We recently caught up with Joe Garcia, a marketing professional who spent 10 years at Equinox as a personal trainer. Though he doesn’t work at a gym anymore, Garcia still advises and trains friends when he hits the gym. His workout routine involves Crossfit training, power lifting and dead lifts, among other things. He’s very focused on matching his diet and exercise routine to his seasonal fitness goals. Garcia gave us the scoop on the best methods for doing this.
Garcia says that his diet changes depending on the season – for example, he eats less carbs in the summer when his goals include being lighter and leaner and moving faster. Garcia also advocates taking supplements and eating clean, which means “monitoring your diet completely, understanding what you’re putting into your body and what works for you … being smart about how you consume food, making sure that it fits your goals.”
But sometimes we hear people say, “I work out, so I can eat whatever I want.” So we asked Garcia what he thinks about frequently indulging in, for example, a giant cupcake.
“Look, I’m a sucker for cupcakes,” Garcia laughs. “But I’m very conscious of when, how and why I’m eating it.”
Garcia further advised individuals who are new to fitness who haven’t yet learned how to eat for their fitness goal – whether it’s losing weight, putting on muscle or looking a certain way – should do some research and check out tips for eating healthy, improving diet and even increasing metabolism. But he stresses that eating is only part of it:
“Eating should always be fun, it shouldn’t be stressful. Not everyone comes in with this idea of understanding how to eat. So going online is always a good way to find out information on how to eat,” he said.
So, can you eat whatever you want?
“You can eat whatever you want if you’re satisfied with that result. Everything that you do in the gym is based on results, so if you don’t really care about the results that you get between your diet and working out, then you can eat whatever you want,” Garcia tells us.
On eating out
Garcia says that you can definitely eat out, but it’s important to be smart about your choices:
“I always tell people if you’re going to eat out, just plan it out. Plan and know where you’re going to eat, and know what’s on the menu, and prepare yourself.”
He suggests drinking a protein shake or eating a small meal beforehand if healthy menu options are limited.
Pre- and post-workout eating
Garcia stressed the importance of pre-workout protein shakes or other sources of protein:
“You always want to have enough fuel for your body to perform during your exercise for that time period, you don’t want your body using up the muscles because you can definitely cannibalize muscle during that training,” he says.
Garcia advises to eat no sooner than 30 minutes before working out. On one hand, you don’t want to train on a full stomach; on the other, you need time for the protein to get into your bloodstream.
He also suggests drinking a post-workout shake in a window of 30 minutes after your fitness session for full muscle-building benefits, or later if you’re trying to lose weight.
Garcia says that one of the biggest misconceptions about food is that you can’t eat fat and be healthy. In fact, he says it’s better to pay attention to the amount of calories in what you’re eating, and to take in healthy fats from foods like nuts, avocados and fish. Like before, he stresses that it’s all about your fitness goals and being calculated in what you eat.
Triathlete Dustin Hinton’s tips on going vegan for individual, environmental and community-wide effects
We recently interviewed Dustin Hinton, a three-time IRONMAN triathlete, dedicated father and vegan. In part one of our two-part interview, which you can read here, Hinton shared his story.
Here, Hinton shares his tips for living a vegan lifestyle and discusses the positive impact that veganism can have not only at the individual level but also on environmental and community levels.
Tips for going vegan
Though Hinton is a man of big goals, his philosophy on going vegan and encouraging others to do the same for both personal health and a positive impact on the world is based on taking small steps:
Ease into it
Hinton says that some people go cold turkey and jump right into veganism, but this isn't the best path for everyone and can maybe lead to long-term failure:
"Anybody can do anything for six weeks. But can you do it for six years?" he asks.
Personally, Hinton says that living in New Orleans – "the worst possible place ever in the history of humanity to try to become vegan because you're surrounded by the best food on the planet" – was a challenge when he was becoming vegan, but he's never looked back.
