Nutrition

The $100 Diet 2.0


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With the amount of response and questions we have on a weekly basis for The $100 Diet, I decided to go back, do some tweaking and republish a follow up article with more information in the areas that matter. More menu items, more meal plans, more science to take your performance to the next level.

Everyone has to budget, and in this economy, getting the most out of every dollar has never been more important. After paying for all the other living expenses, there seems to be so little left to cover the one thing we actually need, food. The body and organ systems are made up of irreplaceable parts; filling them with artificial, processed foods will not produce good results tomorrow or years down the road. You must eat high quality nutrition in order to prepare, perform, and recover from the day-to-day stress that life demands. Ready to eat better than ever on a tight budget? The solution is The $100 Diet, great food at every meal, every day.

GETTING YOUR MACROS ON A BUDGET THAT’S MICRO

The three macronutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, will be used as an identifier to allow you to categorize and classify foods. Knowing the macronutrient type that characterizes menu items will greatly increase the amount of purpose and strategy that goes into daily food selection.

Proteins

Animal proteins make up the majority of expense on the $100 Diet Grocery List. It is essential to spend extra money on quality meat. Proteins are necessary for tissue rebuilding and repair, which occurs throughout most of the day. Soy is very popular right now, however, it reduces testosterone and growth hormone when consumed in large quantities. Animal derived protein sources are superior to plant-based sources on many levels. Is a lion (carnivore) or a zebra (herbivore) the aggressor? Chicken, eggs, and beef are the recommended and most cost effective protein sources. High quality chicken is very hard to find, and ‘organic’ chicken quality does not justify the cost. Buy hormone free chicken and eggs, and save money. Grass fed beef has loads of healthy fats, and organic cattle farming seems to be somewhat regulated; investing in higher quality beef is worthwhile. Fish is very lean and digests well; anyone with extra space in their budget should consider adding wild caught fish into their meals.

There are a number of misconceptions surrounding protein intake and digestion. The FDA fails to consider body weight, lean tissue mass, caloric, and recovery demands of the individual when suggesting serving sizes in the 2,000 cal/day diet. Soreness felt after training is due, in part, to micro-tears in the muscle and trauma induced by exercise. Protein helps to heal these tears and contrary to popular belief, the process of muscle repair is occurring throughout the day, not just in the time immediately following training. For this reason you must provide the body with protein constantly, those who train more require more protein at every meal. Whey protein supplements are a great way to get high quality, antioxidant rich, protein into your body quickly. These supplements are not budgeted for in The $100 Diet, but their use is strongly encouraged and used in the meal plans. Don’t believe the lie that males are only able to absorb 32-40 g of protein at each meal; this is ignorant and comes from research mainly conducted on geriatrics. Consume lots of protein, consume it often, and thank me later.

Fats

Like most pop culture dietary advice, avoiding fats and foods containing healthy fats could not be more misguided. Fats are often blamed for high obesity levels in America, when in fact, they are actually a very small part of the equation. Sitting at a desk all day and a couch all night can lead to obesity, no matter what you eat. Fats are the ‘stabilizers’ in The $100 Diet. Nuts, avocados, Olive Oil and trail mix will provide the calories needed until the time is right to introduce carbohydrates each day. Peanut butter is great on anything, can be eaten quickly, and is the perfect fat for guys on the move who want to maximize proper nutrient timing. There are four types of dietary fats: trans, saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated. What you need to know is where each type is found and how it impacts strength and body composition.

Trans-fats are mainly found in processed foods like desserts, and should be avoided as much as possible. Saturated fats are found mostly in foods derived from animals; saturated fats should make up a small percentage of your dietary fat.  Mono-saturated fats are found mainly in cooking oils, with olive oil being the major source on this Diet. These fats have numerous health benefits, but are most beneficial when used in conjunction with lean meat and vegetable sources, and not mixed with carbohydrates. Poly-unsaturated fats, Omega-3 and Omega-6, are the healthiest fat sources, and must be supplemented into the diet because the body can not make these compounds. The best sources of poly-unsaturated fats are grass fed beef, eggs, fish, flax seeds and fish oil pills. Appropriate servings of fat will ensure hormone balance throughout the day, especially during hours of sleep when growth hormone is released.

