Now that your body is blissed out and happy from all those feel-good Phase 1 foods, it’s time to ask it to go to work!!
Phase 2 of the Fast Metabolism Diet is powerful stuff. You’re literally remaking yourself.
The proteins and vegetables included on the Fast Metabolism Diet Phase 2 food list are there for a good reason: Lean proteins provide the ingredients for creating amino acids in the body. And alkaline vegetables provide the enzymes and phytonutrients to break down those proteins.
Those amino acids are then converted into the stuff of champions: muscle.
Why would you want more muscle?
Muscle is insatiable: It needs fuel and lots of it. The more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn.
Muscle actually works for you, proactively burning stored fat for fuel to melt away historical fat.
More muscle also means a higher metabolic rate. During Phase 1, you coaxed your body to calm down and start digesting food, rather than storing it. On Phase 2, the foods are designed to help the body absorb protein and break it down into amino acids, all while releasing historical fat.
Muscle-building is also why your Phase 2 exercise is about weight training: Using your own body weight, dumbbells, weight machines or hand weights to work your muscles — creating tiny tears in the muscle that then heal back by filling in with more muscle.
How much weight is enough? I like the 10-8-6 guideline. Use heavy enough weights that you can do 10 reps the first set, 8 reps the second, and 6 for the third.
Lean protein converts to amino acids
When you consume lean proteins like the beef, bison, turkey, fish, and chicken included on Phase 2, the stomach begins secreting a substance called pepsinogen, which is subsequently converted into an enzyme called pepsin. It’s the pepsin that begins to process of breaking down proteins into amino acids.
The rest of the work happens in the small intestine, with enzymes produced by the pancreas. Eventually, those amino acid molecules are absorbed by the intestine and passed into the bloodstream, where they make their way to other parts of the body. From there, those amino acids morph into the human proteins our body uses to create bone, blood and muscle — our body’s structure.
Alkalizing vegetable provide key balance
Phase 2 isn’t all about protein — if you ate nothing but protein, your body’s pH balance would quickly find itself far too acidic, and you wouldn’t feel well at all. (We discuss the relationship between acid and alkaline in the body here.)
To balance Phase 2 protein, you’ll also eat lots of what we call alkalizing vegetables, especially cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach, cucumbers and collard greens. These vegetables promote alkaline in the body, bringing the body’s pH back into balance.
This is why on Phase 2, we avoid more acidic vegetables like winter squash and tomatoes, and we don’t eat grains or beans, which also have an acidic effect on the body. You’re getting enough acidity from the animal protein and eggs you are eating.
Pile on those Phase 2 vegetables — they’ll only do you good and keep you feeling full of energy.
Those green veggies also stimulate the liver, which tells your body to release fat cells from storage. So this is why it’s especially important to stick to that Phase 2 food lists: Those foods are powerful, strategic and very deliberate.
Phase 2 stress-proofs the body
Lots of other good stuff is happening on Phase 2. The vitamin C in all those veggies helps strengthen the adrenal glands — and strong adrenals are less reactive to stress.
Taurine and iodine in Phase 2 vegetables also nourish the thyroid, prepping it to release the fat-burning hormones we’ll expect coming up on Phase 3.