When you eat a plant based diet, people never tire of demanding you’re not getting enough protein. I have literally never had anyone ask me about my calcium intake.
I have a pretty hectic schedule that is constantly changing. One day I may be taking acting classes and running to Hot Yoga class, the next I’m auditioning for commercials and then babysitting the world’s cutest toddler. As much as I love cooking, I don’t always have time to micro-manage every single aspect of my daily diet. This means it’s so important to have a well-rounded diet that includes lots of Calcium rich foods.
One resource that I’ve found invaluable is CalciYum!, a vegetarian calcium based cookbook by David & Rachelle Bronfman. Marni gave me this book at my first consultation, and it has a ton of great recipes along with information about Calcium dense plant foods. This has helped me to consider Calcium in addition to protein when I’m choosing different ingredients for my meals. I love beans, tempeh, and tofu which are great sources of Calcium. Incorporating leafy greens into my everyday life has made a big difference. I put kale, spinach, and collards, into my soups, salads, stir-fries, and baking. You get countless benefits from consuming leafy greens, and there are so many to choose from and experiment with. The other high calcium food that I try to eat everyday is Almonds, I am a huge Almond lover. I like to have a little container of almonds with me or a Lara bar on hand as an emergency snack.
A great part of living in Toronto is the plethora of Vegetarian stores and restaurants at our fingertips. Last fall I was doing a class at Second City, and I would often have to rush to another audition, appointment or class, right after. Thankfully I could stop at Fresh on Spadina for a quick nutritious pick-me-up. Smoothies are an awesome way to get some extra Calcium into your diet! The Date Almond Smoothie and Tropic Thunder at Fresh are two of the most delicious beverages I’ve ever had. They both have Almond Butter, and the Date-Almond Smoothie can also have Almond milk in it, and you can add Kale to any juice or smoothie!
I also participated in my first cooking class with Marni this month called Grain Goodness. She showed us just how versatile vegetables and grains can really be. All of the dishes we made were so delicious, and I will definitely be recreating them all at home.What about you? Do you give much thought to the Calcium in your diet?
It seems like more and more lately we keep hearing about superfoods. The question is, do you know what a superfood is and what qualifies it as a superfood?
What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are a category of foods found in nature; they are superior sources of essential, super-power nutrients, nutrients we can’t make ourselves. They are the most powerful foods on the planet, and are powerhouses for the transformation to a slender, healthier you. If you are what you eat, why not be super?
Where Can I Find Them?
Superfoods can be found everywhere. You are likely using many of them already everyday. Not all superfoods come from exotic places like Costa Rica and Thailand – but many are right here in North America and can be found at your local health food store, grocery store or farmer’s market.
Everyday foods such as kale, quinoa, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raw honey are amazing superfoods to start with. If you want to get exotic – include superfoods such as nori seaweed, cacao, goji berries, maca, Maqui, and mesquite as well.
Superfoods Also Include:
- Raw foods – (food not heated above 48 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit),
- High enzyme foods - (foods that easily break themselves down are easier on our digestive system, such as mangoes, pineapple, papaya and avocados)
- Organic foods - (foods grown without pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals)
- Fresh, local foods (visit local farmers markets and taste the difference that local foods make!)
When Choosing Your Superfoods:
Look for foods with a variety of colour, texture, flavour and shapes. This makes your meals and snacks exciting! No one wants a boring meal that doesn’t taste good.
Focus on high nutrient-dense foods over low calories. Calories don’t determine how many vitamins, minerals, enzymes or overall nutrients are in a food item. Superfoods have concentrated nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and provide so much nutrition in every bite. It’s also important to get away from focusing on calories all the time. It can become obsessive and you may loose sight of actually consuming good quality food!
They make you happy! They help you to actually lose weight because you will be eating foods that satisfy and satiate, rather than make you crave other foods! Your cells become saturated with nutrition. Plus:
- They give you energy
- They help your body to detoxify
- They give you mental clarity
- They promote activity and weight loss
- They improve immunity
- They clear and brighten your skin
If you want a FREE spot in this class see details here!
