Food I Pack For The Day

Keeping up with my new year’s resolution to stick to the Nutritarian Diet, I am actively adjusting how I eat in order to pack in ALL of the nutrients everyday. Or at least most of them.

And what timing this is as I am currently recovering from a bit of a head cold. Just stuffed up sinuses so nothing major, but a majority of my coworkers are getting hit with the flu. Either I picked up something completely different, or perhaps the Nutritarian lifestyle is already at work, boosting my immune system so much that I am only showing one symptom of the flu? That sounds right.

In case you don’t know what the Nutritarian diet is, check out my previous post about the health study and how you can get a free book! I’m all about the books, about the books, no treble (Meghan Trainor, anyone?). The book is Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He coined the term “Nutritarian” and describes it as being “nutrient-dense and plant-rich, and includes anti-cancer superfoods, which also facilitate weight loss.”

The study focuses on the health of the Nutritarian diet and the occurrence, recurrence, and progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and all forms of cancer. Another key benefit from the diet is the reduced occurrences and symptoms of the common-cold. Basically, the diet is centered about your micronutrients, those elusive vitamins and minerals that are essential for daily bodily functions. The World Health Organization describes them as “magic wands” (not kidding) that “enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development.” Not only that, but the immune system relies on an adequate supply of those micronutrients to function efficiently.

Alright, you get the point.

So here’s what a typical work day looked like before I started planning ahead:

8:00AM I eat a banana on my way to work

8:30AM Get to work and immediately eat a package of the belVita brown sugar breakfast cookies

9:00AM Buy a small iced coffee with hazelnut syrup and a splash of soy milk

11:00AM Small snacks of wheat thins to tide me over until lunch

12:00PM Eat the healthy lunch I packed

2:00PM Hunger strikes and I grab some wheat thins or peanut butter pretzel bites

3:30PM Snack time again as I get antsy for the work day to end–time for a Kid’s Cliff  Bar

4:30PM Almost time to leave and workout, better fuel myself with one of the previously mentioned snacks again

As you can see, I snack a lot, mostly in the afternoon since the coffee suppresses my morning appetite for the most part.

So here’s an example of a typical day of food I take with me to work. *Note, this is not everything I eat in a day, just what I take for work so that I’m not tempted by all of the processed snack options.

Food I pack for the day

Food I pack for the day

So here’s what I take:

My oatmeal fixin’s so that I can make it at work. This replaces the belVita temptation. I take a tablespoon of ground flax seed, a teaspoon of maple syrup, and a half cup of berries–blueberry and blackberry this time. I keep the quick oats and cinnamon at work and just add water to cook it in the microwave. This is pretty filling from all of the fiber so I don’t need to snack throughout the morning (but I still have my coffee… gotta work on that).

Oatmeal Fixin's

Next, I always have a healthy lunch full of vegetables, whole grains or legumes, and starches like sweet potato. This stew did not disappoint.

Food I Pack for the Day

My afternoon snack is now carrots with hummus. Turmeric = yellow hummus. Mine is homemade but you could get store-bought as well. I just prefer mine without oil, which store-bought ones usually contain. Oil = acne for me. Another great snack is a piece of fruit like an apple with some peanut butter or some raw almonds.

turmeric hummus

And lastly, I have the banana right before I leave work so that I’m fueled up for my workout. A piece of fruit is a great pre-workout snack.

Now, with a little preparation, my snacks are definitely more aligned with the Nutritarian diet and I’m much more efficient throughout the day without the constant snacking.

What healthy choices are you making throughout the day? Do you suffer from constant-snacker syndrome like I do?

xoxo Rachel

Eliminate 10 Items Resolution #2

I really wanted to address the current situation with the purge of animal welfare documents from the USDA site, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to do it (still can’t grasp the absurdity of it all). All I will say is that so much cruelty goes unseen and to do away with those documents that so many organizations depend on to protect animals is appalling. However, the single most effective way to end the suffering of animals is to vote with your dollar every time you’re at the grocery store. Stop the suffering!

Anyway, that wasn’t the purging I intended to talk about today. It’s another month which means another day of purging 10 items from my household. As mentioned in the last elimination session, I was targeting the bathroom vanity. I just have too much makeup, hair products, and randomness in there. It’s hard to find things and stay organized.

Here she is in all her glory. Please excuse the scratched up wood. We are planning to refinish it someday.

The vanity

But anyways, here’s what we’re working with. And yes, I claim all of the drawers. Daniel gets nothing.

