Combat dehydration & muscle cramping with Vegan supplementation

It’s 2 am and you wake up screaming because your muscles are cramping up in your calf. Toes curled and writing in pain you wait for the moment to pass.

Sound familiar?

While this sometimes night time occurrence may be on and off again and tolerable, muscle cramping during training sessions can be debilitating.

If you’re suffering from muscle cramping during exercise under 60 minutes in duration, are drinking at least a gallon of water per day AND are making sure that you’re replenishing your salt electrolytes then there are only a few other options left for you to stop the pain of cramps, which I’ve outlined below.

Supplements that treat dehydration

ELECTROLYTES: Magnesium, potassium, sodium.

You can opt to take these supplements at night or during the day. Magnesium can be taken in tablet form alone OR with a Zinc blend called “ZMA” at night.

Read more about ZMA HERE. 

What to avoid

Your enemy (at least temporarily) will be coffee, tea, soda, and alcoholic drinks. These are all forms of diuretics, which means they can dehydrate you more because they all pull water from your body. If you are suffering from serious dehydration, yo might need IV fluids or even a hospital visit.

No laughing matter.

Ensure that you are getting all the liquid you need throughout the day and intra workout as well as making sure you stretch and foam roll!

Give yourself the gift of foam rolling on the daily, listen to this physical therapy article with tips

Try these stretches for leg cramps from Verywellfit

No amount of hope or supplementation alone will help you get past the cramping which is going to hinder your ability to go hard during your training sessions.

Train hard, eat well, rest up, hydrate.

xx

S

Client Spotlight – The Vegan Converts & Making a baby with Gio & Casey Weeks – baby Luca now too!!

A beautiful, fit family who conceived by incorporating veganism!

Sometimes clients become friends, but in this case an “old” friend of mine – Giovanna – became a client. Giovanna and I met in elementary school in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada over 25 years ago. We actually went to different schools but both attended Catachism (click it if you don’t know it) where we met and eventually ended up at the same school. Giovanna has always had a light shining SO brightly within her….but she never had that Knight in shining armour that deserved her until…..Casey. Wow, what can I say. From the minute I first saw an image of these two together with their gorgeous smiles on display, I knew it was love. Casey seemed to be such a positive and loving force in Gio’s life.I’m so thankful that the two of you met and made a family -the world needs more true love like yours.

Happily settled in Houston, Texas, these two and their two pooches just added one more to their tribe; baby girl Luca – sorry folks, I didn’t get an image I could use here….and Luca was just born this past weekend of April 14/15. Congrats to the two of you. All my love and so much more and thanks SO much for taking the Vegan in 60 mentorship program on, I really hope it did help you with your little one.

So much love.

xx

S

How did the two of you meet?

Casey was a spin instructor at a studio and I had a huge crush on him and went to all his classes till he noticed me J

Did you plan on having a family early on in meeting and did age play a factor in this?

We both wanted kids one day but at the time didn’t think about it until I went to the doctor about a year after dating and she told me I had to see a fertility doctor.

How long were you trying for a baby before you went vegan and can you share any part of your personal story with our readers about WHY you decided to a make the change?

I had been doing fertility treatments for over a year. 4 Iuis and 2 IVF cycles and after getting pregnant on the last try but losing it right away I needed a break. Casey ended up watching some documentaries on Netflix that really opened our eyes to going vegan. I took about a 3month break and we went very strict vegan and I felt so great. I was working out again and not thinking about treatments and we really did feel healthier. I didn’t think it would has any effect on fertility at first just wanted to get healthier after all the hormones that were in me.

What have been the best and worst parts of trying to conceive – hee hee?

The worst was all the treatments for sure, not having control. The hormones they inject in you. The weight you gain with all of it. The stress of it. The best was when we took a break and just relax and were able to just do it the old fashion way and it worked! We could enjoy each other finally again and with being vegan I even lost weight so I felt better about myself too.

Once you became pregnant did you decide to go back to a carni lifestyle?

I have been back and forth, only because the first 3 months I was very sick and some things I could not keep down. We still try very hard though but as soon as the baby is born we are committed to going back to vegan again. I just know I felt amazing and even though I love this little baby, it has been a hard pregnancy. So I am so excited to be going back and I know Casey is too.

