Wednesday, 27 November 2013

My 3 favourite Vegan recipes this month

Porridge! Breakfast
 
 

Ingredients


Porridge oats
Water
Coconut milk
Cinnamon
Honey

Place porridge oats covered with water into a saucepan over night. Turn heat to full and stir in the same amount of coconut milk as water (amounts will vary depending on how much porridge you want to make.) While cooking sprinkle cinnamon over (I use a lot), serve piping hot and add honey to taste. Cooking time 7-8mins.


Veggie Burgers! Lunch


Ingredients

1 large onion
1 cup sweet potatoes
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup courgette
1 cup carrots
200g kidney beans
100g ground walnuts
1 Thick slice of dairy free bread
Spices; cumin, ginger, mixed spice and curry powder
Wet mix; tomato ketchup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar

Chop the onion and fry it on a pan with a splash of water and a shake of cumin and ginger. Add all the vegetables after chopping them into small pieces. Cook on a med-high heat until all veg soften. Once cooked allow to cool slightly add the kidney beans and walnuts. Blend the contents in a food processor. Return contents to pan on a low heat. Blend the bread into bread crumbs and add to mix along with 1 tables spoon of tomato ketchup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and curry powder. Stir until all contents are mixed well.
Once mixed form the contents into patties. The amount you get depend on the size of the patties you make, I usually get about 8-10.

These take about 30mins to make, but keep well in the fridge and are a real easy lunch option if placed in a pitta bread with some houmous and spinach!



Pad Thai! Dinner


Ingredients

1 red onion (Cumin, ginger, and parsley)
1 clove of garlic
150g cashew nuts
150g bean sprouts
150g sugar snap peas and baby corn
150g mushrooms

8 baby peppers (yellow and orange)
1 lime
1 packet of straight to wok rice noodles
Soy sauce 7 table spoons
Honey 2 tablespoons

Fry the red onion and garlic clove (after chopping finely) in H2O on a wok high heat, sprinkle with cumin, parsley and ginger and lower heat. On a medium heat add cashews, bean sprouts sugar snap peas, baby corn and mushrooms and cook for 8mins. Turn heat up to high and add peppers, squeeze the lime on top, stir continually. Turn heat to medium, add noodles and sauce (separately mix 7 table spoons of soy sauce and 2 table spoons of honey). Continually stir and mix noodles for 4mins and then turn heat up to high, cook for a further 6mins stirring continually and serve.

Run fast, eat slow but most of all RunSensible!

Neil
@RunSensible






  • 1  pound can of beans, drained and rinsed, or 1.5 cups cooked beans (suggestions: your favorite bean!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced veggies (suggestions: carrots, celery, mushrooms, chopped spinach, chopped kale, corn, chopped artichokes, zucchini, squash, sweet potato)
  • 2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons oil for frying (suggestions: olive, coconut, grapeseed)
  • 3 tablespoons liquid flavor (mix and match suggestions: mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, vegan worcestershire, buffalo sauce, balsamic vinegar, salsa, pasta sauce, marsala, water)
  • 4 teaspoons spice (we recommend combining at least two: smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, montreal steak seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fennel, oregano, curry powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit or reduce if your liquid or spices contain salt)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient (suggestions: buckwheat, unsweetened protein powder, bread crumbs, cornmeal, oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup texture ingredient (suggestions: chopped walnuts, olives, avocado, sundried tomatoes, leftover cooked rice/quinoa/bulgur, parsley, cilantro, basil)
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the onion, veggies, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor and pulse with beans, liquid flavor, spice, salt until combined but still chunky. Pulse in the dry base and texture ingredient.
Form into golf ball size balls and flatten into patties.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Fry patties 2-3 minutes per side until browned and heated through.
- See more at: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/veggie-burger-recipe/#sthash.eK80rRy8.dpuf
  • 1  pound can of beans, drained and rinsed, or 1.5 cups cooked beans (suggestions: your favorite bean!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced veggies (suggestions: carrots, celery, mushrooms, chopped spinach, chopped kale, corn, chopped artichokes, zucchini, squash, sweet potato)
  • 2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons oil for frying (suggestions: olive, coconut, grapeseed)
  • 3 tablespoons liquid flavor (mix and match suggestions: mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, vegan worcestershire, buffalo sauce, balsamic vinegar, salsa, pasta sauce, marsala, water)
  • 4 teaspoons spice (we recommend combining at least two: smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, montreal steak seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fennel, oregano, curry powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit or reduce if your liquid or spices contain salt)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient (suggestions: buckwheat, unsweetened protein powder, bread crumbs, cornmeal, oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup texture ingredient (suggestions: chopped walnuts, olives, avocado, sundried tomatoes, leftover cooked rice/quinoa/bulgur, parsley, cilantro, basil)
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the onion, veggies, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor and pulse with beans, liquid flavor, spice, salt until combined but still chunky. Pulse in the dry base and texture ingredient.
Form into golf ball size balls and flatten into patties.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Fry patties 2-3 minutes per side until browned and heated through.
- See more at: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/veggie-burger-recipe/#sthash.eK80rRy8.dpuf

