Some foods trigger the loss of belly fat – also known as visceral fat. The “last 5 pounds” frustrate the hell out of most people, and most people over 65 have given up hope on eliminating it.
Despite research claiming there’s a “set point” and reversion to failure is inevitable, I’ve proven to myself it’s possible to adopt a nutritional habit pattern that will cause the loss of visceral fat, even while collecting Social Security. Given the food universe we live in with its ubiquity of convenience foods designed to be addictive, habits can be hard to change, considering our cultural heritage and our own personal preferences – but with intentionality and determination, we CAN be successful, armed with a list of helpful foods that can be totally satisfying and tasty in their own right.
If I can do it, you can. I’ve had visceral fat since I was a kid, and despite becoming a runner and going the gym and getting in otherwise reasonable shape, I could never get rid of my gut – and back fat “love handles” and armpit fat. That’s changed. I’m losing it.
Feed the Biome
In recent years, science has learned that intestinal bacteria are big players determining fat loss, with some biota capable of secreting enzymes and proteins triggering the metabolization of organ fat when fed the right stuff (“prebiotics,” including “resistant starches” and “soluble fibers” and “probiotics,” including yogurt, kefir, natto, and kimchi, among others). We’re not going to get into a dissertation about the science or how it works specifically for each food, but we are going to present a list of desirable prebiotic and probiotic foods, then present a habit pattern – a daily menu – that works, that’s caused me to lose 12 pounds of gut fat in the last couple of months.
- Aquatic Greens (especially Duckweed a/k/a/ Water Lentils or Mankai)**
- Carrots, beets, radishes
- Peaches, Pears, Melon, Pomegranate, Mango
- Greens (especially Kale)**
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, celery)**
- Kimchi or Sauerkraut
- Onions, Shallots, Garlic**
- Green Tea**
- Nuts & nut butters & Nut oils**
- Olive oil
- Seeds (chia, flax, sesame, caraway, cumin, fennel, anise)**
- Seaweed (Nori, Kombu, Dulse, Kelp, Hijiki, Wakame, Hirame)**
- Tubers, especially Sweet Potatoes, Daikon, Jicama, and Yukka
- Pulses, including beans, lentils and buckwheat
- Chili peppers**
- Tofu, Tempeh
- Coconut, Coconut Milk, Coconut Milk Powder, Coconut oil
- Lucuma (powder, a mild zero-calorie sweetener with Superfood nutrients)
- Wild Rice
- Kefir, Labneh, Yogurt
- Raw Honey
- Maple Syrup
- Fowl (chicken, turkey, duck)
- Raw Milk cheese
**Particularly effective, and should be incorporated daily
When learning about “superfoods” in the past, my tendency has been to keep adding things into my routine until I’m overeating, or otherwise buying them only to have them expire unused. I’ve got a shriveled Pomegranite in the fridge right now… just didn’t remember to incorporate it in a timely way.
Here’s a daily menu that I’m following that’s bringing results.
A variation and enhancement of the traditional Japanese breakfast, this is 100% Super Food, and tasty as heck.
- Wild rice (half cup cooked)
- Raw heirloom egg (blue)
- 1 package Natto (Japanese, sold frozen)
- 1 package baby anchovies (Japanese, “Chirimen”)
- Hijiki (cooked into the rice or hydrated)
- 1 tbsp flax seed
- Eaten Japanese style, the Nori is wrapped around bits of the mix in the bowl making little breakfast sushi rolls as you go.
Natto is a real superstar superfood. Given its texture and odor, it may seem repulsive at first to Westerners (and many Japanese), but has a savory taste, and blends quite well when mixed with the rice and other ingredients. It has a magical enzyme Nattokinase with artery-cleansing properties, and loaded with desirable prebiotics.
The seaweed is loaded with nutrients and prebiotics, and a great source of metabolism-boosting iodine.
The wild rice is a superfood, a tremendous nutritional boost over brown and white conventional rice – and a native North American food.
Smoothies are delivery systems for nutritious foods, as are salads and soups. Given that the most effective element in my habit here is the duckweed, here’s how we incorporate it.
- 2 cups water
- 1 Scoop Aquasprout Powder
- 1 apple, peeled and cored (we don’t want the waxed skin, even on organic produce)
- 1 banana
- 1 cup Kale clippings, loose
- 1/2 cup frozen berry mix
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tuber fresh turmeric root, peeled and coarse chopped
- 1 tbsp chia seed
- 1 tbsp Raw Honey
- 1 tbsp tahini
- dash of cinnamon
- 1 chopped small hot pepper
Sipping this over the course of a half hour or so, this smoothie alone delivers the RDA servings for fruit and vegetables. It’s very tasty, but unusual and filling for several hours.
Nuts, raw milk or soft cheese (limited!) or tamari pepitas (pumpkin seeds browned and coated with tamari just before removal from the hot pan), or veggie sticks and tahini or nut butter. or chocolate.
Dinner is basically open season, but we lean toward veggies, either steamed or air-fried, with protein as a condiment. We favor fish and seafood or sometimes tofu stir-fries, sometimes air-fried chicken thighs, or slow-cooked duck legs, sometimes even a half pork butt roast. We also do lasagna, turkey parm, slow-cooked turkey wing and onion poutine, scallops with mushroom, onion and sour cream sauce, coconut fried fish filets with curry sauce, garlic/lemon and seafood mix over pasta, Peruvian Sudado fish stew, etc.
Dessert will be berries with kefir or labneh (kefir cheese), or lucuma pudding with chia, or fruit, sweetened with maple syrup, raw honey, or coconut sugar. Sometimes, a bit of ice cream, and Hu’s chocolate nibs.
There’s myriad ways to design a nutrition pattern from the list above, and many roads to the same end, but I can tell you that the program above works for me. The goal is to keep working toward a daily habit pattern that derives entirely from the list above.
It takes effort – but less effort than hours and hours of cardio with no results. Packing food and carrying it with you to your workplace is one way to keep nutrition intentional. It might take time to design a program that suits you and is sustainable. There might be some digestive adjustment occurring in the early going and temporary discomfort as you introduce various prebiotics and fiber into your routine, but after awhile you’ll find something that works, that you don’t even have to think about once it’s habituated, that will bring effortless results.
One handy aphorism to remember – The gym is about muscle, but the kitchen is about body fat.
Nutrition is key.