What Craig Ballantyne Eats Every Day

So you asked, and here it is…What Craig Ballantyne Eats.

At your request, I’ve put together my current daily diet. As you’ll see, I eat more fruits and vegetables in a day than the average American eats all week. And then some.

It’s become a game to me…how many fruits and vegetables can I eat? Is there a new fruit or vegetable I can try and add to my diet?

To be honest, I might be going overboard…but I enjoy it. And I certainly notice the lack of green vegetables when traveling and I fail to make adequate preparations. By the time I’ve been gone 2 days, I’m already looking forward to getting home and having a big greens-based blender drink.

In my fridge, to the right, I have it filled with vegetables, eggs, and hummus on the top row, and cut up vegetables on the middle row, then almond milk and Garden of Life protein on the bottom row. The crisper is filled with apples, and I have a store-full of salsa, spaghetti sauce, and nut butters in the door compartments.

By eating more raw foods in your drinks and as salads, you’ll extend your lifespan and lower your bodyweight.

And one strategy I recommend is to always be experimenting with new ingredients in your foods.

Just this year I started adding garlic to my salads, quinoa, and chili. Combined with the broccoli, red peppers, spinach, and mushrooms that go into my salad at lunch, I know I’m eating for a long, lean life. Now here’s the daily plan…

5:30am – wake up

6:00am – dog walk

7:00am – Apple (eaten while catching up on your emails to me)

8:00am – Blender Drink #1

I recently changed my blender drink methods, and you can read about those Nutrition Drinks changes here.

I start my day with this Greens-based drink.

Green Drink: Almond Milk (2 cups), Garden of Life Raw protein powder, spinach, ½ banana, blueberries (small amount, optional), cinnamon (needed for taste!), cacao nibs, chia seeds, teaspoon of Spirulina powder, and a teaspoon of Athletic Greens powder.

I also eat 2 oz of raw almonds and up to 6 raw dates at this time.

9:00am – Workout (read about my workouts on my training blog here)

10:00am – I have the following drink right after training:

Almond milk (2 cups), Prograde whey protein, raspberries or strawberries, and 1 banana (optional: pecans or peanut butter).

NOTE: I don’t usually use whey protein, but a friend convinced me to try it again…and if you’re going to use Whey Protein, I recommend the company I’ve partnered with, Prograde.

I also use the Prograde Essential Fatty Acid supplement at lunch…although I recently tried a similar product called “Flame-Out” from Biotest, and I might switch over to that one. The only other supplement I use on a regular basis is Vitamin C.

By the way, this is a picture of one of my cupboard drawers…filled with almonds, cacao nibs, a couple of jugs of whey protein, Vitamin C pills, Spirulina, Athletic Greens, and a 6-pack of Heineken (for some strange reason).

12:00pm – Lunch

From Monday to Thursday, when I’m in Toronto, I have a large amount of vegetables with either black beans, kidney beans, or 4 organic eggs (yolks included). The vegetables include: spinach, red onion, broccoli, red pepper, and mushrooms. I also have 1/2 an avocado most days. Sometimes the vegetables are cooked, most days the vegetables are raw.

On Fridays, I go to Freshii for lunch, and have a veggie burrito or two, and  I get a bowl of chicken for Bally the Dog.

2:00pm – Raw nuts & dates OR apple plus 1 scoop of Prograde Protein in Almond milk.

4:30pm – Raw vegetables with hummus (broccoli, carrots, red peppers) and an apple

NOTE: Nutrition Program Recommendations

By the way, if this “multiple small meals” approach appeals to you, then  you’ll like Isabel De Los Rios’ “Diet Solution Program“.

If not, then you are better off with a more relaxed approach, like Brad Pilon’s “Eat Stop Eat” program. It’s unique, but TT members love it.

6:00pm – Dog walk (might have a few handfuls of cashews at this point too, maybe even a banana)

8:00-9:00pm – Dinner (I eat late…mostly due to social reasons, but also because I prefer to eat late rather than eat early and snack all night)

Monday Dinner – Giant bowl of quinoa, vegetables, olive oil, avocado, spaghetti sauce

On Mondays, I work about 12 hours in the day, and so I just relax at home at night, making this giant bowl of food at about 9pm while watching sports and “WW II in HD” on the History Channel.

