Plant Based Foods That Build Muscle

15 04 2012

People are always asking me “now that you’ve gone plant based, where do you get your protein from?”. It is a cultural misnomer that protein can only be obtained from animal sources. This is a belief propagated in the beginning of the last century and sadly many people have not come to find out about the many other healthier and more nutritious sources of plant based protein. Yes you can eat plant based foods and develop muscle. Yesterday a friend sent me an online slideshow of the best plant based sources of protein. It’s definitely worth re-posting:

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A Week of Eating Plant Based

27 03 2012

Enough people have asked me what a typical week of eating plant based foods looks like so I’m going to give you a rough example of mine. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a creature of habit so this may not offer enough variety for some. But truly, your week’s menu is only limited by your imagination. With the internet, it’s never been easier to go plant based. There are tons of sites for recipes out there. Eat the plant based foods that you like and start building from there. Eating this way, takes time. On a sunday night, it can take up to 90 minutes to prepare veggies to have for lunch that week. It can be a pain but it is worth it. Don’t forget your B12 supplements!

Breakfasts – Cheerios! There are healthier cereals out there I am sure but I’ve always liked these since I was a little guy. I can eat them dry on the go or with coconut milk (I have the unsweetened stuff, try it for a week, you will get used to it). Organic Steel Cut Oats is another option. Raw vegetables or grilled / sauteed zucchini (one of natures most perfect anti-inflammatory foods is the perfect way to start the day). Breakfast is a good time to have fruit. Many mornings I will have a veggie wrap….with mustard!

Lunches – Wraps – I love them (although I admit it’s getting a little old lately). A raw veggie salad with a mustard and balsamic dressing (I go through an amazing amount of lettuce each week). Cabbage, broccoli rabe, lentil or split pea soup. Vegan pad thai or another one of Dr. McDougall’s packaged vegan meals (found in many health food aisles in the grocery store, I try to limit the processed stuff but this doesn’t seem too bad and low sodium options are sometimes available). Sometimes hummus or baba ganoush. Stack of tomato slices with layered basil (I most often go oil-less). Broccoli slaw.

Snacks – raw veggies (peppers, string beans, carrots, cucumbers and/or celery (a negative calorie food). Fruit – an apple a day…., seeds and nuts. Dry roasted edamame (I live on this stuff – high in protein and fiber but not fat). Dry roasted chick peas and similar snack foods can be found at your local Wegmans, Whole Foods or health food shops. Vegan pumpkin muffins, homemade vegan fruit bars.

Dinners – Vegan stuffed peppers with ground soy “meat”, brown rice, quinoa, beans, corn and tomato sauce (make 4 at a time and get several meals out of it). vegan tacos or taco salads. Soups and salads. Black beans (or other) with hot sauce and liquid smoke (a great simple, quick and tasty way to get your protein and fiber). Pasta is an awesome treat when eating this way (just check the labels). Grilled veggie sandwich on crusty italian bread (I’m limiting my bread but this is too good to pass up once a week). Veggie burgers or similar products like chik’n nuggets, hot wings, etc.(read the labels) about once a week for a little variety. Veggie stir fry. Sautéed veggies in veggie broth.

Give it a try for three weeks and see how you feel. I’m willing to bet that if you go completely plant based for three weeks , by the time you are done you will have lost weight, and feel a whole lot better with increased energy and well-being. And if you find that it is not for you, at least your body will be thankful. You can do totally do this, if you put your mind to it.

besides, you don’t want to eat this anymore, do you?:

A Delicious New Take on Soup and Salad

19 02 2012

I’ve been eating an awful lot of veggie wraps lately and they have been delicious.  I’ve enjoyed all sorts of variations of peppers, bok choy, broccoli rabe, mushrooms, lettuce and sprouts.   Here’s a pic  of the veggies that were going into one of my recent wraps.  Doesn’t that look fabulous?!

The wraps themselves have been high in fiber while low in fat and calories.  But my weight has leveled a bit and I need to switch it up and get some more variety this week.  I’ve recently got a hold of some wonderful plant-based cookbooks that are giving me some excellent ideas.

In the northeast US right now, it’s fairly cold.  And nothing beats the chill like a nice warm homemade bowl of soup.  I’m looking for something different though and I think I’m going to give this a try and see how it goes:  Broccoli Rabe  Soup!  I don’t know what it is about Broccoli Rabe but I am just absolutely crazy for the stuff.  Through the course of last week, I ate three heads of it.  I know, I just said I need to switch it up, but I’m not letting go of my Broccoli Rabe!   I’m going to add carrots and onion chopped very finely, lots and lots of garlic, mashed white beans as a thickener and then add some seasoning to my veggie stock. I’m going to let that simmer for a few hours and then add trimmed and chopped broccoli rabe!  I imagine you could substitute  escarole, spinach or kale if you prefer one of those.

