Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
I received the following on one of my posts about pregnancy but thought I’d also include the information here.
I’m newly preggo for the second time (first time being 4 years ago). My diet and knowledge have changed a lot since. I’ve been researching your blog and have a couple of questions. First what prenatal vit did you end up liking the best? Why did you stop taking vitamineral green and fruits powders while you were pregnant? And, just out of curiosity, why do you use both hemp powder AND seeds in your smoothies and not flax?
Love your blog, you rock.
Here is my response:
Congrats on your pregnancy.
You ask great questions….
1) I was partial to Vitamin Code’s prenatal in spite of the controversial vitamin D3 being/not being vegan, especially for people who couldn’t get enough vitamin D from sun exposure due to where they live. However, I have since learned that vitamin D2 (vegan) is just as effective as vitamin D3, so supplementing with extra vitamin D2 and taking a truly vegan prenatal is an option. The high amount of vitamin D in Vitamin Code is great - they are way ahead of the curve with respect to this. I don’t know of any other prenatals doing that and it’s so important while pregnant. I also like that Vitamin Code uses capsules instead of tablets…. usually means less processing. However, New Chapter is still great. They’ve been around a while and have many happy customers. :)
2) I stopped Vitamineral Green and Fruits of Earth while pregnant because of ingredients that could be questionable during pregnancy. I know of women who took VG during pregnancy, but I opted not to. You could consider their other product Greener Grasses though – good stuff! I’m taking it now while breastfeeding. (I think they might’ve changed their VG formula since then because I don’t see one of the questionable ingredients in there. There is parsley juice in it though, and parsley is known for affecting breastmilk, so it still might be better to go with Greener Grasses. If you decide to go with VG, you might want to double check with your midwife or physician.)
3) Hemp has a more ideal ratio of omegas than flax (read more about this here). I also like the higher protein in it which is why sometimes I used both hemp powder and hemp seeds.
Thanks for reading,
Friday, August 27th, 2010
Kristen in alfalfa
, barley grass
, greener grasses
, healthforce nutritionals
, oat grass
, ormus supergreens
, vitamineral green
, wheat grass
Now that I’m breastfeeding, I check all the ingredients of a product to make sure it’s safe, gentle enough for Kamea, and won’t mess with my milk supply. As a result, I’ve taken a close look at a few different green powders. Because my diet is on the bland side to prevent digestive upset for Kamea (I’m not even sure this is entirely necessary, but I’m playing it safe just in case), I’m not getting as many greens as I’d like, so I wanted to add a green powder to my life. However, the two former favorites of mine, Vitamineral Green and Ormus SuperGreens, might not be good choices. These are great products (my husband still uses both!), but I’ve decided not to use them while breastfeeding. They both contain parsley which can reduce milk supply.
But! I “think” found one that fits the breastfeeding bill:
HealthForce Nutritionals Greener Grasses™ For the most part*, it seems that the handful of ingredients Greener Grasses contains are fine to consume while breastfeeding, and, in fact, some are even considered galactagogues (promotes lactation)! After I researched the ingredients online, I checked with both my (and Kamea’s) naturopath, and then I checked with my midwife. They both agreed that it was fine to take while breastfeeding.
According to HealthForce Nutritionals’ website:
Greener Grasses™ is an incredible combination of green grasses. It provides healthy alkaline elements and a large amount of 100% whole food nutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace minerals including those that are naturally colloidal and better, chlorophyll, fiber, phytonutrients, and more)! Incredible Value, Nutrient Dense, 100% Pesticide free, Nutritional Grass Complex
It contains 5 different forms of 100% pesticide free grown grasses:
Whole leaf : Wheat Grass, Barley Grass (naturally occurring fiber)
How does it taste? It tastes like most green powders… it’s not something that I want for dessert - haha - but it’s nice and mild in flavor. I usually just drink it down with a 1/2 cup of water.
*As with many things… you find some info supporting and some info not supporting a couple of these ingredients as safe for breastfeeding, barley grass and wheat grass specifically. While many websites said barley grass was good while breastfeeding, this site claimed otherwise. A similar situation occurred for wheat grass. Perhaps the milk-supply-increasing ingredients balance out the ones that might reduce it? I’m not sure. I decided to go along with my naturopath and midwife and give it a try for a few days. My results since taking it? My milk supply seems to have increased - I didn’t actually need that – but Kamea isn’t complaining – lol. Still… I wonder. Since it doesn’t seem to be reducing my milk supply, I’ll keep taking it but not every day. I’ll keep a watch on things and go from there. Meanwhile, I will keep researching, too. I wish I could find a definitive answer… any lactation specialists out there know?
