3 Mistakes to Avoid When Going Vegan

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Everyone seems to be going vegan these days after the release of the documentary “What the Health”. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this film, however, I think we can all agree that eating fewer animal products is never a bad idea.

If you have recently decided to adopt a vegan diet, make sure you don’t fall victim to these three mistakes.

1. Assume you’ll get enough protein without any effort.

It is possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet, and if anyone else tells you otherwise then they are misinformed. However, it doesn’t just happen automatically. There is no such thing as a vegan fairy godmother that sprinkles protein fairy dust on you every night. Getting enough protein on a vegan diet requires effort and planning, but it does get easier with time.

At first, you might have to keep a journal documenting all the protein you eat, but after being vegan for a season or two, you’ll be able to eye things and know what you need to eat and in what quantity for your protein needs.

So, how much protein do you need?

Well, it all boils down to the individual. How frequently do you work out? Are you male or female? How much do you weigh? Are you under stress or are you pregnant? These are some of the factors that contribute to determining how much protein you need. A simple 0.45 grams of protein per pound like the USDA recommends may not be enough.

According to women’s hormone expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried, you should eat an average of 0.75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass(1). If you are an athlete, or under extreme stress, or lactating, or pregnant, you should eat on the higher end. If you lead a more sedentary life, or work out less than 3 times a week, aim for the lower end.

I agree with the amounts listed by Dr. Gottfried, but with one exception: if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, 0.4-0.5 grams per pound of lean body mass should be sufficient for your needs (per Dave Asprey)(2).

Another term which all aspiring vegans should become familiar with is complete protein.

complete protein refers to the building blocks of protein, called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids that form a protein, and nine that the body can’t make on its own. These are known as essential amino acids. They are essential because we need to eat them, as our bodies are incapable of producing them. For a food to be deemed a complete protein, it must contain all the nine essential amino acids in close to equal amounts.

So while meat and eggs are indeed complete proteins, nuts and beans aren’t. But hold the phone! This doesn’t mean you can’t get all of your essential amino acids on a plant based diet! We don’t need every essential amino acid in every bite of food, we just need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day. Also, there are some plant based complete proteins – my favorites include buckwheat and quinoa.

So with a combination of different plant based foods each day, it’s relatively easy to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs. You just need to put in the time and effort.

2. Load up on sugar, because hey-it’s vegan, right?

Let’s get the facts straight. When you eat sugar (and this includes any food with a high glucose level like honey, agave nectar, bread, fruit, etc) your insulin levels will automatically spike. So if you are eating too much sugar, this will lead to higher blood glucose levels, which can eventually lead to diabetes.

I don’t care what you heard on “What the Health”. Chicken does not cause diabetes – carbohydrates and sugar does. This does not mean I’m saying go out and eat chicken. You can be an EcoVegan by abstaining from animal products and eating a low glycemic diet at the same time.

The closest truth to the claim that meat causes diabetes is that processed meats will throw off the omega 6 to omega 3 balance in your body, which can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis. (3)

But guess what?

Eating lots of crappy vegetable oil (which is vegan…) and processed fake meats does the same thing!

You can’t just say ALL of something is bad. It’s not that easy.

3. Judge Others

In “Grist for the Mill”, Ram Dass says that we are all on different levels and stages in this life. We can’t expect others to be at the same stage as we are. So if you are vegan (and this goes for the vegetarians out there, too) in this life, that’s awesome. Consider yourself one lucky human being to have found this path in this lifetime, and give yourself a pat on the back for being just a little bit more enlightened….

That is unless you start judging and preaching to everyone who eats meat or animal products.

You might not like their choice, and I get it, it can be super frustrating! But it’s none of your business.However, if someone asks you about why you’re vegan, then let it rain!! Get on your soapbox because it’s an excellent opportunity to share with others why you’ve chosen this path.

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Sources:

    • https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-protein-affects-your-hormones
  • https://blog.bulletproof.com/how-to-find-your-ideal-protein-intake/?

Berry-licious Smoothie Bowl

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If you’re looking for something chock full of antioxidants and healthy fats for breakfast (and I really hope you are!) then this berry-licious smoothie bowl is just for you!

