Salmon burgers are a great way to get more healthy fats in your diet, and when topped with a cool and crunchy cabbage mixture, plus a spicy-tangy tartar sauce, they’re anything but ordinary! These Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Tartar Sauce are great for weeknight meals or meal preps—and we give directions for both stovetop and air-fryer.

This post was created in partnership with Primal Kitchen

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that will not change your price but will share some commission.

Wow. Just wow.

That’s how we’d describe these Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Tartar Sauce. They’re that good! And they’re also the very first recipe that we’ve ever made in an air-fryer (yes, we’re a little late to the party…). Of course, you can also make them on the stove-top so keep reading—we’d hate for you to miss out on this recipe.

Weeknight Winner + Meal Prep Hero

Whether it’s a casual weeknight dinner you’re looking for or a new meal prep recipe to add to your rotation, we’ve got you covered. You can have this meal on the table in about 35 minutes—even less if your salmon is precooked (leftover from another meal or canned) or you opt for a bag of coleslaw mix in place of the cabbage and carrots.

The patties can be made ahead and reheated for a quick lunch or dinner, and the dressing can be made ahead and tossed with the cabbage mixture when it’s time to eat.

And if you don’t have an air fryer, no worries, we’ve included directions for making them on the stove-top as well.

Looking for guidance with meal planning? Check out Real Plans, a highly customizable online meal planning service that includes over 300 of our very own recipes.

All about the sauce.

While the Salmon Burgers with Thai cabbage slaw are great on their own, adding a drizzle of spicy sriracha tartar sauce makes them great x 10. Admittedly, tartar sauce wasn’t something I kept on hand until recently when our friends at Primal Kitchen launched their new tartar sauce made with avocado oil. It’s nothing like that gloppy, oily tartar sauce of the past—this one is rich, creamy, and bright with the flavors of dill and lemon, with just enough pickle relish to give it the proper amount of tang.

Primal Kitchen Tartar Sauce is Whole30 Approved®, Keto and Paleo-friendly, and sugar-free, making it a tasty addition to our Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw.

Add a little extra zing to your tartar sauce with a hearty dose of sriracha (we like this one for a Whole30-friendly option because it’s sweetened with dates and fruit juice).

Heart-Healthy Fats? We’re here for ’em.

Salmon is one of our favorite sources of protein because not only is it delicious, it’s packed with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure.

While there is no set RDA (recommended daily allowance) for omega-3 fatty acids, consuming fatty fish like salmon twice a week can help you meet your needs in a delicious and satisfying way.


Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Tartar Sauce Ingredients

  • Salmon – These salmon burgers use cooked salmon that’s then combined with eggs, almond flour, and spices before forming them into patties. You can cook the salmon by baking, broiling, grilling, or poaching it. You can also use canned salmon that’s well-drained with the large bones removed. To learn more about choosing safer seafood, check out this post.
  • Fresh lemon
  • Shallots – With a flavor somewhere between garlic and onions, shallots are delicious and probably grossly underused. But if you don’t have a shallot, don’t worry, you can replace it with more onion (red, white, or green) or a little extra garlic.
  • Green Onions
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Eggs – Eggs are the primary binder that holds these salmon burgers together. We have tested the recipe without the eggs and while they were delicious, they didn’t stay together when cooked. If you need an egg-free option, we suggest topping a grilled salmon filet with the Thai cabbage slaw for all the flavors without the eggs.
  • Almond Flour – Almond flour, along with the eggs, keeps the burgers together. If you don’t have almond flour or need to replace it for allergy reasons, you can try using an equal amount of a gluten-free flour blend (this one is our go-to) or 2 tablespoons of coconut flour.
  • Shredded Cabbage – Green or purple cabbage will work here, or you can substitute bagged coleslaw mix to save time.
  • Shredded Carrots – A julienne peeler is one of my favorite tools for shredded carrots but you can also use a box grater or buy shredded carrots from the produce section.
  • Coconut AminosCoconut aminos are a popular soy and wheat-free alternative to soy sauce that gives the dressing a salty-tangy flavor. If you don’t need the recipe to be Whole30-friendly, you can replace the coconut aminos with tamari, or gluten-free soy sauce.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Fish SauceFish sauce is exactly what it sounds like, a salty sauce made from fish. It gives everything a delicious umami flavor and can be used wherever you need a little flavor boost. You can, however, omit it and add a little more salt to taste.
  • Fresh ginger – While fresh ginger is definitely the preferred choice for this slaw because of it’s bright, spicy flavor, you can use dried ginger in its place if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Tartar Sauce – Primal Kitchen Tartar Sauce made with avocado oil is our go-to when time is short because it’s delicious and convenient. But if you don’t have any on hand, you can find a delicious homemade tartar sauce recipe here.
  • Sriracha – Sriracha is a popular sauce made from red jalapenos and vinegar. It often contains sugar so if you’re looking for a Whole30-friendly option, we love this one because it’s sweetened with dates.


How to Make Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw

While the ingredient list is a little longer than most of the recipes we share, don’t let that intimidate you. These salmon burgers are easy to make. If you need a few shortcuts, you can use canned salmon in place of the cooked salmon filets and use bagged coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage and carrots.

Do I have to have an air fryer?

