Tag Archives: healthy eating

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 27 – Eat Less, Move More

Understanding Weight Loss: Calorie Reduction and Calorie Expenditure 

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feI don’t see veganism as a diet.

If we don’t have time to be sick, we have to make time to be healthy.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Day 27 is about weight loss and its relationship to veganism. While it is not a topic I am particularly interested in, I get that it is important. Personally, I am overweight and should pay my weight more attention. Yet, I have lost on a mostly wholefood plant-based diet without even really trying; no idea how much, but I did have to buy new pants for work that were a couple of sizes smaller, because the trousers I had were starting to look clownish – not the professional look I am going for!

Colleen emphasises on Day 27 that going vegan does not in and of itself mean anything in relation to weight loss. As she points out, there are “a million ways to be vegan”. It still matters what you eat and how much you exercise.

Choose to get your fat and calories from wholefood nutrient rich sources rather than high calorie nutrient 'empty' ones.
Choose to get your fat and calories from wholefood nutrient rich sources rather than high calorie nutrient ’empty’ ones.

The reason people like myself lose weight on a (mostly) wholefood, plant-based diet is because we are now eating less fat or fewer calories, For the most part we eat a lot more vegetables and whole grains which just happen to have fewer calories than things like cheese, eggs, meat etc. However, if a plant-based diet is high in fat from nuts, avocados, oil, deep-fried or calorie dense processed food don’t expect to be lean. While it is infinity better to get your calories from nuts rather than deep-fried chips from a nutrient point-of-view, if you are playing the numbers game, calories are still calories.

Colleen’s advice, which I agree with, is to get your calories from the best nutrition rich roods you can. Plants have more nutrients and fibre than commercial potato chips, plus they also come with additives and the types of fats that cause damage.  As well, you usually have to eat a lot more of some foods to get the same number of calories. For example, 100 grams of avocado has 160 calories, 10 grams of fat and 6 grams of fibre. Meanwhile, 100 grams of salted potato chips has 542 calories, 36 grams of fat and 4.4 grams of fibre. Your average avocado weights about 170 grams, and your average bags of chips is around 150 grams.

Day 27 also reminds me that I really do need to get more physical activity into my day. I am very sedentary, so in my off hours I should be out there getting some exercise. A sedentary lifestyle like mine is not a good long-term health plan, no matter how great my diet is.

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 20 – Get Omega 3 from Plants

Skipping the Middle Fish: Getting our Omega 3s Directly From the Source

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feWe can stop going through the fish to get to the nutrients that the fish get from eating plants.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

You would have to be living under a rock these days not to have heard about omega-3 and that we are supposed to be eating it. But what exactly is it, why do we need it, and where does it come from?

According to Wikipedia, omega-3s are “polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with a double bond (C=C) at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain,” and there are three types involved in human physiology: ALA, EPA, DHA.  While the Wikipedia article is falling over itself to promote animal consumption, the information supporting Colleen’s contention that you don’t need to consume fish to get omega-3 requirements is in there, it just requires a less superficial reading.  Some examples are given below.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 20 – Get Omega 3 from Plants

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 18 – Don’t Worry About the Protein

Putting to Rest the Great Protein Myth

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feUnfortunately we are never taught that broccoli, oats and carrots have protein, but just think for a moment about the largest, strongest, land animals on the planet: giraffes, elephants, bulls and bison. They’re all vegetarian animals, and they get plenty of protein – from the plants.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

giraffe-431649_1280

What do giraffes eat?

Ah, protein! It seems laughable now, but I too had protein on my list of things to worry about when I went vegan. However Dr Gregor soon put me right with this short, very useful video.  We are asking the wrong question. It is not, where do I get my protein? The much more important question should be, where do I get my fibre?

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 18 – Don’t Worry About the Protein

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 11 – Travel

Finding Abundant Food Options While Travelling

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“It’s not the fault of “being vegan” that makes it challenging to find nutrient-dense food on the road. The problem is that as individuals and as a society, we have not made eating well a priority – whether we are at home or travelling.