This smoothie gives you all the healthy fats , fiber, and antioxidants you need for happy, healthy hormones.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 2 tbs ground flax seeds
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of pink himalayan salt
  • 1 scoop Vanilla protein powder (I use Vega Sport Vanilla)
  • 1 tbs of your favorite nut butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • handful of goji berries
  • handful of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

Method:

Blend and top with goji berries, oats, and walnuts, or whatever topping you fancy!

Enjoy!

xxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

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This chocolate cherry smoothie bowl makes for the perfect nourishing breakfast, as it’s full of antioxidants, healthy fats, and protein to fuel your brain and hormones throughout your day!

CHOCOLATE CHERRY SMOOTHIE BOWL 🍒🍒🍒

Ingredients:
•1 1/2 cup non dairy unsweetened milk ( please not soy!)
• 1/2 cup frozen cherries
•1/2 avocado
•1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Vega Sport Vanilla)
•1 tbs raw cacao powder
• 1 tbs chia seeds or flax seeds
• pinch of sea salt
•pinch of cinnamon
•optional- 1 scoop Bulletproof collagen protein powder

Method:

Blend about 60 seconds and pour in bowl. Top with your favorite things. I topped mine with goji berries, Bob’s Redmill organic rolled oats, walnuts, and Lily’s sugar-free chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

 

 

An Omnivore’s Guide to Clean Protein

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Meat consumption has dramatically increased in the US over the past century, and sadly, the quality of meat has declined. A large amount of the meat consumed is of poor quality, originating in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where animals are kept in unclean and inhuman conditions. These animals are fed a diet of mostly GMO grains instead of grass, resulting in meat that is full of Omega 6’s. Furthermore, these animals are injected with hormones and antibiotics that also end up on your plate.

Grass-fed and pastured meat (as well as dairy and eggs) is superior to that from animals raised in CAFOs in many ways:

  • Higher in total Omega 3’s
  • Higher in CLA, a potential cancer fighter
  • Higher in vitamin E
  • Higher in B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
  • Higher in minerals magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • Higher in beto-caroten

When you are next faced with the decision between the factory farmed meat and the organic, pastured meat, remember that a healthy animal means a healthy you.

Your Healthy Meat Eating Guide:

  1. Choose grass-fed, pasture raised organic meats.-By choosing these meats you are getting healthy Omega 3’s which fight inflammation, you are also skipping out on all the added hormones, as well as antibiotics that destroy your healthy gut bacteria.
  2. Avoid all processed meats-The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed processed meats as carcinogenic. This includes deli meats and bacon.
  3. Eat the correct portion size- The healthy portion size is the same size of a deck of cards. Stick to this portion, and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables. You will also find that when eating the correct portion size, your grocery bill will significantly lower. It doesn’t have to be expensive to eat organic, grass-fed or pastured meat. Just eat the correct portion and your pocket book will not suffer.
  4. Limit your intake of red meat. –The WHO also disclosed that high levels of red meat can be carcinogenic so it’s best to limit your intake. Instead, try replacing with lean protein such as chicken, fish, or plant based protein. And don’t forget about the power of eggs! Each egg has six grams of protein.
  5. Prepare the right way-Studies have shown that high-temperature cooking methods such as charring, smoking, frying, or grilling leads to the production of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which have been shown to cause cancer in animals. As an alternative to cooking your meat at high-temperature, I encourage you to cook with low-temperature, slow-cooking methods such as baking, poaching, stewing, and roasting.

 And don’t forget plant based sources of protein!!

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One of the most popular misconceptions that people have about a plant based diet is that it is impossible to get enough protein without meat. Well guess what? I’m here to inform you that this is a myth!

It is entirely possible to get your daily requirement of protein without eating meat. In fact, the leanest, cleanest sources of protein are beans and other legumes, as they are free of  hormones and antibiotics.

To find out all the complete plant based proteins available, click HERE. I encourage you to have at least one meat-free day a week. It will do a world of good for the environment.

Happy Clean Eating!