Not at all! Since this is literally the very first recipe we’ve ever shared that’s made in the air fryer we’ve also given you directions for making them on the stove-top. But if you’re looking to invest in an air fryer, I really like this one because it’s also a toaster oven, rotisserie oven, dehydrator (and more).

Can these be prepped ahead?

You bet they can be! You can make them as directed, then cool them and store them in the fridge to be reheated in a skillet, a toaster oven, or the microwave.

You can also prepare them just up to the point of cooking, then store them in the fridge until ready to cook.

For the slaw, if you plan to make it ahead, store the dressing separately from the cabbage mixture and add just before serving.

Other Salmon Recipes You May Like

Salmon Burgers with Avocado-Garlic Sauce

Raspberry Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

One-Pan Salmon and Veggie Bake

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 20 mins.
  • Cook Time: 15 mins.
  • Total Time: 35 mins.
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Cuisine: Whole30, Paleo, Dairy-Free

Ingredients

For the Burgers:

  • 12 oz. wild-caught salmon, baked or broiled, skin removed then chopped (may substitute 12 ounces of canned salmon with bones removed)
  • ½ lemon, juiced  (~2 Tbsp.) + ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 small shallot, minced (may substitute 2 cloves garlic, minced)
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking fat of choice

For the Slaw:

  • 4 cups thinly sliced or shredded green cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
  • ¾ cup julienned or shredded carrots
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. coconut aminos (or 2 tsp. Tamari + 2 tsp. water if not Whole30)
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Juice + zest of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp. fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger (may substitute ½ tsp. dried ginger)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely minced or grated

For the Sriracha Tartar Sauce:

Instructions

To Make the Burgers in the Air Fryer:

  1. Combine all of the salmon burger ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a large bowl and mix well. If the mixture is pretty wet, add additional almond flour 1 Tbsp. at a time.
  2. Form into 4 patties. Patties easily fall apart until they are cooked. Handle with caution.
  3. Spray the tops of the burgers with avocado oil spray. Air-fry at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway through cooking time and spraying again with oil.

To Make the Burgers on the Stovetop:

  1. Combine all of the salmon burger ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a large bowl and mix well. If the mixture is pretty wet, add additional almond flour 1 Tbsp. at a time.
  2. Form into 4 patties. Patties easily fall apart until they are cooked. Handle with caution.
  3. Heat coconut oil on a griddle or pan to medium-high heat.
  4. Once hot (oil must be hot), carefully add the burgers to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Patties should sizzle when added to the pan.

To Make the Slaw:
1. Combine the cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, lime zest and lime juice, fish sauce (if using), ginger and garlic. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well to coat.
4. Serve with salmon burgers and sriracha tartar sauce.

To Make the Siracha Tartar Sauce:

  1. Combine the tartar sauce with the sriracha. Stir to combine. Add additional sriracha, if desired.

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This post was made possible by our friends at Primal Kitchen. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.





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How do you eat a keto diet? How do you maximize weight loss, increased energy, appetite control, and other potential health benefits? Check out our new keto …

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First of all, fasting is not starvation. Starvation is the involuntary abstinence from eating forced upon by outside forces; this happens in times of war and famine when food is scarce. Fasting, on the other hand, is voluntary, deliberate, and controlled. Food is readily available but we choose not to eat it due to spiritual, health, or other reasons.

Fasting is as old as mankind, far older than any other forms of diets. Ancient civilizations, like the Greeks, recognized that there was something intrinsically beneficial to periodic fasting. They were often called times of healing, cleansing, purification, or detoxification. Virtually every culture and religion on earth practice some rituals of fasting.

Before the advent of agriculture, humans never ate three meals a day plus snacking in between. We ate only when we found food which could be hours or days apart. Hence, from an evolution standpoint, eating three meals a day is not a requirement for survival. Otherwise, we would not have survived as a species.

Fast forward to the 21st century, we have all forgotten about this ancient practice. After all, fasting is really bad for business! Food manufacturers encourage us to eat multiple meals and snacks a day. Nutritional authorities warn that skipping a single meal will have dire health consequences. Overtime, these messages have been so well-drilled into our heads.

Fasting has no standard duration. It may be done for a few hours to many days to months on end. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where we cycle between fasting and regular eating. Shorter fasts of 16-20 hours are generally done more frequently, even daily. Longer fasts, typically 24-36 hours, are done 2-3 times per week. As it happens, we all fast daily for a period of 12 hours or so between dinner and breakfast.

Fasting has been done by millions and millions of people for thousands of years. Is it unhealthy? No. In fact, numerous studies have shown that it has enormous health benefits.

What Happens When We Eat Constantly?

Before going into the benefits of intermittent fasting, it is best to understand why eating 5-6 meals a day or every few hours (the exact opposite of fasting) may actually do more harm than good.

When we eat, we ingest food energy. The key hormone involved is insulin (produced by the pancreas), which rises during meals. Both carbohydrates and protein stimulate insulin. Fat triggers a smaller insulin effect, but fat is rarely eaten alone.

