How to Recover from Injury Using a Little Known Bit of Science

How to Recover from Injury

Sometimes life slows you down and reveals the best kept secrets. I had the joy of interviewing Brendan Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. Brendan has been experimenting with different diets since he was 15.  Injury lead to discovery as Brendan’s life shifted him into a high-raw and 100% vegan diet.

Brendan is the author of Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, and more recently
Thrive Fitness.

How Brendan Recovered From Injury

One day in 2003 Brendan was hit by a car while cycling, and  landed on his hip. Unable to pedal, he couldn’t train anymore and had to stop racing.  Frustrated that he was not healing as quickly as he felt he should be, he again re-examined his diet.

Using this downtime Brendan formulated a type of recovery shake rich in plant-based protein, vitamins, chlorophyll rich algae, superfoods and omegas (click here to find out more).  He was then able to recover from the accident at an incredible rate. He credits this fast recovery to a mostly raw vegan, alkalizing diet and the very low nutritional stress it generates.

As a result, he’s able to train more and recover in less time.  Most of the time, athletes consume lots of meat-based protein, which is acid forming, but choosing plant-based protein offsets the acid and helps the body recover much faster. This journey has taught Brendan that eating lots of leafy greens, chlorella, and seaweeds will improve an athletes overall health and recovery.

He now spends his days not only as a full time athlete but as a writer and educator of the amazing benefits of a his raw/vegan lifestyle.  He is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100 percent plant-based. Thank you Brendan Brazier for sharing this gift with us and for being such an inspiration!

Get More From Brendan

Thrive Fitness

Check out Brendan’s latest book: Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness, where he explains his approach to healthy living for athletes and the regular guy or gal!

Thrive Fitness includes:

  • Benefits and usage of the top 15 foods to fuel workouts
  • 30 vegan, performance-enhancing recipes
  • Strategies to boost creativity, productivity, and mental sharpness

Let me know if you enjoyed this interview with Brendan Brazier, and who you’d like me to interview in upcoming series!

Love, Nathalie

Weight Loss Surgery & Diet

Today I am doing a little something special on the blog. I know that a lot of people come to raw foods when they need to lose weight, almost like a last resort. But what happens when you’ve tried all the diets and you still cannot lose the weight?

Weight Loss Surgery diet
Photo credit: Victoria

Since I’m no expert on weight loss surgery, I brought in my good friend Linda Eaves – here’s my interview with her. Be sure to read till the end to find out more about her support classes for weight loss surgery.

What do people need to know about weight loss surgery that they might not get from their initial research?

The amount of mental and emotional change that is involved with having this surgery. This is as much about your mind and emotions as it is post surgery diet and exercise. Most surgery approvals require a very short social worker evaluation in order to get your procedure. This is not enough. Many people who get this surgery are then left to figure out things completely on their own. The psychological impacts and adjustments to be aware of like mood swings, transfer addiction, anxiety, grief, and fear can be daunting.

Mindset and emotional well being are key to long lasting success and mastery of your health. When eating is used as a coping mechanism and that is suddenly taken away you experience your emotions full force sometimes for the first time in your life. Support in the way of a coach, online, or in person group will improve your likelihood of success by 75 percent.

Tell us your story, what has been your experience and how are you feeling now?

Since age 16, I’ve done everything you can imagine to try and lose weight: The Cambridge fast. The Atkins diet. Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig. Exercise. Portion control. Thinking myself thin. I also tried just living with it and getting involved with the size acceptance community. I’d have some success but nothing worked long term.

In 2008 I was having joint pain which kept me from wanting to move. Because of my health issues I stopped doing the things I loved and began staying at home more and more. This was affecting my quality of life, so I took charge and called my doctor.

The turning point was with my physician, who said….”Obviously you’ve tried to lose the weight with all the programs you’ve done through the years.”

“Maybe it’s OK to get a little bit of help. “

After hearing those words I was finally able to release my guilt and begin to see weight loss surgery simply as a treatment option and not a sign of failure.

