#1: Plant Based Eating 101

By , On , In Blog, Nutrition, Podcast

You’re listening to Active Vegetarian episode 1.

Joe: Hello and welcome to Active Vegetarian, the plant-based eaters’ guide to fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle. For more cutting edge information about healthy plant-based eating and for real fitness advice that actually works, stop by ActiveVegetarian.com. We’re your hosts Joe & Zuzana and let’s get started.

Hello everybody, welcome to our very first podcast! This is something that Zuzana and I have been talking about doing for quite a while, it’s something that I know we’re both very, very excited about and both of us being vegetarians and both of us being very active we find that there’s not a lot of information out there about how to make a plant-based diet work for people that are active or even athletes.

So part of what we want to do with this show is show people how you can be active, and fit, and healthy while maintaining a plant-based diet.

Zuzana: You’re absolutely right Joe. This is our passion, healthy eating, plant-based eating, and fitness. And I believe there is a lack of information out there for people who are trying to accomplish this especially people who are busy and living a fairly busy lifestyle, trying to stay fit and healthy and still maintain a plant-based eating diet. I could be fairly challenging so we are here to inform you, give you some tips on how to incorporate a plant-based eating diet into your everyday lifestyle.

Joe: I think that there’s also a lot of myths and misconceptions about a plant-based diet, especially in terms of athletes, in terms of people who want to be active. A lot of people think that you can’t perform well, that you are going to lose all your muscle mass; that you are not going to have any energy. And a couple of years ago when I decided that I was going to become a vegetarian, I had a lot of people tell me how bad it was going to go.

And actually it went the opposite, I’m actually healthier, I’m stronger, I’m leaner, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been in my whole life. And what we really want to do with this podcast too is share with everybody how we have done it and how we have made it work very successfully for ourselves.

Zuzana: Absolutely Joe. There is several different types of people who are eating plant-based diets, there are vegetarians, there is vegans, there’s people who still eat eggs and dairy, and we are not here to tell you what’s right or what’s wrong. We are just here to provide our experience and hopefully inspire you and motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle.

Joe: So on today’s show, we are going to be discussing the fact that a healthy plant-based diet is really not all that different from a healthy omnivorous diet. If you’re thinking about transitioning to a plant-based diet or looking to incorporate more plant-based food into your nutrition, I think you’re going to find this next section super helpful.

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, there will be plenty of great information about how to structure your nutrition and meal plans.

Zuzana: Alrighty so let’s talk a little bit about healthy diet. So in general, healthy diet no matter whether you are an omnivore or a vegetarian should consist and emphasize fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, of course beans and legumes as well. I know plenty of unhealthy vegetarians, so it’s not about being vegetarian or being omnivore; it’s about structuring your diet around natural sources.

Joe: Absolutely. There are a lot of unhealthy vegetarians out there that base their diet around ‘pass the potatoes’ and chips and junk food, right? If you eat dairy products, you can go have an extra large cheese pizza and that’s a vegetarian meal. It’s not a healthy meal, but it is a vegetarian meal.

Zuzana: And big ice cream to go along with that, right?

Joe: And a big ice cream cone. So I know some vegetarians that are not healthy, that are not structuring their nutrition properly so I think it’s important that everybody understands that a healthy diet no matter what should be based around whole natural food.

The real difference between an omnivorous diet and a plant-based diet is where the protein sources are coming from. Other than that, about 80% of the diet is going to be the same because that’s what everybody should be emphasizing. So if you are eating meat or you are living with someone who is eating meat, maybe your husband or wife still eats meat, my best advice is to be healthy cut the consumption down to two or three times per week.

Most people eat meat two or three times per day. If you are looking at transitioning to a plant-based diet, that’s the best place to start we’ve found is limit your meat consumption to about three times a week and believe me there are plenty of ways to get great protein sources from plant-based food and that’s a big misconception.

Zuzana: So here’s our challenge to you. Over the next week, over the course of the next week, watch where your food is coming from. Try to incorporate as much as 80% of your food from natural sources, so you’re avoiding any processed food as much as you can. As Michael Pollan said in his book, I believe it’s called “Food Rules,” if it’s made in a plant, don’t eat it. If it’s a plant, eat it.

Joe: I think that’s some great advice. And speaking of plants, I think that there’s some phenomenal plant-based protein sources and these are a lot of the protein sources that we emphasize in our nutrition. Zuzana, why don’t you share with our listeners a couple of great protein sources that are plant-based.

Zuzana: Absolutely. So probably the one that has the most protein that you will find and it’s tempeh, and that’s basically your soy protein. And in one cup of tempeh you can find as much as 41 grams of protein which is a lot, it’s a lot compared to any meat. Even a steak wouldn’t have that much protein in it.

Joe: The only problem with tempeh I’ve found is I don’t like it.

Zuzana: Well here’s the challenge for me, I’m going to try to learn how to cook it properly and try to make it taste good and if any of the listeners out there have a good idea how to prepare tempeh in a friendly fashion, please let us know.

Joe: And what I will do is next week, I will report to the listeners whether we were successful or not making tempeh taste like anything edible.

