Plant Based Protein

The goal of this post is to address a question that I receive frequently when people find out that I don’t eat meat: “How do you get enough protein?”

Plant Based Proteins Vegan Gluten-Free Vegetarian Paleo-Friendly

{A Food Centric Life – Guide to Plant-Based Protein}

While I am personally of the camp that believes Americans consume too much of the wrong kinds of protein, I will avoid lecturing on the topic and instead provide you with suggestions for some healthy, easily digestible, protein-rich foods that don’t center around animal products.

For comparison’s sake I’ve included a few common animal products in the plant based protein chart below as well. All of these statistics are based on a 100 gram serving size:

Food Protein (g) Cholesterol mg Total Fat (g) Iron (mg) Fiber (g) Energy kcal
Turkey: roasted 29.90 69.00 7.41 1.35 0.00 157.00
Ground beef: broiled (75% lean) 25.56 89.00 18.72 2.37 0.00 278.00
Tuna: in water, drained 25.51 30.00 0.82 1.53 0.00 116.00
Chicken: roasted w/out skin 23.97 76.00 13.39 1.26 0.00 223.00
Egg, hard-boiled 12.58 373.00 10.61 1.19 0.00 155.00
Food Protein (g) Cholesterol mg Total Fat (g) Iron (mg) Fiber (g) Energy kcal
Kidney beans 23.58 0.00 0.83 8.20 24.90 333.00
Almonds: raw 21.22 0.00 49.42 3.72 12.20 575.00
Almond butter: w/ salt 20.96 0.00 55.50 3.49 10.30 614.00
Sunflower seeds: dry roasted w/out salt 19.33 0.00 49.80 3.80 11.10 582.00
Chickpeas 19.30 0.00 6.04 6.24 17.40 364.00
Flaxseed 18.29 0.00 42.16 5.73 27.30 534.00
Cashews: raw 18.22 0.00 43.85 6.68 3.30 553.00
Tempeh: cooked 18.19 0.00 11.38 2.13 10.00 196.00
Oats 16.89 0.00 6.90 4.72 10.60 389.00
Lentils: boiled w/out salt 9.02 0.00 0.38 3.33 7.90 116.00
Black beans: boiled w/out salt 8.86 0.00 0.54 2.10 8.70 132.00
Hummus: commercial 7.90 0.00 21.13 2.44 6.00 166.00
Tofu: Silken, firm 6.90 0.00 2.73 1.03 1.00 62.00
Quinoa: cooked 4.40 0.00 1.92 1.49 2.80 120.00
Kale: raw 3.30 0.00 0.70 1.70 2.00 50.00
Sweet potato: baked w/skin & no salt 2.01 0.00 0.15 0.69 3.30 90.00
Avocado: raw, California 1.96 0.00 15.41 0.61 6.80 167.00

I’d like to call your attention to a few noticeable discrepancies in the nutritional values of the first and second groups of foods.

First, you will see that plant-based foods contain no cholesterol while animal-based foods do. Cholesterol is necessary for a variety of bodily functions, including the production of hormones and cell membranes. Luckily for us, healthy livers produce enough cholesterol so that these functions can be carried out. It should be noted however that the high intake of dietary cholesterol (i.e. the cholesterol in the first group of foods) can lead to heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Second, the animal products listed above contain no dietary fiber, which keeps your GI Tract running smoothly and is necessary to maintain a healthy diet. This is a great post from Gena at Choosing Raw on intestinal distress, treating IBS, and the differences between soluble and insoluble fiber. It’s graphic but incredibly educational if you’re interested in how dietary fiber affects your body.

Third, notice the difference in the amounts of iron in these foods. Our bodies need iron to help with oxygen transportation and the regulation and differentiation of cell growth. If any of you have ever taken an iron supplement you know how incredibly hard it is on the body to digest iron in that format, so eating iron-rich foods is by far the superior way to get the required amounts in your diet.

The act of digesting food puts stress on your system – It takes effort for your body to break down the foods you consume so that the nutrients can be readily absorbed by the body. Simply put, plant-based foods require that you waste expend less energy to digest them, meaning the you: (1) Stress your body less, and (2) Have more energy to utilize after digestion. Even taking just a weekend off from the consumption of animal products can give your system a much-needed rest.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic I highly recommend that you pick up Brendan Braizer’s Thrive Diet. While the title of this book contains the word “diet” that is somewhat misleading. Mr. Braizer was a professional triathlete and spent 15 years studying how the foods he consumed affected his life and his athletic performance, ultimately determining that a plant-based, high raw diet resulted in the optimum results.

This isn’t a diet that you go on to fit into your skinny jeans, this is a lifestyle change that you commit to so that you’ll never need a cup of coffee in the morning to wake up or a dose of sugar in the afternoon to keep your eyelids from drooping.

Please note that I am not a healthcare professional and that my comments, suggestions and thoughts are based on personal research and experience only. Prior to making any drastic changes to your diet you should consult a physician, especially if you suffer from illnesses or allergies which may be affected by nutrition.

