No Meat Athlete http://www.nomeatathlete.com Plant-Based Diet for Fitness | Vegan Recipes & Nutrition | Vegan Fitness & Running Mon, 16 May 2016 14:32:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.8 The Life-Changing Habit to Start Today http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-144/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-144/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 14:09:49 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27199 “Life-changing” is a big claim. Especially when it involves cleaning out your closet … This conversation started back in January, when Matt read Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. He said it was one of the best books he’d read in years, I said it wasn’t for me. Boy was I

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A set of books in the library. Knowledge, Science

“Life-changing” is a big claim. Especially when it involves cleaning out your closet …

This conversation started back in January, when Matt read Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. He said it was one of the best books he’d read in years, I said it wasn’t for me.

Boy was I wrong.

Today’s episode departs from our traditional topics of fitness and nutrition, and focuses instead on a habit we’ve both recently adopted. A habit that will free you from clutter, bring new energy to your home, and take you completely by surprise — I know it did me — with how good it feels.

Yup. It may even change your life.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Do your items spark joy?
  • How to start decluttering your home
  • Why it’s acceptable to throw away that ugly sweater
  • Thanking your items (Doug actually does this)
  • What to do with books, race medals, and other items you love

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Links from the show:

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5 Non-Negotiable Vegan Foods to Eat Every Day (if You Want to Live a Long, Healthy Life) http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-health-foods/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-health-foods/#comments Tue, 10 May 2016 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27178 Everybody loves to talk about the latest and greatest disease-preventing superfood — but how many have you actually made a part of your daily diet? As a cardiovascular nurse and nutrition consultant, I spend much of my time wading in the muck of preventable chronic diseases, and I’ve dedicated my life to understanding nutrition science and

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berries

Everybody loves to talk about the latest and greatest disease-preventing superfood — but how many have you actually made a part of your daily diet?

As a cardiovascular nurse and nutrition consultant, I spend much of my time wading in the muck of preventable chronic diseases, and I’ve dedicated my life to understanding nutrition science and lifestyle medicine.

And more importantly for you, how those two disciplines can be used to prevent and treat disease.

What I’ve found is that certain health foods — normal foods, not hard-to-find superfoods — have a remarkable capacity to protect you from disease, increase athletic performance, and give you a fighting chance of living a long, healthy life.

Below I’ve compiled a list of five food types that meet this criteria. Foods that I recommend my clients eat every single day — without exception.

Here they are.

1. Legumes

Let’s focus for a minute on the longest living populations on earth today that enjoy the best health and least amount of chronic disease.

They nearly all have one important thing in common from a nutritional perspective:

Beans. 

Get past the flatulence jokes, and it turns out that beans are a nutritional powerhouse and should be taken seriously.

Legume intake has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, among other effects. And for good reason …

Beans contain a number of important macro and micro nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, folate, fiber and potassium. Some of the phytochemicals present in beans can even be associated with producing an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and help us regulate our blood sugar and blood pressure as well as promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Almost sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.

In 2007, the most comprehensive analysis of diet and cancer ever conducted was published by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

Nine independent research teams from around the globe with some of the brightest minds in cancer prevention combed through nearly half a million studies to create a scientific consensus on the best ways to reduce the risk of developing this disease. In their final report, they concluded that people should be eating beans with every meal. 

Here are three quick ways to easily incorporate more beans into your diet:

2. Fruit

Who doesn’t love biting into a ripe mango on a hot summer day, or eating a bucket full of freshly picked blueberries?

As it turns out, Americans fall woefully short of the recommended daily intake of fruits and this is not without consequence.

The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was conducted by nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries and took years to finish.

The study concluded that in the United States, the leading cause of death and disability was the American diet and that the worst part of our nutritional habits was not eating enough fruit.

Not vegetables or whole grains, but fruit.

Berries, in particular, seem to be the MVP of the fruit world and offer serious protection against cancer, boost immune cell activity, and protect the liver and the brain. A study of nearly 100,000 men and women, conducted by the American Cancer Society, found that those who ate the most berries were significantly less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

I happen to love fruit as a source of fuel during long races and training sessions so for you athletes out there, consider that application as a great way to boost your daily intake.

Here are three more ways to incorporate more fruit into your daily routine:

  • Make a frozen, mixed berry sorbet using a masticating juicer or high-powered blender
  • Eat an entire meal of just fruit including mangoes, bananas, berries, watermelon, etc.
  • Throw assorted fruits into a smoothie

3. Greens

Dark-green, leafy vegetables may be the healthiest foods on the planet.

