Get your eating under control! Helpful book reviews and services to get you going.

My first round of P90X was not a failure by any stretch.  I was stronger than I had ever been in my life BUT I didn’t have extreme results like so many that had come before me.  The difference?  THE DIET.  I didn’t follow the meal plan enough, I ate better but I didn’t make the change I needed for the results I wanted.  Don’t let this be you.  I’ll give you some great suggestions to make sure you have the success you want whether do it yourself is what you desire or deliver to your home works best for you I have some good recommendations to make eating healthy part of your routine!

Working out isn’t enough.  Even following a great program like P90X will only give you moderate results if you don’t fix what you put in your body.  Counting Calories is a step in the right direction but if those calories include cans of soda, candy, and any other junk food you aren’t helping yourself.

As a former coke zero addict and chocolate fiend I can tell you it’s tough to make that kind of change in your life.  It took me a long time to realize that killing it in the gym alone isn’t going to help me reach my goals.  It wasn’t until I looked around about six months ago, I was looking to other coaches with successful businesses and reading their stories and seeing their before and after pictures when it dawned on me.  I needed to make a bigger change in how I fueled my body.  I need to think like the athlete I want to be and change what I eat.  These coaches ate like athletes, many of them were primarily vegan but all of them took their diets as seriously as they did their workouts.  That was the differentiator between us.  Not our intensity in our workouts, our diets.  I view myself as a constant work in progress.  I am always learning new things and trying to improve my health but this year will be the year I learned about food.

The library became my best friend this year.  I never learned much about nutrition as a child.  My mom really cooked variations of the same 8 things growing up and most of them were pasta or meats.  Through travels I have expanded my palette greatly and love many kinds of foods today but still knew little about nutrition.  I decided to go on a food adventure this year and broaden my horizons.  I wanted to see how I could do without meat for a week. How would it make me feel?  After that eye-opening week I realized how much better I felt with a meatless week.  I still missed it a bit but I felt quite energized.  I didn’t just go to salads mind you.  I followed some great books that showed me how to get protein from other sources.  I carefully kept a balanced diet while trying more plant-based meals.

Some books that helped me along the way:

The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstone – highly informative and helpful in thinking about trying this kind of diet.  She talks about flirting with being a Vegan, making small changes and shares some great recipes.  Then she goes into actually living a Vegan life from shopping, to a formula for healthy balanced vegan meals.  And finally she shares what she considers eating like a superhero.  A superhero is loosely based on a macrobiotic diet.  I learned a lot from Alicia and tried many of her recipes.  Some of her recipes had hard to find ingredients but overall I discovered many things I liked and was able to make positive changes to my diet because of her book.

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The Healthy Go Vegan, Neal Barnard, MD and Robyn Webb – This book really helped me understand nutrients in a much more medical way.  Again focused on a vegan diet it shared a very scientific view on food and nutrition and I really enjoyed many of the recipes provided in this book.  This book will remain a great reference for me.

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Veganomicon– Really opened my eyes to making many new dishes in a vegan way.  One thing I was not a fan of is that it didn’t give you any nutritional information for its dishes.  Other than that it introduced many new ingredients to me to help me make things more naturally and get creative with my cooking. It was a good stepping stone to starting cooking this way.

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The Skinny Bitch Ultimate Cookbook, Kim Barnouin – I have checked out this book so many times now from the library I have decided to buy it.  I love love love Kim’s recipes.  My family who are all meat eaters love her recipes and she makes the idea of being Vegan tasty.  Just like her title her views about animals, the environment and eating meat are very straight forward.  She shares her views in a straightforward way that made me think about my household, my eating and my contribution to our global problems.  Highly recommend trying a few of her dishes.

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Raw Food for Real People by Rod Rotondi – Many of the athletes I researched before trying so many of these books were Vegan but they ate 50-80% of their food raw.  WHY?  Why raw?  I asked and I learned through my reading and research that when you heat your food to more than 118 degrees it looses many of the probiotic properties of the food.  Your body then has to work harder to digest it properly and you have lost some of the key nutrients that your body needs to not only perform well but to be well.  How much raw food do you eat each day?  I wasn’t eating much at all.  I also had a bout of pancreatitis this year due to a lupus medicine I was trying.  After reading about pancreatitis I also learned that the pancreas works extra hard at processing meat and cooked foods and is healthier when much of your diet is raw.  As I started changing my diet I tried to keep a good part of my intake raw because of what I learned in this book, and also Raw Food a Complete Guide for Every Meal of the Day by Erica Palmcrantz and Irmela Lilja.

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Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, by Roberto Martin– This book was great in taking some of my meat favorites and turning them into a healthy vegan dish.  Like the skinny bitch book I found many of these recipes family friendly for all kinds of diets and really enjoyed the food.  Highly recommend as well.  Roberto is Ellen Degeneres and Portia deRossi’s personal chef.

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Thrive Foods: 200 plant-based recipes for Peak Health, Brendan Brazier – This book has done wonders for me.  As a person who lives with Lupus this book introduced me to a new way at looking at nutrition.  Brendan is a professional triathlete and uses food to help not only fuel his workouts but to recover faster so he can train harder.  I totally admire his journey and know that looking at food in this new way will help me control inflammation I experience with lupus and help me have far more effective workouts and recovery periods.  His book will be a great guide for me for many years to come and I highly recommend anyone that has had problems like me OR wants to have an athlete’s view on nutrition and recovery – please please take the time to read this book and Brendan’s other book Thrive.  Brendan also has a home direct food delivery service (which I talk about below) for those who would like things just taken care of for them – easy as pie.  Life changer for me.

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Now, am I a die-hard Vegan today after trying all these dishes.  No not yet.  I consider myself more of a flexitarian but I strive to eat more Vegan all the time.  To me a drastic change is too hard.  I like to make a little change every week.

Now for those of you who do not have the time or inclination to go read all of these books but fundamentally agree that you need a diet change.  Let me suggest another approach.  Perhaps even a more fool-proof approach.  Get your meals delivered to you.

Tony Horton – the creator of P90X now has a business called Tony Horton’s Kitchenhttp://tonyhortonkitchen.com/ This service delivers you delicious, nutrient rich meals that are fresh, organic, gluten and dairy free AND can be either vegan, vegetarian or Flexitarian if you still like meat.  I wanted to try Tony’s service but unfortunately they use carrots in many of their dishes and I am highly allergic to carrots so it didn’t work for me.  However, it has worked for many of my friends.  They offer 5 days or 7 days a week programs that include breakfast lunch and dinner.  Right now if you become a fan on facebook and twitter you can save 25% by using the Promo Code: THK25 at checkout.  Take the guess-work out of eating health and give Tony a try.

Brendan Frazier – author of Thrive Foods and Thrive also has a food delivery service.  Thrive Foods Direct also offers delicious 5 of 7 day meal plans that can help keep you on track each meal.  He offers 4 plans, Thrive for those who want to overall improve their health, Thrive plus for those who exercise an hour or more 4 or more days per week and Thrive pro which is a specialized program for intense athletes.  I personally am going to give them a try this September as they tell me they can work around my food allergies.  I figure I have gone the make my own route, I’d like to try a few weeks where the experts are my chef’s.  www.thrivefoodsdirect.com

Finally – I have to give a shout out to my girlfriend Kasi’s favorite – Personal Chef to go.  She is a weight watchers success story and personal chef to go has helped her stay on track.  They provide guilt free nutritionally balanced meals for the whole family.  Tony and Brendan’s service is designed per person while Personal Chef to Go offers Family plans.    www.personalcheftogo.com

Give them all a try to find out which one works best for you!

Have a healthy day!

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