I’m also going to make a Roman-Style Marinated Broccoli Salad.  It’s really quick and easy.  You take a package of broccolislaw (big time saver), add 3 chopped plum tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and season to taste.  Combine, sprinkle with a bit of parsley  and then refrigerate for several hours.  This will be a really nice side salad to that soup.

I can’t wait to make these.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Pics to come!

A Strange World

24 01 2012

It’s a strange world when the Center for Disease Control authors a study that recommends mothers to consider delaying the breast feeding of their children during times of immunizations as a way to increase their potency. It’s a strange world when we are bombarded with commercials and advertisements of people who are so tired that they need a shot of “five hour energy” or any number of different energy drinks to make it through the day, yet when the sun sets they then need Lunesta to get some rest. It’s a strange world when the diabetes drug you take to control your glucose levels ends up making you vomit, causes internal bleeding and/or causes cancer. For all of humankind’s technological advances, are we really any better off when it comes to our health?

I think the power of the body to heal itself is vastly over looked. Our body is the most complex machine on Earth. We see with it. We hear with it. We use it to get from place to place. We make endless numbers of calculations with it every day. And it does all of this solely on food, water, oxygen and rest. But with the body you only get out of it, what you put into it.

For a long time, I abused my body. I made poor eating choices and paid for them instantly. How do you feel after eating a double quarter pounder with cheese and bacon? I would feel like wanting to go to sleep. My energy level would drop so incredibly fast. I’d often resort to having an energy drink but would rarely feel the bump from it. For a long time, I didn’t allow myself to get enough sleep. And still today this is something that I struggle with. I led a mostly sedentary lifestyle, sitting at a desk or driving in a car for most of the work week. I hated to have to walk anywhere. And honestly, lugging around a massive 400+ pound frame is no easy task. It’s completely exhausting. At night I’d want to just come home and crumple onto the floor. It was difficult to even play with my kids, which makes me feel ashamed. People at work would get the best parts of me and by the time I got home I was just a shell of a person.

In just four weeks of switching to a plant based diet a lot of these things have already begun changing. I’m eating a whole lot better. I haven’t had candy, soda or fast food in a long time. A lot of these things I started phasing out as my sickness progressed. I have replaced them with veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans. I do eat prepackaged vegan meals as well but I try to limit them and eat as close to the source as I can. As I have stated before the difference in my energy is amazing. I haven’t had to lay on the floor one night since changing my diet. No mid-day crashes, no stops at WAWA for an energy drink. Sure there are times when I get tired but I’m never exhausted like I used to be. I try to be active more during the day now. In the last two days, I’ve walked 4.5 miles. For me, that is amazing. I’m a guy that hates to walk to the mailbox. But as I lose weight and gain energy, I’m realizing that it is actually nice to walk. It feels freeing. For a long time, I’ve been a slave to my bad habits. I think of what a complete fool I have been to my body. In many ways I’m thankful for the wake up call. By the second or third week of February, I’ll be completely off antibiotics. I’m worried that the staph infection will come back. I think I see signs of it coming back every once in awhile. Perhaps I’m paranoid. Only time will tell. I know that one of the ways to fight it off is to get healthy. And I can not get healthy soon enough.

One Step at a Time

23 01 2012

And so begins week five of my switch to a (mostly) plant based diet.   I shed two more pounds this last week.  I was looking for more but I did go a little off track on Saturday, so I’m not exactly surprised.  This brings the total weight loss to 35+ pounds from my heaviest weight.  It’s a nice jumping off point for the next round of serious weight loss.  I’m upping my exercise regiment and trying to better control my portions of plant based fats.  We’ll see what difference that makes this week.

I made a crock pot full of amazing homemade 13 bean soup yesterday  with celery, tomato, onion and a small helping of zucchini/spinach pasta.  After about 8 hours the beans and pasta sucked up all of the liquid and I was left with mush.  The best tasting mush ever!  These are the kind of meals that I need to be preparing more frequently.  If I can eat closer to the source and get away from the bagged snacks and boxed meals, I know I’ll be better off.

In the morning with the journey all before us on the road,
It takes courage to begin, that is sure;
For the first step is the hardest, and we always think the load
May be greater than we’ve power to endure.
When the first mile lies behind us we can say, “Now that is done,
And the second and the third will soon be past.”
So we trudge on through the noontime, and the setting of the sun
Finds us coming to our stopping-place at last.

When a man would climb a mountain he’s appalled to see the length
Of the slope that reaches up into the sky;
But he starts, and with the climbing he will find he’s gained the strength
To attain the very top, however high.
For the climbing of a mountain takes but one step at a time–
Who has courage to do that will reach the goal;
He will stand upon Life’s summit and will know that joy sublime
Which is his alone who dares to prove his soul.

-Joseph Morris

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