Best Superfoods for Health: Ultimate Superfoods

Q. Akash, what are the top superfoods you include in your diet amost everyday?

A. In this short post, I will list 7 best superfoods for health. These Ultimate Superfoods I personally include in my diet everyday.

Note: 90% of my calories comes from these superfoods.

It has been like this for the past few years.

I usually eat almost same foods everyday without any issue.

Although based on where I am residing, my core ingredients keep changing.

Having said that, these 7 superfoods are the main stay in my diet. 

1-WHOLE EGGS. 3 per day. Calories: 250–300

2-COCONUT OIL. 2 Tablespoon. Calories: 250

3-RAW COWS MILK. 1 Litre. Calories: 650

4-NUTS-WALNUTS+ ALMONDS. Calories: 300

5-GRASS-FED MEATS. 200g. Calories: 300

6-BEANS AND LENTILS. 500g. Calories: 350

7-BANANAS. 1–2 per day with Smoothies. Calories: 150

Total Calories: 2300 calories (approx)

Please note, quality also matters.

I try and ensure that the poultry are grass-fed and organic range.

Milk is raw and come from grass-fed cows.

In addition to these superfoods, there are many like green vegetables, ACV, etc which hardly have any calories in them, but I do include them on regular basis.

Here are some actual pictures of my meals:

You can read about other superfoods hereand here

I’m skinny as hell with a chubby face. How can I lose the fat from my face without getting even skinnier?

Hey,

Whenever we skinny guys gain fat there is a tendency to put on first on our belly and face. And when this happens we are labeled as Skinny fat.

Related:

Skinny Fat Solution : 9 Effective Ways to Cure Skinny Fat

You are only 16, and the more you worry about the fat on your face, more trouble you will have gaining muscle. As the fear of gaining fat while gaining muscle will not allow you to gain effectively.

During the bulk period, a bit of fat gain is acceptable. So if you gain 10-15lbs of muscle in few months time, around 4 to 5lbs of fat gain is ok. Being a beginner you can do better than that, provided that you eat a clean diet and workout regularly.

More muscle you gain, better you will look, and trust me when I say this: Your face will take care itself.

How many fat cells you have in which body part is genetically determined. You will notice many people have a thin face, yet are fat otherwise. This is because they have fewer fat cells on their face! The structure of your facial bones also determines the overall look. Many people have a round face, while others have an angular face with high cheek bones. So even if they have face fat, it doesn’t show much.

Forget about spot reduction i.e. reducing fat from face, belly, hands or any particular area, and focus on simply reducing your overall body fat. To look your best, you need to be around 12% body fat.

Going below 12% requires you to be extremely disciplined with your diet and workouts. In the end, it all depends on your preference and how you want to look.
In the picture below: I wanted to have a thin face, and worked my ass off to take my body fat to around 6%, and didn’t had much muscle to show either:(

_23I0566

In the picture below, I gained tons of body fat (around 26% ) Notice how drastically my face changed!

And finally, in the picture below my body fat is 8-9%:

best diet for stomach fat

Just for comparison sake: The face automatically gets angular.

skinny fat to fit transformation

I workout 2 to 3 times a week with weights, I eat clean home made food 80% of the time, 20% of the time I enjoy pizzas, pasta, drinking socially, eat desserts, buffets, and cheesecakes:)

Although I don’t endorse the idea of spot reduction, I do have a friend who went crazy eating chewing gums and he, in fact, did lose some fat from his face. Whenever I saw him he was chewing gum, and honestly, I would never do something like that to achieve results, haha!

The best way to have a jawline is to gain some muscle and be in the ideal body fat range ( around 10-12% ) and let your body take care of the rest.

A free resource:

How can I build muscle on a budget?

Hey,

To build muscle  you need access to basic equipments that I have listed below. At the same time you need to eat more than your TDEE. Lastly, you need to (7-9) hours of undisturbed sleep everyday.

Here are 6 ways you can build muscle on a budget:

1)To build muscle on a budget you simply need the following equipments: An olympic rod, free weights, a pull-up and dip bar and a weighed belt. This will pretty much cover your entire body.

Building muscle with bodyweight training (like push-ups etc ) is possible upto a limit, but in order to keep gaining muscle you need to progressively overload. This will require you to either join a gym or have access to minimum equipments I have mentioned above.

