Early to rise

Diet Depletion – What Will You Give Up?

diet creepI have been the victim of “diet creep”.

Diet creep is what happens to a great diet when you get a little too confident and a little too lazy. Happens a LOT to folks who finish up the TT Transformation Contest and then start sliding back into their old habits.

It doesn’t happen very often, but I’ve found my diet compliance going from 90% perfect to 85% and down to 80%. Time to do something about it.

(And hey, if you want to give up a few things this month, just let me know in the comments section…we can support one another!)

Now I know that because of my workouts I’m still gaining muscle and not gaining fat, but as a role model to you and hundreds of thousands of other TT readers, I’ve decided to get strict and lead the way this June.

So for the next 30 days, I’m kicking these foods out of my diet:

  • Caffeine
  • Added sugar
  • “Processed foods”
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Alcohol

Let’s take a look at why I’m removing each one of those…

1) Caffeine green

This one always causes so much confusion. So let’s get something straight.

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with folks drinking coffee or tea in moderation. That’s not a big deal. Do what you like.

But personally, caffeine makes me anxious, and I already have issues with anxiety, so no need to fuel the flames.

However, I found that more and more caffeine was creeping into my daily intake, and so I’m cutting it out.

I’ll be sticking to naturally de-caffeinated Green Tea instead, as Men’s Health magazine assures me that I still get the health benefits of Green Tea provided the caffeine is removed naturally.

So that’s my stance on caffeine.

2) Added Sugar post workout drink

The main source of added sugar in my diet was the chocolate milk I’d drink 3 times per week after my workout. But for the month of June, I’m cutting it out.

And then there was also a little bit of diet creep going on as well…Last week in Vegas I also had a couple of Gatorades, and I noticed I was starting to buy the mixed nuts in the airport that also had the M&M’s.

But I know that’s not setting a good example for you, so let’s get back to square one and cut out all added sugar, shall we? Anyone want to join me on this one?

3) “Processed foods”

Alright, this is a tough one to define, but here’s my definition for me this month…

a) No added sugar

b) No refined flours

So for example, I’ll still consume bread, but only breads such as the “Organic Sprouted Spelt” from ShaSha Co. that I bought today for my almond butter sandwiches.

The ingredients are:

Organic Whole Spelt Flour, Water, Organic Sprouted Spelt, Organic Sour Dough (Organic Spelt Flour, Water, Bacterial Culture), Salt.

I generally don’t eat pasta, pastries, rice, or white bread, so this one should be easy to stick to.

Maybe next month I’ll go “no wheat”.

Other “organic” and “natural” foods that get cut from this list include:

– Mrs. Renfro’s salsa (any versions that contain added sugar)

– Almond milk (the ones I have contain added sugar…so I’ll look for ones that don’t…any help?)

ep_craig_ballantyne_lunch_chili-300x156Now here’s where you can argue with me…

but I’m keeping these foods in my diet even though they come in a can or a jar…

– Amy’s Organic Chili (Ingredients: Organic Red Beans, Filtered Water, Organic Onions, Organic Bell Peppers, Organic Potatoes, Organic Carrots, Organic Corn, Organic Rice Flour, Organic Safflower Oil, Organic Jalapeno Peppers, Spices, Organic Garlic, Sea Salt)

– Beans (Organic Kidney Beans, Water, Kombu Seaweed)

– Organic and Non-organic nut butters (such as cashew butter, almond butter, pumpkin seed butter and peanut butter)

Alright…feel free to argue my defintion, but I’m happy with it.

4) Dairy

This isn’t a big deal because 90% of my dairy intake consists of those 3 chocolate milks per week, so I figured why not throw it on the list. Sometimes I add an ounce of cheddar cheese to my morning omelets, but I’ll give that up for now.

Here’s a tour of my fridge stocked for this new plan:

5) Meat

I still like meat and plan on eating meat as soon as July 1st hits, but I figured, why not throw it on the list. Besides, I ate enough steak for a month when I was in Vegas last week.

So no meat this month.

6) Alcohol images3

I usually have 2-3 beers per week, but I’m cutting those all out for June. This should be the easiest thing to give up of them all. Those bottles of Rickard’s White Ale will just have to chill in the fridge a little while longer…

So what’s staying in my diet?

– eggs, whole-grain breads, nut butters, raw nuts, and dozens of different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Pretty simple, and of course, regardless of your dietary preferences, your food foundation should feature a lot of fruits and vegetables – so your diet shouldn’t be much different from mine even if you eat dairy and meat.

So what will be my challenges?

First of all, getting enough protein will NOT be a challenge. I’ve discussed that before here…

Vegetarian Protein Intake

But my challenges will be the obvious…

– I have a work dinner on Wednesday night, but my colleagues are healthy so we’ll go somewhere vegetarian…

– I’m supposed to go to some boat cruise party on Sunday…looks like no cold beers for me images7

– I have to travel to LA for 5 days next week…the first 2 days will be easy because I’m hanging around Kardena Pauza, a vegan raw food expert for 2 days, so that should be no problem. But then I have a 2 day meeting with some strength coaches who like to eat steaks and party,  so it will be more difficult, but not at all impossible. I’ll just plan ahead, right?

– But the biggest challenge will be when I take Bally the Dog to Grandma’s house…because it’s meat twice per day and plenty of processed food temptation. But again, we’ll just plan ahead and take some foods that are on the “okay” list.

