April 1, 2012

The Thrive Diet & My Prenatal Choices

On Tuesday I wrote that, due to medical need while pregnant, and after much study and prayer, I have decided (with the full support of my husband) to implement three new practical things into my life:
  1. 150 mg of vitamin B6 every single day
  2. No white flour or white sugar (which I have already implemented since the beginning of January, but haven't been as strict with this one as I am going to be while pregnant).
  3. And I am now, what I have humorously nicknamed as, "A Gestational Vegan."
A couple of days later my phone rang and I listened as a dear friend of mine shared her extremely valid concerns with me.  It was a wonderful conversation.  We currently disagree.  Wait, did she just say that they disagree and also that it was a wonderful conversation??  Indeed.  :)

It is a precious thing, that speaks volumes of the depth, when two friends can disagree with one another, be willing to listen to each others information and current beliefs on a subject, handle themselves with grace, and conclude the conversation with willingness, no, gladness to speak again on the subject; plus the added bonus of laughter and plans of upcoming play dates with our children.

Our conversation challenged me (in a good way).  It helped me form my thoughts more completely concerning writing this post!  :)

di·et/ˈdī-it/

Noun:
  1. The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
  2. A legislative assembly in certain countries.
Verb:
Restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight: "it is difficult to diet in a house full of cupcakes".
Synonyms:
nutrition - nourishment - food - regimen - dietary

I will not speaking today on diet in the verb sense, but rather the more common use of the word as a noun, being: the kinds of food that a person habitually eats.

There are many, many diets found in the world. 
  • There are belief-based diets, such as the Buddhist, Edenic, Maker's or Bible, Hallelujah, Hindu and Jain, the Islamic Dietary Laws, and Kosher (just to name a few).
  • There are low-calorie diets, such as Body For Life, Cookie, Hacker's, Nutrisystems, and Weight Watchers (there are many, many more).
  • Also low-carbohydrate diets like Atkins and Dukan.
  • And, of course, the endless list of low-fat diets (that are currently supported in America by the USDA).
  • There are also Crash Diets to aid in losing weight, examples such as Cabbage Soup, Grapefruit, Israeli Army, and Subway.
  • Detox Diets like Juice Fasting (and much more).
  • Diets followed for medical reasons: Diabetic, Gluten-free, Best Bet, DASH, and Ketogenic. 
  • And let's not forget about the thousands upon thousands more, like: Blood Type, Fit For Life, Gerson Therapy, High Protein, Low-Glycemic, Mediterranean, South Beach, Vegetarian, and Vegan.
This list could literally go on forever.  For...Ev...Ver.  *Said like Squints from The Sandlot*

I think we can all agree that just because there are thousands of diets out there to choose from, doesn't actually mean that they are all healthy choices.  Some are just idiotic and can be life-threatening, if you don't mind my being a little blunt for a change (could possibly be the pregnant hormones influence).  ;)

Just like there are thousands of diet lifestyles, there are also many, many different diets to choose from within diets, such as The Vegetarian Diet and The Vegan Diet.

I have silent, genuine issue with those people that choose to either --
  1. Become a Vegetarian or Vegan out of being apart of a fad or
  2. Become a Vegetarian or Vegan ignorantly (without studying how to do it healthfully).
There are a very many people who are Vegetarian or Vegan that are extroidinarily unhealthy because they never took time to study what nutrition their body needs and how to receive it while participating in these diet lifestyles. 
And honestly, it is my opinion that it is the physical evidence of those people that give both lifestyles a "bad name" or pass around this rumor that "That's not healthy!" or "Where do they get their protein, good fats,  minerals, etc, etc??"

I wrote some time back about complete proteins, what they are, and where they are found.  Protein is made of smaller components called amino acids, 12 of which are manufactured by the human body. Another 9, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from food. A complete protein or whole protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids.
  • All animal proteins are complete, including red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy.  (Win for the animal / animal by-product consumers!) 
  • However, Vegetarians and Vegans will be happy to know that complete proteins can also be obtained through certain plants, such as soy, spirulina, hemp seed, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa.  (Win for either group!) 
Foods can be combined to make complete proteins like pairing beans with rice or corn. There are other combinations as well. Beans and seeds, beans and nuts, and beans and grains will form a complete protein. When you eat hummus and pita bread, nut butter on whole grain bread, pasta with beans, veggie burgers on bread, split pea soup with whole grain bread, and tortillas with re-fried beans, you are eating complete proteins.  Also, recent studies show that the beans and the grains don't even need to be eaten at the same meal, so if you eat beans for lunch and rice with dinner, you've got yourself a complete protein. You may spread your food combination over a 2-day period.

