Here’s part 3 of my recent interview for Craig Ballantyne.
Craig Ballantyne: Why don’t we just stick with nutrition a little bit and talk about your personal nutrition now? So, talk about your general nutrition approach for yourself and how that’s working for any of your clients that are using it as well.
Jason Ferruggia: I don’t think there was anyone that ate more meat and dairy than I did back in the day.
I would have a gallon of milk a day, a dozen eggs, and at least a pound of beef for years. I was a really skinny kid growing up, I graduated high school weighing 147 pounds at six feet tall, so I was just obsessed with getting bigger. I ate like that for years.
Obviously, it wasn’t the healthiest thing in the world, but it did help me gain over 80 pounds. Now, in retrospect I kind of wish I could go back and do it healthier, but I have made a change.
As some people might know, it will be three years this June since I’ve had any meat or dairy.
I’ve had tremendous success with that. I’ve never felt better, I recover a lot faster, and anyone that I get eating that way has been recovering a lot faster. Once you eliminate dairy you’ll find that you feel a lot better.
If you want to eat organic meat I have no problem with that, but dairy is really where the issue arises with most people. First of all, it destroys your digestive system. In fact, nothing is harder on your digestive system than dairy. On top of that you will get excess inflammation and mucus production, your immune system gets destroyed, you do get SICK A LOT.
Anyone that I’ve gotten off dairy has gotten sick way less. I used to be sick five times every single winter. Now I never get sick. I know a couple of people with asthma that have goten off dairy and they don’t have asthma anymore. John Hinds was telling me the story again this weekend about how he had crippling arthritis in his hands and when he got off dairy that went away within two months.
I used to have a lot of lower back, shoulder, and knee issues, which were always kind of nagging and bothering me from years of heavy squatting, deadlifting and reckless adventure sports stuff that I like to do.
None of that stuff really bothers me anymore. Or at least it’s way better than it used to be.
What’s funny is I barely get sore from training anymore. I’m recovered the next day. Back in the day, I used to think recovery was just calories, so I would do a workout and have an entire pizza and a Gatorade thinking that was going to help me recover faster, but little did I know that all that toxic stuff you’re putting in your body really just caused a lot of digestive stress, causes inflammation, and it actually DELAYS your recovery.
What was funny was John Hinds deadlifted with us Saturday and he did 405 for 12 reps. He hasn’t touched a barbell in 15 years, so the next day at the Yankees game I said to him, “You must be destroyed.” He said, “No. I don’t feel anything.” I texted him the next day figuring it had to be kicking in by then. But he didn’t feel a touch of soreness, which was crazy, but that could be definitely due to his diet.
Like I said, I’ve had many people experience the same thing, so I would recommend that everyone listening to this cut out dairy immediately. It’s just not fit for human consumption. If you’re going to eat meat I would stick with lean, grass fed red meat, and cage free, free roaming, organic turkey and chicken.
Also, you have to understand that through evolution the human body wasn’t really designed to eat massive quantities of meat all day like a typical bodybuilding diet might advocate. Humans were hunter/gatherers and ate meat a few times per month when they were lucky enough to get a kill. Not six times a day like Mr. Olympia does. That’s just not healthy.
So my advice would be to cut down on your consumption of meat and chicken to a more normal, healthy level. Maybe two servings of red meat per week, 3-4 servings of poultry and 2-3 servings of fish. If it weren’t for the polluted oceans fish would be the healthiest of the three. But I think if you eat lower on the food chain and get fresh catch, cold water fish you should be okay. I wouldn’t eat a ton of it, though.
Craig Ballantyne: What do you think the role of fruits and vegetables is in recovery and then what type of pre and post-workout shakes are you having, because you’ve obviously adapted your eating for that? Have you noticed a big difference in your recovery from changing those shakes too? And then what protein powders do you use?
Jason Ferruggia: I think the more fruits and vegetables you can eat the better. Some people can argue vehemently that the human body can’t digest meat and that it’s the worst thing ever for you. Then you can read the 180 degree opposite argument that can be just as convincing. The same can be said for grains.
But no one is arguing that you shouldn’t eat more fruits and vegetables. I think everyone can agree that everyone should eat more vegetables, and for the most part, just about everyone recommends adding more fruit to your diet as well.
Fresh produce is packed with vitamins, their consumption increases your enzyme pool and when you eat most of that kind of stuff it doesn’t cause any digestive stress whatsoever. So, it’s very easy. When you have digestive stress and any kind of issues like that nothing functions properly, you just don’t feel that great.
As far as my shakes go, I usually don’t have a pre-workout shake anymore. I’ll just eat something, maybe a couple pieces of fruit and some nuts or something like that. Then post-workout I usually get some potato starch powder or some Swedish oat starch powder and I’ll mix that up, only because I can’t get home right after training. I’m still stuck at the gym for an hour or a few hours after I train. I like to at least just have something so I’ll mix up some of that carb powder with some pea or brown rice protein powder.
Craig Ballantyne: You mix it with pee?
Jason Ferruggia: Yes. I’m a big fan of urine. I usually use Sun Warrior protein powder with that. Then I aslo have a shake every day for breakfast. I’ll have a shake with a ton of fruit in it, mixed berries, bananas, spinach, maca powder, coconut milk. I vary the fat source every day, so some days it will be coconut milk, some day it will cashews, some days it’s hemp seeds, some days it’s a combination of those, some days I’ll put flax seed oil in it.
I mix and match a bunch of different things. I always try to get some greens in there, so I put a handful or so of spinach or kale in it. Again, some protein powder in there as well.
Craig Ballantyne: What resources do you recommend for people that are listening to this and thinking we’re crazy or who are very interested in learning more and recipes? When you recommended the Thrive Diet to me that was a really great book. Is there anything else?
Jason Ferruggia: Thrive is great, everyone should read that. The China Study is a great read, it doesn’t have recipes but it gives you a little bit of a background on the whole thing. Brendan Brasier has a new book out now, which he sent me. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it looks like it’s pretty good. There are some good recipes in there.
I’m going to be coming out with a plant based recipe guide soon. The Enzyme Factor is a really good book. Anything by David Wolfe is really good. The Sunfood Diet Success System is one I would highly recommend.