Tuesday Dinner (50% of the time at home, 50% of the time out) – If out, I have steak, vegetables (usually broccoli or asparagus), whole-wheat bread (if at a restaurant), and 1-2 glasses of red wine. If at home, I have ground beef, spinach, onions, and Amy’s organic chili all mixed together, plus 1 beer.

On days when I eat meat at night, I tend to eat black beans or kidney beans at lunch. On days when I have grains at night, I have eggs at lunch.

Wednesday Dinner – I’ve been trying alternative grains, including Barley and Millet. So I have the same giant bowl of grains plus vegetables (from Monday) if I’m just chilling at home. If I’m dragged out, then I’ll have a similar meal to Tuesday, but with a different meat (i.e. chicken or wild salmon).

Thursday Dinner – Same as Tuesday. I’m out 80% of the time on Thursday nights for dinner.

Friday Dinner – I’m usually traveling…80% of the time…so it’s a restaurant meal…and usually a big meal. One of my “cheat” meals, as they say.

Cheat Meals – Currently I have 3-4 cheat meals each week. In the New Year, I’m going to try a full “Cheat Day”. I’ve never really done this before, using the Cheat Day style recommended by Joel Marion, John Romaniello, and others. We’ll see if it results in any differences. My current cheat meals include large meals at steakhouses, entire pizzas, or home-cooked meals at my Mom’s house with large desserts.

Weekends – The schedule varies, but the food doesn’t change that much.

If you want to see what I eat while I’m traveling, check out my free Fat Loss Travel Report here. You’ll also discover the Top 10 Rules for Losing Fat While On the Road. And as a guy who flew almost 25,000 miles this year, I know how to lose fat while traveling.

It’s not really that hard. Even “in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Europe”. Download the free report and you’ll see.

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  • Aaron

    Craig: What happened to the Mini-Wheats man?! Great with almond milk!

    • Forgot about that option. Might add it back in one day over the holidays.

  • Dude?

    Cleanest. Fridge. Ever.

    (Especially for a bachelor living on his own).

    Good on ya.

    B

    • Cleaning lady cleaned it last week.

      And I hate dirty, crowded fridges.

  • csrunner

    Craig, how often do you purchase groceries? I like to have fresh fruits and veges but find that I either run out between grocery store trips, or if I’ve stocked up they tend to go bad before I get a chance to eat them. It is difficult for us to do more then one trip to the store per week and that ends up being the biggest barrier to consuming large quantities of fruit and veges.
    Also, when you eat 1/2 an avocado, how do you keep the other half from turning brown before you eat it?

    Thanks for sharing your meals, you’ve given me some good ideas to fold into our weekly menu!

    • Once per week.

      I put the avocado in the fridge and then just cut off the brown layer. Apparently lemon juice is supposed to help avoid the brown part.

    • Cyd

      If you leave the pit in the avocado and store the whole thing in a plastic bag it will retard the browning. For bell peppers, leave the seeded areas in the portion you don’t eat and store without wrapping or covering, in the veggie drawer. This keeps it from getting slimy within a day or two.

    • Per

      I also heard that leaving the nut/seed/core/pit in the half that you save also keeps it better. (I’m guessing it’s mainly the discoloration of the hole that you avoid this way)

  • Dan

    It is amazing how much you start to crave all this good food once you get into it.

  • Daniel

    Craig,

    Great post. It seems like we have a very similar meal plan. However, I am tryin to break away from cottage cheese. The only brand I will eat is friendship’s and I usually add a banana/berries, nuts, and a little stevia. It’s been hard to cut it back as I absolutely love it. Although, since cutting back on the cottage cheese I have actually felt better.

    • Thanks Daniel.

      Luckily, I never did develop a taste for cottage cheese. I’ve probably only had it in lasagna and other dishes. Never been able to eat it otherwise. Good luck! Consider trying Kefir instead, as my friend Tim Ferriss recommends adding fermented foods to your diet. (Kefir being one, sauerkraut or kimchi being others.)

  • Love the Heineken, but why’d you switch from the Rickards White? You got me on them in the first place.

    • Great question Chris…the White style beers are less favorable to me in the summer…perhaps now that it is winter, I might go back to the White.

  • Ka Denson

    Thanks for this very helpful blog.
    What are cacao nibs and chia seeds? And where would we get the athletic greens powder?