We know this has to be our lifestyle now, not a back and forth.

Is there anything you have learned in the process of becoming pregnant that you didn’t know veganism could impact positively?

I actually think that if I stay strict vegan I would have had less “problems” and that a lot of it was in my head. I know how healthy I felt before I was pregnant and I really think my body fixed itself becoming vegan. It made me a happier and less stressed person to, I really believe that. So now that I will be a parent I want to get back to that frame of mind and I know veganism with help me.

What is the best advice you have for couples having trouble conceiving?

Even though I hated hearing this so much, letting go and not stressing about it really is the key. Being a healthy, happy person is more important and I think that will help you so much more than stressing about what you need to do to actually conceive. Your partner and you should love just being with each other and not make it a chore to have a baby.

What was your fave and least fave vegan meal of all time?

I thought actually that quick oats for breakfast would have been my least fav but I really loved it. I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like. I really enjoyed all the vegan items we ate. Well…my first attempt at a falafel was probably my least…but if someone else makes them I love them.

Would you raise your child vegan – why/why not?

Casey and I have talked about this just a bit. We will teach them about being vegan but I think we will let them ultimately make the choice in the end.

Please let us know your best vegan recommendations for your best meals in Texas or abroad!

Ripe Cuisine is great! they are a food truck right now but opening a restaurant. Also Local foods is doing a good job of vegan items as well.

If there is anything lingering in your mind about this whole process, please feel free to share it now!

Thanks so much for all your support on this!

Burning those unwanted calories

Losing body fat is all about creating a energy balance (calories are energy). If we create a deficit we lose weight. I’m sure you’ve all heard me say this/post about this 100 times! Create an excess of calories and gain weight (good for creating muscle mass if done accurately).

Here are the ways we burn calories

Metabolism – physiological & biochemical processes

Non-exercise activity – regular daily rituals like brushing teeth, combing hair, standing up and sitting down

Thermic activity – Eating and digesting a meal (digest/absorb/process)

Exercise – Weight training, yoga, cycling, running (though endurance activity burns far more kcals)

Burning Cals Wisely – 2 methods discovered

Massive calorie deficiency and over exercising can lead to failure and metabolic breakdown if you aren’t careful. This is NOT good in any way shape or form. This is why we reverse diet from contests and big events like my FML Fat Fry program.

Exercise

The best way to fire up your fat burning engine is with HIIT. This raises your heart rate quickly and creates an oxygen deficit. You also create an after burn effect (EPOC/Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) where you continue to burn calories even after training – for hours or days. Woop!

How to get ripped quickly? Move more. On average a healthy human should aim for 10k steps per day.

It doesn’t necessarily matter WHAT exercise you do, only that you’re creating a caloric deficit. But then again, who wants to be at the gym all day? Endurance athletes shoot glares my way now!

The amount you burn is dictated by volume and intensity – the longer you train (volume) the more you burn. The harder you train (intensity) the more you burn. If you can do both in one session OR double up – you will burn a massive amount of calories.

Thermic effect in food

Eating 4-5 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 (or fewer) has an inconclusive effect on your beltline. So the benefit here might not be to lose inches necessarily. What this does do, is stop you from getting hungry between meals and making bad decisions on snacks. This method will also keep your blood sugar more stable.  Ensuring you incorporate protein in every meal will increase the thermic effect your body will go through.

I personally subscribe to a 6 day per week training plan where I lift and complete HIIT cardio as well as MISS cardio. It’s all about variety, fun and hard work.

If you’re looking to fire up your routine and burn some extra fat or put on some lean gains, you know who to call!

Xx

S

Client Spotlight for Keto Vegan – Marisa

 

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – KETO VEGAN – MARISA FRANCESCA

Before ketogenic “dieting” what other forms of meal planning had you tried?

I have always been really bad at meal prep/planning and I had never really done so. I have realized that it is essential in order to be successful, especially if you’re busy.

What were your first impressions of ketogenic nutrition?

