Support – We all need a little help from time to time. Join the Plantalicious Community.

As some of you may know, I have always wanted to run.  Well, I say always, maybe that’s an overstatement.  When I was at school we had to do cross-country running in the wet and mud and that I hated.  My exercise then was my bike.  I rode miles on that thing.

In later years, having been so overweight, I did do exercise, but it was mainly on machines like cross-trainers etc.,  Running always seemed to elude me.  For some reason I was unable to “get” running and found it so hard to do for more than a few seconds.  Managing my breathing and my weight on my joints were all challenges.  About a year ago, I did start working on running with my trainer, and built up to doing about 12 minutes of staggering around the local park.

Recently, I found Couch to 5k, or Couch25K   It is a great resource from the NHS and teaches you to run, starting at the most basic level, (good for me).  How does it do it?  Well it is all thanks to Laura.  Laura is a lady who runs with you – sounds stupid – but she does – She is on a each downloadable podcast.  She acts as a coach and instructs and encourages you.  You can also download the app, the only difference is that the podcast has it’s own music – which I like and the app allows you to use your own.

 

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It is a 9 week plan and for the first few weeks you run 3 times a week doing intervals of walking and running with an initial warm up walk and a final cool down walk.

I really did not think that I would be able to do it, but with Laura’s support and help. the hardest thing was getting out of bed and pulling on my “running gear”.  The first 3 weeks went fine, then I had a very busy and tiring business trip to Scandinavia.  I did my week 4, run 1 run on the Monday morning, but that was it.  So a week later, I was panicked, would I be able to do it?  Should I start-over?  Should I give up?  (That little nagging voice at the back of my head said – “see, I told you, you would never do it”). I felt lost and very confused.

I found that there is a community on the site where you can share your concerns and your victories.  For me, it was my fears. Almost immediately on putting my note online, I got some messages of support and encouragement back.  These were from people who I did not know, but who were willing to support me.  Why did that matter?  Because they had been exactly where I was.  They had faced the same issues and fears.  I had a similar panic when moving to week 5, where I have to run for 3 x 5 mins for run1; then 2 x 8 minutes for run 2 and for 20 minutes (yes – non stop – not even for a soy latte at the Park Cafe) for run 3.  YIKES!!!  I posted my fears online and again, they came up trumps – “go do it Baz”.  “Take it easy Barry – you will do it” etc.,  I was so lucky and also got support from friends on Facebook too.

This got me thinking about support in general.  What do people need?  How do we provide support to one another?  A number of people who use this site have asked for advice, support, recipes etc.,  My site is specifically designed to provide support, through the shop with suggested books, ingredients, resources  etc.,  the articles, the twitter feed and last but by no means least, the community.  The Community was something that I was really keen to establish where people can sign up and share experiences and be honest about where they are and what they need.  I recently saw some posts on Facebook where someone had shared some very personal pain – being a relatively public forum and un-moderated some folks had been supportive but others had been so nasty that this person had decided to close their page.  A big shame as many others had benefited from her experience, knowledge and expertise.

So – Please sign up for the community.  Please share recipes, your experience and your challenges.  Please comment and share and help one-another as I know only too well how difficult it can be to change your health and diet.

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You can join other Plantalicious People – here

Please let me know what I and other members of the community can do for you to help you take control of your health and well-being.

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Protein – Our modern day obsession – “Where do you get your protein?”

It is funny and I should now be very rich.  Why – because when I tell people that I eat a plant-based diet, the first question I get is, “so where do you get your protein”?

 

As i say, I’d be very rich if I asked everyone who asks me that for £1.

 

Why do I find it funny?  Well for so many years of my life, I dieted.  I even lost 100lbs on LighterLife (which I put back on).  At no point did anyone ever say: “oh where will you get your fats from”, nor showed any concern for my often extremely bad food choices.  No-one ever questioned me when I was scoffing tons of unhealthy food down like a vacuum cleaner on steroids, despite having a history of heart disease in my family.

But now I eat a plant based diet, I get asked this a lot.

So here is an experiment with a sample of 1 – Ok, so not the most valid or scientific of experiments, but let me explain.  I have been eating a Plantalicious diet for over a year and have never experienced any of the symptoms of protein deficiency.

 

Here is an article that I found on the wonderful site – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/where-vegetarians-get-protein/ and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

 

First, my standard answer to the question, Where do you get your protein?:

You don’t need as much protein as most people think, and it’s easy to get what you do need from beans, nuts, seeds, grains, soy, and even greens.

So how much protein do you really need?

Not as much as people would have you believe. Somehow, everyone got the idea that we need exorbitant amounts of protein, way more than is even recommended. I know, it’s fun to blame government agencies and cry conspiracy, but if you actually look at the recommendations, they’re not that high at all.

For example, the U.S. recommended daily allowance of protein is .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (.36 grams per pound) for the general population.

Athletes need more than that, mostly due to greater tissue-repair needs. But how much more protein do we need as athletes?

