On Thursday we brought you the first part of our two part article all about the lean foods you should be stocking in your fridge, freezer and cupboards. Today we present part two.
So anyway, back to your cupboards!
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 fish – I like to try a couple different kinds of fish each week. There are so many varieties out there, you never have to get bored. Just make sure to ALWAYS choose wild fish instead of farmed versions, as the omega-3 to omega-6 balance is MUCH healthier in wild fish. Also, as this article shows, there are some possible other health issues with farmed fish.
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.
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 fibre 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.
Make the switch from unhealthy cooking oils to Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
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