5 Food Tricks for A Lean Diet – Garage Strength

5 Food Tricks for A Lean Diet

A lot of people ask us what can be done to maintain a diet and lean body mass. Many people lose weight but end up yo-yo’ing back up, going through this endless cycle of gaining weight and losing weight over and over again. 

We need to think about it coming down to calories in verse calories out. We have to think about tall of the food we are consuming. We need to understand that if we are eating more calories than we are burning, we may gain some fat mass potentially or muscle mass just as much. It goes back again to balance the see-saw of calories in and calories out. Whatever we are consuming against what we are actually burning can give us the solution to maintaining that lean muscle mass. Now if we want to cut weight, we can go into a surplus of burned calories, we will continue to get leaner.

What makes a diet or meal plan unsustainable is that if we cut our calories quite a bit and utilize food that is bland or lower in calories and then we slowly return to a less restrictive diet, eating foods that taste better, we tend to eat a little bit more. One of the key games we have to play is figuring out which foods can be utilized to maintain the nutritional intake that isn’t necessarily high in calories. For example, something like ketchup with twenty to thirty calories per serving being replaced with hot sauce with zero calories can make a difference.

1. Louisiana’s Crystal Hot Sauce

Using a low-calorie sauce that adds flavor to food is something that can be utilized on a regular basis. This is when we can go through a diet, say making eggs, rice, or potatoes, foods that will help maintain a lean diet, and can add some flavor with our hot sauce over our ketchup.

Now ketchup isn’t a lot of calories over one serving. However, using ketchup every morning or every lunch or every dinner, those calories add up. This overhead perspective of caloric intake goes a long way. We have to look at our caloric intake from a weekly perspective through a macro lens to see how the calories add up over the entire week.

2. Kimchi/Beet Kvass/Sauerkraut: Fermented Foods High With Fiber

Learning how to handle our gut is important. One thing about practicing veganism that works is because it is so restrictive. Another reason it works so well is that the consumption of fiber skyrockets. Consuming higher levels of fiber, say 45 to 60 grams a day, the gut floor will become healthier allowing the food to ferment more effectively, be digested better to pull micronutrients out of the food, and thus allowing the body to stay healthier from a perspective of how it utilizes and absorbs micronutrients from the food. 

That is where kimchi comes in as a trick. Sauerkraut can be used as well. For that matter, any fermented food that is also high in fiber will do the trick. The micronutrients from the fermented cabbage go a long way, feeding the bugs inside of the gut to make the microbiome healthier. This then allows the gut to be more effective at absorbing the nutrients from meats and proteins more effectively. 

3. Cashew Milk

Another key to losing weight is trying to figure out what to utilize to replace milk, especially for people who drink raw milk like many of us at Garage Strength. Cashew milk can do the trick. Cashew milk has about a third to half the amount of calories compared to milk. This allows a nice replacement and cuts calories throughout the week. This can go a long way towards weight loss and still allows us to drink milk for breakfast, lunch, or in a protein shake.

Making homemade cashew milk isn’t too difficult. We begin by soaking the cashews in a mason jar and water for about six hours. We then strain the cashews and pour the cashews into a Vitamix. We add four cups of water into the Vitamix as well. Throw in a large pinch of sea salt, a splash of vanilla for flavor, and then we like to add two tablespoons of maple syrup for even more flavor when not cutting weight too hard. Put the lid, turn it on high, and let the Vitamix do its thing. Sixty seconds later and the cashew milk is good to go.

Cashew milk tastes good. It is also higher in Vitamin D than skim milk.

4. Zevia Sugar-Free

A lot of men and a lot of women like to have something that is carbonated. We like to drink something like soda. We get off soda for a month or two and then slowly bring in diet soda. But then over time, we just want the real thing. We get in our heads saying, “We can’t abstain because soda just tastes SO GOOD!” And it does. Soda tastes decadent. It is wonderful in all its sinful delight.

That is where Zevia comes in. Zevia is a carbonated soda that has zero calories. It has a ton of flavors as well: grape, black cherry, cream soda, ginger ale, root beer, cola, lemon-lime, and more! The taste is phenomenal.

Zevia is great because it gives a long-term replacement for soda. Let’s face it, tasting the carbonated bite of soda is wonderful. So let’s just use Zevia to completely erase the calories that come from soda--just think, one soda a day is 160 calories a day which adds up over a week.

5. Avoid Nut Butter

The one thing that everyone has to do to maintain their lean muscle mass is avoiding nut butter in all its varieties. It is horrible, we know. Peanut butter tastes extremely good. Cashew butter tastes extremely good. Almond butter tastes extremely good. Nut butter is delicious.

It is just that one of the key downfalls is considering nut butter a protein. No, no, no! We need to look at it as fat. One problem is that just from two tablespoons we are getting 190 calories. That can add up really quickly. We as people tend to overeat things that taste really, really good. That’s why we overeat pizza, soda, and nut butter. Do this over the course of a week, the calories add up big.

Completely eliminate nut butter today. Don’t have it for the next week. There is a high chance by completely eliminating nut butter, two to three pounds will be lost in a week. Try it out.


Utilize these five tips starting right now! Replace soda with Zevia, eliminate nut butter, and immediately see a large caloric deficit transpire to create weight loss near instantaneously. On top of that, start using some hot sauce to flavor that food instead of ketchup and start finding alternatives to replace milk with, like cashew milk. And lastly, remember to eat plenty of fiber, preferably from fermented foods like sauerkraut, to improve gut health and create bodily means to best absorb nutrients. Try it out and let us know how it goes.


Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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