Sure, you may have been warned to stop chewing the fat because it could blow your diet plan and pack on pounds, and you may have thought you’d have to give up chocolate chip cookies and cake for life for the same reason, but wait! I’ve got new information to help you banish the guilt and start living again. The fact is you don’t have to give up the foods you enjoy to live your best life. Furthermore, some of the foods that you may have avoided could be the very ones that could help you to get the nutritional help that you’ve been seeking. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is about making smart choices that work for you and your real life—just as you are. So don’t fret. I’ve got you covered!
Here are my Top Picks for Guilty Foods with Real Health Benefits:
1. Choose Full-fat Salad Dressings vs. Fat-Free Versions:
Choose full-fat oil-based salad dressings such as those made with extra-virgin olive oil. The rich omega-3 fatty acids in the oil combined with the leafy greens of the salad can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, even rheumatoid arthritis. You also need the fat to help your body absorb antioxidants and fat- soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Many of these vitamins are found in the same veggies contained in your salad, which makes this a winning combo to give you a bigger bang for your nutritional buck! No remember—the dressing to opt for is oil-based, never creamy.
2. Have greater Egg-spectations:
Enough of the egg-white omelet mantra already! Throwing out the egg yolk is the nutritional equivalent of throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater! The truth is the egg’s yolk is it’s nutritional epicenter. Yolks are where the bulk of the nutrients in eggs are found and they are plentiful and many. Egg yolks are loaded with minerals including calcium and magnesium (both lacking in women), not to mention their rich source of B-Vitamins folate and Vitamin B6, and Vitamins A and E. What’s more, egg yolks provide 100% of the carotenoids essential for healthy eyes, specifically protecting against age-related macular degeneration. They are loaded with so many nutrients and antioxidants that some scientists suggest a few eggs a day could provide a bigger insurance policy for good health than a multi-vitamin.
3. Eat More Avocados:
Yes, they’re probably on your “Fat Foods” list but did you know that avocados are rich in mono-unsaturated fats that have compounds to protect against cancer? They too, are loaded with antioxidants lutein, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene and help your body to better absorb phytochemicals from other foods for better health. Add them to salads and side dishes, home-made juicing recipes, spread them on sandwiches in place of mayo or add slices with sliced tomato, mushrooms, and red onion. Be creative but put avocado back on the grocery list and eat them because your body will thank you later.
4. Have Dessert with Breakfast:
Now before you go on a doughnut run, allow me to explain.
By eating a high-protein breakfast that includes carbs and in this case a small serving of a treat— such as a small doughnut, slice of cake, or cookies— the result is the protein/carb combo increases satiety and keeps you full longer, and the protein prevents hunger, while the addition of the treat keeps you satiated so you in effect, cut cravings and are better able to stick to your plan all day. And the trick is to eat your treat at breakfast. It actually helps you ward-off cravings for sweet, fatty foods throughout the day. Remember the satiety factor?
Now the operative word here is PLAN. That means if your diet budget is 1,200 calorie/D you must divide your calories according to the plan and the treat is not daily…but on those days when you feel like you’re “just ‘gonna die” (I sometimes get this from my patients) that is the day to include your small treat.
Based on a study from a group of researchers at the Tel-Aviv University Medical Center, two groups of dieters who ate low-carb, high-protein breakfasts lost weight. The men of the study received 1,600 calories/D while women ate 1,400 calories/D. Both diets included tuna, egg whites, cheese and low-fat milk for protein and after 4 months of dieting the group who’s breakfasts included you guessed it, a small dessert (chocolate, cake, doughnut, cookie) continued to lose 22 more pounds than the group who didn’t have dessert.
5. Eat More Peanut Butter:
Nuts and nut butters get a bad rep because of their high-fat content but cutting a food or group is often tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face. In this case, peanuts are not an indulgence, they are a part of a healthy diet. Studies show that peanuts can lower your risk of heart disease and peanuts and peanut butter have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides, also related to heart disease prevention. So go on, slather a little peanut butter on a granny smith apple and chomp away to your heart’s content!
6. Eat More Mushrooms:
Mushrooms are too often over-looked because they’re mis-understood. Often thought of as low-calorie nutritional “do-nothings.” But to the contrary, mushrooms are packed with compounds that increase your immune systems’ power! These compounds actually are capable of suppressing breast and prostate cancer tumor size. Mushrooms, though 90% water and only 18 calories/cup (a good thing if you watching your weight) pack a good amount of blood-pressure lowering potassium too. One medium portabella mushroom has more potassium than a serving of OJ and 5 button mushrooms contain more potassium than a small orange so eat up! Sautee them in olive oil and white wine with herbs, add them to lean meats, stir-fries, veggies, casseroles and meat sauces.
Now that I’ve hopefully, piqued your interest in getting some life back…let these tips marinate a little, then use them to stoke the fires of your heart’s desire in the diet department. Bon Appetit!
Dr. Ro’s Watermelon Vinaigrette
- 2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 TBS White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/2 C Watermelon chunks (crushed) or substitute your favorite fruit!
Whisk together then toss salad!
For tasty & uber-nutritious salad: Add 1 C watermelon chunks to washed, mixed leafy greens, cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced avocado, and blue cheese-stuffed olives.
With Love and Happiness,