Monday, May 31, 2010

Diet and fitness plan for a friend

This is a simple diet plan that I wrote for a friend. Actually, it started off as just nutrition based and as usual, I got carried away and put in some fitness stuff and other philosophies and theories. Enjoy.

Nutrition and Fitness Essay

Breakfast Ideas:

1. 4 hardboiled eggs, one avocado, hot sauce and various seasonings, i.e. basil,
parsley, cilantro, pepper, chives, etc. Basically, just chop the eggs and
avocado up together and add all the rest to the mix. This is my quick and easy
“work” breakfast. Along with this and as a side I do lots of mixed nuts;
walnuts, almonds, macadamias, cashews, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, pecans,
brazil nuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.

2. Another breakfast idea yet not so specific should be anything with eggs, meat
and some veggies. DO NOT be afraid to scramble your eggs in butter, coconut
or extra virgin olive oils, and DO NOT be afraid to add bacon and/or sausage.
I would recommend staying away from the processed, packaged stuff as it
usually has a bunch of added artificial ingredients and generally isn’t very
healthy. A few days out of the week while at home I will sauté up in butter
either some bacon, sausage, steak, chicken (or some form of meat, even the
previous night’s dinner meat) in a large skillet along with some spinach,
onions, peppers and garlic and then scramble in anywhere from 2‐6 eggs and
then throw in some cheese.

Lunch Ideas:

I don’t go too overboard with lunch, as for me, it’s the most boring meal of
the day. If I’m pressed for time, such as at work and such, I usually do some
mixed nuts with some cheese and maybe some meat, salami, pepperoni,
chicken, etc. If I have some time I normally like to do a huge salad. My salad
consists of a fair amount of ingredients and is pretty damn healthy and filling.
I’ll do a lot of spinach (couple of handfuls) mixed greens, raw broccoli, red,
green, orange and yellow peppers, olives, tomatoes, feta cheese, some kind of
meat and I mix my own dressing which consists of extra virgin olive oil and
balsamic vinegar and yes, I use a ton of it as well.

Dinner Ideas:

Dinner is easily my favorite meal of the day. However, it involves the most
preparation and cooking but allows me to spend time with my wife. I highly
recommend while preparing dinner to have out a block of cheese (for
consuming as an appetizer), have open a bottle of wine, and have on some
form of Internet or satellite radio for some “eclectic musical entertainment.” I
won’t go too specific with dinner, as there are literally hundreds of thousands
of things to make. The premise should be however, meat and vegetables. Lots
of meat and lots of vegetables. Everybody, for one reason or another has this
absurd idea that in order to have a complete meal you mush HAVE A
STARCH! Not so. The solution: More MEAT and more vegetables. If you are
going to have a starch or carbohydrate I would highly suggest sweet potatoes
or yams. Sweet potatoes are actually considered one the world’s most perfect
foods and are extremely nutritionally dense.

