4 Month Update on a Plant Based Diet (Almost Vegan/ Vegetarian)

I never thought in a million years I would be where I am now with my current eating.  Being in the fitness industry for so long and surrounded by lean bodybuilders and athletes, I was convinced that we absolutely had to get our protein from meat or animal sources to sustain energy and physique.  I thought that if I were to ever give up animal protein I would not be able to have a lean body, would get weak, and become deficient.  Growing up, I always loved and cared for animals but chose to not think about the treatment of certain animals before I put them in my mouth.  I worked in a fine dining restaurant when I was 18 years old, where most of the dishes were rack of lamb, duck, pork chops, quail, steak and prime rib.  We were encouraged to try all the dishes so that we could properly describe the tastes to our guests and pair them with the appropriate wine.  I always felt so strange eating each bite but looking around me, no one else seemed to feel strange, so I did my best not to think about it.  I had other interests to think about that were right in front of me.  I felt like what I didn't see behind closed doors, didn't hurt me, so therefore it just wasn't a huge issue for me. 

Now here I am starting into my 5th month of not touching any meat and honestly I feel incredible.  If you read my previous posts and updates on how I began this journey, it had nothing to do with animal rights.  This journey honestly had to do with clearing out the junk from my system.  You can read how I got started here and my previous update here. It has now evolved into a new way of life for me.  I'm a researcher so both fortunately and unfortunately I've discovered and seen so many things regarding the meat industry that I can no longer get myself to even eat meat.  I'm not bashing meat by any means.  I support the local farmers that raise their meat humanely and feed them the food that they are designed to eat.  If I ever decided to go back to eating meat it would have to be from happy animals and eggs from chickens I know or own.  Before I get in to the details as to where I am regarding my journey, I would like to briefly share a typical day of eating and how my energy levels are.

I am a firm believer in a gentle rotation of foods.  I don't think it's wise for anyone to eat the same exact thing every single day.  Giving your body a chance to digest different types of food not only gives you a chance to intake a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, but it will decrease the chances of developing stomach allergies or any deficiencies.    The following day contains things that I will eat 2-3 times per week, but certainly not every day.

Morning -  Yerba Mate Tea with a splash of Coconut Creamer
Chia Seed Cereal (2 Tbs of Chia seeds mixed with 4oz of water)
Goji Berries, Raw Coconut Butter, Fresh Berries, and a splash of hemp milk

Mid Morning - Organic Apple with a small amount of Sunflower Seed Butter
 Yerba Mate or Green Tea depending on a workout day. I interchange this with my workout meal sometimes.

Afternoon - Collard Green Wraps - Filled with sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, dulse, tomatoes, avocado, and hummus Or very large salad with homemade dressing.

Late Afternoon or Workout Drink - Raw Sprouted Brown Rice Protein (not every day), Hemp seeds, Chia seeds, Water, Fruit, Maca Powder, Spirulina.

Evening - Raw Pad Thai - with Sea kelp noodles, cabbage, mint, raw spicy cashews, coconut yogurt, carrots, and green salad. 

Late Evening - If still hungry this might be the only time I have a cooked meal.  Whether it be a small bowl of warm oatmeal for extra relaxation.  Again it depends on the day.  Sometimes I enjoy vegetables and hummus or raw kale chips.  ;-)

Dessert - Not every day, but I do enjoy a piece or two of very very dark chocolate during the day or in the evening.

Many days I'm sipping on Green Smoothies for my snacks or drinking fresh juice that I make with my juicer, which satisfies me without even having to stop my day to "snack."

Getting back to my new way of looking at life.  First of all, I don't think that I could have done this without such an amazing support system.  People saw such a zest of life out of me after the first month and they started looking at the research as well.  Many of my close friends and students wanted to give it a try.  I am not alone in this journey.  It has been such a bonding experience and a fun one that we have all gone through together.  My husband watched some of the documentaries with me and is a full blown vegetarian, not quite vegan.  My closest meat eating friends are mostly vegan and vegetarian now.  They too have had incredible experiences.  One that sticks out is Katie Dawers, which you will be seeing much more of in the future.  She went from incredibly strong to ridiculously strong over her course of plant based eating.  Della went from a powerhouse who needed coffee on a regular basis for over 20 years to an energized super strong woman that now faces the day without an ounce of caffeine!  

I had an unfortunate incident, prior to my plant based eating, where I was developing carpel tunnel symptoms and major swelling in one of my hands.  To make a long story short, I didn't stop using it and even took the liberty of snatching a 24kg thinking it would just go away by itself.   Well I have to admit that I was being stupid for not resting it and continuing to push it.  I was forced to be in a cast for a few weeks, not because of the snatches, but because there was so much swelling I had to rest it.  Needless to say I was forced to not use my hand for over a month.  My kettlebell training, pull ups, push ups, and all the fun exercises had to come to a halt.  I wasn't allowed to run with a cast or do much because I couldn't get it sweaty!  My muscle was sure to dwindle and get weak right?  Below is a recent photo of plant based eaters that have had anywhere from 1-5 children.  I'm the one in the green top.  ;-)

Katie Dawers, Della Whelchel, Lauren Brooks, Sheryl Lambert - New Plant based Eater, kettlebell swinging mommy's.