I was skeptical of a keto “diet.” I’ve always heard and have been told, from vegans as well, that “the fat you eat is the fat you wear.” When I was actually taking the time to learn about keto, everything made sense, and with that I was able to be successful with it! It took some time for me to get used to, since I never did anything like it before. When you do it correctly, it absolutely works.

What did you find to be the biggest challenge with switching to a “high fat” diet?

At first, it was definitely hard to go through the day without planning what I was going to eat, because at times I’d find that I had reached my net carb limit, but had plenty of fat left, and vice versa. It’s really all about the planning.

What were your best resources for recipes, tips & tricks?

Meatfreeketo website, as well as the Vegan Keto Made Simple / Vegan Keto Facebook groups. I found ways to make vegan, keto friendly pancakes, crackers and others’ favorite keto foods!

Plan plan plan! I can’t say that enough- I try now to input my days worth of macros into MFP the night before, with a few extra grams of each macro for some wiggle room, so I know that I will do my best to meet my macros.

LC Foods has low carb vegan breads and bagels- they are so good! Not everything is vegan though.

Do you think if you weren’t vegan you would have a harder or easier time “going keto”?

I think that I would have a harder time. I think that even people who aren’t vegan understand that the nutrition and fats/cholesterol from dairy and meat products are NOT good, so eating them in excess would be really scary health wise.

Did you find a favourite keto recipe that you can share with us?

Vegan Keto Bagels (gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free)

http://easylocarb.azurewebsites.net/recipe/flaxseed-crackers/

What did you miss the most from your diet (favourite foods etc…) when eating keto?

I was loving having a smoothie with frozen cherries, chocolate flavored vega clean protein powder and some peanut butter powder in the mornings. It became a habit, so I’d say I missed that the most. There are low carb options for everything else, really! Fettuccini made of tofu is one of my favorites.

Do you think you could “do keto” for most of your meals, for life?

Yes, I definitely could. I was addicted to junk food, so the higher fat meals helped me kick those habits. I’ve now realized I could definitely do this for a long time.

What would be your biggest piece of advice to anyone who might be interested in trying keto?

My biggest piece of advice I would say is to do your research- this is a must (for me, any way!) I also tend to do things better when I know why and how it works, so this also helped me succeed. Find groups where other people are doing the same or similar things, like a vegan keto facebook group- they are very helpful.

What were the biggest changes you noticed with the plan ie: skin, hair, sleep, hydration, energy etc…?

I’ve had so much energy that sometimes I don’t sleep that much! I have also noticed that my skin is so much clearer than it was before, and my hair feels so much softer!

Bone Health – The skinny on those little props that move us around

Leg press = good for the booty & the bones!

 

While our human experience where health is concerned can vary quite a bit, there is no denying that spinal strength, bone & cardiovascular health should be at the top of every humans list for living a long, elongated and healthy life.

We exercise our heart and build cardiovascular strength by working the heart muscle during vigorous activity. We support spinal strength with strong, long muscles through core stability work and light weight or body weight balance work.

But how do we support the health of our bones? We lose about .5% of our bone mass each year after 40 and this chronic bone loss can lead to low bone mineral density (deteriorated bone tissue) = Osteoporosis. Fractures from Osteoporosis are common and this disease will usually progress without symptoms. Us ladies dramatic bone mass loss during menopause when hormone levels change.

We can increase bone formation though by simply putting strain on the body! This is great news, it means that for most of us, the power is in our hands to keep our bones strong for life with a little help from some of my friends below.

Supplementation

There are a myriad of supplements that we can choose to take in order to try and assist with bone strength and general health. Not all supplements are created equal AND you must note that some just do not work or aren’t bio-available enough to make a great impact. Here are my favourite supplements below:

  • Once daily multivitamin
  • 1000-1200 mg calcium daily
  • 500-600 mg magnesium daily (I take a ZMA every night which includes this)
  • 1000-2000 IU vitamin D3 daily
  • 1 mg Vitamin K daily
  • Daily anti-oxidant
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Probiotics
  • Silicon 10mg daily
  • B12 1000 mcg 2x/week sublingual preferred
  • Creatine – optional, not a lot of study done here

Note: medications used in the treatment of depression, breast cancer, heartburn, ulcers and diabetes can interfere with hormonal signals of bone turnover or they affect mineral use and absorption. Have a look at your medicine cabinet and see if the culprit lies within! To add prolonged use of low dose birth control and prednisone.