They offer the most nutrition per calorie and the greatest array of disease-fighting, performance-enhancing nutrients. And yet, today only about 1 in 25 Americans consume even a dozen servings per month when you should be shooting for at least a dozen servings per week.

Eating greens, especially of the cruciferous variety, is likely to be one the most powerful steps you can take to prolong your life.

Here are three easy ways to get more greens into your diet:

  • Add kale and/or spinach to a smoothie
  • Make a large spinach salad with your favorite toppings
  • Use Romaine lettuce to make hummus and veggie wraps

4. Whole Grains

I mentioned earlier that daily bean consumption was recommended for preventing cancer by the AICR.

That same analysis determined that whole grains were just as effective as beans and should be consumed with every meal.

A 2015 analysis of Harvard’s famous Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study — which have accumulated more than three million person-years of data — found that people who eat the most whole grains often live significantly longer independent of other lifestyle factors like smoking or obesity, etc.

If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

This is in no way surprising, considering the evidence that whole grains appear to mitigate the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and stroke and are quite adept at reducing inflammation, despite some of the nonsense you read circulating through the blogosphere about grains being pro-inflammatory.

*Clears throat*

I absolutely love barley, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and rye, or simply adding whole wheat pasta or wild rice to a dish. Try experimenting with these if you aren’t already accustomed to eating them.

And if you have Celiac disease or a legitimate gluten sensitivity, you can still enjoy many of the benefits of these foods, you just have to choose the gluten-free varieties.

Here are three ways to get more whole grains in your body:

  • Make pasta using 100% whole wheat varieties
  • Use quinoa as a base for a veggie stir fry
  • Make a sandwich using sprouted, whole wheat toast

5. Nuts

The Global Burden of Disease Study, which I mentioned earlier, determined that inadequate nut and seed intake was the third-leading dietary risk factor for death and disability in the world and thought to lead to the death of millions of people every year. Yikes.

But that doesn’t mean you should be scarfing down mounds of nuts.

Just one handful (1/4 cup) of nuts, five or more days a week, is associated with an increase in lifespan by two years. This seems hard to believe but it turns out that nuts are extraordinary plant foods with remarkable disease fighting properties.

And if I had to choose just one?

Walnuts.

Walnuts have the highest antioxidant and omega-3 content and appear particularly adept at killing cancer cells.

Here are three ways to eat more nuts:

  • Make your own trail mix for work using assorted raw nuts
  • Use nut butters like almond or cashew butter for spreads or dips
  • Throw some walnuts in a salad or smoothie

The Meal That Brings it all Together

So are you wondering what the best way to combine all of these healthy everyday foods into one quick and convenient meal is? Try this:

Every day eat a large spinach and mixed greens salad with black beans, blueberries, walnuts and other veggies on a bed of quinoa or brown rice. Top that off with a cashew-based salad dressing and you’re done.

So easy. So delicious.

When it comes to living a long, healthy and productive life, this approach will keep science on your side and disease at bay.

About the Author: Aaron is a cardiovascular nurse, health coach and nutrition consultant, owner and founder of The Plant-Based RN, ultra-endurance athlete, father and husband. He also co-hosts the Thought For Food Podcast, writes for Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine and speaks to the public about preventing and reversing heart disease.

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Nicole Antoinette Interviews Matt Frazier http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-143/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-143/#respond Fri, 06 May 2016 14:02:19 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27181 This week on No Meat Athlete Radio, we’re doing something a little different. Instead of me doing the interviewing (or shooting the breeze with Doug), I’m the one being interviewed — by my friend and fellow vegan runner and “big goals” advocate Nicole Antoinette. This interview was first published on Nicole’s popular podcast, Real Talk

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nicole-antoinette

This week on No Meat Athlete Radio, we’re doing something a little different.

Instead of me doing the interviewing (or shooting the breeze with Doug), I’m the one being interviewed — by my friend and fellow vegan runner and “big goals” advocate Nicole Antoinette.

This interview was first published on Nicole’s popular podcast, Real Talk Radio, and she was kind enough to let me rebroadcast it on our show.

It’s a long one, nearly two hours in length, but one of my favorite interviews that I’ve done, which is why I chose to share it. Nicole and I dig deep into a lot of topics — and not just the typical running and diet stuff, but a more personal discussion of achievement, failure, and the messy reality that setting big, ambitious goals.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did! Big thanks to Nicole for doing the interview and letting me share it; be sure to check out Real Talk Radio for lots more conversations like it.

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Links from the show:

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The Vegan’s Guide to Traveling to a Destination Race http://www.nomeatathlete.com/destination-race-guide/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/destination-race-guide/#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 14:02:19 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27156 This post was written by Doug Hay. Race week is all about routine. What you eat, how you taper, and the amount of sleep you get are all calculated and practiced. When it works, you stick with it, race after race — it’s one less thing to worry about. But even the best routines get

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people running paris marathon france

This post was written by Doug Hay.

