Beware The Demons In Disguise

If eating healthily was as easy as it should be, then the diet industry – books, DVDs, diet plans themselves and exercise equipment – would be in the doldrums. The fact that it is thriving to this day is a sign that, as much as we would like to think it, dieting is not easy or straightforward.

We like to think of pasta as being the healthy option – many of us will replace fries with a serving of pasta when we are trying to lose weight – but unless we are careful, we can end up gaining more weight for the addition of pasta to our diet. A lot of it comes down to what we eat with that pasta. In some cases it is a thick, creamy sauce or a salad dressing that contains a bunch of calories. And even plain pasta can be a weight gain nightmare if we don’t get the exercise to work off those carbs.

Very often it is not what we eat but how we cook it that is the issue. Many of us will, for example, quite enjoy a nice steak every once in a while – as long as the fat is trimmed. But how we cook it affects how good it is for us. If you are frying it in oil or butter, then it will become unhealthy very quickly. If, however, you grill it or sear it in a pan, there is certainly no harm to enjoying it.

One of the most enjoyable quick meals is a chicken breast with baby potatoes. Now, boiled potatoes can hardly be a diet destroyer, can they? Again, it depends what is done with them. If they are tipped out of the pan and have a mound of butter melted over them, they’re as much a risk as fries. If they are drizzled with a little olive oil, then they’re more than fine.

Knowing The Risks Of Restaurant Eating

Few of us can really say that we would not enjoy the chance to eat in a good restaurant more often, and there is no reason that we should turn our backs on restaurant eating once we go on a diet. However, the truth of the matter is that eating in a restaurant is not a risk because there are no healthy options or even that they are limited, but that we know so little about the healthy option.

diabeticdiet4When we take care of the cooking of food ourselves, we know exactly what is going into it and how it is being prepared. In a restaurant we leave it up to the chef. When you look over the menu in a restaurant, it is a good idea to have a healthy option or two in mind, and then ask the waiter when ordering how exactly the food is prepared.

Different restaurants will have different policies for how the food is cooked. Sauteed vegetables are usually healthy and delicious, but the difference between frying them in vegetable oil and fat is quite marked. Asking a few questions before committing to an order is never a bad idea, as long as you are polite and reasonable in doing so.

There may be some concern that the serving staff will lie to you or tell you what they think you want to hear in order to make you pipe down and order – but if you are reasonable and polite to them, they will be likely to reciprocate, and take on board your specifications on how you would like something to be cooked.

Many Small Sacrifices = One Big Difference

Healthy eating is not something that necessarily follows an easy pattern. It would be great if we could simply flick a switch and change our habits to make our diet healthier, but as we have free will and free choice, we will always be tempted to do something that may hurt us long-term. This means that we are reluctant to make a huge change – what if it fails, and we have gone to so much effort for something to fall apart?

pizza1Instead of making one big change, there is a lot to be said for starting small and making several little changes that will be easier to maintain. Those smaller changes may seem to be nothing, but they add up. When you get up tomorrow morning and you have a choice between bacon and eggs and toast and cereal, think about what your body actually wants – there are more nutrients in the latter, and they won’t cause a mid-morning crash.

When you are offered “fries with that” if you go for a burger, say “no thanks” and enjoy a small treat that doesn’t cause you to feel like you’ve transgressed. When you are asked how you would like your eggs, don’t say “fried” or “I like mine with a kiss”. The latter is bad for you and the second isn’t funny. Try having them scrambled or poached – in all honesty there is more taste and less fat from having them this way. Small changes like this soon add up.

Sometimes You Have To Think Small

Often getting a healthier diet is not just about what you are eating, but how much of it. For example, there is no real reason to stop eating foods like pasta or cheese – but a mound that fills the plate is always going to be unhealthy.

diabeticdiet2Many of us make the mistake of eating until it is uncomfortable to eat more. This is never going to work out well because we go on eating after we are satisfied and all of a sudden we have overloaded our digestive system. The digestive system is not like a muscle, that will get more powerful with every workout. We need enzymes to digest food, and when they are overworked it causes a deficiency.

In this respect, eating healthily can be as much a matter of making small changes as doing anything radical. Even a seemingly cosmetic change like using smaller plates can be helpful. We are conditioned to think that empty space on a plate is a bad thing. All that really matters is how we feel after eating. If after a meal you don’t feel hungry, then the meal has done its job.

In France, a country with less of an obesity problem with most, the diet is far from boring. The major difference between there and many English-speaking countries is that they eat less food at a sitting. The French do not eat until they can eat no more – rather they eat until they have eaten enough, and enjoy the food for its taste. In this respect, there is a lot we can learn from them.

