Phase 2 – Healthy Eating

Phase 2 – Healthy Eating

In this HeartStrong.com video/article, we are going to discuss the phase 2 healthy eating plan. The healthy eating plan of phase 1 is no question the most difficult part of the program, so if you are here watching this video, congrats! Phase 2, phase 3 and phase 4 simply make some relatively simple tweaks to allow back in some of those items restricted in phase 1 and move you away from others. Now, you should never forget all the heart healthy eating concepts you have learned of course and you can simply modify the good healthy eating plan that you put together for phase 1 to meet the criteria for phase 2.

Now that your weight is down and your physical activity level is up, we can add some things back that will make it easier for you to keep eating heart healthy for the rest of your life. Sticking to phase 1 forever is really not ideal. The most important thing about the HeartStrong.com Healthy Eating program, however, is to have you create a plan that you can stick to FOREVER and stay healthy for the rest of your life.

So it should be easy to tweak your phase 1 plan to have it follow the rules of phase 2. Here is the summary with differences from phase 1 highlighted in red:

 

Universal Rules – Phase 2

  • Eliminate all processed foods and junk foods completely – eat real food
  • Eat 3-5 fruits per day
  • Eat unlimited vegetables
  • Eat beans/legumes as your predominate protein source
  • Eat whole grains and potatoes (fat free) in moderation
  • Strive harder to avoid added sugar and oil, eventually eliminate before phase 3
  • One serving of alcohol allowed every other day – not to exceed 3/week
  • Do not overeat in general

 

Plant Strong – Phase 2

  • 90% of calories from plant sources, 10% from meat
  • Dairy and eggs to be eliminated before phase 3
  • Use of meat substitutes/transition foods slowly eliminated before phase 3
  • Eat food from all plant food groups (fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds)
  • Nuts/seeds can be increased to 3 servings daily
  • Avocado can be increased to one serving (optional, 1 serving is 1/3 of an avocado)

 

Plant Perfect – Phase 2

  • 100% of calories from plant sources, eliminate meat/dairy/eggs completely
  • Use of meat substitutes/transition foods slowly eliminated before phase 3
  • Eat food from all plant food groups (fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds)
  • Nuts/seeds can be increased to 3 servings daily
  • Avocado can be increased to one serving (optional, 1 serving is 1/3 of an avocado)

 

Heart Disease Reversal – Phase 2

  • 100% of calories from plant sources, eliminate meat/dairy/eggs completely
  • Use of meat substitutes/transition foods slowly eliminated before phase 3
  • Eat food from all plant food groups except nuts/seeds (fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes and whole grains)
  • Nuts/seeds eliminated before starting phase 3 (excluding ground flax and chia seeds)
  • Avocado eliminated before starting phase 3

Calorie Balance

The goal of phase 1 was to get your BMI to < 30 or to reduce your body weight by 5% if you started with a BMI between 28-30. Great job with that! Ultimately, the ideal body weight for most people would put the BMI around 21, so when designing your phase 2 healthy eating plan, most of you will still need to be in a negative calorie balance, meaning burning off more calories than you eat. Once again, eating a large amounts of vegetables is always a great way to achieve this! As you increase your physical activity, you will burn more calories so you likely will NOT need to adjust the total daily calories in your diet, but remember, we are not calorie focused here when you eat real food, mostly plants, without added sugar/oil!

Planning Your Meals

Keep all your phase 1 healthy meals intact, but cut out the ones with the restricted items above. Increase your nuts/seeds if you want . The type of nut really does not matter to a large degree, just remember to avoid honey roasted or candy coated nuts that add any sugar or salt. Some think almonds and walnuts are the healthiest, but be sure to stick to plain old roasted almonds or walnuts. Plain peanuts are fine. This may be a time to add some peanut butter somewhere, but look for 1 ingredient peanut butter as most will add sugar and oil which you need to avoid. You must remember that a serving size of nuts is just 1.5 oz which is somewhat small and nuts do have a lot of calories.

Now you can enjoy dinner with a glass of wine or have a beer when you watch the ball game 3 times per week, but of course this is completely optional. While the American Heart Association says that a man can have 2 alcoholic drinks daily (remember serving size) and a woman can have 1, the HeartStrong.com Phase 2 healthy eating programs only allows 3 drinks per week.  Alcohol has empty calories and we do not need those. Now, if you do not drink alcohol, don’t start! It is not a necessary part of the program, but for those of you who gave up the alcohol that you like for phase 1, now you can add a little back. Don’t worry guys, you can go back to as much as 2 drinks per day once we get to phase 4 as your physical activity level picks up even more.

Summary and Conclusions

Continue to make the right tweaks to your program which hopefully will be easy by now. Use the Phase 2 Log in the Putting It Together section to help guide you and stay on track!

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