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Dietary Tips


Not a diet, a lifestyle – Ivo Cortes

10 key tips for healthy eating:

1 - You should try to eat regularly throughout the day, 5-6 meals (including snacks), otherwise your metabolism is likely to decrease making your body “store energy”. It is common to hear people saying they do not have time to eat more meals a day, but, with the proper planning, you can save money, time and improve your body composition, with less fat and leaner muscles. Remember that these meals/snacks should be in small sized portions. However, keep in mind that in reality what is essential or what really counts regarding fat loss is consuming less calories than you spend or "burn" per day.

2 - Food should be as fresh as possible which means nothing in packages, manufactured, reconstituted, and definitely nothing labelled diet or low fat. Of course, we can exercise some flexibility. Oats, for example, come in a package but as plain oats are fine..

3 - You should aim to consume at least 3-4 cups (or portion) of vegetables per day. Broccoli, green beans, zucchini, sweet potato, kale, spinach and cucumbers are high quality foods, full of nutrients and water and low in calories. Veggies are a good option for lunch and after 12:00pm when your metabolism is starting to slow down prompting the body for high quality and low calories food.

4 - You must drink 2-3 litres (1 gallon) of water per day, every day. Wwater should be filtered or mineral water.

5 - “Chew Your Drink, Drink Your Food” Gandhi.

Chew your food very well at every meal. Chewing gives time for your body to prepare the digestive system to receive food and avoids damage to your stomach, encouraging proper absorption of nutrients. Whilst you are chewing your food, your body starts to release a hormone signalling satiety. People who eat too much food, ofen eat quickly. Slow down and chew.

6 - 25% to 30% of your daily food intake should come from lean protein, especially at night! Try chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, soy, tempeh, egg whites and cottage cheese. Try and eat a portion of protein with EVERY meal. This will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full for much longer.

7 - Good fats are essential but are easy to overdo, so just 4-6 almonds or nuts, a tablespoon of avocado or the fat found in your protein is usually your maximum daily allowance. Of course the amount dependson your size (weight) and percentage of lean mass. Use olive oil in small quantities in salads (not for cooking) and preferably only up until lunch timeYou can replace olive oil with coconut oil when cooking at high temperatures.

8 - Eliminate gluten as well as many starchy carbs as possible, which includes bread, white pasta and pastries. No mercy!!!

9 - Alcohol is not part of a clean and healthy diet. When you drink alcohol, your body stops burning fat until all the acetone from the alcohol is out of your system, and whilst this is happening, your metabolism slows down and no longer burnsfat.. Acohol dehydrates every single cell in your body, which makes the metabolic reactions in our body slow and less efficient. Avoid it as much as you can!

10 - It is crucial to be creative in the kitchen. Stop thinking of clean eating as a diet and start thinking of it as a way of life. Mix up your cooking techniques and search for the thousands of recipes readily available.

I have given you some options below, but try out new recipes and find your favourites - Be an artist in the kitchen and have fun!

BREAKFAST: Eating like a King

It is the time of the day that your body needs food the most because you probably have been without food for about 8-10 hours. In addition, you will most likely burn all the calories from breakfast because you will be (supposedly and hopefully) awake for the rest of the day. So, go for it! As you have the whole day ahead, try to get a good amount of micro nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Eating these nutrients will make you more energetic throughout the day. Furthermore, eating a proper breakfast is going to keep your immune system stronger to avoid colds and flus what could come after a heavy training session with me ; )

LUNCH: Eating like a prince

It is the time of the day that your body still needs a fair amount of food and nutrients. Because of the body’s hormonal release, your metabolism now is in high mode. You will also burn some calories out anyway because you will be going to work and/or at the gym, so yes, go for it in certain moderation, but try to eat well (“clean”). Do not starve yourself at this time. In addition, try to get a good amount of micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals. You could also eat a fair amount of carbs (from nutritive sources) and protein. Salad is free, so eat as much as you like. However, lunch should be in a small/middle portion.

DINNER: Eating like a beggar

It is the time of the day that your body is supposed to be already overloaded by food and nutrients. Because of the Body’s hormonal release your metabolism now is very slow. Furthermore, you will not be burning many calories, because you will be at the stage of getting ready to bed. Forget about Facebook or the Internet, avoid stimulus to your brain at this stage of the day, and try to go to sleep. In addition, as you should be about to sleep, you could look for low GI and low calorie food. For dinner, you should eat a fair amount of veggies (From nutritive sources, preferable organic) and a clean source of protein (like the ones previously suggested). Salad is near to free, so eat almost as much as you like.


Before 12:00 noon, eat like a lion.

In the afternoon, eat like a kitten.

The information presented above is a product of my 20 years experience in exercise & science and experimenting healthy eating.

It sets guidelines for colourful, tasteful and creative small portion of food. You are free to create your own recipes, but I’d like you to mind the balance between carbs, proteins and fats in every meal. I’d like also you remember to remember the proposition of eating more during the morning and less towards the end of the day, like an inverted pyramid, it is one of the most important aspects of balanced eating in my opinion.


Morning: A Lot

Afternoon: Reasonable



Night: Little

Lastly but not least, appreciate and enjoy your meals, chew well and have fun : )

Ivo Cortes Artiaga – Exercise Physiologist and Scientist & Personal Trainer - ESSAM


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