    Ka

    • Hi Ka!

      Cacao nibs are pieces of raw cacao beans (the stuff that is roasted to be made into chocolate).

      Chia seeds are the seeds made to create chia pets…but they also contain essential fatty acids. They aren’t mandatory, and I probably wont’ buy anymore after these run out.

      Athletic Greens can be ordered here: http://athleticgreens.com/

      Thanks!

      • Heyas,

        I find it interesting that you are mentioning/eating chia seeds. About 2 months ago I made the decision to stop being a fat, lazy, good for nothing and started on the Couch to 5K program (coolrunning.com) and I have my first ever 5K this Saturday, December 5th (Jolly Jaunt Boston.. it raises money for Special Olympics of MA). Anyway, to stay relevant to the topic; I am the type to research everything I can, and I did that for running. Proper shoes, proper warm ups, proper resting, proper hydration, proper pre-run foods, tapering, proper socks, proper stretching… all that good stuff as well as food. Chia came up as a super food, there was even an article published this year in Men’s Journal ( http://www.mensjournal.com/dr-bob-new-superfood ). Well following link after link, I also came across a book my father told me about (for grins and giggles he got a degree in Anthropology) called Born To Run by Christopher McDougall ( http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303 ) about the Tarahumara Indians and their ultra running abilities. Along with that, I came across runningfood.com which also says that the Aztecs also eat Chia.

        I guess my point in all this is that you might want to keep with the chia! I am going to be buying some soon. I am not sure about Athletic Greens processing, but Running Food seems to be all natural and very green (no pun intended).

      • Thanks Greg, and good for you for making all of these changes and raising money.

      • Oops, I meant Saturday, December 4th (wow, that’d be great to show up the day after…).

        And thanks Craig. After I can run a solid 4 miles (only made it to week 6 of the program so far so it’ll be a month or two), I want to try out some of your TT routines (the free ones, cash is tight right now).

        I appreciate all your articles. Between you, Jayson Hunter, Jason F, Tom Venuto, John Berardi and some others, I think I finally have a road map to where I am going.

  • Kimberley

    Hi Craig,

    This is a great post. I am now eating fairly closely to your example here, although I think I eat a bit less grain and probably more vegetables and legumes. I changed a while ago to Sun Warrior Rice protein powder but I see you are using Garden of Life. What are the differences? BTW, for anyone living outside of Nth America, iherbs.com sells both Sun Warrior and Garden of Life protein powders at a good price and are really fast at delivering.

    Another product I am trying at the moment are Larabars. They are small snack bars made from raw nuts and dates with no added sugar. They are great for travel or if you get caught out time wise. They are also available from iherb.com (and no I am not marketing them, I just live in HK where I cannot get a lot of products).

    • Great stuff Kimberley!

      The Garden of Life protein is raw…the Sun Warrior is not.

      Does it matter? Probably not…the truth is it is just easier to find the Garden of Life version in health food stores in my area.

      Thanks for the info about iherb.com!

      • Craig,

        When was the last time you checked out Sun Warrior? Recently Jason Ferruggia (I know you two reference each other all the time) had a post that he switched to SW, so I checked out the site:

        http://www.sunwarrior.com/products/sunwarrior-protein

        And they claim their protein powder is raw. Not sure, biochemically, what impact that has but I just wanted to point that out. If you had liked SW better and changed your protein source because of it being raw, now you can switch back 🙂

        My problem is I am finding all this good stuff and trying to healthy is expensive when you bring in supplements.

      • Thanks, and thanks for the recipe!

  • Sylvina

    When reading about you, the same wthing happens with Isabel, I feel like I’m getting news from a friend,thousands of miles away . I love the common sense and familiarity that we get from walking Bally the dog or your mom’s home cooked meal or the pictures of Isabel’s baby. You two are the only ones in the business not trying to constantly sell the newest book or program. You two are the only mails that I eagerly read when they come in instead of instantly deleting them like I do with the others.Never loose the friendly a[proach :it’ invaluable. Thanks for being there, we appreciate it.
    adios amigo, from South America, Sylvina

    • Sylvina, happy to help. Thanks so much for your feedback. I have a lot of great content coming your way!