The vanity before

In the top left drawer I keep my base layer makeups like primer, foundation, concealer, and powders. I organized things in order of use because I’m practical like that. Or something. Second drawer on the left holds eyeshadows, eyeliners, mascara, and lip colors. Bottom left is feminine hygiene (gotta have that stuff conveniently located–ya know?). Top right–again most used hair stuff like combs and brushes, a hand mirror, bobby-pins and the like. Second right is additional hair stuff like hair bands, hair ties, and more bobby pins. Bottom right is basically the bathroom junk drawer though it’s mostly nail care with some hair and teeth (crest white strips) mixed in.

Here’s what I purged from the top left drawer:

top left drawer purged

Mostly, it’s really old makeup, that I used up or never quite matched my skin right. Or that I loved so much I didn’t want to admit it was empty–like those NARS concealers. *sigh*

In similar fashion to my previous elimination, here’s the side-by-side comparison. It’s now so much easier to find the makeup I want and the excess clutter in the back of the drawer is gone.

1stleft

The second drawer is definitely more organized now but I still have wayyyy too much make up. I got rid of mostly old make up again. Some of this stuff is like 10 years old. Yikes.

2nd left drawer purged

By the way, that container with the tape on it is my homemade dry shampoo, in case you were wondering.

2ndleft

The bottom drawer didn’t need much help already but I cleared out some items that didn’t fit the “theme” of the drawer.

3rd left purged

Basically it was just that bag in the back full of the items above. I am planning to keep the hand sanitizer because I use that stuff like it’s going out of style. The rest is going to a good home. I’m also keeping the bag, because it’s cute (I can’t help myself!) but I have moved it to the location where I keep bags. And yes, that’s all of the feminine hygiene products I use–a menstrual cup and some panty liners. If you’re a woman and you haven’t heard of a menstrual cup you should educate yo’self! They are awesome.

3rdleft

Now for the other side. This drawer was really all things I used, just disorganized. There were spare toothbrushes in there that I moved to our medicine cabinet, along with some face cream. Everything else stayed.

1st right

Below is what I removed from the second drawer. I ended up getting rid of some ill-fitting headbands, some old makeup brushes, contacts I don’t need (yay LASIK!), and some skin cream from my eczema-suffering days.

2nd right purged

The second drawer doesn’t look like a huge improvement but I was able to organize it more. Obviously Powercat face stickers and a green twirler hair tool that I don’t know how to use or why I have it are necessities. I need help.

2nd right

Here’s what I removed from the third drawer. I still technically need to confirm with Daniel that I can get rid of the razors… I think they’re his? Although I have been known to use a male Gillette before. So many blades!

3rd right purged

The third drawer was just chaos. Old nail polishes, razors, and teeth whitening strips that I’m sure were past their prime (I’m considering oil pulling for a more natural whitening remedy). The after is so much better with just the “essentials.” You know, fake nails and eyelashes.

3rd right

I like these posts because they keep me accountable with my resolutions AND someday when I forget what happened to something I had I can look back at these posts and be like “Oh yeah, I got RID of it” and then cry because the void of that item will never be filled again.

How do you organize your bathroom? Do you hoard old makeup/beauty products like me?

xoxo Rachel

 

Calories?

calories

Although I don’t count calories, I have been curious lately how many I’ve been eating. When I heard about other female vegan bloggers/vloggers and how many calories they consume on a daily basis (mostly in the 2000+ range!) I became intrigued. Wow! Can they really eat that much? Do I eat that much? And we’re talking some fine fit ladies here so I was curious to see where I fell on the spectrum.

So on Sunday I tracked everything I ate to see what I was getting. I used Cronometer because they give you a breakdown of both macro and micronutrients.

Here’s my overview:

Food Diary Overview

I hit 88% of my targets overall. Iron, calcium, and folate were below target but, had I not been at a calorie deficit, I likely would have been close to or surpassed them. As for B12, I’m not worried about that yet because our bodies can recycle B12 for years and most plant-based milks are fortified with it. However, I do plan to take a B12 supplement in the near future just because even someone on a Standard American Diet can be deficient in it.

So now on to what I actually ate:

Food Diary 1.29.17

This isn’t in any particular order, just what I ate as it came to mind. For some clarity, I broke down the meals I ate below.

Breakfast:
Oatmeal with fresh fruit

Lunch:
Fresh spring rolls with thai peanut sauce

Snacks:
A banana with peanut butter
Pretzel sticks

Dinner:
A big salad topped with cucumber, black olives, walnuts, and Dorothy Lynch salad dressing
Sweet potato stew with kale, carrots, corn, green beans, and mushrooms

This was a pretty average day, although, it was a weekend when I’m at home and tend to eat healthier. Work has too many tempting snacks (fruit roll ups, wheat thins, peanut butter pretzel bites–oh my!). But as mentioned from my resolutions update, I am working to be better prepared on those days.

