Healthy and enjoyable eating is key
RockYourBody promotes a healthy, natural, plant-based way of life – and I am happy to assist you, whatever your current lifestyle is.
Small changes, big changes, best practices or a 90 day challenge: Everyone is unique – and there’s no “one size fits all” approach.
Depending on your goals and your current situation, we will find the best solution together AND make it DELICIOUS and ENJOYABLE – because that’s WHAT MAKES IT WORK in the long run.
NO ONE needs vitamin pills or other supplements
The RockYourBody Food Pyramid
Here’s my ultimate list of how to eat – for a healthy life and delicious meals EVERY day:
|Rarely or never||Sugar | Sweets | Alcohol | Simple carbs: white flour, bread, etc. | Fast-food | Processed foods, containing sugar, cheap fats, etc. | Inflammatory oils: sunflower, corn, soy, grape-seed, sesame, safflower|
|Little||Sugary fruits | Whole-grain bead & pasta | Rice | Potatoes |
Wine, preferably red | Curd cheese, hard cheese like Parmesan | Red meat: organic or grass-fed | Milk: organic or grass-fed | Oats
|Some||Whole fruits with pulp | White meat: organic or free-range | Healthy oils: coconut, black cumin, argan | Sheep or goat dairy | Yoghurt & kefir | Gluten-free grains: quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth | Dark chocolate with > 85% cacao|
|Moderate||Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, beans | Nuts & seeds | Fish | Organic eggs | Nightshade vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant | Fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha | Green smoothies with pulp|
|As much as you want||Vegetables, especially green & leafy | Berries | Avocado | Organic spices: garlic, ginger, turmeric, black pepper | Organic plant protein: chia, almond, rice, pea, pumpkin seed, hemp, linseed | Omega-3 rich oils: linseed, fish, avocado, macadamia|
Healthy eating dos and don’ts
- Prefer natural, fresh and unprocessed foods all day – to avoid unhealthy fats, carbs, refined sugars, synthetic flavors and additives
- Focus on plant-based ingredients (aim for more than 80%) – for more energy like you won’t believe
- Drink lots of still water (at least 2 liters a day for starters) and herbal tea – to stay hydrated and prevent hunger
- Avoid drinking too much during meals – it interferes with proper digestion
- Eat colorful! Vegetables and fruit with different colors are rich in different nutrients – the more colorful you choose them, the greater the range of nutrients you get
How to start the day
- A big cup of hot water or tea right after getting up – to re-hydrate, fill your stomach and get the juices flowing
- A healthy breakfast within 30-60 mins of waking up – to activate your metabolism
Groceries and cooking
- Prefer local (freshly harvested) or frozen vegetables and fruit… over food that has been ripening in on ships and in dark trucks for days or weeks – to get the most nutrients
- Always have canned organic chickpeas and peans in your pantry and frozen organic vegetables and berries in your fridge – to be ready for when you get hungry and need to cook sth. up right away
- Use only oils with a high smoke point for cooking – coconut, macadamia, avocado and, to a lesser degree, olive oil
- Use maximum oven temperatures of 180° C (356° F) to avoid acrylamide – especially when preparing starch-rich foods (potato-based, corn-based or cookies)
Benefits of a plant-based lifestyle
Plant-based foods, in addition to being delicious, easy to prepare, good for the environment and a much healthier alternative to animal-based foods, have many nutritional benefits:
- They are high in vitamins (antioxidants) and other highly beneficial phytochemicals (also called secondary nutrients)
- They are low in unhealthy saturated fats – and often rich in healthy unsaturated fats
- Their high fiber content leads to a healthy digestion and gut microbiota
- If compared to other foods, per 1000 kcal they have a much higher nutrient content
- Their nutrients lead to reduced risks of or can even fight obesity, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, among many others
- No animal has to die for you when you switch to a plant-based diet
More energy and better health – with plant based foods
More and more people are considering strongly reducing or cutting meat and dairy from their everyday diets – and replacing them with plant based foods. Having done this myself for almost 2 years, I can say:
A plant based diet makes a difference you won’t believe – until you try it!
