Friday, August 12, 2011

How this all works

I get asked a lot of questions about diet, I always have. When I first became a vegetarian when I was 13, I had to hear the hemming and hawing of those around me who just couldn't accept me not eating meat. This included everyone: grandparents, mother, random people, friends of family. I have never enjoyed the inundation of questions posed by people who don't know the first thing about nutrition. Worst of all were the combative anti-vegetarian folk who looked like they definitely could benefit from a nice run in the park and some vegetables.

Then, at 28, I went vegan. If you think not eating meat creates an uproar, try being a vegan. "What do you do for protein?" "But we were meant to eat meat." "How do you have enough energy?" "What can you even eat?" "I only eat free-range chicken." "Are you a hippy?" "I'll have an extra steak for you tonight." It's just nauseating really.

You can be divorced. You can be broke and use the government to feed your kids. You can be a high school dropout. You can live at home with your mommy as a grown adult. You can even sit on the T and play your stupid loud hip hop music from your phone at full blast without earphones. ALL of these things you can do, and nobody would even DARE to criticize you, or challenge your actions. But when someone finds out you don't eat meat or dairy, the floodgates open, and everyone becomes your nutritionist, ethicist, physician, life coach, parent, guardian, concerned sister, personal trainer, and therapist. It can drive a person insane.

This is why I never offer that information to anyone. If work is ordering pizza, and I eat the usual salad, I just say I prefer to eat my salad. If I'm in a group ordering dinner, I just tell my server "please no cheese or chicken on that." If someone offer me a baked good, I say "No thank you, trying to cut back." It's not that I'm hiding anything. I just want to be left alone with my food choices, because without fail, there will be questions. Period.

So, when I decided to go ahead and prep for a show, I was very pleased to know that my online program was vegan-friendly! My online coach has experience working with vegans, and didn't make me feel like my goals were unattainable.

So, since we're talking about it, and maybe some of you are truly curious about what I eat as I prep, I'd love to share it with you.

As I am on an aggressive meal plan due to the fact that I have significant leaning out in a 4-month time period, my diet is as follows:

Meal 1: 4 oz protein, 1/4 cup starch, 1/2 cup veggies, 1/4 fruit
Meal 2: 3 oz protein, 1/4 cup starch, 1/2 cup veggies, 1/4 fruit
Meal 3: 3 oz protein, 1/4 cup starch, 1/2 cup veggies, 1/4 fruit, 1 tsp fat
Meal 4: 3 oz protein, 1/2 cup veggies
Meal 5: 4 oz protein, 1/2 cup veggies
Meal 6: 4 oz protein, 1/2 cup veggies, 1 tsp fat

For meat eaters, protein could be fish, steak, chicken, turkey. For vegans, my option is protein shake and tofu. Sure, legumes like chick peas have protein, but they also carry a ton of starch. So, I'd have to double count that as a starch. So I rarely eat beans, and use tofu and protein shakes.

Good fats include coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, flax oil.
The veggies do NOT include starchy veggies like potatoes, corn, peas.
I drink at least a gallon of water a day, and I eat every 2-3 hours.

That's it. It's not rocket science. However, you DO have to plan. You won't find 3 ounces of protein anywhere around town, so you, quite simply, have to pack it. It's just a lifestyle, like any other. Just like hitting the gym after work every day. It doesn't mean that it wouldn't be EASIER to jet set home and park it in front of Judge Judy. But if it were easy, then everyone would do it, and it wouldn't be special.

And 1/4 cup of anything is really is quite small, about three very small strawberries, or two mouthfulls of oats.

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