Monday, August 12, 2013

Great Pre-Race Meal

I think a lot of runners struggle with the idea of what to eat exactly prior to a race. To be sure, you will perhaps choose a different meal depending on whether you are running a marathon, a 1/2 Marathon, 10k, 5k etc. but in this case I have given an example of a pre 1/2 marathon meal

Included is the Orzo, giving you the carbs and some protein, the peas which also give you protein, and tomatoes for antioxidants for alleviating stress on you muscles and setting them up for great performance during the run in terms of lowering your pre-run inflammation. Lycopene baby!

I ate this dish prior to a 13 mile run that was supposed to be a shorter. I felt good pushing myself and had no problem heading out for a 2 mile quick recovery run the next day. 

You can learn how to prepare dishes like this at my wife's page and signing up for one of her classes. 

here is the description of the dish 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting on a Training Schedule

Yep, I would say for me this is the hardest thing to do. My wife Elizabeth is a runner too, but she is also an incredible mother to our 3 amazing boys; 8,7, and 5. In addition, she does the family finances, runs her Food For Life Classes, cooks meals for all of us, does the shopping, etc. etc. So when can she workout? The answer; whenever she can fit it in, but it isn't always about what time, but whether she has the energy at that time.

Truth be told, being an actively involved mother is like 24/7 cross-training, and if your a mom, not only do you not get paid for the intellectual skill set you have on the non-mom stuff, but you're not even paid as an athlete. Spiritual and physical pay-off can sometimes run pretty thin, and a non-regular workout can keep one in a maintenance mode.

It's simply not fair, but as an involved Dad I have to remember to take over for her the best way possible, which can mean that even I don't get to workout. At least not when I would like to. Often times we are pushing ourselves through a workout that isn't as enjoyable as it could be, hoping to make that weekend long run all the more enjoyable as we tag-team our workouts and watching the boys.

I love the early morning runs in the canyons in SoCal. It is meditative, and revitalizing. It is often my church. Balance is so critical, and with a busy family and work. If you are bent on gaining in your fitness, or even just maintaining you have to get to bed early, rise early to run, eat the right food, leave work at work, embrace the family as it is w/o feeling robbed of time to yourself, don't drink too much, etc. etc. Just remember that you are human, and it won't happen consistently, just aspire to it.

So how do you do this? Well if you are mentally prepared and stable, you will be ready to get physically stable and fit. Proper sleep and eating right are the most critical to a sound mind and body. People with less stress and greater optimism are more productive, and have a greater impact on the people around them. If you put that which is good in your body, you will get good from your body. Otherwise it is crap in, crap out. I find so much helpful information on what foods to eat from my wife's  research and cooking classes, as well as

Find out what foods can put you in a positive mental space. One of empowerment, kindness, healthful living, and growth. Once you do this, you will be able to lock into a routine better. Your schedule will become more organized because you are better able to deal with the mental adversity of the day.  Yes there will be unexpected setbacks, but you will be able to deal with the better in a more healthful way.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why am I So Fit, but Still Dying?

It astonishes me all the time especially when I am out running and you get into these long conversations with people. First of all, I am astonished that I am even alive right now having not suffered from a heart attack earlier in my life-my pre-vegan life.  Also surprised that I am not diabetic, suffering from cancer (knock on wood).  What exactly astonishes me? The fact that so many fit people are dying or on their way. An example would be that I have run with two people recently who told me they were on statins (cholesterol medicine) but that their doctors told them they were fine.

They say good diet and exercise will keep you living long and thriving. The bigger issue is that even as athletes and fitness gurus, most people don't know what a "healthy diet" is.  The world is riddled with advice and information, but it is also riddled with advertising and marketing schemes. The very universities that award diplomas in the medical, health, and fitness arenas are often educating with information and research that is supports the interests of companies who will make money from that research, and from the thousands of individuals who graduate and preach the information.

Athletes-especially runners- are often discussing "recovery" drinks, meals, and methods. What is the best bodily Pre-Run meal, and Post-Run recovery meal? I know of a situation with a women's training group where the Registered Dietitian guest was saying that chocolate milk was the best recovery drink. Imagine that. In a group of women, telling them that a dairy product was best, when diary products have  huge cancer connections in women-especially breast cancer.  Here's a link that summarizes, but there are more thorough abstracts you will find.

