I am a Plant Powered Athlete

I am a Plant Powered Athlete | Vegan Vegetarian TriathlonI have been a vegetarian for the past 36 years, a vegan for the past 3 years, and an athlete my entire life.

Since becoming a vegan 3 years ago and finally giving up dairy, I have gotten stronger and faster as an athlete. I recover more quickly so I can train more, I don’t have the GI problems I used to have while training and racing, and I have lost weight, have overall more energy, and am more focused on being a triathlete.

Last week I had a friend who I have known for about 5 years ask me to coach her in triathlon and nutrition for her first ironman. She told me she was interested in being more plant-based but is worried that giving up meat while training for an ironman wouldn’t give her enough strength and energy to get through training.

This baffled me because since I have been vegetarian, I have completed 13 ironman distance triathlons AND since becoming vegan, I have completed 2, both of which I PRd and one of which I qualified for the Ironman World Championships. In addition to those accomplishments, as a vegan I have completed 7 marathons in 7 days, I am on day 646 of a bike streak, I have completed a 10K lake swim, and I have PRd in every distance run from 5K to marathon.

So in case anyone else out there was wondering if you can become a successful endurance athlete as a vegan, the answer is YES! I can tell you WITHOUT A DOUBT that becoming 100% vegan has helped me in all areas of my life, especially in my sport.

My goal now is to incorporate more raw foods into my nutrition plan as I feel like this will take my training and racing to the next level. I have been working toward this for the past 2 years and I have my good days/weeks/months and my bad ones…like everything! Baby steps right?!

If you are wondering if you will get enough calories training for an endurance race, feel free to follow me on myfitnesspal. My username is RealResultsRock, to check out my calories, protein etc.

Just as an example, today I ate 4,293 calories (more than I had wanted, I had a little anxiety PB&Jx4 binge this morning) with 108 grams of protein. My goal is around 3,000 calories with 65 grams of protein, which I always reach with no problem. In fact, I have to limit what I eat as I don’t want to make over 4,000 a habit and gain weight.

Join the Veg Club to get custom meal plans and have access to me daily…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheVegClub

If you want to eat plant-based, I have a 7 Day Vegan Challenge here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganWeek

A group with thousands of recipes here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg

How to transition to a plant-based diet…
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/transition-to-a-plant-based-diet-with-ease

And an awesome supportive community here…
https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

I often post my meals here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/RealResultsROCK

And you can reach out to me ANYTIME with questions!!!!

See you SOON!

What’s The Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan?

What’s The Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan?Over the past week I have had 2 people ask me what the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan was. I figured there must be other people out there who don’t know the difference, so here it is!

Before I share the difference, I just want to put out there that I know there are several specific types of vegetarians, as some will eat fish or even poultry, but I’m going by the definitions I know to be true for myself.

A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat any meat or meat by-products. This includes all meats such as beef, pork, chicken, veal, etc where an animal is killed and its meat is eaten. Most vegetarians still eat eggs and dairy, but won’t eat things like gelatin and other products made directly from animal parts.

A vegan is someone who eats no animal products at all. No eggs, dairy, or meat. Most vegans also get to the place where they don’t wear leather, wool, angora, fur, ivory, or any other parts of an animal whether the animal was killed for that sole purpose or not.

Because dairy and eggs are so rampant in North America, and cheese is so addictive, there are far fewer vegans than vegetarians. Plus many vegetarians can see the harm in killing an animal for food, but not in taking its eggs or milk.

The name “vegan” came from the founder of the Vegan Society in 1944 as a statement against vegetarians who ate dairy products. He took the first and last letters of the word vegetarian to create his orthodox version of vegetarianism (blog.dictionary.com/veganism).

There are lots of great resources out there these days to help educate you on both veganism and vegetarianism.

Netflix has several documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, Food Choices, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, Food Matters, Cowspiracy, and Live And Let Live.

There are also many great books about the subject, my faves being Skinny Bitch, Thug Kitchen, Meat Is For Pussies, and Main Street Vegan. #promo

My favorite podcast that often goes into depth on plant-based eating is the Rich Roll Podcast.

I’m sure there are many other amazing resources out there (please share if you have one you love) as when I googled “veganism” over 298,000,000 results came up!

I have written several articles about my LONG journey from vegetarianism to veganism, here are the most popular ones…

How My Hubby Kept Me From Being Vegan for Years

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/how-my-hubby-kept-me-from-being-vegan-for-years

Vegan…FINALLY!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/vegan-finally

3 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/3-easy-ways-to-start-eating-vegan

My Favorite Vegan Meals

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/my-favorite-vegan-meals

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/tips-for-eating-vegan-on-the-road

If you are looking for recipes, I have thousands in my I HEART VEGAN RECIPES facebook group…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg

And if you are ready to go 7 days vegan, I have a challenge group complete with 7 different meal plans to fit your lifestyle…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganWeek

See you on the VEG side!