But the real takeaway in all of this is that I wanted to show how you can get all of the nutrients you need on this plant-based diet and more–check out that fiber and Vitamin C! And not an orange in sight. The thing is, although it is important to make sure you’re not over or under eating in calories, the main thing is to focus on micronutrients. If you’re eating WHOLE PLANT-BASED FOODS, you should be able to hit your micronutrient goals without over eating in calories. Why? Because whole plant foods are nutrient dense, not calorie dense. You will get full before you can over eat. That’s the beauty of this lifestyle. And the foods are so tasty! Just look at this amazing lentil soup I’m enjoying tonight.

Vegan Lentil Soup

So here are my nutrient results from the day:
Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 7.50.00 PM

Just some items of note, I jogged outside for thirty minutes that day so I easily reached my Vitamin D quota just by sunshine alone. And look how easily I hit my Omega-3-6 by adding flaxseed to my oatmeal!

My protein intake wasn’t too shabby either. The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That’s about 46 grams of protein for the average woman. Although I didn’t quite make it, I also didn’t reach my recommended calorie intake. Had I done that, my protein would have hit it.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 7.50.14 PM

I also want to be transparent and keep it real. So speaking of real, on Saturday I ate an entire bag of chips #noshame. I sent Daniel to the store hungry and he came back with a bag of chips for each of us (salt & vinegar are the best!). I wasn’t craving chips until they were right there in front of me. I didn’t eat them all in one sitting but every time I walked by the kitchen I grabbed a handful (or three) and by the end of the day the bag was empty. Whoops!

It happens. And you know what? It’s okay. Sometimes you stray off course but don’t let that deter you from getting back on it the next day or even the next meal. Plus, nothing wrong with a little splurge every now and then.

xoxo Rachel

How To Remove Meat From Your Diet (Slowly)

I often get asked how one even begins to start removing meat from their diet. It can seem overwhelming. The diet is rather simple but shifting the mindset from a Standard American Diet to a plant-based one can seem complex for a lot of people. I want to show you how easy it is to make the change.

How to Remove Meat From Your Diet (Slowly)

First of all, you need to determine your motivation behind this decision to remove meat. Is it ethical? Watch Earthlings to reinforce your decision. Is it environmental? Watch Cowspiracy to understand the implications of animal agriculture on our environment. Is it health? Watch Forks Over Knives to solidify your understanding of why a plant-based diet is the healthiest and only proven diet to prevent and reverse chronic diseases. Educating yourself on these matters will help build your foundation to success and staying the course. After taking off the metaphorical blinders, you’ll wish you had known all of these things a long time ago.

The next step is to make a plan. Decide what your comfort level is first. Maybe you just want to try Meatless Mondays and then expand to other days of the week over time. Maybe you want to cut out red meat first, then eventually poultry and fish. I myself started with something as simple as ordering only vegetarian meals every time I went out to eat. I didn’t really know how to cook vegetables at home to make them taste as good as restaurants do and I knew I needed more nutrients in my diet so by eating a vegetarian meal when at a restaurant I was guaranteed to get a couple servings of veggies. Most restaurants have vegetarian options now but a great site for finding veg-friendly restaurants in your area is Happy Cow. Eventually, I wanted to recreate those same tasty meals at home. Soon enough, there was no more meat in my fridge.

Crispy tofu thai curry

Crispy tofu thai curry ordered at restaurant

Have a favorite recipe that includes meat? One of my friends mentioned that she simply left the meat out of her recipe and said it was just as good! If the recipe seems sparse after the removal of meat, just add more of whatever vegetables are already in it or add tofu or beans as a meat replacement. They are both great for absorbing whatever spice/sauce is in the dish and are excellent sources of protein.

easy stir fry

Easy stir fry with chicken omitted

When eliminating meat, remember not to just replace it with processed starches. Bread is okay when it’s whole grain with minimal ingredients (my favorite is Ezekiel) and brown rice is good too. The best thing to do is to think about whole grains as the center of the dish rather than meat and your meals will come together a lot easier. It is the largest food group after all! So load up on sweet potatoes, brown rice, squash, whole wheat items, and oats!

