Health

The CrossFit Diet: Food Diaries

Our diarist this week does intense workouts five days a week and is health-conscious with his food choices, but is he getting everything he needs?

THE STATS

Gender: Male.
Age: 32.
Height: Five-foot-nine.
Weight: 166 pounds.
Location: Vienna.
Profession: IT consultant.
Self-described activity level: “My general physical activity revolves mostly around CrossFit. The community that I’ve met over the past four years have always been friendly, fun, and motivates me to keep pursuing a healthier lifestyle. It’s also the primary motivator in how I currently eat. I tend to workout anywhere between three and five times a week, with my workouts a complete mystery to me until just before I go to bed the night before. I really struggle with fatigue on some days despite getting a reasonable amount of sleep, and I wonder if the disastrous things I eat on the weekend have anything to do with it.

DAY ONE

9:45 AM: I’m up a little today and dragging my feet, but I love the fact that my weekends are filled with rest and recovery between the work week. Especially with food. I heat up three frozen chicken-apple sausage links from the freezer, and accompany it with a side of chilled coconut milk (which turns it into a thickened cream when it’s cold) with blueberries, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and honey. I take down two high EHA/DHA fish-oil pills, a packet of multivitamin, multimineral, probiotic, and a few other health pills, finally topping it off with an antioxidant drink, and I’m out the door to run some errands for the day.
11:30 AM: I get back home, make a pot of french press coffee, and drink a cup with some almond milk. I’ve recently gotten back on to coffee (just this week) after a half year hiatus, returning from the land of teas.
2:30 PM: I’m starting to feel like I could eat an entire cow right about now, so I get into the kitchen and start deciding what’s going to turn into lunch. I settle for making fried chicken tenders with an almond meal/coconut flour/tequila lime seasoning crust cooked in avocado oil and a bowl of spinach with garlic and bacon (which turned out a little less impressive than I had in my head). Crap. I haven’t had any glasses of water yet. Time to get started. I also pour myself another cup of coffee with almond milk, switching to iced. I take another fish oil pill because the amount of almonds used for the chicken, just in case my Omega-6’s are starting to rack up for the day.
8:45 PM: Winner winner, chicken dinner! Barbecue chicken and onion pizza for dinner to be exact. While it’s cooking in the oven, I put together an organic fig, arugula, and Parmesan cheese salad to stuff in my gullet to start. Nom. A full 12-inch pizza next, two slices of a mini blueberry pie, and a half pint of coconut milk based mint chocolate chip ice cream to finish.

DAY TWO

9:45 AM: Another sleep-in day before the weekend’s over. I get up and head over to the coffee shop for an iced coffee with half and half, no sugar. After a bit of people watching, it’s the three-quarter-mile walk back home, where I cook three strips of pastured, nitrate-free bacon, three cage-free eggs, half a tomato, and two scoops of guacamole. I’m still a tad hungry after that, I prepare a small bowl of coconut milk with blueberries, pumpkin seeds, honey, and crushed almonds.
3:30 PM: I’ve totally lost track of time, and lunch . . . and I feel like I should at least have something to tide me over until dinner, which ends up being a small protein shake. I like to have my protein shakes with just a few raw vegetables, and the fruits usually cover any weird tastes, so it’s a peach, a handful of blackberries, a couple asparagus spears, some cauliflower, raw organic cacao pieces, coconut milk, vanilla protein powder, fiber, water, ice, and blend.
7:30 PM: One of the bags of produce I brought home from the grocery store was filled with brussels sprouts and, still feeling like I need to redeem myself for the mess of a spinach dish I had earlier this weekend, cook them with two strips of pasteurized bacon, lime, and some chili-garlic sauce. Cleaning out some of the unfinished work in the fridge, I heat up two pasteurized fennel lamb sausages in the microwave and eat them with a mustard aioli.

DAY THREE

5:30 AM: Up for a CrossFit workout. I’m still pretty groggy this early, so I end up going for the easiest and quickest way to just put something in my stomach before the workout: one scoop of protein powder mixed with water, and a spoonful of crunch almond butter to boot. Three-two-one go.
6:40 AM: Going for strength instead of a metabolic conditioning day. I do just under an hour of snatches and back squats. I chug two cups of local-dairy chocolate milk as a recovery drink.
7:10 AM: I actually need a breakfast before work, so I cook two cage-free eggs with a few shiitake mushrooms in avocado oil, and scarf it down with a side of coconut milk with organic blackberries. Along with breakfast, I take down my daily supplement pack: fish oil, multivitamin, multiminerals, antioxidant drink, and glutamine for post-workout recovery.
9:15 AM: I finally get a chance to grab a medium Americano, because I’m getting that ‘lack of caffeine’ headache. Ooooh. That’s right. That’s why I gave up coffee in the first place. Dammit.
10:50 AM: Not quite lunchtime, but my hunger forces me to find something to eat. I down a handful of walnuts and pecans to tide me over until lunch.
12:30 PM: It’s going to be a leftover lunch today. I heat up several of the leftover almond meal-breaded fried chicken tenders, a handful of heirloom tomatoes on the side, and another serving of the coconut milk with blueberries for dessert.
6:30 PM: After a long but good day at the client site, it’s time for my company’s corporate meeting with my coworkers at our company headquarters office. Dinner for tonight consists of chicken and beef kebabs, with a side salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and Feta cheese, served with an oil and vinegar dressing. I take down a packet of almond butter for dessert.
9:15 PM: I finally get home and almost immediately go to bed.

