The Orange List is the exceptions / grey area / in-between rules for the Sleekgeek REBOOT 30-Day Nutrition Challenge. The basics of the list is listed along with the core challenge information, but I wanted to take some time to explain these concepts and the reasoning or logic behind them.
Just to remind you, the guidelines in brief are:
[Orange List] A few EXCEPTIONS and GREY AREAS:
- Starchy vegetables – Consume in moderation, ideally after or to fuel a workout.
- (e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut, pumpkin, squash, cassava, yams)
- Certain legumes – Healthy and allowed regardless of botanical classification due to being more pod than bean.
- (green beans, sugar-snap peas, and snow peas are the ONLY ones allowed)
- Butter and ghee – Allowed regardless of being dairy due to high amounts of beneficial nutrients and the “good guys” in the “war” against margarine.
- (if you are worried about milk solids / lactose, try clarifying butter into ghee or just don’t consume it at all)
- Dates – Allowed, but VERY high in sugar and should not be abused / eaten frequently / eaten in large quantities.
- (1 date = 4.5g of sugar. Yes, 1 teaspoon of sugar EACH. 4 dates = 1 doughnut. Useful as a natural sweetener in things like smoothies.)
- Dried fruit – Allowed, but VERY high in sugar and should not be abused / eaten frequently / eaten in large quantities.
- (1 handful of raisins = 15g or 3 teaspoons of sugar. Useful in homemade trail mixes along with nuts / seeds / coconut while hiking and exercising.)
- Vinegars – Allowed as an exception. A great way to make salads tastier and encourage eating healthy foods.
- (Has several benefits like lowering blood sugar response to a meal, lowering blood pressure, inhibiting atherosclerosis, being antimicrobial, and good for digestion.)
- Non-Dairy Milks – Allowed, but can be very calorie dense, nutritionally empty, outrageously expensive to buy, and contain many nasty additives.
- (Use strategically in small quantities to supplement smoothies or make black coffee, etc, more tolerable. Make homemade if possible.)
- Pseudo-Junk Foods and “Healthy Treats” – Strongly discouraged as we want to help you develop healthier eating habits and a better relationship with food.
- (Most desire for things like pancakes, brownies, macaroons, cakes, cookies, and so on stem from previous unhealthy eating habits and are part of what has gotten modern society so far away from real food and good health in the first place. Making them with healthier ingredients might be better, but sometimes these healthy ingredients are still being used in unhealthy amounts. With that said, for some it may provide a psychological relief and is still better options than actual junk food.)
Now let’s expand on this a bit.
(potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut, pumpkin, squash, cassava, yams, etc)
Starchy vegetables are nutrient-dense and a high-quality source of carbohydrates, making them healthy and allowed on the REBOOT.
However, they are also very carbohydrate-dense (they contain a high amount of carbohydrates in a typical serving).
Most people should be eating a lower-carb diet (not specifically low-carb) compared to the average diet these days as there are significant health and longevity benefits to this, such as improved appetite control, weight loss, triglyceride and cholesterol markers, blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
By focusing on eating real food such as meat, fish, fruit, veg, nuts, and seeds compared to the typical carbohydrate-rich food-like products you should naturally be eating a lower-carb diet by default.
Except starchy foods are delicious and if you are someone that has a tendency to experience frequent cravings or really enjoy starchy and sugary foods then you may end up overconsuming these healthy but carbohydrate-dense foods beyond what might be best for your goals.
If you are very sedentary throughout the day and/or wanting better appetite control, weight loss, triglyceride and cholesterol markets, blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin levels then we suggest consuming starchy vegetables in moderation (once or twice a week) or more rarely.
If you are used to consuming a lot of sugary and starchy carbohydrates and have issues with cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure then reduce your carbohydrate intake very slowly rather than jumping down straight away to only once or twice a week.
If you are an athlete, very physically active throughout the day, and looking to gain more weight and muscle then you may benefit from consuming carbohydrates more regularly to fuel your active lifestyle and healthy goals.
Athletes are certainly not limited to carbohydrates as fuel for their workouts, as fat-adaption and fueling yourself using ketones is viable and effective (and healthier) if you are willing to put in the time to become fat adapted.
Note: On the original Paleo Diet, regular white potatoes were excluded, however there is now enough evidence and reason to show that they are just as good (if not better) than sweet potatoes. We believe there is a benefit to consuming both types of potatoes as long as it’s done in a healthy manner (i.e. not in the form of Steers or McDonalds chips) and matches physical activity.
(green beans, sugar-snap peas, and snow peas ONLY)
Although they are botanically classified as legumes (which are on the red do-no-eat list), these are allowed as they are more pod than bean.
They are nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and low in problematic things such as phytates and lectins.
If you suffer from severe gut problems where inflammation from phytates and lectins can exacerbate the problem then you are welcome to exclude them on your REBOOT and see how you fair. If you feel that by the end of your 30-days that your health has improved then you can experiment with re-introducing them along with perhaps some other foods (preferably one by one) and monitor your reaction.
The bottom line is that they are healthy, regardless of botanical classification and almost everyone would be better off eating them than not – read more here.
Snow peas and sugar-snap peas (also known as “mangetout”) look a bit like green beans as they come in a pod or shell and are eaten whole. This distinguishes them from other legumes such as garden peas or English peas that are eaten without their shells and are not allowed on the REBOOT. Eaten with the pod? Yes. Eaten without the pod? No.
