Saturday, 27 July 2013

4 food groups of the plant based diet

Since I have gone on a plant based diet, I am often asked "what do you eat"? There seems to be a misconception among some people that vegans and plant basers have very little food to eat. But this is furthest from the truth. There are an abundance of plant based food that is available to consume. Think about this - you can only find 4-5 different kinds of meat yet hundreds of different plant based foods at your local supermarket.

So what do I eat? I eat from 4 different food groups. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Major killers such as heart disease, cancer and stroke have been greatly reduced among people consuming foods from only these 4 groups.

In the fruit group we have many familiar options such as apples, oranges, berries, bananas, grapes, melons, apricots, cherries, mango, kiwi, papaya, pears, pineapples, and plums to name a few.

In the vegetable group we have favorites such as kale, chard, broccoli, beets, asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, peas, peppers, spinach, potatoes, and tomatoes. There are many others as well. 

With whole grains you have your barley, brown rice, corn, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, wheat, amaranth, whole grain breads, whole grain pasta, bran and many others.

And with legumes you have your lentils, red kidney beans, peas, chick peas, black beans, northern beans, white kidney beans, lima beans, black eyed peas, pinto beans, navy beans, pink beans, tofu, soybeans, tempeh, nuts, and seeds such as flax and chia.

So you see? People on a whole food plant based diet have so many different foods they can choose from. And when you combine various foods from these groups you can create a very happy plate and a very healthy person! 

With these foods you will be getting many vitamins and nutrients such as fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, b vitamins, omega 3, vitamin A and C, potassium, and anti-oxidants. 

You will be lowering your risk of getting hypertension, heart disease, eye disease,  certain cancers, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, lung disease, bone loss, chronic inflammation, and high cholesterol. 

Bottom line - going on a whole food plant based diet is the best way to get healthy and help prevent so many ailments that are plaguing millions of people. It all starts with the food you decide to eat. You have the choice. Think of food as the greatest preventive medicine there is in the world today. 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Plant Based And Running

Hello all! Yesterday was a great running day for me. I ran 6 miles and feel no aches and pains in my body. There was a time when a 6 mile run would require some serious icing for my knees.

The biggest reason for this is the 41 pound weight loss I have had since switching to a plant based diet. My recovery time is much quicker now as well. I ran 6 miles yesterday and I feel I can go again today. 

By switching to a whole plant based diet, I am giving my body exactly what is needs for fuel and recovery. I remember when finishing a long run meant I thought it was okay to go to Taco Bell or eat a bag of chip or eat some other high fat and/or processed food. Now after every run, I'll refuel with 100% whole plant based foods. I'll eat some fruits, cook a pot of beans and mix with tofu and spices, or make a wonderful massaged kale salad. 

Being able to run again seriously after experience injury after injury is such a blessing. I realize that my poor eating habits in the past contributed to my constant injuries and poor recovery. I will admit, I don't 100% understand why but I am researching this topic for a better understanding.

With 41 pounds gone and fuelled by plant based foods, my runs are stronger than ever. I feel much different when I am out there pounding the pavement. The impact running has on my body has decreased due to the weight loss. In addition to the stronger feeling, I feel my endurance level is increasing more rapidly than it has in the past. I can run longer distances without stopping than I have ever run in the past. Steep hills are not as intimidating as they once were due to my sore knees. I truly believe the whole food plant based diet is a major contributor to my running "comeback". 

I am considering a number of races this year and once again have a few marathons in mind. I am hoping to complete at least two marathons by the end of 2014. I feel with my new lifestyle which is powered by plant based nutrition, I will accomplish my goals.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Why I am Proudly Plant Based

Ever since I have gone on this 100% Plant Based diet, many people have asked me why I am doing this. The answer is simple. The main reason I have decided to become a herbivore is to become a healthier person. 

About 9 months ago, I was in bad shape. At 5'4", I weighed 202 pounds, had very high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and was heading toward either heart disease or heart attack. My diet at the time consisted of processed foods, animal based foods, sugary drinks, fast food, high fat foods, and the list goes on and on. In addition, I had to give up running due to constant knee pain and aches and pains throughout my body. So I was on a very poor diet with minimal exercise. What does that equation equal? Poor health. I knew a change was required. I had a family and wanted to be around for my daughter. I wanted to be there when she graduated college, I wanted to be there when she was getting married, etc. So I knew a serious change was in order. I did research, looking for ways to lose weight and get fit. 

There are so many fad diets out there such as Atkins, South Beach, and many others. While you may lose weight in the short term, they didn't seem to be diets that would make an individual healthy. I mean, eating no carbohydrates and very fatty foods? Would this make me healthy? I didn't think so. Plus, it's almost guaranteed once you stop this "diet", you'll gain the weight back. So what to do? What was out there that could make me a healthier individual? I was at the local library when I came across ultra marathon legend Scott Jurek's book Eat and Run. Upon reading it, I discovered he was a vegan and he had many recipes in the book that actually sounded good enough to try. That's when I realized that maybe becoming a vegan can make me a healthier person. So I did my research. I came across advocates of the plant based diet such as Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr T Colin Campbell, Rip Esselstyn and many others. They were all in agreement. A 100% whole food plant based diet will assist in lowering your cholesterol, preventing heart disease, lowering blood pressure, help prevent certain cancers and that is only to name a few! So I decided to give it a try. I changed my lifestyle. One day I was a carnivore and the next I became a herbivore. And it was the best thing I have ever done for my health. 

After being on it for eight months, my cholesterol is in normal range now, I have lost 41 pounds to date, my blood pressure is optimal and I was able to start running again! With the change in my diet, I was in virtually no pain during and after running. The 41 pound weight loss made a huge difference on my entire body. One thing I have discovered is I love to cook my own meals now. No more fast food, no more processed hot dogs or chicken nuggets. It's much more fun creating my own recipes. I only eat from four groups now - Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. No more animal based foods. I say if it has a face and is able to move around on its own, let it live out it's life. We don't need to eat it. So many people think being on a plant based diet means your eating salad 3 times a day but it is so much more than that. There are so many delicious whole foods that are available to consume. And when you combine ingredients such as tofu, kidney beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, spices you are creating a plant based masterpiece. 

Many people knock the whole food plant based diet but that's okay. I am living proof it works. I will remain Proudly Plant Based for the rest of my life.