Best Foods for Fat Loss - a 30-day Plan to Get Ripped
Chris' 30-day plan that he outlines below WILL transform your body if you follow it. It's not "extreme" by any means, even though some people may view it as "extreme"... his plan simply reverts back to what we were meant to eat as humans instead of what most of us eat in this modern day of overly processed food everywhere we look.
Keep in mind that when he says to NEVER eat a certain something, such as gluten for example, he's mostly referring to this 30-day intervention plan, and not your entire life. Although it may be healthiest to never eat gluten again, it's unrealistic for most people...and for people that can tolerate gluten without major digestive issues, I believe that the inflammatory effects of occasional gluten can be counterbalanced with a high antioxidant intake overall, higher omega-3's, and other smart choices.
Chris' 30-day Intervention plan below has more great info in it than some entire books, so make sure to read this article all the way through. Also, the beginning of the article anwers some common questions about Athletic Greens but then transitions right into the 30-day plan.
The Best Food for Fat Loss - A 30-Day Plan to get Seriously Lean and Healthy
by Chris Ashenden, aka - "Chris The Kiwi"
I hope this finds you better than ever. In light of a bunch of questions recently on when to take Athletic Greens, Athletic Greens and fat loss, food and fat loss, belly fat and fat loss, and Athletic Greens vs. “post workout powder xyz” I decided to rip this one out.
You'll find my entire 30-day plan in this article to completely revamp your nutrition, kill inflammation, and get LEAN!
It has been by FAR the most popular article I have ever written, now completely updated.
Read it, do it and you can expect dramatic and EASY Fat Loss…
My take on FOOD for FAT LOSS and the idea behind Athletic Greens.
Lets start with my direction for 95% plus of people on how and when to take Athletic Greens .
Wake up, take 1 serving of Athletic Greens, ideally in water. Do this everyday. AND/OR take your serving of Athletic Greens immediately post workout (or depending on diet immediately prior to first meal of the day). For 95% of people, this is the be all and end all of how you take Athletic Greens.
PLEASE NOTE: It is NOT a meal replacement. I am going to say that often.
The idea behind Athletic Greens, or “Why would you take Athletic Greens ?”
You take Athletic Greens to get a huge wallop of food-sourced and readily absorbable micronutrients (and get them IN to your system) every day. They have been pre selected for efficacy, quality, and combined in optimal amounts for synergistic impact.
Eating (and absorbing) sufficient micronutrients is VITAL for every function in your body. If you are missing out on even one essential nutrient, your health suffers. We can survive for a long time, but thrive is a different story.
At the same time as providing those micronutrients Athletic Greens works on your body’s ability to absorb ALL nutrients by improving gut health.
Improving gut health = increased nutrient absorption + lower inflammation
Since you know we need those nutrients, and inflammation is the number one cause of disease, you can see why this is useful.
Athletic Greens will also massively boost your immunity, detox (lightly) your liver, and do a host of other cool little things like give your brain a neurotransmitter boost, improve your body’s ability to withstand stress (via a host of adaptogens) and provide potent anti-oxidants aimed at improving cellular function and overall health.
Pure and simple, it is “Ultimate Nutritional Insurance™”
*Insurance against nutrient gaps in your diet
*Even if you eat “perfectly” – insurance against nutrient gaps in your available food quality
*Insurance against disease, toxicity, and immune suppression
*And importantly insurance against problems with your GI tract impacting on your health and your absorption of nutrients.
That is it. It is not a meal replacement (who still eats these? please eat FOOD), it is not designed to be taken only on “cheat days” – it was designed to give you a DAILY leg up nutrition wise with a view to optimum health, energy, longevity, and performance.
If you take it every day, it works. GI function will improve, micro-nutrient absorption will improve, immunity will improve, energy will improve. And yes, if you get those benefits in a row it will help with fat loss.
Overtraining, having your immunity depressed, feeling sick, gut health issues, post antibiotics, or about to go on a binge and eat a ton of stuff that is bad for you – all good times to up the dose dramatically – that is the other 5% of the recommendation.
But, that is not the ”plan” – it is designed so that you take it EVERY day, and over time and in conjunction with smart eating, lifestyle and exercise choices you will look, feel, and perform better. You will also get sick a lot less often, improve health right down to the telomere level (the ends of your DNA strands, anti-oxidants have been shown to do this) and enjoy overall greater energy.