Greens and Vegetables

Fibrous carbs and nutrient rich foods should be a part of every meal. Many nutritionists advocate pill form supplements over vegetables and other high fiber foods, please reconsider this. Whole food sources have higher absorption percentages than pills, and add flavor to meals. Fibrous foods serve as a hunger suppressant and blood sugar stabilizer. Vegetables are a great nutrient source that won’t induce an insulin response, which ceases fat burn. Increasing the amount of vegetables and high fiber foods you consume will allow you to break free from the enslaving ‘food comas’ caused by carb based diets. The autonomic nervous system is more activated when ‘dense’, hard to digest foods are consumed; blood flow leaves the extremities and brain, and moves to digestive organs creating the feeling of exhaustion after large, carb based meals.

Carbohydrates

Don’t mistake this for a low carb diet. Removing carbs will make you feel useless, no matter what you’re doing. Carbohydrates provide energy for explosive movements and increase aerobic capacity better than any other macronutrient, no debating it. If a training regimen demands this (if it doesn’t then why not?), then carbohydrates must be a part of your diet. Bread can be over processed and worthless from a nutritional standpoint, so consider choosing another carb option. Sweet potatoes, bananas, raw oats, black beans, and fruit are the sources of carbohydrates in The $100 Diet.

To improve digestion, eat carbohydrates first before other menu items. Lean meat and vegetables digest slowly. Therefore, if sweet potatoes are eaten along with chicken and broccoli, they will also digest slowly with the other food types that remain in your small intestine longer. Carbohydrates must be eaten, when they are eaten will have a substantial impact on your ability to focus at work and perform in the gym.

Cooking Spices and Miscellaneous Items

The cooking spices and miscellaneous items on the shopping list will add flavor to meals. These will not be used completely each week, so there will be price savings with these items from month to month.

Making meal preparation work with your schedule is a necessity, and finding time to cook is a common obstacle when getting started. It is no surprise if standing over a stove preparing chicken and vegetables does not make you feel like doing cartwheels. Most men who do this successfully prepare all weekly meals Sunday evening. Cook chicken and ground beef (or fish) for the week, and slice up vegetables for the next three days in one sitting. This ensures that high quality food can be prepared in five minutes at every meal, every day. It is necessary to cook 90% meals at home, no questions asked. Topping the list of countless benefits in doing this are money savings and food quality. If you are looking to make excuses and take the easy way out, choose another diet. The $100 Diet is not for the faint of heart.  Prioritizing expenses and time to prepare meals are required in order to stay on budget and eat healthy.

Be on a mission in the grocery store. Precious free time is not well spent traveling every aisle, debating whether or not to buy that box of Little Debbie Cakes. Stay on budget and improve time management by making a grocery list, and never waiver from it for any reason. Create a path that mainly traces the outer rim of the store, and this will get you in and out in less than 20 minutes. The aisles contain mainly processed foods full of bulk sweeteners and chemicals; these items poison your body, prevent fat burn, and will make it impossible to stay on budget.

The $100 Diet Grocery List

The $100 Diet Grocery List and expenses are shown below by item, quantity, and price to show where each penny is spent.

FOOD TYPEITEMQUANTITYUNIT PRICETOTAL COST
Animal Protein
Hormone Free Chicken4 lbs.$5.49/lb$21.96
Ground Beef5 lbs.2.49$12.45
Hormone Free
Cage Free Eggs4 dozen1.99/dozen$7.96
Total$42.37
Fats
Natural Peanut Butter2 Small Jars 6.58
Avocado2 Large$1.79
Omega Trail Mix1 bag$4.69/lb$4.69
Olive Oil1 bottle$2.55
Total$15.61
Fibrous Carbs and Nutrient Rich FoodsOrganic Broccoli2 Heads$2.49
Bell Peppers3 Large$2.69
French Green
Beans2 Bags$1.99
Organic Spinach1 Large Bag$1.99
Total$9.16
CarbohydratesSweet Potato
Fries1 Bag$2.29
Sweet Potatoes5 Lb. Bag$2.69
Black Beans2 Cans$1.99
Bananas6 Large$1.14
Apples6 Large$3.54
Raw Oats2 Lbs.$3.99
Total$15.64
Cooking Spices and Misc ItemsCayenne Pepper$3.25
Cracked Pepper$2.25
Green Tea Bags$3.12
Hot Salsa$2.99
Coffee$3.74
Limes$2.00
Total$17.35
Grand TOTAL$100.13

