Diet and Exercise (Part One)

Diet and exercise are probably the two biggest factors in determining your overall wellness. Just like my workout regimen, I aim to keep my diet simple and stick to the fundamentals.

To paraphrase from Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, my dietary advice is this: eat real food, not processed crap.

A simple concept, but one that can be surprisingly difficult to implement in our current cultural climate.

Here are a few quick tips to help you out:

1. Look at the ingredients that are in the “foods” you purchase. If there are things in there that you don’t know what they are/can’t pronounce then it’s probably not food.

2. Stay away from “foods” that make claims like “low fat” or “low sugar.” They are usually compensating for some other nutritional shortcoming and/or are filled with chemicals to enhance the flavor.

3. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies! I cannot stress this one enough. Fruits and veggies are the foundation of a healthy diet.

It’s not always easy to practice ideal eating habits, so just take it one meal at a time.

Post Workout Nutrition
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but post-workout is also a key time to be mindful of your diet (for me, they’re often the same meal). This doesn’t mean you need to consume a bunch of supplements and protein powders. On the contrary, supplements are usually processed half way to hell and loaded with chemicals and sugars. Just eat real food! (Check out my list of “Al approved” foods).

Watch the video below to see me whip up one of my favorite post workout treats, which I’ve dubbed “The Blueberry Blaster.” Here’s the recipe:

The Blueberry Blaster
6 oz. milk (Use almond milk if you don’t consume dairy)
2 tablespoons of almond butter
1 teaspoon of honey
1/2 pound of fresh blueberries
1 banana
3-5 ice cubes

This recipe will give you approximately 20 oz. of smoothie and 500 calories.

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  • Phattrainer

    Good article Al. I also recommend “Lights Out” by TS Wiley and Bent Fomby. Its a really good book about sleeping more and eating the right foods. I would also only say a little fruit, and a lot of veggies. because its alot of sugar in fruit. Most fruit that we get in genetically engineered. Thats why we can get strawberries and blueberries in December.

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks for the recommendation, Lenny. I'll have to check out that book.

    As far as sugar goes, yes fruits have sugar – but way less of it than most other snacks. For example, you'd have to eat almost 2 pounds of blueberries in order the equal the sugar in one can of coke!

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/TXL53PGRIZR7HLI3JFSP563KJI Aaron

    Yes In defense of Food is a great book, however I prefer more meat and saturated fat. For the last 7 months I have been eating a lot of saturated fat to find my body fat dropping and energy rising. Yah, I'm a paleo promoter on the higher fat spectrum. Any type of sugar besides berries really makes me crash hard now. I eat about 5 pounds of strawberries a week because they have no ill effects due to the lower glycemic load, but most other fruit besides berries are to high in sugar for me. On average I eat 5 pounds of chicken thighs, 5 pounds of bacon and another five pounds of pork or steaks a week. And of course my vegetable consumption is any type of veggie I can find in the store, usually about 10 pounds a week of various things. Its pretty simple to eat well but we have been told it is a lot harder than we think. The grains we are told to consume is what has screwed our diets in the first place. Every year consumers get more confused than the last because of all the new “health” foods that go on the market. People just don't understand that the “food” companies are trying to make money and they do not CARE about your health! REAL food has no “heart healthy” labels! Great post Al!

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Aaron! I also eat more meat than Pollan recommends, but his philosophy is closer to mine than any other nutritional expert that I am aware of. Plus I really like the way he writes.

  • Armengem

    this is the greatest video yet. al- you should be the next food network star!

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks Armen! You should tell them to give me call. :)

  • Perry Foster

    You need to be careful with agave syrup since there are some that are made with the root of the plant instead of the top. This root is a starch and the process used is the same as sugar made from corn starch;AKA High fructose corn syrup. Real agave syrup is made from the top of the plant and is much more time consuming to make and therefore very expensive and hard to get. You are always better off staying with natural sweeteners, maple syrup, honey, fruit, and stevia.

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks for addressing this, Perry. Someone else brought this concern to my attention as well recently. You'll notice that my more recent smoohtie recipes include honey instead of agave for this very reason.

  • Perry Foster

    I figured you probably were already aware of this Al, but it just goes to show that we have to be vigilant even with products that are marketed to the health concious, because these manufacturers realize that there is money to be made. Indeed, we will even pay extra for items that we perceive to be better for us and that is incentive enough for the hucksters to get “Healthy”!!!

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    It's true – a lot of unscrupulous marketers are trying to take advantage of people who want to eat healthy by lying to us about their products. It's hard to discern what's real these days!

  • Perry Foster

    That's what is so great about sites like yours. We can all help each other, and if there is something we are not aware of, someone else will share their thoughts and knowledge. Great site Al! I am looking forward to receiving your book, and my blender has come out of storage and has really been put through it's paces. See ya!

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Right on, Perry. Glad you're having fun with the blender! Fyi, your book went in the mail this morning.

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  • ts1441

    The cokes that I know have a little more than 40 kilo calories per 100ml, pretty level with apple- and orange juice, less than milk with 1,5% fat. 100ml or grams of coke contains less calories than the equal amount of blueberries, for instance.

  • Sam

    Hi Al,

    I just want to know one more thing just for curiosity :)
    How often do you eat in one day?

    Have a nice day
    Sam

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Hey Sam – It varies a lot depending on my schedule. What you eat and how much you eat count a lot more in my opinion.

  • Martin

    Hi Al.
    You are a great inspiration for me. I have one question: How often do you eat? Paul says eat three evenly-spaced balanced meals daily, at regular times. One meal every four hours.
    Many people told me that I need to eat more often if I want to get muscles. You look great, please what are your thoughts about this topic?
    Thanks. :-)

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks for the kind words, Martin. Some days I eat three meals, other days I eat a couple small snacks and one large meal. I’m personally not a fan of the six small meals a day philosophy, though I don’t really think it matters all that much how often you eat. In my experience, what matters is what you eat and how much of it.

  • Erik

    I want to start calisthenia because I want to build a great body and dont want to get hurt in the gym using high weigths. My point is that I would prefer a more muscular body than you have and you are pro at this , so why are other people who do calisthenia and have big muscles and are jacked but you dont ?. Sorry for my english.

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Hey Erik – I train for strength and performance, not muscle mass. If you just want to get as big as possible, there are plenty of bodybuilding websites you can visit.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robby-Taylor/44409147 Robby Taylor

    A lot of it is diet and genetics. Just as with lifting weights, you have to eat a lot to put on mass. And, some people are more genetically geared toward putting on muscle mass as their strength increases, while other people will have a harder time putting on size but will continue getting stronger. Besides that, I’m pretty sure it is easier to put on mass with weights, but it is definitely possible to get big muscles with bodyweight exercises; just look at any professional male gymnast. They may not be very tall but man those guys are jacked; just think of what that type of training would do for a tall guy!

  • James Candell

    Hey Al, I know this is a stupid question but here goes, I’m going to be doing a workout later this evening, I have to have 2 more meals today, one an hour before and one an hour after the workout, unfortunately for complicated reasons, today one of those meals must be unhealthy and the other healthy, so if I’m trying to achieve the best situation, should I eat the healthy meal before or after my gym workout. It’ll all be healthy food though for the days following the workout!

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    I don’t think it really matters, James.

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