meal.
Measuring cups and spoons should be used in these instances. Weighing food is always the more accurate method, and may also be used when
fine-tuning your diet.
3) Cookware Set – While you might be thinking that your current cookware situation is adequate, unless you really spent some time figuring out which pots and pans are the best, you might be very wrong.
Great cookware not only heats food evenly, it can accelerate the preparation process by heating the food more quickly and preventing sticking.
Add to this the fact that great cookware will last significantly longer than
the cheap ones and you can justify the price. However, there’s a health factor to consider as well.
There is some evidence that aluminum pan interiors and Teflon coated pan interiors may release undesirable minerals and other chemicals into your
So how can you avoid this? By choosing a nonreactive stainless steel interior, that’s how. However, with the stainless steel pans, be sure to always hit them with a light coat of olive oil based nonstick spray.
This will help prevent sticking at higher temperatures. Oil works well but does present 2 problems. First, using oil can really drive up the energy density of the diet.
Adding just a tablespoon of oil to each of 4 daily food meals (just to coat the pan) can increase daily energy intake by about 500-600 calories. That could amount to an additional pound of fat gained per week if you’re already overeating!
Secondly, very few oils are stable in heat – therefore cooking with an unstable oil can ruin its nutritional quality. So play it safe and use a small amount of spray instead.
4) Knives – A good set of knives in the kitchen is indispensable. If you pick up a good knife set, you’ll immediately know the difference between good knives and your regular brand.
Good knives are curved so that rather than stabbing away at your food, you can chop like the Gordon Ramsay (i.e. fast, with a rocking motion). Just be sure you’ve got a good plastic cutting board as wood boards can hold onto microbes and bacteria.
5) Stainless Steel Tools and Silicon Spatula – Without cooking utensils like a spatula, large spoons, and ladles, you’ll likely flounder around in the kitchen wondering how to flip that omelet.
Do yourself a favor and get a good set of stainless steel tools as well as some silicon spatulas so you won’t ruin your pan. They’re a must.
6) Foreman Grill – Thanks to good old George, inhome meat preparation has been revolutionized. Nowadays, you can grill up a full meal in 10 minutes or less using his fat-reducing machine.
Pick up the extra large grill and you’ll have a large enough surface area to cook up all of your meat for the entire week in about 20 minutes if you have to.
Certainly, you’ve got plenty of room to grill all your daily meat either the
night before or while cooking your breakfast. But don’t just cook up the stuff plain.
Get a spice blend (discussed below) to season the meat.
For an extra special treat, marinade several cuts of meat before throwing them on the grill. If it’s tender meat, marinade only for a short time (a few hours).
If it’s a tough cut, pierce with a fork and allow the marinade to soak in for a day or so. The secret to a good marinate is to add one acidic component
(vinegar, wine, yogurt, soy sauce, or fruit juice) to tenderize the meat and one part flavoring component (olive oil, fruit slices, herbs, honey) to flavor the meat.
Here’s an example of a great marinade: Add 0.25 cup of olive oil, 0.25 cup of lemon juice, 1-tablespoon chicken bullion, 5 tablespoons minced garlic, 0.25-cup wine.
Let tender meat sit in marinade for 4 hours. Let tougher meat sit in marinade overnight.
7) Cast Iron Wok – Pick one with a pre-seasoned, stick resistant surface that reduces that amount of non-stick spray or oil you’ll need. A wok provides a great surface for cooking your meat, rice and vegetable dinners – and you can even do your eggs in the wok.
8) Rice Cooker – Cook up a batch of rice (or quinoa) and keep it warm and moist for up to 12 hours with a rice cooker. This means your wild grains will be ready when you get home for the day after the gym.
For a great dinner for 2 using your rice cooker, food processor, and wok:
Grill 400g of chicken on your foreman while working in the wok. To the wok, add 2 cloves of garlic (minced using the garlic genus – below) and 1 medium onion (chopped in the food processor – below).
Once the garlic and onion begins to brown, add 2 medium tomatoes. When the tomatoes begin to liquefy, add 1 cup of chicken broth from bouillon. When this begins to boil, add 20 pieces of chopped sun-dried tomato, 1
can of green peas (drained), and the chicken.
Add 1-teaspoon salt, a dash of turmeric, a dash of coriander, and a dash of chili powder. Then, stir in the pre-cooked rice. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes before serving.
For dessert, have a serving of your favorite fruit.
9) Kitchen Aid Food Processor – If you’ve always chopped your vegetables by hand, you’ll appreciate the time that a food processor saves you.
To make your life much, much easier, get a couple of large Tupperware containers. At the end of the week, chop up all your veggies in the food processor and store them in Tupperware containers for the week.
Each time you need a vegetable meal, just throw a handful of chopped veggies in a bowl and you’re ready to eat.Using this strategy you can also quickly pack up your salads before leaving for work.
If you cooked all your meat for the week on the weekend, all you need to do for your daily meals is throw them together before work. If not, just fire up the Foreman while cooking breakfast.