Race week is all about routine.

What you eat, how you taper, and the amount of sleep you get are all calculated and practiced.

When it works, you stick with it, race after race — it’s one less thing to worry about.

But even the best routines get thrown for a loop when your upcoming race requires travel.

I was reminded of this firsthand during a recent trip to Northern California for the Mendocino Coast 50K. My wife and I traveled around the area for a week before the race, sleeping in new beds, eating different foods, and not exactly staying off our feet.

It was a total blast, no doubt, but not ideal the week leading up to a race.

Fortunately, not all hope is lost when traveling to a destination race …

Today’s post is a 4-step guide to taking a smart approach to race travel, and the extra considerations you should take as a vegan.

And it all starts before you ever leave home:

1. Make a List, Check it Twice

Packing lists are nothing new. Most travelers use a list in some form or another every time they bust out the suitcase.

But for a runner traveling to a race, that packing list becomes an essential part of preparations. Make the list a few days before you start packing, and add to it as needed.

When you start packing, keep running clothes and gear separate, so you can look at them independently before putting it all in the suitcase.

Every runner’s gear list is different, but here are a few commonly forgotten items you don’t want to leave behind:

  1. Lubricant
  2. Nutrition (Energy gels, bars, snacks, etc.)
  3. Running socks
  4. Running hat or visor
  5. A throw-away or packable layer for before the race
  6. Change of clothes for after the run

Keep your list specific, and go over it a second time before you stuff everything into your bag.

  Quick Word on Packing for an Ultramarathon

When packing for an ultramarathon, it’s easy to get carried away. Trust me, I’m the worst at this.

While traveling to an ultra, think light … maybe you can cut back on the layers, or go with a handheld instead of a hydration pack.

Take what you need, but be selective and smart with those choices.

2. Handle Travel Like a Pro

All travel will be tough on the body, but your chosen mode of transportation will create different challenges. For that reason I’ve split up this section into parts A and B:

A. How to Manage Plane Travel Before and After a Race

For many destination races, the best (or only) way to get there is by plane.

It’s quick, easy, and not ideal for runners. When plane travel is part of the agenda, follow these tips:

  • Jet-lag: If you’re moving time zones, don’t forget about jet-lag. Begin adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before the trip to make the transition a little easier. Once there, go to bed based on local time, not what your body feels like. If at all possible, try to arrive early enough before the race to let your body adjust.
  • Use a carry-on (just in case): Plan to check a bag at the airport? Prepare for the worst and always carry the essentials on with you. Running shoes being the most important.
  • Bring snacks: It’s no secret that most airports aren’t vegan friendly. Pack snacks from home to stay fueled and happy.
  • And a water bottle: You can rely on flying to dehydrate the body about as much as you can rely on that baby in the next row to keep you from napping. In other words, it’s going to happen. Always bring a bottle to fill up inside the terminal, and drink up throughout your trip.
  • Get up and move: This is important before the race, and even more important on the way home. If you’re on a longer flight, get up once an hour to stretch, move your legs, and work out any stiffness to keep you loose and aid recovery.
  • Wear compression socks or sleeves: To help keep the blood flowing and recovery progressing, throw on a pair of compression socks or sleeves during the trip home.

B. What to do When Traveling by Car

Traveling by car provides you with a lot more freedom. You can be less conservative with your packing, stop whenever you need a leg stretch, and bring whatever food you may need.

But of course, even car travel is still rough on the body. Here are my tricks for arriving in good form:

  • Stop often (for five-minute runs): I once read that elite ultrarunner Ricky Gates would stop every one to two hours for a five-minute shakeout run when traveling to or from a race by car. I love that idea, and now adopt it whenever possible. It may take longer to reach your destination, but your body will thank you when you do.
  • Pack your lunch: Healthy fast food options are rarely reliable for vegans on the road. Save yourself the trouble: pack snacks, sandwiches, trail mix, and fruit to keep you and your stomach happy. When all else fails, look for grocery stores along the route that may have a good salad or prepared foods bar.
  • Avoid over packing: Just because you have the extra room doesn’t mean you need all that gear. Stick to your list and it’ll just make final race prep less chaotic.

3. Take a Thoughtful Approach to Meal Planning

Let’s face it, as a vegan or vegetarian traveling to a new place, a thoughtful approach to your meals will save you a lot of hassle.

Just the other day a friend was telling me about a recent struggle he and his father (both vegan) had the night before an ultramarathon. Options were so limited in this small Virginia town that even the local Mexican restaurant wouldn’t work. They were forced to stop at the gas station, pick up a can of beans, and make tortillas in the hotel’s microwave.