UPDATE: According to the book, The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, green drinks and super green foods that include barley and alfalfa greens have traditionally been used to increase milk. I just bought the book for my Kindle last night and I like it a lot! Very informative so far.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
How many of you have heard it before (especially from men)… “BUT, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN WITH THAT DIET?”
Or… perhaps the #1 thing that deters men from trying a vegan diet: “I’M AFRAID I’LL LOSE MY MUSCLE.”
Or… “MY TRAINER DOESN’T BELIEVE IT’S POSSIBLE TO MAINTAIN OR GROW MY MUSCLE ON A VEGAN DIET – LET ALONE A DIET THAT IS HIGH IN RAW FOODS!”
Well, let me tell you… YES, it can be done. My husband is living proof. Muscle isn’t reserved for only the meat-heads. Just look around in nature and see the massive strength in herbivorous animals such as horses, gorillas, buffalo, elephants, hippopotamus, and more. News Flash to the Doubting Omnivores…. yes, you can build muscle with the proper plant based foods and some work in the gym. Let me take a step further. I’m not just referring to a vegan diet with cooked proteins; this can be done with a High Raw (or All Raw), All Vegan diet. You don’t see elephants and horses grilling up their leaves or sauteeing their twigs, right?
So… how can it be done?
Well, let me share with you some details about my husband and his experience. My husband follows along with my raw vegan diet (we go back and forth between all raw and high raw). However, he wasn’t always a vegan (read about our beginnings here in my post To Date or Not to Date a Carnivore). But, he is now. His answer when people ask about the way he eats and whether he misses meat, “Are you kidding? My wife is a Raw Vegan chef. I live like a movie star… I look up from my computer when I’m working, and there is a plate full of amazing food! We want to live long healthy lives together, and this is the way to do it.”
But it took some convincing initially. When my husband first started looking into the plant-based diet with me, he did his own research (he’s very sciency). He did his own reading, not only into the health aspects of raw and vegan food, but he also seriously questioned whether he’d be able to maintain his muscle mass and strength on this diet. And not just maintain it, but actually he wanted to get bigger and stronger, despite being 38 at the time. It had always been hard for him to put on muscle. Prior to meeting me, through trial and error, he had figured out that, for his ectomorphic body type, he needed a lot of protein to add mass which he derived almost exclusively from whey protein shakes. So, I promised him we’d make it happen, one way or another with plenty or raw and vegan foods. If he needed protein, I’d give him protein. Only now he would be consuming clean, efficient, non-cancer-promoting protein. None of that nasty, acidic animal based protein that burns dirty and can make you tired… not to mention, ehem… unhealthy! Suffice it to say, he was excited… but with so few role models, understandably skeptical.
The verdict? Plants work!! His strength has increased, and he can maintain (or gain mass) based on his diet and workout routine. In fact, after an involuntary hiatus brought on by a shoulder injury, he is now bench-pressing his lifetime personal best, using only plants as food!
So, how does he do it specifically? It’s a pretty simple formula that works for him. Dedication. Working out. Extra protein (much of which is from protein shakes). He strength trains about 5 days a week. And… he’s in awesome shape.
When researching vegan proteins, I came across some excellent information in Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive. In it, he describes how to get an optimal ratio of essential amino acids from plant sources. Specifically, a mixture of hemp protein, brown rice protein, and pea protein. Through the Vega product line, Brendan sells a protein powder blend that consisted of those proteins. (Update 8/17/11: I don’t care for the taste of the Whole Food Health Optimizer line from Vega, but we do like the Sport Performance and Shake & Go lines.) I decided to make my own blends and researched ways to make my own custom mixture of proteins using Brendan’s ideas to get me started.
Enter: Raw Vegan “Protein Grenades.” What are Raw Vegan Protein Grenades? They are mini glass mason filled jars filled with one pre-mixed shake’s worth of Raw Vegan protein powders. Just dump into a shaker cup, add water, and shake! Each Grenade is pre-mixed to contain an optimal amino acid profile — all from plant-based proteins. The recipe varies slightly from week to week, because I like to change it up for fun. Some of the different elements are included in the photo below (but I’m always trying new products so that photo doesn’t show it all), but you can get an idea of some of the goodies involved. Because there are some days when my husband drinks anywhere from 2 to 5 of these shakes (depending on what we’re doing, eating, or his workout routine and goals), I vary the ingredients accordingly. For example, if he is loading up and drinks 4-5 shakes in a day, then the amount of green powder and fruit powder will be about 1 teaspoon per Grenade. But if he only drinks 1-2 per day, then I increase the green powder and fruit powder in each one, so he ends up getting roughly the same amount of super mega phytonutrients. (I always make sure he gets a hellalotta nutrients in addition to protein.)
