The foods that you can eat during the undereating phase are different from those foods that you can consume during the nightly overeating phase, although the guidelines for both phases follow similar rules. Here are some general guidelines to follow on the Warrior Diet so you know what to eat in your evening meal.
- Choose fresh, natural, and wholesome These foods, particularly raw vegetables, are typically subtle in taste, meaning they won’t over- power your taste buds with processed sugar, refined fats, salt, or artificial flavorings. In this sense, the Paleo Diet is a perfect complement to the Warrior Diet method of fasting.
Although you won’t just be eating raw veggies on the Warrior Diet, you should start there. Focus on eating subtle-tasting foods and then move onto protein, then cooked vegetables, and finally round out your meal with either carbohydrate-rich foods, such as fruits and sweet potatoes, or the occasional dessert or fat-rich foods, such as nuts, nut butters, or high fat desserts.
Make the food you eat as colorful as possible (for example, green salad, yellow bell peppers, kalamata olives, red onions, and such). You can highlight various textures by starting with a light broth based soup, enjoying a steak and crispy veggies as your main meal, and then ending with some honey sweetened chia seed pudding for dessert. Experiment with unfamiliar in season fruits and vegetables.
- Start with subtle-tasting In the Standard American Diet (SAD) of today, subtle tasting foods are unfortunately uncommon. If you go to any restaurant, the first thing you’ll see set in front of you is a basket of bread rolls made from heavily processed flour or tortilla chips fried in vegetable oil. However, the best and healthiest choices include a large green salad topped with tomatoes, onions, carrots, bell peppers, and a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.
- Choose between a meal of protein paired with carbohydrate rich foods or a meal of protein and fat rich Selecting one of these two options maximizes your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, burn calories, and keep everything running smoothly. If you go with the first option, pick a lean protein with carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes. You can also go with a meal of protein and fat rich foods, such as nuts and seeds. Try to alternate those carb heavy and fat heavy meals.
One method to help you not only opt for the best food choices but to also keep you interested and excited in the food you’re eating is to include as many different flavors, textures, colors, and aromas as you can within your nightly meal.
- Watch out for store bought dressings. If you prepare your own foods, then you’re in direct control as to what actually goes into the food you eat. It takes as little time to drizzle extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a salad as it does to pour ready made dressings on it. Beware of those store bought dressings. Even if they seem innocuous enough (such as a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette), those products can have loads of extraneous ingredients, from preservatives to sugar. Play it safe and health and make your own.
Otherwise you have few restrictions. You can eat as much as you want during your one nightly meal. Although this concept of healthful overeating may feel foreign or guilt-inducing, you’ll find that the longer you practice the Warrior Diet, the more attuned to your body you’ll become, meaning you’ll instinctively know when to stop eating and what it feels like to be truly full and satisfied.
Play, invent, and use your imagination. Meal preparation is an inherently creative process. There’s no reason or excuse to get bored preparing and eating healthy foods.
Just because you’ve successfully completed a fast or a string of fasting days, whether or not you are adhering to the Warrior Diet, don’t celebrate by derailing your nutrition. The Warrior Diet helps detoxify your body so don’t fall into the trap of putting toxins back in with sweet treats, refined sugar, and processed grains.
Warrior diet eating guidelines
When adhering to the Warrior Diet, the undereating phase lasts the vast majority of the day about 20 hours whereas the overeating phase that occurs in the evening lasts the remaining four hours.
Although you can think of the four hours as one large meal, aim to break up the various meal components (subtle tasting greens, protein, veggies, and fruits/dessert) as you see fit across that time period. Don’t worry about how much you’re eating, instead listen to your body and only eat to satiety.
How you divide your fasting day is up to you. Just keep the following overall guidelines to help ensure that you complete a successful fast:
Drink plenty of quality water
The undereating phase doesn’t have any limits on water or other noncaloric beverages. So go for it and drink as much filtered water as you want. You should drink plenty of filtered water. Living in the modern world, you may think that water that comes from the tap is perfectly safe to drink. We would agree, but oftentimes drinking tap water actually isn’t safe.