Continue Reading · Comments { 2 }

Resort Wear 2012 – Bottega & Oscar

The Bottega Veneta Resort 2012 collection included everything from fitted nude cardigans, neon mini skirts, gladiator belts, patent leather sandals and safari shirt dresses in maxi length.

Bottega Veneta Resort 2012

Bottega Veneta Resort 2012

Bottega Veneta Resort 2012

Bottega Veneta Resort 2012

Bottega Veneta Resort 2012

But in typical Bottega fashion, even the most relaxed of looks had an architectural element to it. The boning on a skirt, corsetted waists, epaulettes… And while each of these pieces screams vacation, you can still them walking down the street.

On the other end of the spectrum from the low-key, easy collection shown by Bottega Veneta was Oscar de la Renta, who took as his inspiration Picasso’s Cubist period, with a distinct South American flair. And while the Oscar-girl may traditionally have tastes running more towards tweed skirt-suits for meetings and gowns for charity galas, there were a few looks with a fresh, young spin on them.

Oscar de la Renta Resort 2012

Oscar de la Renta Resort 2012

Oscar de la Renta Resort 2012

Oscar de la Renta Resort 2012

Oscar de la Renta Resort 2012

What struck me the most about all of the Resort collections this season were their sensibility. Virtually all of these looks could be transplanted into your daily life, with a mere change of accessories and shoes. Gone are the days of Resort collections featuring nothing but gauzy pool-side dresses and thousand dollar bathing suit cover ups. The designers have grown up in the years since the financial crisis and are presenting collections that are more wearable, more versatile and more real-life oriented.

Continue Reading · Comments { 2 }

Guest Post: Low-Intensity Fasted Cardio

Please welcome Sean, a certified CrossFit instructor and self-taught health & nutrition guru, who will be discussing low-intensity fasted cardio today. When he first mentioned this topic to me I thought it was extraordinarily interesting and immediately pounced on him to put it into writing.

Walking

Enjoy!

For quite some time, i have prided myself in being physically capable of overcoming demanding physical challenges at will.  Whether it be lifting heavy weights, running long distances, or some other overtly masculine challenge.  For this reason, i use to laugh at myself when i was humbled by seemingly simple tasks, which in my goal of attaining general physical athleticism, i would overlook.  This was never more apparent than when i would visit places like San Francisco where walking for an afternoon, yes walking, would leave me feeling beaten down and exhausted (my tiny girlfriend waiting for me to pant my way up every hill was demoralizing in itself). Little did I realize, that in neglecting one of the most fundamental forms of human locomotion, I was passing up a potent and extremely valuable health and fitness tool.  One that requires a little time and very little effort.

Living in a place like San Francisco, where walking is a valid method of transportation, is dramatically different from than the suburbs in which i reside. Here, i can not think of a single person that walks, or even rides a bike, outside of the specific purpose of getting exercise.  Funny enough, i know overweight people who will ride their bike for two hours straight when it is exercise, but when it comes to the half-mile commute to work or the store, the only option is the SUV.  Not to say that i was any different, it is a habit that you learn.

Then, a few months back, I found an article discussing the topic of low-intensity fasted cardio exercise to augment training for gymnast.  (I have a strange fascination with gymnastics training methods, the level of skill and strength required for basic competency is astonishing).  The highlight of the topic was how low-intensity fasted cardio was a simple and effective way to keep fat off a gymnast, whilst not compromising their performance in the gym and permitting them to eat more.  I thought this was very interesting and saw no reason why it would not be just as useful for anyone who was interested in a simple method of losing stubborn fat (who isn’t?).

First off, what is low-intensity fasted cardio?  The “fasted” part of the equation should not be taken in any extreme sense of the word.  Your body will begin to enter a fasted state about four to five hours after you eat.  It takes about that long for your body to either use the nutrients you have eaten or store them.  By this time you body begins using alternative sources of fuel which are derived primarily from your liver and increased metabolization of fat.  Since most people do not eat while they sleep, they will generally wake up with blood rich in metabolized fat ready to be used for energy (There are numerous other steps in there, but that’s the basics).  When you eat first thing in the morning, your body essentially reverses this process, turning to the more energy rich food and re-storing the fats you metabolized.  Just because you freed the stored fat (metabolized) doesn’t mean you actually use (oxidize) it.  So there is an optimal time (when you wake up or if you want to not eat for a while) for your body to access your stores of fat.  This is where the bit about walking comes into play.

Pairing fasting with low-intensity cardio (low-intensity cardio can be just about any steady state exercise that doesn’t require you to breathe heavily – i.e. walking) is an easy way to capitalize on the metabolized fat that i just described.  Why walk, when you can do more work in less time by running or some other higher intensity exercise?  One, walking is easier to do consistently, especially when you don’t think of it as exercise.  I walk to get coffee or to by food for the day, not to work out.  For some reason, turning it into a necessity (I must have coffee) changes the walking from an option to a requirement.  This makes doing it everyday easy.  Second, fat is not the most efficient form of energy for your body to use.  Once you begin to cross over into moderate to higher intensity exercise your body’s ability to meet your energy demands through fat metabolism isn’t adequate.  It will generally turn to other richer sources of energy like muscle tissue. 

