Rick Gallop is a graduate of Oxford University, and joined the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario as president and CEO in 1986. During his tenure, the foundation became a major catalyst for lifestyle change in Canada.
Congratulations! The fact that you’re reading this means you’ve decided to go on the G.I. Diet – the easiest, healthiest, most effective route to permanent weight loss. Whether you’ve been losing weight on the plan for a while or are just about to embark on it, The G.I. Diet Guide to Shopping and Eating Out will not only make following the program easier, but will show you how much fun you can have while losing weight. Being on the G.I. Diet doesn’t mean you have to radically change your lifestyle. It was designed with the real world in mind so that you can dine out, travel, celebrate special events, snack and still lose those extra unwanted pounds. No matter where you go or what the occasion, there are always delicious green-light options to enjoy, and the purpose of this book is to list them for you. It’s intended to be a complementary tool with The G.I. Diet and/or Living the G.I. Diet, and not a replacement for either of those two books, since it doesn’t explain the principles of the diet or how it works. Rather it’s to be carried and consulted on your weekly grocery trip, as you grab a bite on the run or when you’re out with friends at your favourite restaurant.
This book is divided into two main sections. Part One, “At the Grocery Store,” takes you aisle by aisle through the supermarket. While the food guides in The G.I. Diet and Living the G.I. Diet are organized by meal or food group, this guide is organized the way a typical grocery store is, starting with the produce section and ending with frozen foods. You can start at the beginning and let the book navigate your shopping cart through the supermarket aisles, or you can look up a specific food in the index, which starts on page 84.
Part Two, “Eating Out,” lists the green-light options available at a number of popular fast food chains and also gives some helpful guidelines to follow while dining out. It lists the dishes you’d typically find at Italian, Greek, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Thai and Japanese restaurants and points out the green-light options. Eating out should be a fun social occasion and this guide will help you enjoy it without worrying about your waistline.
One of the most popular features of the G.I. Diet is that you don’t have to count calories, add points or measure carbs in order to follow it. I’ve been researching glycemic ratings, fat and calorie levels, and ingredient lists of food products and menu items, and have done all the math for you. Now all you have to do is look at the colour-coded charts to find out which foods you can fill your shopping cart with or order in a restaurant. Although I’ve included the red- and yellow-light columns along with the green-light, this book is really about the green-light, about all the foods you can enjoy while slimming down. This diet isn’t about deprivation and going hungry, it’s about making the right choices and eating until you’re satisfied. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and you can definitely indulge in it. Enjoy!
As always, your feedback is extremely valuable. I can be reached through my website, at www.gidiet.com.
Part One: At the Grocery Store
Following the G.I. Diet really begins once you clear out your pantry and refrigerator of red-light products and make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on green-light ones. A word of advice: don’t go to the supermarket until after you’ve eaten a meal. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach – you’ll only feel tempted by all those red-light ready-to-eat foods. You may also want to do a bit of planning before you go. Check out the recipe sections in The G.I. Diet and Living the G.I. Diet, choose a few that appeal to you and make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Then take it and this guide along with you to the store. With these tools in hand, you’ll find it easy to load your cart with delicious food, and I hope you’ll be introduced to some new favourites.
How to Use this Guide
I’ve organized the food in this guide the way you would typically find it in the supermarket, in sections such as the Produce Aisle, the Deli Counter, the Bakery, the Meat Counter, the Beverage Aisle, the Frozen Food Section and so on. Within each of these sections, you’ll find categories of food such as vegetables, processed meat, breads, etc. All are listed in one of the three traffic-light-based colour columns.
If you find a food in the red-light column that you would normally add to your shopping cart, look at what’s listed beside it in the green-light column. There is almost always a wonderful green-light alternative to a red- or yellow-light food. If, for example, you would normally buy a cantaloupe, which is a red-light food, choose some peaches or oranges or grapes, or any of the other green-light choices instead. Remember that if you want to look up a specific food rather than a whole category, you can look at the index on pages 84—92.
I’ve generally tried to stay away from listing specific brands. There are just far too many out there and they vary from region to region. For the most part they don’t have any bearing on the G.I. rating of a particular food anyway. For example, 1% cottage cheese or whole wheat spaghetti or Dijon mustard is pretty much the same no matter who’s made it. The only times I have mentioned brands is when it does make a difference. For example, most cold cereals are red light, but Kashi Go Lean is a green-light product.
It can be a bit tricky sometimes trying to distinguish the green-light products from the red-light. Take bread for example. We know that white bread is red light, since it spikes glucose levels in your bloodstream, releasing insulin, which stores the glucose as fat. The green-light alternative is whole-grain bread, but many of the healthy-looking multi-grain loaves out there are not exactly what they seem. Some of them list “enriched white flour” or “unbleached flour” in the ingredient list, and this puts a red flashing light over them. The first ingredient listed on bread should always be “100% whole wheat flour” or “100% whole-grain flour.” If “stone-ground” is mentioned, even better. So checking ingredient lists and labels can be important, and I’ll give you some guidelines to follow.
When buying a green-light food such as a loaf of whole wheat bread or a bottle of low-fat salad dressing, you’ll find several kinds to choose from. How do you decide which to add to your shopping cart? Read the nutritional label on the package.
Now I know these labels aren’t exactly consumer friendly, but they do contain some helpful information. Here are the seven key components that will help you make the best choice:
1. Serving size: Is this realistic, or is the manufacturer low-balling it so the calorie and fat content look better than the competition? When comparing one brand with another, make sure you’re comparing the same serving sizes.
2. Calories: The product with the least amount of calories is obviously the best choice.
3. Fat: Choose the product with the least amount of fat, particularly saturated fat, and avoid any product that contains trans fat – the worst of the saturated fats.
4. Protein: The higher the protein level the better. Protein acts as a brake on the digestive system, lowering the G.I. rating of the food.
5. Fibre: The product with the higher fibre content is the best choice, whether it’s soluble or insoluble. Fibre, like protein, significantly lowers the G.I. rating.
6. Sugar: Try to avoid products that contain added sugar. Choose the ones with sugar substitutes or none at all. “Nonfat” products that contain added sugar aren’t non-fattening!
7. Sodium (Salt): Look for lower sodium levels. Sodium increases water retention, which causes bloating and added weight and impacts blood pressure.