Feeling bloated and lacklustre? Waist size increasing for no reason? The latest research says it’s all about your gut…
Lose 10lb in 21 days
The G Plan diet, created by nutritionist Amanda Hamilton, helps you eat meals that boost your gut health and lose weight. The promise is that it’s not a diet of restriction but one of abundance and diversity. It has particular benefits if you feel bloated, are low in energy, or experience indigestion and heartburn.
The science bit
Your gut contains trillions of microbes, which help you digest food. They also provide enzymes and vitamins, and control the calories you absorb. Most of the bacteria in your body is found in your gut. Bacteria is known as your microbiota and collectively they form your microbiome. Everyone’s microbiome is unique – if it’s out of balance, your overall health is affected. Gut microbes affect your metabolism, altering the way you store your fat, so the wrong mix of microbes doesn’t bode well for your waistline. By introducing foods that are friendly to your microbiome, you’re likely to lose weight, have more energy and clearer skin.
Did you know?
The bacteria that live in the lower part of your gut weigh 3lb.
The G Plan diet is divided into three phases.
» Try to stick to three meals a day.
»Vegetables should make up at least half of your plate at every meal.
» Your protein intake should be palm-sized.
» If you do need a snack, don’t have more than two a day. The aim is to eliminate grazing. If you’re hungry between meals, try drinking a glass of water or a herbal tea.
» If weight loss is your main goal, take a photo of yourself before you start, note your weight and waist, hip, arm and thigh measurements.
Rest (5 days)
Start each day with a mug of hot water, a slice of lemon and a few thin slices of ginger, followed by a smoothie. Lunch and dinner are lightly cooked, not raw.
Off The Menu: Processed foods, added sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, carbonated drinks and certain vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers).
Limited Foods: Grains, caffeine (two cups of green tea a day max), beans and pulses.
The Aim: To temporarily swap common gut irritants for gut-soothing foods.
The Bonus: Your weight loss will get a kick-start – and no more bloating.
Re-Wild (9 dAys)
The purpose of the second phase is to reintroduce friendly prebiotics and probiotics to support the friendly bacteria in your gut.
On The Menu: Fermented foods and drinks to increase the healthy microbes in your gut – think kefir, kombucha, pickles.
Limited Foods: Beans and pulses, with eggs gradually reintroduced.
The Aim: Continue with gut-soothing foods, but add in gut-boosting prebiotic and probiotic foods.
The Bonus: Diversity. That’s the G Plan Diet’s buzzword!
Rebalance (7 days)
This is the week where you become the decision maker. As gut-irritant foods are gradually reintroduced, you have to determine how or whether it affects you. It’s also all about maintenance of the diet for the future.
On The Menu: The full repertoire of theG Plan diet recipes.
The Aim: Reintroducing possible gutirritants – dairy, gluten and chilli – that were eliminated in Phase 1.
The Bonus: A small glass of red wine every few days! Don’t forget to weigh and measure yourself at the end of the 21 days.
All the smoothies are based on bananas, which are packed with gut-friendly prebiotic fibre.
Phase One breakfast
» 2tbsp mixed berries, fresh or frozen
» ½ banana
» 150ml non-dairy milk, coconut water or water
» 1tbsp gluten-free oats
Phase 2: Replace some or all of the liquid with probiotic-rich, dairy or coconut kefir.
Phase 3: Replace some or all of the liquid with natural or Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost.
LUNCHES AND DINNERS
The idea of this diet is that a portion of dinner becomes lunch the next day, and vice versa. ideal if time is against you! several recipes are designed to be made in larger batches and frozen.
Butternut squash salad
» Butternut squash (¼ of a whole roasted butternut squash)
» 1 handful of spinach
» 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
» 1½tsp sesame seeds
» 1 apple, diced (skin on)
» 2tsp extra virgin olive oil
» Juice of ½ lemon
» Sea salt flakes and pepper
» 1tbsp sauerkraut or kimchi, to serve (optional; these fermented vegetables, which increase the gut benefits, have quite a strong taste so serve on the side until you are used to them)
1 Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss well to mix.
» 1tsp harissa paste (leave this out if your digestion is very sensitive)
» 2 red peppers
» 1tbsp olive oil
» 1tbsp pine nuts
» 80g feta cheese, crumbled
» 1 courgette, grated
» 1 tomato, diced
» 1 handful of chopped basil
» Sea salt flakes and pepper
» Green salad, to serve Your choice of protein
» 120g salmon fillet
» 120g chicken breast
» 200g canned green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C, Gas 4. Rub the salmon or chicken with the harissa paste (if using) and marinate for 30 mins. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, cover and bake until cooked through.
2 Slice the tops off the peppers and scoop out the seeds.
3 Place in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with oil and bake for 10 mins. At the same time, spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake until golden.
4 Place pine nuts in a bowl with the feta, courgette, tomato and basil. Season and mix well. If using lentils, add them with the harissa.
5 Remove peppers from the oven and stuff with the feta mixture. Return them to the oven and bake for 10–15 mins.
6 Serve one stuffed pepper with your chicken or fish and a green salad.
7 Save the other pepper for lunch the next day.
The G Plan Diet by Amanda Hamilton & Hannah Ebelthite is published by Aster, £8.99