As we head towards the end of this 30 Day Challenge, many people have asked what they can do to dial in the WHAT to eat side of the equation. So we created this quick start guide to guide you through the various tools that we have developed.
DDF takes a data-driven approach to solve the WHEN to eat using your blood sugar as a fuel gauge. But WHAT to eat is also a super important part of the equation.
We’re big believers in keeping things as simple as possible to allow you to master one new skill at a time. If in doubt, it’s better to keep things simple and perfect one skill at a time, rather than overwhelming people with too much information up front.
But eventually, WHAT you eat becomes critical to your continued weight loss and health journey. While DDF has blown up over the past few months, at Optimising Nutrition, we’ve been working on the WHAT to eat puzzle in earnest for the past five years. This guide will give you some ideas if you feel you are ready to take the next steps in your journey towards Nutritional Optimisation.
At the end of the 30 Day challenge, you are free to continue to chase your trigger with hunger training. But long term weight loss can get hard after a while. It can be beneficial to take a ‘diet break’ after a period of significant weight loss to ‘practice maintenance’.
So, feel free to take a break after the challenge ends and maintain your current weight, particularly if hunger training is starting to get a bit difficult and you are planning to do the next challenge.
If your eating routine has changed significantly during the challenge, it’s likely you will find that you will have a new trigger at the start of the next challenge when you baseline again. You can then chase this new trigger to continue your weight loss journey.
When you’re ready to activate maintenance mode, click on the three dots on the right of the DDF app home page and select ‘maintenance mode’.
Maintenance mode will give you a slightly higher premeal glucose trigger (10 mg/dL or 0.6mmol/l above your final trigger) that will help you maintain your current weight. If you weigh yourself at least weekly, the DDF app will provide you with an updated maintenance trigger value that will lower if your weight goes up by more than 2%. If your weight goes up by more than 4%, you should go back and restart hunger training.
Maintenance does not mean you eat anything and everything. You are practising eating in a way that enables you to maintain your weight.
During this period of maintenance, you may be able to focus a little more on the WHAT to eat side of the equation without worrying so much about eating less frequently.
Another DDF challenge?
Many people have found they love the community support aspect of DDF. After one challenge, they feel they are just starting to get the hang of the process and want to keep going with future rounds.
If you signed up for a single challenge, you get access to the app for 45 days. After that point, you will still have access to your data. You just won’t be able to add more.
If you are already a DDF Unlimited member, you will get an email at the end of this challenge inviting you to join the new challenge group.
If you’re part of the March 2021 challenge, you can get access to DDF Unlimited for the price of two more challenges here.
We plan to run seven DDF challenges per year. DDF Unlimited means you will have unlimited access to ALL future challenges.
Yes, unlimited means unlimited.
In the future, we will be switching to the following pricing structure:
- Single Pass – USD$37
- Yearly Pass – USD$97
- Unlimited Access – USD$147
But if you become a DDF Unlimited member now, you will get unlimited access to all future challenges (USD$74). We want to build a community of people who have mastered DDF to help all the new people who join in the future.
Free food lists
We have created a wide range of nutrient-dense food lists tailored for different goals that you can access here.
- If your post-meal BGs are typically below the upper limit (i.e. your BF doesn’t rise more than 30mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L after meals), we recommend using the maximum nutrient density or fat loss food lists.
- If you are still working to stabilise your blood sugar to a healthy range, you should choose the blood sugar and fat loss food list.
These food lists are organised into groups (e.g. plans, animal based, seafood). The foods at the top of each list are ranked the highest for each goal based on nutrient density, satiety and insulin load. We recommend you work through these food lists and find foods you want to incorporate into your daily routine. You will find some you like and others you don’t.
Once you are comfortable using your BG to guide WHEN to eat, you can use it to guide WHAT to eat.
- If post-meal BG is above upper limit —> use blood sugar and fat loss food list and recipes
- If post-meal BG is below the upper limit —> use fat loss food list and recipes
- When pre-meal BG significantly below trigger —> use athletes/bulking food list and recipes
Remember: It will be hard to fail if you give your body optimal nutrients when you know you have plenty of fuel onboard.
