Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness

Healthy Food Defines You
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 Post subject: LIVE from New York! Blog this!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 3:54 pm 
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I wanted to pass along what an incredible time I had at the Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown PA last week and encourage anyone that if you ever have a chance to go, DO IT! [http://www.vegetariansummerfest.org/] I expected to have a nice time and sit in on some interesting lectures. What I didn't expect was how moved and wonderfully inspired I felt. I went with my parents... Dad, after having a cardiac stent, read Dr. Fuhrman and liked to claim to be vegan but occasionally ate seafood... and Mom, after health issues and surviving breast cancer, was less convinced to give up her omnivorous ways.

Summerfest is held on a beautiful college campus and the first night we got there, we headed to the dining hall for dinner. There were big, round tables that sat about 8 people so, you just had to look for a place to sit. We hovered by this table and my mom asked this woman if the seats were taken. She said "no, please... sit". Sitting next to her was her husband Howard Lyman - the ex cattle rancher who caused Oprah to say she'd never eat another burger and landed them both in court. I've seen Howard talk before and now I was sitting across from him eating dinner. It was kind of cool but, that's the kind of weekend it was. Everyone made themselves available.

Victoria Moran is a self-help author who also happens to be vegan. I was really taken with her message because it was just something I needed at the time. I purchased her book and there she was sitting next to me at lunch the next day. It took me a moment to adjust to all this openness but, it was fantastic. We met new friends over the weekend and I just felt at ease being amongst my vegan tribe.

If you ever get an opportunity to see some of these people speak, I highly recommend: Howard Lyman [riveting politics and our corrupt government], Victoria Moran [self-help goddess with a wonderful light], Caldwell Esselstyn, MD [fire your cardiologist - eat right! - I was amazed how much I didn't know], Rae Sikora [empowering your personal message], John Pierre [making your diet work for you - engaging speaker - John also displayed the VBB DVD at his retail booth], Dan Piraro [comic creator and mad genius - hysterical], Brenda Davis, RD [Healthy choices for you and the animals - passionate & moving], Michael Greger MD [he made the latest science in human nutrition so entertaining, I could have watched him for an hour] and Kerrie Saunders MS,LLP,PhD [what's behind how we react to certain foods and what to avoid - really fascinating]. This is just a taste of what the Summerfest had to offer. The days were planned before the 7:30am breakfast right up until after 10pm. You never lacked for something to do and plentiful vegan meals were served. There was a vegan book-store and merchandising was set up in the student union building.

After my own junk-food start on the vegan diet 3 years ago [including cookies & easy prepared stuff], I started to transition to what I thought were better foods. After my last blood profile, I thought maybe I just needed to exercise more until listening to Dr. Esselstyn. If you have high cholesterol, there could be some vegan factors that are actually contributing to the problem. My LDL [bad cholesterol] was 129 [the Dr. recommends getting your LDL under 80] with my total over 200. This was after a few months of ingesting too many vegan pancakes made with coconut milk, countless avocados, one jar of peanut butter per week and bags upon bags of trail mix. Individually, one would think each item has its positive attributes but, as a diet staple, I was getting way too much fat. The Dr. also recommends cutting out oils. I'm eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and feel a world of difference.

Back home, both Mom and Dad are convinced being vegan is the way to live but, giving up their old habits could prove tough. Mom was convinced when she found out that the good ol' USA ranks highest for allowable puss content in dairy production, not to mention all the health risks associated with her old diet which the weekend so wonderfully pointed out. Dad thinks Dr. Esselstyn is God and wants to do everything he says. A Vitamix may be on its way to our home soon so, we're well on our way to being a vegan family. O yeah, my sister [who lives across town] was so spooked that my mom was convinced to change her diet that she can't bring herself to consume dairy or meat since we've been back.

Sept. 7,8,9 - Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair anyone?! I'm also considering the World Veg Fest in SF at the end of Sept.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:50 am 
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Sounds like you've had quite a wonderful summer so far, David!! Nothing like watching the whole family go vegan! Great post. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:11 am 
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If I wasn't out in OR I'd have gone myself too.

I need to talk to you too about meeting up when I get back from Vacation.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:35 am 
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DV wrote:
Sounds like you've had quite a wonderful summer so far, David!! Nothing like watching the whole family go vegan! Great post. :D


Thanks. Yeah - I'll take what I can get but, Mom aparently will still eat animal flesh if she's in a social setting. I found out she had chicken at a friends house the other night.

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 Post subject: The Journey So Far
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:38 pm 
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I've been thinking about how my diet has evolved thanks, in small part, to the VBBF forum. At 38 years old, I never considered myself an active person. I loved my junkfood [vegetarian since I was 21] and gained the most weight as a veggie who loved his egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches. In my mid 20s, I thought all I had to do was get to the gym and everything would be fine. My cholesterol was still high.

