The first chapter in my book, The Short Fight, is the preparation phase, and it's all about diet. Why? Because there is a direct correlation between physical performance and the type of fuel (food) you put into your engine (body). Just like a car, if you give it cheap, or no gas, it will not perform effectively. Our bodies react the same when given junk, and heavily processed food.
If you are serious about getting into the best shape possible to be able to fight off an attacker, you must begin with changing the foods you eat. There is a lot of evidence that supports this. When you look at the diets of great warrior groups (i.e., the Samurai, Gladiators, and Roman Legion soldiers), they all ate in a similar manner.
The primary diet of these warrior groups consisted of predominantly whole food plant-based meals. Did they all know a secret that we’ve only recently discovered?
You may know that our livers are the main organ that filters toxins out of our body, but did you also know that the liver is responsible for injury recovery, muscle function, and aids in athletic performance too? Eating junk food, heavily processed foods, (smoking, using drugs, drinking excessive alcohol etc.), all tax the liver. So, it would make sense NOT to tax your liver with junk/processed foods, and other bad habits, because you need it to function optimally for your body to train, recover from injury, and to defend yourself at the highest level.
If you were an athlete performing at the highest levels, you no doubt were given diet tips from your coach. Nowadays, numerous professional sports teams have their athletes eating more plant-based diets.
Another benefit of eating a predominately whole food plant-based diet is increased health and longevity.
Numerous studies have shown that the longest (and healthiest) living people eat a predominately whole food diet. Additionally, eating a whole food plant based diet has been linked to a significant reduction in all-cause mortality. Research the Blue Zones groups diets, and the original Okinawan diets to learn more.
So, what does a predominately whole food plant-based diet mean?
A predominately whole food plant-based diet simply means that you will eat approximately 85% of your foods from plant sources, these are foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Additionally, the small amount of animal products consumed should be clean (minimally processed, free range, grass fed, and/or organic), and in limited amounts.
How do I start eating more plant-based meals?
The key to remember in eating a more plant-based diet is not to cut out other food groups (this is not the vegan diet), but to start adding in more plant foods. A great way to do this is to eat your plant-based meal first, then if you're still hungry and "need that piece of chicken", go for it. Interestingly, you will find that you do not need a lot of the animal foods to get full after eating the plant-based meal. The secret is to fill up on the plant foods first!
Are plant-based meals complicated, or do they take a long time to prepare?
No, they’re not. While you certainly can make elaborate plant-based meals that take a long time to cook, that is not the norm. Remember, most plant foods don't even need to be cooked to be eaten, unlike meats and fish.
So, there you have it. A way to get the edge in your training. Whether you want to be a better fighter, athlete, or live a longer and healthier life, eating a predominately whole-food plant-based diet will get you there.
If you want help getting started on a predominately whole food plant-based diet that works best for you. Contact me, I’m here to help.
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Author, The Short Fight