I'm convinced that you digest foods you love way better than foods you hate. Maybe that's why fatty, greasy and sugary foods stick to fat cells like rubber cement. The link between us is strong, and the fat attachment is even stronger. But what do we all want? Let me give you a hint...it's not fat.
That's why the Fighter Diet has worked for me like nothing else. Food is important to my body and to keeping my look all year round. And I can eat. So my diet has to give me foods I can eat a lot of without packing around extra weight.
Dieting is all about consistency. If you can't sustain your diet, then what's the point? You must enjoy the foods you eat on a daily basis. And I LOVE the foods in this list.
Here are 10 of my favorite Fighter Diet foods I want to share with you. It's not a huge list, but all of the items combine nutrition, taste and variety. You should try all of them and decide which foods can become your favorite diet staples.
Wheat Bran Putting the "B-R-A-N" in "BRAINY" Foods
Wheat bran is a "free food" in the Fighter Diet. That means you don't count it as a source of calories - Score! According to the nutrition label on wheat bran, it's a different story with calories, just like any other grain. I'm a walking experiment with this, the Franken-Pauline of wheat bran, and my experience is that wheat bran goes through my body mostly intact. Count that as a free food, ladies and gents.
My advice is to eat wheat bran for breakfast instead of cereal or oatmeal. In fact, wheat bran creates a bigger serving size of "porridge" but with less calories. But don't eat it for every meal! You could end up robbing your body of important micronutrients like calcium and iron.
But take a quick look at some real nutrition info to back up this argument:
- 1 cup of wheat bran: 120 calories.
- 1 cup of oat bran: 230-245 calories.
- 1 cup of oatmeal: 300-380 calories.
The choice is yours, but you'd be pretty dumb not to pick wheat bran, just saying.
Cabbage This Patch Is Not Just For Babies Anymore
This unassuming head of leafy goodness is actually an extremely nutritious member of the cruciferous vegetable family with siblings like broccoli, cauliflower, and bok choy (Chinese cabbage). With a nutrient profile that includes vitamin A, B6, C, thiamin, folate, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium - I mean, seriously, that is just ridiculous.
An entire cup of shredded cabbage only has 16 calories and 2 grams of fiber. Cabbage is also a hidden agent of helping to prevent cancer and reduce estrogen, and I'm betting that it also helps block the effect of xenoestrogens as well.
Some people even stick to a whole diet of cabbage soup, by choice and not because of budget. Of course I would never recommend that, but I can see why people love it! I like to eat mine shredded and mixed with mustard and stevia.
Pistachios Squirrel Away Your Time with Healthy Fats
Pistachios contain monounsaturated fats just like olives, which is reason enough to eat them! And, oh yeah, they are delicious. But the real reason I love them is that you can usually pick these puppies up in the shell, forcing you to take the time to get the food out of there! This slows you down, and you can enjoy eating each nut for a little longer.
It's best to eat them raw and unprocessed. And although I do love them roasted and salted, I almost never eat them that way. Heating nuts destroys some of the healthy fats and can increase nasty free radicals. Also, salted and/or roasted foods tend to trigger my appetite and cravings.
Shirataki Noodles The Perfect Pasta Replacement
Let's get one thing straight: I love pasta. But pasta loves me back, so if I were to eat it I'd need a huge bowl of it, saddling me with thousands of calories! Yes, I have a big appetite, and I love food. So I don't even like being within 10 feet of pasta. It's just not an option. That's why Shirataki noodles have come to my rescue.
What in the world are Shirataki noodles? Well, they look like regular rice noodles but they are actually made from Konjac flour, which is processed from a yam-like plant that grows in Asia. Konjac is full of glucomannan fiber, which basically means that Shirataki noodles are a calorie free food in the Fighter Diet!
I eat these darling noodles daily. Recently, my favorite dinner idea is to mix Shirataki noodles with melted fat-free cheese (I'll talk about this amazing food later on). I swear it feels like I'm in cheesy-noodle heaven. Needles to say, it's been on my dinner menu for 10 days straight.
Non-fat Greek Yogurt Helping You Get Spartan-Like Abs
Yes, it does matter that this yogurt has a nationality. There is a big difference between regular non-fat yogurt and plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. Let's do a quick comparison. One 6 oz container of Chobani plain, non-fat Greek yogurt is only 100 calories, 7 grams of carbs and 18 grams of protein.
Run that up against 8 oz of Nancy's plain, non-fat yogurt with 120 calories, 17 grams of carbs, and only 12 grams of protein. I'm going to call that a KO. Sorry Nancy, your yogurt does not cut it for the fighter diet. My favorite brands of non-fat Greek yogurt are Chobani or Danone.
Okay people, I know a lot of you are terrified of any sugars, especially dairy. But listen up, because carbs do not make you fat all by themselves. Carbs help you recover, rebuild, and maintain your lean muscle mass! The key is to make sure you choose plain yogurt and watch your servings. Greek yogurt is not a free food by any means.
Dairy may also release insulin more than some other proteins like chicken and meat. But that means it's great for a post-workout snack. Do not fall for the fruit or flavored versions! Those demons have plenty of added sugars, and yogurt already contains milk-sugars when it's plain!
