Updated: Feb 21, 2019
When I was younger I enjoyed a mixed diet that was typical for someone who played regular sport (rugby, obviously) and who also enjoyed an active, outdoor lifestyle. At that time, and before I came to London to take up my career as a Personal Trainer, red meat made up a significant part of my protein intake each week, together with white meat, fish and a lesser proportion of dairy.
How times have changed.
As I remarked recently in the Food episode of my podcast, the biggest proportion of protein in my diet today comes from fish, supported by white meat (and particularly chicken). Red meat now makes up an insignificant part of my diet, which has become far more balanced, with fresh vegetables, fruit, grains and a proportion of dairy all in the mix, though on the whole it is all about the fish for me these days.
And my diet is likely to continue like this into the future.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, I can no longer digest red meat as easily as I could as a younger man, and because of this it does not give me the pleasure eating it that it once did. Where red meat used to give me energy, today it just makes me feel heavy, loge and totally out of whack with my workout.
And thus the move to fish and white over red meat.
Plus, I find that my current fish-dominated diet is not only healthier, more nutritious and packed with the protein that I need to make progress in the gym; I also find it more enjoyable to eat and cook.
Anyone who knows me will be aware that I advocate the pleasure of food and the satisfaction that is to be had in its preparation. This is because I believe food is not simply about fuelling the organic vehicle, it is far more than that. It is a way to fully appreciate our time on the planet, as well as our interaction with our family and friends.
For me the act of food preparation and cooking, as well as its eating, is a bonding agent in a world that can at times feel over-demanding and chaotic. It is also a way to enjoy the company of our loved ones and to share a common, pleasurable experience.
Good food that is properly prepared and served for such pleasures as well (as for its proteins) is one of the keys to a happy and successful life, both in the gym and out of it. If we choose what we eat wisely and do so with respect for our bodies and the environment around us, then we pave the way for an energetic and robust life.
And that means changing our diet as circumstances and our lives change.
So I write today in praise of fish, a nutritious and healthy option in its many forms, which adds protein and taste to a balanced gym diet. As individuals we have a variety of options available to us which can improve our diet and culinary experiences. The important thing is to make informed choices when we choose the food menu.
And to respect our body and planet when we do so.