Tag Archives: Health

Why Plant-Based Diets Work So Well for Athletes–and Everyone


The following is a guest post by Micaela Cook Karlsen, author of A PLANT-BASED LIFE: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body (AMACOM July 2016). She and we here at the AMACOM Books Blog were thrilled to see that Josh LaJaunie, winner of the Runners’ World cover search, includes his plant-based diet among the choices that drive his success. Read on to find out how effective plant-based life can be for athletes and weight loss.

With athletes like Runners’ World cover winner Josh LaJaunie making their appearance, plant-based diets are becoming more and more common among elite athletes–with good reason! The roster of plant-eating top athletes is significant and includes names such as Olympic track star Carl Lewis, Australian Olympic swimmer Murray Rose, MMA fighter Mac Danzig, and heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who credits his diet with helping him shed 130 lbs in retirement.  While the research is still young, there appear to be no disadvantages in performance, and many athletes claim by eating plant-based meals they recover faster between their workouts.

For Josh LaJaunie, the path to ultra-marathoning began with very simple workouts and a massive change in diet. While he had started running and lifting with a gym buddy, he still weighed 320 lbs. He credits a 100% plant-based with helping get down to 190 lbs, allowing him to amp up his runs and make him a serious long-distance competitor.

Why is plant-based eating so useful for athletes? The full picture on how it may help with performance remains to be uncovered, but we do know plant-based eating provides the easiest path to healthy weight that there is. And a healthy weight is what catapulted Josh towards elite running. Here are the top 6 reasons plant-based diets are good for weight loss and maintenance:

  1. You eat the perfect amount of calories without counting calories.
    The stomach holds about a liter, which is roughly 500kcal of whole, unrefined plant foods. Multiply that by 3 meals and add a couple snacks, and you end up with roughly 2000kcal, or just under. That happens to be around what most adults need in a day! When you focus on eating the right foods, you don’t need to be strict about the quantity–your body naturally sorts it out for you. Because of the lower calorie density of whole plant foods, it’s easy to eat the right amount.
  2. You won’t feel deprivation – fiber fills up your stomach so you naturally feel satisfied for longer.
    Eating fewer calories doesn’t have to mean that you feel hungry throughout the day!  There is no fiber in animal food, and very little in processed food – but it’s found in abundance in plants. The high fiber content makes your stomach and intestines feel satisfied longer because the food is digested more slowly. This is what people mean when they say oatmeal “sticks to your ribs”.
  3. Eating plant-based can supercharge your workout results.
    While exercise is definitely important for optimum health, strength, and long-term weight maintenance, exercise without changing diet often has disappointing results for weight loss. This is partly because of the calorie density of whole plant foods – it would take 40 min of running and 1 ½ hours of walking to burn just 100g of parmesan cheese – but only 9 min of running and 17 min of walking for that same 100g of sweet potato. It’s also partly because of the nutrients these whole plant foods provide.
  4. You’ll have improved vitality and alertness – making it more likely you’ll exercise.
    Once you quit eating heavy, animal-based foods and processed food, you may be surprised to find out how light, energized, and ready to take on the world you feel! Most people who switch to a totally plant-based diet report improved energy and decreased feelings of sluggishness, especially after meals. This could make the difference for you in sticking with a workout routine.
  5. Did I mention it’s fun and delicious?
    Many people who switch to a plant-based diet are surprised to find they eat more different types of foods, not less. There are colors, flavors, and a variety of different cuisines that all lend themselves to amazing plant-based recipes. In addition, your taste preferences change so you prefer whatever you are used to – which means we can all train ourselves to prefer foods that naturally produce your ideal weight while at the same time enjoying what we eat.
  6. It’s a lifestyle you can stick with.
    Basically, if you can eat tasty food until you’re full without counting calories or feeling hungry, you can achieve your ideal weight (and also decrease your risk for chronic disease), and you feel great, it’s a recipe for success! Many people are derailed from diet plans because of complex point systems, tracking meals or calories, or feeling deprived because of eating less than their stomach can hold (portion control) or eating the same boring foods day after day. Unfortunately, less than a third of people achieve even modest success with weight loss in the long term. Eating whole, plant-based foods bypasses all of these annoyances to make healthy eating comfortable and fun – and therefore a sustainable lifestyle.


Find out how to begin your plant-based journey–or how to make it even more rewarding, with strategies and over 100 recipes–in Micaela Cook Karlsen’s A PLANT-BASED LIFE: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body (AMACOM July 2016).

