Tag: diet

Vegetarian Differences in Practice

Vegetarian differences vary a bit between many people who call themselves vegetarian. There are those who eat their diets based on moral or philosophical reasons. There are those that eat based on health concerns. Some have obvious allergies or react badly to different foods. There are those that eat according to religious ideologies. There are a few technical terms for the vegetarian differences if you want to go look them up. There are lacto and ovo and pesco etc. etc. etc.

Vegetarian Differences might be as colorful as this bowl of goodness
Vegetarian Differences might be as colorful as this bowl of goodness

If you go to the message boards and other places where people can leave comments you’ll find quite a few opinions about vegetarian differences. One problem you might find is a certain level of elitism and snobbery. I’ve posted before here about how unhelpful such attitudes are EXAMPLE POST. I’d like to offer only positive, helpful suggestions if at all possible. Please remember that if you feel the need to comment below.

First of all, let’s separate ourselves from the typical “Western Diet” where breakfast might be a half dozen eggs and as many or more slices of bacon. Add in pancakes slathered with butter and fake maple syrup. Have a mid-morning snack of a Canadian bacon and egg biscuit. Have a lunch of fast-food quad cheese burger with fries deep-fried in non-transfat lard. Dinner could be a steak, or pot roast, or ham. I’m sure you get the idea there.

My opinion is that anything you can do to break free of the traditional American eating pattern is great. Many people who don’t eat “normally” do consider themselves vegetarian. That’s what leads to some of the conflict between the different types of vegetarians.

Vegetarian Differences Outlined:

  • You eat nothing but plant materials
  • Above and honey
  • Above and dairy
  • Above and eggs
  • Above and fish
  • Above and poultry
  • Above and the very rare occasional mammalian meat

I’ll also mention a couple of the more extreme examples:

  • You eat nothing but plant materials that killed themselves by jumping off the mother plant
  • You eat nothing but plant materials that involved no level of human or animal slavery

So as you can see there are quite a few vegetarian differences to explore on your way to fitness and health. I myself make no level of judgement, and consider that anyone eating a balanced healthy diet with the intent of continuous improvement is just awesome and needs to be encouraged. Taunts of “you’re not a real vegetarian” are not helpful. If you have an agenda in promoting any of the vegetarian differences in the above bullet-points, then relax and slowly encourage your friends. Don’t shut them down with strong opinions stated in a way they can only accept as rude.

Vegetarian Differences: a blender full of fruit gracing the cover of my diet plan book
Vegetarian Differences: a blender full of fruit gracing the cover of my diet plan book

In my book The 100 Calorie Diet Plan [MORE INFO] I explain my plan with encouragement to reduce your reliance on meat products. Getting a lot of your calories from meat within a portion control system can be difficult. How do you feel? Have you tried it? How did it work for you? Let me know…

How to Weigh Out a Food Portion

In my most recent book The 100 Calorie Diet Plan¬†(available in Print on Amazon and Createspace, and for Kindle and for Nook ebooks) I explain a food portioning scheme based in part on accurately weighing out specific food portions of 100 calories each. I’ve had a few people ask about the details on how to do this, so as a supplement to the book, here is a brief article showing an example.

Nutrition Facts Label for Salted Almonds
Nutrition Facts Label for Salted Almonds

A food portion of almonds

In this example food item, Salted Almonds, the Nutrition Facts Label tells us that 28 grams of almonds is 170 calories. Since we’re looking to have a 100 calorie portion of this food item, we’ll do some simple math to give us the weight of a 100 calorie portion. To find a per-calorie weight, we divide 170 by 28, and then divide that into 100 to find the weight of our food portion.

Divide 100 calories by the  calories per weight of your food item
Divide 100 calories by the calories per weight of your food item

For simplicity in our calculations, that’s 100 / ( 170 / 28 ) which gives us a little over 16 grams, which we round down to 16. Next we set the scale to zero with a little food container on it. Because this is a snack in the middle of the day for me, I’m going to just use a little plastic bowl. For many people this works good because then they can just dump it from the little bowl to their storage container or baggie and just keep weighing with the same bowl. For my scale, I set the bowl on it then turn it on and it automatically zeroes the scale.

Set the scale to zero with your weighing container on it
Set the scale to zero with your weighing container on it

Next carefully dump the almonds or other food item into the bowl until you get the weight you calculated from the Nutrition Facts Label, in this case 16 grams. I prefer grams because it’s fairly precise and most labels or charts will give a food portion in grams.

