There are a lot of topics I want to cover this morning, in no particular order…
First, in the world of sports, my hats off to our own Florida Marlin, Hanley Ramirez, for coming in second place in last nights Home Run Derby and also to Udonis Haslem for passing on a pay raise and staying with the Miami Heat, adding to their dream team. Though I understand (and on many levels agree) with those of you that wish to see Florida recognized for more than just their athletic teams, I can’t dismiss the good from all of this. Good players and good teams make for happy fans who will spend some money and be proud to live in South Florida. This can only help our economy and perhaps even our real estate market. I think its all good.
There is a need to clear up some questions on the article I have posted on osteoporosis. I did not write that article but think it is a good one and thank the author, Michelle, for sending it to me for reprint. After a long conversation with a friend last night, I went back and reread it and I understand the confusion over exercise prescriptions. I would NOT suggest step class for an 80 year old woman with severe osteoporosis. I WOULD suggest any and all exercise for a woman in her 50s who is in early stages of bone loss. Many of us wonder what exactly is a weight bearing exercise. To me, it is any exercise that puts weight on our bones. The author suggests NOT to do step class (I don’t agree) but again, that would depend on the extent of your bone loss. For any of us that might be in the early stages or looking to prevent loss from happening, I, personally, would lift weights, use machines, walk, run, jump, and/or take an assortment of classes. One would know, via scanning, if their disease had progressed to a point where step class or running would be a high risk. My philosophy for most of us is just like Nike’s…whatever it is, JUST DO IT!
While I am enjoying swimming this summer, that is an example of a non-weight bearing exercise. But even with that said, to me, in my understanding of increasing bone mass, any time you work a muscle it pulls on the bone and when it pulls on the bone, the bone gets more dense. So even though swimming is considered non-weight bearing, I still think doing it is better (even for our bones) than not. So no, it’s not a better choice than the ones in the above paragraph, but again DOING ANYTHING is better than DOING NOTHING! Just keep moving. I hope that helps a little.
I have gotten so many questions about eating and cooking on a plant-based diet. I LOVE to answer these questions because if I did not have a son who opted to be a vegan as a teenager (and still is at 26) I would probably not be as learned about all of this as I am. Someone asked if it was hard to eat out while I was away this weekend. In honesty, eating out can be a challenge, but I have gotten pretty good at trying to look online ahead of time at menus. When that is not an option, there is almost always something I can find on a menu, the biggest problem for me is that I also watch calories…oiy! I’ll fill you in on what I ate while away, to answer the question–on the plane, veggie chips (though I could have had the craisins or the plaintain chips as well) – for dinner that night I had whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and ordered a side of sauteed spinach that I mixed into the pasta. Its important to know that plain pasta marinara was NOT on the menu, but that is always an option in an Italian restaurant. I am more than sure I could have ordered it with vegetables, but this was just as easy and yummy and a plain salad on the side made it complete. The next morning I ordered a bowl of oatmeal with the works. It came with sliced bananas, blueberries and strawberries as well as walnuts and was a perfect way to start the day. I chose to indulge in some New York pizza for lunch, but honestly I removed a lot of the cheese. For dinner that night, I had the awesome vegan ravioli and breakfast the next morning was a bagel and fakin’ sausage. I made it into a sandwich. Even at the tiny airport in Newburgh, New York, where we waited for our delayed flight home, I was able to get a grilled veggie panini at Quiznos. Admittedly I ate too many starchy carbs, but hey, I was on vacation! I could have had more salads 🙂
As for the cooking part of this lifestyle, I LOVE IT! I don’t think I loved to cook until this stage of my life. That could be for many reasons. I have absolutely favorite dishes which I will begin to share more readily as people are asking. I have some favorite cookbooks- How it all Vegan and the Garden of Vegan are part of a series by Tayna Barnard and Sarah Kramer. The recipes are easy. How it all Vegan is the one I have used MOST often and I love their tofu scramble recipe, which I have tweaked along the way. Quantum Wellness was a fantastic book on “leaning” into plant-based diets. The author, Kathy Freeson, suggests a 21 days animal free cleanse. After that you might (or might not) find its a way of life that works for you. What I have really found is that if you like