I call myself an 'intentional vegan'. Overall, I aim to consume a balanced plant-based diet on a daily basis allowing for minor 'exceptions' when required. Through thoughtful planning, I find this nutritional lifestyle easy to follow and highly rewarding. Some of the rewards come from learning new foods and techniques that can readily replace conventional omnivore diets. One new tool that I am excited to share is the new Thrive Kitchen Edition part of the Thrive Forward program.
Posts tagged ‘nutrition’
Win a box of the new Vega One Nutrition Bars, a Vega T-shirt, and Tote Bag. The team at Vega has done it again! They have created a new, incredible nutrition product to fuel your whole wellness. Just launched, the Vega One Nutrition Bar takes the super goodness of the Vega One Shake into a chocolate covered portable snack.
Kombucha has become all the rage with the yoga community becoming the side-kick to the yogi's mat - and for good reason. I was invited to a new flavours launch party by Rise Kombucha (based out of Montreal). They hosted a great event celebrating 2 new flavours, Mint Chlorophyll and Rose Schizandra.
WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
I have a great number of people asking me how to enhance their yoga and wellness practices with nutrition, and often, with inquiries about vegetarian/vegan diet plans. I frequently receive questions about how to get adequate protein, having variety in foods, how to cook, and simply just how to get started. I am excited to see the new Thrive Forward program to which I now refer everyone who is looking for guidance, tips, and inspiration in developing a plant-based diet and enhancing their whole wellness. I am also excited to be able to give away two Thrive Forward Starter Kits containing Vega products.
Mid-summer means tomatoes are coming into full harvest. Tomatoes offer an abundance of health benefits and nutritional value. The pigment in tomatoes that gives them their bright red color is called lycopene. As a powerful antioxidant, lycopene eliminates free radicals that can damage cells in the body. The consumption of tomatoes has shown to reduce the incidence of cancers including breast, lung, endometrial, prostate, colon, and stomach cancers.
Sourcing out high quality, vegan protein has become a mission of mine. I was delighted to discover organic, raw hemp hearts from Manitoba Harvest. Hemp is quickly becoming known as a highly sustainable plant for nutrition and consumer products (like clothing). After reviewing the overall health benefits of hemp, I am now hooked and look forward to integrating hemp hearts, hemp protein, and hemp oil into my regular nutrition plan.
Food companies go out of their way to repackage and market their processed food items as nutritious and 'healthy'. These marketing strategies are rarely followed by improvements in the actual food quality. Therefore, we need to be diligent in knowing exactly what we are buying and putting into our bodies. Just by carefully reading and understanding food labels, you can empower your nutritional decisions. Here is simple list of food items we should avoid and replace as these common ingredients offer little to no health benefits and, in fact, may produce chronic health problems with regular consumption.
Part of an overall healthy lifestyle is maintaining an appropriate body composition. When attempting to decrease body fat percentages, many people make some common mistakes that greatly hinder success in achieving effective weight loss.
An important part of a balanced health and wellness program is managing your body composition and understanding what is a healthy body weight for your body type. A consistent Yoga practice, a clean Yoga diet, and observance of Yoga principles and lifestyle habits can help you find this balance in managing your body weight.
Vega’s Whole Health Food Optimizer has changed! It is now Vega One (all-in-one nutritional shake). I had the opportunity to try out the updated formula and I am happy to see that their vegan goodness continues. I am a huge fan of the Vega products and in particular, the Vega One product. I am a food label junkie and I avoid anything and everything that looks like junk for the body. With Vega One, there are no preservatives, no added sugar, no artificial flavours, no soy, no dairy – just great tasting alkaline-forming, whole foods to boost one’s daily nutrition plan.
Most people view nutrition and body weight management primarily from the point of quantity. How much am I eating? How does the caloric input balance with the caloric output? Having our focus solely on the ‘how much’ of eating grossly limits one’s capacity to effectively nourish the body without generating a positive caloric balance and weight gain. Many people unnecessarily over-restrict the amount of food they eat instead of taking advantage of the ‘when and how’ strategies of nutritional plans.
Understanding the timing of when we eat along with how we eat can greatly improve our ability to management body weight and to sustain optimal energy levels throughout the day. With these strategies, we often find that we can consume more food without enduring sudden or gradual weight gain.
Looking first at the ‘when’ strategy of eating, we want to acknowledge the function of food. Food has a basic purpose of providing nutrients and acting as energy sources for cellular maintenance and function. We want to consume food just prior to or during periods when cells are requiring more fuel. When the cells shift into a lower state of energy consumption, our nutritional intake should be reduced.