The 80-20 Diet

Now, the first thing you must understand is that it’s vital for your body to fulfill its daily nutrient requirements. Hence, although you might decide to cut down on a few food items, you must absolutely make sure that you give your body its desired nutrition.

download3Let’s use the 80/20 rule and decide to eliminate that 20% food from your overall diet that will help in 80% reduction of your weight.

OK – now let this sink-in: if you want a healthy body, you just need to concentrate on reducing or completely eliminating the following items from your diet …

The 20% of foods that are 80% responsible for your weight problems are …
• Flour
• Sugar
• Salt
• Alcohol

That’s not complicated is it? It is also not a lot to remember. But this is powerful because if you can just work on cutting-down or eliminating these foods from your diet, you will have no problems with weight at all.

Foods that contain added sugar and refined flour, quite simply, are nutrient-poor. Foods that contain whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre (fiber). So avoid foods containing these things – especially cakes, pastries, biscuits etc – which contain both!

Salt itself does not cause you to gain or lose fat because salt has no calories. However, a diet that is high in salt will likely affect both your blood pressure and your weight.

Why? Because high levels of salt in the modern diet usually come from processed foods which are also usually high in calories. So stick to a low-salt diet, because it will most probably consist of lower calorie, healthier foods.

Now then – alcohol! A friend of mine, who was clinically obese, completely solved his weight problem just by – guess what? Simply by giving up alcohol!

Here’s something that will probably surprise you: what is usually referred to as a beer-belly is NOT caused by excess alcohol calories being stored as fat! It turns out that less than five percent of the alcohol calories we consume are turned into fat. The main effect of drinking alcohol is a reduction in the amount of fat our bodies burn-off as energy.

Here’s something that will probably surprise you: what is usually referred to as a beer-belly is NOT caused by excess alcohol calories being stored as fat! It turns out that less than five percent of the alcohol calories we consume are turned into fat. The main effect of drinking alcohol is a reduction in the amount of fat our bodies burn-off as energy.

So we need to work on reducing or eliminating this stuff from your diet! Now I understand that these items may be part of your daily diet and you can’t even imaging doing without them. The trick is not to cut down or eliminate them in one go, but instead proceed slowly.

So, now let the message of this book sink in. There are just those 4 food groups to remember. That’s the 80/20 law! You will probably not need to reduce all of them; and you do not need to completely eliminate – just cut-down!

If you’ve found the content of our website useful, you may be interested to know that we also have an ebook for sale.

If you’d like to purchase our ebook, simply click the Paypal button below.






Known as the silent killer, over 30%-40% of Irish people are living with high blood pressure, with many of them totally unaware of that fact. If left untreated high blood pressure substantially increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, vascular disease and kidney failure and your dietary choices play a role. A diet rich in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and essential minerals and Omegas will help to lower your blood pressure where a diet consisting of fast food choices full of sodium and fat will negatively affect your blood pressure, putting you at greater risk for cardiovascular events. However our diet is a modifiable risk factor, by making healthier food choices we can decrease our risk of high blood pressure and all that follows.

Watch this video to understand more about high blood pressure:


How your salt intake adds up

The average daily salt intake in Ireland is high at approximately 10g in adults, which is well in excess of physiological requirements. The Irish recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 136/70mmol sodium (4g salt) per day. With over 90% of the sodium in our diets taking the form of sodium chloride, and between 65-70%* of sodium intake as a result of the consumption of manufactured (fast and processed) foods, taking control of your sodium intake is critical. As we age our blood pressure naturally increases and more than doubles once you reach age 35 and over.

Does your environment exert an influence on your diet?

The Oregon Research Institute in the US conducted a study into high blood pressure as a result of fast food and found a causal link between the amount of fast food outlets available in a particular neighbor and an increase in blood pressure in the general population. Conducting the study with subjects involving middle aged and older adults from 120 neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon, the study found a link between the density of fast food restaurants per neighborhood and the incidence of those with higher blood pressure. Research also highlighted a link between those who made regular visits to fast food restaurants and an increase in blood pressure. The research and findings were published in the March 2009 edition of the journal ‘Preventative Medicine’.

What is the impact of a single fast food meal?

According to ‘The Journal of Nutrition’ in April 2007, a study of healthy participants consumed two fast food meals containing 42 grams of fat on separate occasions, or two low-fat, non-fast food meals. As to be expected the high-fat fast food meals caused blood pressure to rise and an increase in heart rate, in comparison to those who ate a low-fat meal. Eating a single high-fat, fast food meal exerts a negative affect on blood pressure, with supporting evidence that excess fat and certain saturated fats contribute to sustained high blood pressure.