to cook, experimenting with tweaking your own recipes is “a piece of cake.” I use soy milk in place of cow’s milk. I often use applesauce, mashed bananas or egg replacer (available at a store like Whole Foods) in place of eggs or sometimes I just leave them out. I use Earth Balance instead of butter. Publix has just mainstreamed their “alternative” products (at least at my store) so now the Earth Balance is with the butter, the soy milk, with the cow’s and almond milk. I also keep Tofutti cream cheese (I like this so much better than the real thing) in my fridge for a Sunday bagel. Hard cheeses are nothing like the real thing and though I use them occasionally, they never melt (even if they say right on the package that they do) so the cheese is hard to replace. I use an item called nutritional yeast (contains some of the nutrients that are lacking in a plant-based diet and I also buy that at Whole Foods) and sprinkle it on veggies or in soup, but used on pasta dishes it sort of takes the place of grated cheese. Derek loves it and sprinkles it on most everything. One simple, yummy, appetizer I have come up with is what I call Buffalo Tofu Tidbits. After draining a block of tofu, I cut it into cubes and roll it around in some flour, nutritional yeast and spices. I deep fry (I didn’t say it was a diet dish!) for a few minutes and then make a sauce from Louisiana Pure Hot Sauce and Earth Balance (about equal parts) and pour over the tofu. This is always a huge hit and though fattening, not nearly as much as buffalo chicken wings. Try it, you’ll like it!
I am asked daily about how I get enough protein. I am not sure what enough is anymore. I am not sure what too much is. I work in a business that has made me believe, for many years, the more protein, the better. Maybe for a bodybuilder this is really important. Maybe. There are vegan bodybuilders doing just great getting their protein from plants. Most vegetables are about 22% protein. I eat a whole grain wrap once a day that has about 10 grams of protein. I try to have a soy product once a day (but not more as I am concerned about too much of anything) so if I have a garden burger or 2 soy dogs or some tofu (by the way, you can cut up the soy dogs and roll them up in crescent rolls for great NO-Pigs in a blanket, another well received appetizer) I am getting some decent protein there. Cereals are enriched with protein and vitamin B, the one vitamin we MUST supplement if not eating animal products. Beans are a fantastic source of protein. I always add chick peas to my salad. Nuts, as a small snack, provide a world of nutrients, including protein.
The more one reads, asks and learns, the easier it becomes. For me, it is really no challenge anymore, instead it is just a lifestyle. I cannot explain how much more loving and compassionate I feel these days. Maybe part of it is just mellowing with age, but I suspect a good deal of it is from ingesting food that has not suffered before getting to my plate. I am filling my body with wholesome, colorful, light and nutritious food that was grown specifically for my pleasure. For me, there is something very comforting in that knowledge.
When Derek was a teenager he read a book called DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA. He was so moved by it that he bought copies for everyone he cared about. Some thought this was akin to buying and passing out bibles. I suppose in some ways, it was. I will NOT go out and buy copies of that or THE CHINA STUDY but I do wish that everyone I love would read one or both of those books. If you are only going to read one, I suggest THE CHINA STUDY because the author is SO credible and he cites hundreds of studies to support his theories. If you enjoy that book and want to read something else (which also delves into the animal compassion side of this) check out DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA by John Robbins (heir to Baskin-Robbins empire). It is not at all a new book, but is updated periodically. On the lighter side is Alicia Silverstone’s book THE KIND DIET. Or just visit her site at thekindlife.com I highly recommend her site for recipes and SO much more!
I managed to do about 30 minutes of P90X on my break yesterday morning. The pull-up bar is back up and after doing some of those yesterday (with the assistance of a chair and my foot) I can feel my back muscles this morning. I revisited ab ripper x but only did about half the routine. I am easing back in. After I walk Blaze this morning, I am going to do the Tuesday video, which is cardio-x (a mix of yoga, karate and core training). I probably will do about 30 minutes of it and then get in the pool and finish my own personal workout with laps–15 of them, today.
Carol, I will be excited to have you back in class tonight. Rita, I continue to miss you like crazy and hope each day that it will be the day you wake up and start feeling much better.
I apologize for rambling on and on this morning. There was a lot of ground to cover. I don’t want to leave questions unanswered. Keep em coming. Much love…