There are various valid reasons for cutting meat and dairy from your diet:
- Due to health concerns and medical recommendations
- Because you care about animal welfare and high quality food
- Because you want to reduce the environmental impact of your diet (did you know that producing 1 kg of beef needs about 15000 liters of water? Whereas 1 kg of tomatoes needs just 180 liters?)
Processed meats – why you should completely avoid them
(and any meat that is not from grass-fed animals)
Processed meats (including ham, salami, sausages and hot dogs) have been scientifically linked to cancer, diabetes, cardio vascular and other life-threatening diseases.
The World Health Organization has classified them as a Group 1 carcinogen. This means that there is strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer.
Red meats have been classified as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer.
Experts from 10 countries reviewed more than 800 studies to reach these conclusions. They found that eating 50 grams of processed meat every day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4698595/
Industrially produced meats (red and white) are full of antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides and other harmful substances.
Meat causes acidosis
Acidosis is increased acidity in the body’s cells, blood and other body tissues.
It is caused by an acid lifestyle (stress), coupled with an acid diet (sugary foods, refined grains, lots of meat and dairy).
Acidosis causes inflammation all over the body.
Inflammation then leads to chronic pain, the clogging of arteries and cancer (just to name a few of the most dangerous outcomes).
Thus, inflammation is the leading cause of the most life-threatening sickness and diseases.
Is any meat safe?
You still like to eat meat and dairy products from time to time? Go for grass-fed and ethically raised!
Not only do animals that are fed with grass (or whatever is species appropriate) and ethically raised outdoors live a happier life. Their meat also is totally different from that of industrially raised animals fed with concentrated feed (that is used to maximize growth and minimize costs)!
Industrially produced meat and dairy contains (among the above-mentioned antibiotics and pesticides) high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids – leading to increased inflammation in the human body).
Meat and dairy from grass-fed animals is totally different. It contains high amounts of the healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Those reduce inflammation and have other highly beneficial effects on our health and immune system.
While you’re at it – if you don’t want to go for a 100% vegetarian or vegan diet yet: Why not at least boycott industrially produced meat (cheap meat from supermarkets) and switch to meat from grass-fed, organic and ethically raised animals!
What to eat
- Prefer complex (slow) carbs (legumes, vegetables) over simple carbs (white bread, flour and sugar) – to avoid transformation into body fat, increased hunger, etc.
- Try pasta made from legumes (chick pea, lentil, bean pasta) or the Asian zero carb shirataki noodles (made from konjac flour)
- On every carb dish, reduce the carbs to 25% or less – and go for 75% of vegetables on the plate (plus some protein)
- If you absolutely want carbs on the plate (as an exception, not permanently) – schedule a workout right before the meal (this transforms most carbs into muscle mass instead of body fat)
- Eat lots of healthy fats (from olive oil, avocado, linseed, nuts, seeds and fish) – to increase metabolism, fat loss and protein absorption
- Avoid all foods containing cheap fats (processed or deep-fried) or inflammatory fats (sunflower oil, safflower oil, etc.)
- If any, use butter from grass-fed cows
- Use healthy oils with a high smoke point for cooking (coconut, macadamia or avocado oil)
- Add precious oils after cooking (olive, linseed or fish oil)
- Try vegetable protein sources – almond, chia, pumpkin seed, linseed, rice, pea or hemp protein can be delicious
- Try vegan or vegetarian meat alternatives
- If any meat, only buy grass-fed, free-range or organic – the health benefits compared to cheap industrial meat are enormous
- Eat no processed meat (sausages, bacon, etc.) at all and very little red meat – to reduce cancer risk
- Just organic, whole eggs (don’t leave the yolk out – it contains most of the essential nutrients)
What to stay away from
- refined cereals or flour
- soft drinks with sugar or artificial sweeteners
- joghurts and other dairy sweetened with sugar
- pressed fruit juices without pulp (high in fructose)
- all foods containing cheap fats and trans fats (processed, deep-fried, fast food, margarine, snack foods and packaged baked goods)
- sunflower, corn and safflower oil
- cheap dairy products from industrial production
- processed meat (sausages, bacon, etc.) at all and very little red meat (to reduce cancer risk)
- industrial meat or dairy – most contain antibiotics, pesticides, growth hormones and inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids, and the animals have been raised in intensive mass animal farming and may have been fed with genetically modified feed
Pantry and freezer suggestions – What you should always have in stock
Overcoming temptation – the pre-emptive strike
The KEY for a healthy diet in my opinion is:
Step 1: Making temptation impossible – get rid of all the bad stuff
First order of business: Clean ALL the unhealthy stuff (come on, you know EXACTLY what it is) out of your pantry, cupboards, fridge, freezer and ALL of your secret hiding places – and give everything to your “favorite” neighbor (haha) 😉
In that way you will never get caught in a situation where you’re REALLY hungry – and the only thing available is some sugary, carb-rich, fatty or otherwise highly processed, unhealthy stuff.
