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    • Can I still be an Athlete......?

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    •  1/23/2010 6:56:05 PM
    • While training for my second marathon last May , I listened to "The China Study' and changed my eating habits. I was afraid if I took out all animal and dairy that I would lose that "good protein" I needed for fast recovery. I listened to "Eat to Live" next, both my husband and I chose to follow Dr Furhman's 6 week plan in the back of that book. We focused on eating the vegetables and fruits required for his strict diet plan. I continued to train, but found myself struggling for the energy I needed to go the distance on my long 12-18 mile runs.

      I got worried and slowly backed down my mileage and ended up not running the marathon. I was disappointed that eating this way would prevent me from achieving my running goals. However, I continued to focus on the health benefits I was gaining from eating this way. The weight I had gained with my twins pregnancy just seemed to fall off. Of course I was happy about that, and my husband quickly(3months) dropped 60 pounds. We both felt better than ever. As winter came on I decided to just go for a run again. I ran 4 miles on my first run in months and I felt fantastic! I was so excited!!! After analyzing things a little, I realized that on Dr Furhman's 6 week plan, you don't consume enough nuts, seeds avocados etc. because his 6 week plan is based more on weight loss, not maintaining. I was not eating an athlete's diet.

      As an athlete, the biggest concern is PROTEIN... where and how am I going to get it if I am not eating a cow everyday?? I have had some fun and even opened my own eyes in researching this. First we have to find out how much protein we need daily. I searching wikipedia for this answer (I also searched several other places to find very similar answers): How many grams of protein are recommended per day?

      0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass

      e.g. if you are 70 kg it is recommended that you have 70 kg x 0.8 grams protein per kg per day = 56 grams protein per day

      However, it should be noted that this is the general rule for sedentary adults. It is widely agreed that up to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body mass are needed for active adults engaged in strength training or intense endurance training. So we now have the formula. Convert your weight into kilograms and times it by 1.8 grams **IF YOU ARE STRENGTH TRAINING OR ENGAGED IN INTENSE ENDURANCE TRAINING**

      I figured mine out and was surprised at the small amount that my body actually needs and uses. The next step is finding the foods with the highest amount of protein per serving.

      GREEN VEGGIES are a great source. Dr Joel Furhman compares broccoli, kale, and romaine lettuce with a sirloin steak:

      Grams of protein per 100 calories serving: broccoli 11.2 grams, kale 11grams, romaine7.5 grams, and the sirloin steak only 5.4 grams. That is just the protein comparison, check out his chart to compare all the other vitamins and nutrients you are getting from the greens and NOT from the meat:

      LEGUMES are another great source of protein.. what are legumes you say? (I had to look it up when I first started eating this way.) peas, beans and lentils: including all dried beans and peas- kidney, runner,soya, chick peas, mushy peas, processed peas, baked beans, petit pois, beansprouts. Many legumes contain nearly as much protein as found in tofu. But legume protein is slightly deficient in two amino acids. It is often recommended to eat a grain dish at the same meal in order to get a better balance of essential amino acids.

      NUTS AND SEEDS an easy source of protein and healthy fats. A few of my favorites (per100grams): Almonds 21grams protein, cashews 20 grams, pine nuts and hazelnuts 14grams. 1ounce of sunflower seeds 5.48grams, 1TBSP of Sesame seeds 2.55grams (I love to sprinkle both of these seeds on top of my salads)

          Training this year, I feel more prepared to fuel my body properly. I am excited as my mileage climbs to see how well my body is able to perform. I am finding that I can run more with less effort than in the past years. I decided to just go crazy and try and 8 mile run to see if I could make it, my longest distance prior was 4 miles. I ran it with ease and I felt great afterward. My body is performing at its peak and I am loving it! I just need to stay focused on my diet and consume enough of the GOOD STUFF!

      Can I still be an Athlete...? YES!!!

