“You are what you eat from your head down to your feet.”
Almost daily, if not multiple times a day I am asked by my clients and even non-clients, “Artemis what do YOU eat?”; I have even had people say to me, “Just tell us what YOU eat and what YOU’RE making for dinner and we’ll just eat that.” HAHA! So with this, last week I thought, I need to write a blog highlighting the foods that I eat in order to help people understand how I Eat to Train and Train to Eat not just for my own training, but also in general, for LIFE. To feel good when I wake up, have energy at 6 a.m. to teach a bootcamp class or to train a client, to put myself through my own workout within my day full of training and teaching and being on my feet, and to fall asleep before my head hits the pillow and then sleep straight through the night.
Nutrition and a clean, healthy, organic, REAL FOOD (no shakes or meal replacements) diet is an integral part of overall health and for seeing results from your fitness regimen. Furthermore, it’s imperative to adapt a “diet” that is sustainable long-term and becomes natural to you and subsequently your lifestyle. I put “diet” in quotation marks because you are not “dieting”, but rather adapting a sustainable, healthy pattern of eating that fuels you appropriately and does not make you feel deprived. Dieting and calorie-restricted diets, including shakes and meal supplements, do not work if you want to lose weight and permanently maintain a healthy, lean, body weight long term. If you start replacing meals with shakes or some other meal replacement, your body will get used to having the shakes instead of real food and you will need to drink shakes as meal replacements for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE in order to maintain whatever weight this shake or meal replacement helped you to achieve. Do you want to drink shakes or consume some other meal replacement for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE over REAL food?
Furthermore, calorie-restricted diets do not work in the long run as they disrupt important hormones and enzymes. Per Paul Chek, How to Eat Move and Be Healthy (in the Chapter “Never Cut Calories”, Section “What Diets Do to Your Body”) skipping just one meal can result in changes that make it more difficult for the body to lose fat. Initially the response to a skipped meal is an elevation of stress hormones (and not “good” stress, but rather “Red Alert! Something is wrong! We are in danger!” hormones). The body then responds to the stress signal by releasing stored glycogen from the liver into the blood to raise your blood sugar. After all, your body thinks that you’re in a life-threatening situation. Repeated bouts of stress result in a yo-yoing between high and low blood sugar, creating yet another major stressor on the body. An over-stressed body will not function at an optimal level and this is not the ideal state for losing weight.
At Iron Body Studios, when we start with a new one-on-one client, the first two things that we do with the new client before putting them through any sort of training session are 1) Perform a movement assessment so that we can determine the client’s asymmetries and 2) Request that the client submit a food diary so that we can evaluate the client’s overall nutrition. As we move forward with the client, we request that the client submit his or her food diary on a weekly basis, especially if one of the client’s main goals is to lose body fat and acquire lean muscle.
The saying, “You are what you eat from your head down to your feet” rings completely true at all times. If you eat lean organic protein and fresh organic fruits and vegetables, you will feel fresh and energized and your body will operate like a well-oiled machine. If you eat a meatball sub from your local sandwich shop made of a processed white sub roll – (which is essentially just a big sugar bomb and your probably just better off eating a cup of bleached, processed white sugar instead) – meatballs made from non-organic fatty, ground beef that for all you know could have PINK SLIME in it and who knows what bread crumbs they put in it and if they used conventional eggs from caged, corn fed chickens. The sub is further topped with canned tomato sauce (again, another sugar bomb as most conventional canned tomato sauces add sugar to them), and hopefully fresh cheese, but again, this could be some cheaper processed cheese substitute that will likely just give you gas and the runs later (yes, I keep it real :)), then you will feel like a big, fat, toxin filled, processed meatball sub and how the heck are you supposed to have energy to train or even to get through your workday as your body fights to digest this thing?
I could go into the comparison between conventional and organic foods, but I think that truly needs to be a whole other blog post on its own. So, hopefully, per the above example, you get the gist.
Personally, I do not cut calories, I do not fast, I do not do cleanses, nor do I do cleanses and eat at the same time, as that is just asking to have the runs (again, keeping it real), but rather, as you can see, I just eat; and I eat REAL FOOD, preferably raw and organic as much as possible. I do not use a microwave (I think it has been 6 years since I last used a microwave) as a microwave just sucks the nutrients from your food and leaves you with something that has been “NUKED”. Think of the phrase “I am going to go NUKE my food…” does describing what you are going to do to your food by equating it to a nuclear oven sound like a good thing to do to your food? OK then.
I make all of my meals at home and eat dinner out maybe once a week, if that. When I do go out, I do not deprive myself but I do make smart choices otherwise I know that I will feel a “food hangover” the next day while my body cleanses itself if I did not make good choices, as my body is not used to ingesting processed foods, toxins and excess carbohydrates.
Yes, I drink coffee in the morning. I usually have 1 ½ to 2 cups and I take it with warm goat milk like a café au lait. Why goat milk you ask? Goat milk is more easily digested by adult humans, there is less chance of it having been fed a growth hormone that many cows are often fed and it tends to be less pasteurized then cow’s milk thereby retaining important enzymes and vitamins and amino acids. Per Paul Chek, How to Eat Move and Be Healthy (in the Chapter “You Are What You Eat”, Section “Dairy”) raw cow or goat milk is best if it is available to you to purchase as it contains lactic-acid producing bacteria that protects us against pathogens unlike pasteurized milk.