Two things:
1. The evidence on what helps your body to best stay in shape and remain cancer free, heart disease free and diabetes free is that of a plant-based, whole-food diet. Apoptosis, or the pre-programmed suicide of cancer cells lessens with the consumption of meat and dairy. Mostly because it is causing so much inflammation that your body will not keep up. In addition, you will gain weight even if exercising. If you don't gain weight, your body will break down sooner and give in to all sorts of ailments. Aside from the three mentioned, you could be looking at osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, all sorts of digestive issues or muscular degenerative issues. Consuming meat products raises your chances of your body reproducing cancerous cells.

2. Exercise actually damages your DNA too.  That is why immediate recovery meals are important. We need to make sure they are the good meals which optimize the body's ability to remove the damaged tissues and cells. Have you ever noticed that you are really susceptible to colds after hard workouts? Well that is because your immune system is down. Evidence on how a plant-based diet greatly, significantly reduces the damage done from exercise and maximizes your building of good cells and DNA. Here is a link to volume 14 of Dr. Michael Greger's work which discusses this.
and their are a ton of other articles at his website which discuss this. Broccoli is your friend in this one, as well as collard greens like Kale.

If you want to learn more about how to cook the right foods, how to stock you kitchen, and how to thrive as you age, visit my wife's page and sign up for one of her classes. FOOD FOR LIFE.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Running Vegan - Protein sources Pt 3

Okay, final word on this one-maybe.... I think from the last three posts it has become quite evident that there isn't protein deficiency for vegans.

I did the first run in a week yesterday at Fryman Canyon, here in So Cal- LA area.

So I completed 6.25 miles in 55 minutes with two loops around this trail which includes a 1.5 mile hill climb from where I parked.  Felt strong. My lungs were finally cleared out from a lingering chest cold that wasn't intense but wouldn't go away.  

So the protein issue is nonexistent. Here is a wonderful list of where a vegan gets his/her protein. The great thing is that all of these foods work in a whole-food synergy and protein from one source is coupled with that from the other sources. Notice that it is also arranged according to the Power Plate from PCRM. 
Animal proteins don't do this. They don't process in your body without the release of free-radicals and they put strain on you kidneys. Animal proteins also contain heterocyclic-amines, hormones, saturated fats, and cholesterol, and dairy sources are much the same.

For more information on how to cook vegan food, how to stock your kitchen, how to reverse diabetes, heart disease and cancer, visit my wife's page and take her classes. 
and this one to sign up for the class:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

For the Protein Concerned. Protein for Runners Pt. 2

For the protein concerned/ obsessed, this is a list of basic protein in a typical days intake. However, it doesn't include the peripheral proteins in other ingredients of dishes.  All of this totals 85g of protein-PLANT PROTEIN which won't cause inflammation, doesn't contain heterocyclic amines and will increase your calorie burning efficiency while reducing your LDL cholesterol.

soy milk 5g

malt o meal 6g

banana 2

peanut butter 7g

3 carrots  3g

almonds 1/2cup  10g

hummus  4-8

amys vegan burger 12g

beans soup 15g

kale  2g

walnuts 1/2 cup 15g

belvita breakfast crackers 2 

I would imagine that when all is said and done, I get close to 100g of protein per day.

It's Not All About You!

Hello everyone. Today I awoke to a wonderful article by my friend Paul Graham and to the news on the health of several friends. As Paul explains in his article, "we are in peril". As runners and relatively healthy individuals our health may seem like an afterthought as we are often mislead by what can appear as a trim, athletic physique. However, what is going on inside?  Why are so many seemingly healthy people getting sick?

Look, if our food isn't pure, then our bodies are suffering. On a personal health level, we won't perform as athlete well for much longer, we have high risks for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, etc. etc. etc. But on a global level, we are dying. Not just us, but the whole planet. 

Read Paul's article. He has a wonderful way with words. In fact, you should make it out to one of his events and hear him speak.