To save cost when planning to join a gym, look for discounts on websites like Group-on etc. Gyms give massive discounts around the new-year time, so make sure you check for deals around that time.

2) The biggest cost saver is NOT to spend money on buying supplements and instead focus on fulfilling your nutrition requirement by eating a wholesome diet. To build muscle you simple need to eat slightly more calories than your body burns, at the same keeping your protein intake at around 1.4 to 2gms/kg of your bodyweight. For more information on how to gain weight and calculate your TDEE, click here. To know how much protein you really need, click here.

3) Another big money saver is NOT to eat out! I know this can be tough, but investing time in learning how to cook meals at home will ensure that you stay within your budget.

4) One another tip is to eat at least 50% of your calories from carbohydrate sources.Proteins like chicken, fish, etc can be expensive, same goes for fat sources like desi ghee. Focus more on eating chapatis, rice, potatoes to get most of your calories from. Common macronutrient breakdown for a muscle-building diet can be 60% Carbs, 20% Protein, 20% Fat.

5) Try and buy items in bulk and from wholesale vendors. Food products like Rice, Flour, Potatoes, Oatmeal can easily be stored for many months before they go bad, so do buy them in large quantities whenever you can!

6) Lastly,make sure to plan your meals in such a way that reduces wastage. Try and eat the same meals everyday! This will require you to buy few ingredients. The common item that usually go bad are the vegetables. Make sure to include them in most of your meals.

Follow these 6 tips and I can promise you that you can drastically reduce your cost when trying to build muscle.

Best Indian Diet Plan to reduce Belly Fat?

Understand that spot reduction is a myth! You lose fat overall and not from a particular area.

Your genetics determine which body part will have the most fat cells.

For example, there are some people who have fat cells all over their body i.e. on their hands, legs, stomach etc. Whereas there are some people who have the majority of fat cells around the abdomen and chest area.

Whatever the case, no special diets, doing side bends, 1000 crunches daily will get you that flat tummy unless you consistently eat homemade healthy nutritious meals and of course workout!

Now, before I give you 2 sample Indian diet plan (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) consider these 9 tips that can help you reduce fat and bring it in the optimal range. For men, the optimal range is [10 to 14]% and for women is [20 to 24]%.

You will look toned, lean and sexy when you come in this range irrespective of your genetics.

Related:

Body Fat Percentage Chart For Men & Women (with Pictures)

Here are 9 tips to lose belly fat:

1) Make sure you eat less than your TDEE
2) Eat moderateamount of protein in your diet
3) Perform weight training 2 to 3 times a week, in addition to doing Yoga, and walking more than 7000+ daily
4) Get enough sleep, take power naps if needed
5) Control stress
6) Drink lots of water and green tea
7) Clear your kitchen of all junk. If there is no junk in front of you, you will not eat it
8) Do cheat (eat junk) once in a while. This will keep you on track
9) Plan ahead. If you don’t find eggs in your fridge in the morning, you will end up eating pancakes and waffles. This may spiral into bad eating throughout the day. Make sure you have all the ingredients with you. Also, plan what you will eat the next day
For an in-depth discussion on the above points read my post on How to Lose Weight-The Right Way.

Vegetarian Indian Diet Plan to Lose Belly Fat:

1200 calorie diet plan

Need more 1500 Calorie, 1800 Calorie Diet Plans to Lose Weight & Get Fit?

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Key Notes:

-Alternatives to Rajma: Any type of Dal (lentils), Chole (Chickpeas), Lobia etc. They are excellent protein sources for vegetarians

-Alternatives for Palak Paneer: Mix veg, brinjal, gajar +matter subzi ( note mutter (peas) is high in protein ) etc

– Can alternate chapatis with brown rice. Please avoid (or minimize) white rice if trying to lose weight

– Make sure to make all meals in desi ghee, mustard or coconut oil (if you like the taste )

-Milk should be raw cows milk and not pasteurized milk which you get in packets. Do your research and you would be able to find a source that provides raw milk. Milk is a great source of protein and can be used to make yogurt, buttermilk, and ghee.

-Include a lot of healthy fats. More fats in your diet will keep you fuller for a longer period of time and will curb cravings. Have whole eggs instead of just whites, drink whole milk (instead of toned ), and do add almonds, walnuts too. Two highly nutritious superfoods that anyone should definitely include in their diet are Coconut ( water/oil ) and avocados.

