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Bruce Lee’s Diet: Avoid refined flour, Chinese Food, Dairy Food, Size of Portions / Number of Meals, Protein Drinks, Supplements, Carbohydrates - Juicing and blending, Honey and Ginseng, Sample Meals - Bruce Lee News


05.31.2007 
Bruce Lee is famous for his devotion to martial arts and his great abilities in this field. He was not only an exceptional martial artist, but also a serious body builder. He firmly beleived that diet played a very important role in achieving his objectives. However, he was not an expert in nutrition, he gained most of his information from body building magazines and experimented with different supplements in addition to eating a well balanced healthy diet.

Bruce Lee’s Diet

Avoid refined flour
Chinese Food
Dairy Food
Size of Portions / Number of Meals
Protein Drinks
Supplements
Carbohydrates - Juicing and blending
Honey and Ginseng
Sample Meals

Avoid refined flour

Generally Bruce Lee avoided refined flour, so did not eat many baked foods, such as biscuits and cakes, which he described as being “empty calories”. It is worth mentioning that today many people attribute irritable bowel syndrome to the excess consumption of refined flours. His philosophy was not to consume calories that did not provide some benefit to the body. This approach to eating is very similar to that of the Buddhist scriptures, which states:

“you must learn to be moderate in eating, and eat only enough to remain healthy, and fit for trance. For excessive food obstructs the flow of the breath as it goes in and out, induces lassitude (lack of vitality) and sleepiness, and kills all valour. Ans as too much food has unfortunate consequences, so also starvation does not lead to efficiency. For starvation dains away the body’s volume, lustre, firmness, performance and strength. You should take food in accordance with your individual capacity, neither too much, nor, from pride, too little.” From Buddhist Scriptures, edited by Edward Conze (1959).

Chinese Food

Bruce Lee enjoyed Chinese food, as he felt that western food was often too bland. Some of his favourite Chinese dishes were beef in oyster sauce and tofu. However, he loved to eat steack and liver too, but overall preferred the more balanced approach of Asian dishes. He felt that often Western food placed too much emphasis on protein and fat and not enough on carbohydrates from vegetables, rice, pasta etc.

Dairy Food

Bruce Lee did not like dairy food, and only ate dairy as part of protein drinks, usually using powdered milk instead of fresh milk.

Size of Portions / Number of Meals

For Bruce Lee concentration on the type of foods eaten were not the only important consideration, the size of portions and number of meals were just as important. Bruce Lee would usually consume four or five smaller meals a day rather than a couple of large meals, plus some healthy snacks, such as fruits. Today body builders often follow similar eating habits, by eating high protein meals approximately every four hours to ensure the body has a good supply of proteins to help build and repair muscle tissue. Eating more often than every four hours can put too much pressure on the digestive system, and lead to indigestion. This is another reason why constant snacking is not good for you.

Protein Drinks

Bruce Lee consumed one or two protein drinks every day, plus fruit smoothies too. Although his protein drinks varied, they generally consisted of:

Non-instant powdered milk - which is reported to have a higher concentration of calcium than other forms of powdered milk
Eggs - sometimes with the shells
Wheat germ / wheat germ oil
Peanut butter
Banana
Brewers yeast (contains concentrated B vitamins which are essential in the release of energy from carbohydrates).
Inositol supplement (Inositol is found in many foods, particularly in cereals with high bran content. Inositol plays an important part in the health of cell membranes especially the specialized cells in the brain, bone marrow, eyes and intestines. The function of the cell membranes is to regulate the contents of the cells, which makes effective functioning possible).
Lecithin take in granular form. (Lecithin is a mixture of glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipids. It is needed by every cell in the body and is a key building block of cell membranes; without it, they would harden. Lecithin protects cells from oxidation).

All ingredients would be mixed thoroughly in a food blender. Bruce Lee suggested that for better results (i.e. for gaining more muscle mass quicker) milk and cream be added too.

Please bear in mind that the supplements Bruce Lee took were popular when he was researching body building in the 1960 and early 1970’s, and these supplements may now be superceded by ones which prodcue better results. Also bear in mind that all supplements may have side effects if taken to excess. It is best to check with youe doctor / GP before starting a body building diet.

Supplements

Bruce Lee also took many mineral and vitamin supplements. Some of the supplements he is known to have taken include:

Vitamin C
Lecithing granules
Bee Pollen
Vitamin E
Rose hips (liquid form)
Wheat germ oil
Natural protien tablets (chocolate flavour)
Acerola - C
B-Folia

Carbohydrates - Juicing and blending

Bruce Lee knew that carbohydrates are essential for people with very high activity levels. it was for this that he regulary consumed fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies. Fruit and vegetables provide the richest source of carbohydrates, so Bruce Lee would often make juices / smoothies comprising of carrots, celery, apples, bananas and some parsely.
Usually carrots would make up one hlaf of the contents of the drink, the remaining being split between the other fruits and vegetables. He also sometimes used green leafy vegeables, again with a large proportion of carrot juice to help offset the bitterness of the green leafy vegetables. Juicing fresh fruit and vegetables is a great way to consume high quality carbohydrates. Juicing allow the body to more easily assimilate many nutrients. The enzymes in the juiced vegetables are also the organic catalysts that increase the rate at which food is broken down and absorbed. Many enzymes are destroyed when vegetables cooked, especially if boiled, therefore consuming raw fruit and vegetables is best. Some nutritionists suggest that for better health and more energy, approximately half of the carbohydrates consumed should come from raw fruit and vegetables.

Honey and Ginseng

Bruce Lee often drank a Royal jelly and ginseng drink to give a quick boost. These drinks are very small, and provide a very quick release of energy.

Royal jelly contains B-complex vitamins, including a high concentration of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), acetylcholine, minerals, enzymes, hormones, eighteen amino acids, antibacterial and antibiotic components, and vitamins A, C, D and E.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Ginseng promotes Yang energy, improves circulation, increases blood supply, revitalizes and aids recovery from weakness after illness, and stimulates the body.

Sample Meals

Obviously Bruce Lee’s diet would have varied greatly during the 1960’s and early 1970’s as his training methods evolved, but here is what is possibly one of his typical days meals:
Breakfast
Food: A bowl of muesli cereal, comprised of whole grains, nuts, and dried fruits, plus 2% milk (semi skimmed).
Beverage: Orange Juice and/or tea.

Snack
Juice or Protein Drink: Protein powder, non-instant powdered milk made with water or juice, eggs, wheat germ, bananas, peanut butter. Brewer’s yeast was frequently added.

Lunch
Food: Meat, vegetables, and rice.
Beverage: Tea.

Snack
Juice or Protein Drink: see ingredients for morning-snack protein drink.

Dinner
Food: Spaghetti and salad, or another meal of rice, vegetables, and meat, chicken, or seafood.
Beverage: One glass of 2% milk and/or tea.

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2006-2007 Arman Suleimenov