Insulin has two major functions –

  • First, it allows the body to immediately start using food energy. Carbohydrates are rapidly converted into glucose, raising blood sugar levels. Insulin directs glucose into the body cells to be used as energy. Proteins are broken down into amino acids and excess amino acids may be turned into glucose. Protein does not necessarily raise blood glucose but it can stimulate insulin. Fats have minimal effect on insulin.
  • Second, insulin stores away excess energy for future use. Insulin converts excess glucose into glycogen and store it in the liver. However, there is a limit to how much glycogen can be stored away. Once the limit is reached, the liver starts turning glucose into fat. The fat is then put away in the liver (in excess, it becomes fatty liver) or fat deposits in the body (often stored as visceral or belly fat).

Therefore, when we eat and snack throughout the day, we are constantly in a fed state and insulin levels remain high. In other words, we may be spending the majority of the day storing away food energy.

What Happens When We Fast?

The process of using and storing food energy that occurs when we eat goes in reverse when we fast. Insulin levels drop, prompting the body to start burning stored energy. Glycogen, the glucose that is stored in the liver, is first accessed and used. After that, the body starts to break down stored body fat for energy.

Thus, the body basically exists in two states – the fed state with high insulin and the fasting state with low insulin. We are either storing food energy or we are burning food energy. If eating and fasting are balanced, then there is no weight gain. If we spend the majority of the day eating and storing energy, there is a good chance that overtime we may end up gaining weight.

Intermittent Fasting Versus Continuous Calorie-Restriction

The portion-control strategy of constant caloric reduction is the most common dietary recommendation for weight loss and type 2 diabetes. For example, the American Diabetes Association recommends a 500-750 kcal/day energy deficit coupled with regular physical activity. Dietitians follow this approach and recommend eating 4-6 small meals throughout the day.

Does the portion-control strategy work in the long-run? Rarely. A cohort study with a 9-year follow-up from the United Kingdom on 176,495 obese individuals indicated that only 3,528 of them succeeded in attaining normal body weight by the end of the study. That is a failure rate of 98%!

Intermittent fasting is not constant caloric restriction. Restricting calories causes a compensatory increase in hunger and worse, a decrease in the body’s metabolic rate, a double curse! Because when we are burning fewer calories per day, it becomes increasingly harder to lose weight and much easier to gain weight back after we have lost it. This type of diet puts the body into a “starvation mode” as metabolism revs down to conserve energy.

Intermittent fasting does not have any of these drawbacks.

Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Increases metabolism leading to weight and body fat loss

Unlike a daily caloric reduction diet, intermittent fasting raises metabolism. This makes sense from a survival standpoint. If we do not eat, the body uses stored energy as fuel so that we can stay alive to find another meal. Hormones allow the body to switch energy sources from food to body fat.

Studies demonstrate this phenomenon clearly. For example, four days of continuous fasting increased Basal Metabolic Rate by 12%. Levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which prepares the body for action, increased by 117%. Fatty acids in the bloodstream increased over 370% as the body switched from burning food to burning stored fats.

No loss in muscle mass

Unlike a constant calorie-restriction diet, intermittent fasting does not burn muscles as many have feared. In 2010, researchers looked at a group of subjects who underwent 70 days of alternate daily fasting (ate one day and fasted the next). Their muscle mass started off at 52.0 kg and ended at 51.9 kg. In other words, there was no loss of muscles but they did lose 11.4% of fat and saw major improvements in LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

During fasting, the body naturally produces more human growth hormone to preserve lean muscles and bones. Muscle mass is generally preserved until body fat drops below 4%. Therefore, most people are not at risk of muscle-wasting when doing intermittent fasting.

Reverses insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver

Type 2 diabetes is a condition whereby there is simply too much sugar in the body, to the point that the cells can no longer respond to insulin and take in any more glucose from the blood (insulin resistance), resulting in high blood sugar. Also, the liver becomes loaded with fat as it tries to clear out the excess glucose by converting it to and storing it as fat.

Therefore, to reverse this condition, two things have to happen –

  • First, stop putting more sugar into the body.
  • Second, burn the remaining sugar off.

The best diet to achieve this is a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and high-healthy fat diet, also called ketogentic diet. (Remember that carbohydrate raises blood sugar the most, protein to some degree, and fat the least.) That is why a low-carb diet will help reduce the burden of incoming glucose. For some people, this is already enough to reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, in more severe cases, diet alone is not sufficient.

What about exercise? Exercise will help burn off glucose in the skeletal muscles but not all the tissues and organs, including the fatty liver. Clearly, exercise is important, but to eliminate the excess glucose in the organs, there is the need to temporarily “starve” the cells.

Intermittent fasting can accomplish this. That is why historically, people called fasting a cleanse or a detox. It can be a very powerful tool to get rid of all the excesses. It is the fastest way to lower blood glucose and insulin levels, and eventually reversing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver.

By the way, taking insulin for type 2 diabetes does not address the root cause of the problem, which is excess sugar in the body. It is true that insulin will drive the glucose away from the blood, resulting in lower blood glucose, but where does the sugar go? The liver is just going to turn it all into fat, fat in the liver and fat in the abdomen. Patients who go on insulin often end up gaining more weight, which worsens their diabetes.

Enhances heart health

Overtime, high blood glucose from type 2 diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. The longer one has diabetes, the higher the chances that heart disease will develop. By lowering blood sugar through intermittent fasting, the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke is also reduced.

