In the preparation phase of my book, The Short Fight, I cover the importance of a healthy diet to increase your performance for training, self defense and longevity. Why? Well, just like with a car, if you give it cheap gas (or no gas), it will not perform optimally. Our bodies react the same when given junk, or heavily processed foods.
When you look at the diets of great warrior groups (i.e., the Samurai, Gladiators, and Roman Legion soldiers), they ate predominantly whole food plant based meals. The small amount of animal products they did eat was clean (not processed like today), and in limited amounts.
Did they all know a secret that we’ve only recently discovered?
Junk food, heavily processed foods, smoking, drugs, and excessive alcohol, all tax the liver. That’s because our liver is the main organ that filters these and many other toxins from our body.
But did you know that it is also responsible for injury recovery, muscle repair, and optimal muscle, ligament, tendon, and bone performance? The great warrior groups of old learned that eating a predominately whole food plant based diet increased their performance on the battlefield.
Our amazing livers are also involved in a plethora of other functions including fighting off infections and diseases. So, it would make sense not to tax the liver with a lot of junk/processed foods, and other bad habits, because you need your liver to function optimally in order for your body to perform optimally, recover quickly and effectively, and defend itself from enemies, and diseases.
So what is a predominately whole food plant based diet?
A predominately whole food plant-based diet consists of approximately 85%-90% whole, minimally processed plants including vegetables, tubers, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Additionally, approximately 10%-15% of the diet would consist of eating clean animal products. Examples of “clean” animal products are wild/wild-caught fish, hormone- and antibiotic-free grass-fed meats; hormone- and antibiotic-free - free-range poultry; and free-range, organic, hormone and antibiotic-free eggs or dairy.
To perform optimally, your goal is to remove processed foods from your diet like boxed, canned, and white flour carbs, junk foods (you know what they are!), and any foods that contain ADDED sugars, oils, and sodium. If it doesn't grow out of the ground, swim, or walk (or come from an animal), you should move away from it.
What a whole food plant based diet is not.
A whole food plant based diet is NOT the vegan diet. Go to any vegan section in your supermarket and you will see all the packages and boxes of processed chemical concoctions like "chik'n" and "fakin bacon," etc. These foods are created in a lab to taste like real animal products. When you look at the ingredients you will find a host of terms that you have never heard of, and you'll need a degree in chemistry to decipher them. Additionally, these foods are loaded with sugar, sodium, and various fats in dangerous combinations, all to taste like real food.
Furthermore, when the food industry learned of the vegan kick, they started calling all their fake foods vegan. Heck, even candy corn is promoted as a vegan food now!
Want to perform optimally? Eat a predominately plant based diet.
Want to recover quickly? Eat a predominately plant based diet.
Want to strengthen your immune system? Eat a predominately plant based diet.
Want to live a longer, more productive life? Eat a predominately plant based diet.
Below are some great articles and research on the health benefits of eating a whole food plant based diet:
Plant-Based Diets for Cardiovascular Safety and Performance in Endurance Sports https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30634559/
Foods to Boost Your Immune System from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/foods-boost-immune-system
A great video called Boosting Immunity Through Diet from research doctor Michael Greger M.D. FACLM of nutritionfacts.org https://nutritionfacts.org/.../boosting-immunity-through.../
A published study named: Diet and Immune Function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723551/
Another published study named: Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Plant Based Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073139/
There are many other studies out there but I think you get the idea.
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Until next time, Stay Healthy!