No one wants to deal with that stress the night before a race.

Thankfully there are a few steps for avoiding the pre-race restaurant struggle.

For starters, do your research ahead of time. Hop on Happy Cow, reach out to the local NMA Running Group, or peruse Yelp for vegan options.

Once there, start asking around. Don’t be afraid to drop into a restaurant and ask what they can do for you, or ask the hotel front desk for advice.

And when all else fails, bring back-ups. Whether it’s a bunch of fruit, trail-mix, or microwavable burritos, have something on hand for the just-in-case situation.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget about post-race food. Assume most of the finish line treats will not be vegan, and have a snack on hand, or grab a few extra bananas to help fuel your recovery.

4. Have Fun (But Not Too Much Fun)

When traveling to a new place, especially if it’s in a location you’ve been dying to explore, temptations will be everywhere.

Sightseeing, new foods, fun nights out, they’re sirens of this new land.

Don’t shy away from the fun and adventure … but save most of it for after the race.

Keep in mind that you’re on this trip to run a race, and that should be the priority (unless it’s not, of course). Avoid spending too much time on your feet, and try to refrain from too many of the local adult libations.

Use the Destination to Your Advantage

One of the best ways to explore a new city, mountain range, or landscape is by running it. So why not explore it during a race?

When properly planned, destination races could be just the boost you need to reach a new race goal or PR. Or the excuse you’ve been looking for to plan an epic vacation.

Use the excitement of a new location to your advantage, and embrace the entire destination race experience.

About the Author: Doug is an ultrarunner, coach, and the co-host of NMA Radio. Pick up his free eBook, Why Every Runner Should Be a Trail Runner (And How to Become One), or follow him on his blog, Rock Creek Runner.

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Our Start-to-Finish Guide to Marathon Training http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-142/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-142/#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:38:28 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27123 So you want to run a marathon … How exciting! How scary. While looking back at the NMA Radio archives a few weeks ago, Matt and I noticed a glaring oversight: marathon training for beginners. We’ve covered general running advice, what to eat before a race, and even trail running, but somehow we skipped over

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People Running a Marathon

So you want to run a marathon …

How exciting! How scary.

While looking back at the NMA Radio archives a few weeks ago, Matt and I noticed a glaring oversight: marathon training for beginners.

We’ve covered general running advice, what to eat before a race, and even trail running, but somehow we skipped over one of the most sought after topics for runners.

Training for your first marathon will be a thrilling experience, filled with highs, lows, and lessons. But if you’ve never taken on such a distance, just thinking about the challenge can feel overwhelming. Fear not, we’ve got you covered.

In today’s post, we finally tackle the topic, and address all the basics of marathon training … from choosing your race to crossing the finish-line.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Choosing the right marathon for you
  • What to look for in a training plan
  • Should you set a time goal?
  • Eating for strength, lasting energy, and recovery
  • Why a simple approach to pre-race fuel is a smarter approach
  • Our tricks to staying on pace

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Our Sponsor:

Montmorency Tart Cherries: Montmorency tart cherries have been the subject of lots of research, and to date, more than 50 studies have shown the potential benefits of the Montmorency varietal – ranging from inflammation and exercise recovery to sleep. Check out the Cherry Marketing Institute website to learn more: www.choosecherries.com

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How to Balance Family and Training (and Guarantee Their Support) http://www.nomeatathlete.com/balance-family-and-training/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/balance-family-and-training/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:21:47 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27046 This post is written by Susan Lacke. “Hey, honey. I’m going to disappear for about 15 hours each week to exercise. When I come back, I’m going to be really tired, so I’ll nap for at least a few hours. “I’ll be hungry a lot, and you know when I’m hungry, I’m not very pleasant

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Couple marathon running for exercise and fitness training

This post is written by Susan Lacke.

“Hey, honey. I’m going to disappear for about 15 hours each week to exercise. When I come back, I’m going to be really tired, so I’ll nap for at least a few hours.

“I’ll be hungry a lot, and you know when I’m hungry, I’m not very pleasant to be around. Basically, what I’m telling you is that you’re on your own for the next six months. But I’ll have a medal to show for it!”

Can you imagine uttering those words to your spouse?

Probably not. But when you sign up for a long race, that’s exactly what you’re saying.

Training for any event takes a lot of time, dedication and energy.

But training for a long race, like a marathon, ultramarathon, or Ironman triathlon, takes even more. It’s an incredibly selfish endeavor — you disappear for hours to train while your spouse takes care of the kids, and for what? A medal with your name engraved on it.