In addition, intermittent fasting has been shown to improve blood pressure, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and inflammatory markers associated with many chronic diseases.

Boosts brain power

Multiple studies demonstrated fasting has many neurologic benefits including attention and focus, reaction time, immediate memory, cognition, and generation of new brain cells. Mice studies also showed that intermittent fasting reduces brain inflammation and prevents the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

What To Expect With Intermittent Fasting

Hunger Goes Down

We normally feel hunger pangs about four hours after a meal. So if we fast for 24 hours, does it mean that our hunger sensations will be six times more severe? Of course not.

Many people are concerned that fasting will result in extreme hunger and overeating. Studies showed that on the day after a one-day fast, there is, indeed, a 20% increase in caloric intake. However, with repeated fasting, hunger and appetite surprisingly decrease.

Hunger comes in waves. If we do nothing, the hunger dissipates after a while. Drinking tea (all kinds) or coffee (with or without caffeine) is often enough to fight it off. However, it is best to drink it black though a teaspoon or two of cream or half-and-half will not trigger much insulin response. Do not use any types of sugar or artificial sweeteners. If necessary, bone broth can also be taken during fasting.

Blood sugar does not crash

Sometimes people worry that blood sugar will fall very low during fasting and they will become shaky and sweaty. This does not actually happen as blood sugar is tightly monitored by the body and there are multiple mechanisms to keep it in the proper range. During fasting, the body begins to break down glycogen in the liver to release glucose. This happens every night during our sleep.

If we fast for longer than 24-36 hours, glycogen stores become depleted and the liver will manufacture new glucose using glycerol which is a by-product of the breakdown of fat (a process called gluconeogenesis). Apart from using glucose, our brain cells can also use ketones for energy. Ketones are produced when fat is metabolized and they can supply up to 75% of the brain’s energy requirements (the other 25% from glucose).

The only exception is for those who are taking diabetic medications and insulin. You MUST first consult your doctor as the dosages will probably need to be reduced while you are fasting. Otherwise, if you overmedicate and hypoglycemia develops, which can be dangerous, you must have some sugar to reverse it. This will break the fast and make it counterproductive.

The dawn phenomenon

After a period of fasting, especially in the morning, some people experience high blood glucose. This dawn phenomenon is a result of the circadian rhythm whereby just before awakening, the body secretes higher levels of several hormones to prepare for the upcoming day –

  • Adrenaline – to give the body some energy
  • Growth hormone – to help repair and make new protein
  • Glucagon – to move glucose from storage in the liver to the blood for use as energy
  • Cortisol, the stress hormone – to activate the body

These hormones peak in the morning hours, then fall to lower levels during the day. In non-diabetics, the magnitude of the blood sugar rise is small and most people will not even notice it. However, for the majority of the diabetics, there can be a noticeable spike in blood glucose as the liver dumps sugar into the blood.

This will happen in extended fasts too. When there is no food, insulin levels stay low while the liver releases some of its stored sugar and fat. This is natural and not a bad thing at all. The magnitude of the spike will decrease as the liver becomes less bloated with sugar and fat.

Who Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting?

  • Women who want to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • Those who are malnourished or underweight.
  • Children under 18 years of age and elders.
  • Those who have gout.
  • Those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Those who have eating disorders should first consult with their doctors.
  • Those who are taking diabetic medications and insulin must first consult with their doctors as dosages will need to be reduced.
  • Those who are taking medications should first consult with their doctors as the timing of medications may be affected.
  • Those who feel very stressed or have cortisol issues should not fast because fasting is another stressor.
  • Those who are training very hard most days of the week should not fast.

How To Prepare For Intermittent Fasting?

If anyone is thinking about starting intermittent fasting, it is best to first switch to a low-carbohydrate, high-healthy fat diet for three weeks. This will allow the body to become accustomed to using fat rather than glucose as a source of energy. That means getting rid of all sugars, grains (bread, cookies, pastries, pasta, rice), legumes, and refined vegetable oils. This will minimize most side effects associated with fasting.

Start with a shorter fast of 16 hours, for example, from dinner (8 pm) until lunch (12 pm) the next day. You can eat normally between 12 pm and 8 pm, and you can eat either two or three meals. Once you feel comfortable with it, you can extend the fast to 18, 20 hours.

For shorter fasts, you can do it everyday, continuously. For more extended fasts, such as 24-36 hours, you can do it 1-3 times a week, alternating between fasting and normal eating days.

There is no single fasting regimen that is correct. The key is to choose one that works best for you. Some people achieve results with shorter fasts, others may need longer fasts. Some people do a classic water-only fast, others do a tea and coffee fast, still others a bone broth fast. No matter what you do, it is very important to stay hydrated and monitor yourself. If you feel ill at any point, you should stop immediately. You can be hungry, but you should not feel sick.



Source by Carol Chuang

As wrestling season draws near, wrestlers begin to contemplate the weight class in which they may wrestle. Wrestlers often believe that they will be more competitive at the lowest weight they can reach without sacrificing their strength and endurance. This isn’t always the case. Too often, wrestlers end up dehydrated. They end up starving themselves and their performance suffers greatly.

