As a follow up to the juice fasting post, I wanted to address a few questions from the comments I received as well as touch on a few other points. Besides not having enough information about juice fasting or a plant based diet in general, I think the prep work can also scare people off. It is important to be comfortable with your juicer and pick one that works well for you. You also want to find a source where good quality, affordable organic vegetables are available. This may take a little digging, especially if you don’t live in a major city. Don’t give up! It’s out there, and you just have to use your health and feeling awesome as motivating factors to stick with it.
I was vegetarian since age 14 as a young kid who first started to question where my food came from and if I was okay with that. It was from there my initial theory was if I couldn’t do it myself, I wasn’t going to have someone else do my dirty work for me. I was met with resistance from my parents who were not supportive of my change in diet, and the last thing they wanted me talking about as a bratty teenager at the dinner table was how whatever they were eating used to have a face. I get it. There are other ways to go about it. I have never felt good about doing anything I was guilted into doing. Once I decided this was how I wanted to live and eat, I never went back. I am not one with a bacon fetish, or mustaches for that matter, although I seem to be in the minority with that. I have always said I am a natural vegetarian because I have never found it difficult to keep meat out of my diet. This may not be the same for you and that’s okay. Don’t rule out a plant based diet. Check out books like Part Time Vegan by Cherise Grifoni or my pal Natalie Slater’s book Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans. These easy, not scary recipes can help you transition, or just have days you eat vegan. You never know, you may just find that you don’t miss your old diet, end up feeling better, or discover substitutions that are just as satisfying.
When I began training for my time in the circus, you may be more familiar with it’s other name, the WWE or World Wrestling Entertainment, I did not have the knowledge I do now of how to strength train, build muscle and become a living super hero without meat. Lots and lots of protein, that’s how you get muscles, right? I clearly remember eating my first meat after almost 10 years of being vegetarian. I used my vegetable steamer to steam some chicken, told myself it was tofu and dumped a jar of Ragu tomato sauce on top. MMMmmmm, sound delicious? Whatever it took, I was going to be a professional wrestler. From there I would read body building books, magazines and articles all saying I needed to isolate all these muscles and eat a ton of protein. So I did. I followed that routine to some degree all though out my career with the WWE. Once I retired, I gravitated back to about 80% vegetarian without realizing it. I was driving down the highway with my band and for miles we were all gagging and placing bets on what stunk so bad outside. Well, I don’t remember who won the bet, but I do remember a zillion chickens pumped so full of hormones there little legs couldn’t support their bodies being hauled off to be made into dinner. Gross. That was it. Line in the sand part 2. This time, I was equipped with more knowledge, and I was just training for life.
Cliches are just so cliche, but hindsight really is 20/20. I wish I had the knowledge I do now about plant based living and training when I started my journey of becoming a professional wrestler. Although when I retired in November of 2006 I was officially healthy and injury free, I could still give Frankenstein’s monster a run for his money in being pieced together. I had broken my back as well as my neck at different times, tore everything in my left knee, and separated my shoulder. Those were just the things I reported, not to mention what getting beat up for a living does to one’s body over time in general. It wasn’t until I got hooked on kettlebell training and really focused on cleaning up my diet that I really started to see changes. Granted, it has been awhile since I have been thrown around for a paycheck, but I can go on record that my body has never felt better.
Our bodies are remarkable at adapting. My body adapted to getting thrown around and then jumping into a car for hours to get to the next show to do it all over again. Your body may have adapted to Coke instead of water and In and Out burger for fuel. And you feel just fine. It’s not until you give your body a chance to really show you some of the things it can do that you be able to understand just how powerful good food is. Your body can’t address old war wounds, insomnia, skin issues, anxiety, headaches and the like. It is busy trying to figure out how to digest chemicals, and genetically modified lab experiments that pass as food. If you switch this out for nutrient dense, easily digestible, pesticide free food your body can start to tackle some underlying problems. You just have to work together.
Protein. Oh yeah. Although my body is smaller now, I am stronger and my muscles are more dense than they were when I was an active wrestler. I do functional training. This means I replicate how my body moves in real life. For example, a bicep curl only exists in a gym. One would never lift something like that, unless you just wanted some 24 inch pythons, brother. After my workouts I may have a fresh pressed green juice or a coconut water. My body will put everything together just how it wants. As long as I flood my body with nutrient dense food, it will function efficiently. In an average day I may have some nuts, seeds, almond butter as far as things that have a complete protein make up. I just eat good whole nutrient dense food, and the last thing on my mind before I go to bed is, ” I wonder if I got enough protein?” By the way, nothing bad happens when you squat below 90 degrees, that too, is a myth, just ask Bruce Lee.
Change can be scary. Routines are comfortable. Habits are habit forming. Ice cream is yummy. I could go on and on. There are a ton of reasons not to give it a try and I have never been one to tell people what to do, that is just not my style. I can just tell you what works for me. Oh wait, I have another cliche! “Be the change you want to see in the world.”