Ideally, all of these will make you happier. THAT is our goal with this product.
We are all running our lives. We are all athletes… Just at different levels.
Athletic Greens is there to help you take it the next level.
These are all very good things. But none of that makes Athletic Greens a replacement for actual food that you chew...
FOOD is FIRST.
I would love to say ‘you heard it here first’ but deep down I am sure you already know this. We both know it.
If we all accept that food is first, here are some simple rules for nutrition. If you do these, you will be happily ripped in no time. As a plus, you will also live longer, feel healthier, and have far lower incidence of disease.
*EAT for nutrient density
*EAT to improve gut absorption of nutrients
*EAT a macro nutrient profile that lends itself to improved body composition and less disease
*EAT sufficient quantity of quality food to deliver your body its macro and micro nutrient requirements
*DO NOT EAT anti-nutrients (the biggest problem with grains)
*DO NOT EAT foods that harm you
There are some great eating programs out there, the Slow-Carb-Diet from The 4-Hour Body, the BeyondDiet program -- I like them both, they work well and are especially good with a view to people just starting out and wanting compliance for the whole family.
They work, and with compliance people stick to them… so people get results.
Those results are reflected in how many people love and rave about those programs.
Having said that, here is my take on FOOD for FAT LOSS.
This is an all-out, no bullocks, 30-day plan "results guaranteed" way of eating. You won't get hungry more than once or twice if you do it properly.
This is very, very easy. Note the words FOOD (that is what you will be eating, and the only thing you will be eating) and FAT LOSS – if you eat this way, and don’t change a thing; FAT LOSS is what will happen.
The Kiwi‘s take on FOOD for FAT LOSS ... and Happiness
You want to lose fat? REALLY lose fat? Then lets get it over and done with!
Here is my ONE RULE:
Make every meal a healthy sequence of Protein, Good Fats, and Non Starchy Veggies...
... In that order…
... And with NO exceptions.
Do this for 30 days (or 60, or forever, if you prefer), and get the bulk of your fat loss over and done with, quickly.
This ONE RULE, which automatically ensures a superior macro nutrient ratio for fat loss (and health) – has outstanding results with EVERYONE who tries it for the whole 30 days.
Kiwi! It can’t be that simple.
It is, but if you want the nitty-gritty, here is how it works:
1. Protein FIRST. Every meal, start by eating a clean, CHEWABLE quality source of protein. What do I mean?
Meat (preferably grass-fed), (non-farmed) fish, free range poultry, clean living or game meats, and free range whole eggs.
That is it.
Aim for a DAILY intake of 1 gram of protein per lb. of bodyweight or more. Yes, I really said that, and yes, it is harder than it sounds.
Yes, it is so important it is going at number 1.
Break this protein intake over each of your daily meals (2 meals is ok, 3 meals is perfect and 4 is more than enough), and make getting in that quota of high quality animal sourced protein your priority at every meal.
Don’t like counting? (And I don’t like counting, so this is how I recommend you do it)
HOW I RECOMMEND YOU DO IT (the food order part)
*Eat your protein until you are about 75-80% of the way to satiety, check for fats, and fill up on veggies.
*That means eat the animal-sourced protein component of your meal until you are nearly full (about 75-80% of the way there)
2. Fat SECOND. After you get your real food protein down, ensure you are getting some healthy, quality, FATS at every meal.
“Good fats are your friend”
If you cook in coconut oil, limit omega-6 intake, and eat nothing for protein but grass fed meat, wild caught fish such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines, game meats and wild fowl, and vegetables, you are probably good to go without any supplementation, additives, or tricks whatsoever.
Since this is nearly NO ONE who is chasing fat loss, everyone else needs to balance out their omega 3 to omega 6 ratios and reverse all the damage this imbalance has caused you, as fast as possible.
You are aiming for a 1:1 to 1:3 ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6s which are our ancestral dietary norms and NOT what is happening with the bulk of the food you eat (you need a LOT more omega 3 and a lot LESS omega 6 to get this balance, trust me). Some estimates say that the modern western diet is a ratio of 1:20 omega-3 to omega-6, or worse.
We do this two ways. 1) LIMIT Omega 6 intake FIRST and then 2) TOP up Omega 3 intake.