About 3 years ago, I became vegan and would never consider some of the food I use to eat even as a vegetarian. At some point I found this little outpost on the web [VBBF]. One of my first posts [may be under a different name], I was asking about my diet which had almost no good sources of fresh fruit and veg and too much sugar and fat. Vegan junkfood is just as dangerous as any. Although I lost the weight, I have a difficult time toning up. With each piece of information I get, my diet becomes cleaner and cleaner and that is where I really mark my progress. I LOVE fresh fruit and vegetables. [Wish I could eat bananas but have an intolerance.] Now, I realize that the processed foods can be just as bad for you as the junk. If I could tell a newbie anything it would be to eat as much WHOLE FOOD sources as you possibly can and LIMIT the fats and oils [yes, even the good ones.] I think that last bit of advice is especially important for those like me with high cholesterol and a history of eating junk food. Although getting in the shape I desire may feel like pulling the train out of the swamp, I feel like with every positive change, it makes the end result more attainable.

I'm eating an oatmeal breakfast with flax, cinnamon and a fresh mango cut up on top - snacking on fruit and cut-up peppers during the day - apples and cherries are my current fave. I may have a piece or two of Ezekiel cin/raisin bread during the day and maybe 1/2 a clif bar here and there during the week when the old cookie craving strikes. I still like my Amy's burrito for lunch with a green salad and have to have my Vega once a day - usually after my work-out. Dinner is usally some variation of beans, brown rice - maybe a sweet potato and some brussel sprouts. I wanted to mention too - I don't like most sweetened drinks so I like to put about a tablespoon of lemon juice in my water bottle before I go to the gym. It helps to keep the electrolytes in check and keeps me refreshed and hydrated.

I hope some of the info will help some and always welcome comments on how to improve.

PEACE

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:45 am 
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Your diet sounds really good right about now, and I'm sure it's a lot better than the egg & cheese sandwiches you ate as a vegetarian. ;)

You look like you have it all down in terms of a solid breakfast, greens throughout the day, snacking on fruits, etc. It's really nice to look back and see how your diet has evolved over time.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:44 am 
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Thanks for chiming in Ed.

I forgot to mention my other favorite snack... I found an organic, low-sodium refried black beans for my daily energy boost too.

YUM!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:37 pm 
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Wow - my blog fell down so far in the forum, I thought I better post again ;)

Seriously though... progress has been slow at the gym. I went through a wave of depression [real clinical stuff - not just being bummed out] and felt something was missing. I usually don't get that low. I got some vegan DHA to help the ol brain cells and it seems things have really turned around. My stamina was very low at the gym and during the depression, I would work out for like 10 minutes and had to leave. Maybe it's the season changing - who knows? Getting back to normal and trying to stay focused.

I'm working on some new video projects that have to do with veganism and I'm pretty excited. More info as that develops. It's not just typical youtube stuff - something a little more structured and semi-pro that I'm producing myself. It's been great finding my local vegan community as I work on this and hope to travel with it as well. I want to interview Robert too. We'll see where it goes.

I'll post this next part in the meet-ups at some point too but, anybody going to Boston for Vegfest? I've been in the past and it's pretty cool but, thought since Robert will be there - possibly more of a chance for a meet-up if anyone is interested.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:16 pm 
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Good to hear from you again, David. Sorry about the depression. After reading your past posts, I was wondering if you would start questioning your omega fatty acid ratios. DHA is a quick and easy way to start. I hope it helps.

Be well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:34 am 
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DV wrote:
Good to hear from you again, David. Sorry about the depression. After reading your past posts, I was wondering if you would start questioning your omega fatty acid ratios. DHA is a quick and easy way to start. I hope it helps.

Be well.


Thanks for commenting DV. I never understood the whole ratio thing. I though if I was getting my flax with my morning oatmeal, I should be fine but, then, I'm not sure where I'm getting my Omega 6s from. From what I understand, you need a ratio of the two. How do people figure that stuff out?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:30 am 
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Hi David,

Most people don't figure it out and therein lies the problem. The information is out there but it's difficult to find, slightly complicated and hidden by a lot of misinformation.

I've been to conferences on omega fatty acids and have read some of the studies that have been conducted (it's a hot topic right now). For the average reader (as in not a geek like myself) some good explanations can be found in "Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina.

For someone who gets most of their fat from canola oil, walnuts, olive oil, greens, for instance, eating a tablespoon or two of ground flax seed might be fine. For someone who eats a lot of food prepared outside of the home, especially made with oils high in omega 6 (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soy, peanut, sesame, sunflower, avocado), he or she might be prudent to add more foods high in omega 3's.

