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Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Going Veg Promo is Finally Out!

The teaser for “Going Veg with the Plant-Based Dietitian” is now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/goingvegnet

Plant-Based Pregnancy

Probably one of the strangest, most frightening and exciting experiences in my life was the first (and second) time I was pregnant and knew that everything I did directly impacted another human being's life. Talk about pressure to make appropriate choices! Unfortunately for me and my kidlets, I was not convinced yet of the miracles of plant-based, whole food nutrition. I had not yet come across books like The China Study, Disease-Proof Your Child, or Eat to Live, the books that changed my world forever.

From there, I was led down an upward spiral into a whole world of incredibly well-researched, substantiated evidence that fulfilled my lifelong dream that helping animals is safe for your health. Previously, every time I tried to go veg (during childhood, teen-hood, college, and nutrition grad school), I was shot down with utter terror that my hair would fall out, I would be sick and deficient in nutrients, and that I could never be healthy. I will never forget when my parents had their friend, a nurse, teach me how dangerous a veg diet is and they took me to a restaurant and forced me to eat a teriyaki steak to break my crazy recent "phase" of being a vegetarian.

Fast forward to now...I have absolutely no fear, no concerns about a strictly plant-based, whole food diet for myself, my husband, and even for my little kids. I do wish I had started them early, but the confidence was just not there yet. It's better late than never...right?

So, if I were pregnant again (which, according to my husband, will not happen), what would I do to ensure optimal nutrition for my baby and me???

First, I would be sure to ignore other people's concerns and opinions. Or, at least set them straight with information to ameliorate their concerns.

Second, I would make sure I was eating all the right foods everyday. What does that mean? Here is a great article that describes the details: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/pregnancy.htm. Even though it is now super-controversial, for the first trimester I would take a B supplement to make sure I was getting enough folic acid (at least 400 mcg/day). Just in case. I would, of course, try to eat all the greens I could get into my mouth all day long...but, nausea??? I couldn't even look at vegetables (my favorite food group normally) during the first three months of my pregnancies. So, just to be safe and prevent any neural tube defects, I would take the silly supplement and move on...just for the first three months. After the nausea subsided and I could eat greens ad libitum, I would opt for that instead.

Third, I would do my best to include as many greens, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and fruit as I could all day long. I wouldn't worry about calories or other numbers. Just focus on nourishing my little bubula inside my belly.

Another fun thought that I will never forget is advice given to me by my acupuncturist at the time I was getting prego...he told me that I should eat walnuts everyday because in Chinese medicine, walnuts help build and support the brain. He justified this suggestion based on the fact that walnuts look like little brains. I laughed, ate as many walnuts as I could (even though they were nauseating and hideous during my pregnancies...I had to plug my nose to get them down), and thought about it later. He was brilliant! If you look at the nutrients in a walnut, it is exceedingly high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an incredibly important nutrient during pregnancy: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/t040900.asp.

Ultimately, eating for two is a lot more simple and significant than is led to believe. Forget the pills...eat plants!!! Your baby will appreciate it for the rest of his/her life...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How to Save Your Health, the Earth and the Animals with your Fork

The perfect ideology about health can be summed up by the Father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, when he said: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”. I propose that the ultimate epitome of medicinal consumption is a whole food, plant-based diet. What is plant-based nutrition? It is a diet that creates health; prevents and even reverses disease; assists with weight loss; and enhances energy, endurance, beauty and strength. It is a diet based on whole foods that come direct from nature.

There is currently a vast enormity of scientific data that confirms and substantiates the fact that a whole food, plant-based diet creates health. There is decades of evidence showing that the Standard American Diet (SAD; high-fat, high-protein, low nutrient) is the cause of the growing incidence of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. Ultimately, no matter what your genetic destiny, these diseases can be prevented and reversed and it all depends on what is at the end of your fork…

There are two components to eating for health…what you choose not to eat and what you should eat. The worst products to put into your body includes animal protein, fat, processed “foods”, artificial colors/flavors, preservatives, and chemicals. On the other hand, what your body and immune system need to thrive and protect itself is a variety of plants, namely: grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit…the new four food groups.

Research demonstrates the fact that animal protein itself (including that from eggs, dairy, fish, fowl, red meat, and pork) can turn on and off carcinogenesis (cancer formation). Additionally, the further you get from nature (meaning, the more processed the food), the closer you get to disease formation.

Conversely, plant-based, whole foods are full of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are nutrient-dense and flood the body with usable compounds to build immunity, fight disease, re-build, detoxify and maintain health. The more of these nutrients you consume, the stronger your immune system will be.

With respect to the Earth, the number one greatest thing you can do decrease your carbon footprint (and to thereby minimize your effect on Global Warming) is to eat plants and not eat animal products. The World Health Organization came to the conclusion in their 2006 report that livestock production was the number one cause of greenhouse emissions. They determined that eating animal products was responsible for more damage than all transportation combined. In other words, a vegan driving a Hummer is less harmful to the environment than a meat-eater driving a Prius!