Butter and Ghee:
Dairy in general isn’t allowed on the REBOOT, but butter and ghee are an interesting exception.
In comparison to other dairy products, butter is usually very well tolerated by most people as it’s mostly just the butterfat that has been separated from the buttermilk and has very little lactose (milk sugar) in it.
If you are concerned about dairy or are lactose intolerant, then you can quite easily exclude butter from your REBOOT or go the extra mile to make clarified butter (Ghee). This is where butter is simmered down to melt separate the milk solids, leaving with you almost pure butter fat.
It is very important to use butter from grass-fed/pastured cows over traditional grain-fed cows as the micronutrient difference is huge. Kerrygold is one of the very few grass-fed brands found in South African supermarkets, otherwise you need to get in touch with local farmers such as Camphill Dairy.
While they are allowed, people with a sweet tooth have a tendency of replacing their sweeties with the “natural” and “REBOOT-friendly” dates.
Dates are useful when making some kind of recipe that needs to be sweetened a bit, and adding 1 or 2 dates into a smoothie can go a long way.
They are also still the better choice over giving into your cravings and having a doughnut, ice cream, or some kind of sweet, but that is an absolute emergency solution.
Dates are NOT there to snack on EVERY time you get the slightest craving for something sweet. Want to get rid of your sweet cravings? Stop eating sweet things. Rather grab a glass of water and some carrots, tomatoes, nuts, or some left-over chicken from the night before to keep you busy.
You should try avoid consuming dates just on their own to satisfy your cravings.
They are allowed, but suffer a similar fate to dates. They are very high in sugar (a small handful contains around 15g / 3 teaspoons of sugar) and tend to be very easily abused and overconsumed.
Like dates, dried fruit are useful in helping to sweeten something up a bit and are great in smoothies.
They are also still a better choice than a typical non-REBOOT sugary food-product.
Great practical application of dried fruit is putting them to good use on hikes or while exercising to supply you with some quick energy. You can make your own trail mix to get a good combination of things like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes.
You should try avoid consuming dried fruit just on their own to satisfy your cravings.
Definitely an exception to the rule if you know how and from what vinegars are made, but for all intents and purposes of the REBOOT they are allowed.
In comparison to other salad dressings out there, it is definitely the lesser evil. Many find vinegar is a great way to make salads much tastier which means this helps promote eating more healthier foods.
Vinegar is not something easily abused due to food/sugar addiction and doesn’t have much of a negative effect. It’s consumed in small quantities at a time and makes eating healthily much easier for many.
There are also several studied benefits to various vinegars, like lowering blood sugar response to a meal, lowering blood pressure, and inhibiting atherosclerosis. Apple cider vinegar is potently antimicrobial, and contains the same benefits as normal vinegar along with many others like being great for digestion.
This refers to things like almond milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, etc. They are allowed, but it’s worth noting that there are several problems such as they can be very calorie dense, they can contain undesired additives, and they can be quite nutritionally empty.
Coconut milk is probably the healthiest of all non-dairy milks as it contains the most nutrition. However 1 cup of coconut milk contains around 500+ calories, therefore it is not a great idea to use too much in a smoothie, recipe, or drink it straight.
Rather, use it strategically in small amounts to thicken up and supplement a smoothie, or help you tolerate something like black coffee better.
Also almost all store-bought non-dairy milks are usually a huge rip-off (e.g. mostly water with a handful of almonds in the whole carton if you are lucky).
If buying non-dairy milks, many will contain certain additives to preserve / stabilize / thicken / or emulsify. Some are better than others, and a few may be given the exception on the REBOOT. You can read more about the pros and cons of various preservatives here.
If it contains sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavourings, or other things explicitly not allowed on the REBOOT then it is of course not allowed.
If it contains carrageenan, soy lecithin, and sulfites (look for “sulfur” or “sulfite” somewhere in the name such as “potassium metabisulfite”) then it is not allowed.
If it contains gellan gum, guar gum, or xantham gum then we are going to give it the pass and say it is allowed. It isn’t really ideal, but realistically you won’t find store-bought non-dairy milks without these ingredients and if consumed in moderation there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, be aware that these are often culprits that give some people digestive problems and gas. If you feel a bit off after consuming them then rather steer clear.
Pseudo-Junk Foods and “Healthy Treats”:
This refers to making typically unhealthy junk foods using healthier REBOOT-friendly ingredients.
We strongly discourage this, especially if you are new to the REBOOT and struggling to get over your cravings and junk food obsession.
Remember, we want to help you reorientate yourself towards healthier eating habits and better overall health. We want to help you break free of cravings the unhealthy relationship you might have with food.
Most desire for things like pancakes, brownies, macaroons, cakes, cookies, and so on stem from previous unhealthy eating habits and are part of what has gotten modern society so far away from real food and good health in the first place.
Making them with healthier ingredients might be better, but sometimes these healthy ingredients are still being used in unhealthy amounts too.
If you feel that these pseudo-junk foods are what help keep you on track and that you absolutely could not complete a REBOOT without them (psychological relief, healthy family get-togethers, etc), then we suggest saving them for weekends only, or limit yourself to only 3 times throughout your whole 30-day REBOOT.
But honestly, if you can go without milk and bread for 30 days, then why not without a pseudo pancake or chocolate brownie? Eat real food. At the end of the day it is your results and progress that is at stake and you must be willing to accept the possible negative tradeoffs.