What’s New? Nut Butters, Nathan, and Compression!

So was asked recently what are some of your favorite must haves!!! Ha, the list is long and varied so thought what better place to start writing about them.

 

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Pocket Fuel 

Let’s start with nut butter!! Always a fan of peanut butter but in the past few years have tried to stay away from peanuts as much as possible. Research has shown that other nuts have increased benefit for your health and now we have so much more to choose from out there, so why stop at peanut butter. But, then I found a product called Pocket Fuel  , Pocket Fuel Naturals was founded in Oregon, by athletes for athletes. To fuel athletes with natural, many are vegan, gluten free, whole real food. There line of nut butters and now cold brew coffee energy shots are amazing. These products have saved me many times before, during, and after workouts. Even first thing in the morning perfect for a treat before a training session on a piece of toast or waffle with a shot of espresso or soy cappuccino.

 

 

IMG_7705Fusion Compression Sleeves

Many ask, do they really work? Won’t I just get hot wearing them. No and no? I am a firm believer in compression sleeves and socks for training and racing. Fusion PWR Tubes compression sleeves are the best on the market without doubt! There have been years of research done to prove the benefit of increased circulation and oxygen delivery to the muscles. Sure, you will always get someone who will find something contrary to wearing them, but I choose to wear them for both training and recovery. Usually not both on a given day. If I train in them I will not put them on immediately after for recovery. If I choose not to use them for training that day, I will use them for recovery following the workout. I will often sleep in the socks but never the sleeves as you can get pooling under the ankle of the sleeve band (better to use the socks to sleep in or for driving/flying). I feel Fusion has developed a top of the line compression sleeve, the fit is right on, staying in place and proving graduated compression. They are comfortable when on for extended periods of time and stay nice and cool when training in hot climates such as Arizona. I don’t go anywhere without a pair of compression sleeves or socks when training hard or racing. Thanks Fusion for providing athletes with the very best apparel on the market.

 

 

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Nathan Sports

What doesn’t this company provide us athletes with these days, thanks Nathan! But most importantly Nathan has provided me a way to hold water and hydration for more than a decade of my life. My absolute favorite would be my insulated QuickShot Plus. For me it is the perfect size for most of my runs, and I can often find a spot to refill it. It is insulated so my water stays cool in the Arizona heat. It hits perfectly in my hand and the pocket can easily hit some money, a key, and any other small necessity. I have many other Nathan products that are part of my must haves as well, which will be reviewed soon!!!! Thanks Nathan for providing athletes so many ways to stay hydrated, in addition to a huge assortment of other products to use out playing on the roads and trails.

 

 

 

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Plant Fueled – Transforming My Life

After watching Forks Over Knives the other day, something I have watched several times, I once again questioned why more refuse to simply try to give a plant based diet a chance.

I am also re-reading the China Study, a book I have read 2 times before. The China Study examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products and chronic illnesses including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It concludes that people who eat a plant based diet avoiding all animal products and processed/refined carbohydrates will escape, reduce, or reverse the development of disease. There is a lot of debate over this study but the book remains one of the best selling and most well read books on nutrition.

I am NOT one to tell anyone else how or what to eat, I will help guide them in making better decisions for the goals they have whether it be better health, to lose weight, increased energy, and so on when asked. I am NOT a doctor and I do NOT have a degree in nutrition or dietetics. What I do have is practical knowledge and a lot of experience. I have tried several approaches to nutrition. I have had others TELL me what to eat and what not to eat. I have attempted to listen and have given them a fair shot and have come to find what works best for myself.

What I have also done throughout this long process of years of trial and error is a lot of research. I have talked to doctors, dietitians, authors, activists, professional athletes, coaches of professional athletes, and just about everyone in between. What have I learned???

I have learned a lot of science and much of it at times was way over my head. But at the core of what I learned was that it comes down to what works for one individual is not going to work for another. We have to find what works for us. So why am I writing this blog???

I am writing this because I am sick and tired of the stigma of vegans and vegetarians being thought of skinny weak plant huggers that will never be able to hang with the new found paleo crowd whether out on the race course or in the executive boardroom making the next big business deal. ….. Guess what? Get your heads out of your butts.