Superfood Power Balls
What’s in it?
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup goji berries
2 tbsp cacao nibs or cocoa powder
1 tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp Sun Warrior Protein Powder (Use code MW007 when checking out at RAW ELEMENTS for 5% discount)
How it’s made!
Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you get a thick “doughy” consistency. Roll into bite size balls for quick power bites –perfect for your purse or a midday snack or after a workout.
What are your favourite Superfoods?
I’ve been using Vega products for over 6 years, and as you may know I’m already a huge fan of Vega’s sport performance pre workout drink.
So, when I was offered to be part of their ambassador team, I was absolutely thrilled. Knowing that I would get to try some of their new and innovative products, I was especially excited to test out the new Vega One protein blend and sport hydrator. I not only put myself to the test, but I had my entire team give it a go as well to see how it fit into their lifestyle. We all have a different perspective.
Today, I share with you my Vega experience.
Vega One Protein Blend
The Vega One complete blended protein is perfect for anyone on the go. It’s easy to mix up with water, rice milk, almond milk or hemp milk, and the new creamy texture goes down very easily. The prime time for these quick shakes is for when I’m running out the door in a rush and I don’t have time to put things into my blender (which I do daily basis). The new Vega One shake also has the perfect amount of nutrients to hold me over for a few hours.
Vega Sports Hydrator
This formula is perfect for long workouts because it just gives you that extra strength to push through. It is not overly sweet, it’s smooth and soft, and gives your water a boosting lift. I can’t see myself drinking this regularly, as I don’t like to flavour my water – but from a sport, training, and fitness perspective it really does take my workouts to the next level.
I have to say that I’m really impressed and excited to share the new Vega One formulas with my team and my clients. In my upcoming Fit & Fabulous class, participants will also get to sample this new product… and I can’t wait to get their feedback as well!
Stay tuned for my team’s thoughts on how these Vega blends had an impact on them!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Purely Fit e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
“Go Green” – we’re hearing this more than ever right now. Naturally, some of us think of hippie, tree hugging health nuts, sipping on green concoctions. (Actually, to be fair, with the right ingredients those weird looking green concoctions can actually be quite tasty, but that’s another topic for another day!)
Believe it or not, “going green” isn’t just about being “earthy”, and opting for extreme diet enhancements. Going green is a lifestyle that each person can take part in, simply by making some basic changes. You don’t have to be “extreme” to do something green. Making some alterations to your everyday routine can help you become a more eco-conscious individual and consumer.
If you want to be more green, both for the benefit of the environment and your body, then here are just a few tips:
1. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and the lights when you leave a room.
These are a few habits I’ve gotten myself into when it comes to conserving water and energy. While it might seem super easy to look past these rules, it’s also super important to follow them. Always remember that a little bit goes a long, long way.
2. Opt for natural and organic skin care products
As a strong believer in healthy skincare, I avoid the drug store brands, and turn to food grade products that I know are safe on my skin. These products can be found at your local health food store. (Or, you can try the ‘Salad for your Skin Green Cream’ that everyone’s been raving about!)
3. Ditch your Styrofoam and plastic lunch containers for glass
Okay, so it might be heavier than the plastic Ziplocs you’re used to carrying in your lunch box. But if you’re someone that is out and about almost all the time, you want to preserve your packed lunch to the best of your abilities. Storing your food in glass containers will keep your food fresh, and prevent it from leaking. I like the comfort of knowing that my containers are tried, tested, and true.
4. Opt for organic linens and cottons
As a green-conscious consumer, I don’t ignore any aspect of my daily routine. While you may or may not realize, there are tons of chemicals and bleaches on the materials you use everyday. Go green when it comes to the bed you sleep on at night, the clothing you put on in the morning, and the napkins you use at the breakfast table. By opting for 100% organic or bamboo cottons and linens, your mind and body will feel as pure as your values.