After that, my physician’s office wrote the surgical referral letter and I was approved for the Bariatric surgery program. The approval process was next, with all the required tests, consultations, and a large group pre surgery orientation. On March 4th, 2009, I had the surgery and quickly started to feel better. As of this writing I’ve released 140 pounds and I got back a quality of life that I never thought I’d have. I feel great!

Who should consider weight loss surgery?

Note: I’m not here to sell you on surgery. I am here to tell my story from one patient’s point of view. This treatment was right for me. Having surgery is a personal decision that only you can make.

  • People who have dieted repeatedly with intense calorie restriction and exercise that hasn’t
    worked. Please see your doctor and ask about metabolic syndrome.
  • People with a BMI or Body Mass Index greater than 40 or who is 100 pounds or more over
    their ideal body weight. This is considered morbidly obese.
  • People with a BMI of 35, with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or
    sleep apnea, are also considered candidates for weight loss surgery.

The reason the weight keeps coming back isn’t a lack of will power, discipline, or following the programs perfectly. Morbid obesity is a condition that for some people needs to be addressed with surgical intervention.

How has the surgery changed how you interact with food?

Surgery is a tool; afterward it was a big reset button for me around appetite and food choices. I feel best when I eat non processed foods, the simpler the better. I crave vegetables and fruit. I can eat normal portions. I feel empowered and calmer around my food choices.

What can you teach others from your experiences with food?

That food is not an enemy, it’s a choice to have or not have and you can master it simply. That you are intuitive and there are answers inside you about why you eat what you eat. Nothing is off limits.

Tell us about your upcoming classes, and how people can get more good stuff from you.

I’m excited to offer you three classes beginning in November 2010!

Introduction to Weight Loss Surgery – An Emotional Perspective

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 from 8:30-10pm EST – $23

  • Strengths and drawbacks of each surgery type from a weight loss surgery patient’s
    perspective.
  • Emotional Considerations
  • What to Expect 1st Month
  • Resources [I’ll also give you my favorite list of positive, discreet, and free online resources
    for support.]

Joyful, Mindful Eating over the Holidays

Wednesday, November 17 2010 from 8:30-10pm EST – $23.

I don’t know about you my dears, but the minute I’m told I can’t do or have “a thing” – it becomes the most enticing thing in the world and I must have it, or do it. Food is neither good nor bad. It’s simply there to be eaten or not, and you’re the one in charge. Join me as we look at the connection between holiday eating and our experience. Family gatherings have special significance and emotional meaning. Learn how to balance your goals for healthy eating and still enjoy the season. Even if you over-serve yourself at the banquet table or bar!

Body Image: View from the Funhouse Mirror.

3 session course is offered on Wednesdays (December 1, 8, 15 2010) from 8:30-10pm EST. The cost is $73

We all know the media promotes an image that for most people – is thinner than natural. The theory is you can’t be happy unless you fit within a specific cookie cutter body size, shape, and height. Who is this mighty they? The advertisers and builders of products, whose main goal is to get you to buy their product through any means necessary. This includes playing on emotions and twisting things around to make you feel inadequate and unsure of yourself. Of course the solution is readily available with product X.

This class explores the possibility of celebrating and turning up the volume of your own uniqueness. Learn how to break the cycle of comparison and be done with wishing you were different.

linda-wish-granter

Linda Eaves is known as a “Professional Wish Granter” and loves consulting, nurturing creativity, and connecting people with what they need to help make their dreams come true! Check out more of my story, thoughts and advice at LindaEaves.com

7 Little Known Reasons NOT to Avoid Bacteria

“Anti-bacterial. Kills bacteria in one spray. Removes unseen bacteria, protecting you and your family.”

That’s what all those sterilizing cleaning products promise. But what if bacteria wasn’t something to be feared and squashed at every opportunity? What if your body’s relationship to bacteria was a symbiotic one instead.

Let’s explore this relationship we have with bacteria, and uncover the 7 misunderstood reasons why bacteria are actually good for you.