      Great articles I found on athletes that eat a plant based diet: 

      Tony Gonzalez NFL Player

       Brenden Brazier, Ironman tri-athlete

      Scott Jurek, utlra marathoner

      There is also a list of althletes/olympians:

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    • Which Milk is best.... Soy vs. Rice vs. Almond

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    •  1/15/2010 10:21:34 PM
    • I have been asked by friends why rice or soy? Which is better and which one gives you the same proteins and fats as whole milk? I have one friend who is currently switching her baby over to milk. She called me to ask, if not cows milk then which? I had not done much research until then. Here is what I have come up with in comparison with cows whole milk.

      Cows whole Milk

      Protein: 8g

      Fat: 8g

      Saturated fat: 5g

      Cholesterol: 35mg

      Calcium: 30% (daily value)

      Vitamin A: 10%

      Vitamin B12: 15%

      Vitamin D: 25%

      Soy milk

      Protein: 7g

      Fat: 4g

      Saturated fat:0.5

      Cholesterol: 0mg

      Calcium: 35%

      Vitamin A: 10%

      Vitamin B12: 50%

      Vitamin D: 25%

      Almond milk

      Protein: 1g


      Saturated fat:0g

      Cholesterol: 0mg

      Calcium: 0%

      Vitamin A: 10%

      Vitamin B12: not listed

      Vitamin D: 25%

      Rice Milk

      Protein: 1g

      Fat: 2.5 g

      Saturated fat:0g

      Cholesterol: 0mg

      Calcium: 30%

      Vitamin A: 10%

      Vitamin B12: 25%

      Vitamin D: 25%

      That is pulling the numbers straight off the boxes from my own fridge. It may vary a little by brand. After doing this little bit of research my choice was a little more obvious. If I am not making my own Almond milk at home (which I am not just yet), then Soy is the best choice for me and my family. It is very similar  to cows milk, without the harmful effects of animal protein, and the cancer aiding casein.

      Now flavors..... that's another story. When switching my kids over from cows milk, I bought one box of each to let them taste. The winner: Rice milk hands down. Its sweeter and really has the least amount of flavor affect on cheerios. I am currently switching the one year twins over to soy milk and they seem to not have a problem with it. My other two however call soy milk, SOIL milk. They are not big fans.

      I will continue to watch for information on why which milk is better, but feel free to leave comments or advice if you have some :)

      Also I found this great article written by, Jolinda Hackett in my searching:

      "Who was the guy who first looked at a cow and said, 'I think I'll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze 'em!'? -Calvin, from Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes"
       While milk may be a good source of calcium and protein for vegetarians, many people are reducing their consumption of dairy due to food allergies, in an effort to reduce fat and cholesterol intake, or just to take advantage of the many health benefits of soy. Need a dairy substitute for baking, cooking or drinking? Soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk can all be easily substituted for dairy in most recipes.

      Soy milk
      The good news is, soy milk is healthy, cheap, and easy to find and use. The bad news is...well, there really is no bad news! From a nutritional perspective, soy milk has almost as much protein as dairy milk, less fat, no cholesterol, and, since most soy milks are fortified, is a comparable source of calcium. Vegan should make sure to find a brand that is fortified with Vitamin B12. Soy milk is an excellent dairy substitute for baking or for kids.

      Each brand of soy milk is slightly different, so try a couple and see which one suits your taste buds best. Soy milk is increasingly popular, and many grocery chains, such as Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Safeway make their own brand in a variety of flavors. I recommend trying Silk brand unflavored soy milk to start, though the chocolate flavor is an incredibly tasty treat.

      Rice Milk
      Rice milk is not as thick as soy or dairy milks, and has a somewhat translucent consistency. Because it is slightly sweet, rice milk works well in dessert recipes and is not suited for savory or salty dishes, such as mashed potatoes. Compared to soy and almond milk, rice milk has less protein.