5. Go green in the garden
I know it seems like a long shot, but believe it or not, growing your own veggies will save you money, time, and rotten veggies in the refrigerator. Once a year, Young Urban Farmers comes to plant my own personal garden, leaving me with fresh veggies from May until December. Getting your own garden can be done with a box above the ground, or having herb plants in the backyard. Simple, efficient, and delectable!
While I’ve given you five of my personal favorites, it’s up to you to make green alterations that will suit your own lifestyle. Although you may not be able to implement all 5 of these tips, always remember that every small change goes a long way, so start small and build your way up. (Oh, and if you’re still thinking about that green concoction, then here’s the recipe! http://bit.ly/JpRJer
It’s that time of year again when seeing the sun come out from behind the clouds makes me want to be outside. I want to play, and I want to get fit!
The question that’s always asked of me though, especially because I’m active and vegan, is how I have enough energy to get through my days and my workouts? Well, I simply say that I have the perfect solution: plant-based foods. Not only are they filled with the most highly nutritious and bio-available vitamins and minerals, but they taste great too.
Plant based foods provide all of the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) essential in maintaining optimal energy. Since working out causes physical stress, it creates acidity in the body. In order to regain a state of alkalinity, it’s essential to neutralize the body by consuming a plant-based diet filled with neutralizing plant-based foods.
My top sources of energy foods:
- Hemp Seeds – contains omega 3 fats and provides long sustaining energy. I love to put them on salads, in smoothies and cereal.
- Chia seeds – are loaded with fiber and expand when soaked. Chia makes the most delicious morning porridge. Amazing for before my workouts.
- Kale - is a green leafy powerhouse veggie. It is loaded with magnesium and is alkaline forming. Chopped up in a raw salad or steamed on the side of quinoa, kale completes any plate.
- Sea vegetables – storing a wide range of trace minerals and nutrients, sea vegetables provide natural sodium to the diet. My favourite sea vegetable is arame or nori – they give me mental clarity and focus.
- Tempeh – one of the highest sources of plant protein, is fermented, and is easy to digest. I love marinating tempeh with cider vinegar, lemon juice and coconut oil for a boost to my salads and wraps.
- Coconut water and coconut oil – coconut water replenishes the body with much needed electrolytes. So when I am working out, this is my go to beverage. Coconut oil – is loaded with medium chain fats, so they are a quick source of energy and nourishment before and after activity.
- Quinoa - contains all of the essential amino acids which are crucial building blocks for protein. Protein builds muscle, so it is important to consume protein especially after a workout.
- Goji berries – are a natural source of antioxidants, protein and fiber. They are perfect in a trail mix before a workout or great tossed in a smoothie after a workout.
- Cacao – one of nature’s richest sources of magnesium. Gives me a natural boost of energy. Cacao gives me the perfect excuse to have chocolate for breakfast. Tossed in a smoothie or cereal it adds the perfect crunch and kick!
- Honey – loaded with enzymes, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties honey is soothing and easy to take down. It is a natural source of sugar and calories so it makes a perfect addition to my pre workout snack and it also gives me that extra boost of energy.
These are the foods that I reach to when I want to get moving, and I highly suggest them to anyone who hasn’t tried them yet. I know my body’s going to use them well and efficiently, and give me that boost of energy without causing me to crash and burn out. They are sustaining, nourishing, and versatile enough that I can consume them daily in multiple ways without ever getting bored of them.
To learn more ways to fuel your workouts, join us for our Fit and Fabulous cooking class on May 21st where we will be making homemade energy bars, happy hemp loaves and liquid nutrition smoothies that will help take your body and fitness goals to the next level!
Not many people can say they’ve smeared a salad on their face and completely loved it, but I’m one of the fortunate ones that can say I have. Of course, I don’t mean literally (although I certainly don’t oppose to the occasional mashed avocado on my face to leave it feeling soft and smooth). What I’m really talking about is the new Green Cream, appropriately titled “Salad for Your Skin”.
I love the Green Cream for 3 major reasons: 1) The Ingredients, 2) The Scent, and 3) The Feel.
