Why You Need Vitamin B-12

Why You Need Vitamin B-12

For me, one of the best things about eating a plant based diet is getting all the vitamins and minerals I need through whole foods. Except for Vitamin B-12. B-12 is not found in plants or technically animals. Its found in microbes in the ground. 

These bacteria grow in the guts of animals, which is why their bodies and products can be a source of this vitamin. Our herbivore primate cousins get all they need ingesting bugs, dirt, and feces, and we may once have gotten all we needed by drinking out of mountain streams or well water. But now we chlorinate our water supply to kill off any bugs. - Dr. Michael Greger, NutritionFacts.org

So by eating meat we then get our needed B-12. However, by not eating meat now, I do have to supplement this vitamin with a daily pill. But why? Why is this one vitamin so important?

Falling Off The Wagon - The Cheese Effect & Cheese Alternatives

Falling Off The Wagon - The Cheese Effect & Cheese Alternatives

I'm not perfect and I slip from time to time. Coming off a particularly stressful week I found myself several bites into a few cheese wedges at a work function before I even realized what I was doing. Since going plant based I had abstained from cheese - no grilled cheese sandwiches, no mac and cheese, no cheese on my pizza, no cheese in my burritos. And then suddenly I found myself reaching for wedges of cheese. And I decided that it was ok. I wasn't going to beat myself up about it, I wasn't going to feel guilty, but I wasn't going to do it again. Sometimes it takes falling off to get back on and and learn how to not fall off again. Also, by falling off the wagon and eating cheese I later realized the experiment I had done on my body and could finally determine the effects cheese has on me.

Natural Probiotics

Natural Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that are naturally found in our bodies and are GOOD bacteria that help our digestion and keep our guts healthy. Probiotics come in many forms, some of the most popular being supplements and yogurt or kefir. Since going plant based I've stopped eating yogurt and kefir, and I didn't want to take supplements, so I wondered how I was going to get probiotics naturally. Well, it turns out there are lots of foods that have probiotics, but even better, eating a plant based diet full of fibrous foods helps to keep my gut healthy without the need of a ton of extra probiotics.

Why (and How) I've Mostly Stopped Cooking With Oil

Why (and How) I've Mostly Stopped Cooking With Oil

Switching to a plant based diet means you still get to keep most oils you've already been cooking with. Vegetable, peanut, canola, extra virgin olive - all vegan and plant based. So when I switched to eating plant based I continued cooking with them. But after some research I personally decided to cut as much oil out of my diet as possible. My reason was that I was trying to focus on consuming a low fat, plant based diet. While training for the triathlon last year I wanted to be lean and mean and I wanted everything I ate to help me, not hinder me. I'm not the fastest and training for the triathlon was HARD, so I tried to find every single possible way to help increase my endurance, and cutting out oil was one of the things that personally helped me. Here's how and more of why I did it (and haven't gone back since).

Wild Rice

Wild Rice

I grew up in southern Wisconsin and would spend my summers in the northern part of the state. I always remember going shopping with my mom and seeing bags upon bags of wild rice. It was almost a treat to get it then and its definitely a treat now that I know how incredibly good it is nutritionally.

Ginger

Ginger

Ginger is another one of those super foods that seems to cure every ailment. Ginger can be sharp tasting, but if used in moderation it can provide a sweet and spicy zing to a lot of dishes. I use it a lot when I cook Asian style meals - combining garlic, ginger, and soy sauce is like the trio of garlic, basil, and tomatoes in Italian cooking. Ginger is also incredibly good for you - it can help upset stomaches, relieve gas, and tame inflammation.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Mmmmm, sweet potatoes. Sweet, creamy, gorgeous in color - can anyone say beta-carotene? Sweet Potatoes are one of those too good to be true foods. Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory qualities, calcium, potassium, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C. I could go on and on, and I will.

Turmeric

Turmeric

Turmeric is an amazing spice that is full of incredible nutritional benefits. It is most commonly found in the spice aisle in a powder, but you can actually buy it in its root form. It comes from the ginger family and is native to southern Asia. Turmeric has a gentle mustardy flavor that is a great compliment to Indian and Pakistani cuisines including curries. Check your curry powder labels - a lot of curry powder contains turmeric in its ingredient list. I also like to sprinkle it in potato salads, cauliflower, and tofu scrambles. Keep reading to find out all its amazing nutritional benefits!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Summer is officially here and that means its tomato season! There's nothing quite like a farm fresh tomato - they have a special smell, different from store bought tomatoes, thin skins, and come in an array of bright colors from red to purple, yellow, orange and green. I love tomatoes and I'm desperately anticipating the ones I've planted to ripen so I can start turning them into sauces and salsas. Tomatoes are amazing for you and are high in antioxidents and lycopenes, both which help fight cancer cells from forming.

The Importance Of Breakfast

The Importance Of Breakfast

I can't tell you how long I've gone in life without eating breakfast. It stems from never really liking breakfast food to begin with (I know!  Its horrific!). I wasn't a big egg person, I've never been a big sweet person, I've never liked cereal (I know, some of you will stop reading this right now). My mom got me to eat breakfast in high school by giving me Carnation Instant Breakfast powder that you add to milk. She tried and at least it was something. I finally started eating breakfast regularly about a year ago and I have noticed a huge change in my day from one little morning meal.

Basil

Basil

Basil is one of those great summer crops you can get all year round, but there's something special about basil in the summer. I love the smell of fresh basil and I love planting basil in between my tomato plants - I can almost see a dish forming right there in the garden. But there's more to basil than just its dynamic smell. Basil helps reduce inflammation and swelling, has anti-bacterial properties, and is full of antioxidants.

Recovering With Oranges

Recovering With Oranges

I had a long bike session yesterday around noon and it felt great. After I had a veggie sandwich with avocado and a mixed greens salad around 1pm followed by a lot of water. Around 3pm I crashed. I felt incredibly exhausted and I could barely keep my eyes open. Sitting in my desk chair was almost painful. I knew I had to get up and move around and I knew I needed to eat something. Looking around I found an orange and slowly peeled into it. Eating wedge after wedge I started to feel more awake. About 30 minutes after the orange I felt peppy, alert, and ready to tackle the rest of the day. So what was it about that magical fruit that got me through the afternoon?

A Vegan Guide For Marathon Runners

A Vegan Guide For Marathon Runners

I've decided that in 2016 I will not be shying away from the word 'vegan'. Up until now I've called it being 'plant based' or 'plant powered', which are all perfect terms, but I specifically was refraining from using the word 'vegan'. There are many negative connotations to the word and many people turn away from anything that is called 'vegan', but I've decided to bring the word back to the limelight and show its non-scary, happy, and positive connotations. Vegan to me means eating whole foods from plants and whole grains. For me, eating vegan has helped me accomplish huge goals like triathlons and now a marathon, and has overall just made me feel good. Good food = good life. Now that that's off my chest - here's my guide to anyone who wants to train and run a marathon while keeping a vegan diet!

Garlic

Garlic

As you can probably see from recipe list below, I use garlic A LOT! But for good reason! Not only does it enhance the flavor of so many recipes it is also incredibly good for you. Garlic can help lower cholesterol, lower your risk of heart attack, prevent multiple types of cancer, and fight inflammation. The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic - possibly the earliest example of "performance enhancing" agents used in sports.