Zuzana: Alright, so if you can handle tempeh, here are the options for you. Lentils – cook one cup has as much as 18 grams of protein. Also kidney beans, those are Joe’s favorite, he likes to put them in salads and kidney beans up to one cup have 13 grams of protein. Chick peas, that’s my personal favorite, chick peas one cup has 12 grams of protein. And also you’re looking at other sources like nuts, let’s say almonds. A quarter cup of almonds has 8 grams of protein in it.

If you don’t like almonds, maybe you like sunflower seeds. They’re great again on salads, you can have a quarter cup of sunflower seeds with 6 grams of protein in it. And even vegetables, you would never think about it having protein in it. One cup of broccoli cooked has four grams of protein, so if you have broccoli don’t think that you’re just eating it for the vitamins and the minerals. There’s also protein in there.

Joe: A lot of times the question I’m sure that anyone who is a vegetarian gets asked nonstop is, how do you get your protein? And basically what I tell people is when you really break it down, there’s protein in almost anything. If you’re eating whole natural foods, most of your food has protein in it. The problem is, most people only count for the most part animal protein in their protein grams.

But when you take a look at it, when you add it all up, I get more protein than most meat eaters get just because I make sure that I emphasize on whole natural foods.

Zuzana: And don’t forget, if you feel like you’re not getting enough protein, there’s all kinds of different supplements you can incorporate into your diet so if you’re pure vegan and you don’t do whey protein, then your options are hemp protein, you can do brown rice protein, you can do [inaudible tea?] proteins, there’s all different kinds of protein powders you can mix into your daily smoothies.

Joe: Absolutely, that’s something…one of the ways that I make sure I get lots of protein in is I generally start the day off with a power smoothie that has plenty of fruits and vegetables in it as well as some protein powder of some sort. Generally I like brown rice protein quite a bit and hemp protein, and quite often I’ll mix the two, a little scoop of each, and I find that provides a great protein profile as well.

Zuzana: And with that said I don’t think that you need to supplement, I think that if you are watching what you are eating you definitely can get enough protein out of your daily diet without having to supplement with protein powders.

Joe: So to recap, what we want to do is make sure that we’re eating 80% whole natural foods. That’s our challenge for you for the week and I think that when you take a look back at how much protein you’re getting, I think you’re going to notice that you’re getting more than enough. In future episodes we’re actually going to speak about how much protein you really need. There’s a lot of weird information out there about that so for the meantime, focus on whole natural foods and the entire week make sure you get 80% of your food from whole natural sources.

Zuzana: And now our fitness tip, and I believe a lot of you are going to like this one. Our fitness tip for today is, don’t base your training around exercise you hate.

Joe: The reason we say this is, exercise has to be consistent in order to get you results. And if you base your training around something that you hate, you’re just not going to follow through. You can talk yourself in and out of pretty much anything, so if you’re basing your exercise around things that you don’t like to do, chances are you’re going to talk yourself out of it more often more than you talk yourself into it.

Zuzana: Can you think of something Joe that you really don’t like to do?

Joe: Yoga.

Zuzana: Really? How so?

Joe: Well, you’ve tried yoga with me a couple of times and yoga does the opposite to me as it does most people, it actually makes me anxious, it makes me aggravated. It might be because I’m horrible at it; it might be because I’m like an ADD kid or something. I just get bored, it doesn’t move quick enough for me. It just doesn’t work for me, so what I do instead is I make sure I stretch, I make sure I [inaudible] and I make sure at least three times a week I meditate in order to gain the same benefits that I would get from doing yoga.

And I think the key to this is, we’re not saying that if you don’t like exercise, don’t do it. What we’re saying is, find forms of exercise that you enjoy. Zuzana, what exercise do you particularly don’t enjoy?

Zuzana: I think that’s a very important point Joe. For me it would probably be running. I’m not a huge runner, I don’t really enjoy my time running. There’s been several times in the past where I have to run to train for a specific event and to be honest with you as soon as the event was over I stopped running. I didn’t continue with that, it’s not my favorite type of activity, that’s for sure. So the same thing with you, I replaced it with other activities which are going to aim the same benefits as running. However, I find that the benefits are actually much better just because it’s an activity I enjoy.

So to replace running I do high intensity training, high intensity body weight circuits. So 15-20 minutes, even something I can do at home on a rainy day and I definitely put more than 100% into it every time I do it and the benefits are great.

Joe: Absolutely, and one of the things I’m going to say is, we are going to be teaching the listeners how to do some of these high intensity interval circuits. It’s something that we’re going to talk more about later on in the show in further episodes, and we’re going to actually be posting videos on our website and our blog on how to actually do these because these circuits have gotten you fantastic results.

Zuzana: I agree with that. So for any of the listeners, please go to our website at ActiveVegetarian.com and share with us what type of activity you don’t like to do and on the other hand what type of activity you love to do and something that you would enjoy.

Joe: We definitely love to hear your feedback, we really want to get a sense of who the listeners are and that way we can tailor the content to exactly what you’re looking for. I guess that’s the first show pretty much behind us in the bag, so I hope everybody enjoyed it. I hope all four or five people who are going to hear this thing because this is our first episode, enjoy the show and we’ll be back next week with another episode.

Thank you for listening to Active Vegetarian, the plant-based eaters’ guide to fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle. For more information including recipes, nutritional advice, and fitness tips, please stop by ActiveVegetarian.com. Until then, live healthy, live active and enjoy life!

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