1) The Ingredients
It’s what goes into a product that makes the product. This applies to produce and food, too. If your fruits and vegetables are being sprayed and grown with chemicals and pesticides, then unfortunately, that goes into your body too (even though they may still look fresh and green at the grocery store). The chemical-free Green Cream is made up of natural and pure ingredients; the 1st three ingredients are purified water, aloe vera juice, and avocado oil. It’s infused with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, and contains no mineral oils, parabens, sodium laureth sulphate, phthalates. And you can rub it anywhere on your body – so go ahead and roll around in this salad for your skin!
2) The Scent
The scent of the Green Cream is just an added benefit to its ingredients. Upon spreading onto your face, the scent is immediately brilliant – not overpowering or pungent at all – but rather like smelling a blooming herb garden (after all, that’s what it’s made of!). The scent is really one of the beautifying features of the Green Cream – it makes your skin feel earthy, cool, fresh, and quenched.
3) The Feel
Your skin immediately drinks up the cooling liquid and leaves your face feeling supple, soft, and silky. There is really no way to describe such a refreshed feeling in words. (Think of it this way: try describing a really delicious dessert you’ve eaten to a friend. All you can say in the end is, “You just have to try it yourself!”)
I’ve heard many say that when you “go natural” in cosmetics and skin care, you don’t get the same “quality” you do with mainstream brands. Not true. The Green Cream is truly a testament to this myth. You can get a refreshed and hydrated sensation from the Green Cream with natural and pure ingredients, minus the chemicals and parabens. Also, it doesn’t have the sky-high retail price most hydrating creams in retail chain stores charge. The Green Cream only sells for $25.00 (+ tax).
If you’d like to buy The Green Cream by Marni Wasserman, send us an email at email@example.com.
Or, if you’d like to try making your own natural beauty product using the same ingredients as you would in a green dish, sign up for our Nourish Your Summer Skin Workshop on June 4th with Graydon, the founder of Clinical Luxury.
Spring is finally here! With the trees and flowers inspiring a fresh, new change of environment, you may be considering giving your body a fresh, new change as well. Cleansing your body is one of the great natural “makeovers” you can do to feel good both inside and out. Approaching a cleanse in a healthy way can help you reestablish a baseline and allow your cells and organs to function at their optimum potential. Cleansing also allows you introduce “healthy”, organic and fresh foods in your diet – giving your digestive system a break and purifying your blood.
Contrary to mainstream belief, cleansing isn’t about depriving your body of food. Instead, it’s a chance to re-train your tongue to acquire the delicious taste for whole foods in their natural state. It’s safe to do a one or two-day juice fast (if you feel up to it) but it’s not necessary. Focus more on eating fresh whole foods as the basis of all your meals. Eating more salads, drinking more smoothies and drinking lots of fresh water throughout the day will leave you feeling pure and energized. At the very least start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon juice to get the process going – this is the easiest and best thing you can do to start your cleanse.
Why Should You Cleanse?
- To help the body as it neutralizes and eliminates toxins though the major organs such as our colon, liver, kidney, lungs, lymph and skin – our bodies do it everyday! But if our self-cleansing system is overloaded by our unhealthy lifestyles and exposure to environmental toxins, it becomes difficult to do it’s own.
- There are many factors that contribute to toxicity in the body – (processed, packaged foods, the environment/pollution/ chemicals in the home –shampoo, makeup, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, detergent etc…). If you give your body a little break from these “toxins”, I can attest to the feeling of feeling much better than not cleansing.
- We have limited control over the environment that we are exposed to – however, we have total control over the food we eat and the products we use on our body and in our homes. So make new, fresh, and healthy choices with what you’re eating!
- We are over chemicalized, through our diet (animal protein, saturated fat, caffeine, alcohol and sugar) and through the environment. Even if your diet is good, a cleanse can restore your immune system and protect against environmental toxins that pave the way for disease bearing bacteria, viruses and parasites.