Winter Squash Sweet Post-Workout Bliss
A variety of starchy vegetables fall under the name "winter squash." Carrots, butternut squash, Kabocha (Japanese winter squash), beets, turnips and jicama all have more carbs and calories than the other vegetables. Why are they included in the Fighter Diet? Because they are perfect for re-feeds or those wonderful days when I treat myself to higher carbs. They also replace potatoes really well.
I love these goodies, especially when I bake them and smother with cinnamon and Truvia (my preferred brand of the zero-calorie, natural sweetener Stevia). Winter squash veggies also tend to be fast carbs. Therefore, naturally they are great for post-workout nutrition.
Pink Salmon A Billion Times Better Than Tuna
Tuna and bodybuilding usually go hand in hand, but not for me. Pink salmon is a better option. It's not as chock-full of mercury as canned tuna, because pink salmon are caught when they're younger. Hence, way better for your liver while still providing all the protein and healthy fat.
Don't confuse regular salmon with pink salmon. They don't have the same nutritional value at all. Red salmon is fatty and calorie rich, while pink salmon is closer to tuna in nutrient breakdown. I choose canned, normally, but it's even better when pink salmon comes in pouches-so very convenient! Even on airplanes you can sneak one in, open it up, and nobody will nag you about the smell.
My favorite brand is Rainforest Trading. Three oz of canned pink salmon has 106.8 calories, 21.3 grams of protein and 2.3 grams of fat. Tuna, on the other hand, has 91 calories, 21.7 grams of protein and 0.7 grams of fat.
Fat-Free Natural Cheese Best Guilt-Free Cheat Food
Yes, I know the old myth about dairy, which is that it promotes water retention. I also know that many competitors stop using dairy when they diet down for a show. I beg to differ! I like my fat-free dairy, and I love fat-free cheese.
I stay shredded 365 days a year, and yes, I get bloated now and then too - Hello, PMS, it's not ever nice to meet you - and I never blame fat-free cheese for that. If it was a full-fat, fried camembert then I could admit it was the cheese that fattened me up.
However, the fat-free cheese I buy from Lifetime Cheese has no crazy fillers, no hidden trans fat and it actually melts! Have you ever tried to melt Kraft's fat-free cheese? It's a hideous experiment but kind of entertaining to watch the "cheese" particles curl up into off-color, plastic-like strings. Ew.
I use Lifetime fat-free cheese with my Shirataki noodles, put it in the microwave oven, and voila - homemade mac & cheese. And you can eat this stuff without getting cheese on the thighs! A pack of this one gives you 63 grams of protein and very few carbs.
(Fighter Diet discount 15% for orders of 24 or fewer bars, and a 25% discount for orders of 24 or more bars! www.northwoodscheese.com Write "FD" in the shipping field.)
Mustard The 6th Food Group
Mustard is not just a condiment, not for me. I eat it like a sauce or even like it is its own food group. Mustard is another free food in the Fighter Diet concept, so when you pour it over your cabbage like I do, you just skip counting the calories!
Here are some tips on buying and using mustard. First, do not buy anything labelled "honey mustard" and always read the ingredients list! Some companies try to fatten us up by adding sugar to mustard and calling it "sweet & spicy." Instead, I make my own sweet 'n sour mustard by mixing it with some Stevia. It is delicious! Right now I'm on a kick with Woeber's jalapeno mustard.
More reasons I love mustard: It's an excellent immune system booster and gives you some of the benefits of curcumin. Ever heard of the anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin? Well, it's increasing in popularity as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Anybody who takes training seriously will be fighting free radicals inside their body. Doesn't it just blow your mind that mustard can help? It's naturally rich in curcumin, which comes from turmeric and gives mustard its yellow color.
I know you must be curious about how I decided that mustard is calorie free. Well, I tried to eat a bottle of it every day for months just to see what happened. I got leaner! Day after day I downed about a bottle, which equals an estimated 300 calories, according to the label. The mustard seemed to boost my metabolism and some of it came out the natural way. Yes, there's a TMI for you, too much information, but you asked for it and I delivered.
Cocoa Powder Get Your Chocolate Fix with Antioxidant Benefits
Cocoa powder is known to be rich in antioxidants. But hello, we don't eat chocolate for that! We indulge in it because chocolate is cocaine to the soul. So the challenge is to make it healthy. Really, it's pretty easy.
I mix cocoa powder with vp2 chocolate protein powder, fat-free quark (a super low-calorie substitute for cream cheese or sour cream), nutra fiber (made from sugar beets and a great source of fiber) and stevia. It's my choco-treat, and I eat it for dessert pretty much daily until I get fed up with chocolate, which really only happens once every blue moon.
Start Your Feeding Frenzy and Rev Your Metabolism
If you can't tell, the foods on my Fighter Diet list (this isn't all of them) not only taste amazing but they also help you burn fat and build muscle. They can help kill that feeling like you're cheating on your diet, while you get shredded. Start adding these foods to your diet and you'll never want to go off this diet.
For more FD foods, check out the FD Pyramid ebook!