MICAELA COOK KARLSEN, MSPH, is one of the founding employees of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and its former Executive Director. A contributor to the New York Times bestseller Forks Over Knives, she is a member of the advisory board for the Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference and founder of www.PlantBasedResearch.org



Podcast: Leigh Stringer on The Healthy Workplace

Jacket cover of The Healthy Workplace Leigh Stringer recently sat down with the AMA Edgewise team to discuss her book, THE HEALTHY WORKPLACE: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees–and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line. Paying attention to (and spending money on) employee well-being yields bountiful dividends for any company, and Stringer explains how executives, human resources departments, managers, and even individuals can create a healthier workplace to benefit all.

Retention, recruiting, and even stock prices soar in companies that care about the health of their employees. Even when executives are looking to save every last penny of their budget, it pays to invest in the health and wellness of the people doing the day-to-day work. Leigh Stringer joins us to talk about her book, The Healthy Workplace (AMACOM July 2016), with some examples of companies who have done this successfully and some of their methods.

Listen to Leigh Stringer on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Leigh Stringer, author of The Healthy Workplace


Leigh Stringer is Senior Workplace Expert for EYP Architecture & Engineering and is researching employee health and productivity in conjunction with the Harvard School of Public Health, the Center for Active Design, and other leading organizations.



Listen to more interviews with AMACOM authors on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.


Now Available on NetGalley: THE HEALTHY WORKPLACE

Cover art for The Healthy Workplace by Leigh Stringer We talk about health more than ever nowadays, but how healthy can a person be when spending eight hours a day (let’s be real–probably more!) at a desk? The best employers know that employee health is in their hands–and that employee health plays a big role in the health of their businesses. THE HEALTHY WORKPLACE: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line by Leigh Stringer takes on workplace wellness and provides solutions for managers reconsidering their team policies, for HR departments seeking innovative health-related employee benefits and incentives, and for executives choosing company-wide strategies and even office designs that prioritize health. Journalists, booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, and media professionals interested in health and workplace wellness are invited to request The Healthy Workplace for review.

When employees thrive, the company thrives.

Is your workplace working for you and your employees? Studies show that unhealthy work habits, like staring at computer screens and rushing through fast-food lunches are taking their toll in the form of increased absenteeism, lost productivity, and higher insurance costs—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Companies such as Google, Apple, Aetna, and Johnson & Johnson have used innovative techniques to incorporate healthy habits and practices into the workday and into their culture—with impressive ROI. Packed with real-life examples and the latest research, The Healthy Workplace proves that it pays to invest in your people’s well-being and reveals how to:

Create a healthier, more energizing environment • Reduce stress to enhance concentration • Inspire movement at work • Use choice architecture to encourage beneficial behaviors • Support better sleep • Heighten productivity without adding hours to the workday

Filled with tips for immediate improvement and guidelines for building a long-term plan, The Healthy Workplace will boost both employee well-being and the bottom line.

LEIGH STRINGER is Senior Workplace Expert for EYP Architecture & Engineering and is researching employee health and productivity in conjunction with the Harvard School of Public Health, the Center for Active Design, and other leading organizations.

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NetGalley is a service for people who read and recommend books, such as book reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

There are a number of different reading options for this e-galley:

Find all of AMACOM’s e-galleys on NetGalley.

You can review how to get AMACOM’s digital galley request approval on NetGalley HERE.


Cover art for Un-Prescription for Autism by Janet Lintala When medication works, it works. Yet what about when it’s used to mask symptoms of a larger issue? For children (and adults) with autism spectrum disorder, this happens all the time. Medication for irritability and aggression is often prescribed before a thorough investigation of the reasons for such behavior. As Janet Lintala, founder of the Autism Health! clinic, discusses on her website, “[The Un-Prescription for Autism] explains what is making them irritable, and gives helpful suggestions for providing relief at the source. This can reduce or eliminate the need for unnecessary medications.”

THE UN-PRESCRIPTION FOR AUTISM: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child by Janet Lintala with Martha W. Murphy helps parents correct or ameliorate underlying issues common to those on the autism spectrum. Autism isn’t “treatable”–but people with autism are, and Janet Lintala has proven, actionable tools to lead to better health and happiness on the spectrum.

Journalists, booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, and media professionals interested in health with autism spectrum disorder are invited to request The Un-Prescription for Autism for review.

Each year, more than 50,000 U.S. families receive an autism diagnosis. On top of turmoil and worry, they share the same urgent question: What can we do to help our child?

The answers parents find can be contradictory…even dangerous. The conventional approach (employed by too many pediatricians) is to medicate difficult behaviors into submission—suppressing symptoms while leaving underlying health challenges untouched. Surfing the Internet for alternatives just leads to confusion.

Now, Dr. Janet Lintala, founder of the Autism Health center and an autism mom herself, shares the natural protocols used in her practice to dramatically improve the function and well-being of children on the spectrum. Drawing on the latest research developments, as well as personal and clinical experience, she targets the underlying issues (chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, gastrointestinal dysfunction, immune dysregulation) associated with the behavior, bowel, and sleep problems so common to autism.