Nutrient Timing and Hormones: Making the Right Choice

The real skill becomes understanding the hormonal situation the body is in, and aligning it with proper food choices. The first step is considering what macronutrients are needed at a certain time, where to get those nutrients, and more importantly, how to avoid the foods you don’t need.  Meal strategies for both morning and evening training schedules are detailed below.

Morning Meals

Upon waking, the body is hormonally set up to burn fat better than any other time of day, so any movement that occurs will be mainly fueled by fat. Breakfast should consist of protein sources, vegetables and fats. The result…lean tissue building, blood sugar stability, and mental focus throughout the entire day. This rule holds true even with early morning training sessions: DON’T EAT CARBS.

In response to our circadian rhythms, testosterone and growth hormone levels surge around 9:00 a.m. each morning. These hormones increase fat burn, expression of absolute strength, lean tissue growth, and mental acuity. Insulin works as an antagonist to the impact these hormones have on the body. This is another reason why morning carbohydrates will actually inhibit body composition improvements and strength gains, and should be eaten later in the morning. If carbohydrates are necessary, midmorning between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. is the perfect time to introduce them for the first time each day. Get these carbs from fruit sources, so this meal can be quickly digested, and you can move on with your life. Protein and fats are the main source of calories at this meal. The food choices in The $100 Diet are designed to create quick, potent meals consisting of the exact macronutrient you need at the moment, and nothing else. You have more to do with your life than eat.

Midmorning meals can be the same regardless of morning or evening training. Shoveling a 200-300g serving of carbohydrates into the body 20 minutes after workout each morning is not necessary. The body will process carbohydrates just as efficiently later in the day. Delaying carbohydrates a few hours post workout will allow you to maximize the fat burning and lean tissue building effects that testosterone and growth hormone have on the body.

Afternoon Meals

The midday meal is where The $100 Diet Plans diverge depending on morning or evening training. For morning training, eat the bulk of carbohydrates for the day at this meal. For evening training, there should be a large serving of vegetables and fibrous carbohydrates at midday meals. A protein source is, of course, included.

Late afternoon meals are going to depend on training schedule. With morning training, a large carb serving will be eaten at lunch, afternoon meals should comprise mainly of proteins, fats, and/or trail mix. These items will not induce an insulin spike, but will provide the calories necessary to remain in an anabolic, lean tissue building state.

If an evening training session is only hours away, now is the time to have blended oats, or fruit with a protein shake. These foods are packed with complex carbohydrates, but can be quickly digested, so the last 2-3 hours of the workday are not spent brain dead at your desk. The greater the amount of preexisting muscle glycogen, which comes from eating carbohydrates, the more efficient the body becomes at using this explosive fuel source when training. Make sure this meal is eaten approximately 90 minutes prior to training.

Evening Meals

Dinner is the cornerstone to The $100 Diet. Work and training for the day are over, and it is time to eat in a way that promotes intense training sessions, and getting stronger than ever. For morning training, you may have noticed you didn’t start your day with two packets of oatmeal and toast on this diet. So where does the energy come from? The answer is dinner. Dinner is the time to eat a large carb serving that is aligned with body composition goals. To lose weight, eat more fibrous carbohydrates (1 cup black beans). If you have an intense training session the following morning, eat a large carbohydrate serving from fruit, raw oats, or sweet potatoes. Eat your carbohydrates first, and finish the meal with a large protein and vegetable serving.

For dinner after an evening training session, black beans, or a mix of beans if you prefer variety, are going to be the best carbohydrate choice. Eat the beans before all other foods, and to prevent bloating, sprinkle some baking soda on them. Finish the meal with a large animal protein and vegetable serving. After dinner snacks should consist of protein and fats only, these meals are highly recommended to keep you in an anabolic state as you sleep.