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products.  
  • Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose.
  • Dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only. 
  • Environmental vegans reject the use of animal products on the premise that the industrial practice is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.
Now, onto The Thrive Diet & why it's different from other Vegan lifestyles- 
Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete, a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion, the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called VEGA, and the bestselling author of Thrive. He is also the developer of the acclaimed ZoN Thrive Fitness program and the formulator of the new (September, 2011) award-winning, 7-product natural VEGA Sport system.The creator of THRIVE FOODS Direct,  Brendan developed the plant-based, whole food delivery service based on his nutritional philosophy, which he adapted from his Thrive book series.  It launched in December of 2011. Recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on plant-based nutrition, Brendan is a guest lecturer at Cornell University and presents an eCornell module entitled "The Plant-Based Diet and Elite Athleticism."

Brendan clearly describes why its easier for the body to utilize nutrient-rich foods in their natural state than refined, processed foods and how to choose nutritionally efficient, stress-busting whole foods to maximize energy and health. And because plant-based foods are more environmentally friendly to produce, you will also help the planet while improving your personal health.

In a nutshell, "The Thrive Diet - The Vegan Nutrition Guide" focuses on -
  • Ensuring plant or grain based complete proteins, Vitamin B12, Iron, Calcium, and Omega 3 Fatty-Acids
  • High net gain nutrition
  • Alkaline-forming foods
  • Avoiding common allergens
  • And also the elimination of biological debt

So, what am I eating?
  • Vegetables - Lots of leafy greens (which are a rich source of chlorophyll), fibrous vegetables (which are the base of a nutrient-dense diet), some starchy veggies, and sea vegetables (which contain 10x the calcium of cow's milk and several times more iron than red meat, plus they're easy to digest, chlorophyll-rich and alkaline forming).
  • Legumes - Including beans, lentils and peas, legumes are naturally high in fiber, protein, and many vitamins and minerals.
  • Seeds - If I get started talking about flaxseed I won't be able to ever stop, so just know that it's ridiculously amazing for you, having the highest level of omega-3 of all the plants in the plant kingdom, it's high potassium and fiber, and is anti-inflammatory!  Also hemp (which is a complete protein, contains vitamins, minerals, high-quality balanced fats, antioxidants, fiber, and chlorophyll), pumpkin seeds (rich in iron), sesame seeds (big source of calcium), and sunflower seeds (rich in protein, trace minerals and several vitamins, also being high in vitamin E and rich with antioxidants).
  • Pseudograins - Amaranth (high in protein, particularly rich in lysine - an essential amino acid, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, fatty acids, and vitamins A & C), Buckwheat (contains 8 essential amino acids and protein), Quinoa (nutritionally comparable to amaranth plus rich source of B vitamins, and my personal favorite!), and Wild Rice (high in B vitamins and essential amino acids).
  • Fruit - My favorites are Apples, Kiwis, Mangos, Bananas, Melons, Berries, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Figs, Plums, and Grapefruit!
  • Oils - I am consuming high-quality, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil, and extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Nuts - Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Cashews, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and more.
  • Grains - Brown Rice, Millet, Spelt, and more. (But NO white flour or even "whole wheat" that is not truly whole wheat)
  • Next-Level Foods (meaning foods that offer benefits above and beyond a standard healthy diet) - Coconut water, Green tea, Acai, and more.
  • Additives - Agave Nectar (which comes from the blue agave cactus, and is a great choice for a healthy sweetener), apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast, stevia (also an alternative sweetener found in a leaf native to Paraguay), and more. No (or in my case: very, very little) salt.
  • Herbs - lots of them.  ;)
In addition, I am a firm believer in the multifaceted nutritional benefits of the following, and will continue to have them apart of my diet -
  • Real Butter (made from the milk from cows fed a diet of organic hay and grains, and are not treated with antibiotics or synthetic hormones)
  • Eggs
  • Bone Broth
I began this lifestyle, along with my husband and our children at the beginning of the year, and couldn't be more pleased with the results we have all experienced inside our bodies and also on the scales (which though it was not a primary reason for this life-change, it comes as a happy side-note to my husband and I - though let me be clear, our children have not lost weight on this diet, in fact have had their yearly "check-ups" and I have been told that they are extroidinarily healthy).

We have not followed this lifestyle one hundred percent, however; between 80-90% actually.  
This is where my prenatal change has come into play.  I am now doing my best to be 100% in line with these healthy choices.

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1 comment:

  1. You might find Chia seeds to be as awesome as flax seed. Have you read about those--I'd like to do more with them :)
    What's your source of sea vegetables? I'd like to find a good source for something in that category.
    Have you checked into cod liver oil as a supplement?
    I want to encourage you that you are living out your resolution in this area to "live intentionally".
    Love you, friend!

    ReplyDelete

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