Correcting these overlooked conditions with digestive enzymes, probiotics, antifungals, and other nonpsychiatric treatments brings transformative results: less pain, less aggression, and a child who is more receptive to behavioral and educational interventions.

While the medical profession is slow to change, autistic kids need help immediately. The Un-Prescription for Autism provides clear explanations, detailed protocols, and examples to help parents act quickly to restore their child’s health, self-control, and language—paving the way for reaching their full potential.

JANET LINTALA, DC founded and heads Autism Health!, serving children and adults in 12 states. Her advice integrates the clinical expertise of a nonprescription autism practice with the firsthand experience only an autism parent can deliver. MARTHA W. MURPHY is an award-winning health writer.

Logo for NetGalley
NetGalley is a service for people who read and recommend books, such as book reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

There are a number of different reading options for this e-galley:

Find all of AMACOM’s e-galleys on NetGalley.

You can review how to get AMACOM’s digital galley request approval on NetGalley HERE.

Anne Fishel on Making Family Dinner Appetizing for Children at Different Ages

Photo of Anne Fishel, author of Home For DinnerThe following is a guest post from Anne K. Fishel, author of Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids.  

There is one feeding challenge that cuts across all ages and stages, from nursing a baby to feeding and elderly parent: when your carefully prepared meal is rejected. As many parents quickly learn, one size dinner doesn’t fit all ages. Here are some strategies to help you tailor dinnertime to fit the changing appetites and challenges of children at every developmental stage:

For toddlers and preschoolers

  • To entice picky eaters to try new foods, model adventurous eating. Eat the new food with gusto in front of your tot, and then ask, “Would you like to taste it?” This focuses your child’s attention on the food, rather than on rejecting it.
  • Serve food “family style” in bowls or platters placed on the table. That way, young children can just reach out and try the food they see adults enjoying.
  • Let your preschooler help with meal preparation. Spinning salad greens, crumbling cheese, and setting the timer are some of the many things that young children can do. Little helpers usually want to try their own creation.
  • Don’t underestimate your toddler’s taste buds. The idea that young children and adults must eat different foods might be a myth created by food manufacturers and marketers. Your child might like chicken piccata as much as chicken fingers.
  • Avoid letting food become a power struggle. If your child refuses to eat a particular meal, stay calm and do not send her away from the table. You might offer her an alternative such as cereal with milk or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—nothing that’s too exciting or makes too much extra work for you.

For six-to-twelve-year-old kids

  • Since school age kids like structure and order, they may feel comforted by a predictable schedule of meals. For example, make Monday pasta night, Tuesday chicken night, and Wednesday meatloaf night. This routine cuts down on conflict if your children can agree on five or six meals.
  • At this stage of development, kids are very interested in foods they have seen advertised on TV or eaten in restaurants. It can be fun to re-create one of these meals at home. For example, most supermarkets offer ready-made pizza dough. Combined with tomato sauce from a jar, it’s simple to make pizza at home.
  • Invite your children to practice resistance to destructive media messages. Over dinner, ask them why they think TV ads tout processed food in a plastic container rather than carrots and celery. Or what it would be like if their school refused to sell unhealthy food in the cafeteria.
  • Do a role reversal one night a week and have your children do the cooking.

For teenagers

  • Agree that dinner is off-limits for discussing conflicts—no talk about homework, whose turn it is to take out the trash, a recent D on a math quiz, or how late curfew should be on a Friday night.
  • If possible, parents as well as teens should make dinner a technology-free zone. If this isn’t possible, then negotiate rules that everyone can agree to, such as: “We’ll only use our phones to resolve factual disagreements that come up at dinner.”
  • Offer to make a new meal catered to your teen’s interests. If he’s studying South African history or Indian literature, check out Epicurious.com for recipes by country. Even better, make that new meal with your child so that she can teach you something about another culture.
  • Invite your kid to make a course or part of the meal, particularly something fairly quick (but special and dramatic) that will elicits oohs and ahs from the rest of the family. Popovers, bananas flambé, and fruit smoothies all do the trick.
  • Ask your teen to choose music for you to listen to during dinner. On other nights, you might play the music you listened to when you were a teenager. This will provide something interesting to discuss.
  • Create a weekly dinner ritual when your kids’ friends are invited to dinner or dessert—like a make-your-own sundaes night.

Jacket Art for Home for Dinner by Anne K. FishelAnne K. Fishel, Ph.D., is the director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate clinical professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School. As co-founder of The Family Dinner Project, she has been interviewed by NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Good Housekeeping, Parents magazine, and other major media. She writes the Digital Family blog for Psychology Today.