Nutrition and Exercise

Not really my area of expertise, but sometimes I find some interesting things to share.

the Raw and the Cooked

I was asked by to feature the following article. I looked it over, and thought it might be useful to some of you. Raw vs. Cooked is a much discussed area in the vegan world. If veggies are great, eating them all raw must be even better, right? Turns out, maybe not. I don't claim to know, but I think there's some good, useful information in the article, Demystifying the Raw Diet. Read it for yourself, and do what works best for your own beautiful body.

Vegan Vitamin D

It's the time of year when many of us start to wonder if we're getting enough vitamin D, particularly those of us who don't eat animal products. Because I live in a generally sunny climate (even though it gets below freezing often in the winter), I haven't really given it much thought. But it looks like maybe I should.

Why I Stopped Running

I didn't see it coming, but it appears that I have officially stopped running. No hard feelings, but running for me has simply... run its course. I feel a little bit like Forrest Gump. I ran for a year, and then I stopped. That was that.

Flour vs. Grain

I've been doing a bit of research on grains lately, as there seem to be two very divided camps on the topic. While some folks go with the theory that we are born grain eaters, with the teeth and digestive tract to prove it, others shun grains of all kinds. Personally, I've always loved grains, and have found that my body functions best when it gets plenty of good whole grain foods. I'm further convinced by Dr John McDougall's latest book, The Starch Solution, which I highly recommend to anyone of either side of the grain fence.

How To Eat More Vegetables

A funny thing happens when I'm chatting with a new acquaintance, and they find out that I'm vegan. They almost always say, Oh... I need to eat more vegetables... And then they shuffle their feet and avoid eye contact, I suppose because they're afraid I'm going to try to recruit them into the Vegan Army. As far as I know, nobody ever wants to go vegan simply because they've just met a vegan. But something about coming face to face with a full-time plant eater seems to nudge people into realizing that maybe they don't eat quite enough plants for their own good.

What About Soy?

I was recently asked if I have any concerns about soy (thanks for your comment, Teri!), so I thought I'd answer here so everyone will see it. I use tofu and tempeh in some of my recipes, partly because they're great "transitional" foods for new vegans, and also because tofu is a good egg replacer. We don't actually eat all that much soy in our house, and what we do buy is always organic and non-GMO.

Half Marathon - Check!

I did it! I ran my first half marathon on Sunday, and I have a feeling it won't be my last. I had a terrific time, and I did really well for a first-timer, finishing the race in 2:44:37. Overall, out of over 17,000 runners I placed 8083. Of the women I was 4364. In my age group I was 123. I'm pretty pleased. My training really paid off, and so did my diet. As far as I'm concerned, vegan running is the only way to go. I was passing younger, more fit looking people the whole way, and I'm convinced that the right fuel was a big part of that.

Ready, set...

Here I go! I leave early tomorrow morning to catch my flight from Albuquerque to Anaheim. Next stop, Disneyland! If you're new here, the short catch-up is this: I've been training to run the Disneyland Half Marathon since February, when my daughter called out of the blue to tell me that she was going to run it. I hadn't done any consistent exercise in about 30 years, but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to take on the half marathon challenge myself. There were times when I thought I'd truly lost my mind, and other times of deep discouragement when I thought I'd never make it. But here I am, 7 months later, 25 pounds lighter, and ready to run like the wind - or at least a nice gentle breeze - on Sunday.

Question - Hair Loss on a Vegan Diet?

"Hi all the info you send my way...Just a quick question...I have always had long, pretty thick hair...I am almost 8 months into my vegan journey and I am losing hair in mass quantities....My diet has been very good..with plenty of legumes...grains...quinoa...greens...fruit...veggies...tofu....Just curious if you ever had this problem??? Overall I feel great and have no plans in stopping my vegan journey...I also supplement B12 and have sun warrior protein shakes a couple of times a week...Any thoughts... Thanks!"

Ask Me!

Yesterday someone asked, in a comment, about B vitamins in a vegan diet. The short answer is, most "experts" agree that we need to supplement B12, which used to be available from plant sources, but has been depleted by overworking our soil. I'll round up more specific information on this soon, but for now, it's a good idea to take a good multi-vitamin with B12. You don't need much, and it takes a long time for your body's stored B12 to be used up. But a B12 deficiency can be very dangerous, so there's no reason to take the risk.

One Good Reason

Happy Meatless Monday! I'm back today with another installment of One Good Reason. This time I'm talking about milk. A lot of people don't eat meat, but feel dairy is OK. I used to be one of them. I thought dairy was the lesser of the animal foods evils, but there's a lot of evidence proving that dairy, and particularly cheese, is the bigger bad bad guy, hiding behind a white mustache. Marketing can be a very powerful tool, and the dairy marketing people have had us all convinced, for a very long time, that milk does a body good.

Vegan Running Update

As you may or may not know, my daughter and I are running a half marathon in September. Since I'm doing the whole thing vegan style, I want to talk about it here, as well as on my other blog, TakingTheLongWayHome. This week, as Lauren and I blogged together, I decided to add the following intro to all our posts, so those just finding us will know what's going on. We generally post each Wednesday, and from here on, I'll pop a link on this page too. As I go along, I'll also get more into my "training diet," in case it might be of use to anyone out there. This is quite an adventure for me! Post #7 is ready to read!

Running Out Of Excuses

I have a big announcement to make. I'm going to run the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon in September! Yes really. And I'm going to run it vegan. Duh! I've never run farther than to the end of my driveway - which is a long driveway, but really doesn't count for much - so this is a very big deal for me. I'm doing it with my daughter, who encouraged, urged, and sort of double-dog-dared me to do it. I didn't have a good reason to say no, and to be honest, I've been well aware for a long, long time that a healthy vegan diet alone is not enough to keep me alive and well for the long haul. Regular exercise has never been one of my strong points, but I know I need to do it. So after very little consideration I said yes, and signed up right away, before I could rationalize myself out of it. That was several days ago, and I'm still feeling good about my snap decision, so here I go!

Vegan Nutrition for Beginners

I've been doing a lot of reading on vegan nutrition lately. Maybe too much, from too many sources. My head is spinning with information overload. As with my beads, it's time to settle down and simplify. Thankfully, I've finally found someone I trust to give me good information. Of course you need to trust your own instincts and your own body, and you need to do your research to be sure you're getting everything you need in your diet.

A Slippery Subject

Fat is something of a dirty word in our society. We don't want it on our thighs or bellies, so we tend to think it's a bad thing to have in our food. I've been reading a lot about fats and oils lately. There's a lot of conflicting information out there, but I'm beginning to see some common threads weaving through. If you're confused about how much and what types of fat to get in your vegan diet, maybe I can distill what I've read down to something simple and reasonable for you. Of course, I'm not a nutritionist, so please check the resources for yourself. Learn as much as you can to be as healthy as you can!