We also want to ensure that you are getting sufficient variety and quality in your good fat intake, and that these are coming from clean sources.
Other than the protein selection guides above, to top up Omega 3, do the following…
Take down some high quality fish oil with every meal. Work up to 2-3 grams of combined DHA/EPA per meal.
Daily amount as follows:
2-4 grams total EPA/DHA per day if you can see your abs even when sitting, never eat any grain fed meat, have no auto-immune or inflammatory issues, and none of your joints hurt, ever.
4-8 grams total EPA/DHA per day if you are carrying excess flab, any of your joints hurt, or you suffer any form of auto-immune or inflammatory disease. If you are anywhere in between, I recommend you build up, hold the slightly higher dose for four weeks, then go back down to 2-4 grams total EPA/DHA per day.
Divide your daily intake across your meals equally.
Trust me on this, it may take some working up to, but the results are outstanding. It will also help your BRAIN, and recent science suggests even the health of your telomeres (the ”caps” on your DNA).
NOTE: Hold this dose for no more than four weeks, then DROP DOWN. Don’t make a big deal of this – this is an intervention – the FOCUS IS ON FOOD.
“What If I Can’t Get Grass-fed Meat?” (Mike's comment -- even if you can't find grass-fed meat at your local grocery store, here's a great source that I personally use online, and the quality of this meat and extra nutrition you get is more than worth a slightly higher cost -- US Wellness meats online
What about eating grain fed meat? Avoid it whenever budget and availability allow, those cows are unhealthy and have a messed up omega 3 to omega 6 ratio (omega 6 heavy, frequently higher than 1:20), but if you have limited options, eating grain fed ruminants is STILL BETTER than not eating this way. However, for Grain Fed meat go for the leanest cut you can (the fat on grain fed meat is BAD).
So cut the fat OFF grain fed meat, go for the leanest cuts.
To top up the fat content with CLEAN FATS (remember, we check for fats EVERY meal), add a tablespoon of one of the below
CHECK FOR FATS: ADD 1 TABLESPOON OF THESE TO any meal that is not made up of Grass-fed meat, wild caught salmon, or game meats.
*Grass-fed butter (the only dairy you will eat)
*Organic Ghee (clarified butter)
*Coconut Oil (great source of healthy saturated fats, MCTs)
Or NUMBER 1: the rendered animal fat of a cleanly raised animal. Either because you bought it, or because you saved it from another cooking session where you cooked clean meat.
Any meal that is made up of grass fed meat, wild game, wild salmon, anchovies, or sardines, you can skip the tablespoon of clean fats, since your meal will already provide you with them.
Feel free to leave the FAT ON when eating grass-fed ruminants or wild game. This is clean fat and GOOD FOR YOU, and very good for your fat loss.
For Cooking: Cook in coconut oil (low to high heat), grass-fed organic ghee, or in the animal’s own fat (or rendered lard from pasture raised animals, if you can find it). Those stuck with grain-fed meat, can cook in grass-fed butter if they want to.
Other than coconut oil (with impunity) and small amounts of olive oil (for flavor, if you cook with olive oil, LOW TEMP only) ALL OTHER VEGETABLE OILS are making you fat, inflamed, and unhealthy and they ARE BANNED FOR LIFE.
Food For Fat Loss - Coconut Oil Is BEST CHOICE
1) Food quality is extremely important. Go for the clean cuts of meat and wild caught oily fish wherever you can find them/afford them, and you can chow down with the fat ON without even thinking about it. This is the BEST way to get your fats in your diet.
2) Next step on the ladder is to add in clean fats to your meal as required, normally in what you cook in.
3) Last step is the fish oil – NOTE: This slightly high dose fish oil approach is an INTERVENTION. It is designed to help you get rid of inflammation, start stripping fat and balance out your (likely horrible) current omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.
You hold this level for 30 days MAXIMUM at which point you will drop back and take from 2 to 4 grams of combined EPA/DHA from fish oil a day for the other health benefits.
MORE IS NOT BETTER. LONGER IS NOT BETTER.
Read this again: At the end of the 30 days at the higher dose, you must back right down.
Intervention means it is not forever.
3. Veggies THIRD.
Yes, third. Fill up (keep going until you achieve satiety) with lots of nutrient dense vegetable choices.