Where’s the trophy for the family?

It might seem like you’ll be the one doing all the heavy lifting when training for a race, but the ones you love will carry a burden, too.

I’ve experienced this firsthand: my husband has poked me awake during more than one date night at the movies, my brother has asked if I really need to disappear for a run during our family vacations, and I’ve missed several gatherings with friends in order to get my scheduled training in.

At first, when they sighed and said it was “no big deal,” I took that at face value.

Eventually, I learned it was a big freakin’ deal. My friends and family wanted to support me, but I wasn’t giving them anything in return.

There’s a line between “support” and “resentment,” and the side your loved ones fall on will depend largely on the choices you make.

So how do you guarantee those choices are good ones? Here are 8 steps to point you in the right direction …

8 Steps to Minimizing the Impact of Training on Your Family

1. Get their buy-in before you start.

Don’t sign up for the race before telling your spouse. It’s a decision that will affect the both of you — treating it as an individual endeavor from the beginning all but guarantees you’ll be one lonely person by the end.

2. Train at their busy times.

Get your strength workout done in the wee hours of the morning, before your spouse wakes up. Squeeze your swim workout in during lunch hour. Schedule your long run for when your kids are at soccer practice. The less your training impacts their time with you, the happier they are.

3. Include them if you can.

If your significant other also works out, plan some active time together. If she’s a faster runner than you, ask her to be your pace bunny for tempo efforts. Substitute one of your weekly workouts for that yoga class he likes so much. Ride your bikes to that brunch place across town you’ve been meaning to try.

4. Schedule your workouts in advance.

This helps you as much as it helps them. Being organized lets everyone know what to expect.

Grab a marker, call a family meeting, and put everyone’s big events on the calendar. Once that’s done, build your training around your family’s schedule — not the other way around.

5. Keep training talk to a minimum.

Your event can be all-consuming, and it’s likely you’ll want to talk about it frequently. It’s normal — after all, you’re excited/nervous/proud/in awe of the work you’re putting in.

Still, keep the training talk to a minimum. Your friends and family are probably too nice to tell you this, but your minute-by-minute summary of yesterday’s bike ride? Not as riveting as you think it is.

6. Buck up.

Yes, you’re tired, and yes, you’d like to go to bed at 4 PM.

But you promised your kids you’d take them out for vegan ice cream after dinner, and by golly, those kids deserve a treat. When you renege on promises once, it becomes easier to do it a second (and third, and fifteenth) time. Don’t let yourself earn a reputation for being flaky. Follow through on plans with friends and family, even when you’re tired.

7. Don’t feel guilty.

Yes, I believe training is a selfish act, but a little selfishness can be a good thing. For most endurance athletes, the appeal of training is time alone to decompress or recharge.

That doesn’t make you a bad parent or partner. Taking time for yourself is healthy.

8. Tell them how much their support means to you.

Not just once, but as often and as loudly as you can.

And don’t just tell them … show them.

There’s No “I” in Team

Cheesy, but true.

You may be the one crossing the finish line on race day, but your efforts certainly aren’t solitary. As you gear up to pursue your big goal, remember the people in your corner.

You’re part of a team — and you’re all the better for it.

About the Author: Susan Lacke is a featured contributor for Triathlete and Competitor magazines the author of the No Meat Athlete Triathlon Roadmap. In addition to serving as NMA’s Resident Triathlete, she has appointed herself Official Taste Tester for all dessert recipes in No Meat Athlete publications.

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The (Third) Big Q&A Episode http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-141/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-141/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2016 15:11:03 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27081 You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers … or attempt to have answers, anyway. After last week’s massive podcast extravaganza with Sid Garza-Hillman, Matt and I decide cool things down a bit with our third installment of the Big Q&A Episode. If you’re a new listener, you may also want to check out with the first and

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ep141

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers … or attempt to have answers, anyway.

After last week’s massive podcast extravaganza with Sid Garza-Hillman, Matt and I decide cool things down a bit with our third installment of the Big Q&A Episode. If you’re a new listener, you may also want to check out with the first and second.

This time we tackle running injuries, the ketogenic diet, a vegan pregnancy, ultramarathon nutrition, and several other great topics.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Running and plant-based eating while pregnant
  • Should knee pain keep you from ever running again?
  • Matt’s take on the CRON-O-Meter (BTW, Doug has no take)
  • Fueling an ultramarathon on sugars
  • The health benefits of sprouted grains

Click the button below to listen now:

Or:

If you like what we do at NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Links from the show:

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The Secret to Healthy, Stress Free Eating http://www.nomeatathlete.com/healthy-stress-free-eating/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/healthy-stress-free-eating/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2016 17:39:49 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27097 Somewhere in between Ann Arbor and Omaha, I learned the secret that would change the way I eat and plan my meals. I don’t remember exactly where I was, because the whole book tour was something of a blur — 40 cities in 50 days to promote No Meat Athlete when it was published in

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Somewhere in between Ann Arbor and Omaha, I learned the secret that would change the way I eat and plan my meals.

