I'm not a fan of the word diet much anymore. It has too many negative connotations for my liking.
I use food intake as a broad term which encompasses everything I eat.
In the past 18 months, my food intake has varied greatly. It is only the past few months of which I have started to turn a few methods into habits.
I didn't spend much time worrying about food intake until I started learning more about nutrition through my own curiosity, wanting to better myself as an athlete and eventually as a nutrition major. It is from this, I now consider nutrition and sleep as the tied top influencers of health with physical activity coming a close second.
You could consider my current food intake as 90% vegetarian. I have drastically reduced the number of animal products I consume. This began when I was researching online for ways to reduce the amount of acne/legions on my face. I use the words acne and legions loosely as I never really found out what was invading my skin. It was like clockwork, one legion would go away and another would rise up in another area of my face.
It may have been something to do with hormones and my age (19-23) at the time but since changing my diet, I have not had any skin issues.
I read online someone had similar face issues to what I had and had reduced his by cutting out dairy and meat and consuming a plant-based diet. I decided to do the same.
At the start, I missed the dairy and the various meats I was no longer eating. After a couple of weeks, it became second nature to avoid dairy and meat when choosing my food intake.
I noticed a change straight away. I felt lighter. My skin cleared up within a month and I lost a few kilos of fat and water weight. I consider it fat and water weight because I was leaner and my lifts in the gym were as strong as ever.
Initially, I was confused by the results. Even with an extensive nutrition education, I didn't think it was possible for me to function adequately without meat or some kind of animal product at every meal.
As of now, I still avoid dairy and red meat. I eat chicken or fish 1-2 times per week and only a small portion (under 100g). My main protein intake comes from eggs, egg whites, legumes, beans, whole grains, and nuts. The majority of my calories are plant based and I try to intake at least 5-7 servings of vegetables per day, including 1-3 cups of green leafy vegetables.
I made a video to demonstrate the kind of foods I would eat in a normal day. It doesn't differentiate much from what's in the video. The only thing that will change is the kind of curry/salsa I make for my second main meal (usually dinner).
It should also be noted I am currently following an intermittent fasting eating schedule. I will usually not eat any food before 12 p.m. and stop eating by around 8 p.m. This method of eating is also known as a 16:8 fast (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating). Alongside this, I will try and do a 24-hour long fast once every month or so. This concept is still new to me and as I learn more I will share articles and videos in the future.