You have eaten your animal sourced protein until you are 80% full. Checked for clean fats, and added if required. You took your fish oil...
NOW, for Part THREE – VEGGIES! – Just close out the meal and keep chomping until you are no longer hungry. You will get a TON of micronutrient goodness with very little calories, so seriously, eat away until you are nicely satisfied! Here are my favorites:
Baby Bok Choy
Feel free to add your own.
You can do this as a stir-fry, steamed veggies, raw veggies, a big salad, a stew. Whatever makes you happy. Just watch sauces, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in small quantities are fine. Other than coconut oil and olive oil, ALL other vegetable oils are banned.
Please make sure you cycle through the veggie choices, and don’t be afraid to add plenty more, variety rocks, and there can be too much of a good thing.
Tip: Cook with herbs and spices to add variety in nutrients and flavors to your cooking. There is no need to get bored.
What about carbs you ask?
My answer: This is about FAT LOSS, which generally implies that you have some form of METABOLIC DERANGEMENT and INSULIN ISSUES... so what about them?
Limit fruit, eat NO carbs at all other than those naturally occurring in your vegetable selection, and only drink sugar-free, unsweetened beverages. This means water, tea, black coffee.
(Mike's comment -- even with limiting total fruit for 30 days, you can still get away with some berries each day as berries have the lowest GI, highest fiber, and also the most antioxidants of all fruits with the least total carbs)
Sound extreme? Not really, extreme is forcing our bodies to survive on a diet that is freaking terrible for us.
The result, lots and lots of FAT, SICK, and MISERABLE people.
I am all about happiness, so please, don’t be one of them.
Oh yeah, this also means NEVER EVER – EVER – EAT GLUTEN.
Ancestrally, we didn’t eat any processed carbs, or even a carb heavy diet, and we sure as heck didn’t eat much, if any gluten until more modern times.
The longer you go without by the way, the easier it is to get past any carb addiction.
Move your body over to this, our more ancestral and evolutionary format for eating and quite simply. prepare to be amazed.
The nutrient density of a meal like this alone is a world away from a modern, nutrient starved, about to make you fat and miserable “meal”.
Note: Elite or very hard training athlete’s whose focus is on recovery (or fuel, in the case of endurance athletes) should take down some carbs post workout in the form of tubers. This equals yams, sweet potatoes, taro, yuca, and potentially a small amount of fruit. But this article is not about nutrition for people in season or training, this is about FAT LOSS.
Here is the FOOD for FAT LOSS Rule again.
Make every meal a healthy sequence of Protein, Good Fats, and Non Starchy Veggies…
...In that order…
... And with NO exceptions.
Nothing else. Do not eat anything else.
I repeat. If your goal is FAT LOSS, then for 30 days eat NOTHING ELSE.
This means for the 30 days...
NO CHEAT DAYS: Yep, no cheat days. You can have the odd OVER EATING day, but the rules for the food order and choices remain the same.
If you want to over eat one day a week, go for it!! Brazilian BBQ restaurants with a salad bar work a treat, as does a monster Thai “double” red chicken curry in coconut milk (ask them to hold adding sugar) and without the rice. Yummy.
NO GLUTEN. Remember the ”no anti-nutrients” rule? Gluten is the king of anti-nutrients. So that means not today, not on a cheat day, not once in the next 30 days, and ideally not ever. You are welcome.
NO GRAINS, NO CEREALS and NO LEGUMES. Sorry, they are OUT for my version of the 30 day fat loss cure. While legumes are by far a “lessor evil” when compared to grains and gluten, the anti-nutrient content (lignans, lectin, saponins) plus the carb content rules them out. All cereals and all grains out means no quinoa, no oats, no brown rice, even if those grains are also lower on the scale of anti-nutrients.
POST WORKOUT NUTRITION: see meal rules above, and Athletes note my comments. NOTHING changes if the primary goal is fat loss.
(Athletes already pretty lean who want to get a tiny bit leaner while not impacting training loads can add in some tubers and a small amount of fruit immediately post-workout. LIMIT fruit if you want to speed up the fat loss. If you are going to do fruit at all, or if you must blend any liquid meal, NOW is the time. Athletes who are serious about getting leaner should back off their training volume and adopt this eating strategy in full for 30 days, and get the fat loss over and done with)
NO JUICE. No juice, no juice...no juice. NOT ONCE.