What you can do (for maximum results):
- Eliminate: bleached and refined flours
Choose: whole grains or gluten free grains
- Eliminate: Refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup)
Choose: natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup
- Eliminate: Table salt
Choose sea salt instead
- Eliminate: Trans fats and refined oils (processed corn, canola, sunflower)
Choose: olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil and coconut oil
- Eliminate or Reduce: Meats treated with hormones or antibiotics, farmed fish
Choose: organic and wild varieties and keep to a minimum
- Eliminate: Foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides
Choose: local and organic varieties
- Eliminate: Conventional Dairy products
Choose: organic varieties, goats and sheep’s milk or eliminate and use alternatives like hemp, rice and almond milk
- Avoid: Genetically modified foods and oils (make sure it is labeled, such as “non- GMO”)
- Avoid: Additives and preservatives (nitrates, sulfites, flavorings and colourings) Read your food labels!
- Avoid: Fast foods, fried foods
- Avoid: Sodas, juices with added sugar
- Avoid: Coffee, cigarettes and alcohol
The bottom line is to eat whole foods, fresh foods, lots of green leafy vegetables, salads, smoothies, whole and sprouted grains, nuts seeds and other healthy oils. These foods should make up the bulk of your diet. Fill in the gaps with herbal tea, fresh lemon water and you’re on your way to superior health!
To find out more about how to transition your diet and learn how to eat whole foods join my Raw Rejuvenation Retreat in Collingwood Ontario this May 2012. There are a few spots left for some lucky participants and early bird rates are currently available! You can also see me on my last Rejuvenation retreat to get a taste.
Kale Slaw Salad
What’s in it:
1 bunch if kale (any variety), chopped into bite size piece with rib removed
1 head red cabbage, shredded2 carrots, shredded
1 beet shredded
2 tbsp hemp seeds
½ cup olive oil or hemp oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2-4 tablespoons raw unpasteurized honey
1 tsp sea salt
How It’s Made
1. Shred the cabbage, carrots, beets and fennel in a food processor with shredding blade or
use a mandolin or hand slice into thin strips.
2. In a mixing bowl, toss in all the raw vegetable ingredients (except the hemp seeds).
3. In a separate bowl mix together the vinaigrette.
4. Combine vinaigrette with raw veggies and toss together until the cabbage and kale are
5. Allow salad to marinate in fridge for a few minutes – or up to an hour, mixing in the hemp
seeds just before serving.
Marni’s Delicious Knowledge:
Full of colour, texture and flavour – this is a highly nutritious salad, especially when it is topped with
mung bean sprouts! PS… the longer it marinates the better it tastes!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Cleansing with Superfoods e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
- Being vegetarian and pregnant is frequently a topic of concern for many people – vegetarians especially!. People often wonder if it is safe for both the mother and her baby. Fortunately, there is good news here. It is perfectly safe and healthy to be a vegetarian during your pregnancy; you just have to plan carefully.
Pregnancy is a time for a woman to take her nutrition and health seriously. Whether you need to give yourself a nutrition makeover or you are already health savvy, your body is now the vessel for another life. This means that you have to ensure that everything you do is working towards making your body and your baby as healthy as possible.
If you are currently a vegetarian, then it is essential to learn what nutrients to incorporate during this crucial transitional stage, and the foods in which you will find them. The bottom line is that your body needs appropriate nutrients: enough calories, protein, iron, and vitamins and minerals, all of which can be derived from a plant-based diet!
Here are some key nutrient and food sources for a healthy vegetarian pregnancy:
Protein: You will need to increase your protein intake during pregnancy. This is crucial for the growth and development of the baby and to keep you satisfied as well. There are a variety of incredible vegetarian protein sources such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, tempeh, dark leafy greens, sea vegetables, organic eggs, and sheep’s milk. These foods are also great sources of Iron.
Caffeine should be completely avoided during pregnancy it interferes with your absorption of iron from vegetables. However, enjoying foods that are rich in vitamin C (fruits and vegetables) with meals has the opposite effect and actually helps your body to absorb iron.
Calcium: This is the most essential mineral for the health of a pregnant woman, as it helps to form the bones, teeth, and muscles of your growing baby. Calcium-rich sources of food include green leafy vegetables, sea vegetables, whole grains such as quinoa and millet, nuts, seeds, and organic dairy.
