Thursday, May 28, 2009

I finished the book!

..and I liked it!

The book I'm talking about is Brendan Brazier's book on Vegan Nutrition for Athletes.

He does a really good and thorough breakdown of all the different foods he's included, including why he's included them, how to properly prepare, store, and get more nutrition through different preparations.

I have to admit I'm taken by the concepts.

He presents a 12 week meal plan with the different recipes all structured for maximum nutrition. I have to admit that I usually don't follow meal plans. I prep cook everything I can on Sunday and graze through it for the rest of the week. That's one of the reasons I'm a big fan of raw foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and smoothies. I'm running around so much that it does become a problem for me to get into the kitchen and cook.

I will definitely be using a lot of the recipes that have a long shelf life (like the energy bars) starting this weekend. I'll let you know how the recipes work out.

Here are some highlights!

-Hemp Protein: Supposedly one of the easiest forms of proteins for us vegans to digest. Very good for our bodies and not nearly as acidic (read: acidic equals leaching calcium from your bones!) as meat. I'm going to go buy some this weekend.

-Flax Seed Preparation: They're kinda useless if you eat Flax Seeds whole but if you grind them in a coffee grinder you get all the good stuff!

-Amaranth: I'd already been turned onto Quinoa by a friend of mine because of it's high protein content but I've become a little bored with it. Now I have to try amaranth! He's also given a few different ways to prepare it as well. Unfortunately Whole Foods has been out of Amaranth for a while now. Hopefully soon they'll have it back in stock.

-Sprouting/Soaking Seeds and Grains and Nuts: He tells you what to soak, what to sprout, and the benefits if doing such a thing. Apparently sprouting/soaking starts a digestive/breakdown process in the nut/grain/seed that makes it much easier for your system to digest and absorb the available nutrients.

-Superfoods: Acai (which I have a love hate relationship with since I can't seem to find it in a rain forest friendly form), Chlorella, Maca, and others. He refers to them as next level foods and they all have very unique, very awesome nutritional benefits to be looked into.

Some of the things that I wasn't digging too much about this book.

-He states that you can toast wild rice or Amaranth in a popcorn air popper to create a fluffy toasted grain. I was dubious about this since the slots in my popcorn popper are a little big. There's no way I'd try it with Amaranth but I had a go with the Wild Rice.

I had 2 problems. The popcorn popper overcooked (burned) some of the grains while not popping the others.


Even though I 'thought' the wild rice wouldn't be able to fit into the slots a few grains still found a way and now I'm afraid I'm going to set the whole thing ablaze if I try to use it again.

So, no go on the air popping of odd grains!

-He continues to talk about toxins.

Okay. Here's my beef with the whole 'toxin' issue

I think that the term 'toxin' has gone from being a term used by lazy nutritionists and scientists when referring to dietary undesirable byproducts and unsuitable/unhealthy ingested material to a term used as a catch all marketing ploy by 'natural' and 'whole foods' companies and trend mongers to scare people into buying their products.

This whole 'Master Cleanse' thing has got on my last nerve. Here's how your body works. You have these WONDERFUL ORGANS that work their little cells ragged pulling all sorts of nasty byproducts and odd minerals and substances out of your system in a process which you'll recognize as CLEANSING!!

If you eat a bunch of crap all the time your poor little organs are gonna start getting worn out AND if you are eating CRAP (I mean junk food!) then you are robbing your organs of the fuel they need to regenerate so that they can keep up the good work!

So let's say you've put yourself into this unhealthy little dilemma. You've been eating McDonald's a few times a week for a while now, drinking soda instead of water, and sitting on your butt at your shitty little job.

You're probably going to find yourself tired, run down, and chubby. If not completely fat.

Here's what's happening.

You've eaten crap and though your body has packed on 'mass' and you are obviously overfed you are actually nutritionally deficient. You aren't getting the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proper hydration that your body needs to work like the finely tuned machine it was born to be.

So your fat little co-workers start talking about losing weight by doing the Master Cleanse. Ooooohhh.. It's just a gallon of water, some cayenne pepper, a little lemon juice, and some grade A Maple syrup. And all those nasty toxins will flush out of your system and you'll lose all this weight and blah blah blah..

Okay. Back to reality. So what happens when you stop doing the cleanse? Hmm? You can't do it forever. You know what happens? You'll go back to eating all the same stuff you did before and that weight will snap right back.

AND... Those toxins.. The theory behind this bullshit is that your organs need a break from digesting all the nasty stuff to get the backlog or garbage out of your system.

NO!! What your organs need is some healthy fucking fuel and for you to stop stuffing crap down your fat little neck with your greasy little fingers! That's what they need!!

And all of that is packed up with the nice little bow we like to call 'toxins'.