Health Coach Jenna

Egg Nog Smoothie (Vegan)

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThanksgiving is over, so it’s officially time to bring out all things Christmas! This is my favorite time of the year ( I’m not really that bothered about Thanksgiving to be honest- blasphemous I know!!) So in honor of today, I’ve made a vegan Egg Nog Smoothie.

Let the holidays begin, and the Christmas music be loud. 🎼 🎼🎼

Recipe 

  • 1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk or coconut kefir
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbs ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1 scoop of your favorite non-GMO plant-based protein powder (I use Vega Sport Vanilla)
  • a few cubes of ice.

Blend and enjoy Christmas for brekkie!!!

xxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

 

A Complete Protein Eating Guide for Vegans and Vegetarians

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One of the most popular misconceptions that people have about a plant based diet is that it is impossible to get enough protein without meat. Well guess what? I’m here to inform you that this is a myth!

It is entirely possible to get your daily requirement of protein without eating meat. In fact, the leanest, cleanest sources of protein are beans and other legumes, as less than five percent of their calories from fat. They are also free of cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics.

So what makes a complete protein?

A complete protein refers to the building blocks of protein, called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids that form a protein, and nine that the body can’t make on it’s own. These nine amino acids are called essential amino acids. They are essential because we need to eat them, as our bodies can’t make them.

For a food to be deemed a complete protein, it must contain all the nine essential amino acids in close to equal amounts.

So while meat and eggs are indeed complete proteins, nuts and beans aren’t. But hold the phone! This doesn’t mean you can’t get all of your essential amino acids on a plant based diet! We don’t need every essential amino acid in every bite of food, we just need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day.

So with a combination of different plant based foods each day, it’s easy breezy to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs!

First, let’s go over the plant based foods that are complete proteins. And as we discussed earlier, a complete protein means that you get all of the nine essential amino acids by eating a portion of it on its own.

Vegan Complete Protein Sources:

  1. quinoaQuinoa- 8 grams of protein per one cooked cup
  2. Buckwheat- 6 grams of protein per one cooked cup
  3. Avocado- 3 grams of protein per one avocado
  4. Soy- 10grams of protein per ½ cup firm tofu, 15 grams of protein per ½ cup tempeh. (Please eat soy in moderation, make sure it is non-GMO, and remember to only eat soy in its fermented version- tempeh, tofu, miso)
  5. Quorn (Mycoprotein)- 13 grams per ½ cup serving.
  6. Protein powder- The content varies by brand, but most have around 22 grams per serving. Make sure when buying to choose one that is non-GMO, and that has a complete amino acid profile.
  7. Ezekiel Bread- Ezekiel bread is made from wheat (they also make a gluten free version), barley, millet, beans, lentils, and spelt, making it a complete protein. The bread is also made using sprouted grain, which increases the bread’s fiber and vitamin content. This also makes it easier to digest.

Honorary members:

You might have notice that hempseeds and chia seeds are missing from this list. Although they do contain all nine essential amino acids, they are both too low in lysine to be considered complete. But they are still excellent forms of protein! I love to add them to my smoothies and oatmeal. Hemp seeds are also great stir-fried with vegetables, and they make an excellent salad topping.

  1. Hempseeds- 10 grams per 2 tablespoon serving
  2. Chia Seeds- 4 grams per 2 tablespoon serving

Now, let’s talk about how to pair plant based foods to create a complete serving of protein.

The Amazing Duos: 

  1. Rice and beans-

Rice and beans complement each other perfectly as beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, and rice is low in lysine and high in methionine. Combine these two and you have a meal with heaps of complete protein.

  1. Peanut butter sandwich-

Combine peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)  with whole grain and you get a complete protein! Remember to choose organic peanut butter with no oil and sugar, as the oils tend to be full of hydrogenated fats and sugar is toxic. Make sure to use a whole grain bread, and even better, choose a gluten free bread!

  1. Hummus and pita-

Wheat is deficient in lysine, but guess what? Chickpeas are high in lysiene! Pair these two for a complete protein.

     4. Spirulina with grains

Spirulina is lacking in methionine and cysteine, but combine it with nuts, seeds, or oats and you have a complete protein. My favorite way to combine these is in a green smoothie.

