Archive for January, 2015

Life of a Vegan part 6: Where’s the Protein

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Shari┬┤ Parks

Many people believe a plant-based diet doesn’t provide enough protein. Yes, one can survive and not die living off a whole plant based diet. How else do some of the biggest and strongest animals on the planet like the gorilla, buffalo and elephant get so powerful on a herbivorous diet? So, when we talk protein we are really measuring amino acids. Amino acids have a specific role in our metabolism, muscle development, and wound healing. When you hear about your protein source being better than another, it’s referencing the amino acid makeup. Some animal foods contain high levels of amino acids. How much protein do you need? Between 10-20% of your total daily caloric intake. As a vegan athlete, another question I get all the time is about my protein intake. Sure, athletes need more protein than non-athletes, but I also need more carbs and fat than the average person. In fact, overall my caloric intake needs are much higher because I burn so much energy while training.

Of course there are many plant based foods that are great sources of protein. Some of the more popular are:
Legumes
Grains
Green vegetables
Nuts/Seeds
Whole grains
A variety of protein powders: hemp, pea protein, rice

So, don’t believe the hype. You won’t die of a protein deficiency if you eat a balance blend of some of the outstanding plant based sources. Take it from me. I’ve been doing this for a while.

* Sources *
No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier

Life of a Vegan part 5: Strong Bones

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by Shari┬┤ Parks

Another question I get all the time is about calcium consumption. No dairy products means weak bones right? Where do vegan’s get their calcium? Aren’t you afraid off fragile bones? I refer them to the 12year Harvard study of 78,000 women. Those that drank cow’s milk 3times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank it. Dairy products do contain calcium, but that’s accompanied by animal proteins, lactose sugar, animal growth factors and contaminants. Just to name a few.

The most healthful calcium sources are green leafy vegetables and legumes. Brussel sprouts, collards, kale, swiss chard and other greens are loaded and have high absorbable calcium levels. Beans have more than 100 milligrams of calcium; particularly in a plate of baked beans. They also contain magnesium which your body uses along with calcium to build bones. Another fun fact is vitamin D controls the body’s use of calcium. So get out into the sunlight.

Ways to Keep Calcium:

* Get protein from plants. Animal sources tend to leach calcium from the bones and it goes directly to the urine.
* Avoid excess salt. Calcium passes through the kidneys into urine. Sodium in your foods can greatly increase calcium loss through kidneys.
* Exercise. Keeps the bones strong. Active people tend to keep calcium in their bones.

Source: Vegan Health & Fitness, Fall 2012 edition.

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