Hinton says that anyone easing into veganism should make it fun and routine – rather than a chore – by hosting a vegan night, just like pizza or pasta night:
"Take one of those nights and say, 'Hey, tonight we're going to be vegan. We're going to experience that, we're going to live it, we're going to cook completely vegan … We're going to look at what goes into our food, pay attention to what goes in that pot. We're going to cut it up, be involved with what is going into our bodies,'" he says. "Have friends over, make it a social thing. Have them all cook, and sit down and enjoy that meal and just embrace it as one of the nights – just like pizza night, just like pho night – and make it a positive experience."
Be in the now
Along with easing into it, Hinton recommends living in the moment to stay on track:
"Don't think, 'I'm going to do this for the rest of my life,' but just 'I'm going to do this – right now, for now – once a week,'" he says.
For many people, Hinton says, this will eventually snowball to a greater commitment to veganism, or at least healthier eating.
Eat that cupcake if you need it
Though he is very disciplined in his eating – only enjoying the occasional "cheat" night and always avoiding sugar – Hinton says that if you're the type that needs that brownie, go for it.
"But just do it once a month, on a schedule," he says. "But then leave it alone, because you just have to be on 90 percent of the time. Ten percent of the time, you can fall off the cliff, but if you're 90 percent on, you're good to go, you will always stay on track."
Veganism: A movement
On sustainability and compassion
When asked earlier in our conversation about his motivation for becoming vegan, Hinton mentioned dual reasons:
"A lot of it started as health, but I've always been very conscious of animals – there's a lot of compassion and a lot of health involved in that choice," Hinton says.
He explains that for someone who cares about the humane treatment of animals, even easing into veganism can help because, though it may not seem like a lot, going vegan even one or two days each week, year-round, "may be enough for somebody to order one less cattle to be slaughtered."
Hinton's compassionate nature extends to his meat-eating friends, of course. He doesn't "bash them over the head with it," but instead explains to them his reasons for a vegan diet, and encourages them to try to eat smaller portions of meat.
On encouraging others
So, what if you want to use your veganism for good by encouraging others in your social circles to make the change? Hinton says to be gentle.
"You don't have to say 'Hey you should be more compassionate.' No, just make it positive … I like to make it positive, make it fun, make it an experience."
What does this mean to Hinton? It's about bringing his meat-loving friends to Mellow Mushroom, their favorite place to grab a pizza, where they order the Mega Veggie.
But it's also about respecting others' choices. Hinton's young son is not vegan – he cooks meat and other foods for him because he feels that veganism is a choice that he needs to make when he is older. Hinton also explains that it's important to him to provide his friends with information, to explain his own decisions to them, but to not judge them and let them make their own choices.
On community cohesion
Hinton encourages people trying veganism to seek out foods at their local farmers market, where they can make a direct economic impact on their community as well as connect with others. In fact, he paints a scenario of the variety of positive influences veganism via farmers market purchases can have on many levels:
"You can shake hands with the person that grew the food. You can ask them about it, you can make a connection. So, now it's not, 'Hey let's go to the store and buy our groceries … and go home and close the door and lock it and watch TV and bar ourselves in,'" he says.
Instead, you can form relationships with community members and create sustainability:
"Now you're meeting the local community, you're handing the local community cash, you're helping them sustain. You're creating sustainability … [and providing a chance] for families to do more. Maybe your purchase twice a week … is just that little bit to push their crops to expand into another field," Hinton says with increasing animation.
And for Hinton, this is what it's really all about.
"It's small little things that can make the change and we can't take those small little things for granted," he concludes.
We recently had a chance to interview Dustin Hinton, a dedicated father, vegan and three-time IRONMAN triathlete – make that five times, after he completes IRONMAN Louisville and IRONMAN Florida within 10 weeks of each other later this year. Hinton radiates positivity and he has a serious commitment to veganism and ultra-endurance athletics, but things weren't always so great.
Hinton's story starts in 2011 with personal tragedy – he lost a friend to cancer and went through a divorce. When he realized that he was eating a lot and very unhealthily to cope with the stress and heartbreak, Hinton set a huge, life-changing goal for himself: By year's end, he was going to complete the IRONMAN Louisville triathlon.
It was a challenging goal - he had never made a regular habit of running, couldn't swim well and didn't even own a bike.
