Category Archives for "Meal Plans"

Macro Diet

counting macronutrients

It seems like everybody these days that are trying to improve their physique is not dieting, but rather they are “counting their macros.” What does this mean? And does it work? I take a look at this dieting practice to see how easily it can be implemented, and if the results are worth all the meticulous calculation.

What is Counting Macros?

The reason why most diets do not work is that they restrict us to a low-calorie amount every day that just leaves us deprived, hungry, and reliant on calculating our carbs or calories on a daily basis.

Rather than starve yourself on a calorie-restricted diet, what if you were to take it to a higher level and eat as much food as you want but instead you count macros? 

The goal of a macro diet is to be eating the right ratio of foods to help you achieve dietary goals or reach a certain body type. It is not just dieting for the sake of weight loss, as it can also be a beneficial practice if you are looking to gain weight or add muscle.

The concept behind it is calculating the right ratio of macronutrients to help you hit your body goals.

how to count macros

What Are Macros?


I mentioned the word already above, but macro is short for macronutrient. When it comes to having a healthy body, we rely on micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, as well as macronutrients which are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and water (defined further here). While this type of nutrient counting primarily started with bodybuilders, who wanted to hit the perfect ratio to help them build more lean muscle and cut fat to stay shredded, it has been adapted to different ratios for the goals of weight loss as well.

Benefits of Macro Counting


The biggest advantage of counting macros, instead of lowering your calorie intake, is that it allows more flexibility in your meals. You won’t be eliminating entire groups of foods like other diets tend to do. It can be a much more sustainable diet to stick with as it provides so many options that are left out of many of the other popular diets.

Difficulty of Counting Macros


However, while it can be a more enjoyable experience, in terms of the kinds of foods that you eat, it is a much more disciplined practice and can be very tedious to keep track of. You not only need to keep track of the grams of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you eat (in a certain ratio that is relative to your body goals), but you also need to take into account your height, weight, and activity level. There is no “one size fits all” calculation to make sure you are hitting the right ratio. It takes commitment to tracking your food intake, as well as planning your meals, to make sure that you are getting it right.

However, if done properly, it can be a highly effective way to reach your diet goals no matter what they may be. As written in this post, it is not so much about how much you are eating, the more critical component is what you are eating. If you get the ratios right, you will be well on your way to meeting your objectives.

Best Keto Books

best cookbooks for keto diet

Keto took the diet industry by storm in 2018, and it is only showing signs of becoming even more popular in the coming year. With that said, there is a lot of misinformation about this diet and what it all entails. You can’t just try this diet out and see how it goes. It requires a full commitment and an overhaul of your eating habits to make it work.

With that said, the following books I found on Amazon are the top-rated literature for this topic and should be able to guide you to following the keto diet correctly to maximize your results for weight loss and healthiness.

What are the Best Books for the Keto Diet?

These books all come highly recommended by Amazon customers, with a high average rating (out of 5 stars) and a large number of reviews, indicating sales popularity. Definitely check them out if you’re looking to take the plunge into keto!

Craveable Keto

This book is by Kyndra D. Holley, who is also the author of the popular food blog Peace, Love, and Low Carb. This cookbook serves as a personal roadmap to leading a healthier life through the implementation of keto into your diet. It is very easy to follow and includes step-by-step recipes that help you create healthy, low carbohydrate versions of some of your favorite dishes. This book contains over 130 recipes and a detailed meal plan to make transitioning to keto-friendly foods, and sticking with it, much easier to bear. Not to mention, the recipes are delicious!

You can find this book available on Amazon here.

craveable keto cookbook and recipe guide

Simply Keto

The author of this book, Suzanne Ryan, writes from experience in her best-selling keto cookbook. Having struggled with her weight through adulthood, she stumbled upon the ketogenic diet and gave it a try. The end result?

