Body Of A Warrior Eating Plan

Welcome to the Body Of A Warrior simple eating plan.

Let’s be clear: how, when and what you eat is THE SINGLE BIGGEST factor in your fitness transformation.

So, as promised, we’re not going to give you some complicated, hard-to-follow, flavor-of-the-month diet:

We’re going to give you a simple eating plan that has you eating a wide range of delicious foods the vast majority of experts agree on. This basic nutrition plan can be described as ancestral eating.

Disclaimer: The Warrior workouts and eating plan are not intended to override or supersede the advice of your doctor. If you have type 1 diabetes or any other diet-sensitive health condition, consult your doctor before beginning the Body Of A Warrior program.

The Good News

It so happens that the most nutrient dense and high calorie foods are also the most satisfying. Eating large quantities of “rabbit food” does not grow muscle. Protein, fat, bones, marrow, sinew, cartilage, tendons and organs grow muscle and powerful, lean warrior bodies. The foods that come from animals are more in line with our own biological structures, whereas plant based foods mostly have to be converted by our own bodies to become somewhat useful but also less effective.

When it comes to fruit, this part of the plant is meant to be eaten since this is how plants propagate themselves. The leaves, stalks and seeds are not what the plant kingdom wants you to eat. Certain parts of plants contain toxins as the only method of defense that the plant has.

Many believe that being on an animal based diet means just eating steak all the time. This is far from the truth. The muscle meat of animals contains many nourishing vitamins, minerals and amino acids but not all that are necessary for a well balanced diet for humans. The solution is to eat “nose to tail”. This concept can be practiced by learning to eat all parts, including organs, bone, marrow, fat, cartilage, tendons, sinew and blood. Combining these makes for a complete and nutritious dietary protocol if sourced from humanely treated and pastured animals.

To simplify: Eat meat, organs, raw dairy, fruit, raw honey.

Warrior Meals

Each week, your eating plan assignment will be to eat three warrior meals a day, seven days a week.

Here’s what makes a meal a warrior meal:

1. Whole foods only (single ingredient).

2. Consists of a combination of animal-based foods (meats, organs, broths, eggs, raw and grass-fed dairy), fruits, raw honey and low toxicity vegetables. Some do better on a mostly animal based program, while others may do better with a higher ratio of plant-based foods. This may take some self-experimentation.

By whole foods, we mean foods in their original form: not processed, adulterated, or laden with preservatives.

Your meals can be a combination of ingredients, of course. But they must be ingredients combined by YOU, not some corporate food lab.

Portion Control

Note that we are not giving you restrictions on portion size.

Why?

Because it’s very difficult to over-eat when you’re eating the right foods in the right proportions. Animal fat is the great satiator, and over-eating of animal-based foods is a self-correcting problem. Over-stuffing oneself on meat, organs and fat is very uncommon, whereas, eating carbohydrates does not usually trigger a governor effect and we tend to not know when to stop.

In other words, eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re satisfied, and so long as you’re eating a warrior structured meal, the rest will take care of itself.

Warrior Foods

Here’s the simple list of what you can and can’t eat on this eating plan (note that this is not an exhaustive list):

Wild and Grass-fed Meats (eat often):

Note: Although it’s not mandatory that your meat be from grass-fed animals, it is highly recommended. Pay attention to the labels on commercial grass-fed products to ensure it is 100% grass-fed and finished. Check with your local farmer and ask questions if you’re unsure.

  • venison
  • beef (grass-fed preferred)
  • turkey
  • chicken (pasture-raised preferred)
  • fish (wild-caught only, not farmed)
  • pork (forest fed/pastured preferred)
  • shellfish
  • crustaceans
  • eggs (free-range and not vegetarian-fed preferred) 
  • liver
  • heart
  • kidney
  • sweet bread (thymus)
  • brain
  • gizzard
  • oxtail
  • testicles
  • most animal parts
  • all wild game

Wild and Grass-fed Animal Fats (eat often):

  • butter (grass-fed brands like Kerry Gold and Finlandia preferred)
  • ghee
  • tallow/suet
  • lard/leaf lard
  • all animal fat from appropriate sources
  • grass-fed cheese such as Old Croc, and most imported hard cheeses such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan
  • full-fat yogurt made with raw milk

Select Plant-Based Fats (eat often):

  • avocados
  • coconut oil
  • coconut and coconut products such as oil, milk, juice, manna. 