Folic Acid: This is crucial for forming red blood cells and also aids in the growth and reproduction of other cells, particularly in supporting the development of the baby’s nervous system. Folic acid also stimulates the mother’s appetite, which helps to maintain her overall nutrient intake. Sources include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and organic dairy.
Ensuring that you include foods that provide these main nutrients in your diet on a daily basis will keep you and your growing baby well-nourished. These are the key components to a complete and balanced diet and you can get them all from a variety of plant-based foods, so there is no need for concern, as you can safely be a vegetarian during your pregnancy!
On a personal note, I have yet to get pregnant myself and experience it as a vegetarian. However I feel with the foundation that I have I should have any problems maintaining and achieving optimal health for myself and my baby. I can’t wait to one day share this experience with you on my blog. I understand it is easier said then done to some, so I would love for those of you are veggie moms to share your experience with us below!
Orange-Avocado Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
½ cup arame, soaked
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup pure pomegranate juice
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 bunches baby arugula or mixed greens
3 oranges, segmented without membranes
1 avocado* cut into small cubes
1 cup chickpeas
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chopped parsley or mint
- Rinse arame and soak in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze out any remaining water. Discard soaking water.
- Mix together olive oil, orange juice, pomegranate juice and dijon mustard, honey, and cider vinegar.
- Transfer arame into a bowl with arugula, chickpeas, avocado and orange slices. Add dressing.
- Top with pumpkin seeds.
Avocados are rich in folic acid, an essential nutrient during pregnancy which is vital for the brain and nervous system of your baby. They are also rich in essential fatty acids, b vitamins, vitamin C, potassium. Avocados are high in fat (though the very good kind) and calories, so heap them on your plate only if you’re having trouble gaining weight.
Share you experience with us!
Did you have a vegetarian pregnancy? How was it. What challenges did you face if any!
What can you share or tell readers from your experience so that they are informed!
It has taken me almost a week to collect my thoughts on the Oprah show from last week. If you missed it…find out more here. But just to give you some background on the show, Oprah and 378 of the Harpo staff went vegan for one week. Well it all sounds good in theory but when I thought about the show and broke it down, there is a lot that needs to be said. Of course I don’t have all the answers, so I encourage you to share as well.
To start out (my starter kit):
The new term “Vegan-ish” was coined on the show which I actually like – as long as it means fresh whole foods. However I am afraid that is not the message viewers got from this show. I know that most people after this show are thinking about attempting to “lean” into veganism to see how it works for them and their lifestyle – but if “vegan-ish” gets the reputation that experimenting with processed and packaged foods – then that is clearly the wrong message. Anyways, there is so much to share, and that is why it has taken me so long to post my thoughts.
I have decided to organize and summarize my thoughts in terms of what I liked and what I didn’t like . You will see my points emphasized and then in italics beside are my suggestions and thoughts on what could have been done!
What I didn’t like:
In the beginning of the show Oprah mentions how she has access to good free range eggs….great but what about America? Why couldn’t other suggestions be made of how those without access can get their hands on farm fresh organic eggs?
There was not much education on how + why one would choose to go vegan. It seemed like the staff was given the challenge, given a bag of groceries, fed vegan food for lunch – but did not have a full understanding of health + ethical implications of a vegan diet. Why couldn’t cooking classes, info sessions or workshops or cookbooks been given throughout the week to go into depth on the benefits + different topics, not to convert people to veganism but just to make them aware and enlighten them?
On that note, why were there grocery bags to take home filled with Junk Food – when they clearly mentioned on the show that a vegan diet can be junk based unless people make healthy choices. The staff weren’t left to make healthy choices, they were snacking on cereal, chips, cookies all week long, but that is okay because it was vegan…right?
It was pointed out, as it is always an area of interest that vegans do not have enough nutrients or get enough protein etc… Yes, this is absolutely the truth when eating a vegan junk food diet. This will of course create imbalances and cause people to become ill or malnourished. If people are shown how to eat a balanced, whole and fresh diet as a vegan, these imbalances are much less likely!