Overall, a nice little “diet depletion” challenge for June.

Care to join me?

Is there at least ONE food or ingredient you could give up for an entire month?

Let me know what it is by commenting below…

And make sure to follow my progress and give me support on Twitter and Facebook here:

Click here to join me on Twitter cb-abs-2_june-2008_small1

Click here to join me on Facebook

Here’s to your diet success,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

PS – C’mon, don’t be shy…

…commit to giving up one thing this month and tell me what it is below…

Stay strong!


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  • LuckyPenne

    WOW, like perfect timing! I was just wondering if I really wanted to make public my goal to return to 100% low fat, raw vegan for the remainder of the 5th TTTC, and then you come along with a fantastic show of courage and determination to spur me on!!

    One thing that really helped me was a piece of advice from Dr. Doug Graham’s “Perfect Health” program, namely that cravings (caffeine & complex carbs, et al.) are a sign that you haven’t eaten enough fresh, whole, raw, ripe (and preferably organic) fruits and veggies! I started this journey last summer with a 30-Day Challenge, and it took that long to conquer the artificially processed addictions (including sea salt and avocado oil as my salad staples!) and revitalize the ol’ taste buds.

    Thanks for the motivation to keep on track!! {{{BIG HUGS}}} And Brad, LOL at the tic tacs. No beer chillin’ in my fridge to send ya’ — never developed a taste for the stuff, even though it was free-flowin’ at the frat houses when I was in college. The Canucks corrupted, um… offered my son (just turned 20) his first cold one when he went up to Craig’s neck of the woods to study at the Sendokan dojo last year — he wasn’t impressed (queezy’s more like it,) but just as well — he won’t be old enough to get one here in the States till fall! :P

    Cheers ~

  • Charity G

    Hi Everyone,
    I’m new to TT (joined about a week ago) and I’m really enjoying the workouts but have found that I really need to overhaul my diet. Sooo for the balance of June I am going to give up sugar and cut back on my caffine intake and try to replace it with Green Tea. I’m also going to drink more water through out the day to hopefully help curb the afternoon snack attacks!

    Good luck Everyone!!

  • http://byright.blogspot.com/ Arif

    I definitely cannot pull out dairy from my diet. I drink low fat milk everyday! Anyway, I shall kick out refine sugar, caffein, process food, and most importantly oil! I am reducing all of these but i cheat sometimes. This time, no cheating!

  • Graham Gayle

    Craig I must say that your work outs are wicked. Im also very impressed by your knowledge of diet and nutrition too.

    I need to loose weight around my stomach area. Also, I have very huge thighs which I want to reduce. Do you have any suggestions. I have done hours of cardio jogging, which I now hate.


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Graham, what TT workout are you using now?

  • sylke

    Hi Craig,

    I am a fan of your training plans but today I am shocked.

    The cause: fancy dieting like taking your meat ratio out of your diet totally.
    Let me just say that I was living as a vegetarian for not less than 7 years!

    The result: I depleted my system of many essential substances so that my immune system was working on the edge of failing. And please don’t get me wrong I ate lots of diverse plant foots and plant proteins, no processed rubbish foot.

    I needed to start eating meat again in order to better my fragile health.
    Meanwhile I have found out that I’m a a protein type and I even crave for read meat after I had my monthly period. For sure I would prefer to eat vegan and to let all the animals alive But not for the price of my own health.

    For what reason do you want to give up meat?
    Have you ever found out what your metabolic type is?

    Wishing you all the best with your plans,


  • http://herofit.tv Bill Pairaktaridis

    I guess I’ll try something like this as well. I’ve already cut out alcohol from my diet and I’ll cut out processed foods as well. Coffee isn’t an issue either. It’s mostly the processed grains that are my problem. I’m also switching to almond milk, so no dairy shouldn’t be an issue. I’ll have to start after by birthday, though. So, the week after the next.

  • rashida ibrahim

    i quit all the junks food, now i stick to Lipton yellow label tea and lime. first thing in the morning and also morning exercise with am gonna be in shape.

  • Daniella


    It looks like this website is mostly just about weight loss diets but does anybody know about food allergy elimination diets? I started having problems about 10 months ago. Bloating, cramping, flatulence, abdominal discomfort and distention. I’ve also been gaining weight really fast and I’m afraid it might be related. I’ve gained about 10 lbs since August. Lately I’ve been trying to lose a little weight (simply because I’m not pleased with the weight gain) and instead I’ve gained more. I’ve been to three doctors. Nobody knows what it is. I want to try an elimination diet but I’m so overwhelmed I don’t even know where to start.

    Anybody know anything about this or where to look for research?

    Oh, yeah, I’m also a vegetarian which makes some of these strict diets difficult for me. I’m not willing to add meat into my diet because I think that would be just too much for my intestines to handle. My colon doesn’t seem so happy these days :(


    • http://www.ttfatloss.com cbathletics

      Hi Daniella, I’m sorry, I can’t help, this is out of my scope of expertise.

      Craig Ballantyne

  • Shailesh

    as i am Indian our daily food contains whole wheat roti/chapati & white rice(both about

    50%) & cooked vegetables.I do take protein shake with low fat(cows) milk daily after workout should i skip it?

    but what to do with chapati? i heard that we all Indians have big belly because

    of we eat most of wheat,is it true? if yes then whats to eat instead ?

    i already cut w.rice