Friday, 15 November 2013

How I became a Vegan!

"The best doctors give the least medicine"
How I became a Vegan!


At the beginning of this year (2013) I was training for the Paris marathon. While training I was experiencing abdominal cramp and bouts of diarrhea during or immediately after running. These symptoms had been going on for years at a low grade level and I suppose it only became an annoying issue when I started training again for a marathon. It had been 5 years since my last marathon. In the 5 years between Dublin 2008 and Paris 2013 I learned a lot about the human body and alternative health, having spent 5 years studying to be an Osteopath, 3 years previous to that studying Physical therapy and one year studying human nutrition.

So I recognised something was wrong as I am sure most people would have. However instead of running to the doctor which a lot of people might do, I took control of the situation and implemented Hippocrates adage "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". When doctors take the Hippocratic oath, they leave this piece out. Why is that? 
I knew the most likely suspects were either gluten or lactose both of which I was all too fond of. During late February 2013 I switched from regular milk to lactofree milk and to no surprise at all my symptoms virtually went away over night. After about 2 weeks I was running with about 80% reduction in symptoms and I felt much better day to day. 4 weeks after switching to lactofree produce I switched to soya milk and butter and it was then that the symptoms went away completely.

Sometime during those 3-4 weeks I saw a post on twitter that caught my eye. A guy who I follow who is also a runner re-tweeted a post by @RichRoll, I'd usually have scanned over this without paying it any attention but on this occasion I opened the link. It was then that my whole view on nutrition changed dramatically. It would do a great disservice to Rich Roll if I was to contextualise his message, so here is a link to his website, blog, podcast and book.
Since I was ramping up the miles on the pavement and my music list was driving me insane  I needed a new audio wave and the Rich Roll Podcast came at the perfect time. Any time I was heading out for a long run I put the latest podcast onto my iPod shuffle and go. It was new content every time and the discussions were right on my wave length; nutrition, performance, long distance events, running, triathlon and disease prevention. There was a new light shining at the end of the tunnel and I liked the look of it.

I'd been off dairy over a month and the next step I took was to introduce a green juice or smoothie into my daily routine. Here is a link to what I do and what goes into each juice. I played around with that for a few weeks and the more and more I listened to Rich Roll interviewing amazing guest the more and more I learned. The more I learned the more I changed and as I changed, my habits did too.
I starting eating more raw food, carrots or cucumbers dipped in humus, bananas, raisins, seeds and nuts. I was enjoying the food and I just kept feeling better and better. I was still eating meat, fish, chicken and eggs at this point and hadn't really considered being fuelled totally by plants.

During the final few days leading up to the Paris marathon I reduced the animal products in my diet considerably and my energy surged. I was far from plant powered but it felt good. After the race I continued reading and researching nutrition, performance and disease prevention. I continued listening to podcast while running and I stumbled upon the ultrarunner podcast, it was after listening to those guys interviewing Christopher Mc Dougall that led me to read Born To Run and therefore discover the superhuman powers of Scott Jurek who in my opinion is the best runner this planet has ever produced. After finishing Born to Run I immediately read Scott's book Eat and Run. This was the tipping point that changed my whole thought process. Here were 2 guys (Rich and Scott) with enormous physical and mental strength who seemed like really nice guys (unlike most elite sports persons), they were both vegans and both doing really well in endurance sports.