      • Karen

        I second Sylvia’s post – I am so appreciative of the info you impart. I have lots of TT products and will gladly buy more in the future but it’s so nice that you only include sales pitches in your emails when it makes sense to.

        Also, unrelated, I was surprised to see you eat out so much, include bread, beer and wine and still maintain. Just proves it CAN be done – I’m encouraged by that.

        Rock on, Craig!

      • Thanks Karen! To note, when I do eat those things, I don’t eat that much of them however…at least not compared to the people I eat with.

  • Rickster

    Hi Craig, keep up the good work – absolute legend 🙂
    Diet is the one thing stopping me from achieving my weight loss goals. Do you make your meals fresh daily or on one day in the week?
    With work, commute, workouts (inc travel time to gym) doesn’t leave much spare time in the day – I suppose planning and preparation is key. It’s a shame UK doesn’t have the same appreciation for health food as Canada and US. The one that makes me laugh is when you go to the restaurant at the gym and their healthy meal includes white bread and fries!!!

    • Hey Rick, I have the luxury of making them at home. If I did not, I would make them all the night before. Fortunately, I have heard nutrition is getting better over there!

    • Rick,

      One of the things that has always helped me (I off-and-on-again with healthy eating) has been to spend 1/2 of a weekend day prepping food. So on Sunday I will make a big thing of turkey chili and while that simmers, cut veggies, cook grains, et al and put together meals into tupperware for the week. Usually I do this again on Wed, so I have fresher food.

      My turkey chili recipe if anyone wants it:

      1 pound ground turkey
      1 small onion, chopped
      3 (15 ounce) cans no-salt added dark red kidney beans, drained
      3 (14.5 ounce) cans no-salt added stewed tomatoes, undrained
      1 cup water
      2 celery stalks, chopped
      1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped
      1/4 cup vinegar
      2 tablespoons chili powder
      1 teaspoon ground cumin
      1 teaspoon dried parsley
      1 teaspoon dried basil
      1/2 cup red wine** optional

      Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat until hot. Add ground turkey breast and chopped onion and cook until browned. Remove from heat and drain. Return the turkey and onions to the stockpot. Add the remaining ingredients except for the red wine and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat for 2 hours. Add the red wine and continue cooking for another hour. If you choose not to use the red wine, add 1/2c water.

      • Rickster

        nice one. thanks 🙂

  • xena

    Hi Craig!

    Can u please tell me why you use a natural wheyproduct(garden of life) and a non natural wheyproduct(prograde)?

    • What is a non-natural whey product? I don’t know what you mean by that.

  • This is a great eating schedule/breakdown. Proud TT training guide owner here.

    I’m a working father with three kids and the work “rat race” just doesn’t allow any room to apply a 6 meals a day plan. I’ve tried to breakdown my eating, even made pre-made meals for lunch but it will last for 2 weeks and I’ll find myself getting a quick meal at the deli – not hard to fine if you work in nyc. The protein shakes I’ll put on a zip bag and will sit on my desk drawer most of the time, just can’t find the time to get a cup and mix the protein with water. Biting on a fruit does make its way once in a while at work but is not enough. I think there’s waaay too much micromanaging in the eating dept. and for most of us that have families and work a 9-5 (not including commute time) it simply does not work. Yeah is all a mindset and a change in attitude and lifestyle, believe me I get it and I’m still working on it. Not all nutrition changes work for everyone, I’m still tweaking mine not so much on what I eat, I get that part, but when to eat without making it a big time management project.

    • Thanks for your feedback Gustavo.

      I always like to look at things this way, “No matter how busy I am and no matter how difficult it is, somewhere out there is someone who has it worse, and they’ve made it work. So if they can do it, then I can find a way to do it too.”

      Let us know how it goes!

  • First thing I noticed is that you do have the cleanest fridge I’ve seen a while CB! I’m not too far behind you with what you eat, but probably don’t eat as much greens as you do.

    I eat lots of (organic) animal proteins so I have pre-grilled grass fed beef, chicken, salmon, talapia.

    For raw veggies, I love mushrooms, zucchini, squash, avocado over baby spinach topped with Apple Cider Vinegar and Greek Olive Oil

    Love snacking on Apples or Celery Sticks with Almond Butter

    I love Hummus and haven’t had that in a long time so CB, thanks for the Hummus Reminder. I’ll have to pick some up this week when I go grocery shopping.