Salt (eat often):

Liquids (drink often):

  • water
  • bone broth
  • coffee black (preferably organic)
  • coffee with grass-fed butter or raw milk
  • tea
  • raw milk (grass-fed preferred)
  • raw kefir

Honey (eat less often):

  • raw, local honey

Low-Toxicity Fruits and Vegetables (eat less often):

Note: Berries, apples, grapes and cherries are almost always sprayed with pesticides, so you should buy organic whenever possible.

  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • cranberries
  • apples
  • bananas
  • grapefruits
  • grapes
  • pomegranate
  • cherries
  • olives
  • cabbage 
  • cucumbers
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • squash
  • sauerkraut (raw or homemade preferred)

Nuts (eat less often):

  • pecans
  • almonds
  • cashews
  • brazil nuts
  • walnuts

Leafy Vegetables (eat less often):

Note: All vegetables should be organic to avoid pesticide residue

  • broccoli
  •  swiss chard
  •  spinach
  •  kale
  •  brussel sprouts
  •  asparagus
  •  cauliflower
  •  mixed greens
  •  arugula

Condiments (eat less often)

  • balsamic vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar 
  • select multi-ingredient condiments (see Exceptions List)
  • homemade condiments (here’s how)

Herbs & Spices (eat less often):

  • rosemary
  • basil
  • oregano
  • ginger
  • cayenne
  • thyme
  • black pepper

Indulgences (eat less often):

  • dark chocolate
  • red wine
  • white wine
  • mead
  • pure maple syrup
  • almond flour
  • coconut flour

Non-Warrior Foods:

Sweeteners (including sugar, processed honey, commercial syrup, agave nectar, stevia extracts, equal, xylitol, etc)

Seed Oils (canola, rapeseed, corn, vegetable, soy, safflower, sunflower, etc)

Conventional Dairy (all pasteurized/homogenized milk, non-grass-fed cheese, most American cheeses) 

Soy in all its forms (tofu, soy sauce, etc)

Legumes (including beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts)

Grains (wheat, rice, rye, barley, oats, corn, millet, quinoa, potato flours, pasta, etc)

Drinks (energy drinks, soda, fruit drinks, juice from concentrate, sweet tea, etc)

Sweets (including candy, pastries, bars, etc)

Most condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing, etc)

Exceptions List:

Note: Here are the only non-single-ingredient foods that are permitted on this eating plan. If it’s not on this list, then it’s not permitted.

Again, these are not definitive lists. Use your best judgment and read all food labels. Food manufacturers are sneaky.  If in doubt, ask Coach Steve.

Food Costs

All else being equal, an animal-based diet is going to cost more. Two things to keep in mind: first off, you can offset this somewhat by opting for lower cost cuts of meat, such as ground, flank, and skirt steak. Buying in bulk (for example, whole chickens and turkeys, half or full sides of beef, etc) helps as well. Second, remember that food is not an expense but an investment: an investment in your health, longevity, and performance. It will come back to you many times over.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it ok to eat bacon?

A: Yes, in moderation. Keep in mind that the curing process introduces a number of unhealthy ingredients. Consider curing it yourself, buying from a trusted local farm with natural ingredients, or buying from quality brands like US Wellness Meats,  Niman Ranch, or Maverick Ranch.

Q: Are coconut or almond flours permitted?

A: Yes. They are single-ingredient and grain-free.

Q: Can I substitute another alcohol for wine (the only recommended alcohol on the list)?

A: Yes. Mead. Mead is fermented honey and therefore technically an animal product. Since raw honey is loaded with vitamins and minerals, the fermented version is also, but with the added benefits of having probiotic properties. More on mead.

Q: Are dried fruits ok?

A: Yes. Realize that dried fruits contain a higher concentration of sugar. Scrutinize any commercial and packaged dried fruit as they tend to be laced with seed oils and added sweeteners and preservatives. It is best to buy a dehydrator and make your own.

Q: Is fruit juice ok?

A: Juice you squeeze yourself is, but store-bought juices are not as they usually contain added sugar.

Q: Are protein powders ok?

A: Some, yes. Most protein powders contain other ingredients, namely sweeteners like Sucralose and preservatives. Here are more details. My recommended protein powder: Great Lakes Collagen

Q: Is salt ok?

