The Conversation Continues: Eating Whole-Foods and Plants

I called my sister Madeline to see how her newly adopted plant-based diet was going. If you remember, Madeline inspired and encouraged me and my entire family to explore whole-foods and plants while eliminating meat, dairy, sugary and processed foods. We checked in yesterday and you'll never believe what she had to say!

Enjoy and comment below with any questions or thoughts! 

Light and Love,

Meredith


Meredith: Hey, so it's been two months since we started this diet. How is going for you?

Madeline: Good. It's been really fun to learn more about plants- I had no idea there were so many varieties and tastes.

Meredith: I know, right? It's been fun for me too- going to the market and choosing the most colorful, vibrant, and enticing vegetables. I've also haven't ever really been into cooking so I've been enjoying my extra time in the kitchen. Have you noticed any changes in your life?

Madeline: Hmmm... a lot of people have been asking me if I've noticed any changes in my energy levels. To be honest, I'm young and I think I had pretty stable energy levels before this change in diet. On the other hand, Mom and Dad have noticed a lot more sustained energy throughout the day. The main, and pretty significant, difference in my life is how fast I can run now!

Meredith: What do you mean? How fast can you run? 

Madeline: Well, you know I run a lot and go on two 10 mile runs each week. I used to average 9:25 minute miles. But now... I average 8:10 minute miles. That is over one minute faster for each mile! I've shaved 10 minutes off my long runs.

Meredith: What?! That is insane. Do you contribute your increase in speed to the diet?

Madeline: I certainly think it has helped. I have made a few other changes in my life and in my training routine that I think have also play a part.

Meredith: What else are you doing differently?

Madeline: Well, I'm more consistent with my training. I created a more difficult and strategic training plan this summer and have stuck with it. I also started practicing yoga three times a week, which I think helps with sustainability and recovery. 

Meredith: Interesting- you know I'm not that into running, but I would be curious to see the plan you followed. Maybe you can send it to me?

Madeline: Yeah, sure. I also changed my post-run shake to align with my diet, which I think has played a huge role in recovery time. I noticed that I'm never sore!

Meredith: What is in your post-run shake?

Madeline: almond milk, Vega Sport Protein Powder, a handful of greens, one banana, frozen or fresh fruit, 1/2 teaspoon of chlorella powder, 1/2 teaspoon of Maca Powder, a heaping teaspoon of flax seeds, ice, and a drizzle of blue agave or honey for sweetness.

                 Madeline's morning post-run shake

                Madeline's morning post-run shake

Meredith: What is chlorella and maca?

Madeline: Chlorella is an algae that contains 19 amino acids, making it a complete protein. It has the highest content of chlorophyl of all known plants, which acts to detox and oxygenate the body. I think chlorella has played a huge role in my speedy recoveries. And maca is a root that helps balance hormones and relieve stress. I think maca has helped me sustain my energy and intensity during long runs.

Meredith: Interesting, I'll have to look more into this. I wonder how you would modify this for someone who isn't as active as you are.

Madeline: I use Vega Sport Protein powder, but there is also a Vega One option that already has chlorella, maca, and flax among lots of other good things! I would recommend Vega One for anyone eating whole-foods and plants and the Vega Sport for anyone extra active, like me. I use the Vega Protein for extra muscle strength to support my running. In general, these smoothies are an easy way to make sure you are getting the proper spectrum and amounts of plant protein and amino acids. 

Meredith: Yes, it does seem like a quick and efficient way to get all the good things into your body. I've been doing a lot of cooking and do spend quite a bit more time in the kitchen than I did before. Ease and convenience seem to be major concerns for people who are interested, but hesitant to explore the plant-based diet. I know you and the rest of the family recently spent some time in the Florida Keys. Was it hard to travel on this diet?

Madeline: Surprisingly, not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. We didn't plan ahead and pack meals for the drive down, but we still managed to find protein-rich items at fast food restaurants likes Chipotle and even Wendy's! And when we ate out in the keys, the chefs were all very accommodating. 

Meredith: So you have managed to stay very active and travel on the whole-foods and plant-based diet. What would you recommend for someone who is curious, but overwhelmed by the idea of giving up meat and dairy?

Madeline: I would recommend learning all you can! Knowledge about animal protein vs. plant protein and their effects on the body was more than enough motivation for me to go all in. Like I mentioned before, Forks Over Knives is a great starting point and source of inspiration. 

Meredith: And I think curiosity is what made this approachable for me. I went in thinking this was an exploration, not a permanent change. I don't think I'll ever go back to eating meat as my main source of protein, but I could see myself eating locally caught fish or even pizza everyone once in a while. I feel energized, clean, and AWAKE when eating whole-foods and plants and that is what keeps me going. 

Madeline: Yes, this diet seems to support the the active and full lifestyle that I want to live. 

Meredith: You have been home for the summer, but are about to go back to college. I wonder how your school environment will effect this diet. Let's reconnect in a few weeks. 

Madeline: Yes, me too. Even though my school has good and healthy options, I do think I will blend my own smoothies and cook more in the communal kitchen. I'll feel it out and update you when I know more. Thanks for taking the time to listen, explore, and share my journey.

Meredith: Likewise- love you, sis! I'm very proud of and inspired by you and your commitment to your own well-being.