Healthy food for thought

As we know eating fast food isn’t the only factor that can influence a rise in blood pressure, your overall dietary intake and levels of physical activity all play a vital role in the development and hypertension (high blood pressure). The Oregon Research Institute also found the link to high blood pressure diminished with the inclusion of increase physical activity and the consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. This highlights the great influence of diet and exercise choices in your overall well-being and future health status.


Nutrisystem – A Complete Breakdown

While most individuals are familiar with the Nutrisystem weight loss plan, they are not familiar with the details associated with the actual weight loss program. All in all, the Nutrisystem weight loss program has been proven, and documented, to provide a dietary environment that promotes safe and effective weight loss.

The Nutrisystem weight loss program provides their members with meals that are chef-inspired, nutritionally-balanced, calorie-conscious and healthy. By doing so, the Nutrisystem weight loss program has generated literally tens of thousands of success stories.

In addition, the access to their online community, weight loss tracking tools and additional support tools, coupled with their improvement in the quality and taste of their meals, make the Nutrisystem weight loss program a solid choice for anyone wishing to effectively and safely lose weight. The Nutrisystem weight loss program offers a money-back guarantee for members who fail to lose an appropriate amount of weight.

The Nutrisystem weight loss program is a cost-effective weight loss program that is tried and true and a top-tier choice for anyone considering a weight loss program. To this end, the Nutrisystem weight loss system is a program that should be considered when choosing a weight loss plan to assist you in obtaining your personal weight loss goals.



You have probably seen all the advertisements for Nutrisystem on television where various celebrities tell you how effective the diet plan truly is for them, and others. When you visit the website it allows you to build your own plan based on your specific weight loss needs. So whether you need to lose 20 pounds, or more then there is a way to tailor it just for you.

It’s basically a combination of pre packaged meals, protein shakes, and an encouragement to exercise as well, so that you burn more calories by doing cardio movements such as walking, biking, or running. They want you to supplement the prepackaged foods with fresh fruits and vegetables.

The best part of it is that you are supposed to have 5-6 small meals and snacks per day so that you aren’t starving yourself, even if the calorie range you need to stay in is low, between 1200-1500 calories per day. At least with the foods they provide it’s easy to stay in that range.

If you start to go off the plan by eating out too much or cheating with an occasional supreme pizza then you won’t see the results you are looking for. By following the plan exactly, you will lose weight. It’s just that simple. Sticking to it is the problem. They help by also providing some sweeter options that are low-fat, and low-calories to take care of your sweet tooth in the process.

Dietary Change

As with any weight loss plan where the meals are shipped to the individual, the dietary change is quite severe. To be successful under any weight loss plan where the meals are shipped to the individual, the individual must predominantly limit their food intake to the meals that are provided by the company. This being said, the variety of meals provided under the Nutrisystem weight loss plan are somewhat limited when compared to other weight loss programs that provide their members with their meals.

To allow for a little flexibility, the Nutrisystem weight loss plan does allow its members the ability to add additional healthy food choices to their meals. For example, an individual can add fruit to their breakfast meal, salad to their dinner meal and so on.

Below is an example of a typical set of daily meals under the Nutrisystem weight loss plan:

  • Breakfast – Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
  • Lunch – Creamy Caesar Salad with Diced Chicken
  • Dinner – BBQ Sauce over Beef, Beans and Rice
  • Snack – Zesty Herb Snack Mix
  • Dessert – Chocolate Caramel Dessert Bar

Final Thoughts

Nutrisystem has been around for a long time. Their commercials are very appealing to make you actually want to try their plan because it has worked for a lot of people.

If you enjoy cooking for yourself then you might find pre planned meals lacking the kind of taste and flair that you are used to. Ever had a Lean Cuisine frozen meal? They taste a little bit like those but with less sodium, and even less fat. Adding some hot sauce, fresh lemon, or other non-sodium salt zests might perk up some of Nutrisystem’s meals for your taste buds.

By adding in interesting fruits and vegetables to each meal you are probably going to be satisfied with the tastes you are enjoying during this diet plan. Sticking to it, and following it perfectly will obviously yield you the best results. It helps as well to have a buddy doing it with you.

So enlist your spouse or a friend if you can to do the diet with you. If you have a large family that you make meals for everyday you are probably going to have a harder time sticking to it than if you live alone or just you and your spouse are in the household. Having to make real meals for your family will probably tempt you to stray off the diet plan when you see the tastier food you make for your family.