They can determine the way we think and feel. They can alter how our body performs, how it looks and how it recovers
They can make the difference between a long, healthy, happy, inspiring life, and one full of sickness, disease, stress and anxiety.
They can even impact the health of the planet we live on, and the species we share our home with.
So it’s probably a good idea to make sensible choices. But that’s often much easier said than done…
One health guru preaches plenty of interesting info on what you should and shouldn’t eat, whilst another spouts the complete opposite.
Both are pretty reputable sources, but who to trust? High carb or low carb? Vegan or paleo diet? Raw or cooked? Oil or no oil?
Someone looking to simply eat healthier, live longer and perform better can quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of conflicting information.
On this page, and in the resources linked from it, I’ll try my best to get rid of some of that confusion. I’ll share what has worked for me, how it benefits my life, and how you can begin making changes for yourself.
No preaching, no telling you what you have to eat – just sharing ideas.
The holy grail of nutrition questions, and you should probably be wary of anyone who claims to have a definitive answer.
I personally feel that the best dietary regime should allow for these four principles:
To get this balance, my personal diet principles include:
– Eating predominantly whole, nutrient dense foods that are easy to digest.
– Staying adequately hydrated.
– Avoiding or limiting overly processed foods.
– Eating slowly and mindfully.
I then combine these principles with other healthy lifestyle choices. Simple.
– A high intake of plant foods is linked with a lower risk of developing many of the leading chronic diseases seen today.
– Personally, eating a plant based diet has helped me recover from many of the health problems I developed whilst at university,
– As an athlete I can perform at a higher level and recover quicker. I’m also leaner, carrying a lower percentage of body fat.
– Eating a higher proportion of plants uses less land, energy and water than the SAD, rich in processed foods and animal products.
Although I currently don’t consume animal products, I’m not someone to shun them completely. They have their pros and cons from a health perspective:
Organ meats such as liver and heart are some of the most nutrient dense foods available.
Animal products do contain some nutrients that are harder to get on a plant based diet, specifically vitamin B-12, K-2, and D-3.
Numerous studies have linked the consumption of animal protein with chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Commercial dairy products are acidic and notoriously difficult to digest.
Now we could get into the environmental and ethical considerations, but purely from a human health standpoint, I think that moderate consumption of animal products can be fine, although it’s not necessarily something that I endorse.
Read more about my views on meat eating and how to get the benefits of eating meat (on a vegan diet)…
Here’s the truth:
Both the nutrient density and digestibility of a food are more important to consider that the exact amount of carbohydrates versus fats versus proteins that you should consume.
Besides, evidence suggests that both the high carb – low fat and high fat – low carb approaches can work well for people.
70 C – 15 F – 15 P
Studies have shown that it can help to prevent and reverse heart disease and diabetes.
Some of the longest living populations in the world consume a high carb diet based primarily around plants.
25 C – 60 F – 15 P
Fat is the preferred fuel source for a number of important bodily functions.
Many studies link a high fat diet with improved body composition, and a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases.
I played around with a high carb vegan diet for a few years, and I’ve also experimented with a higher fat approach.
I honestly feel best when I don’t worry about it too much, and just eat whole foods.
Breakfast – Green smoothie with bananas, oats, dates, chia seeds, kale, spinach.
Lunch – Black beans, quinoa, mixed salad.
Dinner – Stir fry with black rice noodles, lentils, mixed veggies, greens and tamari sauce.
Snacks – Fresh fruit, dried fruit, edamame beans.
Breakfast – green smoothie with avocado, coconut oil, hemp protein, nuts, seeds, kale, cocoa nibs, stevia.
Lunch – green salad with avocado, nuts, olive oil, and tempeh.
Dinner – Sweet potatoes, lentils, salad, nuts, seeds, olive oil and sauerkraut.
Snacks – nuts, seeds, dark chocolate.
Sample recipes coming soon…
On the grand scale it doesn’t really matter that much, but here are the main differences:
Plant based diet
Primarily focussed around the health and performance implications.
People might still consume some animal products and use products that are not vegan.
Usually adopted with the big picture in mind – ethics, the environment, and animal welfare.
Although a vegan diet can be healthy, it’s not always the main concern.
Changing your diet is similar in many ways to just about any other habit change – the same key principles apply:
– Make sure you’re changing for the right reasons – ones that are aligned with your values.
– Focus on one change at a time.
– Start small, and build gradually.
– Get help from someone who knows what they’re doing.
Protein is no doubt important, but the amount we need is often exaggerated.
– The recommended amount is roughly 0.8g of protein per day per kilo of bodyweight, and slightly higher for active individuals.
– A protein deficiency is almost impossible to achieve as long as you eat a variety of plant foods. Athletes can supplement with plant based protein powders such as hemp and pea protein.
– Amino acids found in proteins work together throughout the day to produce the right amounts and ratios needed by the body for specific functions.
After being fully plant based and vegan for over a year, I had blood tests that showed my serum protein levels were higher than the normal range (without any supplementation at the time).
TO BE CONTINUED…