"I couldn't run more than a couple miles without being completely demolished," Hinton admits.
But he was determined. He joined a local free running club, bought a bike, learned how to swim from YouTube videos, and made the choice to go vegan.
He spent the year training, focused on the magic number :140.6 – the number of miles an IRONMAN triathlete must complete in 17 hours during a race, which is comprised of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.
During his training, Hinton vowed to run every race he could – from 5ks to marathons, and everything in between.
"I was racing nonstop, year-round, almost every weekend," he says. "So by the time I got to IRONMAN Louisville, I was a pretty fit machine – but I was very tired," he says with a laugh.
But Hinton made it to and through the Louisville race with his entire family – including his son, Boston – watching him finish. The event was also where he debuted his new, fit self. When he started training, Hinton was 223 pounds, but by Louisville, he was down to 158.
Hinton credits his transformation to his training combined with a vegan diet. And since he's a man of big goals, he didn't stop with just one IRONMAN. In fact, he's working toward the granddaddy of them all: the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. As Hinton explains it, since he started training to be an elite athlete in his 30s rather than in high school or college like many other triathletes, the path there is a bit longer. Since he's not fast enough to win (his words, not ours), he'll have to complete nine more IRONMAN competitions for a total of 12 in order to gain a legacy entry into IRONMAN Kona, where only the best of the best make it.
"I may not be the fastest but I've got heart. I never give up. I could break my leg and I'd still finish," he proudly explains.
Being both vegan and an elite athlete
While people outside the world of elite endurance sports might not realize there are vegan athletes, for people like Hinton who are active on social media and very involved in the community, they see that veganism is becoming more common among this crowd. He cites two big names: Scott Jurek, who does endurance trail running, and Rich Roll, an ultra-endurance athlete – both of whom follow a plant-based diet.
Hinton says people unfairly call vegans "frou-frou" and weak, but that "just doesn't apply to veganism. Vegans are tough. Three IRONMANs later, I think I've proven that."
Though he says a vegan diet is safe and rewarding, it can be challenging for elite, endurance athletes who sometimes must consume a whopping 5,000 to 8,000 calories per day during training!
"When you're doing a vegan diet, that's a really tough thing to do while staying at a high level of performance," Hinton says. "When you're not vegan it's easy, you can just go eat a couple cheeseburgers and you're good. But a bag of carrots is like, 100 calories," he says with a laugh.
"You can only eat so much. So you have to get creative and you have to really sit down and become your own dietitian and nutritionist … and be a scientist of your body and try to figure out 'How do I get all this in there without getting sick and still get all the calories in me?' And it's tough."
What Hinton eats during training
During training, Hinton admits he spends a large portion of his day eating to get all of the calories he needs, though this was definitely a trial and error process.
He starts his day with a protein shake made with VeganSmart protein powder and other ingredients like oatmeal, fruit, coconut milk and peanut butter to get all the micro- and macro-nutrients his body needs.
Hinton consumes between four or five of these shakes daily, and his other staples are homemade peanut butter hummus (ask him for the recipe) and veggie and bean burritos.
"A lot of people think vegans are eating like birds all the time. You come eat with me, you'll be tired of eating. It's all comfort food," he says.
Considering adopting this healthy lifestyle yourself? Check out Hinton's tips for going vegan – and all that comes with it in part two of our interview.
‘Tis the season for giving, and also the season that reminds us we can be doing so much for others in need throughout the year.
For the holidays this year, Naturade donated 10,000 single serving packs of our Total Soy in vanilla and chocolate to a truly worthy organization: International Aid. This 501(c)3 organization provides health care, nutritional supplements and other vital products and services to people in 170 countries around the world in congress with 2,400 global partners.