As you can see, the meal ideas that I’ve provided are very high in protein,
even higher in fat (good fats) and naturally low in carbohydrates. The
macronutrient distribution of my diet (macronutrients being Fat, Protein,
and Carbohydrates) usually falls as such: Fats 60‐70% of my diet, protein 20‐
30%, and carbs 0‐10%. I do not go “low‐carb” on purpose, for me it really just
falls that way. The vegetables absolutely have carbohydrates in them just not
as much as you would get from eating things like breads, pastas, rice, corn
and pancakes and drinking things like orange juice, cokes, and various other
sugary beverages. Also, by consuming vegetables and fruit as your main
source of carbohydrates, you provide your body with so many more
nutrients than you would by just toasting up some bread or boiling up some
pasta. Look at it this way: two pieces of bread supply about 100 grams of
carbohydrates with almost 0 (ZERO) nutritive value (I don’t care what the
label says) while onions, spinach, peppers and some broccoli (and I mean like
cups of the stuff) supply half the carbohydrate (about 50 grams) yet provide
your body with a ridiculous amount of nutrients. The higher fat content
helps keep you satiated (satisfied and somewhat full) throughout the day
whereas excessive carbohydrate consumption will only spike glucose and
insulin levels and then quickly drop them back down “tricking” your brain
into thinking it’s hungry sooner rather than later when in fact it’s actually
not. Contrary to popular belief, saturated fat is not bad for you, and neither it
nor cholesterol is directly linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes or any of
the other major causes of disease/illness in our society. What is linked to
such diseases is our over consumption of processed foods (yes, mainly
carbohydrates) and processed sugar. These are both pro‐inflammatory and
systemic inflammation is what is leading to such diseases and illnesses.
Humans have been eating saturated fat, butter, and meat from animals for a
little over 2 million years. Grains and grain products, i.e. cereals, bread,
pastas, rice, sugar, corn, etc. have only been in existence for just about 10,000
years (hence agriculture) and our bodies simply have not adapted yet to be
able to handle those “types” of foods. Those types of foods are actually filled
with what are called “anti‐nutrients” such as phytates and lechtins that
basically product the grain from being eaten and hence digested by humans
and other animals. I’m going a little off the reservation here and will end my
scientific jargon at this point. Just remember to choose real, whole and
natural foods and to make the bulk of your food intake (I hate the word diet)
meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and some dairy. Try to minimize grains
and sugar. In this day and age, cutting out anything is impractical and not
realistic and really is no fun. What I advocate to people who ask me about my
eating habits is to follow an 80%/20% rule. You can look at this two ways.
You can either eat “clean” and strict 80% of the time and knowingly indulge
the other 20% or you can strive to eat clean 100% of the time and just simply
and sensibly indulge as the opportunity presents itself. With this way, you
may have a week where you’re diet looks more like 90/10, another where it
looks like 70/30, and another where it is 80/20. Hell, you may even have a
week or two where you’re actually trudging along at 100% perfect. The
point of looking at it like this is that it allows you to gauge how you’ve been
eating over the course of some time, not just ONE day. One day, or even one
week just won’t show anything. Following something for 30 days will usually
allow most people to not only see improvements, but feel improvements as
well, which is obviously equally important. I know you did not ask about my fitness regimen but I’ll provide it anyway because it’s kind of comical. Again,
contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to do that much, as I certainly don’t (anymore). Sure, I worked my ass off for years to look a certain way and to
perform a certain way but over the past few years I have gradually decreased
my level of intense activity and now mainly walk most days with two, maybe
three “somewhat” structured workouts a week. Walking is my cardio. One
day of the week I do some bodyweight stuff, push‐ups, pull‐ups, dips, etc
coupled with some heavy weights for never more than 30‐45 minutes. The
other day of the week I sprint ALL OUT preferably barefoot in some grass. I
have not directly worked my abs in years. Abs are actually built in the
kitchen: ) None of my workouts are the same, are routine or fall on the same
days of the week. EVERYTHING I do is completely random and is designed to
allow the body to function as a whole at different times of the day, days of the
week or periods of the year. This however, is just my belief. After years of self
trial and error I know this works. However, if there are certain activities that
you thoroughly enjoy to do, then do them. Countless fitness and workout
regimens fail every year because people are either forced or are forcing
themselves to do some activity that they hate. No one will ever stick with
something if it isn’t fun for him or her. Enjoy what you do. This same logic
applies to food. In Western society our taste buds are used to highly oversweetened
and salted foods and so we think that everything must taste like
that. Not true. Once you begin to eat real, whole and natural foods, your taste
for the artificially sweetened and salted foods diminishes. Once you really
learn how to eat and move like this, losing weight, becoming overall healthier
and simply feeling a ton better truly does become effortless. Again, I laugh
when people think that what I eat is either bad for me or is “too healthy” and
I really laugh when people think that I must put in hours in the gym each day.
It’s simply not the case. Our bodies were not meant to be fed fake foods and
our bodies were not built for chronic stress; i.e. too much routinized exercise,
lack of sleep, long work hours, etc. Make all (or the majority, 80%) of your
food choices benefit you by choosing nutritionally dense real, whole and
natural foods and make your workouts count by making them brief, intense,
infrequent and something that you love to do and, remember to walk… a lot.
As with nutritional intake, the 80%/20% rule applies to fitness as well. 80%
of your results are going to come from 20% of the work you put in.
I hope this “brief” write up helps you in pursuing your goals. Again,
this is a brief synopsis of my philosophy on eating and training but as well as
having done so‐called research on this for years, I know that it is also science
backed and self backed through trial and error.

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