The more time I spent researching these guys and their message I kept coming across the plethora of confounding facts that suggest this lifestyle is the way to health and the most likely to avoid the 2 main killers of the western world, Heart Disease and Cancer, disease of affluence.  Both those disease processes along with many other western diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid and Osteo Arthritis (and many more inflammatory conditions), multiple sclerosis, dementia and depression seem to have a strong link to ingestion of animal products. Without trying to over simplify the message in the China study, these diseases are far more prevalent in regions that eat more animal products than those that don't. And the bell curves of the two variables follow each other remarkably close as you move from an area of low to high animal product consumption while watching amount of people suffering from those diseases.

Slowly over about 5 months I morphed into a vegan without setting out on that path. It really snow balled when leading up to the Dublin marathon I discovered Brendan Brazier's 7 day vegan challenge. It's a useful tool aimed at getting people more mindful about what they eat. I took the challenge and you can too here.
I came across Brendan Brazier and the vegan challenge while listening to @RichRoll interview @Drgarthdavis here #50. The content of this message should be curriculum in high school years, that is how you tackle the health problem.

For 15 days leading up to the Dublin marathon I ate only plants, I felt great and I really enjoyed the food. After the marathon myself and the rest of the guys in my running club went out for dinner to celebrate our achievements. I ordered some pork ribs for starters and a chicken pad thai for mains. That night I couldn't sleep, I felt like crap. For the next few days I my diet contained some animal products and my energy plumeted again, I didn't feel like exercising and my joints began to hurt.

So without ever really planning it or even contemplating that I would ever want to be a vegan, I became one.

What is a vegan?

The word Vegan comes from the first 3 letters and last 2 letters of vegetarian. Vegans don't eat animal products. That means no meat, chicken, fish, dairy, cheese or any other animal source food. The simple way to look at it is to ask a question of the food you are eating. Did this come from a source that had a face? If it did vegans don't eat it.

Why choose a vegan diet?

I chose a vegan diet because it yields enormous health benefits and reduces the risk of some of the well known killers significantly. I didn't come into this lifestyle with an animal ethics or welfare view point. However once you open that Pandora's box it is impossible to turn a blind eye to some of the practices of large scale farming. The much publicised what came before video highlights these acts.

As a primary healthcare practitioner I don't believe it is possible to consider health without balancing, nutrition, fitness and spirituality. In osteopathy we investigate the biological, psychological and social aspects of every condition before diagnosing and treating. Ignoring the animal ethics would be a contradiction for me.

Is it a boring way to eat?

I asked the same question too but once I got started I really enjoyed exploring new recipes and ways to cook food. It made me a much better cook and opened my eyes to so many tasty foods I had never eaten before. Below are some links to what I use.

No Meat Athlete recipes

Mind Body Green  meal plans

My Vega meal plans

The Happy Pear videos of easy foods

How do you get enough protein?

The protein question is the most obvious question you'll get asked by people who don't understand a vegan diet, or any nutritional matters. We as a species just like all other animals don't need any specific protein in our diet. We can not ingest proteins through our intestinal wall and its a good idea that we don't. Foreign proteins would kill you in minuets. What we need and use are amino acids. Plants contain proteins just like animals only the percentage in plants is far lower and the structure of these proteins is much simpler. These simplier proteins can be dismantled far easier in our intestines and assimilated far quicker, requiring less energy and producing far less free radical damage. Animal proteins are always accompanied by saturated fats, plants are not.
The proteins in plants yield more than enough amino acids for our liver to build the proteins we need to live and thrive and if you don't believe me check these guys and girls out.

Scott Jurek ultra distance runner, winner of Western States 7 times in a row

Mac Danzig Mixed Martial Arthist and UFC fighter



Brendan Brazier Ironman endurance athlete



The list is endless here

Over consumption of high protein foods accompanied by saturated fat is a guaranteed way to develop heart disease, high blood pressure and many cancers. It is for those reasons primarily that I have chosen a plant based life style.