Transition to a Plant-Based Diet with Ease

Transition To A Plant Based Diet With EaseOver the past 2 weeks, I have had several people ask me for help transitioning to a vegan or vegan-ish diet. I do offer custom meal plans based on your likes, needs, time availability, and financial status, but not everyone wants to pay for a specific meal plan just yet.

For those of you just dabbling or want free resources, here is a list of articles I have written and other resources that will help you!

If you want a custom 7 or 30 day meal plan…

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FitnessDivaKir

If you want to join The Veg Club (membership includes custom meals, new recipes weekly, constant communication with me, and a supportive community of like-minded, plant-based people…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheVegClub

Hundreds of vegan recipes…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg

7 different 7 day vegan meal plans…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganWeek

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/tips-for-eating-vegan-on-the-road

5 Vegan Breakfasts in 5 Minutes or Less

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/5-vegan-breakfasts-in-5-minutes-or-less-2

Vegan…FINALLY!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/vegan-finally

3 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/3-easy-ways-to-start-eating-vegan

Throw-Together Vegan Recipes

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/the-throw-together-vegan

My Favorite Vegan Meals

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/my-favorite-vegan-meals

How My Hubby Kept Me From Being Vegan for Years
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/how-my-hubby-kept-me-from-being-vegan-for-years

3 Easy Steps to Eating the Way You Want to Eat

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/3-easy-steps-to-eating-the-way-you-want-to-eat

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/where-do-you-get-your-protein

Progress not Perfection…PHEW!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/progress-not-perfectionphew

Weekly Easy Vegan Recipe…

http://www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newsletter

I hope these are helpful for you!!!

Reach out if you have any other questions along your journey toward a plant-based life.

See you SOON!

3 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan

3 Easy Ways To Start Eating VeganI’ve heard about people who one day just decide to eat vegan and never touch an animal product again.

Those people are pretty darn amazing! I am NOT one of those people. It took me 10 years to become a vegan after I had declared that I wanted to stop eating eggs and dairy. I was already a vegetarian so meat wasn’t an issue at all for me…it was that darn cheese! And Saag Paneer!

But you know I am all about baby steps, so I want to show you some easy things you can start doing now to work toward eating a vegan diet…or at least eating cleaner and healthier than you do now.

1. Do what’s easy first.

Start by taking the easy things out of your diet. The things you don’t care about or things you can’t even taste.

For example, bread. There are breads made with milk and eggs and breads that aren’t, and I bet you can’t tell the difference! So why not choose the one without? This way you still get your bread, but you are eliminating one or two ingredients that aren’t vegan and full of hormones and inflammation causing properties.

Another example, chips. There are chips made with whey and chips that aren’t. And being a “chip” girl, I can tell you there are dozens of tasty (even flavored) chips made with no dairy at all. So start looking at labels and choosing the vegan option on foods that don’t make a big difference to your taste buds.

2. Cut the meat/cheese portion in half.

Again, something you will barely notice! If you eat a sandwich for lunch, order half the amount of meat and cheese (or even just start with one) until you get used to the new sandwich and then half it again!!

I used to be a pizza addict. I mean I still am, but I eat vegan, typically gluten-free pizza these days…Amy’s makes an amazing one if you’re too lazy (like I am) to make one from scratch! I would get double cheese and double veggies and suck that thing down like I hadn’t eaten in days.

When I was working toward being vegan, I cut down to “normal” amount of cheese and double veggies. It actually tasted EXACTLY the same. Then I went to “light” cheese (same taste) and eventually no cheese.

Luckily these days there are so many delicious vegan cheeses, I don’t usually go “cheese-free” anymore. Of course just last week after my final marathon of the series I did, I had Pizza Hut. Double veggies, double sauce, no cheese!

Delish!!! Always check ingredients though…I almost got their gluten-free crust until I checked the ingredients and it was made with egg whites!! Boo!

3. And finally…as I always suggest with any life changes…forgive yourself if you mess up!

No one is perfect! Use your “screw-up” as a lesson. Evaluate the situation and decide what you will do differently next time.

One time last year I was 3 months into being 100% vegan and my sis and I went through the Del Taco drive through on our way to the movie theater (I know…I’m a rebel).