10) Garlic Genius – This little tool makes eating garlic a regular thing. No more annoying chopping as all you need to do is twist your wrist and you’ve got minced garlic to add to your salads, marinades, and other
With all the heart healthy (and other) benefits associated with garlic, everyone should add some into their menu.
11) Electric Glass Tea Kettle – To get your two cups of fat burning, antioxidant rich, cancer preventing green tea per day, you’ll need a convenient way to heat the water.
But this type of teakettle not only makes it convenient, it optimizes the process by shutting off when the water comes to a boil. Temperatures too hot easily scald green tea and this kettle ensures the water is just right.
Just to be safe, however, let the water cool for a minute before mixing it with the tea.
12) Espresso Machine – A couple hits of espresso before hitting the gym will not only pick up your mood and intensity, it’ll improve your performance and help you burn more fat.
But Italian coffee offers other benefits as well. When trying to lure fitness models back to your place, nothing makes them quite as amorous as coffee from Italy.
Of course, if you can’t manage the $2000 for a top-end espresso machine, the $25 stovetop espresso pot found at any decent kitchen store will do just fine.
13) Window Canisters – These little beauties are attractive as well as functional. Dry foods like coffee, tea, protein powder etc. can go bad more quickly when exposed to moisture in the air.
These containers are airtight and allow you to both preserve your dry foods for longer and keep them right on your countertop for convenience.
14) Kitchen Aid 5-Speed Blender – Every weightlifter needs a good blender in the house for protein shakes, yogurt treats, etc.
Here are a few other things you should always have in your kitchen:
• Large plastic cutting board
• Large stainless steel bowl (or a set of nestling ones)
• Wooden spoons
• Vegetable peeler
• Metal box grater or plane graters
• Baking sheets
• Casserole dishes
Hook your kitchen up as described above and you’ll be able to prepare every great meal. Inaddition, food preparation, rather than the burden that
some people consider it, will become a joy.
Now, let’s make over your fridge and cupboards.
Step 3 – The Fridge Foods
Now it’s time to round up the food! Let’s start with a trip to the grocery store. I will be completely up front here and tell you the honest truth – when it comes to food you do get what you pay for.
That’s why I prefer sending you to whole foods-type specialty market for fresher lean meat and produce. But don’t worry – if you can’t find one or the local one is out of your price range, you can still shop healthy at the local supermarket. (Just make sure you’re not copping out here on price
and convenience – if most people chose to spend extra money on better foods today they’d be spending less money on managed care later!)
First step – make a grocery list and stick to it. None of this browsing through the store – picking up all sorts of products you don’t really want or need simply because they looked interesting or you were hungry.
Make grocery shopping a quick and easy event by toting your list and shopping with blinders on.
One interesting thing you’ll quickly realize is that the best foods (the healthy ones) are located around the periphery of the store, in the produce and refrigerated sections.
The aisles are typically full of pre-packaged, processed carbs, sugar, and bad fats. Leave the aislebrowsing to the hordes of physique-challenged
Only quick forays should be made into these regions with a specific purpose. Find that can of chick peas quickly and get back to the ‘safe zone’.
Just be sure not to knock over any children or elderly in your haste.
And here’s a great money saving tip for you. Shop at a local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets in cities across the world provide the freshest produce with the most variety.
Make it a point to visit one of these about once a week to stock up on essential vegetables and fruits. Fresh fruits and vegetables taste 100% better when they are harvested ripe and eaten shortly thereafter.
They’re healthier too – packed with more vitamins and minerals that the chain store varieties. If that’s not enough incentive to go ten or even
thirty minutes out of your way, perhaps the price will change your mind.
Where else can you buy eight fresh grapefruit for $3, or a giant bag of washed spinach for $1? If you live near the coast you may be able to stock
up on seafood here also.
Meat, Poultry and Fish
It’s no secret healthy folks tend to eat a lot more lean protein than the unhealthy folks. Interestingly though, in the past, nutritionists cautioned people against this practice, suggesting that higher protein diets were, at
best, of little value – at worst, dangerous.
Regardless, current research supports the use of higher protein diets during both weight loss muscle gain. Behold the power of the protein!
Despite the knowledge that they should be eating more lean protein, the chief complaint we hear from readers is that there’s not enough variety.
I don’t agree. And to demonstrate this point, I have listed some 4xamples
of great meat, poultry, and fish selections below.
Extra Lean Ground Sirloin
Buy the leanest ground beef you can find and keep a couple pounds on hand at all times. The leanest variety can be purchased from the meat section in your favorite grocery storebut keep in mind that the fats
usually contained in this grain-fed, feedlot beef is usually sub-optimal.
For fatty meats, hit your local farmer’s market or butcher to get grass-fed beef freshly ground for you.
Boneless Chicken Breasts
As with the beef above, buy the leanest chicken you can find at your favorite grocery store. Do buy freerange chicken whenever possible, but don’t skimp on the protein if you can’t find the really good stuff or can’t afford to buy it.
Mild Turkey Sausage
Turkey sausage is a great change of pace from beef and chicken. It’s hard to find free-range turkey sausage so don’t buy it all the time.
If you’ve got a local farmer’s market or butcher you’ll be able to find free-range ostrich quite easily. Either grill it as a filet or have it ground for you.
