Juice fasting, water fasting and raw diets are all vital components to overall vitality, but nothing is more foundational to overall health than what you eat those other 82,125 meals throughout your life. By sheer volume, they constitute the foundation of what your health is going to look like, or better said, what your cells are made of. Relying on fasting or dieting for weight loss and detoxification without changing everyday eating habits is basically a binge/purge cycle.
The Maintenance Diet is your rest of your life diet. Your weekday and weekend diet. Your home-cooked and eating-out diet. Your good, bad, happy, sad, stressful, busy, relaxed, sunny, cloudy-day diet. Your every day diet. What you eat every day is the foundation on which you build everything else.
What about splurging now and again? Answering this question demands honest self-awareness. Can I splurge on a favorite chocolate bar, bag of chips, extra spicy chicken wings or Tex-Mex? When I first started on this journey, I was strict to the point of tyranny. The suggestion of splurging on a bag of chips would have been equivalent to offering a two-month-sober alcoholic a martini. In the beginning, splurging would have broken a fragile mindset, sending my everyday diet into a tailspin. Not all of you have an addictive disposition—some of you may be able to freely splurge and go right back to a healthy diet unscathed. The key to splurging successfully is that you don’t let it alter your everyday diet. Over time, once new eating habits become established, you will find less vulnerably when treating yourself.
How often should I splurge? If splurging becomes 2 percent of caloric intake, then that is the percent of impact it will have on your health. It’s that simple. Remember, splurge means a special treat, breaking from the norm. As long as you are in control of the situation and not the other way around, enjoy.
Also, you can splurge on healthy foods and feel equally fulfilled as if eating something off the chart. Meat lover’s pizza with extra cheese can be replaced with whole grain veggie pizza with extra sauce; I love the taste, a real treat. We have a local Italian restaurant that serves whole grain pasta with olive oil, black olives and fresh tomatoes. Our meal afterglow is not tainted with regret and a bloated stomach.
About The Maintenance Meal Plans
Even though the following cooked meals are highly nutritious, don’t make the mistake and forget the importance of raw food in your everyday diet. If you are looking for percentages, I would say that half of all you eat should be raw. When my raw intake begins to slip lower than 30 percent, I can really feel the difference. For raw meals, see: Raw Diet Meal Plan
Should be the biggest meal of the day
Cold cereal Whole-grain organic cereal with organic soy milk and a tablespoon of Sucanat is how I start my week-day mornings. Nature’s Path, Multigrain or Ancient Grains dry cereals from the health section of my grocery store (some stores even have a selection with the regular cereals) are my main staple. Two pounds cost about $8, so a bowl comes in less than a dollar. Great nutrition value, fast and easy cleanup. Any organic whole-grain cereal will suffice. Midmorning, eat two fruits.
Fruit salad Suggestion: add one cup of good yogurt. Forget the low-fat variety, because on a healthy diet you do not have to worry about fat. Use organic full-fat vanilla yogurt. If you cannot afford organic, read the ingredients to ensure the beneficial bacterial cultures, acidophilus and bifidum. The fewer ingredients the better. Even better, use a cup of natural, unsweetened full-fat yogurt and two tablespoons of raw honey. This is rich in nutrients with some added protein. Also, the added calcium helps neutralize the acidity if the fruit salad is primarily made of citrus.
Hot cereal Any variety of whole grain cereal is good. Avoid precooked “quick” or “instant” types. Adding cinnamon, raisins or dates is a great way to reduce the amount of Sucanat needed. Midmorning, eat two fruits.
Fruit and soy smoothie Your choice of fresh or frozen fruit and organic soy vanilla milk.
Veggie sandwich Not all sandwiches are created equal; it’s all how you build them. Start with a stone-ground whole-grain bread, the chewier the better. I like using Ancient Grains breads (wheat, millet, spelt, kamut, barley, amaranth, quinoa, rye), which provide a broad spectrum of nutrients. Toast bread and add sliced avocado or hummus to reduce the need for mayonnaise and butter, although I use a little low-fat mayonnaise. Load up on your favorite greens and fresh veggies, like romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts. Sometimes I will even add a thin slice of unprocessed low-fat cheese. Stronger tasting cheese, like old cheddar, provide more flavor for less cheese.
Canned peas Open, warm, add a teaspoon of butter and eat. Fast food at its best. About 160 calories of nutrient-packed food and very filling. Cost is about 80 cents. I added this as a meal to illustrate just how simple and cheap it is to eat well. Keep 5 or 6 cans on hand when needing a fast, filling lunch. Chick peas or any other type of canned beans work just fine. Better and cheaper than hitting McDonald’s for lunch.