Companies market fiber with it. (Um.. it's not 'toxins' it's poo! And if you don't poo regularly your life will be hell, you'll get bloated and gassy, and you'll get dehydrated because the organ that is responsible for pulling water out of your digestive system (the colon) is now stuffed with super solid crap.).

People blame autism on toxins, people blame allergies on toxins, rashes, bad moods and headaches, lethargy, obesity!

COME ON!! Stop calling it TOXINS and start calling it what it is! Your allergies are probably coming from pollution and diminished air quality! So put down your jug of master cleanse, get out of your SUV and WALK for fuck's sake!

Lethargy? OBESITY!? Stop eating garbage, get off your ass and exercise! NO! You will probably never look like Angelina Jolie but you WILL feel healthier and you WILL weight less.

Bad moods? Ever thought about changing jobs? Hmm? Maybe it's your life? No one is perfect, Everyone looks at their life at some point and wonders what fuck they're doing?!? That's Natural. If you wan't to change it and make an improvement it takes work! Not a cleanse! You need to get your endorphins up. Remember that time you laughed so hard that your sides hurt and you were sore for the rest of the day but you couldn't stop smiling about it? That's what endorphins feel like! You can do that every day!

So THAT is my beef with Toxins. Mostly I hate that it's a catch all phrase. I'm detail oriented. If someone says 'you need to eat this or you'll build up ____' , I don't want to hear the word 'toxins'. I want to hear exactly what I'm going to build up. Uric acid? Oh NO! Sodium! CRAP! But if you have to say 'toxins' because you don't actually know WHAT that 'thing' is then don't waste my time.

There is no Boogie Man, and there is no such thing as a 'toxin'. Give me science or give me silence.

-He gives us an idea of 'what-to-eat-when' when you're trying to plan your nutritional intakes around a workout. I LOVED this.. BUT! When you look at the Meal Plan he's devised for his 12 week period he has neglected to factor in options for workout times and the foods required there abouts.

The diet plan is based off of Day to Day nutrition, not around an Athlete who trains for an hour or 5 a day. I guess it's up to the reader to augment that but it sure would have been a nice little perk to have side notes of substitution meals and snacks to fit in there. :)

Just so you know, here's what the nutrition around your workout should look like according to him (and I agree!)

For High Intensity Workouts (lasting about an hour or less):

Start off with a pre-exercise snack of simple carbs (fruit or dates work nicely. Adding a little Mate is nice but you'll be even more wrecked after the workout if you do.)

During the workout its good to have a sports drink or something with electrolytes.

After the workout have a little bit more simple carbs (fruit) with a touch of low fat protein.

For Medium Intensity Workouts (lasting up to 3 hours):

Add a little bit of protein to your simple carb pre workout snack. (think a touch of hemp!)

Sports drinks with electrolytes and simple carbs (DATES AND FRUITS) can be consumed mid exercise during little breaks. (Though I can't imagine trying to eat anything in the middle of 3hours of Thai. I'm assuming he means on the bike or running or something that doesn't bring my HR up to 170bpm.)

After the workout have a little bit more simple carbs (fruit) with a touch of low fat protein. Save the big protein and whole food meal for a little while later.

Low Intensity Workout (endurance activity of 3+ hours)

Before the day start up with Complex Carbs, fats, and proteins.

During there should be sports drinks, energy bars with protein, and energy gels with protein.

After, simple carbs and a touch of protein. And a big old nap!

So.. To have THAT worked into the plan would have been nice, but I guess I could not be lazy and do it for myself! LOL!

Anyway, it's a great book! I'll end up using about 1/3rd to a half of the recipes in the book

Today's Workout:

I had a surprise 2 hours of Thai Training Today! Two of my usual students came in an hour early because of their work schedules.

All my rounds were 3 min rounds with 60 sec rest.

6 rounds Jump rope, 2 rounds shadow box with 10lbs weights, 2 rounds with 8lbs weights, and 2 rounds free style for speed and form.

10 rounds of Thai all together. Today was Heavy Bag work.

6 ab circuits all together. (Legs lifts, Back Ext, Saxon Sides, Incline Sit ups)

2 mile run @ 5.5 with .5 mile warm up and .25 mile cool down. I felt a little tight and crampy today after all the extra jump roping but I made it through just fine. I'm feeling a lot better about it now that I've started to heal up. :)

I did nothing yesterday but Jiu Jitsu because I was tired and lazy. Sorry. It was just one of those days. After Jeff ran me around town I had no energy.

Tomorrow is heavy sparring. I think Matt G. is going to try and knock my head off so I need to get some serious sleep tonight and have my game on tomorrow.

Serving with a black eye sucks!

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