We covered a number of topics already, including metabolism and the importance of a diet. I think it's a good time to start introducing food items that would be helpful for weight loss. We have a special section on this website, The Kitchen, where we will be placing useful recipes and nutritional information for the dishes that serve our purposes well.
When you're on a diet you have very specific nutritional restrictions, but at the same time you need to meet certain nutritional needs, or specifications if you will. First, you need to consume certain volume of food to give you the feeling of satiety or fullness as well as to help your gastrointestinal tract functional. Second, on any diet, you still need to consume fiber - at least some, but preferably around 20-30 grams of it per day, again, to promote peristalsis of your gut and gastrointestinal health in general.
The last specification is related to the nutritional value of food and it varies depending on the diet, but it is safe to say that you would need something that has a relatively low nutritional value so that you can use this food item as a staple of your diet. Something very basic and simple, something that you can consume in large quantities and still have a space for adding other nutritional elements to it.
The ideal choice of such an item would be a salad and today I will go over the recipe of the ideal one. Since it is effectively a staple of your diet, I call it "staple salad".
1. Step one - we are making the base. We have to choose something that is low in calories and digestible carbohydrates, but high in fiber to promote digestive health. There are several good candidates. I've got three items on the top of my list - iceberg, romaine and endive. Endive is technically the best as most of its carbohydrate content is fiber. Romaine would be my second logical choice, but I prefer it as I don't like the bitterness of endive and it's way easier to prepare. Also, I would recommend adding at least two things to the base of the salad - flax seeds - they will serve as a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Also, I normally add avocado. It is another great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, plus it is an excellent source of protein and fat. That's it, these were the three basic components of my staple salad. If you take 1 head of romaine (~200 gram), half of a medium-size avocado and a table spoon of flax seeds, you'll get a bowl of salad that has 14 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein and 19 grams of fat that altogether give you just 250 calories.
2. The next step is to choose your dressing. Here, I always go low-carb and my preference is Caesar dressing as it is available everywhere and I don't have to worry about carbs in it. It has around 80 calories in it per table spoon, so it's rather heavy. You can use olive oil with around 100 calories per table spoon or vinegar, which has almost no nutritional value. Quite frankly, anything you like, just be mindful of the nutritional value of these condiments - as you can see, even small quantities of oil-based condiments have a lot of calories and many condiments will have carbohydrates in them. Also, I usually add a table spoon of shredded cheese to my salad, which adds around 100-120 calories to its nutritional value.
3. The last step is to add some protein to your salad - it's completely optional, of course. We'll call it "Staple+ Salad". Depending on your diet and your lifestyle choices you can add boiled eggs, bacon, grilled pork or chicken, shrimps, pretty much anything you want. If you are a vegetarian, you can add tofu. The advantage of adding these items into the salad rather than having them separately is pretty much psychological - when you are following a very strict diet and have only limited amounts of these items, it's easier to have them in your salad that already looks like a large bulk of food rather than having several tiny pieces of meat, shrimp of tofu on your plate.
So, those were my staple and Staple+ salads. I believe that this kind of food is a must for your diet both from health and weight loss perspectives. We have the actual recipe in the kitchen section.