Different Amounts For Different Goals: During periods when my husband is doing intense training and really getting lean, it can be common for him to drink up to 4-5 Raw Vegan Protein Grenades daily plus he’ll eat one meal, usually a huge organic salad loaded with veggies alongside a cooked vegan protein (beans, lentils, soy, or Gardein), or sometimes it’s an all-raw vegan dinner like lasagna, tacos, or zucchini pasta marinara. When gaining strength or mass isn’t his goal… meaning that he is in a maintenance phase without the intense training schedule, then he usually drinks 1-2 Protein Grenades a day, and eats about 2 meals which are moderate to high raw, plus snacks as he desires (some examples of snacks he likes: fresh green juice, green smoothies, sprouted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, sprouts, raisins, hemp seeds, prunes, fruit, etc). And, of course, there are some days where he skips the Grenades altogether, and his diet is filled with delicious raw and vegan whole foods. It varies based on his goals at the time, but the bottom line is that because of this super easy Grenade innovation, he can be very flexible yet consistently get plenty of protein.
The Assembly Line: To make life easy on myself, I make up a bunch of Raw Vegan Protein Grenades every few days. I do it in an assembly line fashion. It’s actually fun. If my husband has meetings outside of the home for the day, then he takes a bag of Grenades along with a shaker bottle and water, and he’s all set. Each Protein Grenade has roughly 40-45 grams of pure, raw, vegan, potent protein. If it’s true that raw vegan protein is assimilated better than cooked protein, then you can imagine how powerful these Grenades really are.
Here is a list of items that might be included (not all at once, although many make an appearance):
I get tons of requests to post my daily food intake. Here you go! :) Today was a very High Raw day for my husband and me, and it was awesome! Everything is organic – always.
~ Water with fresh squeezed lemon
I love starting my day with a big glass of fresh, purified water. I usually wake up feeling thirsty and this is the first thing I want. To make it extra nutritious, I added the juice of half of a lemon. Nice and alkalizing.
My breakfast was 2 cups of delicious strawberries that were locally grown (from the CSA). I added a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy drizzle of raw agave nectar on it to get them extra juicy. They were so good! Strawberries rock. They have fiber and they’re loaded with nutrients (phytonutrients, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and more).
~ Power Ick!
This is pretty disgusting and I can’t help but make some crazy faces when I’m drinking it. Ick! I plug-n-chug it and then chase it with water. It consists of 1 1/2 cups water, 1 heaping tablespoon wheat grass powder, 1 tablespoon Berry Greens, 1 tablespoon Fruits of the Earth, 1 tablespoon Vitamineral Green. When I finished drinking it, I looked over my shoulder, thinking for sure I had a cape on. Damn… no cape. I thought I might have taken on some super powers after drinking this.
~ Krautwich and Bell Peppers
I’m loving raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut lately. It’s so dang good for you!!! (Check out my post about sauerkraut here.) I made a little Krautwich for part of my lunch. It consisted of 2 slices of kamut bread (not raw) with sauerkraut in the middle. That’s it. Delish! The rest of my plate was filled with the slices of one red bell pepper and one yellow bell pepper. BTW, I never eat green bell peppers because they’re not ripe, which can cause digestive trouble.
~ Hypnotic Orange Juice
This was heaven in a cup. I went to my friend’s house and picked oranges from her tree today. I took them home and squeezed them . They were still warm from the sun and it was so amazing. My goodness… when someone gives you a hard time about loving the raw lifestyle, give them a glass of this heaven and they’ll understand why you’ve chosen this path. It’s hypnotic.
~ Savory Garden Veggie Pasta (recipe at end of post)
This dinner was so good! With every bite I felt like the cells in my body were getting stronger and stronger. By the end of the meal they were dancing for joy and struttin’ their stuff. Even though I’m giving you the recipe below, it was basically a bowl of zucchini noodles topped with veggies (broccoli, carrots, yellow and red bell peppers) that were marinated in a wonderful, savory sauce that my husband loved so much he was licking the bowl. We both are not crazy about the taste of raw broccoli, but when we have it like this – we LOVE it! We each had a bowl of this. (Leftovers will be my lunch tomorrow.)
~ Dessert Time
I was craving something sweet to follow my meal. I quickly downed a nice plump medjool date (I get them here – 11 pound box, baby!). Then, I was inspired to make my recipe for Holiday Chia Pudding (it’s so easy, recipe here). After I soaked the cashews and made it, my husband and I each had about 1/2 cup. Yummers in our tummers!!!