A: Only salt in its natural form, whether sea salt or mined salt. regular cheap, idodized table salt is not. Natural salt contains essential minerals that our bodies need to sustain proper function.

Q: What’s wrong with plants and why shouldn’t I eat plenty?

A: I’m glad you asked. Plants have been glorified for as long as there has been agriculture, but there is a dark side that is not apparent or promoted. The most fundamental reason is that plants have their own defense systems that are designed for their own survival and propagation. The detailed answer is much more complicated and beyond the scope of this document (see More resources). Some plant compounds actually bind to minerals and restrict them from our bodies, and although we believe we are taking in vitamins and minerals, we are actually being robbed.  Another reason plants can be harmful is that modern agricultural practices are not in alignment with best health practices. The toxins being sprayed on large scale commercial crops are but one example of the insidious way in which plants can harm humans.

Q: What if I’m following an intermittent fasting protocol that directs me to skip a meal? Can I still win a point for my fire team for that missed meal?

A: Yes, as long as your missed meal(s) are part of a planned intermittent fasting protocol, not a meal missed due to travel or a hectic day. The point of IF is not to skip meals but to increase your fasting window and decrease your feeding window. Conditioning oneself to longer fasting windows by taking in all daily nutrients during a smaller window is the goal of IF. Aim for at least a 12 hour daily period of fasting with 16 hours being ideal for most men.

Q: What if I just like to eat a lot of vegetables, including leafy greens, can I load up my plate with greens?

A: I would say to do so at your own risk. Some individuals tolerate plants better than others and if you are not experiencing any metabolic dysfunction, you may be able to get by. It would be best to go with foods on the “least toxic” list and include fruits as well.

Q: Is there an expanded compliant food list for veteran Warriors?

A: Yes. If you have just completed a previous round of BOW, then you may also count rice, quinoa, and edamame as compliant foods. Note that these should be treated as less often indulgences. We have decided to offer veteran Warriors this concession because 1. they have already established a foundation of healthy eating from their prior 12 week round, and 2. these are measures we believe will make BOW sustainable for the long haul.

Q: It seems that sourcing grass-fed and high-quality farm-raised food is more expensive and more inconvenient. What is your take?

A: It is. Being a hunter/gatherer in the modern sense by carefully and meticulously choosing your food, can be akin to spending hours and days in the woods. Most commercial food sources are not created for maximum health benefits of a modern day warrior, they are merely about maximum profit. What is good health worth to you? Clean and grass-fed, as well as wild game tend to cost more upfront, but the benefits over the long-term far outweigh the apparent initial costs. In the long term it is actually much more economical because it drastically reduces health costs and illness.

Here is the link to the Weston Price local chapters listed by state. Select your state and then drill down to find the best sources of sustainable farm raised food in your local area.

More Resources

Weston Price Foundation – A good resource to use as a further guide on your nutritional journey is the Weston A. Price website. Here you will find abundant information on ancestral eating of the most satisfying and nourishing foods on the planet.

Carnivore MD – Paul Saladino has been leading the charge on practicing a well formulated animal based eating protocol. His meticulous research and implementation is unsurpassed and solid.

Ancestral Supplements blog

Eat liver for vitamin A and muscle growth

Plants Bite Back

Carnivore recipes

Organ based seasoning

Coach Steve’s blog post on eating carnivore-ish

Check out Body of a Warrior Recipes Slack channel.

Carnivore cookbook

Meal Prep

This eating plan may entail more cooking and food prep than you’re used to.

Here are some simple ways to simplify and speed things up in that department:

  • Crock pot meals (I highly recommend investing in an Instant Pot)
  • Drying (jerky)
  • Stir-frying (quick)
  • Boiled eggs
  • Frozen organ meats that can be grated into other dishes such as ground beef.
  • Make big batches and re-heat leftovers

These are measures we believe will make Body Of A Warrior sustainable for the long haul.

Experiment often, and share your best discoveries with your Body Of A Warrior brothers in your fire team and in the fireside channel so ALL can benefit!

As you can see, there’s plenty of delicious food available to you: you don’t need to suffer or “go without” on this eating plan.

Eating warrior meals as described above will have a MASSIVE impact on your Body Of A Warrior fitness outcome… so dive in and embrace the change.

Your taste-buds, overall health, and waistline will thank you.

Let’s make tomorrow different!

Steven Ashton, 50 BOLD Coach
 Third Way Man