If you’re looking for an article on cutting weight, this isn’t it. If you’re the kind of wrestler who can lose ten pounds in wrestling practice, this article may not interest you either. I could never sweat off a lot of weight, so I was always more interested in manipulating my diet to lose weight. There are, of course, a myriad of diets to choose from. I simply want to discuss ten diets of which I am familiar. Maybe one of them will interest you and you can research it further. Let’s explore.

1. Low Carb/High Protein Diet

The Atkins Diet is probably the most famous low carb diet. So, what exactly is a low carb diet? A low carb diet limits carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, cereals, grains, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, fruit, and sometimes even milk.

The theory is that carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels which in turn raise insulin levels. Spiking insulin levels is considered bad because the idea is that insulin tells the body to store carbohydrates as body fat and prevents the body from accessing body fat as a fuel source. Supposedly, if you follow a low carb diet plan you can lose excess body fat without having to drastically limit your food intake.

Some low carb diets focus on limiting carbohydrates while increasing one’s intake of fat and protein.

Some low carb diets focus more on the glycemic index. The glycemic index essentially measures how much a given food raises one’s blood sugar levels. For instance, white rice may have a glycemic index of 58 while broccoli may only have a glycemic index of 15. White bread may have a glycemic index as high as 71. The idea is that a diet composed of low glycemic foods will lead to lower insulin levels which in turn may help one lose weight.

Patrick Holford takes the glycemic index one step further and uses a concept called the glycemic load. The glycemic load takes into account the glycemic index as well as the total carbs in a given amount of food. For instance, a bowl of steel-cut oats (1 oz.) has 2 GL while a bowl of corn flakes has 21 GL. In addition, half an apple has 3 GL while a banana has 12 GL. That is quite a difference. Holford is a big fan of oats. He claims in his book The Holford Low GL Diet, “There are specific foods and food combinations that cause rapid weight loss.” He claims that you will never feel hungry on his diet. You limit the number of GLs you eat in a day and you combine carbs and protein at each meal.

Tim Ferriss champions a diet he refers to as the Slow-Carb Diet. On this regimen one avoids carbohydrates like bread, pasta, cereals, grains, potatoes, etc. Then simply choose one protein, one legume, and one vegetable for each meal. For example, breakfast might be scrambled eggs, black beans, and mixed vegetables. Lunch might be beef, pinto beans, and mixed vegetables. And, dinner might be chicken breast, lentils, and asparagus. Eat as much as you want at each meal and eat up to six times a day. But, always avoid carbs and dairy products and always include a protein, legume, and vegetable.

Some low carb diet books include Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Protein Power, The Zone Diet, The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Greenwich Diet, The No-Grain Diet, and Sugar Busters.

I suppose the main attraction of low carb diets is that one can burn fat and spare muscle while not having to restrict the amount one eats drastically. On the other hand, low carb diets can make one fatigued and irritable until one gets used to the low carb regimen. Keep in mind that there are several different versions of low carb diets.

2. Paleolithic Diet (Paleo Diet)

The Paleolithic (Paleo) diet seeks to replicate what humans ate during the Paleolithic Era. This diet may also be referred to as the Stone Age Diet, Cave Man Diet, or Hunter-Gatherer Diet. The Paleo diet is purported to promote weight loss as well as provide high fiber, protein, and omega-3 fats.

Foods You Can Eat:

  • Lean Meat (skinless chicken breast, turkey, cuts of lean beef like sirloin and extra-lean hamburger, cuts of lean pork, seafood)
  • Eggs
  • Fruits including berries
  • Vegetables including root vegetables like carrots
  • Nuts such as walnuts, macadamia, almonds, pecans, and pistachios
  • Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds
  • Olive oil, flaxseed oil, nut oils, fish oil, canola oil, and avocado

Foods To Avoid:

  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Cereals
  • Potatoes
  • Sugar
  • Beans
  • Dairy Products

The Paleo diet may seem similar to the low carb diet and it is in some ways. For instance, it doesn’t allow grain products. However, the Paleo Diet does allow fruits. In addition, it makes a distinction between lean meat and fatty meat which I think is beneficial. Moreover, cheese can be eaten on a low carb diet but dairy is not allowed on the Paleo Diet because it would not have been a food consumed during the Paleolithic era.

I like the Paleo Diet because it provides fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

3. Anabolic Diet

The Anabolic Diet was developed by Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale. He developed this diet primarily for bodybuilders looking for an alternative to steroids and other drugs. He states, “The Anabolic Diet maximizes the production and utilization of the Big 3 growth producers – testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin – and does it naturally. It also shifts the body’s metabolism from that of a sugar burning, fat producing machine to that of a fat burning machine.” The Anabolic Diet is a high fat/high protein/low carb diet with a twist. The Anabolic Diet employs a method called carb cycling. For example, you eat a high fat/high protein/low carb diet for five days followed by a high carb diet for two days.

A more generic term for this diet would be cyclic ketogenic diet or simply carb cycling. The idea is that you must eat fat to burn fat. You can find specific guidelines about what to eat on low carb versus high carb days online.

So, it’s not as strict as a low carb diet because you can carb up for a day or two. You still need to watch the total amount of calories that you consume because you’re not a bodybuilder trying to gain weight, you’re a wrestler trying to stay lean or even lose weight.

