Vegan Lettuce Wraps

With the what the health phenomena I have been getting so many more inquiries about people wanting to become vegetarian or vegans so today I wanted to share a quick and easy, animal cruelty free dinner recipe!

Vegan Lettuce Wraps:

  1. Romaine Lettuce = Taco Shell Replacement, Butter Lettuce is a great substitute as well!
  2. In a pot saute mushroom, onion, tomatoes and season (I use cumin, cayeene, and celery salt)
  3. Add in Beans on your choice and mix together
  4. sprint hemp seeds to taste (I added 1 tbsp to the mix for 2 people)
  5. Slice up some fresh avocado on top
  6. Enjoy!

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Have you watched any Netflix health docs lately?

What the Health?, Forks Over Knives, Fed Up (personal fave), Food Matters, Vegucated, are just a few of the Netflix documentaries you can find on food.  There are plenty more, but those are the ones I’ve seen recently.  I must admit I have a love-hate relationship with most of them leaning more towards the hate than the love.

Here’s what I do love:

  • I love how they are bringing awareness to fruits and vegetables and how we need to increase the amount we are eating.  The majority of us don’t even get half our recommended daily dosage.
  • I love how they shed light on the atrocities of the meat slaughtering industry, because regulations NEED to happen.  The real animals are us humans, who choose not to find more humane ways to put down the meat that we do eat.  Personally I am a vegetarian, I believe in doing my part, but I also do not believe everyone needs to go vegan.  I’m a realist who believes it should be a personal choice as to whether or not someone decides to consume meat, and because I am a realist I know not everyone will remove or decrease the amount of meat in their diet, which is why more humane treatment of animals needs to be put in place.
  • I love that they shed light on the amount of garbage they are adding to meat, poultry, and farm raised fish.
  • I love how are they are raising awareness to the amount of added sugar the majority of us eat without realizing it
  • I love that they bring awareness to how food can help prevent more health issues than the pharmaceutical companies want you to believe.  YOU NEED A BALANCE PEOPLE!

Here’s what I don’t like

  • How EXTREME and one-sided they are.  The ones pushing people towards veganism more so than the ones warning people to stay away from wheat and sugar.  At least the one’s I have seen about wheat frequently give the disclaimer that the negative effects of wheat more so impact the gluten intolerant.  The documentaries about sugar also frequently express the need more consuming added sugar in moderation.  However the ones that promote veganism, never once touch base on the idea of grass-fed or organic meat and poultry alternatives that are worth the investment due to significantly less pesticides, etc.
  • I do not like how they neglect to go over the differences between complete and incomplete proteins and how animal proteins are complete proteins where as plant based protein usually requires 2-3 different sources to reach the complete protein status.
  • I do not like how they neglect to mention that for athletes looking to get stronger, IGF1 only found in red meat is a legal and natural “steroid” in the sense that is helps our strength gains.  I’m not saying you won’t get stronger if you only eat vegetarian or vegan because that is not the case.  The gains can come faster though with the help of red meat, but I opt out of that natural boost.
  • I don’t like how they neglect to talk about the dirty dozen (aka the most contaminated fruits and vegetables) that everyone should prioritize as buying organic because of the amount of pesticides found in them.
    • Peaches, Apples, Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, Potatoes
  • I don’t like how they do not touch on the subject of how easy it is to also be overweight and have health issues has a vegetarian or vegan.  I personally know way too many overweight, anemic, or overall unhealthy vegetarians and vegans

Overall for people who do not have extremist personalities and tendencies I would recommend educating themselves with these documentaries, however also keeping in mind that there are 2 sides to every story.  I wish they would make them with less of a bias.  I believe they’d have more success reaching larger audiences if they did.  I also believe they would make meat-eaters understand the POV of vegans and vice versa.  We all know that vegan or meat eater that tries to make the other side feel like terrible people for choosing to eat or not eat meat.  We need to educate people on both sides and THEN let people decide and respect their decisions!  The lesson continues to be that everything in MODERATION is key!

Learn more about the best online fitness program which includes comprehensive programs focused on shifting towards healthier eating habits, staying fit, and building a better booty. You’ll also find a variety of fitness apparel to help get you that extra motivation to take your goals to another level. Contact me today to learn more about the best fitness programs available to get your body in gear.

Leafy Greens: My love hate relationship

Leafy greens and I have a love hate relationship.  I am probably the only vegetarian in the world that abhors veggies (except broccoli), but I eat them anyways because they are an integral part of a balances diet.  Vegetables in general are incredibly nutrient dense with very little calories.  Green veggies in general tend to be the most nutrient packed containing Vitamins A, C, K, B, and E along with minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium just to name a few.  Green vegetables are also extra high in protein and fiber.  Now before I continue I want to warn you guys that this is going to be a long, but info-packed post.  Because it is very long and I still have a workout to test, youtube videos to record, and chemistry to study I will not be doing extensive proof reading, only skimming.