Because Kathy Freston is clearly not a nutritionist, the staff should have been told of some of the adjustments and changes they might experience during the week (gas, bloating, more bowel movements, lethargy, headaches) having this information beforehand might have helped the process. Also this may potentially help to increase the follow through rate of staying on a plant based diet for longer knowing that your body will change over the course of a few weeks and that it takes time for your body to adjust.
Kathy Freston also took a family grocery shopping to “restock” their kitchen (after being unloaded of processed food) so that they can make “healthy meals” at home using faux meat substitues- the kids clearly demonstrated that they didn’t like the meal that was prepared. That is never a good sign, especially for national TV and people considering going vegan. How good can a ground up soy concoction taste as the basis of a meal – at least take this opportunity to show the family how to cook with fresh whole foods? Even using organic ground turkey would have been a better choice!
Just to reiterate…America was shown (even in a Whole Foods Market) that a vegan diet comes from a package or a freezer- America got to see the Tofurky and Earth Balance define the basis of a vegan diet! Eating truly vegan to me means eating plants, neither of those options are plants.. why wasn’t quinoa, beans, yams or a head of kale shown to viewers of the show?
The produce aisle was completely over looked in the store, not even mentioned. That is where people need to be shopping!
And lastly it infuriated me, that they showed Cargill is our “friendly neighborhood” meat slaughtering/meat packing plant. Okay, so it is clean and well managed, but the cows still eat genetically modified corn and other “grains” which are most likely just ground up sugars and potentially other meats. The cows were packed into a feedlot, sad, unhappy etc. They weren’t making any noise or moo-ing because they were tired, sluggish, overweight and mostly likely have just given up. (Okay I am going on here). But the fact that a meat plant was glorified – made me very angry. Why couldn’t they feature organic farmers like Joel Salatin or other places where America can be shown where naturally-happy raised animals are raised and that their innate diet should be weeds, grass and herbs?
What I did like:
That the Vegan movement was recognized and got the big OK from Oprah and was featured on TV. That is always exciting!
That so many staff made the commitment to go Veg for a week! I mean, what have they go to lose?
That Michael Pollan was on the show and made it clear that if you do eat meat- eat it fresh, local and organic. It’s the only way to go!
That a vegan diet can be high enough in protein as long as you choose whole foods like greens, beans legumes. This was mentioned on the show = 1 point, but not explained or showed = -2 points.
That it takes time to transition to plant based foods and no one can make these changes over night. This goes for anything. It is all about small steps and little changes. But as long as people understand the benefits, than anything can happen!
There is room for error – you don’t have to be 100% vegetarian or vegan. Just trust what is right for you and to be more aware. That is the message at the end of the day!
Oprah and her staff made mention and are going to embrace Meatless Mondays. This is a bold move for the Harpo staff to take on, it may just encourage more people around the world to take this on!
I understand that a bridge needs to be gaped in order for America to make some changes, but it is away from all packaged and processed foods that we need to emphasize. America is already eating the worst foods from a package but changing that over to “vegan” junk is not the way to go. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to introduce quinoa, brown rice or even and spelt flour. Even a can of Eden organic beans could have been used as an example if necessary. The whole concept and benefits of VEGETABLES I think was not emphasized enough in this show. This could open a whole new chapter of information for viewers.
Now don’t get me wrong, Kathy Freston definitely did present some great points, but this was a chance to truly show everyone watching the power of plant based foods – I just wish it was taken advantage of!
There needs to be a few more follow up episodes to see how people are doing or to bring more WHOLE FOOD HEALTH information to America.
More experts in the field should have a chance to be featured. (Like me?)
More tools and key information that makes it EASY for people to make this transition to whole foods is essential – a cooking class, informative workshops/info sessions, a trip to the farmers market or an organic farm or building a community garden and at the very least… showing people how to shop properly and effectively in a grocery store.