I’ve never tried this diet before and have no idea how it would work for a wrestler. I suppose, in theory, that one could eat low carb during the week and carb up on Saturday when tournaments are usually held. On the other hand, eating a lot of fat seems like a strange idea to most of us. If this diet interests you, I would suggest doing an internet search for anabolic diet or cyclic ketogenic diet to learn more.

4. Intermittent Fasting (IF)

This is a way of eating of that involves cycling periods of fasting (i.e. not eating) and eating. You can fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. The idea is that fasting twice a week reduces the total number of calories one takes in during any given week. For instance, you may have dinner at 6:00 pm one evening and not eat again until 6:00 pm the following evening. If you normally consume three meals a day, then you would simply skip breakfast and lunch two days a week but still have dinner on those days. Sure you might get a bit hungry, but it’s only 24 hours and you’ll only do it about twice a week. You never technically have to go a day without eating. If you eat at 6:00 pm on Monday, you can still eat on Tuesday; you just have to wait until 6:00 pm again. A good book on the subject of IF is Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.

A somewhat similar fasting routine is called The Warrior Diet created by Ori Hofmekler. On this regimen, you eat one main meal at night and you have the option of eating a small amount of food during the day. You follow this routine every day. You can eat some fruits and vegetables during the day. You can also eat small amounts of lean meats and eggs or a low-carb protein shake. You eat no grains or starches during the day. At your main evening meal, you can consume essentially anything you want but in a certain order. You eat vegetables first, then protein, and then if you’re still hungry you can eat some carbohydrates.

While using the intermittent fasting method, you still want to eat healthy. While you can basically eat what you want when not fasting, you still want to eat fruits and vegetables and healthy sources of protein and carbohydrates. You can eat other foods too (e.g. a dessert) but don’t use your non-fasting period as an excuse to binge on junk food.

5. Body for Life

Bodybuilder and entrepreneur Bill Phillips was the founder of Muscle Media 2000 magazine and later acquired the ESA supplement company. He is perhaps most known for authoring the book Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength. In this book he outlines a workout strategy and dietary strategy to transform one’s body.

The dietary strategy involves eating six small meals a day which is believed to promote stable blood sugar and insulin levels. Small meals are also believed to be easier to digest and assimilate than three larger meals.

What can you eat for each small meal? You can eat a portion of protein and a portion of carbohydrate. You are also encouraged to eat a serving of vegetables with some meals. A portion is about the size of the palm of your hand or your clenched fist. A potato the size of your clenched fist is a portion as is an apple. Two slices of whole wheat bread is a portion. A skinless chicken breast the size of your palm is a portion. You can also use MRP (meal replacement products) shakes and nutrition bars like Myoplex, Met-Rx, Meso-Tech, Muscle Meals, etc. that provide protein, carbs, and other nutrients all in one bar or shake.

Possible Meal Ideas:

  • One omelet and two slices of whole-wheat toast
  • Egg whites and oatmeal
  • Pancakes made with egg whites, oatmeal, protein powder, and fat-free yogurt
  • Combine one portion of low-fat cottage cheese and one portion of fat-free, sugar-free yogurt
  • One serving of chocolate MRP shake
  • Turkey burger on a whole-wheat bun
  • Chicken breast, steamed brown rice, and broccoli
  • Grilled sirloin steak, potato, mixed vegetables
  • One MRP nutrition bar

You are also encouraged to drink 10 glasses of water a day. You can consume one tablespoon of healthy fat a day such as olive, safflower, canola, sunflower, or flax seed oil. You can also consume small amounts of natural peanut butter and avocado.

You are encouraged to take one day off a week and eat whatever you want.

This plan is nice because you don’t have to count calories and you probably won’t get hungry eating six small meals a day. It may be hard to follow if you have a busy schedule.

6. Fit for Life

When Harvey Diamond co-authored Fit for Life, he helped bring the concept of natural hygiene into the mainstream. This way of eating isn’t just about how much you eat but also when and how you eat it. This regimen is based on the principle of proper food combining. The idea is that different foods are broken down differently by the body and therefore should be eaten separately. Harvey Diamond makes a distinction between live foods (high-water-content food like fresh fruits and vegetables) and dead food (e.g. processed foods).

The Guidelines:

  • Fruit is always eaten alone at least two to three hours away from any other food.
  • Never eat more than one concentrated food (i.e. protein or starch) per meal.
  • Never combine starches and proteins (e.g. cereal and milk, bread and cheese, pasta and ground beef, fish and rice).
  • You can combine protein with vegetables or starches and vegetables.
  • Fat (e.g. butter, olive oil) is considered neutral. However, don’t combine fat with protein.
  • Eggs and dairy products are discouraged.
  • Meat is discouraged but should be eaten alone or with vegetables if consumed.

