Thirty years ago, Matthew Kenney was an aspiring teenage bodybuilder. Now one of the country's most accomplished raw-food chefs, he opened Matthew Kenney OKC in 2009, a vegan raw-food restaurant in Oklahoma City that Forbes magazine described as one of America's Best Restaurants the following year.
They would then think that Kenney, himself a vegan, gave up his bodybuilding roots around the time he stopped eating meat. You are wrong. Kenney hits the weights just as hard at the age of 48 as he did 10 years ago, before he started eating raw, and he has several bodybuilder friends who only eat raw.
"Raw food is a vegetable diet made from raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted vegetables that are not heated above 105-110 ° C," says Kenney, author of the cookbooks Everyday Raw and Raw Foods of the Real World.
"The enzymes and nutrients are still alive, so the foods are very healing because they are more digestible." According to Kenney, one of the tangible benefits of raw food is reversing diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and joint pain, as well as plenty of energy throughout the day provide. Kenney also considers raw food to be extremely body-friendly, both in terms of adding size and losing body fat.
"You can actually train more on plant-based nutrition than on a standard diet, because the recovery time is faster, you have fewer injuries, and you have more energy," he says. "They may not be able to build up to 265 pounds, but the development of lean muscle mass is fully achievable."
Among the many raw-food advocates is Mark Martell, a New York-based pharmacist, trainer and bodybuilder who currently weighs 212 pounds at 7 to 8 percent body fat, compared with 24 percent three years ago. During that time, Martell's daily protein intake did not exceed 125 grams – "it all consisted of plant-based fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and superfoods," he says. Below is a grocery list that Martell recommends to any bodybuilder or athlete.
Fruits: dates, blueberries, bananas, grapes, cantaloupe, orange, sea holly, grapefruit, mango, lime, apple, lemon
Nuts: raw almonds
Green leaves: romaine, kale, spinach
Super Foods: Chia Seeds, Goji Berries, Moringa Leaf, Ashwagandlha, Dulse, Flaxseed
Vegetables: pumpkin, cucumber, beetroot, avocado
And also: coriander, parsley, Himalayan salt, tomatoes, carrots, maca root powder, spirulina, chlorella, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth.
Vegetable bulk goods
Matthew Kenney's book Everyday Raw (Gibbs Smith, 2008) contains this appropriately named mass-structure smoothie:
"The Muscle" smoothie
5 fresh pears (quarters and core)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tbsp hemp protein
2 tablespoons mesquite pod meal
2 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons of agave
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch of sea salt
Mix all ingredients at high speed for 30-40 seconds. Enjoy!