People have been asking me about my own meal plans, and I am building a software tool / app for the website that will make thing a lot easier for all the infinite autumn escapees in there, but it won’t be ready for some time…
In the meantime, consider the following daily seasonal meals, which are part of my everyday life (sorry there’s no pictures, I will revisit, just want to get this out there as I promised I would on facebook today):
The key point about all of the below choices is to NOT have carbs and fat simultaneously as this is autumn’s squirrel formula and will set of gorge instincts within you. The squirrel is strong in this one, so I am careful about that but let go now and then and embrace the squirrel, however I would say I eat the following way about 90% of the time. I don’t expect everyone to jump straight in but if you can make small adjustments, these will result in huge results over time.
Sample Breakfasts (Springtime: very low carb, healthy fats) 8am:
- Pint of Water (mandatory, have lemon with it for vitamin C hit)
- 2xEggs and 2xBacon (my go to, I grill the rashers and I eat the fat), if too much for you, adjust by removing an egg or bacon. Add rocket, spinach and seeds for extra nutrition. Cook the eggs any way you want, if boiling, cook a few extra for adding to salads or as a snack, season eggs with cracked black pepper.
- Eggs and Salmon (I gently fry the smoked salmon with the eggs), rocket it exceptional with this
- Omelettes, add mushrooms, peppers, onion and a bit of mozzarella (high in protein) or cheddar for extra gorgeousness
- Fed up of eggs, no problem, try mixing up days with avocado (I put a bit of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper on the avocados), walnuts, almonds, olives, cheeses, cold meats, just go for healthy protein and fat sources like these.
- Chops are also good option, some can’t stomach this early
- If in a hurry for work, I sometimes have a smoothie with nut butter, organic cacao (whole beans even better) and vanilla whey (it contains sweetener but is lower carb as a result so peanut butter is OK with it. I wouldn’t add oats to this unless going for a very long hike.
Morning Training (switch it up)?
- If training in the morning time, overnight oats is a nice low fat carb brek: oats, 0% fat greek yoghurt, low fat milk or water (better), cinnamon, vanilla, 1/2 scoop of protein, honey for sweetness, mix it all up and put berries on top
- If in a hurry for morning training and I haven’t prepared overnight oats, the above ingredients are nice in a shake too, add a banana instead of oats for extra potassium
Mid morning snacks:
- I don’t find the need to snack here, if training and I’ve had my oats, I would have maybe 2 eggs and 2 rashers after training for example in local cafe as I’ve used up all of the carb fuel, be careful not to over fuel with carbs if doing this and no toast with the fat based breakfast. I tend to not have sausages, puddings or beans at this time too as they have lots of unknown ingredients and often loaded with carbs/sugar.
- I have a coffee during the morning also
- Plenty of water is also good
Sample Lunches (Summer time: low carb load, healthy fats) 12.30pm:
- Salads: I would often have a salad here and throw the kitchen sink into it, spinach, rocket, lettuce, kale, shaved carrots (you can get carrot toppers in places like Tiger or online), onions, tomatoes, avocados, peppers, mushrooms, cucumber, raw broccoli chopped fine, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, slices of apple, pineapple, sprinkles of seeds, nuts, sprinkle of cheeses, and meat, fish, poultry of choice. Chopped is a great option if out and about, you can get all of this in there, throw in that boiled egg you made for breakfast for extra protein. For seasoning, sea salt, cracked pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or a bit of mayonnaise (chop and mix it all up in a big bowl). I opt for low carb seasoning in this meal as I’m still in work. The fruit added is low carb and moderate amounts. Plenty of nutrition here, the more colour the better and lots of fibre.
- Hot meals: Any meat, fish, poultry, I tend to go for quality cuts where possible and load up the plate with low-gi veg. I don’t mind having carrots in as they are high gi, but have a low gl / carb load, so eat these instead of a big plate of spuds for example, much better and you won’t slump. Cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage etc. If out in a carvery there is always plenty of veg choice, so nice cut of meat, fish or chicken, and load the plate up with all the veg, stay away from the garlic spuds, potatoes, chips and yorkshire puddings at this time… you won’t feel denied and you’ll feel much better afterwards.