1. Bacteria and Fungi Lead to Fermentation

Microscopic bacteria and fungi are responsible for the fermentation of foods and drinks. They produce alcohol, lactic acid, and acetic acid that act as preservatives so that foods retain nutrients.

Our ancestors used fermentation, and thus bacteria, to preserve excess bounty for the long winter months. Fermented foods were also very useful during long voyages at sea because they retained nutrition for a long time.

2. Bacteria Make Foods Digestible

I talk a lot about eating foods that are easy to digest, and fermented foods are certainly more digestible.

Essentially, bacteria are acting as little helpers that work to pre-digest foods for us. This is incredible, since we often expend a lot of energy on digestion. So eating more fermented foods will lead to increased energy.

3. Fermentation Creates New Nutrients

Wild Fermentation

How could it be possible that a little fermentation could increase the amount of nutrients in food? Well the interesting phenomenon of microbial cultures proliferating actually creates B vitamins and even antioxidants.

4. Toxic Foods Become Edible

Another surprising benefit to bacteria and fungi fermentation is the removal of certain toxic elements.

Grains contain a compound that blocks the absorption of minerals into the body. However, with a little bit of fermentation these grains are now neutralized and edible.

5. Eating Live Bacteria Is Good For Your Stomach

The term “live” in live foods refers to eating foods that have not been destroyed, and in this case the bacteria is still alive.

Eating fermented living foods gives your stomach the intestinal flora that is necessary for digesting foods and absorbing nutrients.

Watch out for pasteurized foods, since these do not contain any live microorganisms.

6. Healthy Bacteria Compete with Harmful Strains

By eating fermented foods, healthy bacteria like Lactobacillus compete with diarrhea-related bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli.

That’s like having your own army to fend off competing invaders, instead of leaving your body to fend for itself.

7. Fermented Foods Help Protect Us from Disease

There are tons of ideas on how to prevent disease, but how many of them use probiotic organisms to do the work for you?

The body is not an isolated test tube, it is an ecosystem with many different factors at play. That’s why supplying it with health-supporting bacteria is a sure way to give your immune system a hand.

Here’s to Fermenting!

Wild Fermentation

In the book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz, there are literally 100 recipes on how to leverage healthy bacteria to make yummy fermented foods.

I highly suggest you pick it up to get an even deeper understanding on how simple and delicious fermented foods can be.

What’s your take on fermentation and bacteria?

Let me know in the comments, and share your favorite fermented foods with me!

Love, Nathalie

Raw Dog Food: What is this BARF Diet thing?

Hi. This is an informative article all about raw dog food, but it’s also an excuse for me to post photos of my new doggie. Her name is Millie Noodle, say hi!

Raw Dog Food

You know that eating fresh raw food is one of the most nutritious habits you can develop. It’s so easy to get lured into commercial foods, and that’s true about brand name dog foods too.

In today’s article I’m going to be explaining exactly what raw dog food is, and why you should care about it.

First, let me start with the story of Millie. I’ve been wanting to adopt a dog for a long time, and more seriously since January 2010 (see the doggy photos on my dreamboard).

I figured I’d adopt the dog and then figure out what I’d like to feed her. I’ve read a lot about raw food for humans, and done quite a few experiments on myself. But on a dog? I wasn’t sure I wanted to push a veggie diet on this little pooch.

Luckily for me, the rescue where I adopted this cute little stray Japanese Chin actually feeds their dogs an all raw diet.

Fate? Coincidence? Either way, I consider myself lucky to have connected with such knowledgeable dog experts.

Enter the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet

Known as “BARF” diet for short, it’s all about feeding dogs the freshest foods that are biologically appropriate for them.

I was a little worried about this part, since I didn’t want to push my dog to eat nothing but veggies just because that’s in line with my view of things.

It turns out that dogs do best on a raw meat diet, with about 20-40% raw vegetables and fruits. In fact, grains are responsible for most doggie maladies: itchy skin, coarse fur, allergic reactions, ear infections, and degenerative diseases.

Funny how there’s a parallel to a lot of human allergies to grains.