LOOK at the definition in Della Whelchel's back.  This amazing mother of 5, does not step foot in a gym for any conventional bodybuilding routine.  Della has been on a strictly plant based eating program for 3 months.  Della comes to my classes and uses body weight exercises, kettlebells, ropes and suspension training to have the beautiful, real strong muscularity that she possesses.  This picture just doesn't do her justice.

I look forward to sharing more pictures of the inspiring new plant based eaters in the future.  This has been a complete life altering experience for me physically and emotionally.  Now that I am finally getting back in to the swing of things with my workouts, I can push it harder than ever.  My body seems to recover much more rapidly.  My digestion continues to be better than it ever has and I just feel happier.  If you are considering adding more plants in your life and maybe trying to eat a little less meat, I say go for it.  No need to go full throttle like we did.  It definitely is not an easy change when done quickly.  It does take work and extra preparation if you choose to be gluten free, soy free, meat free, and only focus on plants, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  It can be an extreme way of living so it's definitely not something I recommend for everyone.  I want to reiterate that I do not like labeling myself.  I do eat plant based vegan about 95% of the time.  This doesn't mean I will never have a piece of raw fish again or have an organic free range egg if traveling.  I notice if I become too fixated on
"vegan" or "raw vegan" it can push me the other direction.  The message is not to be an extremist, but to know that you can build a strong, lean, and fit body off of foods that are not animal based.  Even if you just lower your animal intake and incorporate many more fresh raw foods you will notice an improvement in your energy, workouts, skin and digestion.

There are so many inspiring vegan athletes and fitness enthusiasts out there that I wanted to mention so that way you too can do your own research.  Here are some super strong fitness plant based eaters that are role models I suggest you check out.  Mike Mahler, Jon Hinds, Sherif Kamal, Rich Roll, Female Vegetarian/Vegans.  Here is a list of some of the Top Vegan Athletes.  Here is an inspiring raw vegan woman that I had the honor to teach kettlebells to, Mimi Kirk, you can find her new book "Live Raw" here.

I will leave you with this.  What works for me or for them does not mean it will work for you. This is my journey and I appreciate you reading this.  I will continue to happily share with anyone that cares to ask.


Linda's Favorite Full Body Workout

Here is another super fun strength and conditioning workout.  We did this the other day in the kettlebell class.  Most of my ladies were using 16, 20, and 24kg kettlebells.  Men were using 24, 28, 32, and 36kg.  For the swings almost everyone was using at least a 24kg. This is meant to be used with a heavy kettlebell.  However, if you have a hard time lunging properly I prefer you go light or without a bell to have great form.  Form is first, then load yourself up only if you can keep your form flawless!

Warm Up -  Down dog to Plank Hold x 5,  BW Turkish Get Up 3 per side, Prying Squats x 8

Workout - Go through each exercise and perform the amount of reps prescribed.  For example. 6 Back Lunges each side, 6 Front Lunges, 6 Pull Ups etc..  Swings will always be 20 reps.  Then start over again to 5 Back Lunges.

Ladder Reps  6,5,4,3,2,1  - if you are a beginner start at 5 or 4 reps instead of 6. 

Back Lunges (hold kettlebell in rack position and step back with the opposite leg that the bell is on)
Forward Lunges (hold kettlebell in rack position and step forward with the opposite leg that the bell is on)
Pull - Up or Body Row
Single Leg DeadLift
Press (straight military presses with no clean in between)
Push - Up
Two Handed Swings x 20 Reps
Chest, Shoulder, and Hip Flexor stretch

 Repeat going down the ladder until you get to 1.  Do not rush through these exercises unless you are not interested in strength gains.  Using lighter weights will allow you to recover quicker and perform this faster, therefore making this more of a conditioning drill.   Try and use heavier weights especially as you get to the 3, 2, and 1 category.  

Finish/ Cool Down with Planks, Prone Cobra's, Russian twists and Joint Mobility.

Let me know how you do!  Good luck!! 


Super Strong and Effective Workout

I thought I'd share a workout that my super strong kick ass class did this week.  It was a beautiful day outside here in Encinitas at around 68 degrees.  This was the class design.  Feel free to give this a shot. 

Part 1:
Partner you go I go.  Go through each exercise back and forth with your partner.  First round you will do 2 reps of each then your partner will go, then 4 reps of each then your partner, 6, 8, and finally 10! 
2 Kettlebells needed. 

Push Ups on Bells

Double Front Squats

Double High Pulls

Double or Single Stationary Lunges

While your partner is working you are lightly stretching your hip flexors, glutes, or chest in between.  Reps 2,4,6,8,10.  Your partner is really there to pace yourself. If you try this alone take rests as needed so you can go in fresh. Let me know how you do.

Part 2:

Pull - Ups or Rows 75%

Planks - 30 seconds

Snatches  5,4,3,2,1

Repeat 2-3x

Many of my ladies were snatching 20kg's with ease.  Katie Dawers at only 123 pounds was using DOUBLE 20 KG'S throughout the majority of Part 1.   Very proud of my whole class!  More and more strong ladies are disproving the get big and bulkier theory when using heavy weights.  I have the tiniest girls using the heaviest bells.  Come on people let's wake up and start lifting heavy sh#t! (properly of course with good structural integrity)

Tell me how you do with this workout!