First, thank you for the guest post. Second, and more importantly, thank you for calling me tiny. 🙂

While squeezing in some walking time is always good for you, whether you treat it as exercise or just need some time to yourself, low-intensity fasted cardio seems like an extremely beneficial activity to try on for size. I’ll confess, while I don’t read traditional dieting books, I will read almost any silly book that talks about French women and their approach to food {French Women Don’t Get Fat, Two Lipsticks and a Lover, A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl…} The number one tip all of these books give you is: WALK! The French walk everywhere. If there’s a choice between taking the stairs or an elevator, they take the stairs. They walk to work, they walk to the market, they walk around their cities and towns rather than driving. In my mind this reinforces the benefits of walking and illustrates how the French maintain their slim figures.

Can’t go through the drive through if you’re walking!

Sean usually walks to the store in the morning or walks for a few miles along the river with his roommate, which sounds to me like an ideal way to start to the day. Unfortunately with a 4:30am start time for my days a leisurely stroll isn’t in the cards, however I have been lucky enough to live less than two miles from work for the last few years so I usually walk to the office, weather permitting.

So keep Sean’s advice in mind and hit the pavement or trail to burn off some fat in the am before treating yourself to a healthy breakfast.

Continue Reading · Comments { 11 }

Restaurant Review – Millennium

 

Last week I enjoyed a phenomenal meal at Millennium, which is located in the Tenderloin/Union Square area of San Francisco. Here’s brief description of their goals from the official website:

Millennium Restaurant is dedicated to supporting the essential earthly concepts of organic food production, small farms, sustainable agriculture, recycling and composting. We cook with fresh produce delivered every day, and choose organic whenever possible. We believe that a gourmet dining experience can be created out of vegetarian, healthy, and environmentally friendly foods. We are proud to state that our restaurant is completely free of genetically modified foods.

The location may not be the nicest (the Tenderloin is fairly rundown) but it’s certainly convenient, only a few blocks from the Powell Street BART station and very close to Union Square for some pre or post meal shopping.

The interior is lovely, a very large, open space with plenty of tables and a giant bar in the center.

Now for the good stuff…

My friends Liz, Mark and I have a monthly dinner in San Francisco to explore new restaurants and introduce Mark, a new UK (via Spain) import, to California cuisine. They’re both omnis and were kind enough to accompany me to this veggie-friendly restaurant, which they both ended up enjoying. We ordered a number of dishes and there was plenty of me reaching across the table sharing going on.

Roasted beets w/ balsamic and hazelnuts

 

Pan-roasted new potatoes w/ Turkish chile aioli

 

Crushed oyster mushrooms w/ radish salad & grapefruit-Habanero chile jam and a side of greens w/ pine nuts

 

Black bean Torte w/ pumpkin-Habanero papazul, cashew "sour cream" & caramelized plantains

 

Huitlacoche tamale w/ cashew "cheese," roasted poblano chili, Habanero puree & sautéed broccoli

We all really loved our meals and I would highly recommend this restaurant, even for non-veg*ns. The food is incredibly tasty and healthy, a great combination no matter what your food preferences are.

Continue Reading · Comments { 1 }

Chanel Resort Wear 2012

 

“Too much may not be enough.” These words, uttered by Karl Lagerfeld after the show, seem to sum it up perfectly.

– The backdrop? Hotel du Cap, in Antibes on the French Riviera, one of the most exclusive and expensive hotels in the world.

– The cast? All the big names from the past few seasons, Abbey Lee, Siri Tollerod, Jac, Natasha Poly, Karlie Kloss, Stella Tennant, Karolina Kurkova and Lily Donaldson, to name a few.

– The jewels? Real, darling. Of course.

– The front row? A-list fashionistas only, Blake Lively, Rachel Bilson, Alexa Chung, Vanessa Paradis, Clemence Posey, Laura Bailey and Poppy Delevigne among them.

The Chanel Resort 2012 collection began with slim, smart suits in yellow, lilac and cream, followed by black and white swimwear, cover-ups and dresses, and finally summery, hippie frocks and gowns.

While the wearability of the shin-guard inspired thong sandals is questionable, I thought that overall the show was lovely. In another life, far, far away, I can just see myself walking lazily along the water in one of these black and white swim suits, a gauzy white wrap thrown over my shoulder, or swirling regally around a ballroom in one of the crystal encrusted gowns. Right.

And the fashion didn’t stop there, off the runway the stars watched Karl’s masterpieces in their own stylish ensembles.

Clemence Posey looked adorable in a sunny dress (reminiscent of the blue one worn by Emma Roberts at the fall Chanel show) and gold heels.

Who wears short shorts? Too cute Rachel Bilson, who donned micro leather shorts, a boyfriend blazer and crocheted white top.

Blake Lively looked gorgeous and summery in a chic black and white Chanel ensemble, including a tiny skirt and sequined blazer.

 
Overall it was an elegant, sumptuous affaire. Come on Karl, did my invitation get lost in the mail?
 
Continue Reading · Comments { 2 }