An Unhealthy Vegetarian Lifestyle?

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The vegan lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular these days. A common reason people consider converting to a vegetarian or vegan diet is to lose weight, improve health, avoid contaminants in meat, and compassion for animals. However, it’s imperative to research the proper way to plan meatless meals to avoid serious nutritional deficiencies.

If you are considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you may want to start by reducing your meat intake and incorporating more meatless dishes into your weekly meal plans. Further research and experimentation can help you determine if a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is right for you.

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There can be some confusion regarding the terms vegan and vegetarian. Vegetarians eliminate meat but some include dairy products and eggs in their diets.

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Vegans, on the other hand, eliminate all animal products, dairy, eggs, and often avoid any products made from animals.

Global Healing Center explains the

Differences Between Vegan and Vegetarian

A vegetarian excludes meat, poultry, and seafood from their diet. Some vegetarians also exclude dairy, some don’t, and some may consume eggs. Likewise, vegans avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, but they also take it a step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. This includes any type of animal milk and eggs. Vegans avoid foods produced using animals or animal products in any way, including honey. Many vegans also avoid household products, clothing, or other items made from animal products or tested on animals.

Additionally, the terms vegan and vegetarian can be difficult for many to differentiate as some people think the words have the same meaning.

To add to the confusion, some vegetarians are called “lacto and or ovo” and include dairy/eggs in their diet.

So as you can see, the term “vegetarian” can mean different things to different people:

  • A true vegetarian eats no meat at all, including poultry and fish.

  • A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats dairy products and eggs, but excludes meat, fish, and poultry.

  • A lacto vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs.

  • An ovo vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.

Therefore, when considering converting to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle it’s imperative to do your research. Make sure you are clear on the differences between the diets and that you have a good understanding of what’s involved in the switch.  Making the change to a more restricted diet can be challenging to follow. Many restaurants don’t offer vegan options, so understand your choices for grabbing food on the go will be limited.  Also, making meals will require more preparation and pre-planning.

It’s important to make sure meals are well-balanced and include sources of vitamin b12, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, and vitamin d.

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Per Dr. Josh Axe a wellness physician certified in clinical nutrition, popular radio show host, and sought-after national speaker points out some important issues when considering a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Switching to a vegan diet is considered a healthy move by many, but it may not be all it’s cracked up to be in some bases. Below are some of the downsides to eating a completely vegan diet long term (more than several months): (6)

  1. Protein deficiency (lack of amino acids). Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and are important for cellular health and proper metabolism. Too little protein can call muscle wasting, cognitive changes, mood swings and weakness.

  2. Low levels of vitamin B12. You can only get vitamin B12 in substantial amounts by consuming meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, so vegans usually need to take supplements.

  3. Lower intake of other nutrients like zinc, sometimes calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

  4. Higher intake of antinutrients like phytic acid. There are grains, beans and legumes, such as raw soybeans, lentils and mung beans, that may contain trypsin inhibitors. These inhibitors can block key digestive enzymes. Also, grains can contain phytic acid that can keep you from digesting calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. However, soaking and sprouting your grains and legumes can greatly reduce phytic acid.

  5. Potential inability to put on muscle. This may be due to the lack of certain vitamins that we normally get from meat and fish.

  6. Overconsumption of carbohydrates. One of the most common trends I’ve found from working with hundreds of vegans and vegetarians is that they tend to overconsume carbohydrates and hidden sugar foods. Eating too many carbs can cause candida and yeast overgrowth along with weight grain. There are some vegans who have created a better balance, but this is far from the majority.

  7. Fatigue and feeling exhausted. Again, this is usually due to the lack of certain vitamins and minerals that we normally get from meat and fish, such as iron and B vitamins.

SOME ALARMING CONCERNS FOR KIDS:

The issue of children consuming vegetarian/ vegan diets is controversial. Some experts report it’s not safe for children while others state it can be perfectly healthy if followed properly.

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Per EurekAlert! an online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society : reports that when:

parents pursue a vegan diet for their child, they must seek and strictly follow medical and dietary advice to make sure their infant receives adequate nutrition. Both mother and infant should follow advice regarding supplementation” advises Professor Mary Fewtrell, chairman of ESPGHAN’s nutrition committee comments:

The biggest risk to vegan children is that of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Foods derived from animals have been shown to be the only reliable source of vitamin B12 and a deficiency of the vitamin can have devastating effects. Vitamin B12 is essential to the creation of DNA, indispensable for the maintenance of the nervous system, and a lack of it can result in hematological and neurological disorders, causing damage in young children which can be irreversible.

Therefore problems can arise when parents are unaware of the associated risks of switching to a more restricted diet….

Per CBS news:

Stories of vegan parents being arrested for malnourished children pop up every few years in the U.S., and the cases in Italy have made international news.

In Arizona, Kimu Parker was arrested in April 2005 for nearly starving her three children with a diet she and the children’s father called vegan. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison; the father, Blair Parker, got 15 years.

In Florida in 2005, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn got probation for neglect in the death of their 6-month-old son, who was fed only wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk.