The truth is that eating vegan on the road is easy in most places and a little challenging in others. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for and taking the time to prepare.

No matter how hard I try, when I travel, I accept that I’ll be eating less optimally than when I’m home, but I do try to follow some guidelines to make travelling as pleasant as possible.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Stop at the Shell Station. Want I hot meal. I don't like your vegan chances, especially if you want to eat something healthy.
Stop at the Shell Station. Want a hot meal? I don’t like your vegan chances, especially if you want to eat something healthy.

Any stop at a petrol station clearly shows how, as a society, we value convenience over eating well, especially on the road.

When travelling Colleen has three fundamental pieces of advice that make a lot of sense:

  1. Come prepared.
  2. Do some research.
  3. Ask for what you want – in advance, if possible.

She provides lots of tips and anecdotes for achieving all three.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 11 – Travel

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 8 – Eat Breakfast

Starting the Day Right: A Bevy of Breakfast Ideas

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“The best thing we can do is choose the most nutrient dense foods that are high in fibre and low in calories. … By eating nutrient dense food you create a solid foundation on which the rest of your day can be built.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Eat breakfast.

Physiologically  it’s important. You haven’t eaten for hours. Your blood sugar is low; your metabolism has slowed down; you need food to get going.

In my early adult years I was terrible about regular eating. I skipped breakfast most of the time.  I wouldn’t feel like eating in the morning, probably because I was eating most of my food late at night. During the day I had no regular eating schedule.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 8 – Eat Breakfast

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 4 – Count the Costs of NOT Being Vegan

Eating Healthfully Affordably

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“When people make the transition to a whole foods plant-based diet, one of the things they notice is how much less money they spend on food.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

One common excuse people can use to not go vegan is to talk about how expensive it would be. They have never looked into it, but they just somehow ‘know’ that it is.

On Day 4, Colleen breaks down nicely what it really costs to not eat a plant-based diet – wholefood, of course. A junk food diet is still a nutrient poor, unhealthy diet regardless of its animal content.

Day 4 comments not only on the immediate monetary costs for the individual, but also on the hidden, long-term costs of healthcare (and time lost if you do get sick from a lifestyle related illness or disability); the social and economic costs of a sick, under performing population who need expensive medical care, heart surgery and pharmaceuticals to make it into old age. There are also the huge environmental costs of animal agriculture – direct monetary costs like the amount ratepayers hand over to clean up water damaged by the dairy industry, and the more indirect lifestyle costs, such as no longer being able to swim in our waterways. Underlying all of this are the true victims, the farm animals, who pay with their abused bodies and lives, and the wild native species who lose their habitats and food supplies.

A plant-based diet, wholefood diet can not only save you money directly, it also lowers health and environmental risks, and causes the least harm to our fellow earthlings - all of them both human and other species.
A plant-based, wholefood diet can not only save you money directly, it also lowers health and environmental risks, and causes the least harm to our fellow earthlings – all of them, human and other species.

The chapter also includes a few useful tips on how to shop (and not to shop) to help your dollar stretch that little bit further.

Cost Comparison

Out of interest, I decided to do a simple cost comparison to see how a wholefood vegan diet looked next to a typical, everyday Kiwi one. My conclusion is that plant-based will not cost you more, and overall is likely to end up being less expensive.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 4 – Count the Costs of NOT Being Vegan

It had to happen eventually …

Vegan diets a "terrible idea"? Not for us.
Vegan diets a “terrible idea”? Not for us.

Someone I know sent me an article from the Waikato Times – Five Reasons Why Vegan Diets are Terrible  (dated September).

Knowing that the next time I see them in person I’m going to get a somewhat smug, “Did you read that article I sent you?”, I would like to be able to counterpoint this dick move with a little self-righteous smugness of my own.

Not only did I read your article, I also traced it back to its source, and then some.

Continue reading It had to happen eventually …