I don’t remember exactly where I was, because the whole book tour was something of a blur — 40 cities in 50 days to promote No Meat Athlete when it was published in 2013.

It was a different hotel every night. Sometimes with a fridge, sometimes not. No kitchens. No dishes. No blenders.

Basically, nothing that resembled the comfortable food routine I had at home. And as you can imagine, vegan restaurants aren’t exactly plentiful in places like Wisconsin and Nebraska (though Omaha actually surprised me).

So I learned an important rule for driving across the country as a vegan: when you find a good grocery store, stock up. On foods that you can eat on the go, with no prep.

Very quickly, I learned what foods worked best in the car to keep me from resorting to junk:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Hummus (I’d eat it fast because it wouldn’t last more than a day without a fridge)
  • Trail mix (the raw kind, because I figured if my nutrition was going to suffer, raw would be better than roasted)
  • Smoothies made from just fruit (the pre-made kind — definitely not ideal, but a way to get a lot of good calories quickly)
  • Giant salads from the salad bar — I’d grab enough to last for two meals, dump a bunch of chickpeas on top, and if I was lucky enough to be at a Whole Foods, add some oil-free tahini garlic dressing.
  • Anything cracker-like but still healthy (could be baked corn chips, Wasa crispbreads, rice cakes, etc.)

Here’s what’s interesting. For the first few days of eating this way, I kept thinking of this as the in-between. A way to survive between “real” meals.

But gradually I came to a realization: that on these in-between, do-what-you-can days, I was eating healthier than I ate at home!

Fruits. Vegetables. Beans. Raw nuts and seeds. Whole grains. And little or no added oils.

In other words, the stuff just about every famous vegan doctor will tell you is the healthiest you can eat.

And yet I wasn’t spending energy thinking about protein, fat, or carbs. Not eating “square” meals. And spending literally zero time cooking or washing dishes.

I was putting less time and energy into food, but eating better than ever. And feeling absolutely fantastic, and full of energy, as I kept up this extremely frantic book tour schedule with talks and meet-and-greet type stuff (where you have to constantly be “on”) almost every night, and hours in the car in between.

This is when it hit me: The healthier you eat, the simpler it becomes.

I had been doing it wrong. Not totally wrong — I still made good choices back then — but just putting too much effort into time-consuming meals that don’t do as much good as much, much simpler ones.

So once I got home? No, I didn’t swear off cooked, delicious dinners or throw away my cookbook collection or anything extreme like that — I still love cooking new recipes on weekends, and no matter how “minimal” I make my diet, I’ll always value sitting down with my wife and kids for a hot dinner.

But breakfast, lunches, and snacks … I’ve simplified, and drastically. So much so that even if we still spend 30 minutes making dinner each night, all the rest of our food during the day is handled in 10 minutes or less, total (no exaggeration).

And, crucially, it’s the healthiest food you can eat. Not fancy superfoods or hard-to-find, expensive and exotic ingredients. But good, whole food I feel great about eating — and even more importantly — about feeding my kids.

So if you find yourself with the issues that pretty much everyone who pays attention to what they eat finds themselves with — not enough time to plan and cook, worrying about variety or that you’re eating snacks all the time, or stressing over macros — you can relieve a great deal of stress by recognizing that a lot of it is an illusion. Square meals, the constant need for (too much) variety, and worst of all, the “numbers” approach to food … it’s all just junk that we’ve been fed, so to speak.

And if you’re willing to go against the grain by streamlining most of your meals down to a few whole foods, “combined” more than cooked, I think you’ll begin to experience what I have. That you can have healthy, quick, and stress-free, without making compromises. And the more you do it, the better you feel, and the more motivated you become to go even further.

Introducing Health Made Simple, a Different Kind of Meal Plan Program

I’m happy to announce that after a year of work, my friend and certified nutritionist Sid Garza-Hillman just opened the doors to our first-ever plant-based meal plan program.

It’s called Health Made Simple, because, well … that’s what it is. Healthy, plant-based food, yes, but presented in five different meal plans built for simplicity above all else. And combined with personalized nutrition coaching via live Q&A sessions, to help our members adapt the plans to their particular needs and lifestyles.

We’re running a great offer for our first “charter” members, now through the end of the day on Thursday, April 21st.

