Father Andrew's Hot Body Gym

November 3, 2009

A Primer on Initial Diet Changes for Newbies at FAHBG

Filed under: diet, real talk — Tags: , , , , , , , — frandrewrowell @ 8:51 pm

A few of you who are new to the gym have asked for some really basic first steps towards a diet change.  So, here goes…


Most of us have a shake for breakfast, right after we’ve done the morning workout.  My shakes look like this:

1.5 scoops of Champion Nutrition Protein Stack Whey (about 39 grams of protein)

1 scoop of organic cold milled flax seed (huge container from costco lasts me forever)

1 or 2 raw eggs (we get them from a local farm)

1/2 of a frozen banana

3 frozen strawberries (good ole’ costco)

1/2 cup of frozen blueberries (ditto)

1 cup of whole milk (we get it from a local dairy)

1/2 cup of water.

That’s usually about 2 shakes worth, but i never, ever complain that it’s too much for little ole’ me.

Lunch and Dinner

Here’s a huge first step – just don’t eat anything but meat and non-starchy vegetables and drink water (or maybe unsweetened tea) with every meal.  This means no bread, no pasta, no potatoes, no dessert, no cokes…try to stay away from bread and sugar/corn syrup like they are the carriers of the plague. Learn to make mashed potatoes out of cauliflower.  You’ll never go back.

Look around our blog – click on “diet” (see, especially this post (thanks, Micah and Mara!))and see some of our deeper conversations about how to eat at Chic-fil-a and not die (get the chicken salad without the bread or the strips and a side of fruit instead of the fries) or how to make a squash sing.  We also like www.marksdailyapple.com for receipes that help keep some variety in what we eat. Every now and then we’ll have a big feast where we all prepare some of things we’ve been trying.

Now we aren’t all crazy faithful about all of this – we probably stay in the zone of that suggested diet about 80% of the time.  But we’ve found that if you focus on making the vast majority of every meal involve a dead animal and some green, red or yellow veggies, you will see your body shape change along with our workouts very, very quickly.

We are mixed on the dairy front (some are primal diet folks with dairy, others are paleo adherents and stay away from dairy), but try to stay away from heavy cream based salad dressings and the ice-cream-gluttony that might have been a part of your old life.

Here’s the deal – after about a month, you’ll be so used to your suddenly limited diet that the little bit of cheating we all do by necessity goes a long way toward curtailing your sweet tooth (or whatever it is that you miss most).  The glorious thing is that the mantra “fat does not make you fat” makes you a lot less concerned about that yummy layer of fat on your brisket. Instead, you focus more on avoiding the insulin kick that sugar gives you that will SLOW DOWN the progress you’re trying to make in making your body into the (hot) temple of the Holy Spirit which God intends for it to be by His grace.


You will be hungry, all the time, when you are doing these workouts.  So try to snack on things like raw almonds, a spoonful of almond butter, and oreos.  I mean, not oreos. Dadgum, there’s a big package of oreos right here on my desk at the church….o…r…e..oo…sss…

Forgive me.

Almonds are your friend – i mean it – don’t go anywhere without them for your first month.  They are the rosary prayers of a radical diet change.

Good luck – feel free to ask some questions in the comments!



  1. The diet most of us follow is based loosely on The Paleo diet. Mara wrote a great post on it here.

    Comment by Micah Vandegrift — November 4, 2009 @ 8:49 am

  2. Great post, Andrew! You’ve come so far!!

    Now where does your beer drinking and cheesecake eating come in? … 😉

    Oh, and I totally ate a snack pack of oreos yesterday from one of my students… along with some almonds and protein bar…. so good!

    Comment by Mara — November 4, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  3. thanks, you two! Micah, I pulled Mara’s excellent post up into my own. sweet…..now, if only i could lift my arms after two days of too many pullups.

    Comment by frandrewrowell — November 4, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  4. Loved the oreos comment:) Perhaps we should also mention the potentially deleterious effects of going back on your new diet once you’ve become accustomed to it. For a case in point, I’m on day two of stomach discomfort that seemed to follow closely upon the heels of a doughnut binge. But they sure were tasty!

    Comment by joshuaeller — November 4, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  5. 4 pieces of pizza was enough that I didn’t eat again until the next day, and I felt crappy for 24 hours. It was MISERY.

    Comment by Graham — November 4, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

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