International Aid reconditions medical equipment for use in various impoverished locales, has created the Lab-In-A-Suitcase® portable laboratory for various necessary medical tests and also provides disaster relief supports. The organization has most recently offered its support to disaster relief efforts in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
Naturade is proud to partner with International Aid in supporting their important humanitarian work around the globe. If you’re interested in helping out, you can give in various ways:
1. Mind your antioxidants
Known as the body’s “master” antioxidant, glutathione (GSH) combats free radicals and helps support immunity, the gastrointestinal and nervous systems, and more. Your body is most vulnerable to oxidative insult when you wake up—especially if you had a drink the night before, since the body uses glutathione stores to metabolize alcohol, says Lise Alschuler, ND, author of Five to Thrive (Active Interest Media, 2011). A low-nutrient breakfast of coffee and toast will send levels even lower, making this a great time to supplement with glutathione’s precursors, glutamine or N-acetylcysteine (NAC).
2. Moisturize and protect
Every morning, address the two most important skin care concerns—moisturizing and UV protection—by applying one dual-action natural cream.
Look for a product with nourishing oils, protective antioxidants, and minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to fight UVA and UVB rays. If you plan on spending more than 10 minutes in the sun, make sure you also use an SPF 30, or a moisturizer that includes an SPF 30.
3. Sleep tight
Sure, you feel better, but it’s no myth you’ll look better too when you get sufficient rest. Why? When you’re anxious or not getting enough sleep, cortisol, the “stress hormone,” increases and attacks collagen—the important protein that keeps your skin taut. But during sleep, your body produces human growth hormone (HGH), which rebuilds and rejuvenates skin cells. Aim for eight quality hours nightly. If that’s not feasible: Tack on an extra half-hour per week, squeeze in 20-minute naps when you can, and exercise regularly to improve circulation and release stress-fighting endorphins.
4. Focus on cooking technique
Minimize damage from advanced glycation end products (these distort skin’s collagen) by boiling, steaming, poaching, or stewing your foods. “We don’t say, ‘never enjoy a grilled food,’” says Alan Logan, ND, coauthor of Your Skin, Younger (Cumberland House, 2010). But something as simple as poaching an egg, rather than frying it, can make a significant difference in AGE levels. In fact, high water content in the Japanese diet may be one reason why Japanese people tend to have fewer visible aging signs than Caucasians, says Logan.
5. Take skin-supportive supplements
What you put into your body is just as important as what you put on it. In addition to loading up on water- and nutrient-dense foods, supplement with collagen, a protein found in our connective tissues that helps keep skin wrinkle-free, and hyaluronic acid (HA), the hydrating sponge-like substance that provides skin with elasticity and moisture, to support a youthful complexion. As we age, we experience the loss of both, making supplementation important. Learn more about collagen from sponsor BioCell.[hr]
Are you getting enough quality sleep?
One of the biggest contributors to early aging is poor-quality sleep, according to Andrea Purcell, ND, Portal to Healing Naturopathic Clinic, Costa Mesa, CA.
“Many people go to bed with lights on or surrounded by ambient light, which can interfere with sleep schedules and quality.”
Stress prematurely compromises hormone production and, over time, your cells aren’t able to repair themselves. We age because stress and lifestyle factors such as improper sleep and hygiene cause hormone depletion. But by triggering the release of growth hormones, sleep helps rebuild healthy cells and decreases the aging process.
Fight it: Sleeping at the right times helps our bodies repair the damage done during the day. And you don’t need to get a full 10 hours; you just need to maximize your hormonal release by sleeping at the right time. Your brain releases the hormone melatonin in response to darkness, usually between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. This triggers the release of a hormone called prolactin between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.; which activates the human growth hormone (HGH) throughout the night and helps repair and replenish the body.
Too much fat and salt?
If you eat a high-fat diet and too many high-sodium processed foods, you are more likely to experience accelerated and worsened cardiovascular aging, according to Douglas Seals, PhD, professor at University of Colorado at Boulder. Such dietary habits can also lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area. As you age, you typically gain body fat—it’s where that weight accumulates that determines if it will affect your heart and cardiovascular system. Fat accumulated around the abdomen is a different kind of fat that secretes molecules that are harmful to your heart.
Fight it: Eat various fresh green vegetables for their antioxidants, which can help protect your brain and heart from free radicals and the development of oxidative stress. Do aerobic exercise at least three to four days a week and eat a healthy diet low in fat and sodium and high in fresh, nutrient-rich foods.