If healthy and simple sounds like what you need, learn more about Health Made Simple here.

(Or to hear more from me and Sid about our “simple health” philosophy, you can listen to a 3-part interview with Sid that we released on NMA Radio last week.)

Here’s to eating simply!

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If Your ‘Healthy’ Diet Stresses You Out, Can You Still Call It Healthy? http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-138/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/radio-138/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2016 14:13:46 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27060 “No matter how healthily you’re eating, if it’s causing you stress to do so, you’re not eating healthily.” That’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from my friend, author, and (vegan) certified nutritionist, Sid Garza-Hillman. And it’s one that has changed the way I eat. So how much stress does your diet cause you? See

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“No matter how healthily you’re eating, if it’s causing you stress to do so, you’re not eating healthily.”

That’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from my friend, author, and (vegan) certified nutritionist, Sid Garza-Hillman. And it’s one that has changed the way I eat.

So how much stress does your diet cause you? See if any of these sound familiar:

“I struggle to get enough variety and I’m bored with my diet.”

“When I get home late from work, I usually just end up microwaving something from the freezer or getting takeout.”

“I have trouble finding time to plan ahead, and end up wasting a lot of food and eating junk.”

“A lot of times I just end up eating snacks as meals, even though I know this isn’t good.”

“I’m worried I don’t get the nutrition I need as a plant-based athlete.”

If I had a piece of tofu for every time I’ve heard one of these concerns from a No Meat Athlete reader or listener … well, I’d have a lot of tofu.

And you know what they all are, right?

Stress.

What’s funny is that with all the progress plant-based diets have made in the past decade, these are the exact same issues I used to get emails about when I first started this blog seven years ago (and back then, I was dealing with the same issues myself!).

There’s a disconnect here: we’re all eating better, or at least we’re trying to. And despite some confusion around controversial foods, we know more than ever about what’s good and what’s bad, with the trend clearly moving in the direction of whole foods.

So why are so many people still having these same issues? Why is there still so much stress around eating a healthy, whole-food plant-based diet?

There’s not just one answer, but I can give you three big ones:

  1. Misconceptions about what’s actually healthy (or necessary).
  2. Overly complicated approaches to nutrition — yep, I’m calling out calorie-counting and even macronutrient ratios here.
  3. My favorite topic of all … habits. In this case, bad ones.

On that third point: rather than having a plan in place — a plan where the default is healthy food, built into the very structure your day — most people’s food choices vary wildly. And they vary according to factors that are more or less random … factors like what time they got out of work, whether they happen to have leftovers in the fridge, and let’s face it, what they happen to be craving.

It’s time to bust out of the rut, clear up the misconceptions, and simplify the way we eat.

So who did I call in? You guessed it: Sid Garza-Hillman, the guy who got me thinking this way in the first place. For an epic, 90-minute conversation around this very topic, where we break down the big three problems above to help you remove the stress from your diet … so it can be as healthy as it ought to be.

But I know 90 minutes is a lot, so to help you fit it in to your day, I’ve broken the recording into three, bite-size chunks (see what I did there?), starting with Part 1 today.

Click the play button below to listen now:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Or:

  • Click the links below to download the MP3 file (you may need to right-click and “save link as”):

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5 Powerful Breathing Techniques To Soothe Pre-Race Anxiety http://www.nomeatathlete.com/pre-race-anxiety/ http://www.nomeatathlete.com/pre-race-anxiety/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2016 18:27:57 +0000 http://www.nomeatathlete.com/?p=27000 This post is written by Jessica Blanchard of StopFeelingCrappy.com Despite your best intentions, it’s happening again. Race day arrives, and you’re freaking out. You’ve spent months training for this big goal race. You’ve put in the miles. You’ve kept a training log. And you’ve even put more emphasis on eating healthier plant-based meals. Then —

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Tired after jogging/exercising.

This post is written by Jessica Blanchard of StopFeelingCrappy.com

Despite your best intentions, it’s happening again.

Race day arrives, and you’re freaking out.

You’ve spent months training for this big goal race. You’ve put in the miles. You’ve kept a training log. And you’ve even put more emphasis on eating healthier plant-based meals.

Then — out of nowhere — while waiting at the starting line, this nagging sense of doubt creeps in. “Am I prepared? Am I hydrated? Am I going to crash after the first few miles?”

Your heart starts to pound. You feel the knot of anxiety right between your ribs, and it makes you struggle to breathe without sucking in the air.

You’re panicking.

You know you’re prepared, so why is this happening?

It’s simple: you’re scared, and your body has turned on its fight-or-flight response. The downside of stress is elevated heart rate, suppressed immunity, anxiety, and shallow breath — all things that can sabotage your race.

