What do I eat?
Another popular question I get asked all the time! Most people think I dont eat much at all, but let me tell you, I eat. A lot. But, I am very active. Not just with my own training but active in every day life even when I am not working out. My body need a lot of fuel to get through the day. My training is intense. My lean muscle mass is high and lean muscle mass burns more calories. And my NEAT is high. What is Neat? Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Its all the energy used for everything you do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from using energy to walk, doing yard work, any body movement, climbing stairs, etc.. So what do I eat? Well, every meal and snack I have is protein based. All macros are important but protein is very important for my goals. And, did I mention I am vegetarian? What I eat daily is good for me, but not necessarily good for you. Everyone has different preferences and thats important to remember. Some want 100% organic. Some add meat. Some are sugar free or low carb. None of those are wrong. Its what works for you. The below is what works for me.
I think of food as fuel. There are two types of calories in my books. Calories that fuel me or empty calories. Empty calories aren’t going to help my body get stronger or healthier. These are things like processed foods, sugary and fatty deserts, potato chips, French fries, etc.. Fuel calories provide my body with needed nutrients to perform, stay healthy and get stronger. These are things like natural foods, veggies, fruits, proteins, and complex carbs. Does this mean I never eat empty calories? Nope. I eat them. Every day. Just in moderation. Everything in moderation. Im human. I like sweets. I like bread. I like sweets. Im eating it. If I eat these things in moderation I can still reach my goals. Its when I dont keep a balance that my diet will negatively affect the success of my goals.
Since I work out first thing in the morning I split my breakfast into two portions, a before work out and after work out portion. I need some fuel for my work out but I dont want to weigh myself down with a heavy stomach. My first breakfast is one and a half servings of Fage yogurt, 27g protein. I also have a serving of Nutrex Outfit Amped pre-workout. Yes I am a fan of pre-workout. Its not for everyone. But its good for me. Does it help? Not sure. Doesnt matter. I feel like it helps me.
After my work out is breakfast number 2! A banana and an isolate whey protein shake, 25g protein. My favorite is Nutrex Iso-Fit.
2-3 hours later (depending when I am hungry) I eat lunch. I have a HUGE salad with egg whites, kalamata olives and tofu protein strips (30g protein in this meal), a side of veggies (I vary the veggies). I also have a piece of bread and real butter, and a serving size desert. My desert is usually a caramel rice crispy square, a cookie, something chocolate or something sweet. My sweet snack is always around 100 calories. Just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. But not large enough to put me out of balance. I like 85-90% of my calories to be what I consider fuel calories and 10-15% empty calories.
That holds me over for a couple hours. But 2-3 hours Im hungry again… so its snack time! I usually have a protein bar. Now protein bars have sugars and fillers, etc… so they aren’t a clean food. But they provide protein, they satisfy my endless craving for sweet food and I like them! My favorites are Quest bars or Built Bars. Warmed up in the microwave with a glass of almond milk! YUM!
When do I eat next? Dinner! For dinner I like to do either a quesadilla veggie burger with sweet potato fries or other veggie as a side. Or roasted vegetables/stir fry vegetables with a tofu protein. My burgers are Boca spicy chicken burgers (11g protein) in a (1 serving) Joseph’s Lavash wrap (6g protein), with some fat free cheese (4g protein), spinach and tomato and low fat mayo. Total protein for this meal is 21g. Sometimes I add avocado. When I do fries, I cut a sweet potato into “fries”, bake them and season them with salt and pepper. Add some ketchup and boom! French Fries! If I do roasted veggies or stir fry veggies I go very light on the sauce / oil and add protein strips (24g protein).
Then right before bed, another snack. Yes I snack a lot. I always have a protein shake (Nutrex for the win again!) 24g. And a Kodiak cup brownie because can you tell I like sweets? Whats a Kodiak cup brownie? I use 1/2 serving of Kodiak mix, stevia, vanilla, a little cocoa powder and a small amount of chocolate chips. Add water. Mix it all up and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Yup, tastes like a brownie (7g protein). Total protein for my bedtime snack is 31g.
On days when I am extra hungry or extra active I make an egg white omelette with 1/2 an avocado for a snack. Or I have some sort of “healthy” version of a snack food. Veggies and hummus, cheese and crackers, Chips and salsa (Jospeh’s wraps cut into “chips” and baked), popcorn, etc. … So many options!
My regular day ends up being about 2700-2900 calories a day depending on the changes I make since I dont eat exactly the same thing every day. And some days I am hungrier than others. On hungry or extra active days I can get up to 3200 – 3500 calories a day! Its a lot of calories but its also a lot of food for that number of calories. I eat a large variety of foods and I have some great protein rich meals that I make to satisfy my cravings for pizza, sweets, etc… I will share those through social media over the next few months. Eating clean and “healthy” doesnt have to mean missing out on the foods you enjoy.
I do log my food. ButI dont weight it. I stick to portion sizes by estimate. I want to keep track of what I am eating but I dont want what I eat and how much I eat to dominate my day. I dont want it to be stressful. I want it to be easy. And I dont want it to be all I think about.
Sometimes I eat out or get take out. I dont log my meal on those days. It doesnt matter. I know I went “over” on my calories but who cares? Its once in a while not every day. A few days like that are good for your body. I do it intentionally. If my body gets used to getting the same calories and same foods every single day my metabolism will become way too efficient, requiring me to eat less to maintain my weight. I dont want to teach my body to survive on 1200 calories a day. And it WILL happen if calories are restricted for too long. So I switch it up. Some days eat less, some days more. I listen to my body and eat intuitively. Even though I have a guideline of what I want to consume each day the most important part is listening to what my body tells me. I know and you will know too. Some days my body wants more food. Some days less. I listen. Some days my body craves lots of carbs and needs them! Some days my body craves veggies and light food. Some days I eat all clean food and now and then pizza or other restaurant food, I listed to what my body tells me but I also keep my body guessing and guess what? Everything just levels out. When Im with friends or going out Ill drink a Moscow Mule or two. Or Vodka Soda. I still want to live life and have fun. I still want to eat the foods I enjoy. And as long as I do everything in moderation while maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle it all levels out.