See Also:

Eight Great Calorie-Burning Workouts

Eating Healthy, But Staying Active?: Food Diaries

Health Heroes: Allyn Blind

DAY FOUR

6:30 AM: I sleep in an extra hour, not being able to make it to the morning workout. I’m not sure why I’m so exhausted. Breakfast consists of three pasteurized strips of bacon, three cage-free eggs, the usual mix of multivitamins and multiminerals, an antioxidant drink, and a teaspoon of fish oil. I spend about an hour eating and getting ready for work, and then I’m out the door.
8:15 AM: At the office, I start drinking the chocolate almond milk latte (no sugar) I made at home, with two shots of espresso. Did you know tall means two shots, grande means three shots, and venti means severe bean addiction? A grande was putting me over my comfort zone.
11:30 AM: I’m not super hungry, but I feel like I should eat anyway. Leftover steak kebabs from last night’s dinner, with a cup of heirloom tomatoes on the side. It’s blueberries and chilled coconut milk again for dessert. I’m a little bummed that I forgot to bring the rest of the toppings in to work to put on top of this to give it a little more sweetness.
6:00 PM: Lots of skill work and Olympic lifting after the workout. Today’s Workouts of the Day (WOD) is a ladder, starting with ten 30-inch boxjumps and one chest-to-bar pullup, then nine 30-inch boxjumps and two chest-to-bar pullups, all the way down to one 30-inch boxjump and ten chest-to-bar pullups. I do 55 of each and I’m done, coming in just under 10 minutes. I do a little more work on some moderately heavy clean and jerks. A ten-ounce container of local dairy chocolate milk was all I had left in the fridge, so it’ll have to be enough down the hatch as a post workout recovery drink.
7:30 PM: Back home, I scour the fridge and try to finish off some of the vegetables. I end up sauteéing some chopped garlic, avocado oil, and spinach in one pan, while I heat up a pot of grated cauliflower with some avocado oil.  I add about a cup of puttanesca sauce to the cauliflower, then the spinach, and a few canned sardines for the last of the protein for the day.

DAY FIVE

5:20 AM: A scoop of protein powder and a teaspoon of almond butter before the workout so I have something in my stomach, but it’s too early to think of putting together anything more complex than that.
6:30 AM: Gymnastics work and general metabolic conditioning in the workout, followed up with a quick round of moderately heavy deadlifts for strength. I have another scoop of protein powder as a post-workout recovery drink.
7:09 AM: Back home, I fry up three strips of pasteurized bacon, and toss in a few of the remaining chicken kebabs in the pan, served with a chili garlic sauce. Down with my vitamins, minerals, fish oil, and antioxidant drink. I manage to squeeze time to put the espresso maker on the stove, pour two shots in with unsweetened almond milk, a teaspoon of honey, and I’m out the door and off to work.
11:45 AM: I decide to have a salad for lunch, so I head over to the local embassy of fresh salads. I prefer to customize my mix: mesclun greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, crumbled egg, sunflower seeds, and a Chipotle dressing. I have a side of the remaining beef kebabs for an extra source of protein.
6:45 PM: For dinner, I open the crockpot to dig into one of my new favorite meats: braised beef short ribs. I decided to try something a little different this time around, making it with an island flavor based on a recipe I found. Mangoes, coconut milk, chili powder, a bit of Chipotle tabasco sauce and onions make for a sweet but slightly spicy delicious mix. I pour the sauce and meat over a heaping bowl of spaghetti squash, with a side of coconut milk and blueberries to boot.

Advice From Our Expert:

Judy Caplan, a Vienna-based registered dietician and author of Gobey Gets Full, a children’s nutrition book, and GoBeFull: Eight Keys to a Healthy Lifestyle, says, “Our diarist appears to be very health conscious, avoiding fast food and alcohol and taking plenty of supplements and protein drinks. CrossFit workouts are intense, build muscle, and require a high calorie intake. Though he eats well, his complaints about fatigue could be related to his diet.”

What’s He Doing Right: “He eats plenty of protein for muscle repair and seeks out nitrite-free processed meats. This is good because studies show nitrites are linked to higher incidence of stomach and pancreatic cancers. A new study even links them to type 2 diabetes. He also eats plenty of healthy omega-3 fats like almonds, almond milk, almond butter, avocado, avocado oil, sardines, and pumpkin seeds, which are good for your brain and heart. He eats blueberries, figs, peaches, and veggies (even Brussels sprouts!), which are all full of antioxidants and disease preventing phytochemicals.”

“Our guy is extremely motivated in the food department. He is conscious about what he eats by seeking out healthy ingredients, cooking instead of running out for fast food, and he even getting out his crock pot! He is definitely creative in his food choices. Most important, he is aware of what he eats and thinks ahead.”

What He’s Missing: “His fatigue could be coming from a diet low in complex carbohydrates. While there are probably some carbs in the protein powder, his diet is almost nonexistent in whole grains, whole grain cereals, and beans, which are a great source of long-term energy and fiber. Most of the carbs he eats are from fruit, honey, and sugar which are short-acting carbs and can lead to fatigue. With as much intense exercise as he does, complex carbs will keep his blood sugar up and his energy level higher. If he included more complex carbs throughout the day, he would be less likely to eat a 12-inch pizza, two slices of a blueberry mini pie, and a half pint of ice cream at one sitting! He also consumes a lot of coconut milk which can be high in artery-clogging, saturated vegetable fat.”

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