~ Late evening snack
We found ourselves a little hungry later on and we didn’t want anything sweet. We opted for another Krautwich. Mmmmmmm…
~ Pure Rush Chocolate
Savory Garden Veggie Pasta
Yield 3-4 servings
1/2 cup olive or hemp oil
2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
2 pinches black pepper
2 cups carrots, diced
1 head broccoli florets, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
Whisk the marinade ingredients together and set aside. Place the veggie mix in a large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Stir to mix and coat the veggies with the marinade. Set aside for 30-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. (Alternately, you can make this a day ahead of time and put the marinated veggies in the refrigerator overnight.)
Put your spiralized noodles in serving bowls and top with the marinated veggies. Voila! Yummy, easy, extraordinarily nutritious, and delicious!
*For extra mojo, sprinkle on some hemp seeds and raisins!
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
Congratulations Vicki’s Vegan Vice!!! You win!!! Your name was chosen as the winner of my 9th Awesome Giveaway. Your prize is a 16oz bottle of Vitamineral Green – YAY!!!!!! Simply email me the address you want your prize sent to.
Here is what Vicki’s Vegan Vice had to say when asked, “Who do you think is the most impressive person alive today AND why?“
The most impressive person alive today is Barack Obama. He has overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles while inspiring the world to change.
My next Awesome Giveaway is in April (unless I do another one sooner!!!), so check back for details!
Saturday, March 14th, 2009
It’s that time again – my 9th Awesome Giveaway (check out the 8th Awesome Giveaway). This month, I’m giving away a 16oz bottle of Vitamineral Green. Most of you already know that I’m a huge fan of this green goodness. I love it’s powerful alkalizing properties that keep my cells dancing on and on. This stuff rocks the house. If you’re not experiencing this awesomeness yet, now is your chance to win a bottle of it!
The flavor of Vitamineral Green packs quite the green punch. So, sometimes I mix some up in a cup of water or fresh orange juice, and just chug it down, shot style. And, sometimes I mix it into smoothies or my green juice (the sweeter mixtures cover it up so I don’t even know it’s there). Either way, I don’t care, so long as I get in my body because I know it’s working hard to help me attain optimal health. Most people start small when first introducing this into their diets… for example: a teaspoon a day, and gradually increase to 1 tablespoon a day (or more).
Want the chance to win? It’s simple to participate! All you have to do is answer the following question in this post’s comment section. The contest will end Tuesday night, March 17th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Wednesday, March 18th.
Question: Who do you think is the most impressive person alive today AND why?
Monday, November 17th, 2008
10 Healthiest Supermarkets in the U.S.
Living in Arizona, we have 5 of them near us – gotta love that – with Whole Foods being my favorite, of course. We also have some excellent farmer’s markets (with many of them year round) so I can score some locally grown goods. You may be surprised to learn that Safeway’s “O Organics” brand is the largest organic brand in the country. That’s an excellent sign of things to come.
Vitamineral Green Loading (experiment)
Back in my bodybuilding days, we used to do a thing called “loading” with certain supplements (it was usually in reference to loading up with creatine – an OTC supplement popular amongst athletes). When we loaded up on a supplement, it usually involved a set period of days, say 7 days, in which you consumed a lot of the supplement in that period of time. Some people would gradually increase the amount each day of loading and some people did the same amount each day. Then, the process usually involved taking a few days off from the supplement and then getting back on a loading phase.
Well, the holiday season is around the corner which means that many people (family, friends, co-workers, etc) will likely fall prey to the flu and disease begins to run rampant. This is something that my husband and I want no part of. So, we’re eager to consume more greens (lots more) and fight back with super power alkaline immune systems. My plan of attack for us to easily do this is with “Vitamineral Green Loading.” We’re going to double our daily doses, and in some cases triple – starting this week and going through the holidays. Every Sunday we’ll take a break from it. This will be a fun experiment. I’ll keep you posted as to our progress and how we’re feeling as a result.
After reading many times about how great this meal replacement powder is, I decided to give it a go. It’s 100% Vegan, Mostly Organic, and High Raw. I recommend reading through the entire website about it (Check out the FAQ, too). But if you choose to buy it, get it from Amazon since it’s less expensive. Here is the list of ingredients.
I was attracted to it for a number of reasons:
1. Loaded with nutrients – Even though I get plenty of vitamin and minerals throughout my week by trying to rotate foods and such, I’m still interested in making sure I have as many bases covered as possible. Additionally, The Ultimate Meal has a number of things that I would like more of in my diet.