This is another great tasting meat (buffalo milk makes great tasting cheese too!) Bison steaks are truly amazing, and the macronutrient profile is excellent.
Elk meat tastes really good as well, has a good macronutrient profile and always gets a great reaction when you surprise your dinner guest by revealing the identity of the food they’re eating.
Wild Atlantic salmon is perfect in pasta, in salads, or by itself. The genuine wild stuff has a great omega-3 profile and cooked properly can go a long way toward impressing a date.
But try to seek out the wild kind as the farmed kind tends to have a fatty acid balance that’s not ideal and can contain a number of environmental pollutants that you don’t want building up in your body over time.
You’ll also find yourself buying a ton of eggs.
Omega-3 eggs are laid by chickens that have been fed an omega-3 rich diet(10-20% ground flaxseed). Throw these omega 3 eggs in your omelets when you want the whole egg (yolk included).
The whites of omega-3 eggs aren’t any different from those of regular eggs.
In addition a couple of whole omega-3 eggs, the rest of your omelet should come from egg whites – these can be bought in pre-separated cartons or as whole eggs.
With the high prevalence of lactose intolerance in the world, many people can’t consume an abundance of dairy. Even those with the ability to digest lactose should be cautious.
Highly processed cheeses have lower nutrititive value and lead to maldigestion. For this reason cheese is often one of the first foods I remove from your diet at the first sign of gastrointestinal stress.
So pay close attention to your response to it.
Aged white Cheddar
Aged cheddar has a nice sharp taste to it, and a mouth feel that’s perfect for salads.
This is a mild nutty cheese that you can occasionally add to your salads.
This cheese is rich and is a favorite for omelets.
Modelling the Italians and their zest for eating, we like to grate some of this finely for pasta, then leave the rest whole or more coarsely grated for salads.
Once made from sheep or goat’s milk, it’s now commonly made with cow’s milk. Feta is perfect for salads with nuts and fruit, as the softer, crumbly
mouthfeel complements the crispier ingredients.
Although fruit sometimes gets a bad reputation among dieters and the health conscious, we think the exclusion of fruit is downright crazy. With the fiber, antioxidants, alkaline potential, and phytochemicals people who recommend avoiding fruit altogether have got it all wrong (although unlimited fruit intake is equally crazy as fruit does have calories and a decent amount of sugars).
Your best bet is to buyfresh seasonal fruit, whenever possible and to stick to local organically grown produce. Also, keep all your fruit in the fridge, where it lasts longer. Furthermore, cold fruit is more refreshing and just tastes better.
Buy a number of different varieties and colors. The more colors in your diet the better. Cut your apples up and put them into salads or oatmeal, or eat them as snacks (with a little protein on the side).
Tangerines are easier to digest for some people than oranges – and we think they taste better as well. Try to get at least some (if not most) of your Vitamin C from whole food.
Another great salad ingredient and excellent snack, grapes are also great to have around when guests are over.
Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits, and rarely a week goes by when I don’t buy one or two at the grocery store. Cut them up into small pieces and eat fresh or combine with other foods.
Strawberries and Blueberries
Who doesn’t like berries? Even the pickiest eaters love these little antioxidant-rich delicacies.
The problem with most diets is not that they don’t get enough vegetables, but that they don’t get any at all! You should familiarize yourself with the produce section of your local supermarket, or better yet, your local farmer’s market.
Pick up some fresh veggies and add them to every meal. That’s right, every stinkin one (even if it’s just a snack)!
Instead of using lettuce for salads, switch to spinach as often as you can. In
addition, steam it, bake it, whatever you need to do to
make it appetizing for you.
This is a super food you need in your diet.
Keep a variety of different colored peppers on hand (remember, the more colors the better). Quarter them and cut into thin slices to store them in the fridge.
Then´you can add them to salads, omelets and pasta, whenever you like.
Keep enough sliced cucumber on hand for one or two day’s worth of salad. The rest is left whole.
Organic tomatoes can be readily found, so pick a couple up per week and add them to salads or, when You’re feeling ambitious, use them to make homemade tomato sauce.
I like carrots a lot. In fact, I include them in virtually every salad I make. I will also snack on them between meals.
Sauces and Condiments
People always complain of being bored with the food on their nutrition plans. It lacks variety, they inevitably claim. To us, this has always been a spurious claim.
For one, most people eat the same terrible foods day in and day out, so variety can’t be the problem. Taste, on the other hand, may well be. The foods outlined above taste different than the ones found in the average diet – different, but certainly not worse.
As I had said before, your palette is changeable, and what you enjoy now is mostly a matter of habituation. If variety is the problem, however, you should look into subtly changing the flavor of your meals without substantially altering their content.
Here are a few ways:
I love pesto. It’s extremely versatile as its flavor lends itself to meat, fish, chicken, omelets, pasta and salads. Grab a few kinds at your local market – Basil, Sun-Dried Tomato and Black Olive flavors.
Do your best to reach for a brand that uses extra virgin olive oil as opposed to the other cheaper and inferior vegetable oils. You may have to go to an Italian deli or specialty grocer for that.