Meal Ideas:

  • Breakfast – Fruit is encouraged because it is the food with the highest water content and is considered to be the best food to consume. So, you could eat two or more oranges or two apples or two bananas or other fruits and fruit combinations. However, if you don’t like fruit you could have scrambled eggs with tomato and broccoli (i.e. protein and vegetables) or toast with butter (i.e. starch and fat). But, do not have eggs and toast or cereal and milk.
  • Lunch – You could have a large vegetable salad with some olive oil and lemon. You could skip the olive oil on your salad and put some pieces of grilled chicken on it. You could have a vegetable salad and some bread sticks. You could have vegetable soup and some bread sticks. Alternatively, you could have avocado slices and other vegetables (e.g. tomatoes) between two slices of whole-grain bread. You could have a large baked potato with butter and vegetables (just be sure to steer clear of bacon bits, cheese, and chili).
  • Dinner – You could have fish (or chicken or beef), vegetables, and a vegetable salad. Or, you could have rice (or couscous or pasta) with vegetables, and a vegetable salad. Or, if you like potatoes, then you could have a big baked potato with butter and vegetables.
  • If you want milk, yogurt, or ice cream then eat it alone at least two or three hours away from other food.
  • If you want fruit for a bedtime snack, then eat it alone at least two or three hours after dinner.

The motivational speaker and self-help guru Tony Robbins is an advocate of food combining. I’ve never tried it before. The good thing is that it focuses a lot on fruit and vegetables. In addition, your calories may be limited (helping with weight loss) when you can’t combine starches and proteins, but at least you can still consume them if you choose.

7. High Carb/Low Fat Diet

Some doctors and nutritionists recommend a high card/low fat diet to lose weight and stay healthy – the exact opposite of the low carb advocates. Some names associated with low fat diets include Walter Kempner, Nathan Pritikin, Dean Ornish, and John McDougall. According to Dr. McDougall, his diet is “a diet of plant foods, including whole grains and whole grain products (such as pasta, tortillas, and whole-grain bread), a wide assortment of vegetables, and fruit.”

The advocates of these diets claim that a person can enjoy unlimited quantities of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains without feeling hungry. These diets contain less fat and more fiber than other diets.

According to Dr. McDougall, “Carbohydrate is the body’s preferred fuel for daily activities and high-intensity exercise performance. Following a low-carbohydrate regime will impair performance.”

A baked potato is only about 160 calories and essentially fat free. An apple is only about 100 calories and also essentially fat free. A slice of whole wheat bread is only about 75 calories and essentially fat free. A bowl of oatmeal is about 165 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 4 grams of fiber.

In contrast, a 3 oz. patty of 85% lean ground beef (broiled) is about 213 calories and 13 grams of fat. And, a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese is about 510 calories and 26 grams of fat. Moreover, a Snicker’s Bar is about 270 calories and 14 grams of fat.

I’m not sure why everyone is so worried about cereals, potatoes, fruits, and breads. You can eat a lot of those foods for few calories if you don’t add condiments.

Martin Katahn, author of The T-Factor Diet, believes that it is mainly fat in your diet that determines your body fat. He contends that protein and carbohydrate calories don’t really matter that much. So, his approach is to count the fat grams in the food one eats and to keep the number low. He does, however, warn people to steer clear of highly processed fat-free desserts and snacks. Get your carbohydrates from fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. In addition, eat lean meat, chicken, and fish.

8. Satiety Index

The Satiety Index (developed by Susanna Holt, PhD.) measures the extent to which certain foods provide satiety (i.e. fill you up and satisfy your hunger). Certain foods are simply better at filling you up than others.

For the most part, foods that are high in protein, water, and fiber provide the most satiety.

Carbohydrates are also better at producing satiety than fatty foods.

All foods on the index are compared with white bread which is given the rank of 100.

Some Satiety Food Rankings:

  • Croissant – 47%
  • Doughnuts – 68%
  • Yogurt – 88%
  • Corn Flakes – 118%
  • White Rice – 138%
  • Cheese – 146%
  • Eggs – 150%
  • Whole Meal Bread – 157%
  • Beef – 176%
  • Popcorn – 154%
  • Apples – 197%
  • Oranges – 202%
  • Oatmeal – 209%
  • Potatoes, Boiled – 323%

As you can see, potatoes provide a much higher level of satiety than a croissant. Similarly, oatmeal is more satisfying than a doughnut. In addition, eggs are more satisfying than yogurt. Seemingly, a sandwich made with whole meal bread with some lean beef or tuna along with an apple could make a satisfying and filling lunch.

A concept related to satiety is caloric density or energy density. Caloric density is the number of calories in a specific amount of food. Foods high in fat have the highest energy density while foods high in water content have the lowest energy density.

For instance, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, grapefruit, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, oranges, and apples are very low in caloric density. Some other low caloric density foods include oatmeal, grapes, low-fat cottage cheese, peas, corn on the cob, potatoes, rice, and pasta.

In contrast, foods such as French fries, chocolate cake, pretzels, croissants, doughnuts, onion rings, chocolate chip cookies, bacon, milk chocolate bars, potato chips, and peanuts are much higher in caloric density. Even though pretzels are essentially fat free, they are high in energy density because they lack water and fiber.

Fresh corn (e.g. steamed corn or corn on the cob) has a caloric density of 0.92. However, a corn muffin has a caloric density of 4.14 and corn bread has a caloric density of 4.27. So, choose a big bowl of steamed corn if you’re hungry.

Some low-fat cottage cheese and grapes could make a satisfying and filling meal.

9. Food Exchange System

The food exchange system is a dietary regimen most commonly associated with diabetic individuals. However, the food exchange system can be used by any individual as a guide to help them lose weight. Following this regimen can help one to plan balanced and nutritious meals.

