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How to eat from Beginner to Master freediver in Thailand

Oppdatert: 6. mar. 2020

Freediving diet

How to eat from Beginner to Master in Thailand

By Joachim Larssen

February 2019


In this paper we will get an understanding of the different groups of nutrition, what they are and what an active person needs from a vegetarian perspective. Many of these dishes from the weekly diet are originally with meat so meat lovers can also follow this diet (just add meat). We will also look into what special considerations Freedivers have to keep in mind like digestion, hydration and mucus production.


1. My background.

2. Introduction.

3. Fats.

4. Carbohydrates.

5. Proteins.

6. Vitamins and Minerals.

7. Water.

8. No-go foods for Freedivers

9. Yes foods for freedivers!.

10. My diet for one week.

How to be light as a feather!

1. My background.

I have been interested in food since I was a little kid and my parent used to wake up to noise coming from the kitchen in the morning, when I got older I started my first year in chef school but didn’t finish it because I got a good offer to work as a chef in one of Norway’s best theaters.

After that I went back to school and finished my first year but never got to the second year because I kept getting job offers. In my years I have been managing kiosks, grocery stores, and restaurants on land and on the sea. Later on I did one year of heath studies where health food was a big topic.

I have always loved hiking, running, kayaking, cycling and just playing in the water so energy rich food is always something that has interested me for a long time.

I’m not a 100% vegetarian, my values are that I don’t buy meat this is mainly because of how we treat the animals and I don’t want to give my money to that business. However if I’m a guest at someone’s home I will eat what is served as long as it’s less than 50% meat. I love fishing and I have gotten myself a spear gun so I can hunt the fish I want not just what bites on the line. I believe in killing fast and painless as possible.

2. Introduction.

Diet? What to eat to perform your best?

What makes up a tailor made healthy diet is different for everyone so I’m not even going to try! This is something you don’t need until you are training for competitions.

A perfect diet depends on the sex, age, activity, blood type, ethnic background, allergies, etc. of the person.

A good diet is in general the same for all of us and this is what we will look at now.

Eat a variety of foods in moderation to provide the nutrients the body needs for optimal function. Benefits of a healthy diet are many, and include the feeling of well-being, better mental and physical performance, and prevention of diseases.

For Freediving I will take a closer look at foods that produces mucus, foods that are easy to digest, and hydration. I will look at the food groups as a vegetarian and make a full week diet that will give you all the nutrients the body needs and since I’m in Thailand my focus will be on food I can get here without spending too much money.

You should always eat before freediving, eat a light meal minimum one hour before a dive some like two-three hours. You will get a better idea on this after some freedives. I like to wake up 2,5-3 hours before we meet up for the morning dive at 10.00. I start my routine with minimal one hour of yoga stretching and breathing exercises before I eat and start preparing my gear and do my mental warm-ups for the freedive.

First up is what does the human body need and not need?

There are six main classes of nutrition and they are categorized as macro nutrition and micro nutrition’s (Vitamins and minerals)







3. Fats

When we come to fats we can split them up in saturated fats (firm in room temperature) and unsaturated fats (liquid in room temperature).

Saturated fats come manly in food from animals like meat and dairy and are recommended to switch out with unsaturated fats from plants the plant kingdom like nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Food that have saturated fats are often heavy foods like meat and dairy that take a long time to digest and produce a lot of mucus. Also from a vegetarian point of view not interesting.

Also too much saturated fats might over time clog up arteries and veins and can hinder good blood circulation, while unsaturated fats make them nice and smooth and easy for blood to pass through.

So let us just take the saturated fats out of the equation and let’s look at the unsaturated fats.

Good sources of unsaturated fat are soft plant margarine, rapeseed, sunflower, olive, soy and corn oil, avocado, nuts and fat fish.

Here are the good stuff, what makes you feel light as a feather and your blood flowing free and contains nutrition the body loves!

How much do we need of it?(1)

Normal recommendations for an active person is 0.5-1 gram per kilo gram body weight, if you have a light carbohydrate diet its recommended to get more calories from fat as will have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and maintain healthy hormone levels. If you want more calories from fat than carbohydrates up your intake to 1-2g per kilo.

4. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are sugars, starches and fibers and are found in vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy products and are an important part of our diet if you get it from natural sources. Carbohydrates are macronutrients (the body can’t produce it) and one of the body’s most important energy source.

Good sources of Carbohydrates are fruit, juice, cereal (watch out for the processed sugars), bread, pasta, rice, beans, legumes, lentils, honey. Other foods that are high on carbs but produce mucus (ok after a dive or on days off) potatoes, corn, milk products, soy products sweets like cookies, candy, cake, jam, jelly, chips and crackers.