– The above diet is roughly 40% complex carbs, 30% protein, 30% fats. This is a good general ratio to have. Since we all are genetically different, and thrive on different food types, experiment and see what works for you. Don’t reduce any macronutrients to less than 20% ( otherwise the diet would be considered a fad )

– And finally and the most important pointer is to eat tons and tons of raw vegetables along with your meals. Learn to make great salads!

Vegetarian Indian Diet Plan to Lose Belly Fat:

Keynotes:
-Alternatives to Grilled fish: Any piece of meat which is grilled, baked or boiled
– Sources of complex carbs are Grains (roti, chapatis ), brown rice, oats, whole wheat bread (don’t overdo bread ), potatoes, fruits etc.
-One best strategy is to cook extra and use the leftovers for next day meals. Be creative in the kitchen and it will help you save a lot of time and effort.
-Don’t snack in between. It will kill your appetite and you will end up eating more calories than you can burn.
-Lastly, exercise. Eating healthy is not enough!

reduce belly fat

Can I gain muscle by only doing push-ups?

Hey,

Pushups is a great upper body movement that involves your pectoral, deltoids and triceps. Its a great exercise for beginnersto build up starting strength and this way you can build some muscle too.

Over time if you can comfortably do more than 15 reps of few sets your body will stop building more muscle and you need to progressively overload your muscle with more weights.

The prime factor that causes muscle hypertrophy (a fancy term for increase in size of skeletal muscle) is to create muscular tension. And the way to create tension is to perform multiple sets for a muscle group in the rep range of 5 to 7.

Eventually, you need to move into more advanced movement like squats, deadlifts, military press, pull-ups and dips (both weighed). Just these five movements will cover your entire body and ultimately doing push-ups will be a mere warmup for you:)

What should I eat in the evening before going to the gym?

Working out requires energy. And harder the workout, more you need to be prepared!

For example I lift really heavy weights. And my meal preparation starts the day before!

Say I plan to workout on Monday evening. I make sure at least 3 of my meals (Sunday night dinner, Monday-breakfast and lunch, are high in carbs. This replenishes my glycogen stores.

Since I go low carb on my other days (I weight train only 2-3 times a week), eating high carb meals starting from the night before becomes important for me.

If you plan to do a regular workout in the evening, having a GOOD lunch few hours before workout is the key!

5 menu options for a pre-workout lunch 2.5 to 3 hours before your workout:

1. Oatmeal with banana and crushed almonds with some unprocessed honey

2. Brown rice with rajma ( red beans ) and big bowl of green salad

3. 2-3 Chappatis with dal (Lentils), any cooked vegetable and a bowl of salad.

4. Whole wheat pasta with tuna ( or cottage cheese )

5. Asian mushroom omelette with 3 slices of whole wheat bread

Just make sure that you consume enough complex carbs: Oatmeal, Brown rice, Potatoes, Whole wheat Pasta, Chapatis etc.

This will give you sustained energy during your workouts. Healthy fatsare important as they slow down digestion. And moderate proteins to avoid any breakdown of muscle tissues during your workouts.

5 things you can have 30min to 45 min before your workouts:

Note: If you had a heavy lunch and are already stuffed, the following pre-workout meal should not be taken. This may cause some discomfort and may cause pain in your stomach!

1. A piece of fruit. Banana is the best

2. A scoop of whey protein

3. A boiled egg + 1 slice of whole wheat bread

4. Whole wheat bread with peanut butter

5. Oatmeal ( small bowl )

I personally have an expresso right before my workout and since my workouts are long and intense I squeeze 2 large lemons in approximately 2 litres of water and add 1 tbsp of unprocessed honey. This replaces any lost electrolytes during my workouts and keeps me going.

And lastly, a 10-15 minutes power nap can do wonders when taken right before your workout. If a person has to directly to the gym from office and cannot nap, I highly recommend a meditation session for 5 min before they start their workouts.

Have any questions you’d like to ask me? Let me know in the comments below or simple email me:)

What’s the difference between an athletic physique and a six-pack body?

Hey,

An athletic body is functional in nature. What this means is that it’s able to perform real-life activities with relative ease.

