My diet has been an ever changing over these past few years. Recently I have been getting most of my advice from John Meadows. He is someone that I trust and from the look of him, I would say he knows what he’s doing in terms of nutritional advice. John Meadows advocates a balanced diet that is high in protein, moderate in fats and carbs. He points out in a lot of his articles the downsides of restricting certain macronutrients and their repercussions.
My sources of nutrition:
Protein – is always number one in my diet for a variety of reasons. It fills you up, tastes good, is essential for building and retaining muscle and is highly thermogenic. There is recent research to show that you only need about half your bodyweight in protein a day to build muscle, but this is the bare minimum. I don’t see the logic in eating the minimum, because of all the benefits extra protein intake can bring. I shoot for at least my bodyweight (170grams at 170lbs), but usually go over it.
- Sources –
- Egg whites
- Lean Beef
- Greek Yogurt
- Elite XT protein powder
Fat – is number two in my diet because of the many benefits it has in the human metabolism. John Meadows recommends at least .4-.5 grams a day per pound of body weight. (68-80 grams for me at 170lbs). Fat is important for cell metabolism, vitamin absorption and most importantly hormone production (testosterone). Failing to get in enough fat is a mistake. More important is that the type actually matters. Saturated and monounsaturated increase hormone levels the most, which help you build muscle and burn fat. Polyunsaturaed vegetable oils and trans fat lower hormone levels, slow the metabolism and promote inflammation. (not what I’m trying to do at the moment) Polyunsaturated usually appear in processed foods.
- Sources –
- Almond butter (eat this rather than peanut butter, because of the increased amount of monounsaturated fats),
- Fish oil (these are technically polyunsaturated, but it’s not a vegetable oil and have a ton of benefits),
- Egg yolks (mono, saturated fat and cholesterol, very important for testosterone levels.),
- Animal fat (the kind that comes naturally in beef and chicken),
- Coconut -oil and milk
- Almond milk
- Cheese (usually saturated)
Carbs – is number 3 in my diet. A lot of experts claim carbs aren’t necessary, but their wrong. Metabolism, thyroid, muscle and liver glycogen, feel good chemicals, brain fuel (to think straight), and hormones go down the drain on chronic low carb diets. Many of these problems can be avoided by getting in at least 100 grams a day. What I do is set my protein and fat requirement and fill the rest in with carbs. Since I exercise every day I burn through a decent amount in addition to the amount I need to maintain normal functioning. Right now at my caloric level of 2200, carbs are around 150-220 a day. Sometimes I eat less carbs and more protein, mainly because I like protein more, but I always try to keep it to at least 100 grams of carbs a day.
- Sources –
- Oatmeal – rolled and weight control maple and brown sugar
- Potatoes – white and sweet
- Fruit -berries, bananas, apples
- Vegetables – Broccoli and onions
- Sometimes – bread, pizza, low fat chips (usually post workout)
Supplements – I always go through phases with supplements, but recently I’ve been ignoring them and focusing on eating more food. Supplements are very expensive and for the most part I feel they are useless and uneeded. That being said I always use a few.
- Sources –
- Multivitamin (costco brand) (unless you eat a really diverse diet, most of the time you are going to be deficient in at least a few essential vitamins),
- Fish oil (costco brand) (ton of benefits here and one of the only good polyunsaturated fats),
- Creatine (cheap and effective),
- Protein powder (Elite XT fudge brownie and vanilla,
- Quest bars (Dear God these are good)
Miscellaneous – there a a few foods that don’t really fit into these categories, but since there always a part of my diet, I felt entitled to include them.
- Alcohol (more specifically wine) I usually consume this every weekend and thanks to this article I don’t really worry about it effecting me that much
- Splenda (Stevia also) I consume these almost every morning with coffee and to sweeten protein shakes. They really do enhance the flavor without adding a ton of extra sugar to the diet.
- Diet Coke – I consume at least one of these every day and don’t plan on stopping now.
- Sugar-free syrup – spread this over some berries or oatmeal and it greatly enhances flavor.
- Coffee – usually two or three cups a day in the morning.
- A lot of these foods aren’t the healthiest, but as long as I stick to my ratio of 80% healthy foods, the other 20% processed foods don’t really bother or effect me that much.
Worst Foods – I don’t like demonizing certain foods, but there are a few out there that truly are terrible and have no benefits and a lot of negatives that can really hurt people in the long run.
- Trans Fat – inflammation, heart disease, screws with you healthy fat balance, lowers hormones
- Soy – decreased testosterone, increased estrogen (more fat, less muscle), disrupts healthy thyroid output (slows down the metabolism)
- Polyunsaturated vegetable oils – basically the same negatives as trans fat, but people consumer way too many of these thinking these oils are healthy. Stop eating these and start eating more monounsaturated and saturated fat; these taste better and are more natural then polyunsaturated anyway.
Foods that get criticized too much
- Sugar – this gets blamed for just about everything, but trust me people are fat for a whole lot more reasons than eating lots of sugar. Within a balanced diet, sugar can fit it in just fine and may even have a few benefits, especially after a hard lifting workout. Sugar can decrease stress and fill liver glycogen which helps with hormones that help you build muscle and burn fat. Moderation is needed, but too much and too little is not good.
- Gluten – Unless your a celiac and eating a balanced diet, gluten is not likely to make up a large portion of your diet. It definitely has some negatives, but gluten is getting blamed for all obesity just as sugar has in the past. Its pretty annoying to read all of this gluten free bandwagon info, from people who have much bigger problems then too much gluten intake.