NutriBooster Recipe Books
Similar to the food lists, we have also created the NutriBooster series of recipe books tailored for a wide range of goals. Similar to the food lists, if your blood sugars are in the healthy range, we recommend either the fat loss or maximum nutrient density NutriBooster books. If you’re still working to stabilise your BGs, the low carb and blood sugar book will be a good option.
|Fat loss||Designed for rapid fat loss with less hunger and cravings due to nutrient deficiencies along with adequate protein to prevent muscle loss.|
|Maximum nutrient density||These are the most nutrient-dense recipes available!|
|Low carb & blood sugar||Designed for stable blood sugars and weight maintenance on a nutritious low carb diet. Ideal for someone with diabetes or anyone who enjoys a low carb way of eating.|
|Blood sugar & fat loss||Designed for anyone with elevated blood sugars and body fat to lose.|
|Bodybuilders||Gain muscle without excess body fat.|
|High protein:energy||High protein:energy ratio for aggressive fat loss.|
|Nutritional keto||Ideal for someone who enjoys a ketogenic way of eating but does not require therapeutic ketone levels.|
|Therapeutic keto||Designed for people who require therapeutic ketone levels (e.g. for epilepsy, dementia, or Parkinson’s).|
|Plant-based||These are the most nutrient-dense plant-based recipes available.|
|Vegetarian||These are the most nutrient-dense vegetarian meals.|
|Low carb vegetarian||Nutrient-dense low carb vegetarian meals to help stabilise blood sugars.|
|Maintenance||Designed to help you maintain your body weight providing plenty of nutrients to live a healthy and energised life.|
|Pescitarian||These are the most nutrient-dense pescatarian recipes (i.e. vegetarian plus seafood).|
|Egg-free||The most nutrient-dense meals without eggs.|
|Dairy-free||The most nutrient-dense meals without dairy.|
|Egg & dairy-free||The most nutrient-dense meals without eggs or dairy.|
|Athletes & bulking||Designed to support activity or growth with an eye on nutrient density.|
|Meat||These are the most nutrient-dense meals that contain meat (i.e. beef, pork, chicken, etc.).|
|Immunity||These recipes prioritise the nutrients that support healthy immune function (i.e. vitamins A, C and D, iron, selenium, zinc and potassium).|
|Cancer (weight loss & nutrient density)||Designed for someone with cancer (i.e. less glutamic acid and methionine) while maximising nutrient density and satiety to promote fat loss.|
|Cancer (weight maintenance)||Designed for someone with cancer (i.e. less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing enough energy to maintain a healthy weight.|
|Cancer (weight gain)||Designed for someone with cancer (i.e. less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing plenty of energy to support weight gain after cancer treatment.|
Note: We’re currently finalising our overhaul of all the NutriBoosters books. But if you buy one now, we’ll send you the updated version as soon as it’s ready.
While DDF solves the energy balance equation without food tracking, paying attention to your macronutrient and micronutrients is also helpful to help you dial in WHAT you eat to reach your goals.
Similar to tracking your blood sugars, tracking your current diet for a period can be super valuable to empower you to ensure you are giving your body what it needs.
We recommend tracking your food in Cronometer for a few weeks. Cronometer has a paid (Gold) option, but the free version is fine.
If your blood glucose trigger is not dropping, but you’re not losing fat, we recommend you slowly dial up your protein % (by dialling back the carbs and fat in your diet).
We tend to see the best results when people get to 40% protein or above, but you don’t need to jump there immediately. It will be more sustainable if you progressively dial it up.
So, if you find that your current protein % is 15%, then try 20% next week. Then, if you find the scale isn’t moving, you can try 25% the following week.
Free Macro Calculator
We also created a simple free macro calculator. This is particularly useful to understand how much protein you should be getting from your diet each day.
We recommend you get at least 1.4 g/kg lean body mass of protein per day. If you are tracking your body fat and weight, the calculator will determine your lean body mass (i.e. weight minus body fat).