What about alcohol?
As you age, your body doesn’t process alcohol as efficiently as it does when you are younger, according to Avid Oslin, MD, associate professor at University of Pennsylvania. Alcohol consumption leads to a pattern of impaired executive functioning and impaired memory and interacts with many medications, particularly in older adults. For some medications, alcohol will change how much of the medication is needed to control the underlying condition, such as insulin regulation, which can result in an increase in side effects from the medication. For other medications, alcohol can interfere with how the medication works and thus make the medication less effective (for example, antibiotics and antidepressants).
Fight it: Stick to moderate alcohol intake only; no more than one drink per night and try to make it red wine, which contains antioxidants. Remember: a 70-year-old who consumes the same amount of alcohol as a 40-year-old will have a higher blood alcohol level and will show more impairment. Also, your brain doesn’t tolerate as much alcohol as you age. Thus moderation is always the key.
Those individuals who live a vegan lifestyle may have difficulty getting an adequate amount of protein into their diet, or are simply getting bored with the protein sources they’re consuming now. But incorporating protein into your diet can be both easy and delicious with Naturade’s VeganSmart. It’s also perfect as a meal replacement shake for anyone. Whip up a shake in the morning or bring it to work for a healthy afternoon snack. Choose from a variety of flavors, including chai, chocolate and vanilla – pleasing a wide range of palates. However, this protein powder offers you much more than a creamy, delicious taste.
There are so many good things that can come from blending up your favorite flavor shake using VeganSmart:
One of its main purposes, of course, is to provide vegans with protein. This protein powder contains five different non-GMO plant-based proteins, providing all of the essential amino acids in precise proportions for constructing and repairing tissue and muscle. Whether you choose chai, chocolate or vanilla, your body will be getting about 20 grams of protein, which is half of the daily recommended value.
Along with protein, you’re also getting 22 vitamins and minerals as well as 6 grams of fiber, which helps to support normal and healthy cell function and keep you regular. It’s also rich with omega-3s to keep your brain, heart and circulatory system in tip-top shape.
Your stomach will thank you for this cool and satisfying shake because it contains a blend of enzymes which assist in digesting foods more completely for greater absorption of nutrients. With nutrients able to be better absorbed into your system, you’ll be on your way to better health. VeganSmart is also packed with 1 billion colony-forming units of good bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics. They support great digestive health and help to maintain healthy intestinal flora.
Normally, you can’t say that you got the nutritional value of various fruits and vegetables when drinking a frosty shake. But VeganSmart provides nine different fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids – all of which support your overall wellness.
This all-in-one, nutritional, low calorie shake can be enjoyed at any time of day, and is an easy and delicious way to look after your body. Simply grab a blender, pour in 9 to 11 ounces of cold water, non-dairy beverage or juice, and mix in two level scoops of your favorite VeganSmart flavor. Just blend and enjoy! Feel free to add your VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake into your smoothie recipe of choice as well – it’s a great way to add flavor and nutrients.
The #NaturadeSmoothie Contest is under way. So far the feedback has been great! We have had a bunch of mouth-watering recipes that have sent us back to our blender over and over again. To help you get into the mix here are a few of our favorites:
- Blend 1 banana
- 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon each honey and lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup ice
- 6 oz raspberries
- 9 oz strawberries
- 100gms acai frozen bar or 4oz blueberries
- 1-2 bananas
- 1 cup almond milk
- 4-6 frozen coffee cubes
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- splash of flavored coffee creamer (sugar free)
- 1-2 tsp. coco powder
- 1-2 scoops pea protein vanilla
- 1 scoop lite whip cream
Blend together in a blender until all mix and enjoy!
There are a wide variety of ways to shed pounds and feel healthier. However, some methods are no-brainers when it comes to improving your health and vitality. While working out regularly is important, maintaining a balanced diet is just as vital. Some think that skipping daily meals will help them lose their unwanted weight, but this actually slows down the metabolism. What does do the trick, however, are meal replacements. More specifically, smoothies! That’s right, this delicious and refreshing drink actually has a number of health benefits.