I had done a long hard workout that day and was so excited to eat the 4 BRCs “no cheese please” that were sitting in my purse smelling soooooo good. When I took a bite into the first one, I tasted cheese. I took out my phone flashlight to sneak a peek and discovered all 4 of my BRCs were NOT “no cheese please”.

Ugh! I was so annoyed and so hungry I ate them anyway. Then I was mad at myself for days for failing as a vegan. From then on I ALWAYS check my orders when getting take out from any restaurant to make sure my order is as requested.

I hope these 3 tips help you transition to a healthier, cleaner, and hopefully vegan diet with ease.

If you want more ideas, great recipes and articles, and support moving toward your new lifestyle, join here…

www.facebook.com/groups/7dayveg

And I would love to hear your story here or in our community at…

www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

See you soon!

And thanks for caring about yourself and the animals enough to even read this!!!

Baby Steps: Advocacy

Baby Steps AdvocacyI became a vegetarian when I was eight years old. I didn’t want to eat animals and didn’t feel like that’s what they were here on this earth for.

But I didn’t know any other vegetarians and never developed a voice to speak out about it. I just did my part and believed that was enough.

As I get older and search for and discover what I am most passionate about in my life, I am realizing I want to speak out for animal rights and be an advocate and a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves. I follow a lot of great activists on social media and will repost the milder posts in hopes that people will see them and realize how cruel and unnecessary eating meat is.

Sometimes I see more hard core posts and in my head I scream “hell yeah” and I “like” or even “comment” on the post but I don’t share it. Why? I don’t know but it got me thinking about it on my run last night.

I thought back to last Black Friday when I did my first (and only to date) group rally thing with PETA on the corner across from the mall holding signs to not buy fur, angora, or wool. I was so nervous to be a part of it even though my heart and soul were screaming w excitement and passion. Again, I don’t know why other than maybe I just wasn’t brought up with being comfortable as an activist?

I want to do more to help so last weekend I got on the PETA website and looked around for hours. In my mind I kept thinking how crazy and brave all those people were, secretly wishing I was that crazy and brave. But it also seemed over-whelming to suddenly be putting it out there how passionate I am about it.

I feel like it’s much more acceptable to be vegan for health reasons rather than ethical reasons. I think it’s easier to explain to people. I don’t have all the answers if someone asks me specific questions about the treatment of animals raised for food. Whereas my health, it seems like more of my personal choice, which is much easier to defend.

As I was thinking more about this over the past year, I’ve come to the conclusion that number one, I am over thinking this and caring way too much about what others think.

Number two, this is outside my comfort zone and that is ok. Actually better than ok! I coach in biz and life to get your ass outside your comfort zone anyway!!!

And number three, treat this just like anything else I want to accomplish or become in my life, with baby steps! I don’t need to wake up tomorrow morning throwing red paint on all the new wool sweaters I see at the local market or start sharing crazy videos of half dead animals screaming in a pool of blood at a slaughterhouse. Baby steps!

So I ordered a couple cute shirts from PETA, started sharing more on social media, adding #proudvegan to my posts, and looking for local events I can attend to learn how to get more involved! Oh…and I wrote this blog post! YAY!

I would love more ideas!! I would also love to meet more like-minded people and surround myself with other who feel the same way. Please reach out so we can go on this journey together.

www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

See you soon!!

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Where Do You Get Your ProtienIf you are a vegetarian or vegan you have probably heard this question more than once. Or more than once a day!

It’s interesting how many people think that meat is the only source of protein.

When I first became a vegetarian at age 8, I started learning about nutrition. Back then in order to have a “compete protein”, you needed to combine foods at each meal. I’m sure most of you have heard of some of those combos.

Some examples are: beans and rice, peanut butter and bread, legumes and quinoa. Okay…that last one was a stretch for an 8 year old but is a great example in today’s world. I mean, I know quinoa is an ancient grain and all, but back in the 70s in white trash suburbia, it wasn’t a known food!!

So these days it’s now known that the combos are still good to complete the protein, but they don’t need to be eaten at the same time. They can be eaten throughout your day and you still reap the benefits! Awesome!

What’s ever better is that most veggies have protein in them!! AND it’s been discovered that many of the plant based proteins are more absorbable and useable in your body!

BONUS!!

I have a vegan recipe group on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg) and although the recipes look and sound incredible, I rarely make them. I don’t want to spend my time and energy prepping, cooking, and cleaning. Just not my thing. So in addition to the recipes I post daily, I also post my quick, easy, throw-together meals and snacks to let people know other healthy (usually) and vegan (always) options.

