Today we are going to try and take a closer look into the diet of one of the healthiest and fittest people I can ever remember….Jack Lalanne.
I’m sure most everyone is familiar with Jack, and his incredible passion for health and fitness. He was and still is an inspiration to millions of people around the world. However, Mr. Lalanne had views on exercise and nutrition that some may disagree with, but I will say, it’s hard to argue with his results.
Whether you agree with him or not, there is one aspect of his daily routine that cannot be argued. Jack Lalanne’s diet consisted of only two meals per day with no snacks in between, and the man was much more active than we are.
His first meal was a late morning meal eaten after his morning exercise session (roughly around 11:00 am). He would then have an evening meal with his wife at around 7pm at one of his favorite restaurants.
What I want to attempt to do here is breakdown is Jacks caloric intake over an average day and compare it with how we eat today. Over the last year or so, I’ve researched and read many various articles and interviews with Jack, that I think I can say with a fair amount of accuracy, that Jacks 2 meals basically broke down as follows:
4 egg whites, bowl of oatmeal, bowl of seasonal fruit, broth type soup.
OK, there are roughly 17 calories in an egg white and 3.6 grams of protein. Now, I’m going to assume Jack had two cups of oatmeal in lieu of the standard 1 cup serving due to his high activity level. Two cups of oatmeal would contain around 300 calories and 12 grams of protein. A bowl of seasonal fruits would be around 80 calories, and the broth would be roughly 65-70 calories and 2 grams of protein.
Now, I may be a bit high on the oatmeal, but I prefer to error on the side of caution. Based on the above breakfast, Jacks total calories for this meal would be 518 and 28 grams of protein.
Ok, now let’s take a look at his dinner menu.
Large raw salad consisting of greens and at least 10-12 raw veggies and 4 egg whites, salad dressing, serving of fish, perhaps some brown rice and a glass of wine.
OK, this meal was bit more difficult to try and dissect, but I think I came pretty close.
A large bowl of greens (spring mix, etc) would be around 2 cups. This is around 20-25 calories and 2 grams protein. Now, he also had around 10 raw veggies in there as well. I’ve found around 5 staple veggies that were in there, and they were broccoli, carrots, peppers, radish & cauliflower. Honestly, I believe that the other 5 veggies were rotated based n what was available. But for our purposes here, we can calculate pretty closely that the veggies made up around 200 calories and 12 grams of protein.
Ok, to the salad we add 4 more egg whites which adds 68 calories and 14 grams protein. Now, I’m pretty sure Jack put a dressing on his salad. I know Jack was a big believer in the Bragg line of health foods and there were various stories of him bringing his own dressing to the restaurants! I’m going to say he had 2 tablespoons of his favorite Bragg dressing, and that’s 90 calories.
As respects to fish, he ate a slightly larger than average piece. Maybe between 8 to 10 ounces. This would be around 340 calories and 48 grams of protein.
Now, there have been some conflicting articles and interviews as respects to whether or not brown rice was included each night, but the purpose of this article, I am going to say that brown or wild rice was served along with his fish as well as another cooked veggie. So, that would 100 calories and 2 grams protein from the rice, and maybe 30 calories from the cooked vegetable. And finally, one glass of wine is 125 calories.
So, dinner for Jack would be on average around 978 calories and 75 grams of protein.
While these numbers surely varied at different points in time, and they are probably more reflective of his later years, I still feel they are a good basis for us to look at based on his activity level even in those later years.
Based on the meals above, and leaving some room for error, it’s fair to say that Jack Lalanne took in between 1,600 and 1,800 calories per day and around 100 grams of protein. Remarkably, he was also so much more active than we are today.
How can this be? We’ve been programmed to believe that the “average” person needs 2,000 calories per day. How can someone as active and healthy as Jack Lalanne only be consuming 1,600 calories per day?
The answer is actually quite simple….when you eat REAL food, you simply do not need nearly as much as when you eat processed foods! Real foods like fruits and veggies with their high fiber levels fill you up pretty quickly and meet so many of your bodies nutritional requirements.
Think about this for a minute. Jack Lalanne was extremely active every day of his life, yet, he ate only 2 meals per day and the total caloric intake was around 1,600 or so.
We as a society in general, are sedentary and non-active yet eat 3, 4 ,5 or 6 times per day and most people certainly eat more than 1,600 calories per day!
What I’m trying to get you to understand is that we require much less calories than you’ve been led to believe.
In short, we are much less active than Jack, but we eat more than he did. You really need to ask yourself if this makes any sense and start doing something about it if you haven’t already have!