  1. Oats with nuts or peanut butter-

Add some peanut butter or nuts to your oatmeal and you are in business.

Basically, combine any grain with a nut, seed, or legume, and you have yourself a complete protein. The possibilities are endless.

So what is the right amount of protein?  Click HERE to find out!

xxxxxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Are You Getting Enough Protein?

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Protein. It’s vital for our health. But did you know that too much protein can actually increase the rate of chronic disease and weight gain? The other day I was at a popular “healthy” chain where they offered a gluten-free, hemp-seed brownie, advertised to have tons of protein. First of all, not only was this thing laden with sugar, but after eating a balanced meal, more protein is redundant. It can actually be detrimental to your health, as studies have shown that eating more protein than your body needs causes weight gain, inflammation, dehydration, stress on your kidneys, and loss of important bone minerals.

How much protein do I need?

Well, it all boils down to the individual. How frequently do you work out? Are you male or female? How much do you weigh? Are you under stress or are you pregnant? These are some of the factors that contribute to determining how much protein you need. A simple 0.45 grams of protein per pound like the USDA recommends may not be enough.

According to women’s hormone expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried, you should eat an average of 0.75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. If you are an athlete, or under extreme stress, or lactating, or pregnant, you should eat on the higher end. If you lead a more sedentary life, or work out less than 3 times a week, aim for the lower end.

I agree with the amounts listed by Dr. Gottfried, but with one exception: if you lead a more sedentary lifestyle, 0.4-0.5 grams per pound of lean body mass should be sufficient for your needs (per Dave Asprey).

Where should I get my protein from?

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Whether you choose to get your protein from animals or plants is completely up to you. Being vegetarian is a lifestyle choice that should come from a genuine desire to change your diet, not because someone told you to do so. Alternatively, if you are eating meat, it is important to get it from a healthy and sustainable source.

Is it possible to get enough protein without eating meat?!

One of the most popular misconceptions that people have about a plant based diet is that it is impossible to get enough protein without meat. Well guess what? I’m here to inform you that this is a myth!

It is entirely possible to get your daily requirement of protein without eating meat. In fact, the leanest, cleanest sources of protein are beans and other legumes. They are also free of cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics. A variety of plant-based protein powders can also be found on the market today. This is an excellent way for vegetarians and vegans to make sure they are covered. I put a heaping scoop everyday in my morning smoothie.

What about protein from meat?

milk

Meat consumption has dramatically increased in the US over the past century, and sadly, the quality of meat has declined. A large amount of the meat consumed is of poor quality, originating in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where animals are kept in unclean and inhumane conditions. These animals are fed a diet of mostly GMO grains instead of grass, resulting in meat that is full of Omega 6’s. Furthermore, these animals are injected with hormones and antibiotics that also end up on your plate.

Grass-fed and pastured meat (as well as dairy and eggs) is superior to that from animals raised in CAFOs in many ways:

  • Higher in total Omega 3’s
  • Higher in CLA, a potential cancer fighter
  • Higher in vitamin E
  • Higher in the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
  • Higher in the minerals magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • Higher in beta-carotene

When you are next faced with the decision between factory farmed meat and organic, pastured meat, remember that a healthy animal means a healthy you.

Happy clean eating!

Health Coach Jenna

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Dark Chocolate Power Cups

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Sometimes in life, failure leads to even greater success. Just like these dark chocolate power cups! I was experimenting with a power bar recipe, and both trays I made just wouldn’t hold together. I was left with a crumbled mess, but dang it tasted SO good. So what did I do? Whipped up some of my homemade dark chocolate and mixed it all together and made these little guys.

So how’d they turn out? Well, my husband can’t get enough- he says they are his favorite sweet treat I’ve made so far! I really like them because they make for a great afternoon snack with my tea. The nuts provide plenty of protein and healthy fats, which keep my body fueled as well as my brain alert for the remainder of my day. And because I use raw cacao, I get a dose of magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants.

So see, accidents can lead to prosperity!

Ingredients:

For the power filling:

  • 1 cup nuts (I used mix of almonds & walnuts)
  • 1 cup seeds (I used pumpkin)
  • ¼ cup Goji berries
  • 3 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Directions:

Mix all of the above in a food processor or high speed blender for a few pulses. You don’t want to blend it too much. Set aside the mixture.