    Time for me to clean my fridge 😉

    Wishing you a very Happy Holiday!
    ShariFitness

  • Matt

    Hey Craig, That’s very similar to my weekly eating plan. What’s your thoughts on bread? Would you go wholewheat,wholegrain or rye and for what reason? keep up the good work! Matt

    • Hi Matt, whatever is the least refined. When I bought bread in the past, I would get flax meal bread.

  • Debbie in NJ

    I have to add my 2 cents on the clean fridge. Holy Cow!

    You mention ‘raw dates’ a lot. Are the dates at the supermarket cooked or processed in some way? When I was in Sicily we saw real dates fallen from the trees and they looked just the same as the wrinkly ones in the packages here. So, just wondering.

    • Debbie, I’m pretty sure all dates are raw.

      As for the fridge, again, I’m just lucky my cleaning lady ran out of stuff to do in the designated 3 hours she had for my place last week…she offered to clean my fridge and I said sure.

      Thanks!

  • Mark

    Hello Craig,

    I am 46 years of age, set in my ways, married with children running between hockey rinks and indoor soccer fields. We are steak and potato people, eggs in the morning, waffles on Sunday morning. I have researched you and you program. My question to you is, as a person in good health and constitution, if I feel well, do I need to change my diet dramatically to see improvement using your training techniques to maintain what I consider a balanced life? I welcome your thoughts. Thank you.

  • Michael

    Craig. Thanks for the post and insight. There is this theory, which you implied to, that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially in there raw form, will give you a longer life. I used to buy into this until I read some studies of tribal type groups of people who lived primarily on animals and dairy because fruit and vegetables where not really available to them. I believe the correlation with having a longer life is not in the food you eat but how processed the food you eat is.

    Also, I have a tendency to overeat so I only eat once or twice a day (based on the Warrior Diet). This type of diet helps me maintain my weight and I do not have to spend so much time preparing food for 4 – 6 meals. So for those readers who have the same problem has me this might also be a solution.

    • Michael, if you are referring to the Masai tribe, they have a life expectancy (for whatever reason) of about 45. What other tribe are you talking about?

  • eddie

    Craig,
    I’ve started to eat raw foods since reading animal fat can lead to all kinds of health problems. However, I have found it difficult to maintain my protein intake. Afterall, a 4oz breast of chicken has 36 grams of protein. One ounce of almonds has about 6 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat.
    How many grams of protein do you eat per day? I assume you weigh about 170 lbs. I have also read that you should only eat 10% of your total calories from protein to avoid the risk of cancer and heart disease. Is that too little to maintain muscle mass? Sorry for all the questions, but I totally respect your opinion along with Tom Venuto.

    • Hey Eddie, happy to help.

      As far as the animal protein and cancer, the only strong link that I’ve seen is the high consumption of processed meats and red meat.

      I’m not convinced that more than 10% animal protein in the diet causes cancer. Perhaps in the future we’ll know better.

      I’m not sure how much protein I get, but you could use vegetable protein powders…Sun Warrior, Garden of Life, etc. are brands. You can get powders, and then even if you did only 10% of a 2000 calorie diet from animal protein, that is 40+ gram of protein right there.

      Another guy to check out is Jason Ferruggia. Check out his blog, and search for protein articles at http://www.jasonferruggia.com

      Thanks!

      Craig

  • Michael Simpson

    Hi Craig,

    I have been on a Paleo diet for a long time and have been reluctant to change because it has worked for me so well, but for ethical reasons I have been wanting to switch back to a more vegetarian diet and basically give up animal protein except for eggs and whey. I was delighted to see what your dietary regime exactly matches what I want to shoot for and that you are obviously able to maintain mass and strength on it. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that I can do that. I am going to Whole Foods today to buy all the stuff that is in your fridge!

    I was wondering why you prefer the Raw Protein over hemp powder. I thought the Raw Protein tasted kind of crappy in comparison and the hemp gives you the EFAs as a bonus. The same with hemp milk vs. almond milk, given the higher protein in hemp milk and the EFA benefit.
    Just curious.

    Thanks for the info.
    Mike Simpson

    • Hey Mike, great to hear from you, and thanks for the feedback. Its just a matter of taste I guess, because I just don’t like the hemp flavor yet. Working on it. Will try Hemp powder instead next time. Thanks!

  • Heather

    Great job plugging greens! Pointing out that across the board, all diets promote greens! Everyone’s number 1 “diet rule” should be to eat some fresh greens every day! Also, great to make a “game” of this and get fun and creative with it.

  • Kimberley

    Hi everyone,

    Some interesting posts and questions so let me weigh in with some thoughts and stats. I have recently studied nutrition, but originally having a PhD in (truly) rocket science, I like to get into the numbers and trends. Using a mix of sources (UN, WHO, FAOSTAT, Census data and country based bureau of stats) I have compiled the following story about an average American, an average Japanese, an average Hongkie (I live in Hong Kong) and an average mainland Chinese. I have many other countries but let’s stick with this as it covers about 27% of the world’s population.

    The average American has a life expectancy of 5 to 7 years less than a Hongkie or Japanese. When you normalise a mainland Chinese life expectancy for infant mortality rates, it is only marginally less than a Yank (despite the fact that nearly half of them live in abject poverty). Healthy lifespan of a Hongkie or Jap is actually about 10 years longer than an American. WOW.

    In the US, 68% of people are overweight and 34% obese (based on BMI). In HK, it is 24% overweight / 5.5% obese, Japan has 22% overweight / 4% obese and China 15% overweight / 5% obese. Dramatic numbers, although incidence of weight problems are rising rapidly in Asia, mainly caused by the increase in availability of western type food.

    In China, HK and Japan death by the ‘biggest killer’ of heart disease is about half as prevalent as it is in the US. The second biggest killer of cancer is between 40% (Japan), 1/2 (HK) and nearly 3 times (China) less likely to be a cause of death than in the US. There is no doubt that about 80% of these diseases are caused by lifestyle (see the US surgeon general report). The impact of these devastating diseases is not only on a vastly reduced healthy life span but also on the cost of healthcare. The cost per capita of healthcare in the US is 2.5 to 3 times higher than HK and Japan, and 15 time higher than China (at USD PPP).

    So what is so different about HK, China and Japan versus the US (and indeed most other western countries). Firstly, people move more. It is reported that between walking and planned exercise, people in the Asian countries get about 3 times as much exercise. However, more important are the diet differences.

    The 3 Asian countries eat less calories per day, with China at 2,766, Japan at 2,898 and HK at 2,850 versus the US at 3,699. So typically an Asian is smaller than a westerner. So roughly normalising for that, Asians still eat about 10% less per day. This difference is about the equivalent of 3 lbs per month.

    The 3 Asian countries eat about 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of meat of an American and dairy consumption is between 1/10 and 1/4 of the consumption of an average American. However, the amount of fish eaten across these Asian countries is 2 to 3 times more than in the US. In total, Asian countries eat only about 50 to 60% of the amount of animal protein of an American and choose fish over meat and dairy. (More reading see the China Study)

    By eating less animal protein, and using different cooking methods Asians are eating less fat. In fact across the 3 countries they are eating about 1/2 the amount per day.

    However, the most stunning difference is in the consumption of vegetables, and in particular high fibre, low starch vegetables. The average American eats 1.8 serves of fruit and veg per day (and this includes french fries and ketchup). Across the 3 Asian countries reviewed, vegetable consumption alone is between 5.5 to 6.5 serves per day.

    Now there is no doubt that Asians eat refined carbs, mainly in the form of white rice. However, the amount they eat is much smaller. Instead of a heaped plate of pasta covered in sauce, they typically have a very small bowl of steamed rice accompanying their meal. They take from this as needed.

    A final stat – the average American spends 9.5% of disposable income on food, while the 3 countries in Asia spend between 16 and 22% of disposable income.

    The takeout from all this – if you want a longer and healthy life span, if you want to be leaner and you don’t want massive medical bills, eat less animal protein and fats (including dairy), eat more F&V, spend more on quality food but eat a bit less……. oh yeah and keep up the exercise.

    I am a Westerner but live in Asia. I am “Asian size” and have adopted a healthier life style. Hubby is able to maintain at about 7% body fat and myself at about 14% despite long working hours and busy lives. Every time I travel back to the West (Australia, North America or Europe) I get a shock at how unhealthy and overweight the populace is and how badly they eat.