A final reason to put plants on your fork and to just say no to meat is the horrific treatment of animals in Factory Farms and in the Slaughterhouses. Cows, chickens, pigs and other animals are abused, tortured, and live a terrifying, miserable life before they get violently killed for consumption. Because there is such a demand for animal products, farmers are forced to utilize extreme measures to meet that demand. Thus, the less animal products people buy, the less terror reigns on the animals.

Overall, there is no better decision you can make to save your health, heal the environment, and stop the abuse of animals than what you put on the end of your fork. It all begins with one meal.

To learn more about how to make these changes, check out my website: www.PlantBasedDietitian.com

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My New Year's Wish

So here we are in the future...where we are supposed to be flying around in our spacecars, wearing silver metal sleeksuits, and where robots make our dinner and clean the dishes. We are actually heading in that direction at the rate we are going...but not in the idealized projection. We will be forced to live up in our sky hightower homes because our Earth will be sucked dry and destroyed from all of the damage we have placed on it. We will be eating food that we grew in our hydroponic, indoor planters, depleted of true sun-filled nutrition and popping chemistry lab-made supplements to fulfill our deficiencies...

Oooo...this sort of prediction is eerie in its potential probability. I prefer to live on the planet the way we are now...visiting Farmer's Markets and Trader Joes, cooking my meals at home, and having beaches, mountains, and farmland to visit whenever I feel the desire.

In order to do this, I am making a New Year's Wish...I am wishing that the knowledge of the implications associated with Factory Farming; the overuse of drugs (antibiotics, steroids, and hormones); the abuse of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides; and the abuse of animals due to the high demand for their use as food will be acknowledged and absorbed by millions of people in 2010. I am hoping these millions of people will simultaneously recognize that the healthiest diet for the planet and for the animals just happens to be the same one that will sustain longevity and vitality, prevent disease and enhance energy, beauty and endurance.

To a happy, healthy 2010!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thriving with Brendan Brazier


This afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Brendan Brazier...author of the bestseller Thrive and Thrive Fitness; creator of the award-winning, delicious and superfood-rich product line, Vega; and professional athlete extraordinaire. Brendan was a professional Ironman Triathlete and two-time champion of the Canadian 50Km Ultra Marathon. He was named one of the 25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians by VegNews Magazine and is a guest lecturer for eCornell's Plant-Based Certification Program. Brendan is 100% powered by plants and he has nutrition down to a perfect science and art.

First-hand experience is considered anecdotal research. But Brendan used this concept scientifically as he manipulated the biochemistry of his food to his advantage, studying every nuance and perfecting the precise formula to enhance performance and recovery. He succeeded and is teaching the world what he has learned. His books are full of accurate, provocative information; fantastic recipes that everyone will enjoy; and guidance for maximizing energy, endurance, strength and vitality.

It was truly exciting to meet Brendan and to learn more about his experiences and goals. He has an aura of calm tranquility mixed with wisdom and strength which is rather infectious and inspiring. He has a book coming out in 2011 tying together the environmental implications to the way we eat. I cannot wait to read it. Stay tuned to Brendan and see his interview as Going Veg with the Plant-Based Dietitian progresses!

Another Piece of the Pie


Julieanna's Note:
This is a guest blog from Jon Ham from Fitness On The Run and SUP Trainer. Jon found out about me at a party while talking to one of our mutual neighbors who thought we might be a good fit to bounce health/fitness ideas off of since we both are trainers and Jon also has a strong nutrition background. You will see regular content from Jon and I in the future based around health, fitness, and lifestyle that is meant to help you along in your own personal journey.

By now you have made the decision to embrace a plant based nutritional lifestyle, but there are other important factors when looking at your fitness other than your eating habits. Historically in the “Fitness Industry” there are 3 components of fitness that should be the focus for training – Cardiovascular Training, Strength Training, and Nutrition, although I believe the pie is even LARGER than those three and should include 3 more components – Core Training, Balance Training, and Flexibility Training. Without a focus on all these essential components of training, you will not be at your optimum.

Today I am going to write solely on Core Training. The core consists of all the musculature surrounding the spine. If you cut your arms and legs off, only your core remains. Training your core is vital for your total body strength and injury prevention. Suppose you have a large tree with a small, weak trunk. When a powerful wind blows, it doesn’t matter how strong the branches are, that tree is coming down! The same principle applies to our body!

To effectively train your core, you must train your spine’s stability by making your spine hold your body weight. This forces your body to stabilize your spine, causing all the muscles around your spine to coordinate an effort to support it. Many of the exercises which are unstable and train the core can be done with your own body weight, holding it in a stable position. Others can be done using the stability ball, Indo Board, and TRX.

Here is a quick example of a core training routine which should be done every other day in addition to other exercises. These exercises don’t require ANY equipment, train your core, can be done anywhere, and will make you feel better if you do them 2-3 days per week. Do 2- 3 sets of each exercise and begin with holding each one 20 seconds, and build up to 1 minute.
Floor Plank, Floor Side Plank, Prone Cobra, 1 Leg Floor Bridge
Pictures demonstrating these exercises can be found at: http://bit.ly/54VeaW

For more information- visit Jon’s Website at http://www.fitnesstrainingbyjon.com/