Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Super Vegan" Results - You can be one too!

Anyone can be a "Super Vegan". Yes, even you! I just completed a 30 day Challenge at my gym. My coach said that I could keep my main sources of protein but I wanted to give the strict challenge a try. What is "Super Vegan"? It is a whole foods vegan diet and actually is mostly raw. I mainly ate vegetables, fruits, seeds & nuts, and coconut. No, I didn't eat any soy, grains, legumes, or faux meats. Yes, you can make it without soy! For this challenge, I didn't use quinoa either. 

My physical results: 8lbs lost, 4% body fat, most fat lost in thighs (uh, I'll take that), and 4:08 taken off of my challenge WOD time. And the husband, who is in the running to win the challenge : 13lbs lost, 4.25% BF, 4:24 taken off his WOD time. Cha-Ching!

Here are a few observations and food finds:

Awesome Observations

Less is More - Part of a vegan lifestyle is mindfulness. So, eliminating packaged foods, prepared foods, and replacing with whole foods, reduced the impact on the environment. Less packaging = less in the landfills. 

Show me the Money - Buying less convenience foods actually is a cost savings. For me, not eating out, eliminating alcohol, and continuing to purchase organic, the cost for 30 days was the same. 

Hold the Salt - Packaged foods are loaded with added salt. Over the course of the day this can really add up. Eliminating processed and packaged foods dramatically decreases salt intake - Salt and high blood pressure .

Get off the Sugar Merry-Go-Round - When we eat sugar, we crave more sugar, it's a cycle. There is an adjustment period. For me, having a little more fat after a meal, like avocado or coconut, or nuts helped to get me over this hump. 

Even Steven - Eating whole foods, no grains, no sugar, and very limited starches- I noticed a more  balanced energy through the day, less of a spike in hunger levels, and also a less heavy or "blown-up" feeling after meals. 

Challenge Foodie Finds

Sun Warrior Blend (Natural) - RAW PROTEIN - I love this stuff! It's a raw protein blend with a small amount of coconut oil - no additives or flavors! I have a smoothie almost every morning - with water, a small amount of berries, and a green (kale or spinach) sometimes maca powder or 100% cocoa powder. It mixes great and in a pinch is good by itself mixed with water. You can find a deal on Amazon on this too. 

Crispy Green - This snack totally satisfies the "crunch" factor. It is just freeze dried fruit. Low calories and low sugar - much less than dried fruit!! The PINEAPPLE are amazing! I purchased this brand at Fresh Market. I did try the Whole Foods brand, it wasn't as good. 

Coconut FlakesI like the FLAKES better than the shredded for a snack -  little more bang for your buck. I may eat a bit by itself, mix my own trail mix, or add to a sweet potato. A nice, easy, raw treat is to grind in a coffee grinder: coconut flakes, flaxseed, a few nuts, cocoa powder, and a date - YUM!!! You can find this brand at Whole Foods. 

Lara Bars - Perfect on a workout day! My two favorite are Coconut Creme Pie and Tropical Fruit Tart . You can make your own bars but these are nice for convenience and usually about a buck a bar. You can find them at almost any grocery store.

Canned Coconut Milk -  I keep a can on hand for curried vegetables, coffee creamer, and just to drizzle over a bowl of fruit, nuts, and seeds! 

Also, purchase Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier. I bought this book when I started running two years ago and used like two recipes. It was a must have for the 30day Challenge but also for CrossFit in general. There are recipes for sports drinks (awesome on a crazy hot day in the ville), recovery drinks, dinner, etc. The zucchini pasta and marinara sauce is superb!! 

Remember figure out what works best for you! Being "clean" for 30days gives you a chance to notice how your body reacts and allows for adjustments. While for me the 30 day Challenge is over, my husband and I agree that we would like to continue being "Super Vegan" the majority of the time.