80 Percent Foods

I really don’t like things be to overcomplicated things in life, it’s complicated enough! To put it simply I classify 80 percent foods as any fresh vegetable, raw nut, seed, bean, legume, herb and quality protein source.

The Perfect Meal Breakdown: Fiber rich carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables, protein and good fats should feature in every meal to increase satiety and keep blood sugar levels stable.

  • Vegetables: that pack in lots of beneficial fiber and should be what takes up the largest amount of space on your plate. The serving size should be about a big fist size for women and 2 fist sized portions for men. (If you are hungry then loading up on extra vegetables is the way to go).
  • Protein: Every meal should include approximately a palm sized portion for women and 2 palm sized portions for men amount of dense protein, for example fish, beef, eggs, chicken, lamb etc (lean protein if you are trying to lose weight)
  • Fats: Using about the size of the length of your thumb as a guide to add healthy fats to your meal. For example avocado, nuts, seeds.
  • Carbohydrates: The meal can be complemented by a small serving (cupped hand size) of carbohydrate (whole grain, bean, legume). If you are not particularly active this may not be necessary.

I have always thought that weighing and measuring food is such a horrible chore to make someone do so have always believed in the palm, fist, thumb rule. But I never thought of how individualized this method really is as everyones hands are a little bit different…So logical! As the team at Precision Nutrition State: “Your hand size is related to your body size, making it an excellent portable and personalized way to measure and track food intake”. So keep in mind your husband’s hand size is not going to be the right palm sized serve of protein for you and vice versa.

All my recipes are Gluten-Free and aside from my studies in general nutrition I have taken points from studying The Blood Type DietMetabolic Typing Diet, and The Paleo Diet (if interested in exploring the Paleo Diet further I recommend checking out Dr Loren Cordain’s websiteMark Sison’s Daily Apple Blog and Robb Wolf’s website ). I also follow what the guys are up to at Precision Nutrition and the success they are having with individuals adopting a lifelong healthy lifestyle.

It is important to discover what foods work for you and what foods don’t. It is certainly an individual thing. Not everyone responds in the same way to certain foods. Learning the right foods for you requires a little patience and taking the time to listen to your body; when it is gurgling, belching and making other odd noises at you your body is trying to tell you something! Often poor sleep, lethargy, bloating, weight gain or trouble losing weight is due to the consumption of foods our body cannot adequately process.

Below is a list of my most powerful 80 Percent Foods which pack in vitamins and minerals that you will see featuring in my recipes.

Vegetables: All are fantastic but here are my favorites:

  • Beetroot
  • Any greens with a focus on spinach and kale
  • Artichoke
  • Eggplant
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower and broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet potato, turnip and yam
  • Pumpkin
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Olives
Protein: All organic unprocessed protein is great, for example:
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Game (i.e. duck, goose, buffalo etc)
  • Eggs
The ‘good fats’: which should be present in small amounts in every meal (nuts, seeds and oils).
  • All nuts and seeds are great in portion controlled amounts including natural nut butters! Raw ideally or dry roasted: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazil, hazelnuts, pinenut, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachio
  • Oils such as cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, fish oils,
Fruit: Eat no more than 1-2 servings of fruit per day if you are trying to lose weight. These are my 80 percent daily fruits, as they are high in fiber, packed full of antioxidants and lower in sugar. I save all other fruit as a 20 percent treat:
  • Avocado
  • Apples
  • Berries (all kinds)
  • Cherries
  • Pomegranate
Grains: All in moderation. High protein, gluten-free whole grains only. Focus of elimitinating other grains from your diet as much as possible. Here are the best.
  • Rolled oats (gluten free)
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat (and Kasha)
  • Wild or brown rice
Beans and Legumes: Occasionally and in moderation. To complement a meal.
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Black beans and kidney beans
  • Tofu and peanuts

Herbs And Spices: All are great but here is a list of ones that will make your body sing with their anti inflammatory properties.

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Chili
  • Cilantro (coriander)
  • Mint
  • Basil
Dairy: In moderation and organic only. Dairy can be full of growth hormones so buy organic only and preferably raw. I would like to note that many people cannot take dairy so if you are having problems losing weight or feeling generally average try cutting it from your diet for 4-6 weeks.
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Natural unsweetened yoghurt only (none of that sugary crap and Greek style is best for the high protein content)

Milk substitutes: Unsweetened almond milk is an excellent substitute for dairy. It is low in sugars, heats up well in coffee and is great on cereal and in smoothies. Other dairy substitutes such as rice milk, oat milk and soy can be quite high in sugars so ensure to read the nutrition panels on each carefully and compare.


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