An ongoing love affaire with all things fashionable, tasty and fun

Posts tagged “plant based protein

The Whole 30: The End

This week I said adieu to The Whole 30 after four long weeks of clean, healthy eating. While I did a “lite” version of this paleo-inspired program which included some additional vegetables & beans since I was excluding meat, I feel as though I was still able to get a good feel for the program.

Pros:

As with my juice cleanse in 2012, I found that one of the major challenges for me at the beginning of The Whole 30 was to think before eating. That may sound like a simple task, but a lot of snacking & munching throughout the day is habit or boredom or automatic rather than actual hunger.

Since this program excludes certain things I was forced to think about what I put into my body more consciously than I do on a regular basis. And that can’t be anything but good! Really listening to my body and asking the right questions was key – Am I really hungry? What is my body asking for? – I was also forced to plan my meals in advance to ensure I was receiving the necessary nutrients.

MacNCheesePlatedE

{Vegan, gluten-free mac n’ cheese & sautéed garlic vegetables}

Cons:

While I did miss some things {namely sweetener in my morning tea & Diet Coke}, I knew I could survive without them for a month. The real con about this program is that it’s not sustainable. It’s a cleanse and intended to be followed only for a short period of time. Living without alllllll fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains, beans, and nuts isn’t conceivable if I want to live a full & healthy life.

Physical Benefits:

I already follow a fairly healthy diet, I do most of my own cooking and stay away from synthetic & processed foods, but overall in January I felt even healthier than usual. I woke up easily & was filled with energy, my days were productive and by planning out healthy, protein-rich meals in advance I avoided blood sugar spikes over the course of the day, and – best of all – I slept exceptionally well most nights.

Biggest Benefit:

I spent a great deal of 2012 in the kitchen but I have to admit that I was mostly baking. This month I tried more new recipes than I can remember trying all of last year! I made stew, paella, sautées, stir frys, mac n’ cheese, BBQ Baked Beans, and a couple other tasty new dishes. It was fun to put some real effort into being creative in the kitchen and I really hope to continue with that now that the challenge is over.

Have you ever tried a clean eating program like The Whole 30? What were the worst & best parts?

If you’d like to read about my entire experience with The Whole 30 you can catch up at the following links: The Whole 30: Preparing + Week One, The Whole 30: Week Two, The Whole 30: Week Three & The Whole 30: Week Four.


The Whole 30: Week Four

In this, the fourth and final full week of The Whole 30 challenge, I started to realize just how great I’m feeling. While this clean eating plan isn’t terribly far off from my usual way of eating, it excludes the few synthetic, processed & sweet things that I usually consume. Mostly Diet Coke on weekends, Stevia in my morning green tea, the baked goods that I prepare a few times a month, and the red wine or whiskey I indulge in every once in a while.

And I’m not sure if it’s excluding these things that’s making me feel so much better or just the consistency of my diet lately, but I have been feeling great.

Snacks:

Same old, same old. Fresh veggies, smoothies, and sweet potatoes.

Part of the consistency that I mentioned above is a major reduction in my overall snacking – By consciously filling my meals with substantial amounts of fiber & protein I’m staying full and satiated for longer which means less snacking.

Meals:

My favorite new dish this week was one that I made for brunch last weekend – OhSheGlow’s Maple Baked Lentils w/ Sweet Potatoes. I made a few Whole 30-approved changed and the end result was absolutely delicious. Savory and filling with a hint of sweetness. I was thrilled that I’d made enough for brunch as well as a few mid-week meals for myself.

BakedLentils

Thoughts So Far:

While many things about this way of eating seem like smart ideas that should be extended beyond the 30 days – Such as reduced consumption of alcohol, processed foods, synthetics ingredients – I don’t believe that this is a sustainable all-the-time diet. I’m hoping to continue on when it comes to certain aspects, but such an austere eating plan just plain isn’t fun when it comes to eating out or social events.

How I Feel:

As I said above this cleanse is having quite beneficial results for me. I’m sleeping really well, but more than that, I’m even – Emotionally and physically – Through out the day. Part of that is that I’m not going from starving to overly full because I’m planning my meals out in advance, and part of it is that my blood sugar is stable throughout the day so that there are no highs & lows.

