Given my profession and my fitness lifestyle, I frequently get asked what my own personal diet is like.
Do I practice what I preach to my clients and patients or am I off doin’ my own thang with regards to food and nutrition?
Do I ever feel like my food choices and effectiveness as a health professional are judged on my personal appearance rather than my credentials, training, and experience?
I eat the way that I do because:
- …it makes me feel good physically
- …it makes me feel good emotionally
- …I have specific health conditions that require dietary restriction
- …I am a physique athlete
- …I live alone
- …I have a busy schedule
- …I’m attempting to ball on a budget
and most importantly:
- …I like it
Now, let’s get down to it…
The following is a look at what I am currently eating on a typical day at home.
I utilize nutrient composition and timing strategies recommended by Renaissance Periodization for athletic performance and body composition.
On the weekends, I like to train shortly after I wake up. I had a shoulder workout on this particular day.
Intraworkout shake: Unico Nutrition protein, Karbolyn
Unico: 15% off if you use code ELLENR
Having a source of carbohydrates, especially if you have been “fasting” all night (aka sleeping) can help improve performance and recovery. I drink about 1/2 – 2/3 before lifting and then the rest I sip on during my workout.
Being in the middle of a LONG off-season from physique competitions, I have a lot of freedom with my training and will try out different workouts, different programs, or write my own for myself. Currently, I am making my way through Fast Physique by Jill Coleman with the goal of adding lean muscle mass while keeping body fat and weight about the same if not slightly higher. Because the plan right now is to potentially compete next year, I am trying to build as much strength and muscle right now as I can, but to find balance with not gaining so much weight that cutting down for competition will take much longer and be more drastic.
Postworkout Meal: oats, collagen protein, carrots sticks
Postworkout, I have my largest meal of the day – generous in carbohydrates, low in fat, and a good serving of protein. I was feeling oatmeal this day, but I could have rice, sweet potatoes, tortillas, cereal, etc. I have a canister of collagen peptides that I am trying to work through right now, and because they have no taste themselves they work well mixing in to oatmeal.
Collagen supplements claim to promote youthful skin, healthier hair, and stronger nails; contributes to deeper sleep; increases athletic performance and helps achieve a lean body; helps keep bones healthy and strong; supports joint health; and promotes healthy immune, digestive, and central nervous systems (source: Vital Proteins).
Have I necessarily experienced these same reported benefits? Probably not. But I am a huge proponent of self-experimentation. I experimented, I got data output, I analyzed the data, and came to the conclusion that I do not see any positive or negative difference. So, while this is not a daily staple of mine, I do incorporate from time to time, such as in baking or in oatmeal or smoothies or coffee if I want a flavorless protein boost. (But I also probably won’t be reordering once my current canister runs out.)
Meal 3: 93% lean beef, mushrooms, lettuce blend, air-popped popcorn
2-4 hours after my morning workout, I eat another meal. Still incorporating a decent amount of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and veggies and keeping fat low. My air-popper has proven to be a solid investment – NEVER will I return to microwave or bagged (pre-popped) popcorn.
Meal 4: Egg Beaters, zucchini noodles (‘zoodles’), apple, avocado
As I get further away from my workout, carbohydrates go down and fats go up. My veggie spiralizer has also proven to be a solid kitchen appliance investment, even if it is a total pain to clean afterwards. 3-5 hours after my last meal, I feel ready for another one!
Meal 5: Fat-free plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, XCT oil, carrot sticks
Again, the XCT oil is leftover from a period of self-experimentation that turned out not to be my ‘thang’. But, I did learn some things from that time and I’m not one to waste! So, I got my fats from XCT oil in this meal.
XCT oil (from Bulletproof), unlike other MCT oils or coconut oil, contains only C8 and C10 fatty acids (caprylic and capric acids). Coconut oil, on the other hand, is mostly C12 fatty acids (lauric acid) and longer-chain fatty acids.
The people over at Bulletproof claim that their XCT oil rapidly absorbs in the body and changes into ketones to give you long lasting energy, assisting in weight management and optimizing performance. (Be on the lookout for my review of the Bulletproof Diet on a future episode of ‘Diets in Review’ or as a standalone post.)
Meal 6: casein ‘ice-cream’, unsweetened coconut flakes
Almost every night, I end my day with casein protein either in the form of ‘pudding’ or ‘ice-cream’. Since we’re in the hotter months of the year right now, ice-cream is definitely winning out.
Blend 1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened almond milk with 1 scoop casein protein, a ton of ice cubes, and a pinch (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) xanthan gum (optional).
I also add a few more things to get some extra #health in there: cacao powder, maca powder, and my Unico Nutrition greens powder.
And that’s it! A day in the life, at least in terms of nutrition. It’s not super fancy, it’s not difficult, it satisfies my taste buds and my soul, it fuels my performance, and it helps me stick to my basic health and fitness goals.
Right now, those goals include:
- improved energy
- increased muscle mass
- weight maintenance
- digestion on fleek
- improved body confidence
But, Ellen, how many calories are you eating? What are your macros? Do you track? Do you weigh and measure everything?
- I don’t know, but I could easily figure it out, and I have: ~2,000 calories (for this day in particular)
- I don’t know, but I could easily figure it out, and I have: ~150P / 260C (45f) / 40F (for this day in particular)
- Loosely. I have a general meal pattern/template that I follow but I do not log my food every day, and I do not follow that template every day either. 80-90% of the time, though, I do.
- Not everything. Some things, yes. Some things, no. To me, it’s not worth the mental energy to weigh/measure/track low-calorie condiments and foods like Crystal Light or reduced-sugar ketchup. There are times in my life where I have done that and it was necessary because I was competing in an extreme sport (bodybuilding), but in my day-to-day life, heck no.