Category: Healthy Diet

I went vegan for a month… and lost 7 lbs

I survived!!!

Okay, so it actually wasn’t all that big of a deal. The first couple of days were kind of tricky, but that was on us. We hadn’t really planned it out too well leading into the vegan way of life. However, after we had things figured out it, we found it pretty easy to do. And pretty tasty too.

Tofu is the chicken of the vegan world. It doesn’t have much flavor until you season it. And it’s a great source of protein. And if tofu is the chicken of the vegan world, then tempeh (fermented soybeans) is the ground beef of the vegan world. And it’s heartier than tofu so it works in other dishes where tofu would not. And then there is seitan (pronounced say-tan) which touts itself as the ultimate “meat” substitute. And while I admit that I enjoyed this wheat protein, I didn’t feel it really lived up to its name. And since most of the questions I received were in reference to protein (in that, where did you get it from?), here is a list of the sources of protein we ate. And yes, we got plenty of it.

  • Tofu (love it’s versatility)
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Nuts, nut butters, seeds
  • Edamame
  • Soybeans (roasted these are an awesome snack)
  • Chickpeas/hummus
  • Beans (we had a LOT of beans)
  • VEGA vegan protein powder (my post workout shake)

There are others that contributed in a smaller way, but these were the big ones.

What I noticed and my final takeaways:

  1. It’s best to ease into this slowly. The increase in fiber is larger than you think and we um…. noticed. Things settled down after the first week though.
  2. If you plan this out, it’s no big deal. This includes social situations. You learn after a bit what you like, what’s easy to make, etc. Just not all that hard.
  3. You’ll likely save money. Meat is expensive, man. Beans aren’t.
  4. It’s (probably) healthier than your current diet. We ate tons of varieties of fruits and vegetables and even found myself eating fruit and nuts for snacks and absolutely loving baked carrots. Perfect snack.
  5. You eat more cheese than you think you do. We are cutting way, way back on this moving forward.
  6. It’s easier to get your protein than you would think. See above.
  7. The recipes we made were almost all really, really good. We will continue to make them.
  8. We did miss traditional pizza, but did find ways around it. Shout out to WB pizza here in Indianapolis for their creative ways of making vegan pizza really tasty.
  9. You’ll lose weight…. maybe….

Which leads me to the title of this post. Yes, I did lose 7 lbs in 30 days. Man, that sounds like a headline you’d read on a magazine cover of Cosmopolitan doesn’t it? But it’s true. Here’s the kicker though. I intentionally lost weight. This really ended up being a timing issue. Coincidentally, October 1st not only marked the end of our month of veganism, but it also marked the day of an Olympic distance triathlon I had signed up for a while back. And to prepare for the race, I wanted to get back to what I feel is my best “race weight”. I could have, and would have, lost the weight on any diet really. I simply cut back on calories (mostly from fat as I kept carbs high for training purposes) while simultaneously running, biking, swimming, and lifting weights each week. With the triathlon over (whew), it’s highly likely I’ll creep back up 3-4 lbs…. and that’s okay. Or maybe I’ll stay keen on what I’m taking in and it will stay down. And if you’re wondering how this weight loss was determined, I weighed in on my super cool scale here at my office on day 1 and weighed out on September 30th. Starting weight was 168.6 lbs and final weight was 161.4 lbs. And for the record, I weighed in today at 163.4 (scale tells me thats almost all water though).

Final thoughts here: Megan enjoyed it so much that she is done eating meat. However she will still on occasion eat seafood. This technically makes her pescatarian, or a vegetarian who still eats fish. As for me, I will eat meat again, however it’s pretty clear that I will be eating quite a bit less, and that’s fine with me. The biggest change back from being vegan will be my addition of cottage cheese, eggs, and Greek yogurt. And speaking of eggs, I picked up a carton at the store yesterday… and proceeded to make my tofu/bell pepper/onion/bean breakfast. It’s really good I promise.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t bad at all and I enjoyed many parts of it. I’ll keep many of the pieces I picked up during my time as a vegan and carry them with me moving forward. And I think that’s a good thing.

What do you think?

Surviving your diet on vacation

With schools letting out and summer just around the corner, that can mean only one thing (okay, it can mean a number of things)….

Summer vacations!

This is a notoriously slow time in the nutrition and fitness business. And rightfully so I suppose. The weather is nice and lugging your butt to the gym to lift isn’t really very enticing now is it? Farmer’s markets are opening and offering up fresh, local produce (and pizza, tacos, guacamole, dog treats, pretzels, and wind chimes) so eating healthier is easier and typically more palatable due to the freshness of everything. People are also heading to the park and riding bikes and are, in general, more active this time of the year.