Hearty homemade stew without the meat

Hearty homemade sweet potato stew without the meat

There is also a plethora of fake meats on the market now if you choose to go that route. They are great for transitioning or to have on occasion when you have a craving. Just remember that they are processed and more expensive. You’re better off with the above suggestion of using tofu, beans, and whole grains (for a slimmer waist and fuller wallet).

Also, as you make the conscious decision to remove meat, think about what you’re gaining not what you’re giving up. You’re going to be trying new foods, finding new favorites, gaining back back health and energy, reducing your impact on the planet, and saving lives! And when you slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just do the best you can and reevaluate what caused the slip up and what you can do to prevent it next time.

In the end, do it at a pace that is comfortable for you. There is no rush, because any progress is good progress. Ultimately, the end goal should be to cut out meat entirely but setting up a step-by-step plan will ensure you make progress towards your end goal. Set a timeline, plan the steps, then do it!

Hope this helps and inspires you to make the change! xoxo

For some additional resources, check out my series on How Your Diet is Slowly Killing You Part One, Two, Three, and Four.

New Year’s Resolutions Check-In

It is 22 days now into the new year and they say it only takes 21 days to form a habit, right? So let’s see how I’ve done so far sticking to these resolutions.

1. Lose body fat by consistently working out with no longer than 4 days between a workout.

checkmarkI have been working out consistently which I am proud of! I think the longest I’ve gone between a workout has only been 3 days. Score!
2. Follow the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study diet

red-xI have been successful adding additional nutrients to my diet like mushrooms and turmeric but I still have processed foods at work. Mostly it’s a handful of wheat thins or peanut butter pretzel bites. However, we are making hummus today and I bought some carrots to go with it as a snack to take to work. I’m also trying to figure out how to get all of my oatmeal fixin’s to work so I can make it there. Most mornings I just grab a banana and then snack at work because I’m always rushing out the door.  The issue is my work only has a mini fridge and it’s usually full of red bull and la croix that my coworkers drink so there’s not much room for storage. I can make it with water instead of almond milk but I love maple syrup in it and that has to be refrigerated. I’m looking in to trying agave syrup. If that doesn’t need refrigeration, I’ll use that. And then I can bring a baggie of fresh fruit with me to top the oatmeal with. Problem solved!

3. Stretch daily for at least 1 minutes.

red-xI have been doing really well to stretch every day. There have only been maybe 2 days that I stretched maybe only 5 minutes, but I still stretched! I can already tell I’ve gained some flexibility. I better be able to the splits by the end of this year!

4. Run 6 consecutive miles

red-xI actually haven’t been running as much as I would like. I think I’m only at 1.5 miles when I should be at 2 based on my gradual increase trajectory. The problem is I’ve only been running once a week instead of 2-3 times like I committed to. After Body Pump I tend to just stretch and head home when I should stick around to go running. This is the week it’s going to happen!

5. Minimize 10 items a month

checkmarkI did it! Check out this post for how I eliminated more than 10 items from my medicine cabinet. My next victim is the bathroom vanity. It feels so good to let go of items that I don’t need/use that clutter up my surroundings.

Wow, not as well as I thought. But I have a game plan for how I’m going to achieve the goals I haven’t been succeeding at.

every new day is a chance to change your life

How are you doing on your new year’s resolutions?

xoxoRachel

Eliminate 10 Items Resolution #1

One of my goals this year is to live more simply by reducing household items that take up space and don’t provide me much value. As I get older, I can’t stand having clutter around. It seems to add more and more stress to my life. I have this undeniable urge to purge.

So this year I have resolved to removing 10 items a month from my life. This includes trashing, donating, selling (like on craiglist/poshmark) or giving things away to friends.

My first victim this year was our medicine cabinet in our bathroom. There are three mirrors that hide three shelves of storage each. We have lived in this house for almost a year and still haven’t truly organized it from the original dumping of its contents into a spot just to feel moved in.

Here was the original state it was in:

Medicine Cabinet Before

The mirrors partially hide some of the chaos in the photo, but believe me, it wasn’t pretty. (And yes, having the light off centered from the cabinet does bother me.)

We have it set up where each of us have our own side–Daniel’s is the left, mine is the right, and we share the middle–except for our toothbrushes which are housed in Daniel’s. And yes, we do have a ridiculous amount of toothbrushes. We have a habit of keeping our old one’s even though we have new ones. But you don’t care!

Moving on!