Vegetable soup and bread Make your own homemade veggie soup using your favorite vegetables. Add split peas or other legumes, or even cubed tofu, to increase protein. We make a huge pot of soup and freeze in single meal portions. It’s hard to make a bad soup. Make sure the soup base is good quality, with no MSG added. Add a slice or two of whole-grain bread or pita for dipping.
Stuffed Corn Tortilla Use tortilla shells made from whole-grain corn—the organic variety is still cheap. Stuff with just about anything, like blended avocado, diced tomatoes, red onions, romaine, red peppers, cilantro for fresh zip, finely chopped jalapeno for spice. Refried beans are great if you can find the low-fat variety. If not, simply add black beans or your favorite type. Hummus or salsa add great taste. Mix and match to discover your preferred taste. A filling lunch, and with a fruit for a mid-afternoon snack, will easily get you safely to supper.
Stuffed whole-grain pita Similar to corn tortilla for stuffing stuff. Sprouts, avocado slices, onions, lettuce and tomatoes work great. Spread avocado dressing and/or salsa into pita. A tasty tip: premix spreads and veggies in a bowl, then glob into pita.
Sweet potato crunchies Also makes a great snack. Slice sweet potatoes (yams) into 1/8-inch slices or wedges, toss in bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil, salt, garlic and onion powder and spread on baking sheet and place in oven. Cook at 400° for 20 minutes. Ready when crunchy. Kids will love them dipped in ketchup.
Boiled root vegetables and soy beans Cut in large pieces: carrots, sweet potatoes (yams), yellow onions and garlic cloves. Place in large pot and fill with just enough water to cover vegetables. Add two cubes of natural vegetable soup base. Cook until tender, then add hulled organic soy beans, fresh or frozen. Allow to boil for another 3 minites. Because of the rich flavor you will find yourself using less butter. Only one pot to clean.
Veggie salad revisited with salmon Adding anything to a bed of greens produces a simple full meal with few dishes. My favorite is a hot heap of steaming quinoa on top of awaiting greens, with homemade salad dressing poured over the top. All of these distinct tastes combine to make a complex blend of flavors and aromas that are magical. Go for seconds. Think of the nourishment your body is ingesting in one meal: healthy oil, greens and nutrient-dense quinoa. We often have a side plate of about 4 ounces of wild Pacific salmon with a squirt of fresh lemon.
Steamed vegetables and quinoa Brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, and broccoli are some of our favorite steaming vegetables. Add sliced mushrooms and garlic powder for flavor and aroma. Do not overcook. Veggies should been firm. Remember they cook for about two minutes after being removed from the stove, which can make a difference when cooking broccoli. Getting veggies just right takes some practice. A heap of cooked quinoa completes the meal. Surprisingly light, highly digestible and very nutritious.
Whole-grain pasta and small side salad As with any Italian food, freshness and quality of ingredients makes the difference between a good and a superb pasta dish. Start with wholegrain pasta, and boil to al dente, then drain. Do not overcook. In the meantime, in a separate pot, add fat-free pasta sauce, chopped onions and red peppers, and whatever else you wish, like chopped mushrooms, zucchini, even eggplant, and cook for 30 minutes Add to cooked pasta, and top dish with black olives, roasted garlic and grated Romano cheese. I use organic noodles because they are still very affordable.
Brown Basmati Rice and Peas This combination makes a complete protein. It’s easy to make, just mix in peas to rice after cooking separately. I cook my rice with sliced fresh mushrooms. A trick to less-sticky rice is to dry roast raw rice in a fry pan for a few minutes before cooking it. A side salad is a great addition.
Apple with nut butter – An updated version to the famous peanut butter and apple treat. Cut apple into wedges and add a dab of almond or hazelnut butter. Tastes great.
Crackers and goat’s cheese – You can find low-fat, whole-grain alternatives to the standard unhealthy crackers found in most grocery aisles. You may have to visit your local health food store. They’re a little more expensive, but worth every penny. With a well-made cracker, spreadable goat’s cheese, and olives or pickled jalapeno peppers, you can build a movie or late-night snack to feel good about.
Popcorn and olive oil – My favorite movie snack. Never use those microwave popcorn poaches—they’re full of solid fat, depositing a hard residue on the inner linings of your arteries. Use a hot-air popper, then drizzle extra virgin olive oil while stirring, and add a moderate sprinkle of sea salt. It really tastes great and your heart will thank you with years of uninterrupted work.
Related Article: 1,200 Calorie Weight Loss Meal Plan