When it comes to food and diet a lot of people start out with the wrong basics. They have all this candy and processed food at home and wonder why their energy is down, why they feel sluggish or tired all the time.
One simple trick a lot of nutritionists and trainers use all the time is throw out all the garbage before you change your lifestyle.
So to start out, go to your kitchen right now (yes, I’ll wait) and separate all the things that have more than one ingredient.
What sounds really difficult, is actually pretty simple: Throw out all the things your grandparents wouldn’t have recognized when looking at it directly.
Stuff like whole foods, fruits, nuts etc. are totally fine, but pasta for example is not. Yes, the kit kat you’re looking at has to go out as well.
Don’t worry, we won’t put you on a water and broccoli diet where you’re never allowed to cheat or indulge in the tasty treats of life!
But if you remember, in this post here, I talked about how to keep your diet 80-90% of the time, so that you can cheat the rest and still feel and look good.
By the way, I’m using diet here, but I’m more a fan of the term lifestyle – it fits better. Diet always reminds me of binging and strict stuff you never keep anyway.
In order to start out with a diet like this, we have to change your habits in a way so that even if you think about cheating, you just won’t have the necessary means to (and you’ll probably eat a carrot instead.).
Clean state = clean plate
Now that you’ve emptied the fridge and the drawers with unnecessary stuff, we can start with the clean stuff.
Again, let’s start with the basics first – what are essentials you need? All the other stuff is nice to have, but if your fundamentals aren’t right, you won’t go anywhere. So get to the closest grocery store and check out the list below.
- fresh veggies you can eat raw: carrots, celery, cucumber, bell pepper
- some kind of salad: spinach other dark leaved, leave the lettuce for Mcdonalds
- vegetables you need to cook (I buy them frozen): broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
- potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice
- avocados (technically considered fruits if I’m not mistaken)
- any fruit you like: bananas, apples, kiwi, oranges
- frozen berries or fresh berries
- some kind of nuts (macadamia, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.)
- ground beef is a great and cheap way for quality protein
- any other beef cut you like (steak, roast) and can afford
- chicken or turkey breast (get different cuts if you like)
- some kind of dairy you can eat: Greek yoghurt, quark, cottage cheese, depending on likes.
So this is the raw list of all the stuff we’ll need for at least one week.
How much and with what percentages?
That really depends on taste and goals but I would say
around 45% vegetables / fruits (more veggies than fruit)
around 25% proteins (eggs, meat, chicken)
around 25% typical carbs (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice)
around 5% for all the rest (nuts, avocados, dairy)
How much should you buy?
See, I live in Switzerland and food generally is a bit pricier here, so my weekly costs when it comes to my food shopping is around 80 – 100 USD. This might seem like a lot, but most of the time we can eat comfortably for two on this budget.
I’d say depending on where you live, this should cost you between 50-70 USD per week
This is not set in stone and we’ll adjust this as we go.
I’m going into more depth about this in my program Productivity Foods.
The Advanced Version aka the bitehype way
Now if you have your basics right and can pull this off at least for 2-3 weeks without problems, you’re ready to get onto the next level, the advanced version aka “the bitehype way of grocery shopping”
This is a list I’ve compiled that could help you bring in more variety in your daily food selection, take the ones you like, discard the ones you don’t:
- dried fruits (mango,ananas, figues are great)
- fresh lemons: cut into water to give it a fresher taste
- nut butter, to combine with the veggies, e.g. carrots + almond butter = perfect night time snack
- dark chocolate (75%+)
- honey to sweeten things up
- quinoa: super easy to do, faster than rice, perfect in salads or next to warm dishes
- some kind of cheese (mozarella, goat, Emmentaler, Gruyère, etc)
- almond milk or rice milk: more nutritious than regular milk, healthier
- use oatmeal or millet to add to your muesli
- canned lentils/beans for salads/warm dishes
- if you’re a pro: raw cacao nibs, shredded coconut to add to dairy/muesli/adds crunchiness
Now some of the stuff on that list maybe difficult to find, so check amazon or your local health store. I can guarantee you, most of the stuff on the advanced list is worth it, since it adds tons of variety.
We will use all these ingredients in different recipes, but this is a topic for another post.
Hacks to sweeten it up
This is a list of random hacks I compiled together, that are related to the lists above. So use the ingredients above with the hacks mentioned here, and you’ll have a great time with eating all the tasty food that is now in your kitchen!
- cook your eggs how you like them, and vary often: hard-boiled, sunnyside up, poached, depending on time frame.
- pro tip: hard boil 2-3 eggs, eat them the next few days as snacks.
- pro tip 2: use country potato spice mix to add to eggs
- mix your avocados with your salad or use as a spread
- try to keep foods seasonal and local
- when it comes to veggies and fruits: mix colours, the more colours the better (taste-wise, looks-wise and also nutrient-wise)
- make guacamole with avocados (mix garlic, onion, tomatoes, herbs and mix, I can send you the detailed recipe)
- buy organic where you can, free-range where organic is too much, and non-organic if the fruit/veggie has a thick skin (e.g. bananas)
- make sure to respect the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen”, meaning the 11 most contaminated foods and the ones with the least amount contamination in the world
Very simple, isn’t it? 🙂
To quickly recap what we have done so far:
- emptied the kitchen of unnecessary stuff
- bought the basics from the grocery shop
- built the habit for 2-3 weeks
- went on to the advanced level aka the bitehype way of food shopping
- tried out some hacks to freshen it up
Now that we have the basics down we can move to the Jedi level of food shopping.
What does that mean?
If you remember, we said that we’re trying to eat clean 80-90% of the time, but the rest you can indulge in whatever foods you feel like.
Want to go out on a Saturday night and drink a few beers? No problem!
Want to enjoy that Cheesecake in the coffee shop on Sunday? Do it!
Want to eat pasta for dinner on Thursday? Be my guest!
Now the trick here is to not overdo it.
When you decide to eat a cheat meal, make sure that it’s a one time thing that day and doesn’t happen too often. Depending on your goals you can vary with your cheat meals and have more or less.
I personally like the number of 5 cheat meals per week, if you have the discipline. That gives you enough room to eat some tasty treats and still look good and feel energized.
However when it comes to grocery shopping, this can be tricky, because remember: the stuff you have at home, you’ll eat. So if you buy 200 Snickers bars you will eat them, guaranteed.
In the Jedi level of food shopping, you make sure to only buy for a one time dish. If you’re really craving sugar, buy a Snickers, but only one and eat it instantly or when you crave it. When it comes to pasta, try to buy the smaller box instead of the 1kg package.
Yes this might mean that sometimes, stuff will get more expensive, but how much is money worth if you feel tired and lazy all the time?
A healthy body will support you in achieving the good life and have energy for the things you love. A healthy wallet will just be heavy.
The above trick applies to almost every kind of craving you might have: bread, pasta, candy, sweets or sodas. If there is something that doesn’t fit into that list, let me know and we’ll find a solution!
As you can see it all starts with the basics. If your fundamentals are off, chances are, your energy levels will be low, you’ll cheat with candy and other unhealthy stuff. But if your fridge is stacked with healthy stuff and you’ve worked on the fundamentals long enough now you can use the advanced tactics to enjoy the tasty treats of life!
It all starts with a clean slate and healthy habits to change your body so that you can be more productive and have more energy.