Where Do I Get My Protein on a Vegan Diet?

Here:

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And here:

(I would add Nutritional Yeast, Kale, Sunflower seeds, Romaine Lettuce, Sprouted Seeds & Beans, Mushrooms and Corn to that last)

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The truth is, it is extremely difficult in Western society to be deficient in protein.

You don’t even need thick steaks if you’re a bodybuilder or any other kind of meat or dairy product if you’re a top-notch athlete: there are many top bodybuilders, ironmen, ultra-marathon runners and other sports people who are vegans.

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Several members of the US Rio Olympic team are on a plantbased diet. Champion tennis players Serena and Venus Williams are on plantbased diets and Novak Djokovic recently opened his own vegan restaurant. Arnold Schwarzanegger is advocating transitioning to a plantbased diet! Former President Bill Clinton changed to a vegan diet when he had bypass surgery. Carl Lewis, champion athlete, also competed on a vegan diet.

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Almost all wholefoods contain some protein to varying amounts, so all you need to do is eat a wide variety of *real* foods, as opposed to processed, chemical-laden sugary ‘foods’ that call themselves vegan and you will get all the quality protein and nutrients you need.

Excessive protein intake can overload the kidneys, make them work harder and cause dehydration.

Research from Australia and the US shows that a varied vegan diet is healthy for both children and adults. Even the the latest US eating guidelines advise more plantbased foods.

I had a meat-eating pregnancy and a vegetarian pregnancy, guess which was healthiest and easiest? The vegetarian one by far. My children were brought up vegetarian, one has always been a keen sports enthusiast and an on-again-off-again vegan, athlete, orienteer, climber and cyclist, while the other has done gymnastics, horse-riding, running, become a lifeguard and gym enthusiast, but nowadays mostly enjoys yoga, swimming and cycling.

One family member has to have a low protein diet for medical reasons and has been plantbased all his life, he’s an outdoor activities leader and specialises in canoeing and climbing.

The babies and toddlers in our family are initially brought up vegan, until they want to choose foods for themselves. Even the ones who choose to occasionally include meat still have a mostly vegetable and fruit content to their diet and all are active, with the older ones being keen cyclists, swimmers, basketball players and Kung fu exponents!

Vegan food is not all brown and boring!* (see below for links to recipes).

It’s mostly about educating yourself and cooking from scratch as much as possible, but you can still find quality vegan convenience food and snacks. And you don’t have to spend hours creating special meals. That certainly wouldn’t work in our household! There are recipes in the blog menu for both savoury, sweet and raw vegan meals as well as some healthy snacks. Instagram is also a great place to find vegan accounts and websites for advice and recipes.

Resources: Vegan Family TV a YouTube channel run by a couple with two young children, it’s fun and informative about their everday lives as vegans. They regulalry try out new products and the girls do their own broadcasts.

The Vegan Society has an article which includes protein requirements and protein sources.

PS Here is a link to a short, informative article about the current trend for protein shakes, protein-added products, the possible overdosing on protein and its feared health repercussions in 10-15 years’ time, especially on teenage boys and men:

Are You Overdosing On Protein?

*See 3 Vegan Meals with Chilli, Quinoa, Tacos & Steamed Veg (but no Quorn!)

Rocket (Arugula) Salad with Sweetcorn, Walnut Slaw, Crisp Red Apple & Lemon Tahini Dressing

Berry Chia Breakfast Jar

Warm Apricot & Ginger Rice Salad with Tamari-Splashed Garlic Mushrooms

Copyright: Chris McGowan

William Penny Brookes, Father of The Modern Olympics!

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(Image from Wikipedia)

Now I know what most of you are thinking: no, that was Baron De Coubertin, everyone knows that!

In actual fact, De Coubertin was inspired to hold the Olympics in Athens after visiting The Wenlock Olympian Society Games, an annual event founded by a local surgeon, humanitarian and PE enthusiast, William Penny Brookes, and held in Much Wenlock, Shropshire since 1850.

De Coubertin organised the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 after visiting Britain in 1890 to find out more about sport in our public (i.e. private) schools the previous year. Dr Brookes invited him to visit the Much Wenlock Olympian Society Games where they competed in quoit-throwing, cricket, running, hurdles and football amongst other events. De Coubertin eventually employed many of Dr Brookes’ ideas including the opening ceremonial parade, holding the event in different cities and opening it to all sportsmen from around the world (women were not invited to participate!)

Sadly, Dr Brookes didn’t live to see the Games in Athens, he died a few months before at the age of 86.