So starting with my side, I really wanted to cut down all of the items I don’t use regularly or are full of harsh chemicals that I don’t want on my body anymore. Here’s what I decided to get rid of:

my side clutter removal

I apologize to anyone reading this who may have given me one of these things. I think they all were gifts at some point except for the deodorant, makeup remover lotion, and a few samples. Some of these items were really old, like the Bath & Body Works items in the back which ranged from 5-8 years old. It was time for them to go. As for the perfumes, although the scents are nice, I just honestly don’t wear perfume that often so I decided to keep only my full sized items. Although, that purple perfume was one of my favorites for a long time, it is almost empty and has taken on an alcohol-ish smell from age. The older items I threw away, but I am planning to give away some of the almost full items like the Avon lotion and the makeup remover lotion, and some of those little perfumes that are newer.

So here’s the result:

my-side-decluttered

It looks so much better and only has (mostly) the essentials I use. I am planning to get a new deodorant though since that Tom’s of Maine one on the bottom shelf just isn’t working for me. It seems to make me smell instantly of B.O. when I apply it. Anyone else? Maybe it’s because I have the unscented one… And yeah, I have my old and new retainer stacked there on the second shelf because I told you I’m a hoarder. I’m slowly trying to transition my personal care items to all natural, vegan, cruelty-free. A good website I’ve been using to determine whether it’s “all natural” or at least safer to apply on my skin is Skin Deep by the Environmental Working Group or EWG. They have compiled thousands of products and the ingredients in them based off of the current research available to give each product a score for how safe it is. Some products are even starting to use the “EWG Verified” certification on their packaging if they are rated as safe. Pretty cool stuff!

Alright enough rambling. Here’s the middle section decluttering action:

center-clutter-removal

It is mostly expired medicine and eye drops. I had a major issue with dry eyes when I wore contacts but now after PRK (a similar surgery to LASIK) I only need one bottle of drops as seen on my side of the cabinet. Oh and we condensed our bandages into one box so we could get rid of the other half-empty box. And we got rid of some almost-empty and “unsafe” sunscreen.

Here’s the after:

center-after

We kept the itch-relief stuff since Daniel had a bad bout of poison ivy a couple years ago and wants to have it on hand at all times. We also have some sunscreen in that orange tube that a friend left and we’ve been meaning to return… sorry friend! And I keep baby powder around to make my own dry shampoo. It smells like lavender! Then we’ve got a random assortment of first-aid stuff on the second shelf, plus my “safe” sunscreen! Goddess Garden is an awesome brand! And we have a ton of extra floss that accumulates from the dentist. I prefer the pre-strung flossers but Daniel says once we run out of them we have to use all of this floss before buying more *first world problems*. Then on the bottom shelf we have some flosser tools (not sure what they’re really called but for those of you who have a permanent wire bottom retainer from braces, you know what’s up), plus a spare tooth brush, rubbing alcohol, nasal spray, tweezers, and a tube of shaving cream.

And now Daniel’s side decluttering:

daniels-declutter

Yeah he really didn’t have much to get rid of. Some cologne that makes him sneeze, an old razor, and some cream that was actually mine when I had eczema. And not featured, we threw out our old toothbrushes. Because, progress, ya know?

Daniel’s after:

danies-side-after

Up top he has some shaving stuff and his deodorants, middle shelf he has his colognes/more shaving stuff, and the bottom shelf he has kindly donated to our dental hygiene. Pink toothbrushes for the win!

So here’s the final result:declutter-after

And side-by-side for perspective:

before-and-after-cabinet

It doesn’t look like much improvement, and we could certainly cut down on more, but it is progress and these things take time. I basically have to rewire my brain to assure myself that it’s OKAY to get rid of what I don’t need/use. I don’t have to hoard all the things. But I was able to get rid of more than 10 items!

Just like I try to focus on physical health, I want to improve my mental health, and decluttering my surroundings really helps to improve my mood!

I plan to tackle the bathroom vanity next. I have taken it over with all of my hair and makeup products and it is worse than the medicine cabinet…

New Year, Better You

2017 new year, better you

I can’t believe it’s almost 2017! What are you doing to ring in the new year? We have some wonderful friends coming in to town to help us celebrate! We plan to go to a local Bar & Grill that has a great elevated patio that looks down upon downtown Denver so we can enjoy the fireworks without all the frenzy (we’re old like that, okay?).

Among the celebrations I have been thinking of my new year’s resolutions. Do you make yearly resolutions? In that past I have, but they end up being vague and not very structured. They are usually something along the lines of “lose weight” or “get organize” without any solid plan of the how to accomplish them. And you might guess how that fared for me—yeah, it didn’t.

So this year I’m taking action and getting specific with the goal and how to achieve it. Yeah, 2017, I ain’t messin’ around this time!

