Tag Archives: Nutrition

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

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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.

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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

 

 

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Florentine Frittata: A Delicious Recipe from A PLANT-BASED LIFE

The following is a recipe by Micaela Cook Karlson, MSPH, author of A PLANT-BASED LIFE: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body (AMACOM July 2016). This recipe is one of over 100 mouth-watering dishes in the book.

Florentine Frittataflorentine frittata

Why use eggs or even tofu? This easy chickpea-and-quinoa frittata started out as an attempted omelet recipe with the goal of using canned beans instead of chick­pea flour, but the consistency is much better suited to making a frittata. You can use leftover cooked rice (a more traditional frittata choice) instead of quinoa, but the quinoa cooks quickly inside the batter, making it exceptionally well suited for times when you haven’t planned ahead. Plus, you can make this dish your own by using any of your favorite veggies. Serve for an impromptu but luxurious Sunday brunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen leaf spinach, thawed and finely chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or chia seed
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable base paste
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • ¼ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. In a blender or in a medium bowl with an immersion blender, blend the chickpeas, flaxseed, vegetable base paste, and miso paste on high speed until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa (or leftover rice, if you prefer), garlic, onion, bell pepper, and thawed chopped spinach. Pour the chickpea mixture into the quinoa mixture, and stir until evenly distributed.
  4. Pour the mixture into a 9×13-inch glass pan. Arrange the tomato slices evenly over the top to cover. Bake for 55 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Cool for 10 to 20 minutes or until the frittata is set before serving.

Note: If you bake this in a glass dish, there is no need to oil the pan to prevent sticking.

Serves 6 to 8.

To learn more about A PLANT-BASED LIFE, click here! For other sample recipes from the book, check out our slideshow!

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Recipes from A PLANT-BASED LIFE: A Sampler

Once you’ve heard about the glories of a plant-based diet, it’s easy to become eager to jump in! Yet one of the most frequent obstacles is figuring out what to eat on a day-to-day basis, especially when routine guides you towards less nutritious options. Fortunately, in A PLANT-BASED LIFE: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body (AMACOM July 2016), author Micaela Cook Karlsen includes over 100 delicious recipes to show readers how to put plant-based principles to work. You can tell from her photos that you’ll have many mouth-watering options. The slideshow embedded below the photos includes a variety of recipes that you can put to use right away.

For more information on A Plant-Based Life and Micaela Cook Karlsen, please click here!

Random Quotes from New Books this July

A Plant-Based Life: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body by Micaela Cook Karlsen

Jacket cover of A Plant-Based Life

Despite your enthusiasm for dietary improvement, an initial burst of motivation isn’t enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Long-term success occurs by forming new habits, which are behaviors that are thought to originate from an impulsive or nonrational part of people. In this context, impulsive isn’t a bad thing. It simply means you don’t have to stop and think about what you’re doing, or make a conscious choice to eat differently. But while you are integrating these new patterns, and even afterwards, you need to stay plugged into your motivating force. There will be moments when your willpower, you energy, and your commitment may wilt. You’ll need a pick-me-up, and staying in touch with your inner impulses in those moments can spark the flame to get back in the game and keep going. The more contact you have with your reasons for your new behaviors, the easier it will be to take the steps required to make them permanent(page 36).

The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line by Leigh Stringer

Jacket cover of The Healthy Workplace

“Today, Owens Corning is one of the first companies to pilot Harvard’s Health and Human Performance Index. This index measures employee well-being, productivity, engagement, and work culture and was developed by Harvard’s School of Public Health in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson as a tool to enable most robust corporate sustainability reporting. ‘The initial results of this survey have set a baseline of data for us to measure again every 18 months to two years,’ [Gale] Tedhams explains. ‘Even with the results of this first survey, however, we have learned things about our population that we were not aware of before, like the impact of mental health issues, the lack of sleep some of our employees are getting, and where smoking is more prevalent based on age.’ Especially across countries and regions, but also between the different functions in Owens Corning’s workforce and between employees of different age groups, there are always unique health issues to be addressed. ‘Knowing the specific issues and what part of the employee population is most impacted is the first step to making things better’” (pages 179).

Make Your Own Waves: The Surfer’s Rules for Innovators and Entrepreneurs by Louis Patler

MakeYrOwnWaves

“Jack Viorel, founder of Wrightsville, North Carolina’s Indo Jax Surf School and Indo Jax Surf Charities, introduces underprivileged kids to the joys and lessons of surfing. He says what surfing teaches is deeper–and wider–than any ocean. ‘Even the best surfers wipe out–a lot. Getting good at surfing means a ton of wipeouts. To many of the kids we work with, their lives seem like a wipeout,’ he says. ‘Surfing teaches that wipeouts are just part of the deal. When you learn to wipe our and go back out, that can translate to your own life. You can wipe out in anything you’re doing, but all you have to do is paddle back out'” (page 87).

 

july 2016 new releases

Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.

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Micaela Cook Karlsen on Making a Plant-Based Diet Socially Sustainable

KarlsenEmbracing a plant-based diet is a personal choice. But it takes a community to get charged up about plant-based eating. “It’s important to make friends who are already committed to a plant-based diet, because we all need that kind of shared experience and support,” says 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). “Close conversation, the immediacy of the energy in a room full of like-minded people, and the personal feedback and sharing offer reassurance and normalcy.” To find and build your own plant-based eating circle:

  • Use the internet and social media to make new, plant-based connections in your own backyard. Vegan and vegetarian MeetUp groups are popular and growing so may be the fastest path to live connections where you live.
  • Identify local plant-friendly restaurants and grocery stores. Check their bulletin boards for announcements of groups, potluck dinners, or other interesting events that might yield a plant-based community to surround yourself with.
  • Take an inventory of your friends, coworkers, and acquaintances to assess who may be open to or curious about plant-based diets. Then, reach out and invite them to try a new recipe with you or join you for an event.
  • Go to a local potluck dinner or gathering. Don’t let being solo hold you back; plant-based groups are typically welcoming to newcomers. Even if you don’t feel like fast friends with the others you meet for the first time, you’ll experience a deep pleasure in sharing food with a group that values and prioritizes plant-based eating. Plus, you’ll get to taste some delicious new dishes!
  • Throw your own potluck dinner or themed party (the theme being all plant-based food, please). Invite your new plant-based acquaintances. Invite old friends too, explaining that you are hosting a get-together to try out some exciting new dishes and encourage everyone to experiment with new cooking. Serve a fabulous dessert to delight all your guests, including omnivores.
  • Join the Community Supported Agriculture movement, connecting local farmers directly with consumers. CSA members purchase a share of the farm’s produce for the season, ready for pick up on a weekly basis. This offers an affordable way to buy local, fresh, often organic vegetables. You’ll know exactly where your food comes from and develop a relationship with the people growing it.
  • Get involved with plant-based groups. Is there a vegetarian society in your area? A parents’ group working to improve school food? Volunteer to help!

Cover of A Plant-Based Life by Micaela Cook Karlsen

Adapted from A Plant-Based Life: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body by Micaela Cook Karlsen (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.