      Almond Milk
      Milk made from almonds or other nuts, such as cashew milk has a creamy consistency similar to soy milk and a nutty taste perfect for making fruit smoothies or other creamy drinks and desserts, though they don't taste much like dairy milk, and are best in non-savory dishes. Be sure to shake your almond milk well before using. If you can't find almond milk at your grocery store, try making a homemade almond or cashew milk.

      Here's how to use these milk substitutes:

      Dairy substitutes for baking:
      Substitute soymilk, rice milk or almond milk for milk. You won't even be able to tell the difference in most recipes, including breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, puddings and other creamy desserts.

      Dairy substitutes for cereal, oatmeal, and beverages:
      Any milk substitute will work fine, so it's really a matter of personal taste. I find that rice milk is a bit too sweet for me on cereal, but you may find that the sweetness of the rice milk just enhances the taste of a bowl of cereal. For extra flavor, try using vanilla flavored soymilk on your cereal- yum!"


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    • Drive-Thru Cancer? YUM!

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    •  1/8/2010 9:40:19 AM
    •         I always joke when I see a cheese stick or any type of meat on the bone, I call it, cancer on a stick.  People laugh and I usually let them think I am joking, but today I read a couple of articles that prove my point. (about the meat)


             PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) Publishes "Good Medicine" magazine quarterly. Their Autumn 2009 had an eye opening article titled, "Cancer in a bucket".  It targets KFC's new grilled chicken idea. " Taste the un-fried side of KFC. Its easier than ever to keep it balanced with KFC's new Kentucky grilled chicken --the better-for-you option for health-conscious customers who love KFC's finger lickin' flavor."  It sounds healthy enough right? WRONG! I know animal products aren't ideal for our bodies, but I was surprised to read just how bad it really is.


      A PCRM scientist visited 6 KFC locations and took two samples from each place. When tested by independent labs, EACH piece was found to contain a chemical called PhIP.  Because I don't want to get it wrong, I am quoting straight from the article:

      "PhIP is part of a chemical family known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and has been linked to cancer in numerous scientific studies. The National Toxicology Program administered by the National Institutes of Health has identified PhIP as carcinogenic, as has the International Agency for Research on Cancer. 



      Scientists have not found a safe level of PhIP consumption—it appears to increase cancer risk even at very low levels. Grilled chicken is the largest source.


      PhIP and other HCAs are formed from the creatinine, amino acids, and sugar found in muscle tissue. They are produced by long cooking times and hot temperatures. When chicken and other meats are grilled, pan fried, or barbecued, these chemicals are produced. Every KFC sample also tested positive for at least one additional HCA.

      As mutagens, HCAs can bind directly to DNA and cause mutations—the first step in cancer development. Recent studies have shown that the consumption of well-done meats is associated with an increased risk of cancers of the colon, rectum, esophagus, lung, larynx, pancreas, prostate, stomach, and breast."


      Ummmm.... SCARY!  It just frustrates me that a warning isn't stamped on each bucket! As consumers we have the right to know what we are eating. I am all for people making their own choices. I am not here to say who should eat what, but I do want the ability to make an educated desicion... right? Don't you?


      For those who live in California, there is a public health law known as Proposition 65, which states that consumers must be warned about products that contain known carcinogens. PCRM is currently suing for knowingly exposing customers to PhIP without warning them of the the risk. The seven chains include; McDonald's, Chili's, Outback,  Apple-bee's, Chick-fil-a, TGI Fridays, and of course KFC. The lawsuit is based on independent laboratory tests that found PhIP in 100 grilled chicken samples from the seven restaurant chains.



      Lucky for California people, but for the rest of us, we will just have to continue to do our own research. Thanks PCRM for the great article. To read  the full article click here


      *PCRM also sued Burger King. They were the first of the restaurants to settle the lawsuit. As part of its agreement with PCRM, Burger King has posted warning signs in its California restaurants to alert customers that its grilled chicken products contain PhIP.

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