Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tips for Going Plant Based - It's a choice.

"Tips For Going Plant Based" will be a series of tips to help you make the move toward a plant based diet. First up, it's a choice.

Going vegan can be scary and daunting or exciting and fun! It all depends how you choose to take on the challenge. The most important thing to remember is that you have the choice to eat right, you have the choice to change your life and health, you have the choice to take control of your future and you can do it with food.

Every day we make hundreds of choices. You choose which shirt to wear with which pants. You choose your makeup for the day, your fragrance, your accessories, your route to work, the list of errands you need to do, where to buy your groceries or which items you mark off on that to do list. Our most important choices are often the ones we hardly think about – food.
What you put into your body will determine what you get from your body.  If you put in junky food, you’ll get junky results. If you put in healthy and nourishing food, your body will reward you with more energy, better digestion, more restorative sleep, a balanced weight, less ailments, a longer life, and the list goes on!

When you decide to change to a plant based diet, you need to remember that you are choosing to do it, No one is forcing you. Even if you’ve had a heart attack or have high blood pressure or diabetes and your doctor says you have to make a change, it is still your choice to do it or not. You can choose to embrace health and well-being or you can choose to feel sorry for yourself and choose to feel deprived.

You choose your reality.
Your attitude will directly influence whether you are successful or not. If you make the statements ‘I cannot live without cheese’ or ‘I will never stop eating burgers’ then you won’t. You’ve already decided to be unsuccessful. You’ve decided that eating correctly is depriving yourself instead of enriching yourself. You’ve decided to fail. You’ve chosen to make things difficult.

Things are only as hard as you make them.

If you want to do it, you will.

If you think it’s going to be difficult, it will be.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Going Vegan Has Taught Me.... People are obsessed with protein.

The number one question I get when people find out I'm vegan is 'what do you do for protein?'. This question makes me laugh because protein is in almost every food, not just animal foods. You will even find protein in fruit!

I won't get into the nitty gritty about protein because you can go and read books or surf the net if you really want to know the details on why animal protein is bad for you. This blog entry is just meant to alert you to the fact that you do not need to eat animal protein for any health reason.

The average American eats three times the amount of protein that is recommended in a given day. Excess protein can't be stored; it's either broken down and burned for energy, or stored as fat (FYI - extra calories from any source are stored as fat). Animal protein also contains saturated fat, hormones, and cholesterol. Animal protein contains zero fiber. Honestly, it's doing nothing but bad things for you.

The RDA recommends that we eat 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh. If you weigh 150 pounds you should eat 54 grams of protein a day. The numbers change slightly if you are a nursing mother or an active athlete. (fun fact - did you know many famous athletes are vegan?)

Let's look at some protein numbers from animal protein:

3 oz chicken - 29 grams protein
1 egg - 6 grams protein
4 oz of steak  - 24 grams protein
1 cup milk - 8 grams protein
6 oz Porterhouse - 38 grams protein
1 ounce cheese  - 25 grams protein
3 ounces baked cod - 21 grams protein

When was the last time you sat down and only had 1 oz of cheese or 3 ounces of meat? Probably never. If you walk into a restaurant the smallest serving of meat you'll see is probably 8 ounces.
You'll sometimes see a 6 oz filet.

Restaurants serve 2 to 3 times an actual serving on average... but what about those 16 oz t-bones? I've even seen 3 and 4 POUND steaks on the menu.  You can see that getting three times the protein you need is really easy if you eat animals. You are overdosing on protein! Just imagine what that is doing to your body and your arteries. Yuck.

Too much protein is very bad for your body. Eating excess protein has been linked with a shorter life expectancy, increased cancer and heart disease risks, obesity and diabetes, osteoporosis (yes, dairy can cause osteoporosis!), stress on the kidneys and bad digestion. It also makes you feel sluggish, tired and heavy.

Plant protein is full of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, healthy fats and fiber! You can get all the protein you need easily in a balanced, plant based diet. All veggies, fruit, nuts, legumes (beans) and grains have protein!


Another fun fact... plant foods are full of calcium too! I'll cover that another day!

It's nearly impossible to be protein deficient on a vegan diet. The only way it could happen is if you were eating only highly processed foods that were so devoid of nutrition that you were basically living on high fructose corn syrup and simple sugars contained in things like white bread!

Here are the protein grams in various plant foods, legumes, nuts and grains:

3 oz walnuts  - 11 grams
3 oz peanuts - 24 grams
3 oz almonds  - 17 grams
3 oz cashews  - 18 grams
1 cup chickpeas - 8 grams
3 oz Soybeans (tofu and tempeh) - 11 grams
1 cup baked beans - 12 grams
2 slices of whole wheat bread - 5 grams
1 cup soymilk - 7 grams
1 cup oatmeal - 6 grams
1 cup broccoli - 4 grams
1 cup brown rice - 5 grams
2 tbsp peanut butter - 8 grams
1 cup lentils - 18 grams
1 baked potato - 4 grams
1 cup black beans - 15 grams
1 veggie burgers  - 10 to 15 grams
1 cup spinach - 5 grams
3 oz seitan - 31 grams
1 cup tempeh - 41 grams
1 cup whole grain spaghetti - 8 grams
1 scoop soy protein powder - 25 grams (not all are the same)

So, the next time you hear about someone being vegan.. you can skip the protein question because now you know the real story!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things You Should Make Yourself - 'Instant' Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the most perfect and nutritious foods you can eat  and it's perfect for breakfast. It's fast, easy and filling. I don't really understand why people pay money for packets of that instant oatmeal when all oatmeal is essentially instant.

You can have cooked, old-fashioned oatmeal from a microwave in 40 seconds. You can make your own 'instant' oatmeal packets very inexpensively.

It takes me under 2 minutes to make oatmeal in the morning.

You take 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats and 2/3 cup water and place that in a microwave safe bowl. Micro for about 40 seconds and it's a blank canvas ready for your creativity!

My favorite oatmeal recipe:

Cut a banana in half, take one half and dice it into small chunks and add it to the cooked oatmeal.  Take the other and save it for tomorrow or pop it in the freezer for a smoothie later on. Take a couple tablespoons of walnuts and toss those in, sprinkle in a little cinnamon and a tsp or two of real maple syrup.

To make packets, just measure out the 1/2 cup oats, add in some powdered sweetener like sucanat or evaporated cane juice (not a lot!), cinnamon and if you like dried fruit and nuts, add those. You can dehydrate your own fruits or buy them. These days you can even find more exotic dried fruits like strawberries and mango if you know where to look. Of course, you can also take fresh fruit with you and toss that in.

Then all you need is access to some water and a microwave. Think of how much money you'll save, not to mention the benefits of not eating preservatives and a ton of sugar.