NO DAIRY: including milk, cheese, whey protein, cottage cheese or anything else. Did you see ANY mention of dairy above other than grass-fed butter for people stuck with grain-fed meat? Nope. That is because it is not in your diet at all the next 30 days. (Mike's comment -- although I think dairy is a much lesser evil than grains, I also agree that it is a great test to eliminate it for 30 days to see if you've been unknowingly having digestive issues with dairy).
DO NOT HAVE LIQUID MEALS if your goal is FAT LOSS. This includes ALL protein shakes, blending up a ton of veggies and or fruit in a blender, or any “meal replacement” products. These will cause insulin spikes, those spikes don’t help your fat loss one little bit. Blended is way better than juice, but even so, lets limit those insulin spikes for the next 30 days.
LIMIT FRUIT to post work out only, one serving or less (on average) every second workout, until you are lean. Too much fructose will mess up the best of fat loss plans. Best choices are melons or berries.
Limit means exactly that. If you are seriously looking for fat loss I would be happiest if you ate NO FRUIT for the next 30 days.
NOTE: Your vegetables have ALL those wonderful anti-oxidants and nutrients as well, but without the fructose.
FRUCTOSE is the devil when it comes to Fat Loss – limit fruit!
SUPPLEMENTS: in total. Athletic Greens for insurance and gut health (as required), fish oil for Omega 3s and to combat inflammation, and Vitamin D3 if you are not getting enough sun. Anything else is surplus, and purely elective. Heck, ALL of them are elective. Food is FIRST remember. My Trinity stack gets you the best price on fish oil, Athletic Greens, and Vitamin D3 combined.
HUNGER and CALORIE COUNTING: there is no calorie counting. If you do it right, there will be no hunger either.
Just eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are full, but ONLY eat according to the rule above. If a lack of appropriate food choices means you can’t eat for a few hours, pucker up mate and just hold on. You will thank me for it.
If it happens that you can’t find food that complies, just ENJOY the hunger, and when you can eat according to the rules, just make up for it in terms of volume.
Having this break from food intake won’t detrimentally harm your fat loss, or your muscle, or anything else. I promise.
That. Is. IT.
Note: Just in case you are crying at the thought of what you CAN’T eat. Once you are ripped, you can start to play with the following:
*Having a small amount of fruit post workout on occasion
*Carbs in general post workout if your training necessitates it (tubers ideally, sometimes a bit of fruit, melons and berries the best)
*Nuts and seeds (but watch volume)
*Not worrying about having the odd meal where you go off the rails (a little, and if you are smart, NEVER gluten)
*Playing with Dairy a little – especially post workout if after MASS – and only if tolerated
*Playing with blended smoothies – if you must, again, post workout ideal
*Alcohol in moderation
*Cheat meals done right (more on this later)
But, until you are ripped... try this EXACT eating pattern and food choices for EVERY meal for 30 days.
This eating pattern puts Food Quality, Your Health, and FAT LOSS first… Crazy right? If you are carrying excess body fat, then it is something you should have done a long time ago. Now is your chance!
Exercise SMART. Lift weights with intensity 2-4 x per week, never more than 1 hour, and generally far less. Walk as often as you can. Sprint every now and again when orthopedically ready. If not orthopedically ready, work towards it aggressively with smart programming, since sprinting is your birthright and few things beat it in terms of quality exercise.
Spend more time on relaxation outdoors than you do now.
Focus on SLEEP (chase 8-9 hours plus in a blacked-out room), and getting 30-60 minutes of sun daily to make sure you get your vitamin D as naturally as possible. If you don’t get enough sun, supplement with some oil-based Vitamin D3 , and think about changing your lifestyle or moving.
If you do this FOOD for FAT LOSS plan... really truly do this, and don’t love me at the end of it... well, there is always a first time for everything.
“100% Focus on Happiness”
That is my mantra, and it starts with phenomenal health.
Chris “the Kiwi”
Awesome article Kiwi! As I said before, if you follow Chris' plan for 30-days without straying you WILL be a LOT leaner in 30 days!
If you want the best of what Chris has to offer at the best combined price, make sure to try out his Trinity stack of high potency fish oil, vitamin D3, and Athletic Greens .
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer