One Food You Must Eliminate From Your Diet?

In Part 3 of my interview with underground strength coach Jason Ferruggia, he tells us about his client Shawn’s training progress and nutrition changes to get him lean and toned.

Today, Jason explains the benefits of eliminating dairy from his diet and how it has helped him with his post workout recovery, muscle soreness & feeling better.


Craig Ballantyne: Very cool. Why don’t we just stick with nutrition a little bit and talk about your personal nutrition now? You used to be kind of into the shakes and stuff and now you’ve changed that? I guess you still use protein shakes, but they’re vegetarian.

So, talk about your general nutrition approach for yourself and how that’s working for any of your clients that are using it as well.

Jason Ferruggia: I used to eat a ton.  I don’t think there was anyone that ate more meat and dairy than I did…

…I would have a gallon of milk a day, a dozen eggs, and at least a pound of beef for years. I was a really skinny kid growing up, I graduated high school weighing 147 pounds at six feet tall, so I was just obsessed with getting bigger.  I ate like that for years.

Obviously, it wasn’t the healthiest thing in the world, but it did help me gain over 80 pounds. Now, in retrospect I kind of wish I could go back and do it healthier, but I have made a change. As some people might know, it will be three years this June since I’ve had any meat or dairy.

I’ve had tremendous success with that. I’ve never felt better, I recover a lot faster, and anyone that I turn this onto has recovered a lot faster. Once you eliminate dairy you’ll find that I think dairy is the most DANGEROUS thing. If you want to eat meat I wouldn’t see a problem with that, but dairy is really where the issue arises with most people with inflammation and mucus production, your immune system gets destroyed, you do get SICK A LOT .

Anyone that I’ve gotten off dairy has gotten sick way less. I know a couple of people with asthma that have got off dairy and they don’t have asthma anymore. John Hines was telling me the story again this weekend about how he had crippling arthritis in his hands and when he got off dairy that went away.

I used to have a lot of lower back, shoulder, and knee issues, which were always kind of nagging and bothering me from years of heavy squatting, deadlifting and reckless adventure sports stuff that I like to do.

None of that stuff bothers me anymore.

What’s funny is I barely get sore from training anymore. I’m recovered the next day. Back in the day, I used to think recovery was just calories, so I would do a workout and have an entire pizza and a Gatorade thinking that was going to help me recover faster, but little did I know that all that toxic stuff you’re putting in your body really just caused a lot of digestive stress, causes inflammation, it actually DELAYS your recovery.

What was funny was John Hines deadlifted Saturday with us and he did 405 for 12.  He hasn’t touched a barbell in 15 years, so the next day and the following day I said to him, “You must be destroyed.” He said, “No. I don’t feel anything.” He didn’t feel a touch of soreness, which was crazy, but that could be definitely due to his diet.

Like I said, I’ve had a couple people experience the same thing, so I would RECOMMEND that most people at least eliminate or cut down the dairy. If you’re going to eat meat I would stick with lean red meat, cut down on the pork, and just make sure it’s organic grass fed and just minimize it a bit. 

The human body DOESN’T NEED pounds and pounds of meat all day like the typical bodybuilding diet – That’s just not healthy.

Craig Ballantyne: What do you think the role of fruits and vegetables is in recovery and then what type of pre and post-workout shakes are you having, because you’ve obviously adapted your eating for that? Have you noticed a big difference in your recovery from changing those shakes too? And then what protein powders do you use?

Jason Ferruggia: I think the more fruits and vegetables you can eat the better. It increases your enzyme pool and that kind of stuff doesn’t cause any digestive stress whatsoever. So, it’s very easy. When you have digestive stress and any kind of issues like that nothing functions properly, you just don’t feel that great.

As far as my shakes go, I usually don’t have a pre-workout shake anymore. I’ll just eat something, maybe a couple pieces of fruit and some nuts or something like that. Then post-workout I usually get some potato starch powder or some Swedish oat starch powder and I’ll mix that up, only because I can’t get home.  I’m still stuck at the gym for an hour after I train. I like to at least just have something so I’ll mix up some of that carb powder with some pea or brown rice protein powder.

Craig Ballantyne: You mix it with peas?

Jason Ferruggia: Yes. I usually use Sun Warrior protein powder if I’m using brown rice, or I’ll use some kind of pea, and not urine, P-E-A.

Then during the day I do have a shake every day for breakfast. I’ll have a shake with a ton of fruit in it, mixed berries, bananas, coconut milk. I VARY THE FAT SOURCE every day, so some days it will be coconut milk, some day it will cashews, some days it’s hemp seeds, some days it’s a combination of those, some days I’ll put flax seed oil in it.

I mix and match a bunch of different things. I always try to get some greens in there, so I put a handful or so of spinach or kale in it. Again, some protein powder in there as well.

Craig Ballantyne: What resources do you recommend for people that are listening to this and thinking we’re crazy or who are very interested in learning more and recipes? When you recommended the Thrive Diet to me that was a really great book. Is there anything else?

Jason Ferruggia: Thrive is great, everyone should read that. The China Study is a great read, it doesn’t have recipes but it gives you a little bit of a background on the whole thing. Brendan Brasier has a new book out now, which he sent me.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it looks like it’s pretty good. There are some good recipes in there.

I’m going to be coming out with a plant based recipe guide soon. The Enzyme Factor is a really good book. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head right now.

So join us in in part 5 we find out what the underground strength coach, Jason Ferruggia eats on football Sundays!!