How To Eat Healthy

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What should one eat to be healthy? Why is this such a difficult question to find the answer?

Part of the reason we all struggle with our nutrition is because as humans, our way of life has changed incredibly in the last 100 years. Humans no longer need to work physically hard to survive. We don’t need to forage, hunt, farm, or build like we did in the past.

These days, little physical labor is needed to produce the necessities of life. If you wanted, you could literally walk less than 500 steps a day.

Most jobs no longer require arm or leg power, rather, it’s just hours of sitting and inactivity each day. The result of this inactive lifestyle is that we don’t need near as many calories as we used to. And yet, we consume more calories than ever before.

Yet, what we eat makes or breaks most of us.So what are we to do? How to we start to improve our diet and nutrition choices.

What the heck does eating healthy look like, anyway?


The Solution: Eat Vegetarian 80% Of The Time

Bill_JudyI’m a big fan of Bill Pearl. The man is a legendary fitness guru, who still, at 85, works out six days a week. He’s the model of discipline and consistency in remaining strong, healthy, and physically fit.

One of the most surprising things about Bill is, both he and his wife have practiced vegetarianism for the last 45 years.

A quick disclaimer before I go any further. I live in Texas, where it’s nearly impossible to not eat meat. And I do love me some meal (ribs are my favorite). However, I have gotten to the point where follow the 80/20 rule. I follow a vegetarian diet 80% of the time, and then eat what I like the other 20%.

Bill Pearl is all for this kind of philosophy. In one of his books, Getting Stronger, he states, ‘Don’t be too rigit, whatever your diet. Once in a while, have that piece of cake or ice cream cone, so you’re not continually craving a treat. Give yourself a break!'”


Types of Vegetarians

If the thought of only eating vegetables terrifies you, don’t worry. There are actually many different forms of vegetarians:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians: This is what Bill and Judy Pearl are. These types of vegetarians eat food associated with vegetarianism (fruits and vegetables), plus dairy products and eggs.
  • Pescetarians: These are folks that eat the same things as Lacto-ovo vegeterians, but also include seafood into their diets. This is also what I am (when I’m not cheating).
  • Lacto-vegetarians: These folks eat vegetarian foods, as well as dairy products. However, they do not eat eggs.
  • Vegans: These folks only eat plant foods, and no animal products whatsoever.

Why Be A Vegetarian?

As much as we hate to admit it, there are a lot of reasons to eat a vegetarian diet:

  • It will get you in shape. Our bodies crave real food. It doesn’t know what to do with the processed crap that is the majority of what we eat these days.
  • These diets contain less fat. Large amounts of fat in the diet (especially animal fat) are known factors in heart disease, as well as partial factors in other diseases such as breast and colon cancer.
  • You will find a vegetarian lifestyle lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure if you have issues with those (as I do).
  • Vegetarian diets contain a lot of complex carbohydrates and fiber. These help protect you against heart disease and cancer.
  • There is less exposure to unnecessary toxins and poisons. Over 200 man-made substances (such as antibiotics, growth hormones, and other drugs) are allowed into the feed and water of our livestock.
  • Many philosophers feel it is impossible to practice non-violence if animals are dying for your survival.  Personally, I do eat some meat from time to time, so I guess you could say I’m somewhat of a hypocrite. But like I stated earlier, I strive for the 80/20 rule. I do this because I know I’m not perfect (no one is).

A Vegetarian Meal Plan For Superheroes

If you’re wondering what a vegetarian meal looks like for a superhero, here you go. I’ve also put a grocery list at the end.

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal, cooked (1 cup for women, 2 cups for men)
  • Apples, raisins, or other fruit additions optional

Morning Snack:

  • Vegan protein shake (such as PlantFusion, Vega, or SunWarrior)

Lunch:

  • Green salad with balsamic vinegar
  • Lentil and vegetable soup
  • Sweet potato

Afternoon Snack:

  • Vegan protein shake (such as PlantFusion, Vega, or SunWarrior)
  • Piece of fruit

Dinner:

  • Green salad with balsamic vinegar
  • Beans (about 1 cup)
  • Tofu or tempeh, about 1/4 block
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa (about 1/4 cup dry)

Post-Workout:

  • Vegan protein shake (such as PlantFusion, Vega, or SunWarrior)

A Weekly Grocery List  For Superheroes:

  • Salad greens
  • Salad vegetables, such as cucumbers and red onion
  • Salad toppings, such as olives
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Additional vegetables that catch my eye, such as kale, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, etc.
  • Bananas (I love these)
  • Additional fruits, such as pears, apples, grapes, etc.
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cannellini beans
  • Rolled oats
  • Lentils
  • Other beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Raisins
  • Soy and almond milk
  • Tofu
  • Canned tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • Salsa
  • Frozen fruit
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Edamame

Some Staple Items That I Keep On Hand:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Nutritional yeast
  • A wide variety of spices, such as curry powder, creole seasoning, jerk seasoning, and chili powder
  • Stevia
  • Hot sauce (a must)
  • Maple syrup
  • Vegan vegetable bouillon
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