Dark Chocolate:

  • 3/4 cup cacao
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt (optional)

Directions:

If you live in a place with a cold climate melt the coconut oil first in a saucepan over low heat (If you live in a climate where your coconut oil is liquid then skip this step). I like to use a double broiler so the chocolate mixture does not come in direct contact with the heat. If you do not have one, just put the mixture in a bowl and set on top of the saucepan. Use what ya got, right? As soon as the coconut oil has melted add the maple syrup. Next, turn off the heat and immediately mix in the cacao until smooth, then add your vanilla. After that is all smooth and blended, sprinkle in your sea salt.

Now, add your power mix to your chocolate and stir, stir, stir. While it is still hot, pour the mixture into cupcake tins, set in the freezer, and they will be ready within the hour.

Enjoy!

Health Coach Jenna

 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

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Peanut butter and jelly is one of the most delicious combinations. It reminds me of being a kid and eating the homemade packed lunches my mom used to make. These days I do not eat bread, so my days of peanut butter and jelly sammiches are of the past.

But that doesn’t mean the party is over! Oh no. If anything, they just got even better.

This smoothie is perfect for breakfast, as it’s loaded with protein, vitamins, and nutrients to start your day off right. It has plenty of healthy fats so it will provide you with plenty of brain fuel, keep your metabolism going, as well and keep your hunger at bay until lunch.

It’s a great post workout smoothie as well!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk ( I use Koh coconut milk as it seriously has the best consistency and taste out of any non-dairy milk I’ve ever tried)
  • a few ice cubes. If you have Candida skip this.
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (organic if possible- these are on the dirty dozen list)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (stabilizes your blood sugar levels which prevents weight gain)
  • 2 cups greens (spinach, kale, etc. Think dark green y’all.)
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

*Optional- 1 scoop of organic plant-based protein powder ( I use Vega). I like to add this for extra protein, but if you don’t have any yet, no worries-add an extra tablespoon of chia seeds instead!

Blend and enjoy!

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Strawberry Banana Protein Shake

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Hey all! It’s that time of year again. No, no not Shark Week..But something even better- Berry Season!!

Strawberries are my favorite, but they are one of the fruits I ONLY buy organic, as 98% of strawberries have pesticide residues. Did you know that California growers apply 300 pounds of pesticides to each acre of conventional strawberries? Yuck!

I encourage you to find check out this year’s clean fifteen list to find out which produce you can save the extra bucks on and buy conventional. But sadly, strawberries is not on there.

In celebration of berry season, I’m featuring this berrylicious smoothie recipe created by my friend (and smoothie goddess) Andi Smith from Andi Smith Wellness.

I hope you enjoy!

 

Guest Recipe By Andi Smith:

Smoothies are a great way to incorporate your fruits and vegetables each day and to get a little creative in the kitchen!

strawberriesI had a few cups of strawberries left from the farmers market and I decided to whip up a new smoothie creation for your drinking pleasure. Strawberries are actually a really fragile fruit that can perish easily, so be sure to eat them up within a day or two of purchase. They pack quite a bit of health benefits into each red delicious heart shaped berry. Strawberries may help regulate blood sugar in some people, they have anti-inflammatory properties, and are full of vitamin C. So eat these red berries to your hearts content this season and don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen. The most important ingredient is to have fun!

Recipe: 

  • 1-2 cups strawberries (even the green tops, they’re edible!)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
  • 1 -2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon bee pollen (great for vitamin B aka energy!)
  • 2 teaspoons flax seed oil
  • 3 cups almond milk
  • handful of ice (optional)

Directions: Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Reference:

Health Benefits of Strawberries

About Andi Smith

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Andi Smith is a certified recreational therapist, wellness coach, certified culinary nutrition expert, and food photographer. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating new recipes, helping people meet their health goals, and spending time outdoors with her dog, Lucy. She educates people on how to implement realistic habits into their daily lives to increase their energy and overall health. Follow her onTwitter or check out her website at AndiSmithWellness.com.