Several sources I looked at cited a study which concluded that endurance athletes benefit most from 1.2 to 1.4 daily grams per kilogram of bodyweight, while strength athletes do best with 1.4 to 1.8 grams per kilogram. In pounds, that’s .54 to .63 grams per pound for endurance athletes, .63 to .81 grams per pound for strength athletes.

A simple example

Let’s take a typical No Meat Athlete reader and see what this means for her, let’s a say a 140-pound runner. We’ll split the daily protein range for endurance athletes in the middle and aim for .59 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight:

140 pounds * .59 grams/pound = 83 grams of protein per day

Keep in mind that’s for a 140-pound endurance athlete, so you’ll need to plug in your own weight and, if you do a strength sport, use a different protein figure.

But really, only 83 grams?

All of this protein fuss — the incessant inquisition about where we get protein — is over 83 grams per day, even after adjusting for being an athlete? (And if our 140-pound woman weren’t an athlete, she’d need only 50 grams to hit the RDA number!)

What the pros say

Before we move onto good vegan and vegetarian protein sources for getting this amount, let’s take a look at what some well-known and credentialed vegans say about protein.

  • In the documentary Forks Over Knives, China Study author Dr. T. Colin Campbell says that you need 8 to 10 percent of your calories to come from protein. (Keep in mind he’s not necessarily talking about athletes.)
  • Vegan Ironman Brendan Brazier, in his appearance on No Meat Athlete radio (which is coming back soon, by the way!), says he eats about 15 percent protein when training for short events, and close to 20 percent protein during periods of heavy training (several hours per day) for long endurance events.
  • Tim Ferriss writes in The 4-Hour Body that ultrarunner Scott Jurek gets 15 to 20 percent of his calories from protein.
  • Matt Ruscigno, in the post he wrote for No Meat Athlete about vegetarian protein, says he recommends that his athlete clients get 10 to 15 percent of their calories from protein.

Notice that everybody expresses things in percentages rather than grams. How does our 83 grams of protein, for a 140-pound female endurance athlete stack up in terms of percentage of total calories?

Well, the first thing to note is that a gram of protein contains four calories. (Yay for paying attention in health class!) So:

83 grams * 4 calories/gram = 332 calories of protein

We’ll need to divide this figure by total daily calories to get the percentage we’re after. I plugged my imaginary friend’s stats (5’3″, 140 lbs, female, very active) into this basal metabolic rate calculator to approximate her total daily calories at 2375. Drumroll, please …

322 calories of protein / 2375 total calories = 13.6% of calories from protein

Not far off from the 15 percent that most of our experts mentioned! Based on all of this, aiming to get 15 percent of your calories from protein seems like a pretty good rule of thumb.

(And by the way, I find using percentages to be a much easier way to evaluate a food’s protein content than grams. See a post I wrote about using protein percentages.)

Where do vegetarians get their protein?

There’s no shortage of lists of high-protein vegan foods floating around. As you might expect, they’re topped by soy products (tempeh is much higher in protein than tofu), seitan, and legumes.

My personal favorite vegan foods for protein, in rough, descending order of how often I eat them, are:

  • Lentils (red are my favorites), 18 grams of protein per cup
  • Chickpeas, 12 grams/cup
  • Tempeh (locally made in Asheville!), 41 grams per cup
  • Black beans, 15 grams per cup
  • Nuts and nut butters (I eat a good mix, usually without peanuts), varied
  • Tofu, 11 grams per 4 ounces
  • Quinoa, 9 grams per cup
  • Other legumes, varied
  • Grains, varied

These protein content numbers come from the Vegetarian Resource Group’s excellent article on vegetarian protein.

I also add a protein supplement to my smoothie each morning, which gets me about 20 grams to start the day, before you consider the protein from flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and almond butter that I also throw in there. I like the Vega Sport protein blend of hemp, rice, and pea, but often to save money I use this one, which also includes protein from chia seeds. (These links are both affiliate links, meaning No Meat Athlete earns a small commission if you use them to buy anything).

Don’t ignore amino acids!

All protein is not created equally. Protein is made up of amino acids, and there are certain ones, called “essential,” which your body cannot produce on its own and must get through food.

As long as you’re eating a wide variety of whole foods — a good practice to follow for many reasons — you’re probably getting a nice mix of amino acids. One, though, that’s particularly tough for vegetarians to get, is lysine, as explained in this article on protein from Vegan Health.

Only a few vegan foods contain lysine in large amounts, but fortunately, they’re staples in many of our diets: tempeh, tofu, and legumes. If you don’t eat beans or soy, because of allergies or some other reason, you’ll need to pay special attention to lysine, and it might be worth considering an amino acid supplement.

See an old No Meat Athlete article for a breakdown of which foods contain which amino acids.

My easy way to get enough protein every day

As it turns out, I weigh around 140 pounds, so the 83 grams of protein mentioned above is right about what I aim for. (I’m fairly certain I’m not female, but sex only entered the conversation when we were estimating total calories.)

So how do I get my 83 grams of protein per day?

My approach to getting enough protein is very simple:

Make sure you include a decent protein source, even if just a little bit, in every meal or snack.