(And for your cheat days – always buy everything ON the actual cheat day – and eat it right away) 😉
Step 2: Preparing for when the hunger comes – stock up on the good stuff
Always have a choice of your favorite healthy foods at home – foods that are ready to eat (or can be prepared in a minute) and that you could eat every day. I’ll show you my favorites in a second.
Foods to stock
Here’s a list of what you should always have at home:
In the pantry
- Canned organic legumes – my favorite being chickpeas/garbanzo beans and Borlotti beans (as they don’t have that floury bean taste), kidney beans, white beans…
- Canned organic lentils
- Canned or bottled organic tomatoes (without citric acid!) or tomato pulp
- Nonperishable almond, oat, rice and coconut milk
- Chickpea and lentil pasta
- Olives, capers and sardines
- Sweet potatoes and squash
- Ginger and garlic
In the fridge
- Hard-boiled and fresh whole organic eggs (always eat the whole egg – and don’t believe any crappy information about egg whites being the only part of the egg you should eat)
- Coconut, soy (or occasionally grass-fed cow’s) yoghurt
- Fresh organic vegetables
In the freezer
- Frozen berries (I love and prefer raspberries, red currant, blueberries and strawberries)
- Frozen organic vegetables (broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, carrots, peas, green beans)
- Frozen parmesan and portioned Roquefort or Gorgonzola – to quickly whip up delicious sauces
Meal suggestions and tips
What to actually eat during the day – meals and snacks for healthy eating
I prefer the quick and easy ones – because in the morning I’m hungry and want something good… fast! 😉
- Coconut yogurt, soy yogurt or curd cheese – with unsweetened berries (fresh or frozen), whisked with some lemon juice, almond milk and vanilla or cinnamon
- Omelet or scrambled eggs – with diced tomatoes, zucchini and/or roasted sweet potatoes, topped with feta, goat’s cheese or parmesan
- with eggs (boiled, scrambled, sunny side up) [very low carb]
- on a slice of whole grain bread – with Dijon mustard, tomato and cucumber slices, basil, and, most deliciously, topped with a sunny-side-up egg
- with cucumber and a slice of whole grain bread – topped with curry-mango-papaya or tomato-basil spread
- Green vegetables (I prefer frozen spinach, quickly cooked in the pan) – with legumes (beans or chickpeas), tomatoes and crumbled feta
- Cottage cheese and vegetables – with cucumber, tomatoes, linseed oil and roasted pumpkin & sunflower seeds
- Protein cereal mix, berries and coconut – made from oats (or a sugar-free cereal), raspberries, coconut flour, nut milk and a mix of organic vegetable proteins (rice, pea, almond, linseed, etc.)
- Avocado, tomato and cucumber salad, topped with fried or hard-boiled eggs
- Poke bowls with no or an extra small portion of rice
- Thai and Indian curries with no or an extra small portion of rice
- Salads with vegetables, chickpeas, beans or lentils (maybe topped with some eggs, shrimp or organic/pasture raised chicken or turkey)
- Antipasti-salads – with roasted zucchini, eggplant, pepper, mushrooms, fennel, etc.
All of these can and should be prepared at home – or bought ready-to-eat in one way or another. You can then have them with you wherever you are when the hunger cravings hit.
