To keep the body in good health is a duty… Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. -Buddha
Next month marks the second anniversary of my plant-based lifestyle. Whoop! Hands up; high five y’áll!
I have to say again, that the surprise conversion to a vegan lifestyle, has taught me the only thing that is certain in life is inception and dissolution.
Through a summer of getaways to Belize and Mexico, family vacations to St. Kits, Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, lengthy road trips, and the daily grind of life, I managed to stay on track with only a few faux pas (shrimp & lobster).
I continue to look for new food products to use in my kitchen. It is funny how when I ate meat, I looked for new recipes but not fresh spices or other ingredients. I did, however, look for healthier ways to prepare traditional dishes but often walked passed the unknowns in the produce section. Now, I am all in to find new food.
While shopping for the first time at, Buford Market, I was happy (more like elated) to pick up Navita’s Organic Hemp Powder.
Why the excitement? Because this stuff is packed with nutrients! Four tablespoons include:
- Protein – 13 grams
- Calcium – 48 mg
- Iron – 7 mg
- Potassium – 417 mg
- Magnesium – 249 mg
Regardless if you eat meat or not, these nutrients are vital to your overall health.
Protein is found virtually throughout the body. It is responsible for hormone production, it makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. Protein is the building blocks for amino acids. When you eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids, which are then used to help your body to build muscle and regulate immune function.
Plant-based protein sources are found in seitan, tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentis, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, spelt and teff, hempseed, green peas, amaranth and quinoa (grains). Ezekiel Bread and other breads made from sprouted grains, oats and oatmeal. Wild rice, chia seeds, nuts, nut butters, and other seeds, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. (source: healthline)
Other non-plant based sources of protein are meats, seafood, poultry, and eggs.
Calcium with Vitamin D supports bone health. As we age, the body loses bone density, and adequate intake from childhood through adulthood can slow the process of bone loss.
Calcium sources include leafy green vegetables such as kale, collards, and bok choy. Broccoli, fortified soy milk.
Iron is famous and known for energy production. You may not be aware that iron is also responsible for growth development, the synthesis of hormones, and for transporting oxygen around the body.
Examples of iron-rich foods include beans, lentils, nuts, leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, seaweed, watercress) meats (liver, chicken, lean meats, seafood, tofu, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals). Medical News Today recommends consuming Vitamin C with iron-rich foods to increase the body’s absorption rate.
Potassium is a mineral found in many foods and is required for normal cell function. Your body needs potassium for almost everything it does, including proper kidney and heart function, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission.
Good sources of potassium include fruits, such as dried apricots, prunes, raisins, orange juice, and bananas. Vegetables, such as acorn squash, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli. Lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, and nuts milk and yogurt. Meats, poultry, and fish.
The body needs magnesium to stay healthy. It is a nutrient that is important for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, making protein, bone, and DNA.
You can find excellent food sources of magnesium in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables (such as spinach). Fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. Milk, yogurt, and some other milk products.
This post is a little longer than planned; however, I wanted to show you how and why you should include a variety of food sources in your diet. This Hemp Powder is loaded with essential nutrients.
I encourage you to stay open-minded to try new foods and combinations. If you eat meat, consume leaner cuts, eat red meat in moderation, and avoid processed and deli meats. To preserve processed meats and deli meats, salt and other additives or added to the food. They are higher in saturated fat than lean, unprocessed meat, and they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Try to drink more water and incorporate more fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and nuts into your diet.
Annual doctor visits and blood analysis will help you to maintain viable health and to determine your nutritional needs. Finally, if your goal is to lose weight, I highly recommend that you avoid trendy diets. They are a temporary fix and, in most cases, when you return to “regular” food, you gain the old weight back and sometimes even more weight.
Instead chose proven methods that involve consistent lifestyle stages. A modified diet (nothing extreme) with gradual changes like swapping out your favorite high fat treat with a healthier version (oven-baked chicken vs fried chicken). Make a commitment to educate yourself and to learn about new foods and how to incorporate them into your diet.
Start an exercise program that includes a combination of strength training and cardio. If you are unfamiliar with weight training, find a knowledgeable trainer to learn proper technique.
While working with the trainer, do not be afraid to pick their brain by asking questions. Use the time to educate yourself and to build confidence so that you work alone.
Use social media to learn different exercises. There are no shortage of fitness pages to follow on Instagram.
Whatever you do, keep it moving and stay consistent. The old quote, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
There is no one giant step that does it. It is a lot of little steps. – Unknown