8 Weeks to Wow by Chief Brabon and Emilie Brabon-Hames


Welcome to the ‘List at a glance’

What we have done with this list is make it as easy as possible for you to eat at home, on the go or even to grab something fresh from the supermarket or lunchtime spot.

The simplest way to look at it is that we have removed sugar, alcohol and starchy carbs from the menu – just for the first couple of weeks, to kick start your body into burning fat as its main fuel source.

Don’t worry! You won’t feel too tired or lethargic – this isn’t Ketogenic – you will be surprised at just how much energy there is in some decent vegetables and the right kind of carbs.

As we move along your 8 week program we are going to add those delicious carbs back in, just a bit at a time, so that our portion control and appetite for them changes and we have more of an understanding of how much and when to fuel our bodies.

The best thing about this plan? When you are hungry … eat … you should never be starving and you should never be full. Always just satisfied or looking forward to your next meal. We’ve blown our portion sizes up so much over the years that we forget that our stomachs are only the size of our fist. Most of the time smaller. So, when you eat those large portions, you put that poor organ under a lot of stress. Each portion of what you are eating should be palm or fist size. Eat slowly and remember it takes 15-20 mins for your body to digest food. The faster you eat, the more you can eat. Slow down and eat until you are satisfied. This plan is about building new habits and re-training your way of thinking about your meals.

Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres a day, and be sure to try the vegetables listed … even if you think you don’t like them. Your taste buds change over time, they develop and mature, and what you may not have liked as a kid or a teen, well – those foods may just be something you look forward to now. And if it isn’t – at least you gave it a try. (I even ate eggplant the other day and liked it!)

Compulsory greens

For women: 150g (5oz) every day

For men: 200 g (7 0z) every day

  • Baby English spinach
  • Celery (unlimited)
  • Cucumber (unlimited)
  • Lettuce (all types)
  • Watercress


For women: 150g (5oz) every day

For men: 200 g (7 0z) every day

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado (only 1/4 per day)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Bok choy (pak choy)
  • Capsicum (pepper)
  • Chinese cabbage (wong bok)
  • Eggplant (aubergine)
  • English spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • Fennel
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Radish
  • Spring onion (scallion)
  • Tomato (no more than 1/2 medium tomato or 6 cherry tomatoes per day)
  • Zucchini (courgette)

In week 3, increase the daily serving size and start to add in:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Leek
  • Pumpkin (winter squash)
  • Runner beans
  • Squash
  • String beans

In week 7 start to add in:

  • Sweet potato (as an alternative to one portion of grains)

Meats and seafood

A serve is a palm-sized portion of protein per meal. You can have 3 serves per day.

  • Beef: lean cuts, veal or minced* (ground)
  • Chicken: lean meat or minced* (ground) only – no skin, no wings, no stuffing, not fried, no sauce (Nando’s or Oporto chicken with no sauce is fine).
  • Fish: fresh, frozen or tinned (if tinned, in springwater or brine only)
  • Kangaroo and kangaroo sausages
  • Lamb: very lean cuts
  • Pork: very lean cuts, including low-fat ham, trimmed bacon and shoulder bacon
  • Seafood: any fresh, frozen or tinned (in springwater or brine only), including shellfish and crustaceans
  • Smoked salmon
  • Turkey: lean meat or minced* (ground) only – no skin or wings

*Minced (ground) meats must be under 8 per cent fat.

Dairy and eggs

  • Cheeses: only fat-free or very low-fat cheese products (no more than 30 g/1 oz per day)
  • Egg whites (unlimited)
  • Egg yolks (no more than 2 per day)
  • Milk: skim or fat-free/non-fat (up to 300 ml/10 fl oz per day)
  • Non-dairy milks: unsweetened low-fat or skim soy milk or unsweetened almond milk (up to 300 ml/10 fl oz per day)
  • Sour cream: only fat-free or very low fat (no more than 30 g/1 oz per day)
  • Yoghurt: 1 serve per day of low-fat, low-carb, low-sugar plain or vanilla yoghurt (under 6 g sugar per serve)

Breads, noodles and grains

You can have 1 serve per day

  • 2 slices of Protein bread from The Protein Bread Co. (theproteinbreadco.com.au)
  • 1 pizza base from The Protein Bread Co. (go easy on the cheese)
  • Konjac, shirataki or Slendier noodles (found in the health food aisle of the supermarket and Asian grocery stores)
  • Konjac rice

On weekends starting in week 4, add:

1 portion of grains (or corn) from the list below on whichever day you aren’t eating fruit.

For women: ½ cup cooked grains or corn

For men: 2/3 cup cooked grains or corn (1 cup if you are over 183cm/6ft tall)

  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Couscous (any kind)
  • Gluten-free pasta
  • Lentils
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice
  • Corn (fresh)

In week 7 you can start adding:

1 portion of grains 3 times a week (with a day in between)


On the weekend of week 4, add fruit

Choose one day (the day that is going to be grain free) and have 1 serve of fruit that day.

  • Apples (1 medium)
  • Apricots (2 small)
  • Bananas (1 medium)
  • Blackberries (1/2 cup)
  • Blueberries (1/2 cup)
  • Cherries (1 cup)
  • Cranberries (1/2 cup)
  • Grapes (1 cup)
  • Honeydew melon (1 slice)
  • Mandarins (1 small)
  • Mango (1 cup)
  • Nectarines (1 small)
  • Peaches (1 small)
  • Raspberries (1/2 cup)
  • Strawberries (1/2 cup)
  • Watermelon (1 slice)

Then, starting in week 5 you can have 1 serve of fruit every other day.

Herbs, spices and other key ingredients

  • Black pepper (freshly ground)
  • Canola oil spray (use sparingly, and not in all recipes)
  • Chia seeds
  • Chilli: fresh red/green chilli, chilli flakes, ancho chilli, smoked chipotle chilli
  • Chlorophyll (best in liquid form and very important for a healthy gut)
  • Curry paste and powder
  • Dried spices (essentials are paprika, roast vegetable seasoning and Asian spice blends)
  • French shallots
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Herbs: as many as you like, fresh or dried
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Linseed (flaxseed) oil
  • Mustard
  • Nori sheets
  • Protein powder
  • Salt-reduced soy sauce
  • Sea salt
  • Stock: low-sodium liquid stock and stock (bouillon) cubes
  • Sugar-free chewing gum
  • Sugar-free non-fat cocoa powder
  • Sugar-free sweeteners: e.g. stevia, Splenda, Equal (use as little as possible)
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vinegar: apple cider, balsamic, white
  • Vitamin B supplement or Berocca

In week 3, start adding in

  • Coconut oil (1 teaspoon per day)
  • Natural almonds every second day (15 for women and 20 for men)


  • Water (up to 3 litres/105 fl oz/12 cups per day)
  • Coffee (up to 3 per day if made with water, only 1 per day if made with milk)
  • Tea and herbal tea (up to 3 per day)
  • Fresh ginger tea
  • Sugar-free hot chocolate (only 1 per day)

Strictly off limits!

Getting your head around what is OFF the list is just as important as knowing what’s on it. Alcohol (in any form) is a no-go, as are these things: butter, margarine, fried foods and ‘treat foods’ like ice cream, frozen yoghurt, pies, pastries, cakes – you get the idea. Junk foods (there are way too many to list here) like biscuits, chips, dips, chocolate and the like are also firmly off-limits, as are any oils not specified on this list (this includes extra virgin oil in salad dressings and other cooking oils).

Images and text from 8 Weeks to Wow by Emilie Brabon-Hames and Chief Brabon, Murdoch Books, RRP $29.99. Photography by Jeremy Simons.