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July 2011
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The Ultimate Diet

What is the ultimate, optimal diet? Paleo? Vegan? Vegetarian? Meat-etarian? Ok the meat-atarian one is a bit of a joke, but these days there are lots of ‘dieting’ options out there. But trying to decide which one is right for you can be difficult.

I go by the ‘Sasha Diet,’ it is sustainable, affordable   and most importantly delicious!

What is the ‘sasha diet?’ It’s a mix of local foods, what’s affordable at the local grocery and convenience stores and what I feel like eating. It’s an attempt to eat a balanced diet of fats, proteins and carbohydrates and the essential nutrients and minerals. It’s not that I count my calories or scrutinize food for specific nutrients, but I figure if I eat a variety of foods I’ll be able to capture the essentials.

This what I’m thinking about when I’m planning my meals:

  • Meats: Opt for organic, grain fed, etc. And as much as possible try to source out local meats. Make sure you include a variety. Remember red meat is rich in iron and if you’re like me, you’ll need lots of it
  • Fish: I try and eat fish once a week. I’m always checking out what’s local and try to eat a variety of fish. One of my favourite things to do in the summer is go for sashimi, it’s light, refreshing and packed with protein.
  • Nuts and Legumes: Snack on nuts instead of chips and candy. Make or buy your own dips; hummus, bean dips and bring some veggies along to snack away. I prefer to make my own dips, since you can eliminate the chemically preservatives, I make small batches or larger batches that I share with friends!
  • Veggies and Fruit: I try and eat a variety of both each day. As much as possible I try to buy what is in season and local or local greenhouse. There are always exceptions, like bananas; you cannot exactly grow a banana in southern Ontario! I try and eat fresh fruit over dried fruit. The fresh fruit provides you with the added water and most of us do not drink enough water in a day. I’ve also heard that consuming fresh fruit over dried fruit makes you feel fuller.   For those of you cutting calories fresh fruit is the way you should go; compare the calories on a cup of fresh vs. dried fruit and you’ll see why.
  • Grains: while I try to minimize my bread consumption, you do need to eat some grains every day. I’ve recently started eating oatmeal, red river cereal and cream of wheat again. It’s a great start to the day or even try it as a snack. Add some nuts, raisins, dried fruit etc. And I always add a touch of maple syrup for some sweetness! When I do consume bread I try to pick breads packed with nuts and seeds over conventional white and whole wheat bread.
  • Dairy: My favourite recovery snack is chocolate milk! I consume one to two glasses per day depending on the number and intensity of my workouts. I also try to consume some yogurt and fruit as my mid morning snack. Cheeses are not big on my list, not because I don’t like them, they don’t like me. Goat cheese seems to sit ok so I consume a lot of it, and it’s lower in fat than most cheeses.
  • Water: Part of a healthy diet is to stay hydrated. Coffee and soft drinks don’t count, they’re laden with caffeine and can be high in calories. Fruit juice is ok, but try to pick the more natural ones with less sugar and less ‘fake’ stuff.

Pick foods that are local. Pick foods that are bright colours. Eat a variety of different things. Shop the perimeter and avoid things that come in a cardboard box. It’s healthy and it’s sustainable. Pick foods that you like and that you’ll eat. Throwing out food is a waste of money and resources.

My diet also includes a lot of physical activity. Compared to most people I do a lot (my Tuesday was an early morning 40k road ride and ultimate frisbee that evening!). I’ve been called everything from dedicated to crazy. While it is not necessary to workout as much as I do, I think part of a healthy diet is being active daily.

As I continue with my blog I think I’ll add a page on recipes. Hopefully it will inspire you to make healthy choices each day.   Check out today’s recipe Summer Spinach Salad.


Comment from user2489
Time August 10, 2011 at 10:17 am

Organic agriculture can not feed the global population – and is a luxury of the rich.

Comment from Sasha
Time August 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

I would not call organic foods a luxury of the rich, but a choice. In areas where food needs pesticides to grow, needs to be genetically modified (i.e. adding nutrients to it) and may need antibiotics to survive, so be it. Since I have the option and can reduce my footprint by consuming foods that don’t use pesticides, I chose to exercise the choice.

Comment from Jane
Time August 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

I’m likin’ the Sasha diet! I have a feeling it IS missing a section on baked goods ;).

Comment from Sasha
Time August 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

It is missing baked goods. I do promise to post more baked good recipes soon!

Comment from Kevin Flynn
Time August 10, 2011 at 11:49 pm

So if a cow which produces organic milk contracts pneumonia is it better to let the cow die or give it a simple antibiotic and have the cow live for many years?

The reality behind organic dairy farms is that it is not cost effective to euthanize any animal that becomes sick but most farmers will move the animal to a farm which is not organic in order to administer the drugs.
With both organic and conventional farming when a drug is given to an animal to products from the animal are sold until the drug has completely discharged from the system. what this all means is that by purchasing organic products such as milk you get getting a product which is no different than conventional but is significantly more expensive.

That’s just the case for organic milk, but the issues are similar for all types of organic agriculture.
If there is any hope of ending world hunger or even putting a dent in it there needs to be less of a emphasis on creating food for a premium market.
Eating locally is a great idea but the global cost of choosing to encourage farmers to grow organic products with less yield and at a greater price will drive up hunger in Canada and other places in the world and is simply not sustainable in a growing world.

Comment from Kevin Flynn
Time August 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm

With both organic and conventional farming when a drug is given to an animal to products from the animal are NOT sold until the drug has completely discharged from the system.

(sorry about the typo)

Comment from Sasha
Time August 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm

One of the reasons I’ve switched to Organic Milk at times is that it comes in a glass bottle; I personally prefer the taste vs a plastic bag or a carton. That might seem selfish, elitest but when it is only $0.10 for the organic milk than I purchase it.
I absolutely agree that in general we pay a premium for organic foods. In the grocery store my goal is to try and buy as much local as possible, sometimes it’s organic sometimes not. But I think buying local does help to minimize my footprint.

Comment from Natalie Scarberry
Time October 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Sasha, take look at the video of my sun Sasha enjoing his green smoothies. Funny