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Thursday, December 27, 2007

8 Minutes in the Morning

How Much Fat

I don't want you to think that you can eat only omega fats on this program. You can still enjoy a variety of fats with your meals, even saturated fats like butter, and you can still use corn oil or whatever other oils you like-just use them in moderation. A complete list of all the fats you can use on this program appears on page 211.

The amount of fat you need depends on your current weight and caloric needs. Don't worry. You don't need to spend any time with a calculator and chart to figure out how much fat to eat in a day. I've done all the work for you. As long as you use your Eating Card System, you will automatically eat the right amount and right types of fat at every. meal.

I've also assembled an easy-to-use general Food List (see page 211) that will help you make smart choices and check off the correct boxes with your Eating Card System (see page 70).


Have you ever lost a significant amount of weight on a diet, only to plateau well before you reached your goal? That's probably because you weren't eating enough protein. Sometimes eating more helps you lose more weight.

Protein is your body's building material. You need to eat protein to provide your body with the materials it needs to build, repair, and maintain your lean muscle tissue. That's incredibly important because without enough dietary protein, all of your 8 Minutes in the Morning moves will be for naught. And over half of your body weight is made up of protein. This includes not only muscle tissue but also hair, skin, nails, blood, hormones, enzymes, brain cells, and much more.

When you don't eat enough protein, your body actually starts to break down and recycle existing body protein (such as lean muscle) to supply your body with the amino acids that your diet is lacking. When this protein breakdown occurs, you sacrifice muscle (your fat-burning machine) and your metabolism slows down. As a result, you burn less body fat.

Protein is important, but don't go overboard. You've probably heard about-and may have even tried-one of the popular highprotein diets. When I interviewed best-selling author Andrew Weil, M.D., for my FitNow.com online television show, he shared with me what's wrong with these diets: They work for weight loss-temporarily-because you're eating more protein than your body needs to repair tissue, and your body burns the excess as fuel. Unfortunately, protein is a "dirty" source of fuel because it contains nitrogen. Instead of producing just carbon dioxide and water, protein produces nitrogenous residues, which are toxic. Your body must pump a lot of water into the urinary tract to flush the toxic nitrogen out. In other words, much of the "weight loss" from high-protein diets is simply water loss. While this is going on, you're also losing minerals from your body, including calcium from your bones. To eat the right amount of protein, all you need to do is follow your Eating Card System and consult the Food List on page 211 for the best sources.

Besides getting protein in the right amounts, you also want to focus on the right types. Some types of protein-especially the type found in animal products-contain a high amount of saturated fat, which can not only hinder your weight-loss efforts but also destroy your health. Focus on high-quality protein sources like fish, skinless white-meat chicken, turkey meat, soy products, egg whites, legumes, and beans.

Soybeans are a quality protein source that is naturally low in saturated fat. If you're a vegetarian, eating soy is the best way to ensure that you consume all of the amino acids you need. Even if you're not a vegetarian, I recommend adding soy to your diet because it has been shown to reduce heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms, and more. You'll find it in veggie versions of burgers, hot dogs, lunchmeats, and cheeses as well as in tofu, miso, soy milk, and soy nuts. Tofu is a great meat extender. Mix it with meat or cheese to lower the saturated fat in your recipes.

When you have a hankering for red meat, go ahead and have it, but choose lean sirloin or round cuts, eat a small portion, and trim off any visible fat. Limit your red meat consumption to no more than twice a week. Beef comes marbled with nonessential fat that is mostly saturated. It is the worst animal fat in terms of chemical composition, containing 51 percent saturated fatty acids (SFAs). In comparison, pig lard, still very bad, has 41 percent SFAs.

Complex Carbohydrates

My Eat Fat to Get Fit program includes carbohydrates because they play a critical role in achieving fat loss. You read it right: Carbohydrates can be used to get you lean. The key is to avoid simple carbohydrates that are high on the glycemic index, which rates how fast a particular food turns into glucose (blood sugar), and eat complex carbohydrates that are much lower on the index. The higher the number, the faster it turns into glucose. Simple carbohydrates such as processed white bread and rice release quickly. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are usually whole grain and unprocessed.

How does avoiding simple carbohydrates help you burn body fat? When your insulin is balanced, more of the hormone glucagon is available to help unlock body fat stores. You can help balance insulin levels further by avoiding the foods that drastically increase insulin levels: simple carbohydrates.

Simple vs. Complex

Simple carbohydrates not only prevent you from burning pre-existing body fat but also encourage you to gain more body fat. When you eat a large meal that is made from simple carbohydrates, you are left with an immediate abundance of glucose, more than your body could ever need or use. Some of the glucose that is not used right away by your muscles is stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen (stored blood sugar). The rest is converted and stored as body fat. This is why you can remain overweight even though you are eating low-fat or nonfat foods.

