In the last year I’ve read over a dozen books that will help you make the transition from meat to vegetarian, and even from vegetarian to vegan.
Last night I finished up the latest, and probably the best book of the bunch. Even though it was written almost 10 years ago, “The Food Revolution” has been the book that connected with me the most.
That’s the #1 book you need to read if you’re “thinking” about going vegetarian, or if you want data to back up your decision when your “friends” start hassling you about not eating hamburgers.
Scary, scary stuff in there if you live in the United States.
On a brighter note, and for more practical help in creating your vegetarian lifestyle, I highly recommend Brendan Brazier’s “Thrive Diet”. In addition to opening your eyes up to the incredible variety among plant foods, Brendan also provides some great vegan recipes.
And he’s living proof you can perform at a high-performance level without animal products because he is a world-class triathlete.
To be honest, I was skeptical of this book but it is a MUST read for everyone interested in a plant based diet.
Other books of note:
The China Study – It was okay, but the nutrition chapter (12) is also mandatory reading for someone looking to eat healthier.
Mad Cowboy – Most of the info here is covered in The Food Revolution, but it digs pretty deep into the sad tale of how farmers get trapped in methods that they abhor but are also the only way (that the know of) to make a living.
Food Rules – While this isn’t a vegetarian book per se, Food Rules contains my favorite 7-word diet system:
“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
I’ve tried and tried, and I can’t make it any simpler than that.
Not only will you help yourself, but you’ll help the world avoid wasting water, energy, and precious land. The facts about soil loss, rain forest devastation, and wasted food and energy are alarming and depressing.
As John Robbins points out in The Food Revolution, you’ll save more water by eating one less pound of meat than you would by not showing for 6 months!
When it comes to livestock production, the numbers are mind-boggling.
Grab that book for your summer reading and share it with a friend.
To your health,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Vegetarian Eating”
You’re heading into part 2 of my interview with Jersey’s finest, and leading authority on hardcore, underground strength and fitness, Jason Ferruggia.
As I mentioned in part 1 of the call excerpt (maybe one of my best ever!), Ferruggia covers a WIDE range of topics, such as 3 vs. 4-day programs, optimal sets & reps, the type of workouts he gives his clients at his gym, post-workout nutrition, the Warrior diet, female training, and skinny guy training…whew, that’s A LOT!
And so today, Ferruggia and I are going to address a variety of nutrition questions, including a look at both fat loss and muscle gaining diets (a meat-eating diet AND a vegetarian diet), along with what to eat if you’re a skinny guy. Loads of really useful information in this one, so read on…
Craig Ballantyne: When I got into the rest of the nutrition part of that book that we were reading, the Triple Threat book that you’ve got coming out, you mention in there that you actually like the WARRIOR DIET way of eating, which I actually didn’t even know.
You never mentioned this before. You held this back from me.
Jason Ferruggia: I do like it. For fat loss I do like it. It’s pretty SIMPLE.
I find that people don’t always have a great, as much as you and I know about nutrition, people don’t always study it like you and I do.
When I try to explain fat loss diets to people a lot of times they get very confused and they want something simple. If I say, “Eat this, this, and this six times a day,” there’s a lot of confusion. Whereas if I just tell them, “All right. You have ONE main meal a day.”
It’s very simple, there’s not a lot of thinking. What are you going to eat the rest of the day? Just a couple pieces of fruit.
It’s very, very easy. You can’t have a pizza every night on that, but as long as you’re eating well you can kind of feel fulfilled and satisfied with that big meal at night. You kind of get to cheat, you get to eat your fill at night, but obviously, like I said, don’t eat pizza and whatnot.
It’s a very EASY diet.
You will find that on it you do have a lot of energy, because when you’re eating all day it does take a lot of energy to digest and uses up a lot of enzymes. I know personally when I’m eating to gain size I’m tired all the time from eating so much. BUT…
…eating very minimally throughout the day you will find that your mental focus and your energy is great, unlike what people would think.
That’s really the main reason I like it, just because it’s so easy.
Craig Ballantyne: Yes. I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but my friend Brad Pilon, he talks about the fasting stuff.
We find that some people if they force themselves to eat breakfast they actually become more tired after they eat breakfast than if they hadn’t forced that breakfast on themselves in the first place. Right?
Jason Ferruggia: Yes, absolutely.
Craig Ballantyne: So, when you eat on that schedule are you also having a shake in the morning?
Jason Ferruggia: Yes. I have a shake in the morning and then I’ll just have fruit all day. Then at night I would start with vegetables and hummus, a huge salad.
I don’t eat meat or anything, but if you do you could obviously have a piece of meat, a big salad, some brown rice, whatever you would want. I just have beans and rice or, like I said, a big salad, vegetables, stuff like that.
Craig Ballantyne: I’ve had dinner at your place when Jen has made it for you. Everybody listening to this call, don’t think that Jason is involved at all in the food preparation here, but he does eat very well at dinner. Jen does an amazing job.
So, switching that up, that’s a fat loss thing. What about people listening to this call that are like, “What do I want to eat if I want to gain muscle?”
Don’t be afraid to throw in your PLANT-BASED recommendations, because a lot of people on Facebook were asking about how that’s working, does that work, will it work long term?
So, just general guidelines. You can’t get into too specific here, but how to do that.
Jason Ferruggia: I think it works, definitely. I’ve had no problem regaining size after my injury with a plant-based diet. I found a lot of people doing the same. I had clients make the switch.
NO ONE is having any trouble maintaining size or strength or gaining.
It’s a little difficult. The only time it becomes difficult is if you have trouble staying lean, BECAUSE then as they say vegetarians have to kind of go through your carbs to get to their proteins. So, you do have to eat a decent amount of carbs to gain size on a vegan diet.
That’s the only issue.
If that is an ISSUE for you, you’re going to have to add in MORE conditioning and MORE cardio, but it can be done. You’re going to have to take MORE protein shakes, which I don’t always recommend for people, but it becomes a necessary evil on this kind of diet.
For most people, if you want to eat meat that’s entirely your decision, but just understand if through evolution we didn’t eat meat six times a day like a typical bodybuilding diet, we ate when we got a kill, which was once every few days.
So, you might eat meat six times a month versus six times a day.
If you eat animal products I have no problem with that, but I would kind of LESSEN it a bit. Cut it down to maybe once or twice a day. Really limit the red meat and the pork consumption, stick more with chicken and fish, organic, and eggs. Just rotate. You want to make sure that you ROTATE your food sources as often as possible.
If you’re trying to gain size, I mean calories are the most important thing. For SKINNY guys carbs are the most important thing, so just load up on the brown rice, the oats, quinoa, barley, things like that, whole grain breads. Nuts are HUGE. Any skinny guy just carry nuts everywhere, just load up on nuts all day. They’re a ton of calories and easy to eat.
Craig Ballantyne: Awesome.
We’re getting some really good information here, but let’s take a closer look at Ferruggia’s workouts. In part 3 we go into the Renegade Gym and discover some unusual, yet very effective exercise for toning up.