How much carbohydrates do we need? (2)

When people talk about carbohydrates they often make it out to be a bad thing, and yes it can be if you sit in an office all day and come home just to sit down and watch TV and eat a lot of carbohydrates. But we Freedivers don’t do that! We use all that energy!

Daily recommendations for an average person is from 135g per day depending on your how active you are, as a freediver 150g and up should be what you are aiming for. Your body turns carbohydrates in to a sugar called glucose, this is what your body needs to make ATP that it uses in anaerobic training.

5. Proteins.

Proteins, The bricks you need to build your body! And this is probably the question a vegetarian gets most often, how do you get enough when you don’t eat meat?

The building blocks as I like to call them are actually cold amino acids and they link together in different forms like pearls on a thread, some of this the body can make by itself but to grow in a healthy way we need more of them and how much differ so much from person to person.

How much proteins do I need?(2)

An office slave can do fine with 0,8g per kg bodyweight wile a body builder needs 2.2g per kg but as a freediver I believe 1.4g per kg will go a long way. If you eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy every day you probably get all you need already and as a vegetarian I get what I need from eggs, my vegan protein powder and other foods that I make sure to get enough of. As a vegan you need to get it 100% from plant based products and this is what I want to have a closer look at now.

The best proteins and my favorites.

- Seitan, is a really good source and will give you around 25g per 100g

- Tofu and edamane is soy based products and will give you from 10-15g per 100g

- Lentils will give you around 7g per 100g but here you get a lot of carbohydrates and fiber on the deal!

- Chickpeas and beans will give you around 5g per 100g and give you lots of advanced carbohydrates and minerals on the deal.

- And back to my favorite, oats! 100g of oats give you 5g of proteins and 3g of fiber and is a good source of minerals.

- Wild rice give you around 3g of protein per 100g, approachable 50% more than white rice and have a lot of fiber and minerals and vitamin B.

- Nuts and seeds is normally a good source of protein and a good snack when freediving. 100g of quality nuts and seeds give you from 20g per 100g and have a lot of healthy fats. You will also get iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, vitamin e and b and nice antioxidants to handle the free radicals. Note that salted and roosted nuts might lose some of these nutrients so untreated is the best!

- Fruits and greens give a little proteins but it’s no point in counting them here.

So as you can see the myth that you need meat is just a myth made by the meat business and the torture of animals is not necessary!

6. Vitamins and Minerals.(3)

These are the two food groups I had to read up on and I probably should have done that a long time ago when I became an almost vegetarian. There are a lot of different opinions on this and most of them say as a vegetarian you can’t fill your vitamin and mineral needs. But then again so do a lot of them say the same about proteins and we know that we can get what we need as a vegetarian there. So what to think here? I think we should all take a blood test to see what it will say. This is something we all should do at least once a year! It’s been a long time since I did this, the last time was when I lived in Spain three years ago (company policy) and I was well within my limits at that time.

As long as you have a variable diet as most vegans do, I believe your test will show that you have all you need. There are some of us that can’t take up some minerals and vitamins even they eat what they need and a test will show you that.

Below you will find a list of the best sources of vitamins and minerals so when you have your test result you know what you need to add to your diet or what supplements you need. As a vegetarian you’re most lightly to need supplements of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D, calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine.

Minerals and vitamins are two different things but they are often put together like I have chosen to do. The vitamins are organic substances from plants and animals (exception is Vitamin D also from sunlight)

Vitamin A: beef, liver, eggs, shrimp, fish, fortified milk, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, mangoes

B-1: ham, soymilk, watermelon, acorn squash

B-2: milk, yogurt, cheese, whole and enriched grains and cereals.

B-3: meat, poultry, fish, fortified and whole grains, mushrooms, potatoes

B-5: chicken, whole grains, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms

B-6: meat, fish, poultry, legumes, tofu and other soy products, bananas

B-7: Whole grains, eggs, soybeans, fish

B-9: Fortified grains and cereals, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, legumes (black-eyed peas and chickpeas), orange juice

B-12: Meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, fortified soymilk and cereals

Vitamin C: Citrus fruit, potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts

Vitamin D: Fortified milk and cereals, fatty fish

Vitamin E: vegetables oils, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts

Vitamin K: Cabbage, eggs, milk, spinach, broccoli, kale

B and C are vitamins the body cant store and need refill off while A,D,E and K can be stored in fats and liver.

