Eating a greater variety of food may help you burn fat. In my experience, those with the most weight to lose have the most food aversions. My all time heaviest client, at over 800 pounds, refuses tea, greens, fish and anything with cilantro. Her favorite foods include potatoes, beef, chips, and soda. My leanest clients, often from other countries, regularly eat things such as sweetbreads, liver, goat, mussels and most of the vegetables in each season.
A diverse diet not only provides you a greater diversity of nutrients and reduces likelihood of food sensitivities, it results in more fat-burning, health-promoting gut flora. Variety helps us produce more of the bacteria that break down food into energy and keep us lean.
In reality, a hamburger with ketchup is the same thing as spaghetti with meat sauce. Toast and jam is more or less the same thing as blueberry pancakes with syrup. Chicken pasta, a chicken burrito and a roast chicken dinner are all made up of the same ingredients.The typical American subsists on a small selection of ingredients, often starting with corn: corn sugar; sodas; corn-fed beef and chicken; corn starch and a plethora of foods made with corn.
When was the last time you had Buffalo? Octopus? How about Amish Pie squash, fava beans, an Andulusian egg or black radishes? Nearly 1000 foods, 200 from the US, are listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste, a collection of endangered foods and livestock. No one eats these foods anymore.
The planet is losing roughly six animal breeds per month. Entire breeds of livestock developed over the past 12,000 years are going extinct, never to be seen again because we want familiar foods. We want chicken or beef and we want it to taste the same every time; some don’t want meat at all. Ironically avoiding meat and poultry only hastens the demise of less popular breeds.
When was the last time you choose a different vegetable? We’ve lost 93% of our seed diversity since 1903, just to make room for larger bins of the same variety of apple, lettuce and potato. This resulting loss in genetic diversity makes our food supply, and us, more vulnerable to disease and early death. Lack of diversity in food leaves us more likely to become obese. Getting a variety of animal and plant foods protects us, animal breeds, and our food supply from extinction.
You don’t need to seek out an endangered chicken to boost your gut flora health, but you could try duck or bison. You could reach for a fennel bulb or instead of a russet potato next time you hit the produce isle. Check with local farmers to find heirloom pork or poultry. Buy eggs from back yard farmers, who are more likely to be raising heirloom breeds such as Australorps or Wyandottes.
By choosing purple turnips instead of another potato or red wattles pork instead of the usual corn-feed Angus, you are promoting healthier gut bacteria, which help you burn fat. You are also promoting a healthier planet and helping to save a dying pig breed.
New research into how gut bacteria help us burn fat while preventing depression and anxiety is fascinating. Variety is just one way to grow more DIY fat-burners. Watch for my new ebook, 21 Days to Be Lean, for more tips on boosting your fat-burning health-promoting gut bacteria.