I'll be honest I’ve personally
trialled countless diets. If you can name it I’m pretty sure at some point in time I would have given it a go. I don’t mean just for a couple of days or weeks I mean like a real nudge. Just to give you an idea I once dropped an ungodly amount of weight eating only raw fruit - yeah fruitarianism is a thing - for about 6 months straight. And when I say ungodly I mean like over 30kg in a matter of months. I wouldn’t advise this really, it was horrible towards the end.
Vegan, raw vegan, paleo, blood type, intermittent fasting, every variation of keto imaginable, IIFYM and a heap of stuff I’m sure you’ve never heard of, I’ve done ‘em all. As to why, well there’s probably several years of therapy to get into those dark corners, but I can say I speak from experience. As much as I love to dig into the theory and logic of particular eating styles I really need to know them from the inside, I have to experience them. Furthermore, I have a moral revulsion towards people who have opinions or advise on things they haven’t experienced themselves - just saying!
I’m largely a dietary agnostic and pragmatist, there’s plenty of beneficial aspects to different nutritional approaches but they always need to be given context. You can’t look at the world through a straw and attaching yourself to any one approach means you’ll always be missing the bigger picture. I say all this to assure you that when I recommend something it's not something I do lightly. What follows is a dietary strategy I come back to time and again when fat loss and cosmetic improvements are the number one priority. It's for highly motivated people who either have significant fat to lose or are chasing a time sensitive result like a photo shoot or special occasion. Don't do this if you're either half hearted or an athlete under large training loads.
The approach is something I borrowed from the late Canadian Strength Coach Charles Poliquin, provocatively titled “The Green Faces Diet” (GFD). I’ve tinkered with elements to make it more accessible and have at least one more aggressive version that I’ll describe at later time but the method presented here derives from Poliquin. In his typically abrasive manner the rules of the GFD are simplicity itself “If it grows out the ground or if it swims, flies, or runs, you can eat it” i.e it is green or had a face.
You can scroll to the bottom of the page if you just want the “how to” but first let me explain why it works so well. For all practical purposes the GFD is a very aggressive elimination-type diet; removing all sugars, dairy, wheat, alcohol, caffeine, pro-inflammatory fats, legumes, nuts, artificial and process foods. Inflammation and fat gain go hand in hand, drastically reduce inflammation and you’ll find body fat starts to mobilise apace. It’s equally common to find improvements in skin health, energy and reduction in aches and pains, most of which can be attributed to the reduced systemic inflammation.
Additionally, the GFD flatlines your blood sugar, keeping insulin levels incredibly low. Whilst there is more to fat loss than simply lowering insulin, there are numerous health benefits to a low insulin lifestyle, not least of which being an increase in stored fat mobilisation and usage. Throw in a bit of cardio and some intelligent training and you’ll drop fat faster than you can say “bacon sandwich.”
If you’re doing the plan properly, you’ll be eating tonnes of high nutrient veggies, the health benefits of which cannot be overstated. Cruciferous vegetables in particular such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and bok choy are potent detoxifiers of environmental oestrogen’s. For those with stubborn fat around their hips and thighs - men and women - it is vital to prioritise these foods in multiple meals throughout the day. They also exhibit anti-cancer properties and are excellent at reducing chronic inflammation.
In behavioural terms there’s one thing that many successful fat loss approaches share, limiting client decision making. Option anxiety is the number one reason most people fold on their diet. Give someone infinite meal options and complex theories and most will collapse under the weight of indecision, fear of doing the wrong thing or plan themselves into never starting. Sound familiar? The GFD can literally be explained in a sentence, simplification is the cornerstone of success in all fields.
If you’re motivated to try the GFD here’s the practical stuff. The original guidelines for the diet as described by Poliquin are:
1) If it’s a green vegetable, you can eat it.
2) If it had a face or would have grown up to have a face (eggs), you can eat it.
3) If it’s not green or didn’t have a face, don’t eat it.
That's pretty much it and if it doesn't conform to those points it's off limits. Ok, so I’ve never actually seen anyone make those three dot points actionable in themselves. Below are the food lists I provide to clients doing this program. I’ve also added an acceptable condiments list that makes the diet far easier. Otherwise, simply partner up one portion of the protein options with unlimited amounts of the vegetable options, fats as necessary and seasonings to taste. Eat 4-5 meals per day separated by about 3 hours and drink pure water for 21 Days. I said it was simple not easy. Just because I'm nice drop me an email at email@example.com and I'll share a three day sample menu so you can see what it looks like in the real world.
Herewith the “Faces” part of the plan.
All white fish
Free range eggs
• Free range chicken
• Grass fed beef
• Lean cuts organic free range lamb
• Lean cuts organic free range pork
• Any wild game meats
• Canned fish are ok provided only in spring water, brine or olive oil. Don’t consume if canned with any other oils.
Herewith the “Greens” portion of the plan.
• Beetroot (raw)
• Bok choy
• Broccoli and broccolini
• Brussels sprouts