Even = GOOD! 🙂

If you want to catch up on the previous installments of this series here they are: The Whole 30: Preparing + Week One, The Whole 30: Week Two & The Whole 30: Week Three.

Follow my daily struggles, thoughts, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


The Whole 30: Week Three

Here we are at Week Three of The Whole 30 Challenge, which could also be called “I can almost taste the coconut squares.” Yes, I’m already planning my first “non-Whole 30” treat. Judge away.

Snacks:

There was some serious sweet potato-age this week! I barely touched them the first two weeks but this week, in addition to craving them, I was also reading about the positive health benefits of potatoes in Kathleen DesMaisons’s Potatoes Not Prozac {book report to come!}. So this week I ended up eating baked potatoes as snacks and even adding chunks of them to my mornings smoothies.

Yum!

Meals:

A friend came over for dinner Tuesday and I was excited to finally try a recipe that I had printed out the week before – Carrie On Vegan’s BBQ Baked Beans. They turned out great as the entree for our little dinner party with sauteed green beans & asparagus and curried cauliflower on the side.

PlatedI

I’m loving cauliflower right now so if you’re like me and just can’t get enough you should check out Holly Would If She Could’s 5 Things To Do With: CAULIFLOWER and get some new inspiration!

Thoughts So Far:

I had the strangest cravings this week! If someone mentioned a food or if I read about a meal or saw food on TV it as immediately the only thing I could think about. Which is especially odd since I don’t even eat most of those things in the first place. My subconscious clearly just doesn’t like being told “no!”

How I Feel:

Fantastic! I’m sleeping really well, I’m waking up easily and without caffeine, I have energy and concentration throughout the day, and I feel really satiated after my meals. And that smugness Holly promised is really starting to kick in… 🙂

Follow my daily struggles, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


The Whole 30: Week Two

Welcome to Week Two of my experience with The Whole 30 – You can read about Week One here.

The main difference for this second week – and the first full week – was the addition of a weekend. During a standard week I have routines and I plan everything out in advance, however I tend to approach my weekends with a much more lackadaisical attitude. There are more social engagements, meals at restaurants, traveling & events, and during the weekends I’m not as regimented with food & fitness. I like to bake, I drink wine, I allow myself treats at the Farmers Market…

Snacks:

Adammame beans, roasted beet chips, baby carrots, and vegetable based smoothies were all on the docket this week. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was pretty thrilled when I came across the container of ready-to-eat edammame at a health food store in Sacramento.

Meals:

I was still working through my batch of crockpot cauliflower & sweet potato stew this week and I supplemented my meals with coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts, cauliflower & zucchini. The other main dish that I made for this week was a delicious Quinoa Vegetable Paella – I substituted lentils for the quinoa – Feeling really proud of myself – And emphasized the veggies I had on hand.

PaellaPan

You know I really enjoy a dish when there isn’t a single picture of it plated – I enjoyed it too much to slow down long enough to take a picture of it!

Thoughts So Far:

I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan ahead and cart snacks/meals around with you – Whether it’s going to the office or traveling over the weekends. During this full week it became apparent how important it was for me to bring healthy, satisfying alternatives into the office for midday consumption – Otherwise I binged on the readily available nuts when the snacking urge hit me.

How I felt:

Despite having similar meals each day how much I ate and how often varied from day-to-day. I was surprised to find that some days I was starving in the mornings, while on others I barely ate until the afternoon. This eating plan is alllll about listening to your body & giving it what it needs!

Follow my daily struggles, recipes I’m trying out & the fun I’m having with the Whole 30 on these platforms:


Health & Your Relationship

When I read Rachel Wilkerson’s How CrossFit Has Helped My Relationship it got me thinking.

A lot.

Rachel said that by encouraging her boyfriend to take up a healthy hobby – in this instance CrossFit – their relationship ultimately benefited despite the fact that in the end it actually meant less alone time. I have no trouble at all believing this. In my experience, if there’s a substantial disconnect between how much two people value health & nutrition in their lives it can potentially lead to problems down the road.

I don’t believe that you need have all the same views, do the same workouts, or approach food the same way. But if only one person takes their health seriously and devotes time, energy, and effort to maintaining said health, the other individual may become resentful, jealous, threatened etc. Or things can go the other way around and as one person becomes healthier and more fit they begin to pity, worry about, and/or neglect their partner.

