This is where the rubber hits the road! Find out how you feel by eating more "closer to the source" meals and reducing meat products by trying it for just four weeks.
You can start right now eating more meals with source foods and eating less meat products at meals, or having more meals with no meat products. It is important that you don't just eliminate foods without replacing your calories. It's also important that you don't start eating really low quality foods like lots of french fries, chips, or anything like that. The source foods meals need to be good, well-rounded nutritious meals with high-quality foods. Eat good quantities – your body will tell you what you need. Give it some time, see how you feel, and use the contact fields at the bottom of this page to let us know how it went.
Or, if you want, here is a more structured approach for a four week test.
STEP 1- TRACK WHERE YOU ARE NOW FOR A WEEK
Just as a fighter has a record of "wins-losses-draws", look at your eating record and then improve it. Download and print the scorecard. Use it to track your eating for the next week, noting which meals were totally of foods close to the source (with no meat or dairy at all), which had some meat, and which had some dairy. Your test will not involve eating less dairy products unless you want it to, but you need to track this to make sure you don't start eating a lot more dairy products (cheese, etc.) as you cut back on meat products. Cheeses taste great but can have a lot of fats and many people notice that they feel congested when they eat a lot of dairy, so we don't want to mess up the test. Let's also not deal with eggs at all for this test, so keep eating any eggs you currently eat.
Here is s what a day might look like:
STEP 2 – COMMIT FOR JUST 4 WEEKS TO RAISE THE FIRST NUMBER
The goal of the four week test is the raise the wins column number of source meals on the left, which means you will also decrease the second number of meat at meals, and leave the third number for dairy about the same.
If your first column number is currently less than 5 when totaled for the week, then your goal should be 10 (10 meals in a week that were exclusively foods close to the source). If your number is already 10 or more, try to increase it by 50%. Remember, you want to go for four weeks at a winning record, having your first number be as high as you can, and the second number being lower.
Increase in overall food intake is fine, in fact you can expect that because as your clean up your diet and your energy level increases, you will be able to do longer and harder workouts and you will therefore need to consume more calories. Just keep an eye on still eating a great balance of healthy foods.
If after four weeks you notice you feel better, or feel no change at all, then increase the first number again and run the test for another four weeks. You will likely feel lighter, have more energy, sleep better, and just have more energy. Also then experiment with lowering the last dairy number for a few weeks, and you will likely breath more clearly, especially when you are really tired during your training. Ultimately, a good goal if you eat 3 meals a day is to get to 12-4-6. 21-0-0 would be the record if you wanted to eat no meat or dairy. UFC fighters Jake Shields and Nate Diaz both have zeros in the meat column.
When your energy level increases, increase your exercise and take the opportunity to get into better shape. It's all part of the test. If you increase your exercise level, you may need to eat more calories, but again, keep it to a good mix of wholesome foods close to the source.
Keep in mind that beyond any increases in energy you might feel, you will definitely be improving your long-term health by cutting down on meat products. Numerous studies have connected eating a higher percentage of "close to the source" foods and less meat with avoiding various forms of cancer and heart disease, so you will reap benefits long into the future.
As for where your eating record will end up, that is totally up to you, how you feel, and what makes you happy. Your body will give you the feedback you need.
If you want some more resources on strength building without eating meat, click here. If you choose to eat no animal products at all, and want some detailed information on essential vitamins and minerals, click here and for a more detailed look at protein, click here.