If you have not lived under a rock since you were born, you would have heard of Bruce Lee or known who he was. Bruce was a pioneer in martial arts, fitness, philosophy and even movie genres.
Out of all these, today we will be focusing on the diet aspect of his and how he became extremely fit and strong. (Note that he died not because of ill health, but because a pain killing drug he took reacted negatively to aspirin and ended his life) Of course, supplement this diet with a disciplined work out and you will see results in no time at all!
We ready? Great! Let’s dive in…
You must be thinking what in the world are empty calories. Well basically empty calories are calories that do nothing beneficial to the human body. These include foodstuffs heavily dependant on flour, for example cakes, donuts etc.
And then there are what you call good calories. These come in the form of whole-wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa and oats, vegetables and fruits. White bread, pasta and white rice count, but as they are processed, they may have fewer nutrients than the above mentioned ingredients.
Most people take 3 heavy meals a day, topped with dessert, and occasionally, cakes at tea time. To be honest, western portions are really too heavy. The human body is like a smart computer – in order to have a positive output, you’ll need to program it beforehand.
Therefore in order to see actual weight loss, you’ll need to change the intake of your meals from 3 -5 a day. Mind you, not 5 meals with mountainous loads of rice and curry, but 5 small meals a day. This programs the brain into knowing that it does not need to store the calories, again preventing fat deposition. The brain will automatically push your metabolic rate to work effectively to break down those nutrients, leaving lesser fat around the gut.
Bruce did not like dairy products or cheese. Perhaps because Asians (like yours truly) are lactose intolerant, perhaps because recent research links heavy dairy consumption to prostate cancer. Bruce only took powdered milk occasionally, and it was to add it into his protein shakes.
While it is common to see heaps of protein powders, shakes and supplements in MMA gyms and nutrition stores nowadays, at one point in time such things didn’t exist. Bruce Lee had to make do with his own protein shake, which involved raw eggs and meat.
With the advancement of the internet, you can easily search for organic protein shakes than use fruits, nuts and vegetables and won’t taste yucky. Also, modern bottles and containers will allow you to transport the shake to the office, or you can store it in the fridge and grab a quick gulp before heading down to the gym.
Bruce avoided the typical western diet because there was a lot of deep frying. He also found it quite bland, so he did a lot of stir frying at home. He favored beef stir fried in oyster sauce and tofu.
Cantonese food in general, is healthier because of its usage of steaming, boiling soups, and braising. Deep frying, microwaving and baking sometimes destroy nutrients, so stick to the healthier methods.
Bruce often took natural supplements such as ginseng and honey. This was to give him energy boosts from time to time. He also took other supplements, such as Vitamin C, bee pollen, Wheat germ oil, Vitamin E and Lecithin.
However, supplements being supplement, they only help to assist the body in it’s optimum function. What is important is that the person’s diet must be a balanced and healthy one as well.
It is unlikely that any of us is going to be a kung fu movie star or the founder of a new martial art tomorrow. However, one of the legacies that Bruce Lee left behind is innovation and new ideas concerning diet, natural supplements and intake of food. Even years after his death, combat sport athletes, nutritionists and body builders continue with his ideas.
There’s always something to be learnt from a pioneer in the field. After all, Bruce did say ‘take what is useful, and discard what is useless’.