It starts small, It starts with a choice, and It can start today.
It can be eliminating something you know isn't helping you progress, it can be adding something you know that would help you progress even more, but there is always somewhere you can grow. Don't get complacent. We all have improvements to make.
Nutrition, fitness, work, goal setting, family, etc. Isolate something, start small, and attack it. be relentless in pursuit knowing that you can always do more. Small goals accomplished, one after another, leads to big progress month after month, and year after year.
Some may need a bit more aggressive approach. I tend to find myself aggressively attacking and looking for something to make a stand for. This being due to my past and where I grew up, for the most part. I don't want to get caught in nothingness. There's too much nothingness, too many people who don't give a shit, who aren't doing shit. I'm here to be a difference maker, so how can I make a difference? It starts with me. What are you doing, and WHY? Define it. Approach your life with purpose. fitness, why are you working out? Why are you working where you work? Why do you eat the way you eat? Some of the questions I can define easily now from taking the time that is due to personal growth.
In this post I'll give just ONE example of the changes I am making to make an impact. There are many areas I am working on simultaneously, but today I'm going to discuss my current eating trend. It wasn't some drastic quick thinking transition, it started with a choice I made two years ago for a new years resolution.
The change started with the elimination of artificial colors from my diet. Small and direct, but very accomplishable. Educating myself on why they exist and the potential harm they include... There's just simply no reason for them, other than marketing your product to look more appetizing. The downside is much higher...
Do a google search on how many other countries ban them entirely.
Every item I selected something to eat I inspected my choice to ensure there were no colors. Cereals, drinks, supplements, certain packaged items, some considered to be "healthy" but I can attest the data proves otherwise with artificer additives into food. look closer on foods you think are "healthy" i.e "Honey bunches of oats." A frequented healthy cereal choice but is loaded with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives for freshness... Do your research, look into labels deeper, and make a better choice.
My small research led to furthering my education into all of my food choices... A question I ask daily to myself, "Am I performing at my absolute best, and is my food helping me get there?" But as I research and educate myself more, I believe there is more to my nutrition now than just how am I performing..
The more I look, the more I realize how much all of our choices affect the environment around us.
Fast forward another year to this past new years resolution, my dedication consisted of eating vegetables with 1 or more meals a day.
I've never hidden my eating profile, I have never put the time into eating vegetables that they deserved. I never had a problem with just taking a multivitamin to get my daily micro nutrients in, because after all, it doesn't matter where you get your macro/micros from, as long as the numbers are right, you will perform to your best (current fitness trends will tell you)...
I've always been a believer in the "if it fits your macros / IIFYM / flexible dieting" movement and one of the early movers in eating WHATEVER you want within your macro nutrient guidelines to see performance results... But now after I've actually opened my eyes to how we may be intended to eat, that form of eating now represents a lazy approach to performance. There is much left to be desired and I can now attest to there is more room to grow in how you perform with eating as we are intended to.
Natural, real, whole, food sources... But beyond that, what are these real foods we are intended to eat?
It is easy to get caught in the moment, just as I may be right now, but I feel I am on a path to success. Anything we can change that may yield big results, the natural way, is worth doing. Us as fitness professionals have a duty to try and etch out the best way to fitness. This is just the next path for me so I can hope to hand something back to you all on my journey.
1 meal a day consisting of a portion of vegetables, turned to 2 meals a day, turned to every meal having a portion of vegetables. The better I felt, the more I ate. The more I read, the more benefits I understood.
Now I am working on eating 1 meal, or more, a day that is ALL plant based, and turning almost 80% of my intake into plant based nutrition.
60% of my daily protein intake used to come from dairy (milk, cheese, whey). Over 2 gallons of milk a week for 20 years of my life (I'm only 27)... I have been conditioned to drinking it, so am I really in control of my diet? I was a bit reliant on that source and where that source comes from is a bit undesirable (Mistreated cows and over-processed product), so I'm working to make changes to vegetable/nut choices of "milk". Still having a high value of protein that digests more comfortably, is hypoallergenic, and the proteins assimilate just as high as whey with complete amino acid profiles.
1 month on my 80% plant based diet, I am still easily able to reach my daily protein goal of 240grams.
The sources I now find 75% of my protein from are from vegetables, grains, beans & legumes, nuts & seeds.
Don't let conventional media fool your impression, read more, keep asking questions. The FDA is questionable on all accounts with Americanized medicine culture as well as how it governs food and drug distribution.
Normal conceptions of SOY protein is that it has high estrogen levels, and certain amounts are bad for your health... In other terms, if you're a guy you're going to turn into a chick if you drink ANY soy protein... so every article in mens health and bodybuilding.com will want you to think.. seems a little broscience if you ask me, because the more I searched for any REAL evidence or human trials on people having adverse reactions to soy intake, the more BENFITS I found without any REAL research or personal trials. People groomed into thinking certain ways because of American conventionalism, while never trying something different to potentially make a positive impact.
Question shit, don't be part of the herd. Start thinking for yourself and have self conversation to answer some of the defining questions of WHY?
(eye opener on the FDA on the perscription drug side of america, but an eye opener to the function)
The conclusions I'm having is that through eating healthier, with more conscious and educated choices, not only am I objectively performing better, lifting more weight, running faster, recovering better mentally and physically, I can also have a impact on the world. All can be done at once, it doesn't have to be choosing between performance, or health, or the environment. It may be small, but it starts with me.
Tara and I have watched days worth of films ( Netflix / Youtube / Vimeo / Apple TV ), read research / blogs /websites for info and data, followed certain accounts to stay current, spoken with those around us that eat plant based, all to see what is going on around the world in nutrition. Is it possible to eliminate the need to confine animals in horrible conditions? Eliminate the need to decimate natural resources and ruin the ozone to feed animals for our consumption? Eat non processed foods? Read past the lines of what the FDA produces? all while also eating what it takes to perform at an elite level? I think so...
Understanding how our bodies are affected by our food choices as well as how our environment is impacted by what we eat has opened our eyes in a way we cannot turn our backs to.
Tara and I have transformed our diets in an effort to eat 1 or more full meals a day that are plant based only. Also switching some of our supplements to plant based forms, reducing almost 100% of dairy, outside of occasional post workout whey protein shakes. It is a challenge I'm willing to accept from myself knowing I can make anything work. My first thoughts on eating plant based was am I going to be able to perform and can I get enough protein and total calories.
Total calories and protein are easier to consume than imagined ( Maintenance calories is around 3750cals ), and I have felt lighter and just as strong in all of my workouts. My meals aren't weighing me down and I have the clarity to really focus on whats important to me progressing this next year.
I challenge you to dedicate this next month to making a change. I feel my changes will affect my performance and the environment in the same manner, positively. I will continue to educate myself on the matter and hope to make small differences by making people more conscious of their choices. You vote with every dollar you spend... so choose wisely!
Start this weekend with watching "Before the flood"
I guaruntee it will be the objective eye opening you may need!
Talk soon, and on my next post I will outline exactly what I was eating day in, and day out, to what it has transformed to now. Give you an idea of what the reality of eating plant based looks like for a performance athlete.