What To Eat
The obvious question when considering eating more great tasting foods that are close to the source, and cutting back on meat products is "what should I eat"? The good news is there is an amazing amount of great tasting food that does not involve meat and you probably eat it right now!
SAMPLE OF THE FOODS WE EAT
Below are links to quick lists of all the great food options that what we eat – foods you know and love that don't have meat products. You can also download the list here. There are lots of great tasting options, and here are some sample meal menus to help get you thinking about what you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here is a list of specific recipes if you or someone close to you enjoys preparing great tasting food.
Many fighters prefer to eat more than three meals per day, and not as much at each meal. We actually recommend this since large hits of food can cause large drains of energy to digest, and you get that tired feeling which can slow your training down. This is not as much of a problem if you are eating foods closer to the source because they are easier to digest, but you still should try out eating more, smaller meals.
General foods you can eat
Desserts are easy. Almost no deserts contain meat, and many cakes, sorbets, and pies don't contain dairy. But go easy on the deserts because unless they are made with natural fruits and other ingredients, they can be loaded with sugar and fat. Stick to fruit salads and fruit shakes.
Drinks are also easy. Drink everything you drink now (but go easy on the alcohol and soft drinks). So there's beer, wine, orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, juice of any kind, lemonade, coffee, tea, iced tea, soft drinks, etc.
IF YOU ARE TESTING OUT A CHANGE, IT'S NOT ALL OR NOTHING
If you're interested in seeing how your performance and energy level changes when you improve your diet, you don't have to make a 100% change overnight. Check out these foods to see some great options for meals, and when you are ready to make a change, you can phase it in bit by bit.
WHERE'S THE PROTEIN? RIGHT HERE!
Beans and nuts, and products made from them (tofu, casseroles, stir fries, bean and vegetable burritos, peanut butter, etc.) have a good deal of protein, but without the cholesterol, hormones or pesticide concentrations. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say the average American is eating significantly more protein than they need. Our experience as fighters is we have more energy to train and and we build more strength by eating a variety of healthy foods from the source. Remember, it is not food that builds muscles, it is training and exercise. The food gives you the nutrients to repair and grow your tissues, and the best fuel for the fighter is whole, unprocessed foods direct from the source. If you are want to increase protein intake beyond what a healthy varied diet can deliver, you can use protein shakes with soy protein, but this is a processed food product. For more information, check this out.
EATING OUT? EAT "OFF THE MENU"
If you are eating out at restaurants, there is almost always good "close to the source" foods on the menu, and don't be afraid to eat "OFF THE MENU", meaning if you see a dish that looks good but has meat products in it, just ask to have the chef substitute in grilled vegetables or tofu instead of meat. Ask for what you want, and you can almost always get it.
For home, there's always the pre-made foods in supermarket deli counters, great packaged and frozen food options at stores like Whole foods and Trader Joes, and most supermarkets now carry great lines of frozen lunches and dinners from healthy manufacturer's like Amy's Organics and others. If you cook, here is a link to resources and recipes. If you are looking for a vegetarian restaurant in your city, check this out and you can also look on Yelp.com, and for gourmet vegetarian friendly restaurants, click here.
MEAT AND DAIRY SUBSTITUTES
If you want to avoid cow's milk and all it's antibiotics, hormones, etc., most supermarkets now carry various other types of zero cholesterol milks such as rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, hemp milk, etc. There are also now widely available meat and cheese substitutes that taste ranging from pretty good to great. They are processed foods, so are not the ultra-healthiest way to go, but they definitely can make a transition to less meat products easier. You also always have the option of ordering a dish with some meat, but asking the chef to use half the meat he/she normally would.