Nutrition

As in the listing of supplements above, you will be looking for foods high in calcium, vitamin d etc…..our bones keep about 99% of our body’s calcium to rebuild. We also need to make sure that we are not eating foods or taking medications that directly impact our ability to uptake calcium and other minerals. Foods that contain phytates (seeds, grains  & nuts) and oxalates (spinach, rhubard, sweet potatoes & walnuts) are these culprits.

While this doesn’t mean that Spinach is bad for you, this means that Spinach isn’t the most wise choice for our source of calcium due to is oxalate content. A good second choice: broccoli, bok choy & kale.

Percent of calcium absorbed from selected foods. Source: Miller, Gregory D., et al. The importance of meeting calcium needs with foods. J Am Coll Nutr 20 no. 2 (April 2001): 168S-185S.

 

Protein!!! Why am I always nagging you about protein??? Well, it makes up 20-30% of your bone mass. If you’re Vegan like me or even Vegetarian, you might not be getting enough. 20g at each meal 5-6 times per day minimum is a good goal without doing math or over thinking it. Higher protein intake leads to higher calcium absorption. HIgh calcium, high protein is a sure way to maintain bone health.

Good foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds – flavonoid city which equals oxidation prevention ~ dried plums are huge for this. Foods that are highly alkaline keep the body from becoming too inflamed and bump up our HGH (human growth hormone) levels. Read my article on 12 Steps to Naturally Boost HGH HERE . Good fats also help us to control inflammation but so far there is no one study that can unequivocally prove which is the best. I stick with unrefined coconut oil.

Exercise

Everyone has their own preference for exercise however, there are a few things that we should be doing on a regular basis to ensure we are helping to stimulate bone growth. Plyometric style training and weight training are two of the most important and weight training at the very least should be subscribed to at 2x per week minimum. My “bare minimum” suggestions are below:

  • Jump Squats (weighted or not)
  • HIIT exercise or at minimum jumping jacks
  • Deadlifts (start light and go heavy as you can)
  • Lunges (forward, reverse, side) weighted
  • Step ups (weighted)
  • Yoga
  • Back extensor exercise & good posture – Superman from the floor

Prevention 

Caffeine appears to be harmful for bones so no more than 2 cups per day would be a safe way to go. Unfortunately for me, I’ll have to really amp up the other areas of my life because I typically have at least 2 large coffees per day minimum.

Overdosing on irradiated “traditional” salt is awful, especially if you’re not exerting enough energy to require a large electrolyte replacement. Full spectrum salt on all meals…ONLY if you’re doing the work to earn it ie: sweating.

Totally avoid foods : processed meat, fast food (pizza, burgers, tacos, fries), reduced-calorie frozen meals, canned soups, baked products including bread & breakfast cereal (this is all due to sodium so check your labels, maybe your favourite brand isn’t that bad).

Totally avoid bevvies: soda, diet soda, milk, yogurt drinks.

In summary, it’s important that when we’re approaching life from a Wholistic viewpoint we ensure balance is achieved. For some, eradicating all offensive foods would be easy, for others this simply would create emotional turmoil in their lives. So, as I say to my clients “Here is the goal……and over here is reality. Lets work toward our goals slowly & surely to avoid backsliding”.

To you and your healthy bones!

 

xx – S

Food & Mood ~ Emotional Eaters Unite!

Typical Las Vegas Vegan reward meal – look at the glare in my eyes!

Emotional eating is an activity people engage in to soothe negative emotions, like stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness or loneliness. The hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating that can disrupt your happiness, contentment and, for our purposes, fat-loss efforts.

In order for us to move past our emotional eating we need to figure out what our personal triggers are, give them a name and work at diffusing situations where they make themselves known.

Once we do this, we can move on to healthier focuses in our nutrition goals.