Thanks Rich Roll.

Neil



Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Race report Dublin marathon 2013!

Clock watching, hoping it would end!
It's taken me a while to write this post because my marathon didn't really go to plan and I had another bad day on the road. The last bad day I had was at the half marathon when I felt a bit ill and really tired, I dug deep that day and finished in a respectable 1hr32mins. That wasn't the case for this race report.

The overall training for Dublin hadn't been ideal, right around when I should have been planning a training schedule I was moving country. I was running every day at that time and feeling really good. However the weeks and months that followed didn't quite go to plan. My life was changing day to day. I was developing myself as an osteopath and working in different clinics across the city. Any training regime I had was impossible to keep because work demands were my top priority. I did a lot of running but there was no structure, I don't think I did any specific speed or interval sessions.
I ran every day for 72 days covering almost 700km during May-August and this gave me a great fitness base. Without any real prep I ran a PB in the Dublin Rock n' Roll half marathon. This gave me a confidence (perhaps a cockiness) that I had become a better runner, that after all was why I did the run streak.

Tildy and her twin sister!
Brotherly hug for a birthday boy!
I took over an osteopathy clinic the week before the marathon. We celebrated my sons 2nd birthday on the Friday afternoon of that week by having family and friends over, I stayed up late. The next day my sister got married, I had a super busy morning followed by the ceremony and a fantastic night of celebrating, I stayed up very late and drank more than 1 glass of wine. We stayed the night in the hotel had breakfast with my family the next day and drove 2hrs to race registration, registered and picked up my swag bag. We drove home, I dropped my wife off and immediately drove to the airport to collect some friends from London that had come to stay with us for a few days.That night I had 2 social beers and reminisced about London life with good friends.The next morning was race day. And I felt good!

I felt good at the beginning of the race and confident that I'd run under 3hrs20min. I thought a sub 3hr10min was unrealistic after partying at the wedding 2 nights before so I ran with the 3hr20pacers. The pace felt easy and from about 3-4km I was tempted to take off and run at a more comfortable albeit faster pace. I didn't because I knew my pre race preparation had been below par. Plus I needed to PEE really bad, which is strange for me.
I upped my pace to gain some ground with the notion of slipping back in after a PEE stop. I did and my plan worked. I settled back in and once again the pace seemed a bit slow. I needed to PEE,,, AGAIN!!!
I upped the pace again and implemented the same plan which worked, when I settled back in the pace still seemed a bit slow and I was feeling really cold all of a sudden even though I was sweating. I began to run a more comfortable pace and slowly made my way up the road away from the 3hr20min pacers. I was still feeling slightly cold and I needed to PEE,,, yes, again. I stopped and relieved myself for a third time having never need to do so before in a race. Overall I was still feeling good and the miles clicked away until the 20 mile point. I passed the banner for 20 miles and then just stopped.....

I'm not sure why, at the time it seemed like a good idea! I don't remember feeling that bad before I stopped. I had been fuelling with raisins and sweet potatoes and I wasn't hungry or bonking. I think I was exhausted, I think on a subconscious level I knew before the race even stated that I wast going to make it and now just after 20 miles I had stopped and I didn't want to continue. I needed to PEE again and I was feeling really cold, I was hoping I could find my friend who I knew was watching somewhere around 21 miles. I was out, I decided after seeing another competitor receiving medical attention that I'd DNF. I just wanted to go home.
I walked for about a mile and thought about life, family and friends. I envied my sister and her husband, they were just about to set off for a cruise around the Caribbean while I was cold and lonely while surrounded by thousands of people, the crowd were great and the encouragement got me going.
I did a few maths calculations and decided to stick it out. I was past the place my friend said he'd be and I didn't see him. So if I ran slowly I could still post my third fastest marathon time, which would mean making it back before 3hrs45mins. I thought of the 10,000 or so competitors that would be delighted with that time. I stuck it out but it was tough, I was cold, shivering and I needed to PEE. 6 times in total I stopped to PEE during that race and when I got home I discovered I had a bladder infection, which probably added to the pre race exhaustion, the shivers and the decision to stop.