Meal replacements can not only help you slim down in no time, they can also help reduce your cholesterol levels! And don’t worry, just because they’re healthy doesn’t mean they don’t taste good. They’re filling and delicious! Starting off your day with one of these can work to boost your metabolism without packing on unwanted calories of typical meals like fast food and frozen options filled with preservatives. Here are a few smoothie ideas you can use to replace one meal a day and get on your to that goal weight:
Ready for the best news you’ll hear today? You can actually have chocolate in your diet and still lose weight. By replacing one of your daily meals with a chocolate-soy smoothie, you get that chocolate taste without all of the added sugar. The soy protein works to lower your cholesterol as well. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, soy protein works to lower total cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol significantly more than milk. So go ahead and skip that sugary donut and reach for a chocolate smoothie instead. Your body will thank you!
If you’re more of a fruit fan, opt for a delicious strawberry taste that will please your taste buds and the scale. By replacing meals with this low-calorie smoothie, you may lose weight, decrease your cholesterol and improve overall heart health. To enhance the flavor even further, try adding some fresh fruit to the top.
A smoothie that incorporates natural vanilla will help you get on your way to slimming your waist. Instead of a calorie-packed meal, a replacement smoothie provides balanced nutrition and will help you maintain a healthy diet. Many wonder if meal replacements like these actually keep you full - the answer is yes. With a healthy level of dietary fiber, smoothies help curb your hunger so you don’t have to overindulge later on. When mealtime comes around, you’ll be craving this sweet and refreshing alternative.
A few smoothie tips
Any flavor you choose is sure to be delicious, but there are a few things you can do to enhance this delicious meal replacement. If you especially love fruit in your morning smoothie, Lunchbox.com suggested adding some on top. It really enhances the flavor.
If you’re always on the go, consider making a number servings at night so that you can have a few smoothies ready to go whenever you may need them. This makes it even easier to shed the pounds, even with a busy schedule.
Hello Everyone, I’m Team Naturade athlete Dustin Hinton and I just wanted to introduce myself and share a quick smoothie recipe with you.
Less than 2 years ago I was a 5’7′, 220lbs. single dad, with a serious gut, I couldn’t swim one lap, I didn’t own a bike, and a 1-2 mile run would be a sheer terror for me to complete. After losing a family member to cancer, very quickly, I decided to make a big change. I’m pretty much an all or nothing kind of guy so I immediately picked a huge goal.
My goal was to complete the Ironman Louisville 140.6 mile triathlon in front of my hometown, my family, and my friends, and more importantly, my 4 year old son Boston would be at the finish line. In my mind I had this one idea, If I can complete the Ironman I would have to get into shape.
What is Ironman?
It’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a full 26.2 marathon with a 17 hour cut off. So just get to the Ironman, the right way, by eating clean, training hard and smart, and being honest with myself. But my goal had another twist, I wanted to do this plus complete every other race distance in within ONE year… I wanted to go Couch to Ironman in one year… Everyone thought I was a nut…
During the process I became Vegan, started eating super clean, joined a local running group, cycling group, taught myself how to swim from YouTube videos, I completed 5k’s, 10k’s, Olympic Triathlons, Half Marathons, Full Marathons, 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlons, Century Rides, and by the time I was in the car driving to home for Ironman Louisville I had lost 58lbs. On August 26th, 2012, I jumped in the water at Ironman Louisville at 7am and 140.6 miles later I was holding my son at the finish line as an Ironman. A dream come true.
It doesn’t end there. I have been training hard, learning, getting faster, physically stronger, and mentally stronger. I am about to take on Ironman Mont-Tremblant 140.6 mile triathlon (The Ironman North American Championships) in Quebec Canada on August 18th. I also Qualified for the Hy-Vee U.S. Olympic Distance Championships on Sept 1, 2013. As a Naturade Athlete I want to show you how to train smart, hard, stay healthy, eat clean, and consistently live an active healthy lifestyle. I look forward to writing some fun articles, giving you my favorite recipes, and connecting and reaching out to anyone who needs a little advice or maybe just a little pep talk.
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.