In Georgia, Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas were sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 death of their 6-week-old son, who starved to death after they fed him a too-limited diet of soy milk and apple juice.

Therefore, do your research! Know that if you make the decision to change to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you must make sure you and your family get the proper nutrients. It can be challenging with a busy schedule and eating out can be difficult with many restaurants offering limited or no meatless options. It can be easy to fall into the trap of relying on unhealthy choices such as junk food, pizza, fries, and desserts due to the lack of available choices. Meals should be well balanced with complete proteins and you may need to consider supplementation.

Be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician, family physician and or certified nutritionist to ensure you and your family are getting the proper nutrients in your diet.

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Converting to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can be a great way to help the environment, combat obesity, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol. However, make sure to consult with a nutritionist and your physician on proper guidelines.

Follow these tips to make sure your diet is healthy and provides the proper nutrients:

  1. Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with all your meals. Make smoothies and juices to make it more appealing for kids and picky eaters.
  2. If needed consider supplementation with a multivitamin that contains b12, iron, zinc, and vitamin d. Discuss this with a nutritionist or your family physician.
  3. Make sure you get enough protein in your diet- beans, nut butter, protein supplements, etc.
  4. Have regular family check-ups with complete blood workups to make sure you and your family are getting adequate nutrients on a daily basis.
  5. Plan your meals and snacks each week to make it easier to avoid eating processed foods loaded with sugar and unhealthy ingredients.

Your Daily Choices Can Heal Or Kill

“Regaining health is more difficult an objective then becoming ill. Becoming ill is a random act of ignorance and regaining health is an intentional effort in frustration.” 
― Richard Diaz

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Although hereditary factors can play a part in some diseases, you have more control over your health than you think. Your body is an amazing machine designed to heal if it senses a threat, but poor daily food choices and inactivity can lead to permanent damage. There comes a point where your body gives in and stops fighting.

Once this occurs there is often damage that can’t be reversed. Diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limbs, and even coma. Heart disease and hypertension can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Your choices could leave you dependent on others for your care.

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But the good news is you can change your future. You have a choice every day to make better decisions regarding your health.

Don’t wake up one day and regret the opportunities you had to create a healthy lifestyle, and live a better quality of life.

FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO CREATE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE :

  • Monitor your weight- Although it’s important not to obsess over the scales and weighing yourself daily, you do need to check your weight periodically. Gaining just a few pounds each year can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Make a point to weigh yourself once a week and log your results. If you notice a slight gain of a couple of pounds, then simply increase your activity and cut back on portion sizes. Tracking your weight on a regular basis will help you avoid extra pounds that can creep up over the years.
  • Remain active– Staying active is a key factor in improving health and maintaining an optimum weight as you age. Today more than ever, people tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. Many people have desk jobs and find it difficult to incorporate exercise into their schedule. However, it’s important to remain active so you can enjoy a good quality of life as you age. Brisk walking is a great cardiovascular exercise and you may want to consider walking or biking to work. Perhaps you can fit exercise in by taking a walk on your lunch break or joining a gym close to work. Many gyms are now 24 hours making it easier than ever to fit workouts into your schedule. It’s important to find an activity you enjoy and schedule your workouts on your calendar.
  • Avoid processed foods- Processed foods are typically high in calories and contain chemicals and toxins that can lead to weight gain. If you frequently eat out, try to select grilled lean meat without sauces. Select a salad, baked potato, or steamed vegetables as a side dish. Try to cook and eat most of your meals at home. Purchase organic fruits and vegetables when possible and experiment with healthy new recipes you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Do resistance training- Weight training is vital as you get older. Studies show that muscle mass declines with age. Muscle mass peaks around the mid-twenties; starts to decline in our thirties, and picks up speed as we age. Weight training helps you maintain a healthy metabolism and helps combat the loss of muscle tone as you get older. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week can play a major role in maintaining your strength and muscle tone. Therefore, if you are already strength training, you are on the right track! If not, it’s never too late to pick up a set of weights and get started.

Take control of your health starting today! Make the decision to heal rather than kill. It’s all about our daily choices.

Six Week Challenge To Improve Your Fitness

Get a jump start on your fitness goals by incorporating this challenge into your day. It’s only fifteen minutes six days a week to boost your metabolism and improve your fitness level.

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Drink 20 ounces of water daily with your 2 snacks and with breakfast, lunch, and evening meals

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Circuit 1 (Perform 1 minute of each exercise) Repeat circuit 2x . Finish with the 5 minute yoga sequence

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday– Circuit 2 (10 minute high intensity interval workout followed by five minutes of ab work

Circuit 1:

Diver Push ups

Mountain Climbers

Tricep Push-ups

Plank Jacks

Jump Squats

Yoga (5 minutes)

Circuit 2:

Tues, Thursday, and Saturday –

High Intensity Interval Training- 10 minute workout

Five Minute Ab Workout

Amazing Total Body Workout

 

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Try my Amazing Total Body Workout circuit that hits cardio, strength and flexibility.  Complete each exercise back to back with quick rest and water break at the end of the circuit.  Repeat circuit 3 to 4 times.  Finish with yoga stretch routine.

Warmup-  Bodyweight – 5-7 minutes

 

THE WORKOUT:

  1. Indoor Cycle – 3 mins of fast paced interval work  (WORKS HEART/ LEGS/GLUTES)

 

2.  Incline Barbell Chest Press- 12 Reps  (UPPER BODY CHEST)

3.  Barbell Bicep Curl- 12 Reps (Upper BODY BICEPS)

 

4.  Pull- Up – 5 Reps (UPPER BODY BACK)

 

5.  Battleropes 45 Secs (FULL BODY/ CORE)

 

6.  DB Rear Delt Fly- 12 Reps (UPPER BODY SHOULDERS/back)

 

7.  DB Side Raise- 12 Reps (UPPER BODY SHOULDERS)

 

8.  Weight Plate Tricep Extension 12 Reps (UPPER BODY TRICEPS)

 

Bicycle Abs 45 secs – (CORE ABS)

 

 Water Break-   Complete this circuit 3-4 times

Final stretch – 6 Min Post Workout Yoga

Killer Body Weight Weekend Workout

Try my new weekend workout. Perform each exercise with little rest in between exercises.  Aim for 12 repetitions each exercise and complete entire circuit 2-3 times finishing with final stretch.  Don’t forget to warm-up with 7 to 10 minutes of light activity and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.  Enjoy!!

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T- pushup- Push- up side plank (12 reps)

 

Burpee Jump Lunge  (12 reps)

 

Jabs with 360 Jump Squat (12 reps)

 

Burpee with Tricep Push-up (12 reps)

 

Glute Bridge to sit-up (12 reps)

 

 

Downdog Mountain climber (12 reps)

 

Your Strength And Beauty Awaits

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“It is a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable.” ~Socrates

I love this quote!  It’s so true. Women often see themselves as weak, never realizing they have the power to transform their mind, bodies, and souls. Weight training is vital for women to create strong bones and build lean muscle. Being strong is empowering!!

I love the feeling I get from strength training. Some of my favorite exercises include push-ups, the barbell clean and press and pull ups.  I hated pull ups when I first attempted them. They were, and still are the hardest exercise I’ve ever done. But I was determined to build the strength and my goal was to do them unassisted. I started with assisted and gradually progressed over time. I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment conquering my very first one.  When I do those exercises; I feel invincible. Proof that if you set goals and consistently put in the work, you will see the progress.

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I’ve transformed myself over the years and it has boosted my self-confidence and given me the insight to find my true passion;  a career in fitness. I’m in better shape today at the age of 55 than I was in my thirties. I entered my first figure competition  (pictured above) at the age of 53 and ran my first marathon at the age of 50. Proof that you have the power to see your what your body is capable of -the strength and beauty that you deserve. All you have to do is set goals and put in the work.

 

Running is Life; With The Volume Up

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I’ve been running on and off for 10 years, and still vividly remember my first running experience after reluctantly signing up for a 5k mud run. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was getting myself into. I hated every bit of the training, but kept telling myself, it had to get easier. I was concerned most about the grueling, steep hill that I would have to tackle at the end of the course. Many past participants said it  would, “make or break you.” Although, I trained for the race, I didn’t put my heart into it. I had been a group fitness instructor for years, my ego told me, that this would be a piece of cake.  Boy, was I wrong!

The first mile always seems to be the worst, even to this day. It’s when you always ask yourself why you are putting yourself through such torture. The mud run course involved running through knee high water at the beginning, which soaked my tee shirt, making it feel like a weighted 10 lb vest. The second mile was a blur but seemed to go on forever. Then I approached the dreaded hill and my only saving grace was the fact I was close to the finish. I knew immediately I hadn’t put my heart into my training and started beating myself up mentally as I struggled to get to the top. I felt like I was going to throw up and desperately wanted to stop. Finally, once I made it up, I still had another mile to go. I remember the chatter in my head during that run, telling myself how much I hated every moment of that race.

I finally saw a glimpse of the finish where you had to drop to your knees and crawl through muddy water over the finish line. I ripped my knees on rocks and pebbles on the bottom as I crawled through the disgusting muddy water. I truly felt like I was in a movie and my body was in slow motion. I thought this moment in time would never end.

I finally made it to the finish line and was flooded with mixed emotions. I was so proud of myself for completing the race and the feeling was euphoric. I found myself immediately deciding I couldn’t wait to run another race. I know it’s crazy, but there is something about putting your body through an experience like that and actually completing the challenge that makes you want more.

I’ve moved on to half marathons and eventually completed a full marathon (which was on my bucket list) two years ago. I still run 2 to 3 times a week and continue to love the challenge. You learn to develop a mental toughness that gets you through the tough parts of your run. It’s always worth it when you are done. I love the feeling of accomplishment it gives me, the feeling of being strong, invincible and ready to tackle the day. Running is definitely my life with the volume up!