More protein is fine. We see people get better results when they get 1.8 g/kg LBM protein and above. But there is only so much protein you can consume while still being in an energy deficit. If you are above 40% protein, you won’t need to worry too much about the absolute amount of protein you are getting (i.e. in grams).
You can set your carb target based on what you are currently consuming, or possibly a little bit less if you still see elevated post-meal blood glucose numbers.
Don’t stress too much about the maximum calories if you are still using hunger training. Waiting until your blood glucose is below your current trigger will look after the energy balance side of the equation.
Free 7 Day Food Discovery Challenge
Nutrient density is central to everything we do at Optimising Nutrition. But there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to solve the puzzle of what food YOU need to prioritise to improve the micronutrient profile of your diet.
To help you understand what foods and meals you need to focus on, we created a Free 7-Day Food Discovery Challenge. Each day you will receive emails that guide you through the process of tracking your food in Cronometer and then connecting with Nutrient Optimiser, which will give you your micronutrient fingerprint (see example below) and identify which foods and meals you need to focus on to get more of the nutrients you are currently getting less of.
Nutrient Optimiser is the DDF app’s BIG brother. We have been working on this for three years trying to make it as powerful and simple as we possibly can.
If you have already done the 7 Day Tracking Challenge, you will already have a log in, but if not, you can do the Quiz at https://nutrientoptimiser.com/ to get set up.
We also have a Nutrient Optimiser Facebook Group you can join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/nutrientoptimiser
To get familiar with all the functionality of Nutrient Optimiser you can check out the guides at https://www.facebook.com/groups/nutrientoptimiser/learning_content
6-Week Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass
Finally, we have the 6-Week Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass, which uses Nutrient Optimiser to guide you through dialling in your macronutrients and micronutrients over six weeks in a supportive group environment.
The goal of the masterclass is to give you the knowledge and support to find the foods and meals they enjoy and will enable them to continue to move towards their goal through the six weeks and beyond.
- In week 1, optimisers will establish their baseline to understand their macro and micronutrient intake.
- In week 2, optimisers will ensure they are getting adequate protein (which aligns closely with satiety and nutrient density).
- In week 3, optimisers will find their carbohydrate tolerance using their blood sugars as a guide.
- In week 4, optimisers will dial in their fat intake to ensure they are moving towards their goals.
- In week 5, optimisers will begin to focus on refining their food choices to ensure they achieve the minimum nutrient intake levels to prevent diseases of deficiency.
- In week 6, optimisers level up to move towards the optimal nutrient intakes to ensure they were getting all the essential nutrients they required without excessive calories.
Optimisers will get full access to the Nutrient Optimiser with 400+ recipes to empower you to short cut your journey towards Nutritional Optimisation, a support community with daily lessons to guide you through the process and weekly Live Q&As. We always find that people make better progress when they take the journey together in a supportive community.
Our next 6-Week Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass starts 22 May 2021. We’d love you to join us.
Your Personalised Optimal 30/30
Our ultimate goal in all this is to use the minimum effective dose of tracking to get the results you want. We don’t want you to be tracking your food and/or blood sugars forever. But rather, we want you to find an eating routine and a selection of foods and meals that allow you to be healthy and get on with living your life.
This is where the Personalised Optimal 30/30 comes in.
We are creatures of habit. While we enjoy variety, our analysis of food diaries from thousands of people shows that most people have a regular repertoire of around thirty foods and thirty meals that provide most of their energy needs.
While you don’t need to eat optimally all the time, identifying Your Personalised Optimal 30/30 gives you a default repertoire of enjoyable foods and meals that will align with your goals and tastes.
Using this process of Nutritional Optimisation, we want you to find a shortlist of your favourite foods and meals that you truly enjoy eating. There will be times that you eat ‘off plan’. But you can quickly get back on track with your Your Personalised Optimal 30/30.
If you want to dive a little deeper into our world, you can check out the links below.
- Personalised Food Lists
- Macro calculator
- Nutrient deficiency quiz
- Food nutrient analysis search
- Best foods for each nutrient
- Kickstart Guide
- 7-day diet analysis
- Nutrients for health conditions