I finished in 3hrs40mins. I collected my medal and made my way home. I was happy I finished and felt ok once I showered and put on some extra layers. The next day my body felt good, this, was the clear indication that I hadn't hit the wall at the 20 mile mark. Not all decisions to stop are due to physiological walls that people run into! I had been on a plant based diet for the 2 weeks leading up to this race and I attribute this to lack of pain the day after the race.

Run fast, run long but most of all RunSensible.

Neil



Friday, 25 October 2013

Day 12 #7dayvegan

I've been eating a plant based diet for 12 days now and so far it's been great. My goal was to continue until the Dublin marathon on day 15. I'm not sure I'll go back to the old ways. My energy has definitely soared, I feel much better and although it was never a real problem I sleep better too. During the first few days I wasn't sure what I was going to eat. If I was going to fail it would be due to monotony and mundane food choices. However since then I've visited a plethora of information on line and I've learned how to cook a few new things which taste great too. 

What have I been eating?

Breakfast:

Porridge oats made with 50/50 water and soya/coconut milk with cinnamon and manuca honey on top and a tea spoon of Amal powder sprinkled in during cooking.

One large black coffee

Or 

A green juice, see contents here!

Lunch

A combination of rice, pasta, seeds, spinach, humous and beet root, with extra virgin olive oil dressing.

Or

Quinoa, pasta, kidney beans, orange pepper and humous, with 3-4 slices of dairy free bread. 

Or if I am at home I might make a pea and mint soup. 

Fry an onion in a saucepan with water, add tumeric and ginger.
Add 400mls water with vegetable stock and 400mls frozen peas, bring to boil and simmer.
Add parsley and mint. 
3-4 slices of dairy free bread.

Snack

A smoothie: 2 bananas, soya milk, frozen blue berries or mango 

Or

2-3 bananas, or an apple with a handful of nuts or seeds

Dinner

Veggie burgers (I found this recipe on nomeatathlete.com) with spinach, pasta and roasted sweet potatoes

Or

Veggie (courgette, yellow pepper, onion, mushrooms and asparagus) stir fry with brown rice and a red Thai curry sauce made with coconut milk.

I've been eating a lot more than what's outlined above and I'll share some more details on that at a later date. The theory is to continue on a plant based diet until the Dublin marathon this coming Monday. However my sister is getting married this Saturday so it's all going to get a little tricky. There a two other plant based guests at the wedding so I'll have support. I'll need it!

So why a plant based diet?

Our sole purpose as beings on this planet is to reach sexual maturity, reproduce healthy off spring and raise them to sexual maturity. Once you achieve this, it's job done. What you eat in order to achieve this is entirely up to you. 

There are many people who will argue that you should really eat lots of meat to be strong, or dairy to have good bones, while there are also people who will argue the opposite.
I've been working in health and fitness industry for 15 years. I've studied both physical therapy and osteopathy, I've read hundreds of research papers and written one. I also studied nutrition for a year, which is a lot more than most people. I've made a choice after lots of searching, reading, studying and implementing that a plant based diet is by far the healthiest. In fact I'd say it's the only health promoting diet. With my experience, which I think is quite modest I still get people who are over weight and not particularly fit telling me my life style choices are wrong. They usually reproduce some buzz phrase that we were brain washed with as kids "them bones, them bones need calcium" when I explained I don't eat dairy. 

What do I mean by diet?

When I refer to my diet, I'm referring to what I eat. I'm not talking about a regime I must stick to for a period of time. A period which is usually filled with self obsession, constant cravings and monitoring weight loss. I think that's what most people think of when they read 'diet'. Fad diets don't work if health and long term weight loss are your goals. 

Whatever you choose to eat, eat it and enjoy it. If you are concerned about health issue you might have now, or you might get in the future, take some time to research what you can eat to make yourself feel and function better. Be more mindful about your actions. 
Avoid taking advice from celebrities, magazines or anybody trying to sell you this information. It's really simple and it's free, in fact you probably know it all already you've just turned your back on it many many years ago, just like I did. 

Here are some of the web sites and books I've been using