Plant-based diet?

For the past few years I have explored the limits of my physical capabilities and have found some answers while uncovering new questions. What I have found is that my physical limits are not solely limited by my physical attributes rather by my understanding of them.

With all this new free time on my hands because of my accident, including a 3-hour commute on the LIRR to work 5 days a week, I have become an avid reader. At first I started to read non-fiction books then, books by professional triathletes, followed by books on triathlon specific training and coaching, then a huge stint on doping in professional cycling and finally on food. A common theme woven throughout these books was achieving ultimate physical performance. I certainly won’t be doping but my curiosity and interest was spiked with the consistent mentioning of the benefits of plant-based diets.

For over a year I have been using Ignite Naturals’ nutrition products. Their products are based on organic ingredients that are high in antioxidants. There was no mistaking the physical benefits of their products during long and intense training sessions. The question that now needs to be answered is, how can I incorporate the foundation of Ignite Naturals products as well as what I read about a plant based diet into my everyday life?

My very first step towards a high antioxidant/plant based lifestyle (not diet) was letting my wife know that we will be playing a game everyday with our meals. The name of the game is, How Colorful Is Your Meal? This game is quite easy to play, make sure that whatever meal you are sitting down to is as colorful as possible. Typically the more colorful the plate, the healthier the meal is for you. This is not to say that a bowl of Lucky Charms is the healthiest meal ever created. The objective of this game is make sure that you incorporate as much color (vegetables, fruits, nuts etc) to ensure that your are eating as healthy as possible. The color can come from; lettuce, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, rices etc. The one obstacle that prevents most people from playing or winning this game is their lack of culinary skill.

Cooking vegetables is a lot easier than cooking meat since most vegetables can be ate raw. I told my wife that we should pick one or two vegetables per month and just experiment with different ways to cook it. We started off with broccoli and kale. Broccoli and kale are extremely easy to cook and involve little culinary skills. Can you turn on the stove? Can you melt butter, heat oil or use a steamer? Can you use a spatula? Our preliminary experiments with broccoli and kale were a success but I wanted more. I want the quickest, easiest, tastiest way to put plants in my body.

Based on recommendations from friends I was pointed to a drink called, Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS). I dug up the recipe online and gave it a whirl. Water, spinach, kale, apple, banana, water, LIQUIFY. The end product was glowing, green and absolutely delicious. I have continually experimented with adding and mixing different ingredients to the GGS and have been meet with constant success. Every day for the past month my wife and I have enjoyed this smoothie.

To compliment my efforts of eating better I have eliminated most of my caffeine intake, as well as cut out a lot of protein (meat).

There have been palpable health benefits from this evolving colorful diet. I have noticed an overall feeling of healthiness. I feel fuller longer after eating. My joints feel like they have been lubricated. I no longer feel bloated. My energy levels feel higher and sustained and I feel leaner.

As I experiment more with this plant-based diet, I’m realizing it’s true benefits. This is not to say that I’m on my way to becoming vegetarian, or vegan (I love cheeseburgers) but there is certainly something to be said about a plant-based diet.

I’m very interested to witness how my body reacts once I start triathlon training again.

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