Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Plant Based for 1 year


On October 17 2013, I celebrated my 1 year anniversary of being on a plant based diet. It was the one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. By going on a plant based diet, I have lowered my cholesterol, lowered my blood pressure, lowered my risk of heart disease, and lost 43 pounds to date. I was once overweight and unhealthy with medication being recommended by my doctor. Thank GOODNESS, I discovered Dr Caldwell Esselstyn and Scott Jurek on the web. Both are advocates of the plant based diet. I took their advice, gave their recommendations a try, and here I am today. The healthiest I have ever been.

Gone are the days of stopping at a fast food restaurant and filling my body with bad food. Bad food does bad things such as raise cholesterol, promote heart disease, raises blood pressure, and makes pharmaceutical companies very happy as you will be paying for their medications. 

These days I have swapped fast food and all animal products for nutrient dense plant based foods such as kale, leafy greens, beans, whole grains, etc. This way of eating has made me feel better all around. It's so simple! The food is the best medicine available!! While pharmaceutical medication simply places a band aid on your ailments eating the right foods which is plant based food will prevent and even reverse your ailments. 

Dr Caldwell Esselstyn called heart disease a paper tiger than need never exist. Dr Esselstyn is 100% right. Dr. Esselstyn promotes a plant based, oil free diet. He doesn't push pills on his patients. He pushes the plant based, oil free diet. And he has cured countless of patients who were suffering from heart disease and other ailments. He is truly one of the great doctors in the world today.

Another thing I have discovered is that I love to cook my own meals. In my animal based food life, it was so easy and boring to grab a few frozen chicken nuggets and fries and throw them into the toaster oven. Now I prepare my own meals such as 3 Bean vegan chili, Massaged Kale Salad, Curried Cauliflower, etc. I am not quite a Melanie Esqueda when it comes to cooking but I think I can hold my own.

So after a year of being on a 100% plant based diet I can honestly say I'll being eating this way for the rest of my life. I highly recommend this diet for everyone!!

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Oktoberfest Jost Running Half Marathon

It wasn't too long ago that I almost gave up running because of injuries. I suffered calf injuries, knee injuries, foot injuries, etc. I had two half marathons under my belt and one failed marathon attempt. I had to pull out of the marathon after suffering a calf injury half way through. I couldn't seem to completely heal after that. Every run was painful. My knees were so achy. I had just about given up on running.

But I couldn't. I decided to take a few months off and start all over again. Unfortunately, I let myself gain weight. I reached a weight of 202 lbs. At 5'4" tall that was not healthy. After a bad doctors report, I decided to make a huge lifestyle change. I committed to a plant based diet and started running again. 

I took it slow, running short distances. Slowly building myself up. I felt okay after each run. Everything was holding up. My new diet played a huge role in that. I started running longer distances without any recurring injuries. My recovery time was decreasing. I was feeling like a runner again! 

Fast forward to today. I am 43 pounds lighter and worked long and hard at building myself back. I felt I was ready to run a half marathon again. I chose the Jost Running Oktoberfest Half Marathon and ran it on Oct 14.

I will admit, I was a bit nervous. It was my first half marathon in three years. I knew in my heart that no matter what, I would finish this race. 

My strategy for this half marathon was to start slow and use the 10 and 1 formula, which is run 10 minutes and walk 1. My goal was to finish with a time of 2:30 or under.

I started nice and easy and was able to get into a nice rythem. My pace was perfect. I hit such a huge runners high very early as all I was thinking about was I am really running a half marathon again! I reached the 10 minute mark but didn't want to stop for a 1 minute break as I felt so awesome,  so I continued running. I stopped for the first time at the 30 minute mark and proceeded to use the 10 and 1 formula for the remainder of the run.

The route was a very good one. Not too many hills and scenic. I was enjoying every single step I was taking. There was no doubt I was finishing this race. I wondered about all the others competing in the Oktoberfest Half Marathon and wondered if they were enjoying it as much as I was.

When I hit the 11 mile mark, my legs were tired but I knew I needed to push ahead for two more miles. They were two tough miles but I got through them and finished the half marathon with a time of 2:23. I was so proud when I finally crossed the finish line and proud to be back at half marathon level.

As this is only the third half marathon I have run, it will always be the most special. I will always remember how I went from almost quitting running to returning to half marathon level. Hard work and a never quite attitude always pays off! My next goal - finishing my first marathon! Training commences now!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Think beyond your taste buds

The Whopper. The Big Mac. Overstuffed beef burritos. Ultimate bacon cheeseburgers. KFC Double Down. I bet you're taste buds are tingling right now. But are you thinking about the long term effects these garbage foods can have on your body? Are lifelong health issues worth the 5 seconds your taste buds have in contact with these foods? The answer of course is no.

I have heard it so many times - "I know a whopper is bad for me but it is SO good tasting". Fine a whopper or any of the fast food oversized meals may taste good. But what happens after it passes your taste buds? Remember, you are consuming high amounts of fat, cholesterol, and sodium. After it passes your taste buds, it has been given the freedom to clog your arteries, raise your blood pressure, and promote cardiovascular disease. Is all this worth 5 seconds of pleasing your taste buds?Hopefully, you have answered no.

Let's stick with the whopper as an example. A whopper with cheese has 710 calories (380 calories from fat alone!) which is half of the calories an average person takes in each day. This food poses the danger of eating more than you burn which results in weight gain. In addition, it has 42 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1380 mg of sodium, and 85 mg of cholesterol. All incredibly high and unhealthy numbers! And this is just the whopper! It does not include the fries and sugary drinks included in the meal which will considerably add to these disease promoting numbers! And get this- Burger King has a double and triple whopper which contains 65 grams of fat and 1480 mg of sodium alone!!! Why are we eating this?!? Oh yeah, because it tastes good. Does taking high cholesterol and high blood pressure medication taste good? Answer this question for me - do you think a heart attack FEELS good? Stop using the "it tastes good" excuse to eat these bad foods. There are so many foods, plant based foods, that tastes delicious and are good for you as well.

Instead of a fast food burger like the one I named above, try making a quick and easy black bean burger. There are so many recipes for this online. I have made many of these and they are delicious!! The burgers I made only have 100 calories, 4g of total fat, 1g saturated fat, 350 g of sodium, and 0mg of cholesterol.  Add hummus, tomatoes, leafy greens, onions, pickles, hot peppers and you got a healthy black bean burger masterpiece!

I have seen recipes for various bean burgers such as a three bean burger, kidney bean burger, etc. These burgers tastes outstanding grilled on the barbecue! Brush on some BBQ sauce and wow!!!

Beans aren't your thing? Try a veggie burger! You can make them on your own or find them frozen. They normally come with 100 calories, 4 g total fat, 1 g of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, and 350 mg of sodium. Again, add all the plant  based trimmings and you have yourself a healthy burger that will keep your taste buds happy!

To close off, the best way to keep healthy is to adopt a 100% plant based diet. Give up the animal based and processed foods which only promote the ailments I discussed above and more. And please STAY AWAY from the fast food restaurants! Yes, I used to frequent these places. But I don't anymore. All it did for me was keep me overweight, gave me high cholesterol and put me at risk for cardiovascular disease. 100% plant based foods will lead to a happier and healthier life. Trust me! I know!