Following up from our earlier blogs about the 80-80% dilemma, if you choose a plant based diet and exclude all meat, fish, fowl and animal products such as cheeses, milks, eggs, algae, the question remains can you get enough fat that is required by the low starch, sugar, carbohydrate diet?  #LCHF does seem to have many attractions and benefits for a long healthy life including the reduction of heart disease, diabetes and other longer life conditions such as inflammatory diseases. But usually this diet means a lot of animal fats and an animal sourced protein intake and maybe you dont want to be primarily animal based like the Paleo diet. But if you want to be mostly plant based where the great majority of your calories come from vegetables, seeds, fruits, nuts and grains; will this intake provide enough fats for good health and a lower sugar, carbohydrate intake? 

ALGAE – Just to clarify one aspect of healthy fats from algaeAlgae are organisms, or living things. However, algae are actually neither plants nor animals. Instead they belong to a group of living things called protists. So you have to choose to consume or not consume algae that do contain a lot of healthy fats.

So in an 1800 KCal daily intake with 1440 KCal/80% from fats, 180 KCal/10% from sugars and complex carbohydrates, 180 KCal/10% from protein, there is no doubt that with just a couple of plant based items like 2 bananas you will get enough carbohydrates for your day and with  just 1 cup of macadamia nuts you can get an additional 850 KCal of fats, 70 KCal from carbohydrates and 40 KCal from protein. Now this very simplified example of course does not tell the whole story. You need greens and coloured vegetables to get the phyto-nutrients, minerals and vitamins plus the fibre that your body needs to function well. A bowl of say 5 cups of mixed greens with 4 oz iof mixed seeds and a cup of legumes contains enough of these micro-nutrients to satisfy your general needs plus the fibre and protein. So how does that look to you? 

DAILY FOOD INTAKE – Once daily salad of mixed greens, seeds, black beans, macadamia nuts, bell peppers, zuchini, hot peppers, tomatoes should therefore provide all your daily nutritional needs except for hydration, which has to be considered part of a healthy diet, so lets add water, good water of course.  This would of course aid an intermittent daily fast but you could add some whole grains for your morning meal, such as whole grain bread with avocado or nut butter or banana spread over or some organic oats cooked with water or an unsweetened almond, cashew or hemp based drink.  Not much for a growing lad! Of course if you are exercising then add extra calories for recovery in a 1:4 Protein/Carb ration or even 1:3 ratio allowing 50 KCal/mile cycling/walking or 100 KCal/mile running or swimming 400KCal/mile. So the 4 mile walk which is a good hour of exercise will use 200 KCal to some extent pace/effort and body size/weight dependant which is about a half bagel with 1tbsp peanut butter and that’s it folks. You can easily see where the excess body fat comes from! 

Now lets look at drinks and starting with water – no problem, no calories but spring water filtered is probably best and easiest or you can purify tap water, cheapest option! How much to drink, people say drink when you are thirsty, as good a guide as anything else I think. Coffee has proven benefits from the plant chemicals and nutrients as long as the coffee is not filled with toxins including moulds, which apparently is very common! Beer, soda, wine, liquor, creamy drinks, frappaccino, smoothies and so on will add significant calories for example the Starbucks frappaccino can fill you with 490 KCal depending on how you take it, I suggest leaving it and it’s 53 grams of sugar right there!! Or a grande (16oz) cafe latte at 230 KCal is still a lot and again mostly sugar. Cola 200 KCal of nothing beneficial so avoid soda. Keep it simple a grande Guinness is 160 KCal 🙂 

Published by Dai Roberts Triathlon

Health and performance focused professional triathlon and running coach since 2010. Coaching runners since 2001. European AG champion and world championships AG bronze medalist. BEMER specialist and Independent Distributor. Coaching runners and triathletes of all ages from youth to world championships level. I trained under the IRONMAN coaching program alongside the US MASTERS swimming, USA Cycling and USA Track and Field program as well as UK Athletics. Lifelong learning, athlete centered and successful. Retired UK Military after 32 years service.

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