100 calories of salted almonds is not a lot of almonds
100 calories of salted almonds is not a lot of almonds

Surprisingly, that’s not a lot of almonds. Nuts are a fairly calorie dense food item, with only a few almonds equaling 100 calories. In my opinion, it’s one of those things that are best used in the form of thinly sliced almonds as part of a 300 calorie salad, with a 100 calorie portion of lettuce and a 100 calorie portion of dried grated Parmesan and a spritz of a low calorie soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos

body composition improvement evident in fat loss
Upper back development at 12% bodyfat after losing 60 pounds

I hope that helps you to understand a little better how to calculate and weigh out a 100 calorie portion of a food item. For my Accountability Partner clients we go into much greater detail for selecting a comprehensive plan with goals and achievements built in.

Waterbury Diet Testing – Fasting Phase

I recently attended a personal trainer workshop with Chad Waterbury, trainer of UFC fighters and long-time contributor to T-Nation, a website devoted to many types of weight training and diet. On Saturday we were given the opportunity to learn about the “Waterbury Diet“, which is a variation of “The Warrior Diet”. This diet is based on intermittent fasting or periods of low and high calorie consumption to stimulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. These are known generically as (respectively) “Flight or Fight” and “Rest and Digest” systems. The theory is that if you tweak them just the right way, you’ll take advantage of the fat loss properties of the sympathetic, and the muscle building properties of the parasympathetic.

See update at bottom – 10 Apr 2014

my intermittent fasting diet phase one
Intermittent Fasting – phase one – low calorie

The bottom line is to essentially fast, or consume few calories, for a period of between 12 and 20 hours (give or take a little), followed by a period of relatively “normal” eating for the remainder of the day. Since most people sleep between 6 to 10 hours every day, that’s considered your free fast – easy to not eat while sleeping. The page on Chad’s blog I linked to above is primarily directed for fat loss, but at the workshop Chad also presented a variation based on having a goal priority of gaining muscle. He briefly touched on variations used by his “elite endurance athletes” or fighters. I asked him to discuss that further, and based on the answers to my questions, I modified it slightly to better suit my needs.

Since I do normally train for 3 or more hours in 2 or 3 split segments, I have to consider myself an elite endurance athlete. As well, while listening to Chad lecture, I realized that I had evolved into my own version of the plan, though a bit heavier on protein (I’ll have another article on that based on Chad’s muscle growth plan) and with more eating periods over the day (this was two years ago during my Elbrus Race training during which I lost 25 lb of fat and first hit < 14% bodyfat while gaining 5 lb of muscle).

I figured it wouldn’t be too bad to make the minor adjustments and test this theory, and for the past three days I’ve given it my best shot at disproving it. The photo above represents the fasting period, which ends at my PM workout, chronologically from left to right.

shaker bottles key to weight loss success
Get a dozen or so of these to ensure success

After my sleep (normally waking at 4:00 AM) I first take 15 ml of l-carnitine with CLA, ALA and CoQ10. I get my shoes on and check my email for emergencies, then consume a half-bottle of Labrada Supercharge and begin my training. In the morning I typically do only cardio or light bodyweight exercises. I sip the rest of the Supercharge, and at my break between machines I mix up BSN Cellmass and finish that over the rest of my training. This training period is normally about 90 – 120 minutes long, but could be as short as 72 on easy days or 180 on very hard days.

As soon as possible after my training (generally about 7:30 AM) I blend up 1 overflowing scoop BSN Syntha-6 protein (overflowing so I get closer to 30gm protein – my favorite in this blend is strawberry or vanilla) with 5 mg creatine, 5 mg l-glutamine, 5 mg BCAA powder, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (shown in the glass measuring cup).

A couple hours (about 10:00 AM) later I have a scoop of Amazing Grass GreenSuperfood Lemon Lime Energy in a shaker bottle. In preparation for my noonish skating session, I have 8 Labrada EFA Lean (fish oil) and another ALA. For skating I combine a half scoop each of Supercharge and Cellmass combined in a shaker bottle. Immediately after I finish skating I have another large scoop of Syntha-6 (prefer chocolate or chocolate mint for “lunch”). About 2:00 I have a scoop of Amazing Grass GreenSuperfood Berry in a shaker bottle. Then at home after work (about 4:30 PM) I have a handful of craisins for the insulin spike, since the evening workout is more intense for being shorter.

shaker bottles of protein and electrolyte mix in skating bag
Skate bag ready with during & after shaker bottles prepped

That about covers my 20-ish hours of the fasting period. I have also had a couple shaker bottles of various herbal teas brewed, then poured into a shaker bottle with added water to fill. I’ll post an article about part 2 – the feeding phase in a day or two. I might put up a shopping list for those a little more OCD about it. I myself just squeezed Chad’s plan into my template and already had everything I needed.

It’s been too short a period (only 3 days) for me to offer any solid advice, or make any statements regarding the effectiveness or perhaps most importantly the sustainability of this program. I’ll try it out for a while. I suspect that with my intensity and duration of workouts I will have to add in a bit more protein over the day, but I’m watching the scales and my fat level and will make that adjustment if it becomes obvious to me that I need to.

More later …

Update 10 Apr 2014

After a few weeks I noticed that I was too week to train with such a strict regimen, and Chad himself had mentioned that his MMA clients regularly trained for several hours a day and with splits that did not work for them inside a strict Intermittent Fasting Program. He presented some ideas for modifications that he recommended to his clients.

HERE is an article at EliteFTS about a few modifications to the plan they advocate, just for balance. From my own perspective, here’s how I have ended up usually eating, in a nutshell:

  • 90 minutes previous to training 200 calorie low carb protein shake
  • 30 minutes after training 200 calorie low carb protein shake
  • If I’m doing a split then that’s it until 30 minutes after my PM workout
  • Mid afternoon (or 30 minutes after PM workout) 200 calorie low carb protein shake
  • Late afternoon 3 eggs
  • Early Evening toast, almond butter, salmon, beans, rice, salsa, pasta, cheese, yogurt
  • Before bed 200 calorie low carb protein shake

That has been my staple now for a few years. It works. I love it. I’m training in calorie depleted state, and since I’m primarily and endurance athlete that simulates the effects of doing a marathon on just a handful of gu packets.

If you want more tips like this check out my Lose Weight Gain Muscle Free Weekly Newsletter [HERE] and get on board to start making real progress.

Healthier Chocolate Yogurt

Now with Raspberry Protein Yogurt Recipe Below

Sadly, the yogurt you buy in the store is mostly some form of sugar, sometimes a lot of fat, and pretty processed. If you look at the nutrition information, it’s really just a snack, probably a bit healthier than a candy bar, but if you want the most bang for your caloric “buck” so to speak, you can do better.

chocolate protein yogurt
Chocolate protein and plain nonfat yogurt

My favorite recipe for a high protein low fat low sugar “snack” with probiotics is:

6-8 oz fat-free plain yogurt
1 scoop/serving dry protein shake mix powder

stir well and chow down

I prefer BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder because it mixes quite well at a variety of temperatures, and pretty much always tastes good, imho.

I usually use vanilla, chocolate, chocolate-mint, or strawberry. Add cinnamon to the vanilla for a treat that’s reputed to help moderate blood sugar and digestion. Very rarely I’ll add some banana slices. I’ve never tried it frozen, but it sounds interesting.

Do your tummy a favor and enjoy a treat that’s good for you.

Red Smoothie Detox Facts

Protein Yogurt with Raspberries = 225 calories

  • 100 Calories of non-fat plain yogurt
  • 100 Calories of protein powder (BSN)
  • 25 calories fresh raspberries

Different fruit has different caloric densities. 25 calories of raspberries is quite a handful and any more would overwhelm the bowl I mixed it in. If you use other fruits it might change the calories.

I used the 100 calorie calculator [HERE] to determine how to weigh out my portions. During my transformation from just under 240 pounds to 180 pounds I spent quite a bit of time weighing my food portions and keeping a food journal. I wrote about it [HERE] if you want to know more.

I needed 188 grams of non-fat plain yogurt, 23 grams of vanilla protein powder, and 59 grams of fresh raspberries. I calculated the raspberries in my head. 123 grams is a lot of raspberries, at 52 calories. Half would be 61.5 grams and 26 calories. I think 59 grams for 25 calories is about right for the size of my bowl.

I put the yogurt into the bowl, and stirred in the protein. The fresh raspberries are a little on the delicate side so I didn’t want to be stirring vigorously once I added them. It’s really that simple to make a really healthy high protein low calorie alternative to the pre-packaged yogurts that have 1/3 the protein or less and lots of added sugars, some hidden quite well on the labels.

Protein Yogurt with fresh raspberries. Eat it up!
Protein Yogurt with fresh raspberries. Eat it up!

Try your hand at making your own favorite flavors and post pics and recipes on my Facebook page to share with my followers there. We’d love to see what you have.