Triggers

Avoiding “bad” feelings

Family strife, job or finances are hugely relevant here and your hunger becomes about avoiding anxiety or sadness.  Eating keeps you soothed and distracted but creates a problem because you have to keep eating.

Take Action 

Practice emotional tolerance and waiting out emotions. These situations are, in fact, finite. You can talk it out with someone, journal, exercise, or meditate. You might want to do an activity that is not compatible with eating like taking a walk, a bath or joining an art class.

Food is my hobby, it can become obsessive – so I create recipes!

Boredom

With nothing to do and no one to talk to food can seem like the answer. Eating is something to do and something we can again, busy ourselves with.

Take Action 

Create a list of activities that you can do for such an occasion. Think about it in terms of indoor and outdoor activities as well. Keep your list handy and commit to trying out your own suggestions as least a couple of times per week. Journal about it!

Habit

Unconscious eating, or shoveling food in your mouth without awareness of taste or satiety is a form of soothing the self. Taking an active and present role in your own life helps you to be free from this action. This can turn into a habit if you are not being mindful of your actions. The option to “netflix and chill” or “veg-out” every night in front of the TV or your computer might be you not wanting to be present in your own world. But why?

Take Action

You can practice mindfulness and meditation to be more present and aware in your day to day activities. If you start journaling around your feelings of negativity, you may find that you need to change up your regular routine to bring more satisfaction to your daily life. If you are in need of relaxation, meditation (even just 2 minutes per day) is the place to start. Not the refrigerator.

Dessert can wait, breaking addiction cannot.

Obsession/Desire

There’s a bag of chips, pie, cake, chocolate bar awaiting you at home after work. You can just about taste it, love it and are excited to have more, more, more! Your MIND wants more now, it’s a mental game, your mind wants that “hit” N-O-W.

Take Action

Patience, waiting, delays. You need to stave off this addictive behavior and tell yourself that the “treat” will be there for you later. You do not need to act on your urges, especially when you aren’t aware of their hold on you. Practice your willpower even if it’s just minute by minute. Hour by hour.

Tiredness

When we are tired and burned out we can be overcome by food urges. To add, when you are in the middle of a long, drawn out, or boring task, food distraction can seem like the break away answer in the moment.

Take Action

Again, create awareness of your physical situation at the moment. Take a nap, drink plenty of water, go for a walk. The answer is never in the pantry.

Baking sourdough from scratch – the waiting game.

Rapture

We celebrate wins with food & drink, happy moments in life and family gatherings. We reward ourselves with food like Pavlovian dogs but, we seem to place mental health and wellness on the back burner. This is the time to express happy emotions openly without the use of food or drink.

Take Action

If you have only been experiencing your lifes pleasures via food, you need to create or find ways to bring this to your life without it. Use all your senses to create this such as; climbing a mountain and enjoying a breathtaking view from the top, getting a relaxing massage, enjoying a night of dancing or seeing a comedian that allows for great and deep belly laughs.

Thinking ahead…….

Now that you are becoming aware of your triggers, it’s time to focus less on weight related goals and set our sights on health. In order to stick with a healthy plan, it’s more advantageous to look at the overall best reasons for doing so, some of these could be:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Thyroid issues
  • Diabetes
  • IBS
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
Checking my altimeter at the peak!

Without a real and impactful goal for staying on the straight and narrow where your health is concerned, there is always the very real danger of slipping back into unhealthy eating habits.

Food is very real and very powerful medicine or poison and it is as simple as that. You will never out run your emotional burdens, you will never out run a bad diet and you most certainly will never find happiness at the bottom of a bottle or box of cookies.

Healthy living is about making the choice to live your best life for you. It’s not about deprivation; it’s about longevity, awareness and true contentment.

As a coach I can give you a meal plan, a fitness plan, train with you, teach you how to plan your meals, talk to you about your struggles and push you every week to check in.

What I can’t do is create the deep personal meaning behind the driving fire that gets you to stick by what you believe in on a daily basis. We need to make conscious decisions every day as individuals .

You need to decide how you want your life to look and how you are going to take responsibility for it taking on the shape that you’re after. It will be hard work, it will take consistency (1 week of healthy eating followed by 2 days of binging on repeat is NOT consistency) to see results, it will take determination to show up and it will take realism to admit when you need to make changes.

