So, I have this friend that has taken the first step towards radiant health, ridiculous athletic ability, flawless everything, mental sharpness, fox-like-agility, eagle-like-vision and overall financial prosperity. Okay, I kid about most of those things - you knew that already though. Financial prosperity and flawless everything? Hardly. Everything else? Oh yea. ;-)
Anyways, he has decided to go vegetarian. And while not vegan [yet], it is an important first step. Simply put: how the heck does one do vegetarianism in a healthy way? First off, let me give a disclaimer. I'm no physician. I know a few and I haven't been impressed so far so maybe that's not saying much anyways. I'm no dietician - nope, I leave that job to Mike Ditka and his sales ads for NutriSlim systems. Having said all that, you can take this advice however you want to take it but what I'm going to share with you are some sound principles that I have discovered since going native / vegan.
To start, being vegetarianism does not meant kick-ass in everything. Trust me, I've met fat vegetarians and fat vegans alike. They are out there, trust me. And while I won't pass judgement on them, I will say that some foods - while vegetarian - are actually QUITE bad for you. Like what you ask? Coca-cola. This is entirely vegan and entirely unhealthy for you. Loads of sugar, loads of acid, loads of chemicals = no bueno. Doritos Nacho Cheese chips are vegetarian. Not only are the ingredients shit but they make your breath stink and your teeth turn orange. Who wants to smooch that? Simply put, just because one is vegan or vegetarian does NOT mean they are health nuts. Okay, still reading? Good. On to my founding principles of eating:
1) Keep it simple stupid. When you cook, keep the ingredient list short. The shorter the better in fact. This helps digestion and it eases cooking.
2) Ask yourself..."can I go out in nature and find this?". If the answer is no, then re-think why you're eating it. Favorite example: "sugar." Can I get "sugar" in nature? No. I have to refine it to make white sugar. Agave nectar? You betcha. Open the agave cactus, fill jar. Done.
3) Enough with the 'sugar is bad'. Too much sugar is bad. Okay, my response is the phrase "too much" implies something bad already. Too much of anything is not healthy and is a breach of moderation.
4) Eat lots of fruit. No joke. Eat fruit. I'll say it again, eat fruit. It's filling, sugar-ey and lots of carbs [your body needs this]. It's easily broken into glycogen [again, body needs this] and provides fuel for the brain. The trick is to eat good amounts [again, NOT OVERKILL].
5) Eat a variety of greens. Greens come in all sizes and shapes and not just romain or spinach. Find a green, boil it, steam it, sautee it, blend it, etc. Do what you need to do to get the greens in. I admit, I have trouble with this myself which is why Ms. Denise has to cook some of it for me but when I'm on my game, I feel very good when I'm full off greens.
6) Eat whole grains. This one just makes sense. Instead of empty calorie grains such as white bread or white rice, opt for the more healthful and tastier versions: whole grain bread, brown rice, etc. White rice is white because they have stripped the outside and polished it to make it white. Rice really is BROWN, NOT WHITE.
7) If you can stomach it, go gluten free. Why? Gluten is known to have inflammatory agents that increase the inflammation in the body. This especially sucks if you're active in athletics [cycling? running? you betcha]. Ask yourself this: "who needs more inflammation when life provides more than enough inflammation?!"
There you have it. 7 principles. 7 samurai. Wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am.