Dr Brookes’ role in the founding of the modern Olympic movement was acknowledged by Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, when in 1994 he came to Much Wenlock and laid a wreath in Dr Brookes’ memory.

Dr Brookes was keen to improve the education, health and opportunities of the working classes. He set up a library for their use and was particularly keen on promoting sport ‘for the development of the manliness of the human race’. He was active in local justice and administration and concerned for the welfare of his fellow citizens. He campaigned tirelessly for the introduction of sport into the school curriculum.

He is still much revered in his home town. There is a blue plaque to mark his lifelong home and a marble memorial in the local parish church of Holy Trinity where he and all his family are buried. There is also a Brookes’ room inside the entrance of the church which has a children’s area and a kitchen.

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The Games are still held annually in July in Much Wenlock. My son and his friends took part for a bit of fun in their student days, which nevertheless led to fierce rivalry. Last year, now in their 40s, they decided it was time to have another go. One of them came all the way from Dubai just to take part – with a torn hamstring! He spent the night before with ice packs tied to his leg in all sorts of pain. Nothing was going to stop him taking part! He came fourth in the pentathlon.

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You can follow The Olympian Trail around the town of Much Wenlock – there are plaques embedded in the pathways – you can also visit Dr Brookes’ grave which lies in a beautiful and peaceful setting in the grounds of the 12th century Holy Trinity Church, orginally the church of the nuns of the local priory.

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Children from Steiner Schools all over the country carry on Dr Brookes’ programme when every summer they gather in the grounds of one of their schools to take part in traditional Olympic sports – including wrestling – whilst camping out and making their own food.

One of the early winning Olympians was none other than W.G. Grace, the famous English cricketer.

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(Image from Wikipedia)

So, why is cricket – an original Modern Olympic sport – no longer an Olympic event? It is played all around the world on streets, in parks, on beaches, in back gardens as well as in much-anticipated international matches.  I think I know the answer, but out of courtesy to my US readers, my lips are sealed 😉

Copyright: Chris McGowan

A Word About Teenagers & ‘Energy’ Drinks

My 13 year old grandson attends a martial arts class every week.

He is very keen and although he is very young he participates with adults who all bring their bottles of Lucozade energy drinks to consume during their practice to keep up their fluids and energy levels.

As young as he is, he is very aware of the sugar content of these drinks however, he wants to fit in and felt under pressure to conform, but it bothered him. He is not alone.

There is a lot of concern among health professionals and schools at the effects of so-called energy drinks on the health and behaviour of teenage boys in particular.

These drinks can contain the caffeine equivalent of 2 cups of coffee and up to 20 teaspoons of sugar!

They are believed to be playing a significant part in the obesity crisis among young people and contribute to the growing addiction to other sugary foods in their diets. Teenage boys are particularly drawn to these types of drinks, believing they improve performance in sports or combat fatigue from poor diets and lack of sleep.

Concern is such that there have been calls from some groups to ban them from sale to under-16s.

I live on a street near to a secondary school, and every morning I see teenage boys walking to school with cans or bottles of energy drinks and packets of crisps or sweets in their hands. My grandson’s friends also bring Lucozade to school.

He however wanted an alternative drink that didn’t make him feel uncool but wasn’t chock full of unhealthy ingredients. We have persuaded him to have a recovery smoothie when he comes home after his session, but he wanted something to drink along with his water during breaks in practice that would also not set him apart too much from his mentors.

We eventually came up with Purdey’s Rejuvenate Multivitamin Fruit Drink.

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Made from fruit juice, sparkling water, with Vitamin C, B vitamins, botanical extracts and no chemicals, caffeine or refined sugar, the drink also comes in a recyclable dark glass bottle which protects the contents and is better for you and the environment than single-use plastic. It provides 1 of your 5 a day and contains no artificial sweeteners.

I don’t normally recommend commercial products unless they are organic and unprocessed, but sometimes circumstances mean you need to compromise a little bit. Purdey’s was always my go-to when out and about and feeling my blood-sugar levels getting low. It was the closest I could get in the shops to a healthy drink at the time. (Long before cold-pressed juices were sold and even before I had ever heard of them!).

Another plus when our grandson asked about this is that at the moment Sainsbury’s have them on offer at £1 each, so we bought a dozen to get him through the next term’s sessions.

I thought long and hard about writing this post.

Teenagers will always do what teenagers do and above all they want to fit in. So I hope this doesn’t disappoint my regular readers looking for home-produced, unprocessed recipes and recommendations.

Copyright: Chris McGowan