And all contain very little to no carbs, plus lots of healthy protein and fats – satisfying your hunger…
- Avocado with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumber, salt & pepper
- Add pesto (rosso, verde or others)
- Add salt, pepper and chili
- Fresh peppers with bits of cheese
- Cottage-cheese with cocktail tomatoes, linseed oil, salt & pepper, and roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- Vegetable sticks with vegetable dips (curry, avocado, tomato, mushroom, etc.) or cream cheeses and dips (pay attention the dips don’t contain citric acid, and little to no added sugars)
- Nuts (max. a handful per day due to high calories from healthy but high fat content) + try with vegetables and/or your favorite cheese
- Salad with grapefruit, roasted seeds and smoked fish or roasted chicken bits (preferably home-cooked)
- Variations of roasted green vegetables – with coconut and olive oil, cocktail tomatoes (or tomato sauce), and feta or parmesan
- Roasted vegetables with fish
- Zucchini and carrot noodles (home-made with a spiralizer) and/or zero-carb Shirataki noodles (made from konjac flour, I prefer them in Tagliatelle form) with your favorite pasta sauce – Gorgonzola, Bolognese, Aglio e olio, etc. etc.
- Green and red salad – with King Prawns & diced Avocado and Mango
- Mongolian or other semi self-service restaurants – where you can choose all the ingredients (and can go low- or slow-carb) and have them prepared for you, plus it’s usually all you can eat
- Mexican restaurants – where you can order everything but carbs, and instead take beans, vegetables and meat (which, again, should be grass-fed, pasture-raised or organic)
- Any restaurant which, even if for a small surcharge, is willing to serve any dish you order without bread, noodles or other refined grains, and instead will put more vegetables and/or legumes on your plate
Pre-Workout to gain muscle
- A combination of carbs and protein – to provide your body with highly available energy, and protein (which usually takes 1-2 hours to be available for muscles anyway)
- Ideally: A plant-based protein mix – with nut milk and some frozen berries
Pre-Workout to get slim
- Nothing high-caloric or easily burned – meaning no fat and very little carbs
- Ideally: A plant-based protein mix – with nut milk and some frozen berries
Post-Workout to gain muscle
To gain muscle, your body needs carbs & proteins directly after your workout (preferably within the first 30 mins). Always combine them with lots of vegetables! Why the vegetables? to provide fiber and nutrients that are absolutely necessary to properly digest and metabolize those carbs and proteins
- Spinach with potatoes and sunny side up eggs (lots of highly effective protein)
- Whole-grain, chickpea- or lentil-pasta with lots of vegetables, and some fish, prawns or chicken
Post-Workout to get slim
- To burn as much fat as possible: Go low-carb… no grain products, alcohol or sugars at all
- To maintain a healthy body composition: Go slow-carb… with moderate complex carbs from legumes and whole-grain products
- Low-carb vegetables with feta, eggs or fish
- Slow-carb legumes (also containing some protein) with extra vegetables
- Salad (not after 7 p.m. of possible) with fish, prawns, turkey or chicken
Post-Workout for vegans
- Get your antioxidants and fiber from vegetables
- Get the complex carbs and some protein from legumes
- Have a ready-made vegan protein shake along with it
- Or make your own shake – from rice-, pea-, almond-, pumpkin seed-, hemp- and linseed-protein
The connection between carbs and body fat
Low-glycemic vs. high-glycemic foods
When you eat carbohydrates, your pancreas produces insulin. This hormone enables you to digest sugars and starches.
The release of insulin is sometimes called an insulin spike. Depending on the type of carbs (and the amount) you eat, this spike can be quick and high, or slow and balanced out over a longer period.
Simple carbs & complex carbs
Simple carbs, like the ones in sugar, white bread, pasta, pizza, etc., lead to spikes in blood sugar and therefore provoke quick and high insulin secretion.
Complex carbs on the other hand, like the ones in legumes (chick peas, lentils, beans) and most vegetables, lead to a much slower and more balanced insulin secretion.
The former provide energy quickly, but leave you craving for more carbs very shortly afterwards. The latter provide sustainable energy over a long period of time, leaving your hunger satisfied and your energy stores full.
Also, legumes and vegetables contain much less carbs than bread, pizza, pasta & Co.