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The One Ingredient Diet

"The One Ingredient Diet" is not a "diet".  At least not a traditional "diet".  "The One Ingredient Diet" is simply a way to think of what foods you choose to put into your body.  Simply put; "EAT FOODS WITH ONLY ONE INGREDIENT!"  If you stick to this simple rule you will consume foods rich in all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants your body needs.  You will consume foods found in nature; foods the human species evolved on.  You will NOT consume man-made, processed foods which have been proven to lead to the most common diseases plaguing our country; Heart disease, Diabetes and Cancer!

The United States is fat.  We have been told countless times (Officially by our federal government beginning in 1980) that to lose weight we must "eat less and exercise more."  Obviously this advice is not working because the obesity rate in the United States is rising every year.  The flaw with this advice, and all calorie counting diets, is they do not take into account what types of food you are putting into your body.

Other dietary advice will tell you to consume "low fat" or "no carbohydrates".  These diets are flawed as well.  When cutting out an entire macronutrient you are starving your body of essential nutrients; nutrients your body needs to operate efficiently.

There are three factors that must be considered when trying to consume an ideal diet.  I have listed these factors into three distinct steps below.  To develop an ideal diet, one which is sustainable throughout a lifetime, you should work on each step as I have it laid out below.  How long you should work on an individual step is up to you, but it is very important to establish step 1 as a habit first before you move on to step 2.  Personally, I worked on step 1 for about 6 months before I began step 2.  For you, that time frame may be longer or shorter.  Some people may never move on to step 2.  Some have found great results by just establishing step 1 as a habit and never feel the need to work on the other two steps.


Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?  In step 1 we develop the habit of putting the right kinds of food in our body while cutting out the wrong kinds of food.  We are cutting out all man-made, processed food.  We are consuming only foods found in nature.  Whole foods such as Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts, Seeds, Fish, Eggs and Meat!  During this step do not worry about how much you eat or how much fat or carbohydrates you are consuming.  We will get to that in step 2!

"The One Ingredient Diet" grocery list is a list of foods you can consume.  When shopping, simply think to yourself "how many ingredients are in this food?"  If the answer is 1, then you are good to go! Additionally, some packaged foods may be comprised of multiple one ingredient foods, which are also acceptable.  While I recommend not eating too many pre-packaged foods, some are ok. Some examples of these would be tomato sauces (beware of added sugar), larabars, frozen mixed vegetables, salsas.

Example 1: Apple Ingredients = Apple
Example 2: Bread Ingredients = Enriched Flour [Unbleached Unbromated Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Corn Syrup, (High Conversion Fructose). Contains 2% or Less of the Following: Soy Bean Oil, Salt, Yeast, Emulsifiers (Mono and Diglycerides, Datem, Soy Lecithin), Buttermilk, Soy Flour, Whey, Vinegar (Preservative).

Step 2:  CONTROLLING HOW MUCH YOU EAT (Dr. Barry Sears's "Zone Diet")

Great job!  You have changed your habits and are eating much more nutrient rich, all natural, healthy foods.  You feel better, have more energy and have become leaner.  But you may have plateaued.  Now it is time to look at how much food you are putting into your body.

Dr. Barry Sears's "Zone Diet" Block system is a great way to measure your macronutrient intake.  Now we can see exactly what you are putting into your body and what the results are.  We can easily make adjustments to your nutrient intake if needed.  The Block system seems very complex and confusing at first, but once you start using the Block system you will find it to be a very easy and fast way to measure how much food you are consuming.

A "Block" is simply a way to measure how much of a nutrient you are consuming.  How many Blocks you will consume on a daily basis depends on your personal goals and body type.  A good way to calculate your starting point is to use the following equation...

(Lean Body Mass x .7) ÷ 7 = Your Daily Block Requirement

Example:  My lean body mass is 160lb (a rough estimate).  (160 x .7) ÷ 7 = 16 Blocks

*Calculating Lean Body Mass:  You can get your body fat % tested to get a very accurate lean body mass number.  But this is not necessary for our purposes.  This initial Block number is just a starting point.  Plug an estimated lean body mass number into the equation.  You will most likely adjust your Block number down the road.