I truly hope that those of you who watched the episode and who read my blog know that it is so much simpler then it appears to make changes to eat more healthfully. It can be as simple as adding greens to your smoothie or an extra salad a day! Read my article about going veg here!
If you are thinking of trying plants out or leaning in to veggie foods or being “vegan-ish” then you may want to continue to read my blog and get your hands on a copy of my book Veggin’ Comfortably. This will be available online via my website next week!
I didn’t cover everything, so please share your thoughts on the show, express points that I missed or things that were relevant to you.
What you liked, didn’t like. I want to hear!
What would be included in your Vegan Starter Kit?
It is quite possible to gain extreme health benefits on a plant based diet. You can attain not only your fitness goals but your health and your weight goals as well. Long gone are the days that we need meat and dairy to get that lean physique. A low carbohydrate diet is not the answer either – your body need carbs in all it’s forms (except refined ones of course!) along with good quality essential fats and protein! Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and sprouts are the way to go. Not only do our bodies assimilate the nutrients from plants much quicker, but they are much easier to digest – leaving you feeling great with exuberant amounts of energy and attaining all of your health and fitness goals.
There are many health gurus and products that have dedicated their effort to prove the benefit of plant based foods on your health and fitness goals. There are now world renown athletes that consume these diet and thrive! Brendon Brazier for example, the man behind the Vega product line – not only stands as an example of a triathlete that has attained extreme gains in his fitness through a vegan diet, but has also provided the world information, supplements, protein powders and food bars to help others get there.
Other products that support this is my latest found love – Sun Warrior Protein - which has happily been in my life now for over a year. I can’t even begin to tell you how great I feel on this product. The raw fermented brown rice protein that sun warrior provides my cells – is like nothing else. It gives me energy before a workout, replenishes me after a workout and provides me with balanced smoothie and a whopping 15 grams of protein per serving (which is the perfect amount – in addition to the other goodies in my smoothie!).
It may not be enough for me to say it myself, you may have to pick up a book (The China Study, Thrive (Fitness), Food Matters, In Defense of Food, Green for Life , Superfoods) to believe me, but plant based foods will help you reach your fitness and health goals – I promise. And as I said you will not only feel great, but you will look great and you will only want to do great things!
To learn in person from me or learn how to make some super delicious high plant protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy essential fat recipes – then join my Fit and Fabulous class on April 14th!
Here is how you can start to Thrive on plant based foods: ( just add one or more of these foods into your diet and you are on your way!)
1. Coconut water -replenishes your cells and your energy before of after a workout
2. Hemp seeds – will give your salad a protein boost with high quality essential fatty acids – while giving it a nutty kick
3. Quinoa (and other gluten free whole grains) – are easy to digest forms of complex carbohydrates that will give you long lasting energy
4. Almond butter – will give your body protein, calcium and healthy fat to keep your bones and muscles strong
5. Kale and other leafy greens – provides magnesium and chlorophyll to cleanses your blood and invigorate your cells
6. Avocado – gives your body essential fatty acids while nourishing your nerves and your skin
and don’t forget to use a variety of SUPERFOODS like goji berries, cacao, maca, mesquite, bee pollan and spirulina – full of protein and essential vitamins and minerals!
Please share with others how you thrive on plant foods or how you fuel your body pre/post workout! We all want to hear!
Carob Fig Frozen Fudge
these are high in plant protein, rich in calcium and make a perfect pre or post workout snack!
1 cup figs, soaked
1 ½ cups filtered water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1 ½ cups almond butter
1 ½ cups raw carob powder
½ cup hemp seeds
- Place the figs in a bowl and cover with water and soak for about an hour, until soft. Drain reserving liquid.
- In a blender, blend the figs, and vanilla until smooth, slowly adding soaking water as needed to form a creamy consistency.
- Transfer the fig mixture into a large bowl, add the nut butter, and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, mix the carob and hempseeds.
- Gradually add the dry carob mixture into the wet fig mixture. Stir well. Press evenly into a 10 by 18 inch brownie pan, 1 inch thick, and freeze until firm (about 3 hours).
- To serve, cut into 1 inch squares.