Few examples are:

– Climb 10 floors while carrying your infant kid and your wife’s shopping bags with relative ease in case the lift is not working!
– Climb a tree if needed
– Play a sport (or any sport) recreationally
– RUN to save your life from a ferocious dog!

An athletic physique may or may not sport a six-pack (it all depends upon one’s body fat levels. Anything less than 12 percent body fat will give a clear visibility of six pack abs!)

Now, when we talk about a six-pack body, basically what we are referring to is a bodybuilder. This kind of physique is build with only one goal in mind: Aesthetics!

A bodybuilder performs lot of isolated exercises mainly using machines that emphasize only one plane of motion—the sagittal plane. This causes muscle imbalances, and your muscles become prone to injury.

In real life, our muscles are used to working in all three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal and transverse.

Yes, there are three planes of motions.

Sagittal plane is forward or backward.

Frontal plane is side to side.

Transverse plane is rotational. (Ref to the diagram below)

Planes-of-Motion_large


Therefore, it becomes imperative to include movements in the frontal and transverse planes as well.

Conclusion:

In the end, it all depends on what your goals are.

If you an athlete (swimmer, boxer, powerlifter etc) you will naturally train according to what your sport demands, whereas if you desire to become a fitness model, a pro bodybuilder you need to follow a routine of weight lifting few times a week, specialising each body part.

In both cases, if your body fat is low enough (less than 12 percent) your six pack will be visible.

If you are recreational athlete who simply wants to look good on a beach but also want to become strong and build real-life functional strength do this:

Pick up 5 to 8 functional whole-body exercises involving multiple planes of motion and multiple joints, which mimics real-life activities. Think squat, deadlift, wood chop, and medicine ball side throw (rotational exercises) to name a few.

What are some daily habits I could pick to correct my posture?

Hey,

Anyone who spends lot of time in front of a computer sitting can have major postural issues. Chronic sitting is a major threat and is touted as the new smoking.

I have written a post about this on my blog. To summarize this post:

1) Being sedentary (usually classified as taking less than 3,000 steps in a day ) is associated with a 112 percent increased risk of diabetes, 147 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This meta- analysis of eighteen studies which included 794,577 participants also compares chronic sitting with smoking and suggests a similar mortality rate!

2) According to Tom Rath, the best selling author of Eat, Move, Sleep which has sold more than 6 million copies- ” Sitting more than six hours a day increases your risk of an early death” Sitting is a serious threat and should not be taken lightly.

Read more.

Almost six months back I realised that I was also leading a sedentary lifestyle, even though I was lifting kickass weights, doing Yoga etc.

But the day I realized that I need to start living an otherwise active lifestyle too, I have including these following habits that has reduced my sitting tremendously and have contributed on improving my posture:

#Habit no 1: I got a custom made standing desk

I write a lot! Besides writing for this blog, I take out time to answer questions on quora, I have also authored a book and have recently announced my second one. This requires me to be seated in front of my Mac almost 10 hours a day! But now, with the standing desk I alternate between standing and sitting.

After 6 months now, I stand almost 60-70 percent of the time. I have included a stepper beneath me and take break to do calve raises! Talk about innovation…haha.

Now, I do understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to be their own boss. So if you work in an office and don’t have your personal cabin I highly recommend to drink lots of water! This will make sure you don’t sit for more than 15 minutes at a stretch!

# Habit no 2: I take around 7,000 to 10,000 steps daily, no matter what!

Standing burns more calories than sitting, and can improve your posture. But its not enough. You need to include walking in your lifestyle.

Find ways to walk more: Take stairs whenever you can, walk your dog, play with your child, get up when a commercial comes on TV, always walk when talking on the phone and things like that. Recently I purchased a fitness band, and I am literally hell-bent on completely my 10,000 daily steps!

#Habit no 3: Breathe correctly

Most of us breathe into the upper chest, which is the not the best way to breathe because it signals the body that we are under stress. Instead practice diaphragmatic breathing which causes the brain to release endorphins which in turn reduces muscle tension and feelings of anxiety. Take deep breathes throughout the day.

# Habit no 4: Strengthen your core muscles

There are many muscles in the core area which works to maintain your posture like erector spine and transverse abdominis. They are deep muscles which needs to be stimulated with isometric holds like doing vacuums, planks etc

What should be a vegetarian diet plan to build muscle?