Now you know how many Blocks of protein, Blocks of carbohydrates and Blocks of fat you must consume each day.  If your number is 16, then you must consume 16 Blocks of protein, 16 Blocks of carbohydrates and 16 Blocks of fat each day.  I can accomplish this by consuming 16oz. of meat, 16 apples and 48 Almonds!  I would not recommend this!  Try to consume many different types of protein, carbohydrates and fats throughout the day.
9g Carbohydrate = 1 Block
7g Protein = 1 Block
1.5g Fat = 1 Block
*Visit the Grocery List for more Block information.

You Are The Test Subject
Everybody is different.  Different people thrive on different macronutrient ratios.  Some people do well with high carbohydrate diets while others do well with low carbohydrate diets.  Some do well on high fat diets, some lower fat diets.  Think of yourself as a science experiment.  The above Block prescription is simply a starting point.  Use that starting point for a couple weeks and see what results you get.  Adjust your intake as needed and re-asses.

Step 3:  When You Eat

We all have busy lives.  We wake up, have a cup of coffee, rush out the door to get to work on time, maybe eat a bite or two for lunch, have some more coffee late in the afternoon because we are tired, get home and eat a BIG DINNER because we haven't eaten all day!  This daily ritual puts our body into "starvation mode".  We don't feed our body for an extended period of time which forces our body to slow down it's metabolic rate to conserve energy.  We become tired, lethargic and ravenous!  At the end of the day we tend to consume highly processed, low nutrient, calorie dense foods.

By now you have worked through steps 1 and 2.  You are consuming nutrient dense foods and have found the macronutrient balance that works for you.  Now it is time to portion out your meals evenly.

This step is very simple.  Simply divide your blocks into 4 evenly portioned meals throughout the day.  If you have an extra block to use, make breakfast your biggest meal.

Example 1:  I eat 16 Blocks a day
Meal 1 = 4 Blocks   Meal 2 = 4 Blocks   Meal 3 = 4 Blocks   Meal 4 = 4 Blocks

Example 2:  A 13 Block a day diet
Meal 1 = 4 Blocks   Meal 2 = 3 Blocks  Meal 3 = 3 Blocks  Meal 4 = 3 Blocks

I am a thief.  Most of the ideas above are not my original ideas.  I have learned and borrowed from people much smarter than myself.  The above is simply a dietary road map of what has been successful for myself, close friends and clients.  I did not create the above to make money.  I simply want to help people achieve their nutritional goals.

I have taken ideas from two main sources, combined them, and tweaked them slightly.  Again, I am not original.  Many people in the Crossfit community use the following methods individually and simultaneously.

The Zone Diet:  The macronutrient breakdown of the Zone Diet is genius.  The one problem with the Zone Diet is that you can manipulate the system.  You can eat Twinkies and Snickers bars and still be following the Zone Diet.

The Paleo Diet:  The general rule of the Paleo Diet is great; Eat real foods found in nature.  That general rule is exactly what I want from people following "The One Ingredient Diet".  The problem is people have exploited the idea of the Paleo Diet.  You can now find "Paleo Energy Bars" and "Paleo Protein Shakes".  Some Paleo Diet experts will tell you not to eat corn or potatoes because they are starches.  The last time I checked, you can't find energy bars or protein shakes in nature and corn and potatoes do grow in the ground, so why can't we eat them?

The general concepts and ideals of the Zone Diet and Paleo Diet are genius but the commercialization of the diets has lead to unfavorable practices.  The above is my interpretation and opinion of the best way to utilize these nutritional strategies.

The following are great nutritional resources.

Crossfit Training Guide

Marks Daily Apple

Robb Wolf - What Is The Paleo Diet?

Dr. Sears Zone Diet

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