About once a week even the vegans in the group say to me, “I saw your meals yesterday, where do you get your protein?” They ask because I don’t eat a lot of soy, beans, lentils, nuts, and other things most people think are the only vegan proteins. So every time someone asks, I go to myfitnesspal, put in all my meals and snacks, and check out my protein.

And amazingly enough, I always have the right amount for me!!

So what is the “right” amount? Like everything, it will be a bit different for everyone. But the general accepted RDA is half your body weight pounds in grams of protein. For example: if you weigh 150 pounds you need 75 grams of protein. The actual RDA is .8 g per pound of body weight, so my formula is even a bit more than what I actually need, but I like simplicity.

Here are a couple examples of meals with protein that would surprise most people…

1. The other day I ate a bag of corn for my lunch. I wasn’t very hungry and only had a few minutes to make something and corn sounded good. I was actually making it on a Periscope broadcast (@throwtogethervegan) and someone of course asked about protein. I looked it up after and that lunch had 18 grams of protein. In corn!

2. A snack I recently made (also on Periscope) was broccoli salad w raw broccoli, balsamic vinegar, vegenaise, garlic, salt, and pepper. I looked it up after… 14 grams.

3. My typical breakfast smoothie has over 25 grams.

4. My oatmeal I eat a few times a week with PB and Grade B Syrup has a whopping 28 grams of protein!

5. Even in my rice/avocado/tomato meal I eat about 4 times a week, I get 22 grams

6. Oh, and a banana has 1.5 g and I eat several of those each day for snacks.

It all adds up. People forget that most foods have some amount of protein in them. And since I eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day with a variety of fruits, veggies, rice, potatoes, and nuts, I always get enough protein for the day.

So just for fun a couple weeks ago I decided to add up the protein of my super unhealthy junk food dinner of Almond Milk Ice Cream, Peanut Butter, and Gluten-Free Vegan Cookie Dough. It made me laugh because even that low nutrient crap dinner had 43 g of protein!!! So if I am feeling low on protein from my fruits and veggies, I can always compensate with a dinner of crappy empty calories and too much sugar. It may make me sick and fat, but at least I’m getting enough protein!!

Here is the link to join our vegan recipe group (and to check out my meals each day)…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg

Thanks for always being here!

See you SOON!

Progress not Perfection…PHEW!!

Progress Not Perfection I have been a vegetarian since I turned 8 years old. I have been in the process of being a vegan for about 8 years. I used to beat myself up because I wasn’t perfect. I would go a day or a week or even a month 100% vegan and then I would eat Saag Paneer or something with butter or dip my chip into Queso. I gave up so many times because I kept failing.

Then I would read an article about how inflammatory dairy is or watch a video on the mistreatment of animals on the big dairy farms, and I would want to try again…and AGAIN after a day, week, or
sometimes even a month, I would fail.

I was so embarrassed because I would tell people I was vegan and then they would see me eat a bite of something that had dairy in it. I felt like a hypocrite so I just quit telling people I was vegan, and stuck with being a vegetarian, which was easy for me since I haven’t eaten meat since my 8th birthday.

But I don’t want to eat, wear, or use ANY animal products…eventually! I know that FOR SURE…I also now know it’s a process and that is OK!!

Thanks to AWESOME activists and advocates like Rich Roll, No Meat Athlete, Kathy Freston, and others who preach to “go at your own pace”, “lean into it”, or “just eat more plants”. You all have made me feel like I AM making a difference and that I CAN get to where I know I want to be.

I was actually listening to an interview with Kathy Freston today and she used the word “veganish” to describe people who are working toward a vegan lifestyle. I LOVE IT! And I am stealing it. So from now on, when people ask, I am veganish!

So first of all…THANK YOU KATHY!

Second of all…this can apply to all areas of our lives where we KNOW we want to move toward something (specific goal, weight loss, financial freedom, relationship status, career, living situation, etc) but aren’t quite there yet.

This has definitely been one of my greatest challenges to overcome in my personal growth journey. The idea of black or white thinking somehow snuck into my brain at a very young age and has taken me decades of un-doing to realize there are shades of grey.

And third of all…as a recovering perfectionist, I am proud to announce that I am not perfect and that I FINALLY value progress over perfection. I may not be making progress daily, but the graph of every area in my life is on an upward trend…and that ROCKS!

All I can promise you is that if you are AWARE of what you want and you CONSISTENTLY do things in your life to get there (even super duper small things), you WILL get to where you want to go!

I’m writing this from HAWAII…where I have been for a month…all because of tiny baby steps I have
taken over the past 10 years. I promise it works.

Join our 7 Day Veg Challenge…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg/