In the conclusion of my interview with Mike Dolce, he discussed some easy tips for budget conscious dieters and answered basic nutrition questions. If you missed the first half of this interview, you can find it here:
Stephie Daniels: When you talk about "earned meals", is there a defined parameter of caloric intake one should sort of stick to?
Mike Dolce: The earned meals, I define those as a four hour window where you can really just eat what you want. My earned meal, let's say it's my birthday, I might have a plate of traditional lasagna. East coast style, grandma's recipe, I'll eat that whole pan over four hours, but then for the next four days, I'll be trying to process it [laughs]. So calorie intake is basically a four hour window to purge yourself of those emotional cravings, knowing that you're going to get right back at it to earn that next meal.
Stephie Daniels: Talk about emotional cravings.
Mike Dolce: Emotional cravings represent comfort. Fighters, when they get injured, the first thing they want to do is have a pizza or a burger. A girl breaks up with a guy, she wants to get a box of chocolates or ice cream. That's emotional eating. With stress and anxiety, we tend to need emotional releases.
Stephie Daniels: What do you think the most common misconception is with dieting?
Mike Dolce: Calorie counting and food exclusion. People make dieting too hard because they try to fit it within very rigid confines, and that typically sets them up to fail. It then sets them up to feel guilt about the failure, which in turn, makes them feel negative or unable to stick to any diet, hence where we are as a society. Obesity is at it's highest level ever. What I do is a lifestyle approach. You eat clean. You don't eat the garbage. You're a little bit more active. You get a good night's sleep. Simple things like that create dramatic change.
Stephie Daniels: For the people that are economically challenged, what are some dietary substitutions for the more expensive menu items or going all organic?
Mike Dolce: First step is find a way. Until they get into a position to surround themselves with all the tools that they need, start very simply. Get yourself lots of oats or oat bran. Ten dollars worth of oats will feed you every day for a month, for breakfast. Get yourself a bag of seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, chia seeds. Get nuts in your house. You can go to any bulk section and just get plain peanuts. Now you have those basic essentials, you can make your own peanut butter, or nut butter.
You go to the farmer's markets, or even the produce section at your local supermarket, and get fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. If they're not organic, just wash them well to remove the chemicals, and on some, you can just peel the skin to lower the risk of contaminants. You only get two or three days worth so they don't go bad and you don't waste any extra money.
Then you start thinking about your lean proteins. Eggs are inexpensive. You can get a dozen free range eggs for three dollars. You can eat two of those eggs per meal, and have six meals for three dollars. You're talking about a lean protein source for fifty cents a meal.
Cut out all the colorful fluids and stick to water. Don't go to Starbucks every day. Now you can eat a pound of organic chicken every day because you're not spending five dollars on the latte. There's so many different ways to eat healthy. You have to find a way. If you've got a couple dollars a day, you can eat healthier.
Stephie Daniels: If you can't afford grape seed oil or coconut oil, what is a decent substitution? Is olive oil the next best choice?
Mike Dolce: Olive oil is a lower temperature oil, so you want to serve that at room temperature. You don't want to cook with it. There are some out there with higher smoke points, but I tend to avoid it in cooking. I prefer grape seed, coconut or peanut oils. They are a little harder to find and a little more expensive, though, so canola oil is a pretty standard alternative. I'm not really a fan of it, but it's pretty common and it is affordable. It's a good bridge until you can get the better oils. You can also shop on Amazon or in the bulk stores for the better ones. Remember, a little bit of oil goes a long way. Measure it. Use a tablespoon, and stop there. Don't just pour it, because you're going to end up with more than you need, and that's one way to exceed your budget.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on dairy products?
Mike Dolce: I personally stay away from dairy except for Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. I'll eat cottage cheese once or twice a month. Also some fresh mozzarella in a salad. But, as far as drinking dairy, I think we all can agree that there's so much digestive discomfort that comes with it, after your late teens.
There is a lot of research out there that suggests that the body loses it's ability to break down lactase. As we age and go through puberty, since our bodies don't really need it anymore, and stops producing the enzymes to break it down. I'm not totally against dairy, but just a few ounces at a time, per week, tops.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on coconut water?
Mike Dolce: I like coconut water. I have a few coconuts in my refrigerator right now. You've got to watch the packaging if you're buying pre-packaged products. Look at the ingredients and make sure it's only 100% pure coconut water. It's good, and it's a nice option, but it doesn't replace water by any stretch. Water is the supreme source of hydration.
Stephie Daniels: Final question, is there an athlete, past or present, that you would have liked to work with?
Mike Dolce: The person at the top of my list, the one I would have liked most to work with, would have been a prime Igor Vovchanchyn. He fought at 205, but I believe he was a welterweight. I would have loved to have worked with him back in those PRIDE days. He was the first version of a Thiago Alves., with that toughness and iron chin. He was a spectacular athlete, but I just thought he was fighting too far above his natural weight class. He would be the number one on my list.
You can follow Mike via his Twitter, @TheDolceDiet