Saturday, August 10, 2013

Where do you get your protein from?

This is easily the most frequent question I get from people since I stopped eating meat over two years ago. Now, for a while I continued to eat fish and eggs, but eventually have turned to a plant-based nutrition approach.

It's been shown time and time again that not only is it possible to meet your nutritional requirements on a plant-based diet, but it is possible to excel athletically following this type of nutrition plan.

Athletes such as ultra-runners, NFL football players, MMA fighters, powerlifters, bodybuilders and more have shown the typical image of a skinny, weak, and frail vegan is completely false.

There are many arguments about how humans are omnivores, designed to eat meat (actually when you compare our digestive tract to a carnivore and true omnivore's digestive tracts you might be surprised), the B12 argument (by the way, B12 is made by bacteria not animal flesh, and animal-based foods are a hotbed of bacteria), and many more arguments about why humans should eat meat. Pretty much all of that can be debunked by clicking this link: Humans are naturally plant-eaters according to our bodies a very informative article at

Protein is found in all plant-based foods, in fact T. Colin Campbell has stated that a diet consisting of a wide-variety of whole plant foods will provide the body with all the essential macro- and micro-nutrients in the correct ratios the body needs. Keep in mind what that last sentence stated "wide-variety" and "plant-based". Did you know Oreos are technically considered vegan because they contain no animal-based products? I'm sure that you know plenty of vegetarians and vegans who don't eat healthy.

It is pretty easy to follow a plant-based nutrition plan, and not only have I dropped a lot of unhealthy body-fat (about 50 lbs.) I'm currently leaner, and healthier than I've ever been. This was confirmed at my last physical, the first time I've ever had perfect lab results. In addition to becoming much healthier, I came out of a two-year "retirement" from kettlebell lifting and after only a few months of dedicated training I exceeded my training and competition results in the event I compete in, the long cycle (clean & jerk of two kettlebells). My previous best lifts were in 2009 with the 20kg bells - 71 reps in training and 65 in competition at about 225 lbs bodyweight; and just recently at about 180 lbs bodyweight I made 72 reps in training and 67 in competition at the 2013 Punch Gym Sarasota Kettlebell Sport Championship with the 20kg bells.

What I Eat

This is a typical daily meal plan for me.

4:00am: 32oz. of water with lemon squeezed in.

4:30am: fresh-made juice; usually 4-5 carrots, 2 apples, handful of greens (parsley or kale), lime, and beet with a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar.

5:00am: black coffee w/ 1 tbsp of coconut oil

6:00am: green smoothie; 2-3 handfuls of greens (usually kale, dandelion greens, collard greens or swiss chard), a banana, 1 cup of mixed berries; blended in 2 cups of water or almond milk - I sometimes throw in a scoop of brown rice protein or a veggie protein blend

8:00am: usually a couple pieces of fruit, apple, pear or berries

10:00am: bowl of cereal (ezekial or ancient grains w/ 1/4 cup of raw oats, 1 tbsp of flax meal, cinnamon and almond milk) OR brown rice rice cakes with peanut or almond butter

1:00pm: almond or peanut butter sandwich

5:00pm: brown rice and black beans - sometimes with tempeh or tofu added in; I might also eat a salad or add vegetables to the rice and beans

8:00pm: another green smoothie like the morning one - 2-3 handfuls of greens, 2 fruits and 2 cups of almond milk or water

*post workout: after training I usually have the following blended smoothie - 2 cups of almond milk, 1 banana, 1 scoop of brown rice protein or veggie protein blend

I also drink about a gallon of water a day, and usually have hot tea once or twice a day - green or puh ehr usually. I will usually mix in other things like goji berries, nuts and seeds, other fruits and veggies, or different things in the cooked meals, but this gives you a general idea. A lot of the time I just have a juice, 2 blended smoothies and 1 cooked meal a day, snacking on raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds in between meals. The above is pretty much how I was eating when training for the 2013 Punch Gym Kettlebell Sport Championship when I posted my best kettlebell meet numbers.

What about eating out? Generally my wife and I hit Asian restaurants so that's easy. Today in fact we were at Rusans in Alpharetta, GA and I had hot green tea, a tofu dish, a peanut maki (roll), a tofu maki and sometimes I'll get a seaweed salad. It's really tough for me to stay away from the fried mochi (rice cake) and red bean sauce dessert too!

Competing in the long cycle event at the Punch Sarasota Kettlebell Sport meet!

Hopefully that answers some of the questions about how I eat! I can honestly say I've never felt better and been this healthy. Currently my goals are to continue to focus on plant-based nutrition and I would like to get back into regular lifting competitions, mainly to see if I can better my past performances from heavier weight classes in both kettlebells and the power-lifts (I've still got this deadlift monkey on my back I haven't shaken yet) while not sacrificing my health like I did in the past! Time will tell but things are going great so far!

Stay Strong and Healthy!