A thought I’ve always pushed to the back of my head is the Weighing of my food. Chris made nutrition a core focus and rightfully so, I have learnt that through my transformation getting into shape is a 80:20 ratio between nutrition and training. Whether the reason was the extra effort involved, not wanting any constraint on my food habits or just plain laziness; my shred came down to me turning towards food scales after all and starting a food diary.
Before we unfolded the nitty gritty of training, I was put on a two-week trial on the calorie tracking app MyFitnessPal. The aim of the trial period was for Chris and I to gauge an understanding of my current eating trends; I ate as normal without any deficit or focus on macro nutrients. A Calorie deficit target was then calculated based upon this to work against – 1,800 calories a day and consuming 120g protein daily.
Portion control and protein intake were both key as I was originally overconsuming by quite a margin. Hence, I was put on a High Protein- Low Carb – Low Fat diet, which was even more challenging than usual because I am a vegetarian. It was difficult but not impossible and I was ready more than ever before to tackle this challenge.
Now Going back to the food scale, I was in search for something not too expensive or overly complicated and did the job. I highly recommend the scale which I still use today on the daily, after exploring Amazon I settled for the food scale below:
Exzact Electronic Kitchen Scale – EX4350 – £12.99 off Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00Z7VLGL4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
My relationship with food has always been difficult since a young age – as most would say “comfort eating”, but now it was time to fix this mess. I realised that my diet was dairy heavy, I then decided to take the drastic decision to go Vegan. Chris gave me a guideline on my macronutrient breakdown. Investigating what foods to eat to fit my nutrition was my job. I had already cut out processed sugars, chocolates and snacking from my diet; all these were bad habits I had to overcome. I was eating 5 meals a day: Breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and dinner usually a post workout snack.
My meal breakdown was a combination of each day of the week:
- Avocado and Mozzarella on Toast
- Bowl of Oats and Soya Milk with sliced Banana pieces
Mid-Morning Snack (Either)
- Banana & Pear
- Protein Shake
- Tofu Salad
- Red Lentil Protein Pasta
- Khaman Dhokla (Gujarati Rice Cakes)
- Oat Pancakes
- Morrisons Protein Noodles
- Lentil Curry & Chapatis (x2)
- Broccoli & Beans
- Mixed Beans Mash
- Sweet Potato Mash
- Pasta & Protein Shake
- Pineapple & Protein Shake
Vegan Protein Shake
In the past, I have tired dozens of protein shake which taste like chalk or taste good but don’t have a substantial nutritional value. I finally discovered what I still believe to be the best protein shake on the market (in terms of how much protein per serving) – Form Nutrition’s Performance Protein.
This amazing plant-based pea protein shake gives a massive 30g of protein per serving (2 Scoops), comes in 3 flavours – Vanilla, Tiramisu and Chocolate Peanut. I have tried all of them but Vanilla comes on top for me as my personal favourite. It isn’t only very nutritious but tastes amazing too – a must try!
These are hard to get a hold of as they are a sell out product pretty much all the time. However, at the times I have managed to get my hands on them they have proved to be a great protein source and taste delicious. And, I could only find these in Morrisons and Tesco’:
When it comes down to lentils, there are many different types available as dry goods on the market today. Fortunately, this works in my favour as I am a Gujarati and they fit perfectly into our cuisine so it wasn’t anything new to me. I’ve grown up eating lentil curry all my life. Here are my personal favourites:
- Split Chickpeas (brown) – Chana Dal
- Black Gram Lentils – Urad Dal
- Chickpeas (White) – Kabuli Chana
- Lentil, Yellow Petite – Mung Dal
The beauty with lentils is how adaptable they are with food dishes. You can have them with chapattis, Pitta Bread, Rice, in a Salad or even on their own. Simply Fabulous. Low in calories, super tasty, high in protein and quick & easy to make.
This perfectly leads me on to my concluding notes on this second part out of three blogs – Portion Size.
Initially, when I started with my food diary portion size was a big problem because each food is weighed differently.
The measurement types I saw: in cups, grams, packs and pieces. After much research, I came to understand that different types of foods are measured differently in cups i.e. 1 cup of a liquid substance is not the same as 1 cup of dry goods. I used 1 cup to equate 128g of food across the board. I used this as a ball park on all the foods I ate that were measured in cups. For things like Pasta I would take the raw weight before boiling. Curries were harder as there are a lot of things that go into the final product so I would take a 128 gram weigh in of the overall curry and eat against this measure.
For most foods I made use of the bar scanner feature that MyFitnessPal offers. Life Saver!
Sticking to 1,800 wasn’t too bad after all. Being in a deficit is just another challenge you have to overcome to reach your goal. Soon enough you will learn that if you eat smart, you can eat more. Healthy food isn’t boring if you make it fun. I think I just proved this – look how happy I look after my shred: