So Many Diets…So Little Time

So many diets… So little time….
Holly T. Ashley, the wife….
February 19, 2013
Fitness by Design, All rights Reserved


With so many diets, fads and reminders of how fat we are as a nation – what is a person to do? Well, with over 30 years of experience, multiple degrees and national certifications… David Ashley tends to stick with the simple truth. And one of those simple truths is that you canNOT out train a crappy diet. So if you’re not going to change the way you eat, we will be the first to tell you not to waste your time or money (or ours for that matter) on personal training or small group fitness – because it will not work nor will it be good for business if you walk away frustrated and angry.


Fitness by design is not a cookie-cutter approach to fitness; it is what it says it is – Fitness “by Design.” We stick to the simple truths about what is good and what is not good for you, according to what God put on this planet not to mention where you are in your age bracket, health assessment, analyzing your personal goals –


But today we are talking about health smart choices for everyone. Not diet plans – simply what is good for you and your heart and what is not. But again, we are not Drs. If you are diabetic, on certain medications, or have a deficiency – you are going to need to tweak this for your specific issue.


So with that being said… from this point forward, we are hoping you can formulate your own healthy diet plan – but if not, we are only a phone call away…


Carbohydrates –

One of the things people in our part of the world struggle with is carbohydrates not to mention the fact that we eat too many calories, the calories we consume are mainly carbohydrates – which can prove to be detrimental to your heart health! So what are the bad Carbs? That would the starch carbs – white flour and anything made of it, rice, pasta, and grains.

So what’s good about Carbs? Get your carbs from veggies! Green leafy veggies, apples, and berries. (if you are diabetic – watch the fruit! Too much natural sugar is not good for you).  According to Arthritis Today, Berries are loaded with fiber which helps you feel full! That means eating less! Berries also protect our bodies from free radicals which are found in a multitude of processed foods and drinks and can damage our cells and organs. Berries are the chart topper for antioxidant power! A recent study even showed that one-half to one cup of mixed berries a day improved cognition and motor performance in animals. James Joseph, PhD, director of the Neuroscience Lab at the United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, which conducted the study, notes that we become more susceptible to the damaging effects of free radicals and inflammation as we age. Berries help prevent those effects by turning off the inflammation signals triggered by cytokines and COX-2s, he says, making them an ideal part of your diet.


Arthritis Today suggests that “To get the optimal health benefits of berries, eat two or three types of fresh, frozen or dehydrated berries each day.”  Here are their top picks:

Strawberries contain more vitamin C in a one-cup serving than one orange, and are particularly high in folic acid.

Blueberries contain 20 types of anthocyanin – antioxidants that give berries their blue-violet and red colors. Other berries contain only three to four.

Blackberries, Raspberries, Boysenberries each contains 8 g of fiber in one cup, one-third the daily recommended amount (25 g).

Cranberries not only combat urinary tract infections by preventing Escherichia coli bacteria from sticking to cells in the urinary tract, but they also are a natural probiotic, supporting healthy bacteria that grow in the gastrointestinal tract and aiding in digestion.


Another issue in the quest for health is fats! Alwyin Cosgrove, a leader in the fitness industry states that “One mistake that people commonly make … is eating too much protein and not enough fat.” He goes on to say that when we cut down on our carbohydrate intake our bodies will turn to start using fat as its primary fuel source. So in order for our bodies to burn fat, we need to get rid of the carb consumption and provide our bodies with fat! But it has to be good fat! So what type of dietary fat is good?  Well let’s start with the terms:


  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats
  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats

Mono and poly are good – they are good for your heart, your cholesterol and your overall good healthy – Remember Mono and Poly (M&P… mom and pop…they only want what’s best for you…).


Stay away from Saturated and Trans! They increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol. Think solid – like a stick of butter; whereas monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid – like Olive oil.

Here is a quick chart provided by

GOOD FATS (Mom and Pop)
Monounsaturated fat (Mom) Polyunsaturated fat (Pop)
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu


BAD FATS (the “solid waste” of fat)
Saturated fat Trans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars


General guidelines for choosing healthy fats

With so many different sources of dietary fat—some good and some bad—the choices can get confusing. But the bottom line is simple: don’t go no-fat, go good fat.


Omega-3 fatty acids: Superfats for the brain and heart

A type of polyunsaturated fat that is especially beneficial to you and your overall good health. These “Superfats” prevent and reduce the symptoms of depression, protect against memory loss (Dementia and Alzheimer’s), reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, ease arthritis, joint pains, and inflammatory skin conditions in addition to supporting a healthy pregnancy.


Research indicates that Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in cognitive function which is your memory and problem-solving abilities, etc. as well as your overall emotional health.


There are different types of Omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA have the most research to back up their health benefits and are found in cold-water fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and depending on how they were raised and processed – canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be a good source.


You should also note, that if you are afraid of the mercury (possibilities) found is fish – you need to know that research also proves that the benefits of eating 2-3 servings a week outweigh the possible risk factors. But with such a high list of forbidden foods and supplements here are some guidelines in helping you chose the right Omega-3 superfats:


  • Avoid products that don’t list the source of their omega-3s. ALA is one source of Omega-3 that us “Westerners” don’t need more of! And if the source is not listed, more than likely it is NOT EPA or DHA, just an FYI….


  • Don’t fall for “fortified” foods such as: eggs, milk, or margarine, the fact is that most of the time the omega-3 that you are searching for is very miniscule.



  • Look for the total amount of EPA and DHA on the label – PAY ATTENTION HERE:  “Fish Oil” is NOT the amount of Omega-3! So even if it has 1,000 mg of fish oil, it may only contain 300 mg of EPA and DHA (sometimes labeled as Omega-3) which means you’d have to take up to 3 capsules to reach your 1,000 mg of true Omega-3!


  • Choose supplements that are mercury=free, pharmaceutical grade and molecularly distilled.



  • Make sure the supplement contains BOTH DHA and EPA. The supplements with higher concentrations of EPA are better.


How much Omega-3 do you need? The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1-3 grams per day of EPA and DHA (1 gram = 1,000 milligrams).


For the treatment of mental health issues, including depression and ADHD, look for supplements that are high in EPA, which has been shown to elevate and stabilize mood.


Bottom line: Aim for at least 1,000 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids per day.


So… Got it? Let’s recap:


Stay away from starchy foods – these are bad carbs! Get your carbs from good sources. Eat lean protein foods that are lower in bad fats – but if you increase your protein and lower your carbs – eat more GOOD FAT! Remember Mom and Pop! They’ll never lead you astray! Make sure to eat your berries and get at least 1,000 milligrams of Omega-3 per day – FYI: DHA & EPA!


Happy weight loss! Once you get your diet under control start your exercise program so that all that weight you start losing won’t just turn to flabby skin!


Sources: American Heart Association, Alwyn Cosgrove multiple sites, Arthritis Today,


Published by

Holly Ashley

David's wife.

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