I also have been doing this now for just shy of 7 years and so I’ve witnessed how people’s nutritional habits/tendencies vary during different times of year. And they’re exactly what you might think they’d be. From Halloween until January 1st, our dietary intake is typically less than stellar. January to spring break is usually tidied up a bit with some not so great days mixed in there.

And then there’s summer. Summer is a mix of a bit of everything. There’s the aforementioned increased intake of fresh fruits and veggies, but there is also a lot of potato salad made with loads of mayonnaise sitting between potato chips and hot dogs.

So what do summer vacations look like? Well first let me tell you what I tend to hear from clients who are about to embark on a trip.

“Well we’ll be doing a lot of walking!”

“There will be a lot of fresh fruit”

“We’ll be near the beach so plenty of fresh fish”

“The hotel has a gym in it”

“We’ll be so busy we won’t even hardly think about food”

And the list goes on and on, but there is a single recurring theme to each of those statements….

Good intentions.

And that’s cool in theory, right? I mean positive thinking is a good thing. And when you think about it, it makes sense too. Vacations are supposed to be fun, relaxing, getaways so the mood is a positive one overall. The problem lies in what I call the “screw-it-itis” syndrome. It goes a little something like this:

“Yeah, I could get the grilled grouper with a side of rice and pineapple, but screw it I’m on vacation! I’m getting the fried grouper sandwich with a side of fries and a margarita. I’ll get back to eating healthy when I get home.”

Happens all. the. time.

You know you’ve done it. I sure know that I’ve done it. So what do we do about it?

The answer, as is almost always the case, is it depends. However, some people respond well to, and this is typically the first place I go with my clients, but to remember the “why” they are on this health/weight/fitness journey in the first place. Do you need to come off medication? Do you want to be around to watch your daughter grow up and get married? Do you want to be able to complete that half marathon you signed up for in the fall? That “why” needs to be more important than that fried grouper sandwich and fries. There is a great quote by the late Zig Ziglar that reads: “The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now”. So by learning delayed gratification, you can really make the change. It just isn’t always easy. In fact, it almost never is.

So the post title is obviously about vacationing, but the meat of this post can be applied to any situation where you’re vulnerable to make a decision that isn’t helping you get closer to your goal. As a matter of fact, I’m looking out over my gym right this moment and I know I have a lift scheduled here in 5 minutes. And I gotta tell you I really don’t want to do it. I’m tired from my lift yesterday. It’s beautiful outside. I need to head home and do laundry/pack/clean for my trip to Chicago tomorrow. But you know what? I’m lacing up and doing it anyway. It won’t be my best, but it will keep the habit. And as a bonus, it will get me one step closer to a goal I set for myself. So I’m just gonna suck it up and bang it out.

Til next week!

 

 

What kinds of foods does this dietitian eat?

‘Tis been quite the busy week so far and it’s only Tuesday! For anyone who is friends with me on Facebook you probably saw that we 100%, officially opened for not only nutritional counseling, but also fitness training as well (finally). So I’m pretty excited about that as you can imagine. Nonetheless I wanted to get the weekly blog out there and I didn’t know what I was going to write about at first, but I just came back from a walk on the Monon because it’s pretty much perfect weather out right now. In fact, my weather app says 74 and sunny with a light breeze and loew humidity. Like I said, perfect.

Well on my walk I was thinking about how I was pretty hungry and trying to remember what snacks I had remaining at the shop in the fridge and in my desk drawer. I eventually settled for a piece of string cheese and mixed nuts and washed it down with water. But then I was thinking back on what I had for breakfast this morning and what I had for dinner last night. That lead me to start thinking about what I was going to have for dinner tonight and so on and so forth. Well first of all I’m in a bit of a pinch because we made a bunch of healthy food to last us for the week this past Sunday afternoon/evening (took longer than we thought). However, today is Tuesday. And not just any old regular Tuesday. It’s national taco day too! And I love me some tacos. So dinner tonight is still up in the air.

But with all this talk of food it got me to thinking about what I typically eat. And I thought that you guys might be interested to know what someone in the field of fitness and nutrition eats. So while it obviously varies quite a bit, there are certainly some staples in my diet. But outside of those staples I’ve come to believe that the more meals I make and eat with my girlfriend, the more I realize that I eat better when I’m with her. It’s probably because she eats (mostly) really healthy and we also both enjoy cooking. In the past I’d just steam up some veggies in the microwave, bake some chicken, and throw some rice in there too and top it all off with hot sauce. I’m just not that picky of an eater. But now we’ve gotten pretty savvy in the kitchen and make some pretty solid meals. And a lot of the time those meals are vegetarian. We eat a lot of portobellos, black beans, quinoa, tofu, and fruits and vegetables in general. In fact, the other day I was at my chiropractors office and we were talking about it (he’s a former amateur body builder and really into nutrition). I mentioned that the night before we had made tofu and Brussels sprouts. It came out of my mouth rather casually, but then I stopped and thought about what I had just said. Tofu. Brussels sprouts. What the hell happened to me?!