Minerals are non-organic marital that plants and animals pick up from rocks, soil, air and water

Calcium: yogurt, cheese, milk, salmon, leafy green vegetables

Chloride: salt

Magnesium: Spinach, broccoli, legumes, seeds, whole-wheat bread, cocnut

Potassium: coconut, meat, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes

Sodium: coconut, salt, soy sauce, vegetables

Chromium: meat, poultry, fish, nuts, cheese

Copper: shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans, prunes

Fluoride: fish, teas

Iodine: Iodized salt, seafood

Iron: red meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, green vegetables, fortified bread

Manganese: nuts, legumes, whole grains, tea

Selenium: Organ meat, seafood, walnuts

Zinc: meat, shellfish, legumes, whole grains

When it comes to vitamins and minerals what you need varies so much from sex, ethnicity, age, climate and season that it is too much to put in here. If you don’t get what you need you will have less energy and get sick so take a test and it will compare to what you need where you are in your life right now.

For more info and some nice respites that target the different minerals and vitamins I found this site:,,20660118,00.html

7. Water.

Water is the source to all life on earth (and carbon to be correct) always drink more water than you think you need when you go freediving and you should also add electrolytes or coconut water that have natural electrolytes to bind the water better in the body.

As you know when the dive reflex kicks in your body needs to get rid of some fluid, your kidneys starts producing urine so you will urinate more and you will get dehydrated. Drink plenty before the dive, bring water to the float and drink as soon as you get out of the water!

If you don’t drink the water you need you will also have bigger problems equalizing, get heavier legs and get tired earlier. Your recovery will be longer and there is a bigger chance for black out so there is no good excuse for not drinking lots of water! It also helps to reduce mucus.

Something else to keep in mind is that you will use more energy if you drink cold water this is because the body will start the process of heating up the water this is not good if you want to conserve energy but its good if you are overheated as cold water will help to chill you down. If you drink warm water it will increase blood circulation which is good if it’s a long time until freediving, but not right before.

8. No-go foods before Freediving.(4,5,6)

A simple guideline is foods that contain milk or sugar produce in general mucus and foods with a lot of water normally helps reduce mucus.

Food that produce mucus or can hinder equalization in other ways are:

Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt, ice cream, butter.

It’s estimated that 60-70% of us have some intolerance to lactose and this intolerance trigger an allergic reaction that can swell the Eustachian tubes and milk also produce mucus.

Coffee, Tea (with caffeine) Nicotine.

Caffeine and nicotine is a stimulant that raises your heart rate. This is something we don’t want as a Freedivers but it might be better to take a hit if you have an addiction so you don’t focus on this during the dive or get headache or other symptoms of withdrawal.

Red meat.

Is something you can take out of your diet but most people are so used to it that they never will but you can at least skip it before freediving. It takes a lot of time for the body to digest it and it will make you feel heavy when you freedive, the fats also produce more mucus. And we all know how the meat industry works.

Spicy foods.

Is not good before a freedive as it rises metabolism and increase mucus production but its good for you in general so please do eat spicy food after a freedive or on days off freediving.


Here it does come down to what kind you pick, if its full of processed sugars then it’s no good before freediving but if it’s no sugar and you make it tasty out of delicious berries, fruits (no banana) nuts and honey it’s all good! I personally swear to oats, oat milk, vegetarian protein powder and goji berries for my breakfast.

Sweet desserts, Candy and Soda.

All as you know is full of sugars and other bi products that produce mucus and often raise heart rate, I’m not telling you to stay 100% away from this your body needs some sweets but most of the time it’s your brain that wants it and it will make up a 100 good reasons for you to have it.

But no sweet before diving and if you are diving in the morning don’t let this be your last meal.

Eggs, Bread, Pasta, Cabbage, Potatoes and corn products.

Are all products that can produce mucus but are all good products after a freedive.

Cabbage and Soy products.

Are products that can make your stomach a little gassy and blown up and can be quite uncomfortable when going up and down compressing the gasses.


Banana is one of the best you can eat right after a freedive but for most people it’s a big mucus producer. A really good thing is that one banana contains over 100 mg potassium!


So this covers almost all food that are pre-made you get in the store, but we are in Thailand so go to a local Thai restaurant and get some real food. The longer the product lasts the more preservatives is a good rule but not always correct. Preservatives often produce mucus and have other physiological effects.

Alcoholic beverages.

Finely we have alcohol, alcohol as you know is dehydrating and it will dehydrate you for a long time and it will make you more tired the next day. I will strongly recommend you to not drink during your training and save the cold beverage until you pass your exam or are done with freediving for some days. In freediving you will find that many of your fellow Freedivers will not drink and they don’t want a buddy that have been drinking the day before. You will not only make your own freedive worse but you are responsible for your buddy’s security and it’s very selfish against your fellow Freedivers.

If you want to drink and dive, scuba in koh Thao might be a better option for you.