2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Instead of “lose weight” here are my specific health goals for the new year:

1. Reduce my body fat by 3%

I plan to achieve this by consistently working out–never having more than 4 consecutive days between a workout. 3% seemed like a reasonable amount of fat to lose in one year (hopefully it’s more but I want it to be challenging and achievable). And I feel like body fat is a good way to measure my physical achievements rather than weight since muscle weighs more than fat and can be misleading on the scale.

2. Follow the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study diet

I plan to assess my diet and make the improvements where needed to reduce my intake of processed foods and replace them with a whole food alternative. If you haven’t signed up for the study yet, want more information on it, or want a free book click this link! I will be posting how I am making these changes and what I am doing to make them sustainable for long term success.

3. Stretch daily for AT LEAST 10 minutes

stretching

Everyone can find the time to do 10 minutes of something and this goal has been something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I want to regain my flexibility and strength. I hope to get in my 10+ minutes of stretching after my workouts but on rest days I will most likely stretch right before bed–it’s a nice nighttime relaxer!

4. Run six consecutive miles

running

I haven’t ran this far in…like ever. I’ve hiked/walked this far before but never ran. Now that I have joined a gym (woot woot) I plan to run on the treadmill 2-3 times a week and up my mileage slowly. Yesterday I ran one mile at a 6MPH pace or a 10-minute mile and it was challenging. (Can I still use the “altitude” excuse after living here 1.5 years?) Each time I run I want to add on an additional 0.25-0.5 mile. That puts me on track to running 6 miles at the very latest in 20 weeks or mid-May. Challenge accepted!

My health goals are much more extensive than the rest of my goals. I am very passionate about my health and want to be an example for others on this lifestyle. Plus, if you don’t take care of yourself it is harder to achieve in other areas of life.

So the rest of my resolutions are actually very simple.

5. Minimize

Less is More

Yep, that’s it! I feel bogged down by all of the extra things and objects taking up space in my home. I am a borderline hoarder. Okay, not that extreme, but I struggle with letting things go. I make excuses for keeping things I don’t need and don’t use anymore but *might* in the future. But that future rarely comes and all of this clutter raises my stress levels. To start minimizing I have committed to getting rid of 10 things every month! I plan to take you all on the ride with me with monthly updates to keep me accountable and to show you what sort of things have been cluttering up my life that could be cluttering up yours as well.

So that’s it for my resolutions! Hopefully these inspire you to make your own new year resolutions BUT I do have a recommendation for those of you who are wanting to “eat better” but need a bit of motivation or accountability.

My Challenge to You

Every year, a non-profit organization sponsors an online event called Veganuary. It’s all about challenging people to go vegan for the month of January. They provide a free cookbook, plus a bunch of recipes directly on their website and a guide for eating out. They’ve thought of everything to help you be successful and if that’s not enough feel free to email me at healthmylifestyle@gmail.com with any questions. “Vegan do it!” (Their quote, not mine. But I love a good pun.)

And for additional convincing–> 12 Reasons Why Going Vegan Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution

Hope you all have a Happy New Year! xoxo

“Super Immunity” Book Review

Super Immunity by Dr. FuhrmanAs mentioned from my previous post about joining a women’s health study, I received a free copy of the book Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It was an excellent read and has added a new layer of evidence for me that the plant-based diet is the only diet we should have.

The book is focused on micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals) which should be what we center our diet around, not macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein). You could be hitting your macronutrient goals and still be micronutrient deficient. Since the state of our health is based around those micronutrients, the nutritarian approach focuses on revving up our immune systems not just to protect against infection but also to protect against cancer, heart disease, strokes, and dementia. Dr. Furhman cites that,

“the lifetime probability of being diagnosed with an invasive cancer is 44 percent for men and 37 percent for women. However, because of the earlier median age of diagnosis for breast cancer compared with other major cancers, women have a slightly higher probability of developing cancer before the age of sixty. Currently, one in four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.”

Although these statistics are alarming, Dr. Fuhrman provides ease of mind with many recommendations on how to significantly reduce our risk of developing cancer along with reducing the risk of other diet-related diseases that commonly kill those on a Standard American Diet.

He also has a chapter regarding how to fight colds and viruses. He gives recommendations on how to prevent and combat these illnesses so that they do not affect our daily lives as often or as intensely as they may have if not for a strong immune system. He debunks many common remedies that could cause more harm than good in the mending process, such as eating chicken noodle soup. It can actually slow the recovery process by causing the body to have to work harder to digest the animal protein.