Raw Dog

Raw Dog Food Recipes

I have yet to make my own raw dog food, because I bought some fresh from this great place.

We got some dehydrated dog treats made from beef livers. (Funny how fast things change when you become a doggy-mommy.)

I’m impressed at how much the raw dog food industry parallels the raw human food one. What’s next – raw dog larabars? ;)

Here are a few great resources and recipes if you’re considering making your own raw dog food.

Woof! Conclusion!

I was a bit skeptical about feeding raw meat to this little bundle of love. But thinking back on my childhood dog (named Blackie) I remember that she used to bring home animal carcasses whenever she was lucky enough to find them in the wild. (I grew up in the country and a dead deer in the spring was apparently quite normal.)

So I think that if a dog naturally loves fresh raw meat and eating grass in the yard, then so be it. Why try to alter their diet and introduce more allergies and deficiencies?

I hope you enjoyed this short article on raw dog food! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be sure to answer them in the comments section.

I’m still new to this whole raw dog food thing, but I must say that it feels so much better than opening a bag of kibble.

Love, Nathalie

P.S. Isn’t Millie the cutest little thing ever?

Are You Missing Out on Important Nutrients Because You Don’t Supplement?

Could your health be suffering because you don’t supplement with vitamins and essential minerals?

When I first went raw, I thought vitamins and supplements were for the birds. Or rather that we didn’t need them. After all, I had my blood levels checked after I went raw and everything was fine.

Since then I’ve done a lot more research into the benefits of supplementation with vitamins and minerals. One of my most shocking discoveries was that modern day food doesn’t have the same level of nutrition that it once had because of modern farming practices.

Another realization was that most of us are not absorbing as many of the nutrients from our food as we should be. So in my opinion, I think it’s a good idea to supplement with a quality product that is highly bioavailable.

Supplements: Which Ones, and Why

I often get asked what supplements I take, and whether people should take supplements if they embark on a raw diet. The answer will depend on you, but I think that most people can’t afford to go cheap when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

I used to believe that we could get all the nutrition we needed from whole foods. However, more and more research is coming to light proving that produce doesn’t have nearly as much nutrition as it did years ago.

If you’re buying organic produce, or growing your own food, then the quality of the produce will be far better. However, I think that most people can still benefit from supplementation where certain vitamins are concerned.

Most Recommended Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin D3 is highly recommended, especially if you live in a cold climate where you don’t get at least 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight outside every day.

Vitamin D3 is synthesized by your skin when it is in contact with the sun. Vitamin D3 has been linked to cancer prevention and essentially tells your cells when to die after their lifetime is up – which is very important for cancerous cells.

Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that I think people should really consider. Since we’re mostly eating “sanitized” food we don’t get much B12 from our food. That’s why supplementing with B12 is important. It’s something that even meat-eaters should consider, since everyone is susceptible to a lack in Vitamin B12, not just vegans or vegetarians.

Vitamin C is super important for keeping your immune system strong, and can help with acne. I’ve seen really high recommended doses of Vitamin C, and it makes sense we would naturally get a lot by eating fruits.

There are tons of other vitamins and minerals out there too, but at a minimum these would be the ones to focus on.

Best Types of Supplements

Most people take supplements in solid pill form. However, the nutritional absorption of pills is very low… somewhere between 20-25% is actually absorbed into the body.

On the other hand, liquid supplements have a higher absorption rate of about 90-98%, and can be absorbed more quickly.

Think of liquid supplements as being very similar to juiced vegetables. The reason we juice vegetables is to get all the pure nutrients of the vegetables directly and bypass the digestion process. That’s why liquid nutritional supplements are ideal.

I think it’s really important to invest in a proven supplement, because not all supplements are made equal. I’ve tested several types of supplements on myself over the past year, and Vemma is the only supplement that I’ve gotten results with and can recommend.

There may be other great supplements out there, so definitely do your research.

Have An Awesome Day!

I hope this article gave you some food for thought on nutritional supplements.

Love, Nathalie