The NUMBER ONE question I am asked is, “Isn’t there too much sugar in fruit for me to consume?” I would say people feel more guilt about consuming a piece of fruit than a processed, low-carb, chemical-laden “bar.” My heart breaks when I am asked this because we have fallen victim to the media’s distortion of what we should and shouldn’t be eating. There is so much conflicting information about carbs and fruit. Then we see guys and girls all over Instagram showing off their “low-carb figures,” and naturally we think that’s the way to go.
I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a slim figure without much effort on my part. The crazy part is I used to eat an insane amount of cookies, brownies and just straight-up chocolate. My roommate in college gave me 36 Hershey Bars one year for my birthday. I don’t even think they lasted 36 hours. Yes, I was that girl, the one who most girls hated because I could “eat whatever I wanted.” Then one year I decided I wanted to get CRAZY lean. I dropped ten pounds I didn’t need to lose, and subsisted on copious amounts of chicken. I took low-carb to a whole new level as I wouldn’t even allow myself to put more than one broccoli floret in my twice daily chicken and greens salad. I WAS MISERABLE. The ironic thing was all I wanted to do was eat healthy. I wanted to eat fruit and drink green juices but was afraid those carbs would make me gain weight! Do you understand? I didn’t want chips or fast food, I wanted to just eat fruits and veggies but was too afraid.
This went on for months until I couldn’t live like that anymore. Then one day I just started eating- A LOT. Because I had robbed my body of nourishment for so long, I overate for a period of time; I just couldn’t stop. My hormones/metabolism were completely out of whack due to my erratic eating. And even through all of this overeating I still just wanted to eat fruits and veggies but again, was too afraid…until now.
One day I woke and decided this was it; I was finally going to just start eating an abundant amount of healthy carbs. I had noting to lose except my yo-yo eating that was driving me crazy. I was going to eat sweet potatoes at night and not be afraid I would gain weight. I was going to eat fruit whenever I wanted. I let go of the fear and was willing to just see what happened. The result? I feel great, excess weight has come off effortlessly and I am excited about eating again. I drink a lot of fresh juices and consume a variety of fruits. However, there are some guidelines I follow as my goals are very specific. I have listed my top 5 tips below on how to eat fruit without gaining weight. Whether you want to lose weight or just eat healthier, one of these tips will apply to you!
5 TIPS TO HELP YOU FRUIT THE RIGHT WAY AND NOT BE AFRAID!
1.) I would suggest if you are transitioning to a more plant-based diet or have high blood sugar to focus more on berries, apples and pears. Fruits such as bananas and dates are wonderful but are higher in natural sugars. When transitioning to a new way of eating your body will go through a bit of detox. It’s best to let your body adapt to lower glycemic foods/fruits first. Once your body has become more accustomed to a plant-based diet, your blood sugar will undoubtedly return to normal levels. At that point, consuming more of the yummy high sugar fruits won’t be a problem!
2.) Fruit is NOT the enemy, it’s when you eat carbs WITH fat that you could run into trouble. When you eat fruit or sugar your body releases insulin into your bloodstream to quickly shuttle the sugar through. However, if you eat too much fat simultaneously, it slows down the absorption of sugar and leaves too much fat running through your bloodstream. THIS CAN LEAD TO FAT STORAGE. I have gone on all fruit fasts before eating nothing but fruit for 2 or 3 days. The result? Weight loss NOT gain. The media has you thinking it’s the carbs causing weight gain when it’s really the COMBINATION of carbs with fat. Bodybuilders getting ready for a competition will most likely pair their macronutrients accordingly: Protein and carbs in the morning and protein and fat at night. This DOES achieve a very lean look as I followed this protocol for months. Am I saying to never eat a sweet potato with fat? No, but if you are looking to get lean it’s important to remember to keep this in mind. If you are eating a very high carb meal keep fats very low. And if you are eating a lot of fat such as nuts, keep the carbs very low.
3.) There is a chart illustrating how to properly combine your fruit for optimal absorption of nutrients and no stomach upset. Go to www.acidalkalinediet.com and click on food combining. Fruits are divided into four categories: Sweet, Sub-Acid, Acid and Melons. Some fruits combine well with others and some don’t. This protocol may be extreme for some and I totally understand that! I would say for anyone who wants to just start eating more fruit go for it in any combination but listen to your body. If you are feeling bloated and heavy try following the protocol.
4.) REALLY IMPORTANT: FRUIT LIKES TO DIGEST BY ITSELF, NOT WITH OTHER FOODS! Fruit contains sugar that will ferment in your system if it cannot be properly digested. By consuming fruit on an empty stomach and waiting AT LEAST 30 minutes before eating anything else will leave you feeling amazing! Fruit breaks down and is digested faster than any other food. When you allow it to digest on its own you will prevent it from rotting in your system. If you need to eat fruit at night, don’t eat it right away after a big meal! It will just sit there and ferment causing all sorts of bacteria to multiply in your intestinal tract.
5.) One of my FAVORITE meals is a simple strawberry, spinach and favorite vinegar salad. I did say to eat fruit on its own, but my body seems to react well with the addition of spinach. Go grab your biggest bowl, fill it will spinach and strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic or Coconut Aminos. So healthy and yummy!
If you want to adopt a more plant-based lifestyle with fruits, then eat as much as your heart desires. Eat only when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. If you are looking to lose weight then keep the fats very low, especially at night. Just like a typical diet that contains animal protein consumption, you still need to balance your macronutrients for weightloss.