Well, Megan isn’t a big meat eater. Me? I could have steak, chicken, or turkey with every meal. But it turns out I don’t miss eating it as often as I did in the past like I thought I would. Although now that I’m writing about it and it’s 1:00 in the afternoon, I’m kinda craving some skirt steak tacos for dinner tonight….. mmmm tacos.

But anyways, now that you know a little more of the background of how I’m eating these days, I wanted to list out some foods I have every or almost every day. And I eat them every day not only because I think they are good for me, but also because I just really like them. I’ve listed them below:

  • eggs
  • bell peppers
  • spinach
  • Ezekiel bread/oatmeal/whole wheat toast
  • avocado
  • cheese (string, 2% shredded sharp cheddar, and feta are my favorites)
  • mixed nuts
  • Greek yogurt or low fat cottage cheese (varies day to day)
  • berries (raspberries and blueberries are my favorites)
  • mixed vegetables (or whatever is in season locally)
  • turkey or chicken (almost every day for lunch. Old habits die hard, man.)

I’m sure I’m missing some, but those are definitely staples for me. Obviously dinners are going to vary a lot, but I think I covered most of that above. But maybe you guys noticed one food was missing. And if you’re a health nut, dietitian, or personal trainer, then it probably sticks out like a sore thumb. What is NOT a staple for me?

Peanut butter. There, I said it. Look, it’s not that I don’t like peanut butter, I think it’s great. I just don’t crave it like it seems every other health professional does. I swear every time I read an article about what other folks in this industry consider their guilty pleasure the answer is peanut butter. I’m sorry, that’s not a guilty pleasure. Fried mozzarella sticks are a guilty pleasure. Cupcakes are a guilty pleasure. Deep dish pizza is a guilty pleasure. Peanut butter? No. Sure it’s high in calories and all, but overall it’s pretty good for you. Not sure how that comes across as a guilty pleasure. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox. I’ve just been wanting to write that for a while now and the opportunity presented itself pretty well there.

So there you go! A look into what I eat on most days of the week. Although I feel like I left out pizza. It’s true. I have pizza once a week. Usually Friday or Saturday. And sometimes the leftovers on Sunday for football. Oh, and a few beers.

It’s just diet and exercise, right? Wrong.

You hear it all the time. Just eat right and exercise and you’ll be healthy and ripped. It’s as simple as that. And you know what? It was often me you could see up on the rooftops shouting that message. And I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong.

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5 Things I’m Trying To Do Better

Hello again guys, hope all is well on your end! I’m still plugging away and getting things put together for my office move on April 1st. Starting then, I’ll be in the building of Athletic Revolution on 65th street between Binford boulevard and Allisonville road. The owner of the gym is a friend of mine who also happens to send me clients, so with my focus on sports nutrition, it seemed like a logical fit. He works mostly with kids from about 6-18+ years old looking to improve in their sports, but also offers adult boot camps most mornings and evenings of the week and also 1 or 2 on Saturday mornings. The facility is great and I can guarantee you will get a crazy good workout in. I’d encourge everyone to check out his webpage at http://athleticrevolutionnortheastindy.com/. I help him coach speed and strength training a couple days a week with his high school and college clients. It’s a great change from sitting in front of a computer all the time.

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Intermittent Fasting

First off, I’m stuck at 181 lbs. More on that at another time. Today’s post is about Intermittent Fasting, or IF because I don’t want to type out Intermittent Fasting a hundred times. So you might already be asking yourself, what is IF? Well, what if I told you that we all IF? You just refer to it as something else… sleeping. IF isn’t a new concept nor is it overly complicated or difficult. As a matter of fact it has been around since the dawn of time. As hunters and gatherers, food wasn’t always available to eat every 3-4 hours as many of us do today. How ever did we survive?! Maybe the most famous IF’er, haha, I just laughed out loud after typing that… gonna start using that. Ok, let’s try that again. Maybe the most famous IF’er would be Gandhi. My point is that we can get by ok without having food available 24/7. And as it turns out, it may actually be beneficial. Below are a few of the benefits according to the research out there:

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