We suggest that you aim to consume more than the standard eight glasses a day recommendation. In fact, eight glasses of eight ounces each (totaling 64 ounces) should be the bare minimum, especially on days when you’re also exercising (which you should be doing, at least in some form, whether it be walking or metabolic conditioning, each day). Fasting helps detoxify the body, and drinking water helps flush those toxins out of your system.
Drinking filtered water is especially important because tap water can contain more than a thousand toxins, including chlorine, fluoride, lead, mercury, nitrates, pesticides, and many more. A 2008 study also found prescription medications, from antidepressants to sex hormones, in the tap water that more than 40 million Americans drink on a regular basis. Although at any given time, the concentration of such contaminants is most likely quite low, over the span of your life, they build up in the system and can contribute to some awful diseases.
Take chlorine, for instance. The accumulation of chlorine in your body can cause heart and circulatory diseases and can kill the good bacteria in the digestive tract that you need to maintain a healthy digestion. (Probiotics are often touted as a good supplement to aid in digestion. However, if you’re taking probiotics and drinking tap water, you may very well be flushing money down the toilet.)
To ensure that you’re drinking filtered water, hook a carbon based filter to your sink, so you’re drinking and cooking only with the water that gets filtered through it. Just make sure you drink plenty of it.
Understanding protein’s role during the undereating and overeating stages
With solid foods, during the undereating phase, you can have small servings of protein, such as one or two boiled eggs, a scant cup of kefir or yogurt, and a protein shake made from all-natural whey or milk protein. If you’re really in need of a caloric boost, a small handful of raw or sprouted unsalted nuts is okay. Also, feel free to enjoy raw vegetables and fruit, such as blueberries or carrots.
Despite the name, peanuts aren’t nuts. They are legumes, like kidney beans or chickpeas. Stick to Brazil nuts, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, and so on. If you’re extremely athletic and are burning thousands of calories a day in vigorous athletic activity, then you may need to eat more during the day in the way of carbohydrates, such as including a sweet potato in your under eating phase. However, perhaps the best strategy, if possible, is to time those incredibly intense training sessions so that they come at the end of the undereating phase.
Some days you’re just hungrier than others. Although the goal of the Warrior Diet is to restrict calories and undereat for most of the day, if you’re feeling deprived or are adapting to a more intense training regimen, you may add in some extra carbs during the day. However, your best bet (should fat loss be your goal) is to opt for an extra light protein-based meal instead.
At the end of the day, during your overeating phase, you can eat as much as you want at your only regular meal. Break your fast with raw veggies, protein, broth base soups, fruit, cooked veggies, and from time to time dessert.
The truth about eating later in the day
No doubt that at some time or another you’ve read, heard, and maybe even believed that eating at night makes you fat and that you mustn’t eat anything past a certain hour if you want to finally free yourself from the stubborn fat that clings to your body. The truth is that if you’re eating healthy, wholesome, natural foods, and you fast or undereat for most of the day, eating at night won’t make you fat and it won’t keep extra weight on your body that refuses to come off.
The human body is meant to eat in the evening. Eating is an activity that the body understands to be part of the rest-and-digest phase of the day (refer to the earlier section, “Comparing Undereating and Overeating” for more information) and one that should be paired with other restorative and rejuvenating practices, such as relaxing on the couch, going for a quiet stroll, watching TV, and yes, sleeping and engaging in sexual activities.
If you’ve ever tried to go to sleep while hungry, you know it’s nearly impossible because just as eating during the day can trigger feelings of sleepiness, not eating at night can keep you feeling alert and awake. In other words, you can confuse your body’s nervous systems. Eating during the day can put your body into the rest and digest parasympathetic system, and not eating at night can make your body think that it needs to still be in the fight or fight sympathetic system.
When you gorge on fattening ice cream, fried foods, potato chips, and other packaged and processed foods, you’ll put on weight, no matter what time of the day you consume them.