You need to soothe your stress and turn on your relaxation response while holding onto your edge. And you have a remarkably simple method right under (or in) your nose.

Your breath.

By strategically manipulating your breath, you can use your lungs and heart to send feedback to your brain, convincing it that things are peaceful and calm. It’s easier than you think.

How to Soothe Pre-Race Anxiety with Your Breath

Use the following five techniques to soothe your race day anxiety so that you won’t miss a step:

1. Shut your mouth.

Breathing through your nose quells your body’s fight-or-flight response. The flow of your breath over your sinus cavities produces nitric oxide, related to laughing gas, which relaxes your body.

You also engage the diaphragm muscle because your lungs have to work a little harder to pull air through the nose. This deepens your breath.

More carbon dioxide is released, and more oxygen is brought to your cells.

Breathing through your nose gives you more control of your breath. My teacher used to say, “When breath control is correct, mind control is possible.”

Shut your mouth, take control of your breath, and you’ll quell your anxious mind.

2. Breathe like Darth Vader.

Ujjayi breath — a technique in which you make a soft aspirant sound when you breathe — is practiced in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga because it helps to lengthen the breathing cycle, creating a relaxed mental state.

Try it now: while you inhale and exhale with your mouth closed, gently spread the glottis at the back of your throat, so that when the the air passes over your vocal cords, it makes a soft aspirant sound. (Here’s a video demo.)

Some call it the sound of the sea. Some call it Darth Vader breathing. Some may say this one is better practiced in the car than at the crowded starting line.

Breathing with sound also calms our minds and brings us to a meditative state because it drowns anxiety-producing thoughts that grab our attention.

Focus on the sound of your breath, and imagine your anxiety crashing and disappearing like waves gently washing onto a shore.

3. Exhale (for a long time).

Inhale for a count of four, exhale for a count of eight. As you exhale, gently pull your abdominal muscles back to help the process. Repeat this at least ten times. If your feel strained, shorten your exhale and inhale a bit.

Think of the exhalation as a long steady wave that moves through your body. Then when you inhale, focus on filling your chest like a balloon, breathing through your nose.

Exhaling for longer than you inhale creates a vacuum effect and allows a better inhalation.

When we exhale for a longer time than we inhale, our hearts slow down just a bit.

This is a powerful way to calm your heart when it starts to race before you’ve taken your first stride.

4. Sync your breath with your stride.

What if you get nervous in the middle of the race?

No worries. Kidnap your attention away from your anxiety-producing thoughts, and bring it to your breath.

Count your exhale against your stride. Now do the same for your inhale. Exhaling for three strides, inhaling for three strides. If four feels better, use four counts.

This technique brings your focus to your breath and your pace. The result is deeper breath and razor-sharp focus.

A word of caution: don’t try to breathe too deeply by forcing long breaths. See what feels right for your pace.

And if you need to breathe through your mouth for a while, do so; just keep the focus on your stride and breath.

Before you realize it, your anxiety will evaporate.

5. Name that thought.

So you’re counting your breath with your stride, but then these thoughts smack you out of nowhere: you’re not fast enough, you’re losing steam, you didn’t prepare enough, you should have trained harder.

You keep breathing, but they keep coming.

Don’t panic. And don’t suppress these thoughts.

Instead, let the thought float in, then name it “negative gibberish.” Or “untrue,” or, “obsessing about the future,” or “wallowing in the past.”

Then come back to your breath.

Studies have shown that suppressing thoughts only makes them come back stronger. So let the thought in, but don’t believe or buy it.

If you name your thoughts, you won’t suppress them. When you acknowledge repetitive worries by labeling them, they tend to dissipate like clouds in a gentle breeze.

Now you’re ready to conquer your anxiety

Competing is tough, even if you know deep down winning isn’t your goal. But you shouldn’t let a bit of anxiety ruin months of training.

And with the right strategies you can soothe anxiety before it takes control. To make this easy, I’ve put together a free audio guide walking you through all five techniques.

Just imagine how Zen you’ll feel when you run those miles without worrying about things that you can’t change at that moment anyway.

So next time you feel that knot rising in your chest, close your mouth. Breathe like Darth Vader through your nose.

And before you know it, you’ll be in your zone.

So, ready to tackle your next race?

About the Author: Jessica Blanchard, Registered Dietitian, longtime Ayurvedic practitioner, and yoga teacher is on a mission to improve your health with super simple wellness strategies that work. At StopFeelingCrappy.com, she blends Western science with Eastern wisdom to bring you a unique approach to health and happiness. Ready to crush your Race Day Anxiety? Download your free cheat sheet and audio guide here.

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