Losing over 100 pounds and taking back control of her weight! More than just a cookbook (containing over 100 recipes), it also reads as a narrative as Ryan shares the details on her transformation, from the early days of adopting keto to the milestones along the way. It’s a great story of how she lost more than 40% of her body weight while becoming healthier and happier.

simply keto cookbook

This book includes recipes, grocery shopping tips, a structured 30-day meal plan, and tons of helpful advice to start keto. You can find it available on Amazon here.

Keto Comfort Foods

Just because you go keto, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some of your favorite foods. Keto Comfort Foods by Maria Emmerich recognizes that food is more than just nourishment. Food is also tradition, love, and celebration.

With this cookbook, she integrates family favorites in a ketogenic-friendly way so you can still enjoy delectable comfort foods. She makes it easy to recreate meals and favorite snacks in a creative way that makes them healthy and easy to prepare. By using low or no-calorie substitutions, you can continue to make home-cooked meals that everyone enjoys!

keto comfort foods family recipes

With more than 170 recipes with everything from cinnamon rolls to tiramisu and chicken cordon bleu, continue to indulge in your favorite dishes with Emmerich’s book available on Amazon here.

Other Keto Books

If you’d like to shop the full catalog of keto literature, you can browse the search options below:


December 27, 2018

What is the OMAD Diet?

how does the OMAD diet work?

One of the biggest diet trends of the year was intermittent fasting, which involves cycling between periods of starvation and indulgence as a means to throw your metabolism a curveball and keep it guessing. This way, your metabolism doesn’t become accustomed to a consistent eating pattern and stays at peak efficiency at all times.

Just like with any diet that becomes popular, many spin-offs come to capture the attention of dieters and make a buck with a hot new program. I talked about another variation of intermittent fasting with my write-up on the Snake Diet in this post, and today I’ll fill you in on another form called the OMAD diet.

Does the OMAD Diet Work?

A new diet was introduced the mainstream this year in the form of the OMAD Diet, which is an acronym for One Meal a Day. You can get the gist of the diet based on its name alone – there is nothing clever here and it’s very easy to understand. More specifically, it involves eating a single meal during a specified one hour of the day and then fasting for the other 23 hours each day. During the fasting hours, according to Women’s Health, you are still allowed to drink black coffee and other beverages that have no calories (like water). This is consistent with other intermittent fasting plans.

With this diet, you have a window of 4 hours each day in which to take your one-hour meal break. It is best to keep this time range consistent each day and try to eat at roughly the same hour. One of the biggest mantras of this diet is consistency.

Guidelines of OMAD Diet


Aside from preaching consistency, there are four guidelines in this diet that they refer to as the “Four Ones”. These include:

  • Only eating one meal per day
  • You can only eat your meal within one hour, during the four-hour eating window you have determined
  • You must eat your meal off an 11-inch diameter plate
  • Your meal should not be more than 3 inches high on your plate

While a meal piled three inches high on a plate that’s about a foot wide makes it seem like you can just freely gorge yourself during your one meal, that is not the intention.

It is more to set an upper limit on how much you are allowed to eat. For the sake of your health and reaching your weight loss goals, it is recommended that the meals are balanced and rich in nutrients.

You only have one meal per day to get your nutrition, so make sure to load it up with food that is dense in nutrients with essential vitamins and minerals.

Does It Work?


Plain and simple, this is a starvation diet. If you are limited to one meal per day, your calorie intake will be lower and there is no other result than losing weight. It can be an effective diet, but it is certainly not for everybody.

Drawbacks


While you’ll lose weight, there is a lot to dislike about this diet. One of the biggest risks of this diet is malnutrition due to not getting the nutrients you need on a daily basis since you are constricted to one meal. You have to be smart with what you include in that meal! The malnutrition from this diet can lead to mood swings, muscle loss, and hormone imbalance, among other issues. For women, it can even disrupt or completely stop your menstrual cycle.