9. Yes foods for freedivers! .(4,5,6)

Some foods that reduces mucus production:

Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Flounder, Pumpkin, Pumpkin seeds, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Watercress, Celery, Pickles, Onion, Garlic, Honey, agar, Ginger, Lemon, Cayenne pepper, Chamomile, Olive oil, Green Broth, Decaf tea, Cucumber, Broccoli, Carrots, Apple, Berry’s, Greens and water.

Coconuts! Are full of electrolytes and has more potassium then any sport dink and even banana! It also has lots of sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Normally I have a coconut after my dive but I will try to start bringing it out on the dive boat more to drink it on the way out and eat the meat when we have our break between dives, one once (28g) of coconut meat have around 100 calories, 8g fat, 1g protein, 3g of fiber, 14 mg magnesium, 3mg calcium 81mg sodium and over 100 mg potassium!

And while we are taking about the magical nut, coconut oil is great to treat sun burns and salty dry hair! GO NUTS!

Also complex carbs like sweet potato, peas and my favorite for breakfast oats are beneficial for freedivers. Also in this group we find bananas that I love having with my morning oats but I skip on dive days due to its high mucus production and save it for after my freedive.

When in Norway I also put a lot of berries in my breakfast oats not only for the great taste but for all the antioxidants you find in them, the antioxidants helps eliminate the free radicals.

This are general advice but we are all made different so you might not be effected by all of this so experimenting is the best way to find out what is right for you!

10. My diet for one week.

My diet for this week is vegetarian, Thai and Mama inspired (Mama is the local Thai cook) with some oats to kick start the day and it’s what I eat to preform my best during my WeFreedive master and instructor coerce.


One portion of oats with oat milk, one scoop vegetarian protein powder and a handful of goji berries and one coconut for breakfast

Nuts dive lunch and electrolytes

Mamas Penang curry with tofu, rice and one egg for lunch

Two bananas

Mamas Momordica charantia with rice, chili, tofu and Thai curry omelet for dinner

One Coconut and nuts


One portion of oats with oat milk, one scoop vegetarian protein powder and a handful of goji berries and one coconut for breakfast

Pad Thai vegetarian for lunch

Mamas saparot (pineapple) with rice, tofu and egg for second lunch

Mamas green curry for dinner

Banana pancake with egg, banana and chocolate for desert


One portion of oats with oat milk, one scoop vegetarian protein powder and a handful of goji berries and one coconut for breakfast

Fried mooring glory for lunch

Mamas fried rice, egg and vegetable fro second lunch

Mamas fried noodle with vegetable, tofu and egg for dinner

One guava and one Hershey bar


One portion of oats with oat milk, one scoop vegetarian protein powder and a handful of goji berries and one coconut for breakfast

Nuts for boat lunch and electrolytes

Pad Thai vegetarian for lunch with a banana smoothie for lunch

Penang curry with tofu, rice and omelet for dinner

Nuts and mango


One portion of oats with oat milk, one scoop vegetarian protein powder and a handful of goji berries and one coconut for breakfast

Thick noodles with vegetable for lunch

Mamas red curry with tofu and rice for dinner

One Coconut and one pineapple for night snack


One portion of oats with oat milk, one scoop vegetarian protein powder and a handful of goji berries and one coconut for breakfast

Spring rolls with mango smoothie for lunch

Noddle soup and mango sticky rice for dinner

Nuts and two apples


One portion of oats with oat milk, one scoop vegetarian protein powder and a handful of goji berries and one coconut for breakfast

Vegetarian Coconut sup for lunch

Papaya salad for second lunch

Mamas fried noodle with vegetable, tofu and egg for dinner

Magnum dark chocolate ice cream and nuts

In my breakfast I have a good mix of fiber, protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins it’s a fast meal that don’t produce mucus and easy on the stomach and I also get natures natural heart medicine and electrolytes from my morning coconuts. 1000g of oats for 200 baht, 1l oat milk 200 baht and Vegetarian protein powder 450g for 1000 baht. All of this can be bought at home pro villa.

Most of my lunch and dinners come from Mamas kitchen a small restaurant in Chalong with fresh ingredients and a good variation of greens and spices all cooked with love and from scratch with a price from 50-80 baht. Lots of good calories, carbohydrates, protein, fats minerals and vitamins!

Some sweets is also needed but mainly I have nuts and fruits for snack!

For drinks I have the coconut water and still water and on days I am diving I also add some extra electrolytes, I always dink more water then I think I need

Thank you for reading!

Lots of Love

The ShibbyTraveler

Joachim Larssen




4. AIDA manual

5. AI manual

6. PADI manual


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