And in case you’re wondering, no–you can’t just supplement for optimal health. Many of these essential micronutrients are not easily absorbed as a supplement as they are consumed in their whole form from the plant. For optimal health, you need to be consuming it from the source. In fact, the book explains that some instances of supplementation can be more harmful than good. For example, I’m sure if you’re a woman you’ve been told to supplement with folic acid if you’re at child bearing age and could potentially become pregnant. Although folate (the natural version found in plants) is essential for preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida that occur when the fetus’s spine and back do not close during development, folic acid is the synthetic version which can cause serious health concerns if consumed in high amounts. Since many foods are fortified with folic acid, such as refined grain products, adding a supplement poses a risk of consuming too much. This is linked with the increased occurrence of certain cancers. However, there is no risk of consuming an abundance of the natural form, folate, in your diet. In fact, increased consumption of food-derived folate is linked with a decreased risk of breast and prostate cancer. Plants for the WIN!

This is just one of the many fallacies of supplementation and micronutrients that Dr. Fuhrman explains in this book. It is an excellent read for those wanting some motivation to eat healthier in the new year. He also provides a full chapter of recipes and a 2 week meal plan. Some of the recipes that I can’t wait to try are Sweet Potato Cakes with Strawberry Sauce, Thai Longevity Stew, Bean Enchiladas, and Coconut Carrot Cream Pie (say what?!).

You can purchase a copy from Amazon or receive a free copy by signing up for the 30-day trial of the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study.

Nutritarian Women’s Health Study

The time has come to share my exciting news! As you may know, I initially transitioned to this lifestyle for my health. I really just want to live forever. Is that too much to ask for?! But with things like heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, breast cancer, and Parkinson’s disease all running in my family, my risks seem a lot higher…. Or are they? Apparently, regardless of your family history, these things can still happen to you. It all boils down to diet.

For example, an ultra marathon runner who eats whatever they want and is in great shape will still have worse arterial function than the lazy vegan. You literally can’t outrun a bad diet. See the brief vid below from NutritionFacts.org that further explains how this is possible.

But I don’t just want to be the lazy vegan, I want to be a fit, active, healthy vegan! So to motivate myself to improve me eating habits and eliminate more processed foods, I’ve decided to join a health study! It’s called the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study from Northern Arizona University. It’s a long term observational study on the health of the nutritarian diet on occurrence, recurrence, and progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and all forms of cancer. The Nutritarian diet is coined by Dr. Fuhrman and is described as being “nutrient-dense and plant-rich, and includes anti-cancer superfoods, which also facilitate weight loss.” These nutrient dense foods include whole fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. This study is open to all females over the age of 18 in the United States. This is an open-ended study so it can go on for years but you do have the ability to opt out at any time. I highly recommend checking out their welcome page and intro video. If you decide to join the health study, you will receive periodic questionnaires to answer and occasional blood tests. Don’t worry–they send you a kit that you take to a lab to be performed so you don’t have to poke yourself. You should only need to do that once every 1-2 years. Easy peasy!

If anything, you should at least sign up for the 30 day trial so you can receive a free copy of the book Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman for free. Did I mention it’s free?

And don’t fret males, although they may exclude you for the actual study, I’m pretty sure you can still sign up for the 30 day trial and receive the free book 🙂

Ok, so here’s how you get started with the 30 day trial:

  1. Go to the enrollment page and start filling out the information. If you ever need to pause while filling it out you can either leave the page open and come back to it later (I did that sometimes) or you can pause it to return later and they’ll give you a code (save that!) and email you a link to return for later. You will need to use that link and the code they gave you to return. But honestly, it didn’t take that long to fill out so you might not even have to bother with that.
  2. After you fill out the information you watch a few short videos from Dr. Fuhrman and answer some questions.
  3. Then you get to download the free book! At this point they will email you the information to download the book and you will need to use the pause feature so that you can read the book before you continue. So again, don’t lose that code!
  4. The book isn’t too long but has excellent research and information on the nutritarian diet and what is best for achieving “super immunity” to live longer and healthier lives (disease free woot woot!). The back of the book also has easy to follow meal plans and recipes–and yes there’s even desserts! The recipes sound delicious and I plan to make several of them soon like the Sweet Beet Potato Cakes with Strawberry sauce, Better Burgers, Bean Enchiladas, Thai Longevity Stew, and Coconut Carrot Cream Pie just to name a few. Listing food makes me hungry.
  5. After you’re done reading the book you return to the study with the email link and that code you saved so that you can answer a quick 15 question quiz about the book. It’s super easy.
  6. Then you answer one last questionnaire about your health history. You will need to take a couple measurements around your waist and hips and know your blood pressure. Don’t worry, places like Kroger (Dillons, King Soopers, etc.) and some Walgreens have those free machines that take your blood pressure for you. You can see my results below. Once that is all complete, you fill out the consent form and you’re in the study!
Yeah, my results are a bit high and could use some improvement! Good thing I found this heath study!