Simply stated, omega 6s and omega 3s compete for the same enzyme to break them down into a form our bodies can use. If you have an overabundance of 6s then the 3s won't stand a chance. People who eat fish and egg yolks get a direct form of omega 3s (EPA and DHA) because the conversion has been done by the animal. Vegans can get one of the direct forms (DHA) through supplementation. It's a personal choice as to whether or not that's necessary. The science behind it is relatively new since we only had the technology to even "discover" omega fatty acids and the fact that they are essential in the past few decades.

I predict that there will be lots of confusion concerning this topic for years to come. With all of the twisted laws in the U.S., you have to be careful about calling any food group bad or telling people to eat less of it. The message is generally to eat more of something (fish, flax for example) and that makes it easy for most people - not really correct or complete, but easy.

I have read much inaccurate information regarding omega fatty acids on the internet and in magazines. I've read some sites, even linked from this forum, that were so grossly wrong about nutrition that I hesitate to ever suggest the internet as a source of info unless you already have a good grasp of the mechanism for omega fatty acid conversion. If you read the book I suggested (truly the nutritional bible for vegans, IMO, and a must read for anyone concerned about nutrition) then you will have a better grasp on it than most nutritionists.

How's that for a nice short post? I hope I didn't confuse you.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:16 pm 
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DV wrote:
Hi David,

Most people don't figure it out and therein lies the problem. The information is out there but it's difficult to find, slightly complicated and hidden by a lot of misinformation.

I've been to conferences on omega fatty acids and have read some of the studies that have been conducted (it's a hot topic right now). For the average reader (as in not a geek like myself) some good explanations can be found in "Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina.


Thanks again. I actually saw Brenda lecture on this very topic at the vegetarian summerfest. What has confused me is - how does one even know how many Omega 6s or 3s are in any particular food. If a TBSP of flax is enough O3. Are you getting too much O6 in a cup of beans or can you only have 2 TBSP of beans? See what I mean? For now though, I feel pretty leveled off so, I'm not too concerned. I feel the better thing to concentrate on is to eliminate the processed foods. The only one I have regularly is the Amy's Organic Burrito and I figure that's the lesser of the processed evils.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:01 pm 
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As you may have seen in the youtube [video] section, I'm working on 'My Vegan Tribe' video blog. I'm on vacation and working on creative projects. I love it.

Fall has begun here in the northeast and it's wonderful. I feel my DHA supplementation [omega 3] has really sparked a better sense of well being. I watched the Dr Sanjay Gupta tv special on America's Killer Diet. He mentioned that the increase in omega 6 will essentially push out the omega 3 needed for healthy brain function. I've heard a lot about o6 & o3s over the past few months enough to cause me to supplement since I've experienced some depression and felt it could be diet related. The program went on to mention the correlation between lack of o3s and depression and mental illness. The standard American Diet is getting a glut of o6s through things like chips and various products with oils. Anyway, it was a good eye-opener of how polluted the diet is with excess chemicals and ingredients. I'm using the vegan DHA Purity from Dr. Fuhrman if anyone is curious. The extra energy has been helping me stay focused at the gym too.

Here's where we can all get into some dietary trouble but, thankfully, it's WAY expensive. There's a local company called organic nectars and they do a lot with agave. You may have seen them in VegNews. Their raw gelato is something to behold. I spent $6.65 on a 1/2 pint at a local health food store but, it's worth the one-time treat. I only eat it by the spoonful. If you buy it from their website - organicnectars.com - a gallon is $115!! or 12 half pints for $100!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:23 pm 
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Hi David,

I'm so happy you're looking at your omega 3 intake. I have a few books you might be interested in reading.

1) Plant Based Nutrition and Health by Stephen Walsh, PhD; this one is more up to date than Becoming Vegan and covers topics in a different way. It's difficult to find in the US but Vegan Outreach carries it. Excellent book for vegan health.

2) The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD; this was published in 2007 and gives great advice for omnis and vegans alike. It's not too difficult for those who are not nutritionally inclined and as the book above, there are summaries at the end of chapters.

3) The Queen of Fats; a few years old (before there was vegan EPA available) but it gives a fascinating look at how essental fatty acids were discovered. This one is more for the medical/nutritional/science geek, I admit - but written by a reporter so not too dry.

All three of the above books go into detail about how important the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is, how vegans have the worst ratio of all and how to fix it. I've been vegan for 3 years and omega fatty acids have only been on my radar for the past 2 1/2. I think omega fatty acids are one of the most important nutritional topics we can be discussing, especially as vegans. I'm glad you are taking a supplement.

However, you may not be aware (as I was not until a short while ago) that a Swiss company is producing vegan DHA/EPA capsules. They beat out the other two companies that have been producing DHA only supplements for the past few years. The supplements don't cost much more than DHA only and are available at Pangea and another online vegan store (I don't remember which one). However, if you're interested, the company has a 3 for 2 special at this time. The website is www.water4.net

Take care!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:25 pm 
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Oh, and enjoy your vacation and gelato!!!


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