Although I am a non-vegetarian, I have helped countless vegetarians gain muscle weight.

I want to point out to the fact that getting protein for vegetarians is not tough and you can cross 100gms daily (if it is required). You can read about it here.

Now, the first step is figure out how many calories one need to consume in order to maintain weight. This is also termed as the TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure).

TDEE is the amount of calories you burn in a 24 hour period. Its the sum of your basic metabolic rate and thermic effect of calories. There are 2 accurate formulas which can figure this out for you:

1) The Katch-Mc Addle Equation

2) The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation.

For more details please read this.

Once you have figured out how many calories is required to maintain your weight, you need to eat roughly 15 to 20% more than this to gain weight and build muscle.

Eat more than this percentage (i.e. more than 25% of your TDEE) you risk gaining more of fat, and eat less ( less than your TDEE ) you will not gain muscle.

To get your macros (carbs, protein and fat) right, is a hit and trial process and you will get better with time.

Now, calorie counting is a rather tedious process, instead do the following things:

1) Note that we all eat very limited variety of meals. For example, I have been eating eggs in my breakfast, for over a decade now, and I am still not bored!

Anyways my point being our ingredients list is very limited and once you start “googling” their caloric values and maintain a dairy for the same. Over time, you will have a pretty clear idea of how much calories you are consuming.

2) Eat slowly. It takes our brain 15 minutes to figure out whether we are full or not. so once you are full, eat slightly more. Only slightly.

Here is a sample vegetarian diet plan to build muscle:

1) 4 Whole eggs+ 2 whole wheat bread with a glass of cows milk, add oatmeal as an option.

You can also make your oatmeal with milk to increase the protein content.

2) Indian thali: 3 rotis+ 2 bowls dal ( 17gms protein roughly ), a big bowl of salad and mix veg. Try and get it cooked in desi ghee. Why?, its a myth that ghee is bad for your health. Find out here.

3) Add snacks: Almonds, walnuts are the best. Eat bananas generously as pre workout and post workout.

4) Postworkout: A big glass of banana shake, add more fruits like strawberries etc if you like. Add a little bit of chocolate syrup, this works wonder for me, as it satisfies my sweet cravings and helps me to stay away from donuts, pastries etc.

To get more protein eat yogurt, paneer (cottage cheese) with your meals. It ok to eat 3 meals a day ( eating smaller meals a day is purely a myth and its not superior to eating lesser meals )

Include lot of green vegetables ( in the form of salads mainly ), as micronutrients in them aids in the chemical processes in the body which helps build muscles.

Will Endura Mass help me gain weight?

I advise strictly against weight gainers, be it of ANY brand.

In order to gain muscle you need calories. 300 to 500 calories more calories than you can burn.

For an average skinny guy it is in the range of 1800 to 3000. Lets take an average of 2500.

In order to gain weight, lets say he needs to eat around 2800 calories and 50% should come from carbs. Thats 350gms of carbs everyday. This is on the high end. Most of you will need carbs in the range of 200 to 250gms.

You get calories from Macronutrients : Carbs, Proteins, Fats

Carbs are the cheapest.

Best sources of carbs are:

Oats: You can get 66gms from 100gms cooked oats.

Brown Rice: 50 gms from 200gms cooked rice

Potatoes: 50 gms in 250gms cooked potatoes

Cows Milk: 50gms from 1 litre milk

Chappati: 60gms from 3 medium chapatis

Dal: 50gms in 2 medium bowls

Fruits: 50 gms 2 large fruits like banana or apple.

Grand total: 350gms.

All these carbs sources are complex in nature (expect fruits which are simple sugars-fructose) and highly nutritious.

For example dal, milk etc have high protein content as well!

You will find a healthy serving of fibre and micronutrients in them as well.

Most gainers are simply filled with dextrose/maltodextrin which are simple sugars and can be outsourced cheaply.

At the same time the quality of the protein is low. Recently there is lot of research that soy protein may not be good for you. You can check out thislink to know on how may not be a good choice for you.

Combine that with sucrose ( not good for your health ), and other artificial flavourings.

Now, there may be some good mass gainers in the market, using oats, or other better sources of carbs, high quality protein like whey and no artificial flavours, but do note these high quality gainers would be rather expensive, and you are better off getting your calories from food.