Up to this point, we’ve been focusing a lot on the exercise component of the Olympus Project, which makes since because its the one aspect of the program that is relatively new to us. The truth is, however, that our nutrition is the life building force that enables us to do what we do. It has been said that 80% of our health, physique and vitality is due to nutrition and the other 20% is exercise. I definitely agree with this assertion so today I am going to break things down a little when it comes to what/how we are eating.
In case you haven’t already picked up on it, our book NRG Your Diet and Lifestyle Compass contains pretty much all of what I’m about to say and a lot more. So pick up a copy for yourself (and your friends while your at it) to get the full scoop on the entire NRG Diet and Lifestyle paradigm.
Formula For Success
First, I want to give you the basic macro meal structure that the diet is based on. On a daily basis I like to call it the 3:2 plan. Each day you need at least three servings of protein, quality fat and vegetables and not more than two servings of properly prepared starches and natural sugars. To break it down, a typical meal would look like this:
|Protein – 1 serving (3-6 oz)||Fish, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, eggs, cheese|
|Unrefined Fats – 1 serving (2-4 tablespoons)||Coconut (meat, milk, oil, cream concentrate), heavy cream, butter, olive oil, avocado, nuts, sesame seed oil, palm oil, flax seeds or oil, chia seeds|
|Vegetables – 1 serving (1-2 cups raw, 1/2-1 cup cooked)||Focus on dark green leafy vegetables, steamed or in a salad|
|Starches – 1 small serving (not to exceed 2 in one day)||Sprouted grain bread, presoaked oatmeal, brown or wild rice, yams, sweet potatoes|
|Simple Sugars – 1 small serving (not to exceed 2 in one day)||Fresh or frozen fruit (preferably berries), natural sweeteners (raw honey, pure maple syrup, etc)|
The starches and sugars can definitely be omitted from meals on a regular basis while the protein, fats and veggies should be your focus. This is especially true if you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or really trying to lose weight. The more you cut back on carbs, even from properly prepared starches and natural sugars, the faster you will see results with blood sugar control and fat loss.
Now that you have a basic template to follow, let’s look at an ideal breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.
One of my go to breakfast choices is the smoothie. Whipping up a smoothie in the morning is fast, easy, clean and refreshing. I can pack some serious nutrition into a small and easily transportable package. If you have the book there are a couple of great recipes on page 74 and 75. You can also find them here and here
Since we’ve published the book, I’ve improved on my smoothie making methodology.
My new recipe is as follows:
- 2-4 frozen banana chunks
- 8-12 ounces prepared coconut milk I like the plain So Delicious Brand
- 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries
- 3 heaping scoops of SP Complete (protein/meal replacement mix)
I add the frozen ingredients first, then add the coconut milk and then add the powder. Blend for 20-30 seconds and enjoy a mildly sweet, earthy breakfast that will keep you going strong all morning.
The key to great smoothie texture is the frozen banana chunks. I cut several bananas into 2 inch chunks and stick them in the freezer. This way they last much longer and add the cold and icy texture that we expect of a great smoothie.
In case you’re familiar with the smoothie recipes from the book, you’ll notice that I omitted the raw eggs yolks in my new recipe. Raw egg yolks are still perfectly acceptable as long as they come from the right source. I just find it a little faster and easier to use SP Complete lately. I still make sure I get plenty of eggs in other forms.
Full meal salads are an awesome way to cram a bunch of veggies and fats and proteins all into one big bowl. Here are three examples of full meal salads that really do the trick.
The Anything Goes Leftover Salad
This one is an excellent way to use up leftovers. Here you see a bed of romaine lettuce with Tillamook brand extra sharp cheddar cheese, chopped leftover roasted chicken (with the skin), smoked ham and chopped carrots. Top it off with some homemade oil and vinegar dressing and you are all set.
The BLT Salad (minus the T in my case)
As hard as I try, I just can’t do tomatoes, please forgive me. All you have to is top a bowl of lettuce greens with a few slices of uncured bacon, tomatoes (if you’re into that sort of thing), and this awesome homemade ranch dressing found here. I also chose to throw in some crumbled feta cheese for a little added zing.
Last but not least, the Jason’s Deli Salad Bar
Jason’s Deli has an amazing salad bar with almost every delightful and nutritious salad topping you could imagine. On top of mixed greens there is feta cheese, cheddar cheese, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pickled beets, a boiled egg, apple slices, dried cranberries, a ton of real bacon bits, sliced bell peppers and I topped it off with ranch dressing. Full meal salads are typically a great choice when eating out.
The salads mentioned previously also make excellent dinners and the dinner I’m choosing to highlight also makes an excellent lunch! And the winner is… Hearty Lentil Soup.
While it’s not much to look at, this easy and nutritious soup has become a staple in our household. A good source of fiber, veggies and protein, this full meal soup is a great lunch or dinner option.
There are two snacks that I come back to again and again. The first is the handy, dandy Standard Bar made by Standard Process. My favorite flavor is cocoa cherry.
My other snack of choice is none other than the incredible, edible egg! Boil up a dozen of these babies and you’ve got ready made, super nutritious snacks for the entire week.
If you happen to be using the Plan To Eat meal planner, here are the recipes mentioned in this post:
Take Home Message
When it comes it what we eat, our primary goals should be to nourish the body, satisfy hunger, maintain/regain health and ultimately have an enjoyable experience. I can confidently say that following the template I’ve described above does all of those things and more. By following a low carb, real food eating plan your life will be better.
Week in Review
Week 6 has come and gone and we are humming along as we pass the half way point. It’s all downhill from here. Well not really, there is still A LOT of work to do over the next six weeks and then I still have to run a marathon! Having crossed the halfway point, I’ve noticed that I am getting a little more focused and aggressive about hitting all of the workouts and maximizing my intensity. I can sense my goals on the near horizon and it’s time to get down to business.
The first 6 weeks have been a foundational experience for me. In body and mind, I’ve been relearning the art of heavy lifting and feel like I am finally starting to hit my stride. I feel much stronger and more confident during the lifting workouts. I like this feeling and I will definitely keep up this Crossfit style of exercise. I enjoy the workouts while I am doing them and I definitely enjoy the physique improvements I am experiencing.
This was the first week where the prescribed workouts did not leave me very drained. I felt strength improving and actually powered through several of the workouts. Our skill and form are improving with our weight sessions and we are now increasing our intensity (weight) indicating improved strength.
I was especially proud of our volume workout (3x 5k)…That’s right 9 miles. I haven’t run that far in 3-4 years. Interestingly, I felt pretty solid during the run. I’m fascinated to “feel” how improving my core strength and focusing on form and intensity of activity has improved my ability to run a distance I normally would run out of gas on even at a slow pace. Thinking back 3 months ago, I tried to run 3 miles one morning. My legs became so tight I thought I might have vascular disease because the tightness seemed to mimic Claudication.
All of that is gone now. I didn’t have vascular disease, I was so far out of shape I couldn’t even jog a mile at 11 minute per mile pace….wow….what a difference the strength training has made.
Nutritionally I had a very good week. I maintained a very low carbohydrate diet. I did not notice significant cravings of any type and I believe decisions to stay away from “processed carbs” is reflexive at this point.
I completed all workouts except the Sunday dead left workout. Instead I replaced that with lifting feed bags and heavy ranch work. Hey, life happens. (BTW….my low back normally hurts terribly the day after ranch work….not anymore!!!)
Catch up on previous weeks of the Olympus Project