Yeah, my results are a bit high and could use some improvement! Good thing I found this heath study!

It may seem like a lot but you have 30 days to complete it all. But seriously, at least sign up so you can get the free book. It is worth the read, and perhaps may convince you to add more fruits and veggies to your diet. I’ve already started adding pomegranates to my diet (yum!) and I’ve stopped picking around the mushrooms in my meals and have accepted that eating them daily is associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime so I’m all for reducing my risk. C’mon ladies–none of the women in our lives should ever have to suffer through that–so let’s pass this amazing knowledge along!

So go read that book! And let me know if you decide to join the health study. We can help keep each other accountable so that we can live longer healthy lives together! xoxo

P.S. Stay tuned for a short review of that book coming soon. I really enjoyed it and think you will too!

 

How Your Diet Is Slowly Killing You (And All of Us) Part 4

After the first few installments of this series you probably realize by now (I would hope) how your diet is slowly killing you–but how is it killing all of us? Many people don’t realize this, but their every day food choices actually impact us all. How, you may ask? Because we only have one planet. Because at our current rate, we will need 4.1 Earths to support us. Because if we really wanted to make a difference, the biggest difference to save the earth we have, it’s not using LED light bulbs, it’s not unplugging appliances when they’re not in use, it’s not remembering to shut off the lights when you leave the room, or recycling, or choosing to walk or bike rather than drive–the biggest impact we can make is to STOP supporting animal agriculture.

Have you ever heard the saying that a vegan driving a Hummer has a smaller carbon footprint than an omnivore driving a Prius? I heard that saying many years ago and it never really sunk in until recently.

Late September marked the dreaded tipping point for atmospheric carbon levels. It reached 400 parts per million. This should be concerning because it is considered permanent. Although the forests and oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, at this rate we need an extra half a planet just for that.

And here’s why you should be ALARMED by this if you’re not already:

Extinction—The Nature Conservancy suggests that one fourth of Earth’s species could be extinct by 2050.

Rising sea levels—Coastlines will become flooded and communities will be displaced. In May of 2016, the residents of Isle de Jean Charles were given $48 million to move (the first U.S.-based climate refugees)

Ocean acidification and coral bleaching—delicate marine ecosystems such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are bleaching and dying from climate change. This is considered irreversible.

Bleaching of Great Barrier Reef

The leading cause of climate change is animal agriculture. Take a look at the chart below from this study based on the effects of diet and our carbon footprints.

Carbon Footprint by Diet

This is our responsibility and we have to take action now.

Below is a nicely condensed video on the topic by Dr. Oppenlander. He has done extensive research on how our choices impact the environment. It is only 14 minutes long and you can speed up the video by using the little cog in the bottom right-hand corner (my preferred way to watch YouTube).

Another big resource of information is the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix. The facts it presents are just astounding. You can also access them at their fact page here.

I know it’s a lot to take in so here are some key facts I’ve gathered from these videos and around the web:

  • Animal agriculture is the leading contributor to the amount of methane gas being released into our atmosphere. Methane gas traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide within a 5 year period, and 72 times more within a 20 year period. However, it leaves the atmosphere within a decade. Therefore, reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately according to a U.N. press release in 2014.
  • Growing feed for livestock consumes 56% of the water in the U.S.
  • Livestock and livestock feed occupies one third of the earth’s ice-free land
  • Animal agriculture is responsbile for up to 91% of the Amazon destruction
  • It is predicted that we will have fishless oceans by 2048
  • We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 Billion people but more than 50% of this grain is fed to livestock

I know some may not find this information interesting—I’m a nerd like that—but I felt it was necessary to present all of this first to get the cogs turning so that you will hopefully do more research and make that connection with this lifestyle. I truly want us all to be happy, healthy, and to have a planet we can share for generations to come, and the only way we can make that happen is to educate ourselves on these issues. Vote with your dollar by not supporting these industries anymore and let’s make a difference!

So now that the nitty-gritty is out of the way, stay tuned for some upcoming posts involving my favorite recipes (including bonus holiday ones!) and what my journey has been like so far with this lifestyle.

Thanks for all of the support! xoxo

P.S. In case you missed it, click for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.