Mainly, this just keeps you mindful and prevents you from slipping into junk-food-vegan, carbohydrate-only mode. It’s as easy as adding nuts or beans to your salad, protein powder to your smoothiealmond butter on your bagel, or beans to your pasta dish (actually not an inauthentic thing to do in Italy). For snacks, eat a handful of nuts, spread some sunflower butter on your apple, make roasted chickpeas, dip a pita in some hummus … all of these add just a little bit of protein, but if you eat two or three snacks a day, it adds up.

So the next time someone asks …

You won’t have to tell them it’s complicated, or argue to no avail that broccoli would be a good protein source if only you could eat five pounds of it in a sitting. Instead, you can just explain that we don’t need all that much protein, and it’s easy to get what we do need from a half dozen, common foods, eaten just a little bit at a time throughout the day.

No big deal.

– See more at: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/where-vegetarians-get-protein/#sthash.pmyeIT4h.dpuf

 

Drat – now I have published this, I doubt that I shall be able to ask for a £, although I bet people still ask!

 

What do you think?  Do you have concerns about your protein intake?

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Have you visited the Plantalicious Shop? It is open all hours! Come on in and take a look…

Do you love shopping?

I do!  I’m always up for a bit of retail therapy.

One of the things when I first started eating Plantalicious was that I did not have a lot of resources.  Recipes, books that explained the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle etc., Over the weeks, and months I have discovered lots of great resources: DVD’s, books, cookery books as well as ingredients and equipment.  Very often friends and followers would ask me for advice on this and that or what book to buy as a gift, or what blender I use.

So…I created the Plantalicious Shop – It contains many of the books and resources that I have used as well as links to more unusual ingredients that you may not be able to get on your high street.  My shop only stocks and sells things that I have either used and want to share with you or things that I recommend.  In fact, I think I own all of the items listed.  I also provide some information too to help you in your choices and to explain why I use the item.  The shop sells the items via an “Amazon Affiliate” relationship so your items are sent from Amazon and I get a small percentage which goes towards running Plantalicious and you pay the same as if you had bought the items on Amazon directly. The transaction is safe and secure just as any Amazon purchase.

A few items that I would like to highlight are:

  • ReThink Food – I recently did a review of this wonderful book that empowers you to take control of your health destiny- see here
  • The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook – The Esselstyn’s are an amazing family.  Following on from the work of Dr Esselstyn his wife Ann Crile Esselstyn and daughter Jane have recently published this book.  The book answers the question of “how do i…Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease?” – the answer is simple, you cook and eat these Plantalicious recipes.
  • The Happy Pear Cookbook – The Flynn brothers cookbook from their wonderful shop and restaurant in Greystones in Ireland.  Not all the recipes are Plantalicious but their food is so good and they just make vegetables and fruit sing.  They also run a brilliant course – The Happy Heart to reduce cholesterol.  Buy the book and take the first step towards managing your health, reducing your cholesterol and enjoy delicious food at the same time.
  • If I had a £ for every time I am asked about blenders, I would be a wealthy man – This is the mother of all blenders – it is not cheap, but it is the best investment you will every make for your kitchen and your health – Its a Vitamix
  • Finally, the book that started me on this amazing journey to health – The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell – If you have not read it – now is the time.  It will change your life, as it did mine.

So next time you need some Plantalicious support or inspiration or are in the market for a blender, head over to the Plantalicious shop and bag yourself a bargain that is not only good for your wallet but also for your health.

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What fruit or vegetable do you dislike?

Is there a fruit or vegetable that you dislike?

What is it about that particular fruit or vegetable that you dislike?

Do you only like some things cooked or raw?

As a child I had a hatred of a number of foods, these included peas – I hated the texture; broad beans – the smell put me off; Brussels Sprouts – I would sit for hours doing battle with my parents finally agreeing to eat two before I could leave the table!

Nowadays there are few things that I do not like.  One of these is the humble Pear.

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Guess what?  Pears are in season just now and having not checked what was in my organic box this week, I got not one but four lots of pears.  Enough for a family of 6 or a small office.  The problem is that our family is just me and Mr G and i’m not lugging pears into my office in town.

The other thing that I get from my childhood is the belief that food should not be wasted.  Many of the meals that I ate as a child were made from leftovers.  The Sunday roast would provide a meal for the family as a roast, then maybe a casserole and maybe a soup or cold cuts.  Vegetables were turned into pies, or bubble and squeak.   So I was not prepared to waste them.  Mr G only likes pears when they are rock hard and these were ripe when delivered.  Hmmm.  What to do?

I came up with two recipes that worked for me.  I like pears in salads, so I made a salad –Pear & Pecan Salad Recipe I also love crumbles and anything ginger so I made a Pear and Ginger Crumble – Pear and Ginger Crumble Recipe

I have to say that based on that experience, I am not dreading more pears but actually quite looking forward to making another crumble or salad!

So, despite my strong dislike of pears, I managed to make two Plantalicious dishes both of which I liked and judging by the empty dishes, so did Mr G.

What vegetables and fruits do you dislike?  Leave me a message on here or on the community pages of the things that you dislike and why and if you want me to see if I can conjure up a recipe that you would like so you can rediscover your nemesis, just as I did.

 

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