    • I agree with eating more fruits and veggies, buy better quality foods, and watch how you prep the food (steaming vs sauteing in butter). However, I politely disagree with the reduction in lean animal protein. Fattier cuts of meat (80/20) absolutely, but from everything I have ever seen, properly treated lean animal protein is exceptionally beneficial. It also allows one to easily and adequately meet their protein needs.

      Just my $.02.

      Thank you for the well thought out, well researched post. It’s truly refreshing to see such intelligence in the comments section. I have been online for a long time and I assure you, it’s a pleasant rarity.

      • Kimberley

        Thanks Greg for your kind words, I also appreciate your polite difference of opinion. When I read your reply, I immediately though of essays worth of research and facts / figures. However, for the sake of expediency, I shall limit myself to a few interesting thoughts which I think shed a bit more light on the subject of protein and the broad subject of health.

        Firstly, the research I provided earlier is only a very high level look at some interesting cultural differences. There is definitely a story there but I am the first to admit that this is only high level correlation and not necessarily causation. So looking in a little more depth….

        1. I completely agree with your statement regarding the quality of meat. Unfortunately the big research studies such as the China Study, the Nurses Health Study and the Framingham Study did not isolate quality of meat as a variable. However it is only commonsense to think that an animal that is feed the wrong diet (ie corn), dosed with hormones and antibiotics and kept shoulder to shoulder in pens is going not going to be as healthy a source of protein as a free ranging, pasture feed animal (read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivores Dilemma). Also it is clear that a processed, nitrate filled piece of protein is in no way the same as an unadulterated piece of quality meat. For example a low quality piece of meat may be only 5 to 15% protein whereas a high quality piece of meat is more like 20 to 30% protein, let alone all the other nasty surprises. In addition I would also add that the cut of meat is critical, given the wide variance of calories, protein and fat levels across different cuts. Basically a grass fed sirloin steak is seriously better for you than a piece of corn feed prime rib (nutriondata.com has all the stats).

        2. The critical point I was making in mentioning eating less animal protein was not actually eating less protein. To give some in depth numbers, an average American eats about 115 grams of protein a day and an average Chinese, if the same size as an American (ie I have normalised for weight differences), eats about 94 grams. Where the most significant difference is, is in the profile. An average American eats a protein profile of about 70% meat / eggs, 12% dairy, 3% fish and 5% plant. The average Chinese is more like 20% meat, 20% fish, 60% plant and <1% dairy (the Japanese profile is similar). I would hope you would agree when I say Kardena and CB both seem to eat very limited amount of meat, eggs and dairy for protein, and use a lot of plant sources, but both look fabulous and are obviously getting what their bodies need.

        3. Interestingly, Chinese, Japanese and Americans are all eating well in excess of protein ranges given by WHO and "famous" nutritionist experts such as Patrick Holbrook, Andrew Weil and T. Colin Campbell who all suggest about 20 to 60 grams per day. I think we can agree that people who are athletic do need more protein, but I guess it is an interesting question as to what actual protein numbers and mix is actually optimal when considering overall health, longevity and let's face it, how we look. I personally find most of the advice of nutrition experts poorly supported by facts, but rather based on their own dogma and bias. It is even more interesting when they quote different countries whose actual behaviours do not appear to align to their advice.

        4. Now for a fun one. There is quite some evidence that vegans have a mortality rate that is the same as a normal steak eating person. It is thought vegans may lack vitamin B12 and a nutrient called carnosine that is only found in meat. It is actually 'light' omnivores such as ovo lacto vegetarians and people who eat a little meat that have increased longevity. The big Seventh Day Adventist study found the increase in longevity is about 7.3 years for a male and 4.4 years for a female, if some animal protein is consumed. However, this is more like 30% not 80% of dietary protein.

        So if I look at these thoughts, my takeout is that we should eat more protein than the WHO guidelines, especially if we are exercising. However, I think it may be valuable to reduce the amount from animal sources and replace with more plant based protein.

        I have personally made a change from eating animal proteins in 4 of 5 meals per day to 1 meal per day (so still have my steak and eat it too). I still eat about 0.8 to 0.9 grams of protein per lb of weight but I have replaced whey protein with vegan protein, I am using more legumes and higher protein grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth and I have stopped my consumption of dairy. Now dairy is another interesting story….. it seems that some 50 to 70% of the global population have some form of intolerance to dairy and it can cause quite some havoc in your lymphatic system. Now there is a whole other story in this.

