Last November I went to a free presentation at a Whole Foods store from Brendan Brazier. If you are not aware of who Brendan is, he is an amazing triathlete who also happens to be vegan, an advocate for plant-based health and creator of the line of Vega nutrition products.
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to write up this post. In fact, I wish I had driven home and written it up that same day, since some of my notes are rather cryptic to me and I think I could have made more sense of them if I was prompt. But I still wanted to include some of the points that I found particularly interesting. (With some of my own little additions included in italics!)
- Without a base of nutritional health, you can only perform at high level for a short time.
(This was so true for me. I was able to starve myself (eating disorder) and still managed to do a marathon. But over time my body brought me back to a screeching halt.)
- You want to get high net gain food in your diet, this food takes little energy from you but returns plenty of energy.
- Fruit is easier to digest than grains. Buckwheat. Quinoa are pseudo grains, thus they’re easier to digest.
- Hormones and stress are intertwined. Emotional, physical, psychological AND nutritional stress all elevate cortisol. Nutritional stress accounts for 40% of America’s stress.
- Coffee and sugar are stimulants. The line between awake and asleep is blurring. Remembering your dreams means you are sleeping too lightly.
- Maca can help with sleep, adrenal fatigue, sugar cravings, trouble toning or losing fat.
- Standard American Diet (SAD) is acid forming. Acid pulls calcium from bones. We need alkaline forming foods = GREENS. Inflammation disappears with more alkalinity, muscle tension dissolves.
(I really wonder if I’m too acidic. I have crazy muscle tension that I blame on working at a computer, but even massage therapists have a hard time breaking up the knots in my back and shoulders.)
- If you experience an ammonia smell when working out, that is “burning dirty”, meaning you don’t have enough carbs.
(At my lowest weight in my ED, I would go to the gym and spend a long time on the elliptical. Midway through the ammonia smell would start and carry through until I showered.)
- Kombucha relaxes muscles and helps stomach for endurance.
- Maltodextrin is hard to digest, found in some gels.
- ‘Isolate’ means something is isolated, no longer a whole food so it is harder to digest and more acid forming. See: Whey Protein Isolate and Soy Protein Isolate
- Don’t have to have everything in one meal, it is all cumulative.
(This is something my dietitian tells me all the time. I used to freak out about making sure I included something from all food groups to be “balanced” – that still haunts me at times because I feel like I need to do that. But really, what you eat throughout your day, week, month… it’s cumulative.)
- Wheat is not natural, it was created by combining ancient grains. Sprouted is better, easier to digest.
- Processed soy is acidic. Edamame is more neutral. Tempeh is fermented so it is even better.
- SAD needs more water, very dry. Eat more veggies reduces your water needs cause you’re getting water from the veggies.
- Body treats coconut oil a little more like a carb. Saturated fat isn’t necessarily bad. Cook with coconut oil, higher smoke point and it is more filling.
- A plant based diet is very safe and lower toxicity during pregnancy. However, a plant based is more cleansing, so you maybe shouldn’t begin that cleansing during pregnancy or breast feeding.
Overall it was a fascinating presentation. Afterward we got to sample some of the products in the Vega Sport line-up, but there were so many tiny shots of liquids, I couldn’t keep everything straight! Brendan also set-up at a table to sign autographs. I had taken my copy of Thrive Fitness with me to get signed, but a Whole Foods employee was going through the line asking to see our receipts, to prove that we’d purchased the book there. She told me I couldn’t wait in the line to talk to Brendan since I had bought my book online a year earlier. BUMMER!
A gal who was on my Team Challenge team a couple of seasons ago gave me a packet of a chocolate-flavored Vega protein product. I’m not sure what the equivalent of it is now, since they’ve changed their whole line-up. It might be the same as the All-in-One Nutritional Shake? But I blended it into a morning smoothie with spinach, mango, berries and almond milk and it was AWESOME. Seriously, one of the best plant-based protein powders I’ve tried. (And I try to keep my protein powders to plant-based ones. I’ve stumbled on some real duds.)
If you ever have the chance to hear Brendan present, I highly recommend it. Take good notes and then write-up something on your notes immediately after… so you’re not like me staring at entries like “Lacking complete protein, b12″ and wondering what that moment was!
NOTE: I just learned that Brendan is presenting a free webinar on February 20 via Learn It Live. Sign up for his presentation: Plant-Based Performance Nutrition: How to unlock your mental and physical potential through food - I think I’m going to sign up, just to listen to his insights again and hopefully remember what some of my other notes meant!