This hits home and you ask why? Because in 2011, I was told by 2 doctors I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I was in a state od Adrenal Failure after tests had come back that my cortisol levels were not even reading. When you are stressed your cortisol levels increase. When you are chronically stressed and can’t fight the stress anymore, they drop and there is simply no fight left. I was left without a fight. I was tired, I wasn’t hungry, I was always cold (even when it was hot out), I was easily frustrated, and was living off of coffee just to get through the long days as a personal trainer and athlete. Little did I know my lifestyle was slowly taking me down.

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I met with doctors and a registered dietician. Doctors prescribed some thyroid meds and told me that I really needed to just stop training, take some time off, cut down the coffee, and eat more protein and calories. The dietician recommended a drill sergeant type diet plan and about $200 of supplements to be taken. She also told me that I should probably stop exercising completely. She was stick thin (almost anorexic looking, hardly looked like she exercised or even could). I left feeling frustrated and defeated. I went home and started to study.

I knew I loved fruit and vegetables. I knew I really did not like eating meat, and only did on occasion to get the naysayers off my back when the protein topic came up. I have always hated swallowing pills and had no means of purchasing $200 of supplements. It was time to take charge. I have always had a love hate relationship with food and nutrition. Being a competitive athlete on the equestrian circuit growing up there were pressures to be thin and stay fit. But this was much different I was now looking at food as a replacement for medicine, food was now going to provide the energy to fuel my runs, power my bike rides. I was in NO WAY going to get some little gland in my neck dictate my ability to live my life by MY terms.

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So that is when I made the change. I turned to a primarily plant based diet. I started with green smoothies, juices (where I would make my own), pureed vegetable soups, tons of salads, homemade vegetable stir-frys. I tried (this was HARD) to cut down the coffee and replace it with green and herbal teas. I eliminated processed and packaged goods with hydrogenated oils.  I am NOT perfect by any means. I am not 100% vegan .. I would say I am about 90% plant based and I do eat some fish on occasion maybe 1-2 x week. I don’t eat wheat, gluten, dairy. I try to limit sugar (need to try even harder) more because of it’s inflammatory response in the body and inflammation is the precursor to disease. What I discovered was that in 6 months from that time where I was having a hard time getting through the day and was collapsing during workouts, I had turned my life around, trained for and ran a 3:16 marathon, plant fueled without supplements.  I fight auto-immune disorders that I have fought since 2010 that are irreversible, however by eating a plant based diet which has been shown to decrease inflammation, increase energy, enhance athletic performance, and help strengthen ones immune system I feel pretty confident I am doing what I can and know that when I am eating plant fueled I feel my best.

 

There have been a number of very successful vegan plant fueled athletes. Rich Roll for those that are interested has been instrumental at sharing a wealth of knowledge for those wanting to fuel themselves with a plant based diet. Rich has competed in Ultraman an ultra-distance event held in Hawaii consisting of a 6.2 mile open ocean swim, a 261.4 mile bike ride, and a 52.4 mile. I highly recommend his web site, podcasts, and articles on fueling on a plant based diet. His book Finding Ultra tells a story of transforming his life in a way most would simply not believe would be possible. Insanely inspiring!!!!

Again, I am not saying eating a plant based diet is best for every single one of you, only saying that it has some merit and is worth looking into. Maybe give it a try. Maybe try a couple days a week where you experiment with plant based meals, get creative, have fun with it, try new recipes and vegetables, go to the farmer’s market, keep that mind open; we never stop learning from those around us.

Live. Love. Life. … now go eat some plants 😉

 

 

 

Plant Based Power

To say I am a picky eater is probably an understatement. It’s not that I don’t like food but I look at food as fuel that generates the energy needed to exist and train. Over the past few years I have realized that some foods make me feel sick and other foods I simply don’t enjoy eating. However, there are foods that I absolutely love as well, primarily fruits, vegetables, almonds, peanut butter, and chocolate. I also love animals, want to lower my foot print in our environment, and want to prove to the naysayers that athletes can achieve peak performance on a plant based diet. Our bodies don’t know where it got the omega 3’s whether from animal, laboratory, or from something hanging off a tree. So how do you get what you need?

Macro nutrients

Complex carbohydrates: Found almost exclusively in plant foods. Whole grains, beans, legumes, and vegetables

Protein: Beans, legumes, seeds, grains (especially quinoa and amaranth), leafy green vegetables, lentils, tofu, nuts, tempeh, miso, and peas


Fat: Avocados, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds

Micro nutrients

Vitamin A: Green leafy vegetables, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, wheat grass juice

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Whole grains, nori, wakame, legumes (especially peanuts)

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Green vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nutritional yeast, hiziki

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Whole grains (especially brown, black and red rice), posole, masa, nori, wakame, peanuts, nutritional yeast

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): whole grains, beans, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, nutritional yeast

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, dulse, nori, nutritional yeast, carrots, peas, sunflower seeds, walnuts

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin): Nutritional Yeast, fortified cereals, fortified soy products such as soy milk, tempeh, and miso.

Biotin: Soybeans, nutritional yeast, whole grains

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid): Citrus fruits, bell peppers, chilies, amaranth, berries, cabbage, parsley, sprouts, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts

Chlorine: Soybeans, whole grains, legumes

Co-Enzyme Q10: Peanuts, spinach

Vitamin D: Sunflower sprouts, fortified soymilk, fortified vegan cereal, sunshine.

Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, wheat, oats, quinoa, brown, red and black rice, broccoli, cauliflower, dandelion greens, sprouts, asparagus, cucumbers, spinach, wheat germ oil

Folic acid: Microalgae, sprouts, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nutritional yeast, dates, beans, legumes, mushrooms, oranges, beets, fenugreek and root vegetables

Inositol: Whole grains, nutritional yeast, beans and legumes, especially soybeans)

Vitamin K: Alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, hemp seed, blackstrap molasses, dark leafy green vegetables, green tea, kelp, soybeans, oats, rye, wheat

Vitamin P (bioflavonoids): Peppers, buckwheat, black currants

Vitamin U: Green cabbage

Minerals

Boron: Seaweed, alfalfa, unrefined sea salt, nuts, carrots, leafy green vegetables, apples, pears

Calcium: leafy green vegetables, broccoli almonds, nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, figs, dandelion greens, wakame, hiziki, kelp, kombu, amaranth, quinoa, oats, beans, legumes, microalgae, fortified soymilk.

Chromium: Seaweed (especially kelp and alaria), whole grains, mushrooms, beets, nutritional yeast, beans, legumes

Copper: Seaweed, whole grains, raisins, apricots, garlic, mushrooms, beets, nuts, leafy green vegetables

Flourine: Seaweed, rye, brown rice, parsley, avocados, cabbage

Germanium: Seaweed, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, aloe vera, ginseng, onions

Iodine: Seaweed and unrefined sea salt

Iron: Seaweed, molasses, whole grains, nuts, beets, sesame, seeds, beans, legumes, prunes, raisins, dates, dried apricots, almonds (taken with a vitamin c source will boost the iron absorption) cashews, tomato juice, rice, tofu, lentils, and garbanzo beans (chick peas)

Magnesium: Seaweed, whole grains, microalgae, amaranth, beans, legumes, leafy green vegetables

Manganese: Seaweed, whole grains, nuts and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, avocados

Phosphorous: Seaweed, whole grains, beans, legumes, dried fruit, garlic, nuts, seeds

Potassium: Kelp, dulse, carrot juice, whole grains, beans, legumes, bananas

Selenium: Seaweed, whole grains, beans, legumes, garlic, mushrooms

Silicon: Seaweed, whole grains, bib lettuce, parsnips, dandelion greens, strawberries, celery, cucumbers, apricots, carrots

Sodium: Seaweed, celery, unrefined sea salt

Sulfur: Seaweed, cabbages, beans, legumes, onions, garlic, nettles, soybeans

Vanadium: Seaweed, whole grains, vegetable oils, dill, radishes, green beans

Zinc: Seaweed, legumes, beans, seeds, mushrooms, nettles, soybeans,whole grains (especially the germ and bran of the grain), nuts, tofu, leafy vegetables (lettuce, spinach, and cabbage), and root vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, and radishes)

So my mission to to educate and share with you my vegetarian and plant based nutrition as I move through the next several months. Recipes, product favorites, and more!

Here is my new favorite meal. Baked sweet potato with wild rice and brown rice, organic black beans, diced tomato, and fresh cilantro. Seriously amazing!!!

Some of my other recent favorites are:

Clif Bar Iced Gingerbread and Clif Shot Bloks

Lara Bars

Vega Whole Food Optimizer

Van’s Gluten Free Waffles

Other favorites; Kale, Apples, Berries, Almonds, Green juice (vegetables and fruits juiced together), Whole Soy & Co. soy yogurt, and Pacific Natural Soups, and Snyders gluten free pretzels

Stay tuned for more delicious plant based nutrition tips and recipes