Our society has grown accustomed to eating the largest meal (dinner) at the end of day which is also when most people begin to decrease physical activity. By flooding the body with a large meal (and a series of late night snacks), our cellular systems become overly saturated with nutrients and calories. This overflow of calories remains in the blood stream as broken down blood sugars and results in a cascade of hormonal releases. To bring the blood sugar levels back into a more balance state, the pancreas releases insulin that shunts these sugars into fat cells. An enzyme-lead chemical reaction occurs that converts these unused sugars into stored fat.
From the ‘when’ perspective, we want to consume our more calorie-dense meals at the beginning and middle of the day to take advantage of daily physical activities that will consume these blood sugars and reduce the conversion of excess calories into stored fat.
Many people do a major disservice to themselves by skipping or not eating enough breakfast. One’s day starts off with improper fueling of the systems and limits one’s energetic capacity to perform, interact and enjoy life. Make a point of nourishing your body first thing in the day and continue to fuel the body throughout the midday.
As the late afternoon and evening approaches, consumption should taper off with the last meal (and any snacks) ending well before bedtime. This can prove to being challenging at first as cravings and habits tend to tempt one. You can curb these cravings with herbal teas and by changing lifestyle patterns. One common factor in generating late night cravings is television. Television ads bombard us with nonstop food commercials. It becomes very easy to shift into unnecessary eating patterns when relaxing in front of the television. If your body weight management needs extra addition, consider reducing or replacing television watching with other more productive activities like reading, crafts, walking, or meditation.
Take note that certain individuals (ie athletes) need to maximize caloric consumption for tissue recover and they may employ nutrition strategies that purposefully manipulate late night food consumption. These types of strategies should be done so with the guidance of a trained professional in order to tap into the desired training routine and athletic performance benefits.
As you modify the timing of eating schedules, also consider the ‘how’ factor of your diet. By modifying your food combinations, you can also dramatically reduce the occurance of blood sugars being turned into fat. So now, you are eating a dense breakfast every morning consisting of oatmeal, fresh fruit, and whole grain toast. This meal appears to offer an abundance of nutrients and fiber, but is it acting as the most effective strategy of energy management? The answer is ‘no’!
Even though this new pattern of eating breakfast provides a great source of energy, nutrients, and fiber, it is imbalanced by offering a very high proportion of carbohydrates and little protein or fat. Yes, these carbohydrates are considered ‘complex’ and are received better by the body (compared to simple sugars), but they are still readily absorbed into the blood stream. A meal that is predominantly carbohydrates (complex or simple) passes relatively quick through the disgetive system and does not keep one feeling ‘full’ for long.
Therefore, consider adding a ‘slowing agent’ to your meals. This ‘slowing agent’ should be in the form of clean proteins like raw nuts, seeds (ie sunflower), beans, legumes, and quinoa. Proteins are initially digested in the stomach. When we add a modest amount of clean proteins to our meals, the food is held a little longer in the stomach for processing. This increased processing slows down the passage of food into the small intestines and therefore the absorption into the blood stream. The overall effect is that our complex carbohydrates are received by the body more slowly resulting in less climbs in blood sugar levels and insulin releases. By holding food longer in the stomach, our appetite is more effectively satiated and we can enjoy more time between meals.
Some additional nutrition strategies:
*Break tradition and eat more meals. Instead of the classic 3 large meals a day, plan to eat 4 to 5 smaller nutrient-balanced meals and a few light snacks. Keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day. Having large periods of time between meals causes blood sugar and hormone levels to roller coaster.
*Always bring food with you. Avoid getting trapped without food by carrying a healthy snack like raw nuts, fresh fruit, or a salad. Just as we know that thirst is a sign of dehydration, hunger is a sign that we are passing into low blood sugar levels. Preventing hunger from setting in will insure that you are maintaining energy levels.
*Prepare meals in advance. When you prepare a meal, make enough to freeze extra for those busy days in the future. Plan ahead to avoid eating fast food or commercially processed meals .
*Appreciate your food. Make eating an event. Turn off the TV and computer, and eat mindfully. Taste all the sensations. Be aware of satiety. Respect your food and what goes into your body. With this awareness, we develop greater discipline in making proper eating choices and patterns.
*Dieting does not work. Starving your body of food, starves your body of nutrients. The body reacts by holding in calories and shuts down metabolic processes. This collapse of metabolism results in future body weight management problems.