What's more, this isn't a temporary "diet." It's a new way of life. You can have an occasional cheat, but if you want optimal results, you'll cut out these foods completely for 30 days, and then eat them only on rare occasions.
Are you still with me? Then here are the three foods you need to kiss goodbye.
Sugar is one of the hardest foods for people to give up. That's because it's actually addictive. But eating sugar is one of the fastest ways to make yourself old. Here's why:
Each dose of sugar makes your blood sugar skyrocket, causing your body to pump out more insulin. Eventually, you develop insulin resistance. That leads to a fat belly, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Sugar causes inflammation, which affects every cell in your body. In particular, inflammation can make your skin look old and blotchy.
Sugar accelerates aging by increasing oxidative stress (cell damage caused by renegade molecules called free radicals).
Fructose — one form of sugar — is linked to cancer, liver damage, increases in "bad" cholesterol, and even changes in skin collagen that can cause wrinkles.
The bottom line: Sugar gunks up your body and makes your cells old, sick, and sluggish. And until you exorcise your "sugar demon," you're not ever going to feel — or look — your best.
Wheat and other grains (including whole grains!)
When it comes to grains, the first thing to know is that your body doesn't need them. You may feel like you need them — but that's partly because highly processed grains, much like sugar, are addictive.
The second thing to know is that all grains — even supposedly "healthy" whole grains — are packed with carbohydrates. These carbs age you by raising your blood sugar levels, forcing your body to produce more insulin and leading to the insulin resistance I talked about earlier.
Moreover, grains contain high levels of two anti-nutrients: phytic acid and lectins. Phytic acid binds to minerals, cutting down on the anti-aging nutrients you get from food. And lectins damage the lining of your intestines, causing leaky gut and allowing toxins to leak into your bloodstream, where they cause pro-aging inflammation throughout your body.
Finally, most grains contain gluten, and many people are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant. For these people, eating gluten can trigger autoimmune disorders, digestive problems, arthritis-like joint pain, and a host of other ailments that make people look and feel old.
Industrial seed oils
If you think that seed oils like corn and soybean oil are good for you, think again. Even canola oil — billed as a health food — belongs in a landfill, in my opinion.
Why? First of all, seed oils (even canola) contain high ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, because our Western diet is heavy in seed oils, we now consume 10 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than our early ancestors did. That's bad, because omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation, while omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory. So it's no surprise that we're seeing an epidemic of "aging" diseases linked to inflammation, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and cancer.
Second, seed oils are heavily processed. They undergo caustic refining, bleaching, and degumming processes, and the end result is hardly food at all. They also go rancid quickly, making them even more toxic to your cells.
What are better choices? Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and butter (or ghee, made by removing the milk solids from butter). These healthy, natural fats contain nutrients that nourish your cells and make their membranes strong and "bouncy." They also make you feel full and satisfied, leading you to eat less and lose weight.
Back to my challenge …
Are you still with me? If so, I know you're probably thinking that giving up these three pro-aging foods — sugars, grains, and seed oils — sounds hard. And I won't lie: It is. (That's why I used that word challenge!) But if you're fed up with feeling old, draggy, and fat, this is the fastest way I know to look and feel young again.
So if you're seeking a real transformation, cut out these foods for 30 days. Instead, eat lean meats, fish, eggs, healthy fats, fruits, veggies, and nuts. In particular, eat anti-aging superfoods like coconut, butter, blueberries, and grass-fed meats. Then see if the benefits make you want to continue.
It's hard to break old habits and food addictions, and you may often feel like quitting during your 30-day "detox." But tough it out — and when you're done, I'm betting you'll feel revitalized, recharged, and rejuvenated. That's because when you get toxins out of your cells, those cells will begin to glow with energy once again … and so will you.
So here's my challenge: 30 days to a new you in 2015. Are you game?