Take a look at this piece by the Primal Parent entitled When Good Health Destroys a Marriage. It’s written from the perspective of a woman who changed her diet and was feeling her best, while her husband was… Not. Ultimately their marriage couldn’t survive because she has a strong, well-tested belief in the importance of good health & nutrition, and refused to settle for someone who couldn’t – or wouldn’t – put forth the effort to investigate improving his own health.

Kyle

{Kyle & Rochelle – The authors of Eat Drink Paleo}

If you can find someone who shares your views, that’s fantastic – like my friend Kyle & his lady-love who write the oh-so-entertaining Eat. Drink. Paleo – Two foodies who fell in love and are now transitioning to a paleo lifestyle. But at a minimum you need to show an interest in the other’s routines and goals, and be able to talk about and share your successes and failures.

Take my relationship for example, on the surface my boyfriend and I have virtually opposite views on all facets of fitness and nutrition:

  • He eats an incredibly regimented high protein, low carb diet composed primarily of chicken, eggs, and vegetables which he tracks on a daily basis. I eat a mostly vegan, gluten-free, high raw diet.
  • He does intermittent fasting – meaning that he doesn’t eat until early afternoon & only eats three meals a day. While I eat at least every two hours after my 4am wakeup time.
  • He follows a lifting schedule & does CrossFit-style workouts that leave him wheezing, covered in bruises, scrapes, and rope burns, and stress his nervous system for days. I run, do circuit workouts & go to Pilates, martial arts & boxing classes.
  • His ultimate goal with his work outs and eating regime is to retain & increase strength while dropping body fat. I’m only interested in being healthy and not having daily back pain.

Pretty different, right? But the truth is that those are fairly superficial differences – underneath it all we’re both incredibly passionate about health and fitness, and that’s what really matters.

We love going for walks & hikes, cooking, eating, going to the farmer’s market, and planning our meals and workouts for the week, and most of all, we love debating our positions on these topics. If you looked through our emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, and text logs you’d find photos of our meals, new recipes to try, books to add to our Amazon basket, articles to read, great blogs we’ve found, documentaries & movies to add to our Netflix queue, and questions about what we’ve eaten, what workouts we’ve done, and how far we’ve walked that day.

Every day.

{Hers vs His}

It doesn’t matter that we’re not spending our days doing the same things, what matters is that we both approach our lives with a profound respect for our bodies, what we put them through, and how we fuel them. Yes, we debate topics like veganism versus paleo eating, different types of fat, which oils to use in cooking, fasting, detox programs & cleanses, and strength training. Yes, sometimes I question his sanity when he comes home with his hands shredded from doing hundreds of pull-ups or muscle-ups or toes-to-bars. But mostly, we just talk about it.

Our shared passion for health and nutrition was not what brought us together 12 years ago, nor is it what has kept up together, but it does give us something to talk about and share every single day. And because it’s important to us both, we appreciate the other’s routines and ambitions, even though they’re different.

Like Rachel said:

One more lovely side effect of the fitness revival: Eric and I are back to bonding through nerdy, fitness-related conversations. (We’re also bonding over our sore muscles.) I’m really enjoying little things like talking about our workouts and progress, discussing an article about diet or exercise, trying new healthy foods together, or going shoe shopping for new athletic shoes.

You don’t need to be 100% in sync with your partner, you just need to be with someone who has the same appreciation and respect for health and fitness as you do. Added bonus if it becomes something that you can share and bond over!


Plant-Based Protein

 

The goal of this post is to address a question that I receive frequently when people find out that I don’t eat meat: “How do you get enough protein?”

While I am personally of the camp that believes Americans generally consume more protein than strictly necessary I will avoid lecturing on the topic and instead provide you with suggestions for some healthy, easily digestible, protein-rich foods that don’t center around animal products.

For comparison’s sake I’ve included a few common animal products below as well. All of these statistics are based on a 100 gram serving size:

Food  Protein (g) Cholesterol mg Total Fat (g) Iron (mg) Fiber (g) Energy kcal
             
Turkey: roasted  29.90 69.00 7.41 1.35 0.00 157.00
Ground beef: broiled (75% lean) 25.56 89.00 18.72 2.37 0.00 278.00
Tuna: in water, drained 25.51 30.00 0.82 1.53 0.00 116.00
Chicken: roasted w/out skin 23.97 76.00 13.39 1.26 0.00 223.00
Egg, hard-boiled 12.58 373.00 10.61 1.19 0.00 155.00
Food  Protein (g) Cholesterol mg Total Fat (g) Iron (mg) Fiber (g) Energy kcal
             
Kidney beans 23.58 0.00 0.83 8.20 24.90 333.00
Almonds: raw 21.22 0.00 49.42 3.72 12.20 575.00
Almond butter: w/ salt 20.96 0.00 55.50 3.49 10.30 614.00
Sunflower seeds: dry roasted w/out salt 19.33 0.00 49.80 3.80 11.10 582.00
Chickpeas 19.30 0.00 6.04 6.24 17.40 364.00
Flaxseed 18.29 0.00 42.16 5.73 27.30 534.00
Cashews: raw 18.22 0.00 43.85 6.68 3.30 553.00
Tempeh: cooked 18.19 0.00 11.38 2.13 10.00 196.00
Oats 16.89 0.00 6.90 4.72 10.60 389.00
Lentils: boiled w/out salt 9.02 0.00 0.38 3.33 7.90 116.00
Black beans: boiled w/out salt 8.86 0.00 0.54 2.10 8.70 132.00
Hummus: commercial 7.90 0.00 21.13 2.44 6.00 166.00
Tofu: Silken, firm 6.90 0.00 2.73 1.03 1.00 62.00
Quinoa: cooked 4.40 0.00 1.92 1.49 2.80 120.00
Kale: raw 3.30 0.00 0.70 1.70 2.00 50.00
Sweet potato: baked w/skin & no salt 2.01 0.00 0.15 0.69 3.30 90.00
Avocado: raw, California 1.96 0.00 15.41 0.61 6.80 167.00

I’d like to call your attention to a few noticeable discrepancies in the nutritional values of the first and second groups of foods.

First, you will see that plant-based foods contain no cholesterol while animal-based foods do. Cholesterol is necessary for a variety of bodily functions, including the production of hormones and cell membranes. Luckily for us, healthy livers produce enough cholesterol so that these functions can be carried out. It should be noted however that the high intake of dietary cholesterol (i.e. the cholesterol in the first group of foods) can lead to heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Second, the animal products listed above contain no dietary fiber, which keeps your GI Tract running smoothly and is necessary to maintain a healthy diet. This is a great post from Gena at Choosing Raw on intestinal distress, treating IBS and the differences between soluble and insoluble fiber. It is somewhat graphic but incredibly educational if you’re interested in how dietary fiber affects your body.

Third, notice the difference in the amounts of iron in these foods. Our bodies need iron to help with oxygen transportation and the regulation and differentiation of cell growth. If any of you have ever taken an iron supplement you know how incredibly hard it is on the body to digest iron in that format, so eating iron-rich foods is by far the superior way to get the required amounts in your diet.

The act of digesting food puts stress on your system, it takes effort for your body to break down the foods you consume so that the nutrients can be readily absorbed by the body. Simply put, plant-based foods require that you waste expend less energy to digest them, meaning the you (1) stress your body less and (2) have more energy after digestion. Even taking just a weekend off from the consumption of animal products can give your system a much-needed rest.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic I highly recommend that you pick up Brendan Braizer’s Thrive Diet. While the title of this book contains the word “diet” that is somewhat misleading. Mr. Braizer was a professional triathlete and spent 15 years studying how the foods he consumed affected his life and his athletic performance and determined that a plant-based, high raw diet resulted in the optimum results. This isn’t a diet that you go on to fit into your skinny jeans, this is a lifestyle change that you commit to so that you’ll never need a cup of coffee in the morning to wake up or a dose of sugar in the afternoon to keep your eyelids from drooping.

Please note that I am not a healthcare professional and that my comments, suggestions and thoughts are based on personal research and experience only. Prior to making any drastic changes to your diet you should consult a physician, especially if you suffer from illnesses or allergies which may be affected by nutrition.