I also stay hydrated and I try my very best to always get enough and uninterrupted sleep so that my body can function optimally and cleanse itself because our bodies are built to cleanse themselves and to rid themselves of toxins on their own.
SO, what specifically are some of the foods that I eat in order to help fuel me through my day?
For breakfast, if I have an early start at 6am or 6:30am, I will eat some Ezekiel bread with almond butter and then a few hours later when I have a morning break, I will eat a hard-boiled egg and some fruit – grapes, pear, or banana for example. If I have time to make eggs in the morning, I will eat 2 eggs (yes, I eat the WHOLE egg and you should too and I will usually fry or scramble my eggs in coconut oil.), 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread and some fruit – any of the previous listed or maybe instead strawberries, blueberries and/or clementines. For variety (and variety is KEY, you want to vary your meals as much as possible) I may have some plain Greek yogurt and fruit instead of eggs, or pepperoni or ham along with my eggs, etc. Avocados are also GREAT to have for breakfast along with your eggs, just sprinkle a little sea salt and pepper on them and if you need to maybe a drop of olive oil and it is delicious and nutritious.
Pre-workout, if I have not just eaten a meal and I need to eat a snack before I train, I will eat a piece of fruit and maybe some raw unsalted nuts (cashews, almonds, etc.), or if I am really hungry I will eat plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup of Ezekiel cereal and maybe some fruit like a banana for energy since it is higher in fructose than many other fruits.
Post-workout, my favorite snacks are either an apple and 1 to 2 hard-boiled eggs, or plain Greek yogurt with cashews, or whole or sliced almonds, fruit and some cinnamon sprinkled on top.
For lunch, I usually have a spinach salad with some sort of protein e.g. tuna, chicken, turkey, steak, etc. and I mix in different combinations all the time with a variety of foods from, for example, tomatoes, beets, grapes, clementines, to avocados, asparagus, pistachio nuts, walnuts, carrots, goat cheese, feta cheese, cheddar cheese, etc. You can put ANYTHING in a salad. And I always make my own homemade salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar, organic German mustard (or French) and sea salt and pepper.
If I don’t have a salad for lunch, I will eat an Ezekiel wrap with some sort of protein, cheese and I always at least have spinach for a vegetable; or I if there are leftovers from dinner the night before, e.g. steak and broccoli, I will eat that for lunch.
Dinner in the Iron Body Studios household is always a lean, organic protein, a vegetable and either an organic squash (when they are in season), or a sweet potato (sliced and brushed with olive oil and then sprinkled with sea salt, pepper and cinnamon and then baked), or a salad (arugula, avocado and beets are a favorite).
Coconut Oil, Olive Oil & REAL Organic Butter
I always cook my eggs in coconut oil and use coconut oil, olive oil or REAL organic butter (not margarine) on vegetables. All three fall under the category of healthy fat consumption and your body needs a certain amount of fat in order to digest all foods properly.
I season my meat with meat rubs and then broil or grill the meat. Usually that is all that meat needs, except perhaps chicken breast that in addition to the rub may need a little olive oil brushed on to it so that it does not dry out when you cook it.
Most importantly I follow the 80/20 rule or the 90/10 rule within which 80-90% of the time I eat healthy and clean and 10-20% of the time I eat the chocolate or ice cream that I want or when I go out to dinner I eat the bread served at the table, have 1-2 glasses of wine (trust me, as someone who is my size and doesn’t drink very often 1 ½ glasses of wine is enough :)) and I may even order dessert. The thing about it is that I don’t go bananas. I listen to my body, to what my body is asking me to feed it, to whether or not it’s full and I order and/or eat accordingly. In addition, since I fuel my body with the right foods I do not have sweet or processed carbohydrate cravings and my life doesn’t revolve around me feeling like I am depriving myself of some food but rather I look forward to every snack and meal. I enjoy seeking out what vegetables and fruits are in season and how I can incorporate them into my meals. I practice OFFENSIVE eating not DEFENSIVE eating. I define Defensive eating as the following, when I read a client’s food journal and I hear them saying to themselves in their head as they made a particular food choice, “Weeell, I guess I have to eat, sooooo I will just have a bowl of cereal… and then since I didn’t eat enough and the right foods I will binge on a pint of ice cream at 9 p.m. because I was still hungry and I had a craving.” How about, “I am hungry and I cannot wait to have steak, broccoli, and an avocado, beet and goat cheese salad for dinner!”, which is what I define as Offensive eating.
The game is life and you are eating to train and training to eat. Follow the 80/20 or 90/10 rule and practice “offensive” eating and crush those meals, and occasional treats, with maximal enjoyment. Most of all remember that you were blessed with one and only one body and this body is supposed to last you a lifetime. Treat it well and feed it properly so that you can get a fulfilling and long lasting life out of it… ENJOY!