        I am going to eat this way for a while but will experiment with a bit more animal protein at some point to get an approach that works for me. And what are the results of shifting my animal protein intake to more plant based…. I have dropped from 16% bodyfat to about 14% (female), increased lean muscle mass by about 1 kg (~2 lbs) and am actually eating more calories. I would, however be really interested in what CB has to say on his experience.

        LOL – I said this would be a few thoughts and it is looking more like an essay……..

  • Kapil

    Dear Craig,

    It’s great to note your diet – i’ve always wanted to peak into ur fridge! Since I’m from India and weather here is humid through most of the year, and also since a lot of ppl choose the veggie lifestyle (coz of culture/custom/lifestyle reasons), is there something you can add here? I’m willing to go with the supplements – the only ones available here without a hassle are Optimum and Venky’s.

    Looking fwd to ur reply.

    Kapil.

    • Add to what, I’m not really sure what the problem is?

  • Allison

    Compared to past postings of your diet, it seems like you have really cut way back on the (flax) bread and grains/carbs in general. (Eating eggs instead of beans if you are going out …I do know that fruits and vegetables are essentially carbs) Why? Are you just trying to stick to whole grains in their least refined form?

  • Nicole

    I also like to make greens-based smoothies. I usually use spinach, strawberries or other berries, protein powder, and ice. Simple and delicious! My question…I usually get my protein at GNC, using their store brand of whey protein powder. I noticed you use Garden of Life, and another reader commented about Sun Warrior protein. Do you know the difference between these brands and the GNC brand? In case it matters, I am a 27-yr old female, about 140 pounds, have a decent amount of muscle from a past of crossfitting, but trying to shed the fat that I’ve gained on top since a change in work schedule means I can no longer crossfit….I do still work out regularly, but its on my own and I find it hard to push myself as intensely as I did when I was doing crossfit with a group. I’ve strayed off-topic….Really, I’m just wondering about the differences in the protein brands 🙂 Thanks for all of your great info!

    • Kimberley

      Hi Nicole,

      GNC whey protein is made from dairy. Sun Warrior and Garden of Life is made from plants. The GNC product is made from dairy cows that live on feedlots (not their natural habitat) where they are feed corn (not their natural diet), given hormones to produce more milk and antibiotics because they keep getting sick. Whey protein made in countries other than the US is more likely to be from cows that are pasture reared. I would, however, also add the GNC whey protein is cheaper than most other sources.

      There are estimates that 50 to 70% of the worlds population has some level of intolerance to dairy. This is strongly correlated to race. For example people of English heritage have much lower levels of intolerance than Chinese who are estimated at 90% intolerant. Wikipedia has lists of this.

      The are some theories and evidence that dairy has a negative impact on the lymphatic system. If you want to lose body fat you really need your lymphatic system to be working well as this is how fats, toxins and proteins (both metabolised waste and excess) are transported from your cells back to the elimination mechanisms of the human body.

      Anyway my takeout on having read a lot of stuff is that reducing dairy is likely to give your body a better chance at removing body fat through lowering stress on your lymphatic system. My own evidence is that I have eliminated dairy (including moving from whey to plant protein) recently and have dropped from 16 to 14% body fat, added a few pounds of muscle and I have almost eliminated tumours and cysts from my lymphatic system. It is interesting to note that some 50% of women suffer from some form of cystic breast disease, which is in essence, causing some impact on performance of the lymphatic system.

  • phil

    dude! dates! …remember I told you about “LARABAR” like over 3 years ago?? you were doubtful…..but try the cashew cookie- only 2 ingredients- cashews and DATES! raw! perfect for traveling! or a snack on the go….I eat them daily….pure energy…..as far as the CHIA SEEDS- keep them….let them sit in water – they form a gelatin- squeeze a lime in there and you have the “ancient energy drink” ……super power! peace….p

  • Paul W

    So Craig, what kind of a calorie total do you take in each day, even if it is just a guess on your part? Are you over 3000? Over 4000?

  • Ben

    Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

    Michael Pollan would be proud.

  • Kelly

    How recent is this arrival?