The foods in this system are divided up into categories: starches (e.g. bread, cereals and grains, starchy vegetables, beans and peas), fruits, milk and yogurt, meat and meat substitutes, vegetables, and fats.

You need to know what constitutes a serving size. For instance, a serving of starch could be ¾ cup of ready-to-eat unsweetened cereal, 1 slice of bread, or ½ a bagel. A serving of fruit may be one small apple, banana, or orange. A serving of milk may be 1 cup of fat-free skim milk. A serving of meat may be 1 ounce of meat, poultry, fish, or cheese. A serving of vegetables may be ½ cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables. A serving of fats may be 1 tsp. of butter or 1 tsp. of olive oil. These are just a few of the examples. There are also free foods like 1 tbsp. of fat-free mayonnaise or ¼ cup of salsa. In addition, there are ways of determining exchanges for sweets and combination foods (e.g. casseroles, pizza, and soups).

For a 1,200 Calorie Meal Plan You May Eat:

  • 5 Starches
  • 2 Fruits
  • 2 Milks
  • 5 Meats
  • 3 Vegetables
  • 4 Fats

So, you might have a breakfast that contains 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 milk, and 1 fat. Then you would divide the remainder of your exchanges amongst lunch, dinner, and possibly snacks. Some people find this easier than counting calories.

A somewhat similar regimen may involve using the original USDA Food Pyramid as a guide for eating. According to Jane Kirby (a registered dietitian) and the American Dietetic Association, one can use the food pyramid to plan a weight-loss diet.

A Possible 1,200 Calorie Meal Plan:

  • 5 Bread group servings
  • 3 Vegetable group servings
  • 2 Fruit group servings
  • 2 Milk group servings
  • 5 ounces total for a day for Meat group (divide up into 2 or 3 servings if you want from lean meats or eggs)

10. Counting Calories

Calorie counting is nothing new.

A Los Angeles physician named Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters published a book entitled Diet and Health, With a Key to the Calories in 1918. She recommended consuming no more than 1,200 calories per day, with somewhat more allowed after one’s goal weight was reached.

Calories in Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat:

  • Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram
  • Protein = 4 calories per gram
  • Fat = 9 calories per gram

Keep in mind that 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat. Therefore if you cut 500 calories a day from your diet, you’ll lose approximately one pound a week (7 days x 500 calories = 3,500 calories).

A simple formula for losing weight is to take your current bodyweight times 10 and eat that number of calories daily to lose weight. For example, a wrestler who weighs 150 pounds would eat 1,500 calories daily (150 x 10 = 1,500). To maintain your weight, take your bodyweight times 15. A 125 pound wrestler wishing to maintain his weight would eat 1,875 calories daily (125 x 15 = 1,875).

Calorie counting is becoming popular again. For example, you may have noticed packages of 100-calorie snacks in the supermarket.

You can still find books listing calorie counts for common foods as well as restaurant foods. And, almost every food at the supermarket contains nutrition information including calories.

Calorie counting can be inconvenient. Individuals sometimes get hungry on a calorie-controlled diet. Nonetheless, calorie counting works for many people.

Final Words

The best advice I have to give is to simply wrestle at your natural weight. But, I know that many of will choose not to because you think you’ll be more competitive at a lower weight. Some of you may have to cut weight to reach a certain body weight in order to make the team.

I used to eat a lot of oatmeal and other cereals, whole wheat bread, rice cakes, potatoes, apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, green beans, milk, yogurt, cheese, and lean meat during my high school wrestling career. I counted every calorie and limited my fat intake because that’s what worked for me.

It’s interesting to look back at what I ate. I ate a lot of oatmeal which is low on the glycemic load, low in caloric density (when cooked with water), relatively low in fat, and high on the satiety index. I didn’t know all of that back when I was wrestling. I just knew that oatmeal was low in calories and provided a filling breakfast.

I also ate a lot of apples and green beans. These foods are low in calories and fat, but are high in water content and fiber. In addition, I ate a lot of potatoes which are very high on the satiety index.

You may be different.

Perhaps you’re one of those guys that can lose 5 to 10 pounds of water weight in a practice. Or, perhaps you like meat and, therefore, a low carb diet would suit you better.

Even some of the greatest wrestlers can become disheartened with dieting and cutting weight. Three- time NCAA wrestling champion and Olympic silver medalist Barry Davis cracked once when faced with the strain of cutting weight. He almost missed the Big Ten Tournament in 1982 because of the pressure of cutting weight. Many other great wrestlers have had tough experiences cutting weight as well.

On the other hand, John Smith (two-time Olympic gold medalist and winner of multiple world championships) took a different approach to weight control. He disciplined himself to maintain year-round weight control (according to Wrestling Tough by Mike Chapman). Smith kept near his competition weight throughout the year.

Other wrestlers have had success by working hard and wrestling near their natural body weight and sometimes cutting no weight whatsoever.

If you decide to cut weight for wrestling, please don’t starve and dehydrate yourself. It’s unhealthy, dangerous, and will most likely hurt your performance. Try always to eat balanced and nutritious meals. If you decide to lose weight, figure out what works best for you.



Source by Tharin Schwinefus



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