If you want to learn about how to cook the correct foods, what to substitute for your meat and dairy, and how to improve your overall health while being ecologically/globally conscious, visit my wife Elizabeth Federman's page and see about signing up for a Food For Life Class.

Or, if you are not in the Los Angeles area you can visit PCRM at

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Protein for Runners Pt. 1

So in a week or so I will begin really training for the next running season. To kick it off I am starting with the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon again Last year I bested my time by 5 minutes. I will be beyond happy if I can do the same this time around, but then again I'm another year older. Either way nutrition for building up for this kind of mountain climbing over 13.1 miles is quite important.

Now I know what I was eating last year; all vegan,  as per the diet of my wonderful wife and Food For Life Instructor Elizabeth Federman,, but this time I want to build some serious muscle and endurance.  For the past 3 years I have been an avid reader of Runners World. An amazingly thorough magazine to be sure, but I also noticed there is some vacillation between what is recommended in one issue vs. another issue.  Usually it goes like this: "You should buy: Eggs, Chicken, Salmon..." and they would include an array of other plant-based items, but here's where I argue.

It should be noted that any balanced diet should be focusing on a whole food synergy and not obsessed with one particular item for peak performance. In other words overabundance in focus can lead to other illnesses and chronic conditions. So while you are performing in an event well, the long term damage is being done in the form of bodily or organ inflammation.

Many sources say it is recommended that runners/athletes have at least 50% more protein consumption. This number varies depending on the source and depending on the sources funding.  But to look at a typical meal series for the day would be best.

Breakfast: Eggs for breakfast? No way. Why? Because 1 large egg consists of no fiber, only 6 grams of protein, 213mg of LDL cholesterol, 5g of fat, of which 2 are saturated.  Sure you might eat a piece of whole grain toast. but what are you putting on that toast? Butter is going to kill this plan right away.

You're best off with a whole grain cereal like oat meal or Malt-O-Meal which has 6 g of protein, and 11g if coupled with a cup of Organic Soy Milk. It also has 40mg of potassium and all your daily maximums of fiber and minerals. Malt O Meal in particular is pumped up.  Add some berries in your dish and you are set with an amazing pre-race meal.

Lunch and Dinner: The same is true for all the meals. There is no need to overdose on protein from one source during the day say in the form of a chicken breast which has about 30g of protein. Here's why: if you do, you also eat 93mg of LDL cholesterol, 13g of fat- 3.9 of which are saturated fats. Now, do this for dinner coupled with the eggs from breakfast, and you are setting yourself up for heart disease-EVEN IF YOU'RE A RUNNER.
Say grilled Atlantic Salmon for dinner; that is 21g of fat, 7g saturated fat, 488mg Sodium, sure you get 24g of protein, but at what cost?

Here's a better way to say it:

So, here's what you do. Eat from the Power Plate by PCRM.

What this means is each meal should have a whole food synergy to create COMPLETE proteins.
Boiled Broccoli, Avocados, Cauliflower (6g-half a head 3inch diameter), Potato (4g), Kale, Green Peas, Seaweed, Soy Beans (organic), winged beans, lentil sprouts, etc. Usually all of these are coupled with a whole grain as well. In doing so you complete your protein groups and create calories that are designed to optimize your carbon burn, energy usage and muscle function WITHOUT the inflammation, and added saturated fat and cholesterol intake.

Check out Scott Jurek a vegan ultramarathon runner as well.


Friday, July 26, 2013

What to Cook to Stay Powered Up

Short post today, I may have more later, but I want to take a minute to tell you about the amazing woman who cooks our family meals and keeps us healthy. Elizabeth Federman teaches Food For Life Classes here in the Valley Village, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, area here in California. There are 4 basic series of classes.

The first one is the 21 Day Kickstart focused on overall healthful eating that will help with an array of common ailments and get you off ridiculous weight-loss programs that never work. No more calorie counting, no carb counting, no portion control, just living.  Learn what to stock your kitchen and fridge with, learn to cook it, and get a meal while your in the class. 

The second class type is focused on Cancer reversal and avoidance. Learn about the foods that are the best cancer fighters and how to reset your body to better avoid precancerous symptoms.  If you have had cancer, learn how to strengthen your body through food and truly survive it and the evasive prescription treatments. Learn about prevention. Learn what to stock your kitchen and fridge with, learn to cook it, and get a meal while your in the class. 