My Advice


If you don’t eat much, of course, you will lose weight. But is it worth the risk to starve yourself like that and put your health in jeopardy? There are so many other diets to follow that lead to healthy weight loss, as I compiled in this post here: https://www.hlcomic.com/best-weight-loss-diets-reviewed

Mediterranean Diet and Heart Disease

the Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases

With so many different diet plans available today, and so many of them becoming a rage (it’s like a cycle) and then dying off, how do you know which one to choose? Which one delivers the best results?

I put together a list of all the best weight loss diets, though the information in there is rather short-sighted. Sure, all of them can help you lose weight in the short-term. But many of them have become recent fads, and there isn’t a lot of data on how permanent the results can be.

One diet in particular, however, has the benefit of longevity and now has some science behind it on whether or not it can improve your health and help you lose weight. Continue reading below to see what effect it had more than 25,000 women over a 12-year study.

Long-Term Results of the Mediterranean Diet

To start off, let’s get into what the Mediterranean Diet is. I go into far more detail in my post here, but the gist of it is it mimics the eating habits of those in the Mediterranean area (yes, I know that is obvious). It is very plant-heavy and also incorporates healthy fats and a bit of red wine. As compared to other diet fads, it actually makes for some pretty delicious meals that offer a lot of variety.

As for the new findings, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health recently published a study on more than 25,000 women tracked over 12 years. If you want me to cut to the chase, it was found that those who followed the Med diet most closely exhibited a reduced risk of heart disease, with results comparable to those who take prescription medicine for heart issues.

The women were given a questionnaire with a list of foods and answered it based on their diet.

Each food had a numerical value relative to how close it was to being part of the Mediterranean diet. The women were then given scores on how closely the followed this diet plan.

Out of the nearly 26,000 women, around 6,000 were scored as being very closely following this diet. At the beginning of the study, a number of biomarkers were recorded and it was found that these ~6,000 women had a nearly 30% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Women who were in the middle range of scores, somewhat following the Med diet, also showed a 23% reduction in risk factors for heart issues.

Key Takeaways


What this says is promising for those who follow this eating plan, and provides hope for those who have a family history of cardiovascular disease or stroke. It is never too late to change your nutrition to have better health, and this could be a simple way to mitigate the risk. It could also make a huge impact on our healthcare system, as more than 600,000 people in the U.S. die from cardiovascular issues.

If you’re interested, you can find the entire study published here.

Foods for a Ketogenic Diet

foods that are keto friendly

If you’ve been paying attention at all to the diet industry these days, surely you have heard the term ketogenic diet. It has become quite popular in recent years and has replaced old diet meal plans as all the rage for losing weight.

The principles of the ketogenic diet is to eat minimal carbohydrates and a lot of healthy fats. This brings your body into a state of ketosis, whereby you are burning fat for energy as opposed to carbs.

Beyond just being effective for weight loss, studies have indicated that it can be helpful in treating diabetes and epilepsy, as well as aid in warding off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and heart conditions.

Keto Friendly Foods

If you are looking to adopt this kind of diet, I have also written a post about keto-friendly snacks here that can help tide you over between meals.

For other foods that are friendly for a ketogenic diet, consider adding the options I present below.

Low Carb Vegetables

Go with vegetables that are non-starchy (starches are potatoes and similar veggies), as they are low carbohydrates and calories, but also nutrient-rich. For the best kind of vegetables that fit into a ketogenic diet, go with leafy greens and more cruciferous veggies like kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Ingesting these kinds of veggies can also help lower risk factors for heart disease and cancer.

vegetables for a keto diet

Seafood

Among any list of keto-friendly foods, you will find shellfish and other kinds of seafood.

Salmon is a popular choice, as in addition to being low carb and high in healthy fat, it also contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health.

seafood for a ketogenic diet

Sardines and mackerel, along with other fatty fish, are also great sources of omega-3 fats which can help reduce insulin levels, making them beneficial to treating diabetes as well as risk factors of that disease. On top of that, consumption of fish has also been linked to improved mental health.