I’m here to help you help yourself.

Lets kill another week!

Xx – S

 

 

 

Immunity Boosting Soup ~ Thai Style!

I hosted a workshop in Calgary a few years back entitled ” Ass Kicking Immunity Boosters” at Bankers Hall Club and I toyed around with some great recipes that combat sickness. I’ve gone ahead and dug this one up because lately I’ve been party to a lot of public snorting and gurgling and throat clearing that HAS TO GO.

This recipe includes hyperlinks to sites for more information on why these foods are in your bodies’ favour. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to blog about everything under the sun…..so please do a little reading if you have the time.

Personally, I try as hard as I can to keep all of the healing methodologies I have learned in mind when I am preparing the meals that I serve in my home. This truly makes my food my medicine – aaaaah, what a blessing food is.

I whipped up this soup based on a few similar soups I have tasted in order to have an amazing meal, while at the same time ensuring my body is kicking the ass of any sickness it may be carrying.

Happy dining – if you love Thai food, you’ll love this simple dish. About 1 hour from prep to table.

INGREDIENTS:

2 inches of peeled finely sliced ginger
1 large shallot minced
1 small leek (white/green end only)
1 large clove garlic minced
2 medium sized yams (orange)
1 can coconut milk
3-4 cups veggie broth
1 large tsp lemongrass paste
2 tbsp lime juice
1 handful chopped cilantro
1 tbsp hot sauce or chopped hot chili pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 pinch each salt and pepper

METHOD:

#1 Roast yams: 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Until easily forked *hee hee*….remove from oven, peel off skin (I love eating the skin, reminds me of crunchy deep fried chicken skin – YES I can still revel in the tastes I gave up), cut into small bite sized cubes.

#2 While the yams are roasting: large saucepan or med sized pot heat sesame oil on medium heat.
*Add ginger, garlic, shallot and leek. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until ginger is tender.
*Stir in coconut milk, veggie broth until boiling.
*Add lemon grass paste, lime juice, hot sauce/pepper and boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to simmer. *Add chopped yam and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes to take on flavour of soup.
*Add pinch salt, stir and simmer for 1-2 more minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with fresh cilantro on top, you could also drizzle a little sesame oil on if desired.

Serves 4.

Hemp Seeds & You


Make hemp seeds a regular part of your diet. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, plant-based proteins and phytonutrients. That makes them a nutritional powerhouse for supporting good health!

Hemp seed has been consumed by mankind (and animals) for centuries. Indeed, whole populations have survived off hemp seed in times of famine. In China, at the cinema, you can still buy roasted hemp seeds in the same way as you can buy popcorn in the West.

Hemp has 3 unique nutritional factors. It has an ideal balance of Omega 3 and 6 for sustainable human health, it has a full amino acid spectrum meaning it provides complete protein, and it has a massive trace mineral content – truly one of nature’s superfoods.

Consumption of hemp oil and hemp seed is ideal for people with low essential fatty acid intake, and also perfect for athletes. It is of course particularly valuable to the veggie/vegan population, and even more so for veggie/vegan athletes, who are always looking for complete protein sources.
One of the easiest ways of consuming hemp is in smoothies. Just mix a handful of organic hemp seed (whole or de-hulled) with fruit and juice of your choice in a blender. Perfect for children too. Or perhaps make up a little hemp seed milk (see recipe on Hemp page).

Other benefits of hemp seed oil include its effect on the skin and the hair, nourishing both on a cellular level. Hemp oil is easily absorbed by the skin and those EFA’s go straight to work! And of course hemp needs no pesticides or fertilisers, is low maintenance and grows just about anywhere, making it the ideal crop for organic sustainable farming in just about anywhere in the world.

Stock up on certified organic hemp seeds! You can use them in all sorts of ways: Sprinkle them on salads, cereals or other foods. Blend them into superfoods. Or mix with flax, agave nectar and spices to make your own raw dried herb crackers!

You can even make your own trail mix or healthy granola with these hemp seeds.

SOURCE: YAOH