The 3-2-1 Approach
I recently did a speaking engagement at a yoga/martial arts studio here in Los Angeles about peak performance and the vegan diet. One of the things requested of me was that I discuss a lot of the philosophical principles behind the vegan lifestyle (which I find so in alignment with many yoga principles, I’m surprised we don’t see more of an active connection between these two worlds). The other, was to offer some real “nuts and bolts” suggestions on how to eat for maximum health and wellness.
So as I was preparing for the presentation, I went digging through my Muscles, Mangos and Meditation manuscript to see what might be universal enough for such a crowd. And there’s where I stumbled across something that I shared with that group, and would like to share with you guys here.
While there’s no such thing as a one size fits all concept of eating that will work for everyone, The 3-2-1 Approach is pretty close. Scope it out:
3 – Snacks per day
2 – Sit-Down Meals per day
1 – Superfoods Smoothie per day
It doesn’t matter when you have what. But here’s one popular example of how this approach could look using “normal people’s” hours:
7:30 AM – Breakfast: Superfoods Smoothie
10:00 – Mid-Morning Snack
12:00 – Lunch: Sit-Down Meal #1
3:00 – Mid-Afternoon Snack
6:00 – Dinner: Sit-Down Meal #2
9:00 – Evening Snack
Obviously, there are a number of things you could do to tweak this to your specific needs. If this seems like a lot to be eating in one day, then remember that a snack could be a handful of grapes and a meal could be a bowl of 5-bean soup and a small salad. If this seems kind of light, then it’s easy to jack up the calories by adding more side dishes to meals, more quantities to snacks, and more ingredients to smoothies. (You could even add an extra snack, meal or smoothie if need be.)
For now, though, let’s look at some specifics about the 3-2-1 approach.
Steady Caloric Intake
First, as I’ve covered elsewhere, you really want to eat more small snacks and meals, more often – as opposed to the traditional larger three squares – for the following reasons:
1. We get a steady influx of top quality nutrients throughout the day.
2. The good carbs and healthy fats in these smaller meals and snacks help to keep our energy levels high throughout the day.
3. We maintain an even-keeled blood sugar level.
4. We keep the “fires” of our metabolism burning more efficiently, which plays a critical role in maintaining a leaner, healthier body.
5. With our hunger constantly satiated, we’re less likely to seek out or settle for unhealthy foods like candy bars, chips or fast food.
6. We experience optimal protein assimilation since we tend to take in lower, but more consistent, amounts of it per meal or snack.
7. These steady doses of fiber throughout the day keep our elimination system functioning optimally.
8. These smaller meals and snacks are easily digested so there never has to be that long of a wait before you can work out or do something physically strenuous.
9. Because we’re eating something every few hours, we seldom reach that “starvation” mode where we tend to rabidly overeat or binge.
The 3-2-1 approach is built for this.
Nutrient Density + Nutrient Diversity
Snacks, Sit-Down Meals and Superfoods Smoothies each offer their own special opportunities for nutrient density and nutrient diversity, the two keys to Super Food-Chain Nutrition. As we talked about a couple entries ago, the density part of the equation happens when you eat “superfoods” that are low on the food chain. The diversity part of the equation is inherent to the nature of these three kinds of eating experiences, and the book, of course, offers numerous examples of this diversity.
For a more concise illustration – and for the purpose of easy reference – the book also features a one-page mix-and-match listing of various snack, smoothie and meal choices. Being limited to a one-page overview is quite challenging, as you might imagine. And yet, you can begin to see the huge variety that exists in Super Food-Chain Nutrition when you think beyond the old brown rice and broccoli paradigm.
In this one-page listing alone, you’ve got eight different types of meals, with three examples of each kind, totaling 24 meals. You also have over 20 different snacks and seven different superfoods smoothie recipes.
Again, the URL is: http://www.veggiezone.com/321.pdf
(Click HERE to access an earlier post on making superfoods smoothies.)
In the weeks ahead, we’ll get into even more specific examples of different Snacks, Sit-Down Meals and Superfoods Smoothies. But for now, give the ol’ 3-2-1 a shot.