The solution is to eat complex carbohydrates, which provide you with just the right amount of energy while burning excess body fat. Imagine that you're starting a campfire. You would light the big logs by using lighter fluid or kindling. That's exactly how complex carbohydrates work in your body. Instead of wood, it's body fat. By trickling in small amounts of complex carbohydrates, the fat will burn steadily for a long time. If you pour too much lighter fluid (simple carbohydrates) on at one time, you get a flash fire that flares quickly and then burns out almost immediately. Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates are not rapidly released into your bloodstream because of their complex molecular structure. This means that complex carbohydrates never overwhelm your body with sugar rushes because they take more time to break down. They provide the ideal amounts of time-released sugar to burn fat. This allows your body to use body fat as its primary fuel.

To find out which foods are complex carbohydrates and which are simple carbohydrates, consult the Food List on page 211. But you can also use this simple rule of thumb: The more "whole" or natural a food is, the more likely it is to be complex.

Whole Grains

Whole grains-those that contain their outer shells-are more complex than refined grains, which have been stripped of their outer coatings. In other words, slow-cooking, whole grain oats are better than instant oats, brown rice is better than white rice, whole grain bread is better than white bread, and whole grain pasta is better than regular pasta. Another good rule of thumb is to check the fiber content. Foods that are higher in fiber-with at least 3 or more grams-tend to be more "whole" than foods that lack fiber.

Whole grains are also incredibly good for your health. That outer covering of the grain contains disease-fighting fiber and important phytochemicals. Here are some ways to add different grains to your diet.

  • Treat yourself to whole grain breads from an old-fashioned bakery.
  • The slower oatmeal cooks, the more "whole" it is. Irish oatmeal (also called Scotch or steel-cut oats) is your best source of whole grains. If you don't have time to wait for it to cook on the stove, add it to other recipes, such as meat loaf and stuffing.
  • Breakfast cereals are a great source of whole grains if you buy the right kind. The high-sugar, overly processed "kiddie" cereals are not going to cut it. The better breakfast cereals, such as Cheerios, Total, and Uncle Sam (visit www.jorgecruise.com for more information on this cereal) contain at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 1 gram of total fat.
  • High in protein and free from gluten, quinoa is a great grain substitute if you are allergic to wheat. It also contains lots of calcium, iron, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and folate. It is one of my favorite hot cereals. Add quinoa to soups, stews, and cold salads.


Dairy is supposed to be good for you-its main selling point being that it's high in calcium-but what if you are allergic to it? It was after I read Eating Well for Optimum Health, an amazing book by Dr. Andrew Weil, that my viewpoint on dairy changed. The protein found in dairy products, called casein, is a known allergen that can cause asthma and sinus problems and can be an irritant to your immune system. Casein has been shown to trigger an autoimmune reaction that destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. That can lead to juvenile diabetes. And digestion of lactose (the sugar in milk) requires the enzyme lactase, which many adults lack. This can cause major digestive distress.

You can get the calcium you need from fortified soy products such as soy milk and soy cheese instead. These are both delicious and healthy alternatives that I use every day. You can also get calcium from fortified juice. Most people don't realize that all green plants have high levels of calcium, particularly broccoli, collards, and kale. And you can always take a calcium supplement. If you don't have asthma, chronic allergies, hay fever, or sinus problems, you can eat traditional dairy products in moderation; I use dairy mostly as a condiment. Just make sure you use products that are low-fat or made from nonfat milk.


Although vegetables are a type of carbohydrate, I've grouped them in their own category because of their unique beneficial effects on fat loss. Vegetables have a very high water content, which means that they are also very high in oxygen. In order for your lean muscle tissue to burn fat, it needs oxygen to help convert the fat into energy. When you eat vegetables, you will flood your body with water, which will dramatically increase your oxygen levels, improving your metabolism.

Vegetables are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, are probably the most filling low-calorie food you can eat. And since vegetables need to be chewed more and take longer to consume, your brain has time to realize that you are eating and turns off the "hunger switch" sooner. Once in your stomach, that fiber takes up a lot of space, making you feel full.

Most vegetables are also very low in simple sugars. Vegetables have almost no calories. This means you can literally eat them to your heart's content and not put on excess body fat. For example, to consume a paltry 20 calories, you would have to eat half a cucumber, 4 cups of a butterhead lettuce such as Bibb or Boston, or 1 cup of radish slices.

Besides promoting weight loss, vegetables are superfoods when it comes to your health. They are an important source of vitamins and minerals, and research has...

Excerpted from

8 Minutes in the Morning: A Simple Way to Shed up to 2 Pounds a Week Guaranteed
by Jorge Cruise, Anthony Robbins
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble