Going vegan can be an excellent choice because it makes you more conscious about the things you're eating. Here are some of the biggest health benefits of choosing to eat a vegan diet:
- A healthy vegan diet is typically rich in whole grains and legumes. These foods have a low glycemic index and are high in fiber, meaning they are digested slowly and thus keep blood sugar steady. This can help reduce cholesterol and, in turn, improve one's heart health.
- Vegans do not eat red meat (or any meat, of course), which the World Cancer Research Fund announced in a 2007 report is good for colon health.
- Vegans often have – but not always – less processed foods in their diets. Several studies have affirmed the unhealthy attributes of processed foods.
- Adherents to a vegan diet avoid all animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy and gelatin-based products. Thus, they are likely to eat less saturated fats and are more likely to have a lower cholesterol, meaning a vegan diet can boost your heart health and potentially help with weight issues.
- Vegan diets are often very high in fiber – beans, lentils, whole grains and various vegetables all pack in plenty of fiber, which is good for the body's digestive system.
Aside from the various health benefits that vegans acquire from their diets, veganism also has several more benefits for individuals and society as a whole:
- You'll save money, as grains, beans, soy and similar foods are fairly inexpensive compared to animal proteins.
- You'll do your part to reduce pollution and environmental deterioration because factory farms take more energy and resources to produce animal meats and runoff can pollute local water sources.
- You'll be contributing to animal wellbeing.
While there are clearly several individual and societal benefits to eating a vegan diet, making this change can require a lot of work at first. It takes time to plan meals that meet all of our bodies' important nutritional requirements, and restricting your food sources means you'll have to get creative. Many vegans choose to supplement their diets with a nutritional shake to make sure they are getting adequate amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3s, nutrients that are available in a vegan diet but not always in large enough amounts to meet the bodies' needs.
When talking about what a vegan can eat (answer: a lot of things), it's probably better to first talk about what they can't – or choose not to – eat. Without getting into the various moral or health reasons that people choose to eat vegan, here's some basic information on what vegans do and do not eat to help you if you're debating whether to meatless or not:
What vegans avoid
Basically, vegans do not eat any animal products, including products derived from animals. Most obviously, this means that vegans avoid eating beef, chicken, pork, fish and everything in between, as well as dairy products and eggs. However, many other foods contain animal products, though we often don't realize it. Here are some other items that people who are vegan often attempt to avoid and why:
- Honey: Bees are living things and they make it.
- White sugar: PETA asserts that it is made with bone char.
- Marshmallows and gummy bears: These sweets are made with gelatin that is derived from animals.
- Breads and baked goods made with butter, eggs, white sugar or whey – a dairy product.
- Beer: Believe it or not, some beers are filtered using egg whites, seashells or gelatin from fish bladders.
- Salad dressing: Many dressings use lecithin, a product from animals, to keep vinegar and oil from separating in the dressing.
- Additionally, many vegans avoid other animal products, including leather, wool, cosmetics and certain types of soap.
Though vegan diets are often low in cholesterol and fat and high in nutrients, it's good to keep in mind that not all certified vegan products, like certain junk foods, are healthy for you. Here is an idea of what vegans often eat to get important nutrients:
- Protein: lentils, peas, chickpeas, soy milk, almond milk, nuts and nut butter, whole grains, tofu
- Calcium: dark green vegetables, soy milk and orange juice fortified with calcium, tofu made with calcium sulfate
- Iron: dark green leafy vegetables, black and kidney beans, bulghur wheat, lentils, beet greens, black-eyed peas
- Vitamin B12: nutritional yeast
- Zinc: legumes, nuts and grains
- Vitamin D: fortified rice milk and soy milk
Though vegans are able to find some good sources for important nutrients, it takes a lot of time and effort to plan a well-rounded meal. Many vegans make sure they get enough B12 and calcium – two important ingredients that are often lacking in their diet – by finding a supplementary method like the VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake, which is gluten, dairy and soy-free and provides 20 grams of non-GMO protein per serving.
If you find that your diet and exercise plan isn't having the effects you were hoping for, it could be because you're implementing a strategy that isn't best suited for your body type. There are three main types of bodies – ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph – and knowing which one you have can ensure that you develop a fitness regime that best suits your individual needs.
The ectomorph body is defined by its delicate bone structure and features such as skinny limbs, a flat chest and buttocks and narrow shoulders. According to Daily Fitness, ectomorphs have a high metabolism and lots of lean muscle, and because their bodies burn calories so quickly, they often find that it's difficult to gain weight.
If you have an ectomorph frame, you may find that you get full quickly or don't have a big appetite. High density foods with plenty of fat – including avocados, almonds and peanut butter – can help you put on pounds. If you get full quickly, you should try eating several small meals a day rather than three large ones. Ectomorphs can also try a calorie-packed snack like Naturade Weight Gain Mix. When training, ectomorphs should use heavier weights and do only 5-10 repetitions. Take longer rests in between sets, and do cardio exercise less frequently than weight training.
Endomorph bodies are essentially the opposite of the ectomorph. This body type is large, round and soft, with a low metabolism and muscles that are less defined. Endomorphs often fatigue easily, and may have a very high appetite. If you're an endomorph, you probably find that it's easy to gain weight and difficult to lose it.
It's important for endomorphs to drink plenty of water to stay full and hydrated, and in addition, they should eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Non-processed foods and whole grains are also important, though an endomorph diet should only include between 30 and 40 percent carbohydrates. When exercising, people with this body type should do as much cardio as possible. Endomorphs should use weights that are slightly lighter and do 15 or more reps during a set, taking a 30- or 45-second break in between sets. Compound lifts like squats are great for endomorphs, as they burn more calories and increase strength quickly
According to Muscle and Strength, mesomorph bodies are typically those that are "naturally athletic," with a large bone structure and defined muscles. Mesomorphs are strong and gain muscle quickly, and they generally have broad shoulders and a narrow waist.
A mesomorph diet can be high in calories as long as you are getting enough exercise, as this body type gains fat more quickly than ectomorphs. Carbohydrates should make up between 40 and 60 percent of food intake for mesomorphs, and you should consider breaking your food intake into five or six medium-sized meals over the course of the day. Mesomorphs should have a fitness routine that combines cardio and weight training, doing enough cardio to stay lean and doing eight to 12 reps during weight training. If you're a mesomorph, you'll likely see results from your fitness regime very quickly.
You may think that you have your fitness routine down to a science, but gym-goers of all experience levels and body types can probably do more to make the most out of every minute spent at the gym. If you're thinking about updating your workout, try one – or all – of these seven tips!
1. Start your routine with something you like
If you find that your workouts are getting a little stale, try beginning your fitness routine with the exercise you enjoy the most. This will help you get your heart rate pumping while also getting you psyched up for the workout ahead.
2. Eat before you go
While you don't want to wolf down a steak before hitting the treadmill, eating a small meal or light snack before the gym can help boost your metabolism and keep you from fading during your routine. Try an antioxidant-rich snack like blueberries, a yogurt packed with probiotics or a shake made with a total soy meal replacement.
3. Use your upper body during cardio
Using a treadmill or stationary bike to improve heart and lung endurance is a great way to stay fit, but chances are you're ignoring your upper body during these workouts. Using a full-body elliptical machine that works on arms as well as legs can help you burn more calories while improving your overall stamina.
4. Get a little competitive
Notice someone on the treadmill near you who's really giving it their all? Use their motivation to work a little harder! Friendly competition can give you the boost you need to spend a few extra minutes on the machine or convince you to push yourself to run just a little faster. However, be sure that you don't do anything that's outside of your limits.
5. Try eccentric exercises
It's tempting to focus solely on improving muscles like your abs, but many abdominal workouts shorten and "crunch" those muscles. Mixing in movements that lengthen your spine and strengthen back muscles can help you achieve all-over body fitness.
6. Take advantage of unilateral training
Most of the time, when you're using a leg press or extension machine you're using both of your legs at the same time. While there's nothing wrong with that, most of us tend to favor one leg over the other, even when using both at once. Try doing a full set with your weaker leg – for most people, this is their left – and then doing a full set with your stronger leg. You'll immediately notice that one side completes the exercise with greater ease. Doing this can also help improve balance!
7. Invest in a personal trainer
Maybe you haven't achieved the arm tone you wanted, or maybe your runs are still leaving you feeling exhausted after five minutes. If it seems like your workout isn't having the effects you were hoping for, you may want to consider hiring a personal trainer who can help you reach your fitness goals. Sound too expensive? Try splitting a session with a friend or looking into group fitness programs.
I’ve made lots of errors in my training and fitness in the past 2 years and along the way I’ve learned the keys to my personal fitness success. With that being said, the journey never ends and there is always something new to learn and improve. Although I am presenting the keys to you, keep in mind that your personal journey and success depends on your ability to listen to your body, adapt based on your own situation, and create realistic short term and long term goals.
Throughout your fitness journey you have to ingrain these words into your brain: Consistency – Frequency – Intensity
The human body is elegant and it can adapt and perform based on what habits and conditions its put under and/or through. To create change in your body you need to be consistent with training effort and diet, frequent with your training, and properly select intensity levels based on your health, your goals, races, and lifestyle. You must keep the body moving, period. Even if it’s only 20 mins per day you can make big changes if you do it all the time and really stay dedicated to the long term goal, a healthy life.
The answer to health and fitness is, and always has been simple… Keep moving, eat clean, drink water, sit as little as possible, get plenty of sleep, and try new things that involve moving. I love triathlon because it’s swimming, cycling, and running. I love all of these things, I always have something to improve on and learn, and it keeps me mentally and physically stimulated and regulated.
If you are looking for a sign, a moment of clarity, or something to help you get moving then take this article as the final push. We were born to move and our bodies can do so much more than we give them credit for. Begin your own health and fitness journey today and start a new path.
And remember, never, ever, ever give up and always be relentless!!!
I’m Dustin, and this is my son Boston… First, I’m a dad before anything else, after that I’m a 31 year old vegan expatriate Hoosier living right outside of New Orleans, LA.
On June 12th, 2011 I had a bit of a wake up call and began my road to the ironman 140.6 mile endurance event and after that I’ve got some big plans, so it won’t end there… This is my outlet to vent, rant, promote, and let everyone know what’s up.
Protein is the building block of all the tissue in the body and may help to promote the growth of muscle. The right amount of protein may help curb hunger and can help you reach your fitness goals and get to the body weight you desire. However, there are more ways to consume protein than just through lean meats. Here are a few other ways to up your protein intake and get you on your way to better overall health:
Incorporating a protein powder into your diet is one of the best ways to increase the amount of protein your body is getting each day. One way of doing this is by making yourself a protein meal replacement. Naturade Total Soy is a meal replacement powder, available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors, that boasts an amazing taste and contains dietary fiber and protein. According to the Food & Drug Administration, 25 grams of soy protein daily added to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. This powder is available in a tasty shake and provides an excellent source of protein.
Another easy way to amp up your protein intake is through Naturade Pea Protein Powder. This plant-based protein is derived from yellow peas and provides you with nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and help to support our bones, muscles and connective tissues.
One way to start your morning off with a boost of protein is by eating eggs. This is a food that is so versatile and so easy to fit into your diet. You could use eggs as a main dish, make egg-based casseroles, egg salad sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, etc. You could even make desserts made with eggs like custard, rice pudding, cream puffs and some cakes.
Nonfat cottage cheese
Nonfat cottage cheese not only has protein, it has bone-building calcium as well. This protein-packed food pairs great with fruit for added antioxidants and can be cooked into scrambled eggs, casseroles or pasta for a creamier texture.
Milk and soy milk
We all know that milk helps to build strong bones and its protein helps to rebuild muscles. Fit Day suggested drinking a glass of milk after exercise to replenish your muscles and help them to recover after a tough workout. You could also opt to pair your milk with dinner. If you find this hard to fit into your diet, try making soups and oatmeal with milk instead of water for a sneaky way to fit in some protein.
When it comes to getting in shape and improving your overall fitness, just finding the time and motivation to get yourself to the gym can be half the battle. Unfortunately, once you're at the gym there are several common mistakes that can derail even the most dedicated fitness fans during their workouts. Watch out for these 10 errors that can hinder your efforts.
1. Socializing too much
Having a buddy can be a great way to make sure you get to the gym regularly. However, working out with a friend can also be a distraction. It's fine to socialize, but try to make sure that your trips to the gym actually involve some focus on fitness!
2. Lifting weights that are too heavy
Don't head right for the heaviest dumbbells in the gym. Lifting weights that are too heavy for you can lead to muscle strains, so don't feel like you have to show off. In many cases, studies have shown that lighter weights – used effectively – can have just as much of an impact as heavy ones.
3. Lifting weights that are too light
On the other hand, lifting weights that aren't causing you to exert yourself at all won't help. Fitness experts suggest choosing a weight that you can lift 30 times during your first set, but can lift only 15 times during your second.
4. Not mixing up your routine
If you're getting on the treadmill regularly, that's great! But fitness experts recommend switching up your workout to promote full-body fitness, rather than focusing on just one area.
5. Exclusively using the machines
Sure, your gym may be full of fun equipment that you're eager to try. But many of these machines focus on one particular muscle group, meaning that your time could be better spent elsewhere. Lots of free weight exercises require that you use your whole body, so they can help you burn more calories and strengthen more muscles in less time.
6. Ignoring your core
According to experts, the body's core is where all human movement originates. Therefore, a strong core can help you get fit much faster. It's a great idea to use ab machines and do sit-ups, but it can also be beneficial to keep your core strengthened during other workouts, like the bench press and leg press.
7. Not understanding the equipment
If you're new to the gym and have questions about a certain machine, just ask! Using a piece of equipment incorrectly is ineffective and won't help you get in shape any faster, and you want to ensure that you get the most out of every minute of your workout.
8. Inconsistent workout schedule
This is a common and easily-avoided mistake. Instead of going to the gym four days in a row and then skipping your workouts for the next two weeks, try to hit the gym with relative consistency. This helps you get into a routine and can promote a speedy metabolism.
9. Setting unrealistic expectations
Improving your fitness is all about hard work and perseverance. While it's common to yearn for instant results, it's important to remember that healthy living is an ongoing process. Don't stop hitting the gym because you didn't drop 10 pounds in one week – continue working hard and you'll start to see results!
10. Not changing your diet
Even if you're going to the gym regularly and avoiding these common workout mistakes, exercise alone often isn't enough to help you lose weight. If you've been sticking to your routine like a pro, you can consider adding a weight loss supplement or trying a protein meal replacement to kick your metabolism into gear and help you get the body you want.
You may not think that you have time to get the bathing suit body you always wanted before summer's end, but there are actually lots of speedy exercises that you can do to gradually improve your beach bod! If you have 15 minutes to train before hitting the sand, you can get your body looking great in that bikini with these easy-to-do fitness tips.
1. Cross-Body Mountain Climber
Mountain climbers are a full-body workout that can strengthen legs while toning your tummy. Get your body into pushup position, and brace your abs. Keeping your core tightened, pick up your right foot and bring that knee toward your left shoulder. Return to your starting position, and make the same motion with your left leg. Complete 12 reps per leg, remembering to brace your core throughout the workout.
2. Alternating bug
The alternating bug is a great core workout that can also improve coordination. Start on your back with both arms and legs pointed at the ceiling and your feet flexed. Next, lower your left arm and right leg until they are parallel with the floor. Bring your arm and leg back to their previous position, and do the same thing with your other arm and leg. Continue alternating with slow, fluid motions for 30 seconds.
3. Curtsy lunge
To strengthen and tone your legs, try a curtsy lunge. Begin by standing with your feet together. Step into lunge position with your left leg, bringing the foot across your body and in front of your right foot while dropping your right knee. Use both feet to push yourself back into a standing position, and repeat the same motion with your right leg. Remember to keep your chin and chest up throughout the lunging motion – no slouching! Do 10 reps with each leg.
4. Superset plank
Planks are a great, low-impact exercise that will strengthen your core and arms. To start, get into a modified pushup position with your elbows beneath your shoulders and your forearms in front of you on the floor. Your body should be in a straight line, and your shoulder blades and back shouldn't be sticking up into the air. Brace your abs and maintain the position for 30 seconds.
5. Jump and tuck
This routine is slightly more challenging, but it can really help improve lower body strength. Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at the knees, pushing your hips back into a squat, and jump as far forward as you are able. Land with your feet hip-width apart, and immediately jump as high in the air as possible, bringing your knees up into your chest. Try to land softly, with your knees slightly bent. If you find that this is too tricky at first, don't worry! Regular squats are a fine substitute.
Never underestimate the effectiveness some good old-fashioned push-ups can have on your arm tone! First, do pushups for 20 seconds. At the top of your last push-up, hold the position for an additional 20 seconds. Repeat the routine four times, taking breaks as necessary in between sets.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye which many people are choosing to cut out of their diets. Whether you're choosing to eat gluten-free as a lifestyle choice or because you have a gluten intolerance, adhering to this type of diet can be tricky – especially if you're new to the game. Just because you can't have gluten doesn't mean that you don't have a slew of other foods available to you. Here are a few tips to stick to your gluten-free diet while still enjoying a delicious array of foods:
Turn to other whole grains
While gluten is included in many pastas and breads, there are still ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet. Opt for brown rice, corn and quinoa that contain fiber to keep you full.
Check the labels before you buy
It may be easy to simply buy items labeled "gluten-free." However, many products that claim to be "gluten-free" can change ingredients without notice. Eating Well explained that prepared foods that often include gluten are bouillon cubes, broths, cold cuts, rice mixes, condiments and soy sauce. Therefore, it's important to pay attention to the details before just completely trusting the label of a product. Gluten-free products also often have more sugar and calories packed into them. When cutting out gluten, its safest to stick to non-processed foods like vegetables, fruits and naturally gluten-free whole grains.
Replace your meal with a tasty shake
Naturade Total Soy, a meal replacement powder, can serve in place of a meal and leaves you satisfied. These tasty shakes, available in both chocolate and vanilla, are high in protein and low in calories, sodium and carbohydrates – perfect for a gluten-free diet! This meal replacement may even help to lower cholesterol!
Fill up on the right foods
Any food in its natural form won't have any hidden ingredients. Therefore, fruits and vegetables should form the basis of your be incorporated into meals, along with meat and fish, dairy, lentils and nuts, rice, corn and wine.
Delicious meals for a gluten-free diet
Eggs are a great way to start your day and can fill you up the right way. Try them scrambled, poached, fried or in an omelet with plenty of fresh veggies. Pair your eggs with easy to make chicken-apple sausage, which contains onions, savory spices and ground chicken.
There are plenty of options when it comes to eating lunch. Create some peanut butter and jelly roll-ups with gluten-free tortillas, quinoa pasta salad, fried rice or chili!
For dinner, Real Simple suggested curried rice with shrimp, tuna with black pepper, artichokes and lemon, cumin chicken topped with black beans or steak with your favorite veggies for a delicious gluten-free meal.
We always hear a whole lot about how to lose weight. In addition to fad diets that promise to help individuals shed pounds quickly, there are plenty of basic, common-sense ways lose weight. But those who want to gain weight, from athletes looking to bulk up to patients recovering from a weight-depleting surgery or procedure, are often left in the dark. That weight may be crucial to their health. Those who are underweight may be experiencing negative health effects, such as lack of energy, a weakened immune system and other health issues.
According to the Body Mass Index scale, which uses a person's height and weight to estimate their level of body fat, having a BMI of less than 18.5 qualifies as being underweight. Whatever your reason for looking to gain weight, there is a healthy way to do it. It's more than just packing on the calories from whatever fast food joint you decided to grab today. Learning how to gain weight the healthy way is a topic that many are unfamiliar with – but here's how to go about increasing the number you see on that scale:
Choose filling beverages
Seeking out high-calorie beverages like smoothies, shakes or liquid meal replacements is a great strategy for building muscle and gaining weight the healthy way. It's an easy way to increase your daily caloric intake. For your next snack or meal, reach for Naturade Weight Gain. With 21 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of protein per serving, you're going to amplify your caloric intake significantly. This protein powder can easily be added to tasty shakes and smoothies, giving you more energy and a more balanced weight gain program.
Consume the right foods
As a general rule, you should be consuming more calories than you expend. But rather than splurging on sweets and fast food, it's best to fill up on nutritionally sound foods to get the most out of the calories that you're consuming. In other words, you should be focused on quality over quantity. Choose nutrient-dense foods from all food groups. Here are a few foods that are going to help you to gain weight:
Fruit: Go for dried fruit like bananas, pineapple and raisins.
Vegetables: The veggies higher in calories, but still high in nutritional value include, peas, potatoes, winter squash and corn.
Whole grains: Look for whole grains in your pasta, bagels, bread and rice for a good source of carbohydrates that will give you the energy you need to take on the day.
Dairy: Anything from cheese, yogurt or ice cream provide you with extra calories that are going to add up over time.
Nuts and seeds: Some of the best nuts for gaining weight include sunflower seeds, flax seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts and peanuts.
Just like your meals, your snacks should also be calorie-dense. When you're on the go, carry snacks like nuts, cheese, dried fruit, yogurt with granola, avocados, whole grain crackers or pretzels.