Meat and Poultry

These two foods are staples to any ketogenic diet as they contain little to no carbohydrates and are rich in healthy fats and protein. They can also help raise your level of HDL, the good cholesterol. Go for grass-fed meat whenever possible, as it will contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants as compared to grain-fed meat.

Eggs

Oh, eggs. So versatile and so healthy! Forget all of the buzz about eggs being bad for you and your cholesterol. There’s a reason that they are used in so many dishes and have become a staple of any good breakfast. A single large egg contains less than a gram of carbohydrates which makes it the perfect food for a keto diet.

eggs are a great addition to a keto friendly diet

Most of the nutrients of eggs are found in the yolk, so don’t just go for egg whites!

Other Ways to Go Keto

Aside from eating foods that are keto-friendly, you can also reach ketosis quicker through supplementation. Towards that end, my favorite keto-booster is Green Force Keto, which I review here.

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

what is intermittent fasting?

I’ve spent a lot of space on this site reviewing meal plans for weight loss, but most (if not all) of them deal with what you should eat. Another angle for tackling weight loss is controlling how or when you eat. One such method is through intermittent fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

If you’re like most people, you stick to a pretty standard schedule of eating three square meals per day. You wake up and have breakfast. Around noon or so you have lunch. When you are done with work for the day, you enjoy some dinner in the evening. Other people eat on a different schedule. Instead of having three larger meals, they split it up into four to six smaller meals that are spread every two to three hours.

Whichever is your eating schedule, you’ll always be full and getting the nutrition that you need. But what if I flipped all that upside down and said you could through periods of starvation (in a healthy, controlled manner) as a means to weight loss? That’s what intermittent fasting is.

This is a diet schedule that cycles through periods of fasting, where you drastically reduce your caloric intake or eat nothing at all, followed by periods of unlimited eating. This eating schedule has been in practice for thousands of years, with many religious groups and philosophers like Socrates and Plato among the followers.

How Does It Work?

The goal of intermittent fasting is to boost weight loss by shocking your body’s metabolism. If you follow the same diet every day, eaten at the same times every day, your body adjusts to it. It becomes the norm. After a period of time with this consistency, your metabolism slows down and you don’t burn fat as efficiently as you used to.

With intermittent fasting, you are throwing your metabolism a curveball and keeping it guessing. Some say that this diet has roots back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors (like the Paleo Diet), where they didn’t when or where their next meal would come from.

Intermittent Fasting Schedules

There are innumerable ways to follow a fasting schedule, but a few of them are more popular and recommended than others. Below are some of the most common fasting routines.

Alternate Day

Obvious by the name, this plan involves a day of zero food consumption, followed by a day of unlimited eating. On the fasting days, you are allowed to consume around 25% of your body’s daily recommended calorie intake (this varies from person to person). There are no food restrictions on the non-fasting days.

Time-Restricted

This may be the easiest intermittent fasting plan for beginners. It is the least extreme and easiest entry to trying out a diet like this. On this fasting schedule, you dedicate a time period of the day where you are not allowed to eat anything. Most commonly, this is usually something like 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. while they are at work. Outside of those hours, you are allowed unlimited eating.

Whole Day

With this schedule, you select one or two days in the week where you fast – eating nothing or 25% of your daily recommended calories as a maximum. This is sometimes called the 5:2 ratio, with 5 days of eating and 2 days of fasting each week. On the fasting days, stick to around 400 to 500 calories.

My Thoughts

I have tried this out myself and will attest that it is tough to adjust to, but it can be very effective for weight loss. If you’re looking to try this out, try it with the Time-Restricted schedule first and see how it works for you. The next step up would be the Alternate Day method.

I like how this eating schedule gives my body a shock. It’s like how it is advised to be changing up your workout routines so you don’t hit plateaus. It’s something that is preached in my favorite Shortcut to Size workout program. If you do the same exercises and use the same machines on each and every workout, you’ll hit a wall. It works the same way with dieting. Changing it up can be a great thing!

This book, which comes very well reviewed, makes this diet plan easy to understand and follow. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in this kind of dieting.

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