The third class on Heart Disease. Same situation as the above classes, only this one is specific to those at risk for myocardial infarctions or heart attack. If you are on medications for your cholesterol, if you have high blood pressure, if you have already had a heart attack, then you need this class to learn how to get off your medications, strengthen your body, and reverse the condition.  

The last one is on Diabetes. The situation is the same as the above classes, but specific to the foods that will help you avoid Type 2 diabetes, or reverse it if you already have it. Learn about the power of food and get out of the cycle.

The Kickstart class starts this Sunday. Here is the information. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

To Begin With...Keeping Healthy and Strong

I think to start off I'll answer the question I often get when people find out that I am vegan; "WTF do you eat if you don't eat meat and dairy?"

It always baffles me that we forget the vast array of plant-foods, whole foods, foods that are grown and produced without violence, bloodshed, inhumane conditions and processes, and that are sustainable and not harmful to our planet.  This kind of mindlessness really speaks to the decades of social conditioning,  commercialism and advertising schema that we have allowed ourselves to be fooled with. 

Since the post war era especially, the American culture is particularly guilty of enabling and perpetuating food falsehoods. We are a protein obsessed, carbohydrate counting, calorie counting, allergy riddled, processed food addicted, chemically dependent (i.e. prescription meds/pharmaceuticals too), environmentally careless, obesity stricken, life threatening diseased disabled (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, alzeheimer's, etc....) and we don't seem to care. Until we're told we're about to die. 

Now to be fair, I don't want to discount the many people out their the truly don't fit into this mold, but the truth is that by and large, we are this way. I was too at one point.  

So here it is, my basic daily food intake:

Whole Oat Meal or Malt-O-Meal with brown sugar and 1/2 /cup of berries, Orange Juice, and coffee, sometimes I’ll eat toast with Old Fashioned Peanut Butter and Jelly too. Sometimes if I don’t have the Malt –O- Meal, I’ll have Soy Milk in the Oatmeal. 

Carrots and Banana, or Belvita Whole Grain cracker and Banana, or
Apple and Walnut/Almond Mixture. Some combination of this stuff listed. Water.
Or Broccoli and hummus
or Milton's Whole Grain Crackers and hummus or real peanut butter. 
Grapes and fruit

Peanut Butter and Jelly on Pumpernickle or whole-grain bread,
            or Garbanzo bean burger with red pepper, avocado, lettuce
            or Amy’s vegan burger with the same stuff,
            or  leftover dinners
all of these are a long with carrots, or broccoli and hummus, or whatever would be missing from the Power Plate

Same as above, sometimes depending on if I run during lunch, I will have some sort of vegan whole grain power bar (w/o soy or whey protein isolates, no high fructose corn syrup, no msg, no honey, no milk or lactose derivative) 
or Milton's Whole Grain Crackers and hummus or real peanut butter. 
Grapes and fruit

The list goes on forever.
·      Garbanzo Bean Burgers, with Salad
·      Black Bean Chili with brown rice
·      Lasagna
·      Reubens made with marinated and sautéed tempeh, sauerkraut, special sauce, lettuce and tomato
·      Senate soup- made with white beans, carrots, celery potatoes, onion, garlic, etc
·      Lentil Soup- a lot of the same soup stuff in different combinations,
·      Stir fry dishes made with Seitan or Tempeh various vegetables
·      Pizza either with traditional dough (no eggs or dairy) or crust made from shredded zucchini, carrots, and beats, with grilled veggie topping and pizza sauce
·      I could go on- we eat from the Power Plate, no big mystery-whole food, plant-based. No dairy, No Meat.
·      Treats like Ice Cream and Cake can be made deliciously w/o dairy and eggs.

A full spectrum (color range) of brightly colored vegetables is advised. Quinoa and Kale (collard green) is very important in maintaining the phytonutrients, protein, vitamin K, etc. 

For more information on how to cook meals that will help you avoid Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, as well as a wide range of common ailments and allergies, visit
oh and I wanted to add this one too!!