One of the toughest obstacles that an individual can encounter while embarking on a healthy/fit lifestyle is following a proper DIET. I’m not talking about the verb “diet”–“dieting”, but the actual noun of what is the best “diet” for ME. Now I completely agree with other bloggers and health nuts that intuitive eating is great and that “what diet works for me may or may not work for you” is very very true, but is there anyone out there besied me who struggles with the actual implementation of diet experimenting? I get impatient and think “Oh dear lord I’ve been low carb for 2 days has anything changed? Nope? Okay, doesn’t work for me, next diet prrease!” Because I am a do-er and because I am a person who thrives on achievement, I struggle with the patience, with the want, and with the desire to see my results as fast as possible. I think that this is why it has taken me so long to discover my food balances. But at long last, I think that I have discovered the dietary changes that I feel my body is very fond of. Wooo! Whenever you hit those diet, health, and/or fitness milestones, I must say that it feels pretty damn amazing! So this is what I’ve done…
Anyone ever heard of “the asian diet”? The SAD diet aka the “standard american diet”? “mediterranean diet”? “paleo diet”?
Well I’ve dabbled in a few of these different diets (you can ask me about any of them if you have questions, I’d be glad to answer/offer my personal experience) and I have found, time and time again, that the diet I keep reverting back to is the asian diet. Now, the asian diet is largely comprised of rice, complex carbs like sweet potatoes, lean meats, tonsss of vegetables, and seafood. But that sounds like any of the other diets, right? Here are a few key observations on what is different:
1. Food preparation–>homestyle asian cooking is drastically different than what you see at restaurants. We rarely fry anything! Most of our food is prepared via quick stirfry in a wok (with barely any oil), or it is very frequently steamed.
2. Portions–>you know the rice bowls you see get when you eat at a sit down Chinese Restaurant? That is usually the bowl from which many asians eat out of. See? Portion control:
3. White Carbs–I don’t know if I necessarily believe in the whole Eat Right For Your Blood Type Diet; however, I think that I do believe in eating the diet that your ancestors had–obviously they thrived on it, correct? The most major thing that I noticed when I tried different diets such as Paleo, Atkins style, and other low carb forms of eating I had SOO little energy and I felt very lightheaded. My body craved carbohydrates for energy but I was refusing it! This of course led to awful cycles of binging on carbs once I couldn’t take it anymore. But when I WOULD binge on tons of white rice–I noticed that nothing bad happened! I did not feel bloated and did not feel “fat” like pretty much every diet/health/fitness article says! What strikes my curiosity is that if white rice is so bad for you, why are Asians generally so healthy and thin? White rice and noodles make up a massive amount of our DAILY–that’s right, DAILY breakfast lunch dinner–and yet they are still trim and have low rates of heart conditions and other health problems! Now storebought white bread is a problem, as it is very processed and likely contains additives, but the rice grain itself is steamed and very nutritious! Look up nutritional stats on the benefits of steamed rice. I’m not trying to say that white is better than brown rice, I just want to make a point that I do not believe that carbs such as white rice and noodles are as unhealthy as the media conveys it to be.
I did some calculations based on my personal stats and determined that I would do well on a diet of macronutrients in a the 35-40% Protein 35-40% Carb 20% Fat ratio.
I’m so happy to say that today I did 35-45-20 respectively and I have NEVER felt more energized and ready to continue tackling my day! I was able to do two sets of workouts today, one being a 45 min hybrid of the Beachbody Programs Brazil Butt Lift and Turbo Fire HIIT Training. Then I did a nice long walk around campus, studied, then ended up at the gym to do 15 min of hard sprint cycling on the spin bikes folllowed by free weights for my arms (did shoulders today), and then a half mile sprint around my block. And I STILL could’ve gone longer!! I attribute this vitality to my diet AND to the brand new pair of Nike Free TR Twist that I just got!! They are AWESOME shoes and highly recommend them! They feel SO light and supportive yet allow you the freedom to perform front-to-back + lateral movements with speed. I was afraid of the “minimalist” approach and construction as I have arched feet that require “cushioned” support; however, these feel like a dream!
My primary protein in this new diet experiment came from this bangin new recipe I made up for Korean Spicy Chicken that can also be referred to as Dak Galbi (although dak galbi recipes often have onions, cabbage, and rice cakes). I just created the chicken marinade that would typically go in to this dish if made traditionally! Please try it and it is a tad spicy, so scale back on the red pepper powder if you need to and increase the soy sauce + sesame oil + sugar.
Korean Spicy Chicken–Dak Galbi
Ingredients for 2.25 lbs of boneless skinless thigh meat (~2 lbs after trimming off the fat)
– 1 tb sesame oil
-2 tb sugar (can do 1 tb white, 1 tb brown) or sugar substitute
-2 tb gojuchang (korean red pepper paste. find it in asian markets)
-2 tb soy sauce
-2 tb red pepper powder
-1/4 cup water
-3 garlic cloves
1. Prepare the marinade and toss the sliced chicken pieces in a bowl with the marinade
2. Seal and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours to allow flavors to permeate
3. Cook the meat either on the stovetop in a pan, or even better, over the grill
My carbs came from Taiwan Spinach (grown in USA, but the “species” is called Taiwan Spinach? LOL the leaves are larger but honestly they all taste the same to me) quickly stir-fried with garlic using coconut oil (my fat source and something new that I have been incorporating which I LOVEEE. Seen huge improvements to my hair from ingesting it!), a whole head of bok choy, and 2 baked sweet potatoes.
If you make this recipe, I HIGHLY recommend baking some sweet potatoes and eating it with the meet because it is honestly TO DIE FOR!!! What’s absolutely wonderful is the fact that I did not feel hungry AT ALL today. My calories were in check as were my macros (checked using caloriecount.com) and yet I felt like I ate a TON of food (AND a ton of potatoes!) Prior to this i never would have eaten this much carb in the form of a potato but I am listening to my body and trusting that this type of diet is what my Asian ancestors have been nourishing their bodies with for centuries.
Tomorrow I will be perform that wretched mirror test every woman hates and will then determine whether the high carbs had a positive, negative, or neutral affect. My protein intake also felt extremely high (I devoured both plates pictured above in the beginning of the post for lunch along with another plate of chicken about half that plate’s portion for dinner). I’m praying that it’s a positive outcome because today, I truly felt like I could run alongside a Kenyan for days!! **crosses fingers** If all goes well, I have a hunch that this will be my favorite meal on REPEAT for the next few days….it actually will have to be since I portioned out and froze the leftover marinated chicken and just baked a big batch of sweet potatoes hehe YUMMM.
I’ll keep an update on how the new diet is working for me!!