- Dessert: I don’t require dessert, but you could bring greek yogurt with some berries to work, blueberries are especially nice as they’re a little sweet but not a high carb load.
Pre-training snack (for weights, circuits, spinning, zumba etc): 5-6pm
- You want to start cutting out the fat now. I carb up a little for training, maybe a banana or overnight oats as per breakfast recipe (obviously I won’t have had these in the morning if training in evening).
- If I’m really in a hurry and haven’t had a chance to eat anything I might even smash a couple of party sized bags of jellies (brush them teeth), made with glucose or have a sport drink with electrolytes and glucose. Steer clear of sugar and high fructose corn syrup as they both contain a lot of fructose. I’m not encouraging junk food, so don’t use this as an excuse to eat bags of jellies every day LOL
Post-training snack: 7pm
- Whey protein shake straight afterwards, typically not much carb, I just need the protein now for recovery and muscle protein synthesis support.
Sample DEFoW Dinners (Modified autumn: moderate carbs, low fat): 7.30pm
- Protein: Leaner cuts of meat, fish or poultry: sirloin, venison, cod, tuna, turkey, chicken breast etc., lean mince in a chilli and tomato based sauce
- Veg: 1 or 2 low gi veg (like brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, mangetout etc.) and 1 high gi veg (like carrots or parsnips or turnip, baby corn etc). All of these make lovely soups, leek and carrot and butternut squash soup is the business. Check out www.glycemicindex.com to see what veg is high gi and low gi.
- Carb: sweet potato, regular potato in skin, roasted butternut squash, brown rice, wholegrain (still keep to moderate portions, you want to be precise with carbs as you’ll be getting some from the high gi veg too
- Sauces: I often go for tomato based or other lower fat sauces here too (avoid cheese on top now, parmesan is strong so a small sprinkle wouldn’t be too bad, just don’t cake it in cheddar), personally I love lemon added to fish, and garlic&soy sauce over turkey, add a bit of chili or other spices for a kick., lower fat curry sauces with onions and chicken are also nice, I would avoid satay, cream, and high fat sauces like these however.
Hope this helps people out there… I’m not Jamie Oliver and don’t have a million gourmet recipes up my sleeve, I’m a busy family man and keep things simple for the most part and these foods are all magnificent, we’ve just been duped into buying up packaged meals that trigger the gorge. Take out the noise of sugar and your body will know when it’s satiated and what it needs based on what you’re in the mood to eat e.g. if you eat salmon one day, the next day you might not be interested because you have enough of whatever nutrients are in it already. Listen to your body, you can hear it whisper to you, but not if you overload it with sugar, which emits a deafening autumnal siren.
Train hard or have a physical job?
If you have a desk job your body will run well off the fat in your system, and your requirement for carbs is minimal (<800 cals a day for brain and body from carb sources on 2000 cal diet). If you are more active, this requirement may increase and you can adjust your eating to compensate. If you work very hard and exercise regularly during the day, or have a physically demanding job it might be better to flip the whole thing on its head and use the oats to start the day, and have a slightly more carbs during the day and then taper in healthy fats in later as work tapers off.
Finally, even though we are not simple machines, you can still overeat, however through cutting out the autumnal gorge formula you will be more satiated and there is plenty of research out there highlighting the benefits of moderate to low-carb diets, including weight loss, more stable blood sugars and much more.
Best of luck!
If you found this helpful, you’ll get lots more information on the Don’t Eat for Winter concept in my book. Where the concept came from, my journey from couch potato to world kettlebell champion, a nutrition 101, applying it to exercise and, of course, The DEFoW method for getting your brain woken from the infinite autumn, you can get a copy of the book here to learn more about the concept, understand the why of all of the above selections, more ideas, and you will also be supporting my mission in helping people take back their rightful summer form win/win.