Now that I have given that disclaimer I can move on.  So, our bodies have a something called t-bet genes.  They help with the production of immune cells and feed off the foods we eat, more specifically our consumption of green vegetables.  The t-bet gene also allows our body to produce innate lymphoid cells that line our digestive systems and act as a barrier against bad bacterias and allergies.  Without proper consumption of green vegetables you are depriving this gene in being able to carry out its daily activities inside our body.  Leafy greens are high in antioxidants and disease fighting compounds such as photo-chemicals.  Phyto-chemicals help reduce inflammation, regulate cell production and elimination, and they get rid of carcinogens (cancer causing agents often hidden in the processed garbage we eat).

How many servings should we aim for?  According to one of my nutrition textbooks the average American eating 3 servings a week! unfortunately, that’s no where NEAR enough.  The goal should be 4-6 servings of greens a day!  My advice, find a way to make them yummy, but be advised the more you take veggies out of their raw form, the more you strip them of their vitamins in minerals.

Although their are more green vegetables than the ones I am about to list, I chose the following 7 because they are either under-recognized or under-appreciated.

1.  Sprouts:  (Under-recognized) help our bodies to extract the necessary vitamins, minerals, healthy essential fats, and amino acids from the food we consume.

2. Spinach: (Under-appreciated) Contain vitamins A, C, K, and B-vitamins along with minerals such as calcium, iron, fiber, selenium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.  They also provide us with folic acid, omega-3s (hint hint to all of my vegetarian/vegan friends, omega 3s are not just found in fish and iron is not only found in red meat, you just need to eat 10x the amount if your source is coming from plant), and lutein for eye health.  Spinach aids in overall heart health and is an anti-inflammatory veggie.

3. Kale: (WAYYYYYYY Under-appreciated) is one of the MOST NUTRIENT DENSE foods in the world!  It contains Vitamin A, K, C, B vitamins, and minerals such as manganese, calcium, copper, potassium,  and magnesium.  You can also find antioxidants and phytochemicals (quercitin and kempferl) that help protect the heart, regulate blood pressure, fights cancer causing agents, lowers cholesterol (which lowers risk of CHD), and also contains lutein and zeaxanmin to help keep your eyes healthy.  Because kale is low in calorie and high in nutrition it is an excellent veggie to stuff yourself with (especially when losing weight).

4.Swiss Chard: (Under-recognized) contains vitamins A, C, E, K, and minerals copper, manganese, magnesium, and natural sodium.  Swiss chard helps maintain an overall healthy skeletal system, lungs, heart, and immune system.

5.Collard greens: (under-recognized) contain vitamins A, C, K, are a great source of fiber, and phytochemicals diindolylenethane and sulforaphane that contain cancer fighting agents.

6. Dandelion Greens: (under-recognized) are like root rooter for your system.  Need a fast acting cleanse? Eat tons of dandelion greens!  They also are an excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, protein and vitamins A, C, and B.

7.Broccoli: (under-appreciated) are high in fiber, antioxidants, photo-nutrients beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and sea-xanthin.  Also have copious amounts of floats, B vitamins, vitamin A and K, and minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and phosphorous.  Contribute towards a healthy colon, urinary tract, and pancreas.

Not sure what all of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals do for us? scroll down to my micronutrient post!

Macronutrients vs Micronutrients part 2

On Monday I went over the 3 different Macronutrients: Carbs, Proteins, and Fats.  Today, I’m hoping this post will clear up any confusion over the basics of Micronutrients.  Unlike macros that are needed in large amounts, micronutrients are only necessary in small amounts.  They are the Vitamins and Minerals.

Vitamins: A, C, D, K, E, & Bs

Minerals: Fluoride, Selenium, Iodine, Copper, Zinc, Sodium, Iron

Sodium is used for fluid balance and blood pH regulation in the body.  Manganese is required for Bone formation, to metabolize macronutrients, and energy production. Magnesium is needed for heart rhythm, glucose conversion to energy, and is needed to metabolize calcium and vitamin C.  Iron is needed to produce lymphocytes and red blood cells.  Chloride is needed to regulate water, electrolytes, and cell pH.  Though there are many more micro nutrients, I decided to name only a few to help you understand that though they are required in small amounts they are incredibly necessary for your body’s everyday processes.

Being deficient in Micronutrients, is usually due to a poor and unbalanced diet, and it incredibly dangerous.  Being deficient in iodine for example, is the lading cause of brain damage, still births, and miscarriages.  Vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness in kids as well as night time blindness in women pregnant.  Iron deficiency anemia is the most common of micronutrient deficiencies and occurs when your body is not producing enough red blood cells.  Unless you have a documented deficiency however, you shouldn’t worry about any side effects from being micronutrient deficient.micro chart