The superior nutrient timing of The $100 Diet will support body composition improvements without having to worry about cutting calories. Using this nutrient timing rationale will allow for lean body mass gains, intense training sessions, and help avoid food comas in the workplace.

The $100 Diet Meal Plans

So you bought all the food and are standing in the kitchen with no money left, eight bags of groceries, and wondering what to do with all this food and when to eat it? Below are meal plans for both morning and evening training schedules, including an off day meal plan for everyone to follow on non-training days to maximize fat burn and lean mass gains. Below, the first table outlines nutrition for morning training sessions where the second table details a menu plan for evening training.

MORNING TRAINING SESSIONS

DAILY SCHEDULEMENU ITEM(S)COMMENTS
Meal #18 oz CoffeePrepare Coffee to desired taste then
2 scoops whey proteinadd into shake. Chocolate is best
8 oz waterflavor to add coffee to.
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
Training Session30-40 oz WaterFor more aerobic based sessions
**Apple if neededonly drink water
Meal #2Omelet
4-6 EggsRemove yolks from eggs
1 Cup Spinachuntil you can eat 6 whole eggs.
1-2 Teaspoon(s) Hot Salsa
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
or 1/2 Avocado
20 oz WaterNo Juice
Meal #3 Lunch1 Cup Black Beans/ 2 Bananas
8-10 oz Chicken BreastMarinade all meat in Olive Oil,
or Ground BeefCayenne Pepper, Limes, and Pepper
1 Cup Green Beans
or 1 cup Broccoli
20 oz Water
Meal #41/2 Cup Trail Mix
Hot Green Tea Brewed
Meal #5 Dinner1 Large Sweet Potato
(if followingor 1 Cup Raw Oats
morning has a10-12 oz Chicken Breast
training session)or Ground Beef
1 Bell Pepper
or 1 Large Spinach Salad
20-30 oz Water
Meal #5 Dinner (if following morning is off)10-12 oz Chicken Breast
or Ground Beef
1 Cup Broccoli
1 Cup Green Beans
20-30 oz Water
Meal #6 Snack2 Scoops Whey
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
10-12 oz Water

EVENING TRAINING SESSIONS

DAILY SCHEDULEMENU ITEM(S)COMMENTS
Meal #1Omelet
4-6 EggsRemove yolks from eggs
1 Cup Spinachuntil you can eat 6 whole eggs.
1-2 Teaspoon(s) Hot Salsa
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
or 1/2 Avocado
20 oz WaterNo Juice
Meal #22 scoops whey proteinPrepare Coffee to desired taste then
8 oz wateradd into shake. Chocolate is best
2 Tbsp Peanut Butterflavor to add coffee to.
8 oz Coffee
1 Apple
Meal #3 Lunch8-10 oz Chicken BreastMarinade all meat in Olive Oil,
or Ground BeefCayenne Pepper, Limes, and Pepper
1 Cup Green Beans
1 cup Broccoli
20 oz WaterDrink Tea as meal ends or sip
Hot Green Tea Brewedthroughout afternoon hours
Meal #41 Cup Blended Oats
2 Scoops Whey
10 oz Water
8 oz Coffee
Training Session30-40 oz WaterBegin eating bites of banana 15
2 Bananasminutes into your workout
Meal #5 Dinner1 Large Sweet Potato
or 1 Cup Black Beans
10-12 oz Chicken Breast
or Ground Beef
1 Bell Pepper
or 1 Large Spinach Salad
20-30 oz Water
Meal #6 Snack2 Scoops Whey
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
10-12 oz Water

 

Selecting the appropriate $100 Diet Meal Plan for your schedule is imperative for success. The menu items are strategically selected to provide your body with exactly what it needs, at exactly the right time. Each week, no matter what, you are going to get hungry and eat food. What is done when this occurs will determine energy levels, job performance, body composition, and strength gains. Eating healthy is a choice that requires dedication and planning. Staying on budget and looking better than ever can be achieved,  $100 at a time.

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