2. The reviews are great – Like I wrote earlier, I’ve read a number of reviews about this product over the years, I just hadn’t tried it until now. People are very happy with the product, including the famous Vegan Ultimate Fighting Champion, Mac Danzig. Check out the blog article on him here (this is one of my favorite blogs to follow). Once you’re done reading that, you can check out an “in-depth look” here about his diet specifics (for the in-depth look, scroll down to #6). If you want me to cut to the chase, here is this super-mega star’s review of it:
I swear by this stuff, it’s a whole meal and has made up a huge part of my diet for 3 years now. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but I truly notice myself feeling better when I use it daily. Remember to follow the directions and add the apple and banana. (This is not your normal “add powder to water” supplement.)
3. Great for weight loss – The Ultimate Meal is great for helping people lose weight because it’s reputed for helping people stay “full” up to 6-hours after drinking it. Many people enjoy this for breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner, or some have it for all of their meals some days. But, it’s not all about just weight loss because...
4. Excellent pre-natal nutrition – Since I’m not trying to lose weight and will be looking for ways to add more nutrient dense calories to my diet once I’m pregnant, this will be a great choice. I won’t use it to replace meals, rather, I’ll enjoy this as mid-morning/afternoon snack(s). As you can see, it’s up to you how you use this. It can be helpful with losing weight, maintaining weight, or gaining healthy weight.
5. Great pre/post workout shake – This is where my boyfriend comes in. He loves having a shake before or after a heavy duty workout in the gym, so this is perfect for that. It’s filled with carbs from the fruit, protein, and nutrients, to fuel his big muscles. So, all you ladies out there with men who want a shake with some more “oompf!” here it is!
6. Convenient and travel worthy – It’s fast and easy to make. I love that I can take this when traveling, too. It’s important to make sure I’m still packing my body with nutrients when I’m not at home. Yes, you need a blender for this, but that’s not a problem since I travel with this great travel blender.
So, how does it taste? It’s good. I’m not jumping up and down, licking my lips and wanting to lick the glass to get every last drop of it, but I’m also not grimacing and making icky faces either. It’s very likable. I’ve read in the reviews that you need to make it according to the instructions which includes a banana and half-apple or peach or some other fruit for the best flavor. And, if you’re avoiding fruit for some reason, then you can make it with a raw nut/seed milk (hemp would be great) and add a sweetener such as stevia.
So far, I’ve had it as recommended on the container. I’ve also made it and added maca, carob and hemp powder. Another time I added milk thistle seeds and a teaspoon of Vitamineral Green Powder. Overall, we really like it and will continue to use this. If you get some, let me know what you think :)
Ten-hut (the full version: a-ten-hut) is the abbreviated military term for “Come to attention!” And, that’s exactly what this smoothie does…gets my attention! It’s sweetly delicious, reminds me of the army green color, and attention getting with great nutrition. Can you imagine if we fed our military with green smoothies? (They deserve the best after-all!)
I had it for lunch today (I love drinking smoothies and juices for breakfast and lunch because they’re easy to make, loaded with superior nutrition, fill me with unstoppable energy, and taste so dang great).
Sweet Army Green Smoothie
Yield 1 quart
1 1/2 cups water
3 frozen bananas
2 medium leaves lacinato kale
big handful cilantro
1 tablespoon Vitamineral Green Powder (y’all know this is my fave!)
Blend it up and feel your body ten-hut!
PS…Oprah update. She’s still rockin’ it out vegan style – boohyah!
I was born and raised in Michigan and the humid summertime in Michigan (as a kid) just wasn’t the same if you didn’t indulge in a slurpee from a 7-Eleven convenience store. Well, today I was taking a stroll down memory lane as I slurped on a delicious concoction that transported me back to childhood days. Granted, it certainly didn’t look or taste exactly like the all-too-sugary-sweet experience of the past. But! The texture was the same and with my transformed vegan crudivore taste buds and desires, I loved the “green, raw, organic” version so much more. It was so great that I’m headed back to the kitchen to make another one when I finish this post. I can tell this is going to be a staple all summer long here in the dry Arizona desert heat. I can’t wait to make a bunch of other combinations…just frozen fruit and green powder…that’s the trick to making it just like a slurpee’s texture!
Yield 3 cups
1 cup water
1 cup frozen organic mango
1 cup frozen organic peaches
1 heaping spoonful Vitamineral Green Powder (this stuff kicks butt and takes names!)
Give it all a whirl in your blender and enjoy fresh, pure energy when your body’s cells jump for joy as they swim in nutrition.
Daily Conversation Question:
What one question would you ask a psychic about the future?