Plant-Based Telehealth with Doctor Klaper, Marbas, & Miller (EP 36: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

You’re in for a treat today! I was extremely honored to sit down with Dr. Laurie Marbas, Dr. Michael Klaper, and Dr. Kristina Miller to talk about Plant-Based TeleHealth.

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Having incredibly impressive bios is one thing (which they all do), but during this episode you’ll witness for yourself the remarkable level of expertise, professionalism, passion AND compassion that make Dr. Marbas, Dr. Miller, and Dr. Klaper extraordinary telemedicine physicians who are changing and saving lives all over the world with their work.

Plant-Based Telehealth has the mission of making Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine available to everyone who desires it. With telemedicine, Dr. Klaper, Dr. Marbas, and Dr. Miller are removing the barriers that prevent many people from accessing this type of care.

Their services are available in 47 states, and Plant-Based Telehealth is about to increase that number with the addition of 2 new doctors. These physicians work with clients around the globe as well. 

If you’ve ever tried to find a plant-based doctor you probably know that it’s very difficult, if not impossible in most places. 

Well look no further Empowered Vegan Lifers! You can head on over to their website, plantbasedtelehealth.com where you can schedule an appointment!

Dr. Laurie Marbas

One of Dr. Marbas’s favorite mantras is, “A whole food plant based diet is often more powerful than my prescription pad.”

Dr. Marbas is a double board certified family medicine and lifestyle medicine physician, who has been utilizing food as medicine since 2012. She created a new medical model combining the power of nutrient-dense foods and intensive clinical psychological therapy to treat not only food addiction but also chronic disease.

Dr. Marbas is the Managing Editor for the Plantrician Project’s International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention, co-founder of Healthy Human Revolution, whose mission is to provide resources that will empower individuals with the knowledge, tools, and mindset to successfully adopt and sustain a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet.

In Colorado, when Laurie convinced a large hospital to create a lifestyle medicine program centered around a WFPB diet, the program showed resounding success.

Laurie received her dual degrees (MD and MBA) from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and TTU School of Business. She was awarded the Texas Tech University School of Medicine Gold Headed Cane Award, a symbol for excellence in the art of medicine and the care of patients.

She wrote seven books while in medical school, six of which were in a series called “Visual Mnemonics.” These books used cartoons to help people memorize vast amounts of information—a system that helped her personally when she was a mom attending medical school. As a United States Air Force veteran, she served in the Middle East and South America. She is also a wife, mom of three grown children, host of the Healthy Human Revolution podcast, author, speaker, and avid runner.

Dr. Michael Klaper

Dr. Michael Klaper says, “Proper nutrition — through a whole food, plant-based diet — and a balanced lifestyle are essential for health and, in many cases, can make the difference between healing an illness or merely treating its symptoms.” 

Dr. Michael Klaper is a gifted clinician, internationally-recognized teacher, and sought-after speaker on diet and health. In addition to his clinical practice and private consultations with patients, he is a passionate and devoted educator of physicians and other healthcare professionals about the importance of nutrition in clinical practice and integrative medicine.

Dr. Klaper is the author of Vegan Nutrition; Pure & Simple and has produced numerous health videos, webinars and dozens of articles for both scientific journals and the popular press. As a source of inspiration advocating plant-based diets and the end of animal cruelty worldwide, Dr. Klaper contributed to the making of two PBS television programs, Food for Thought and the award-winning movie, Diet for a New America (based on the book of the same name). Dr. Klaper teaches that “Health Comes From Healthy Living” and he is dedicated to the healing and flourishing of all living beings and our planet.

Dr. Klaper’s definition of health: “Health is having a body that moves without pain, breathes without distress and allows us to perform the activities of life with complete presence and focused energy. Then, we can love fully and enjoy our lives to the fullest.”

Dr. Michael Klaper graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1972. He served a medical internship at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada and received training in surgery, anesthesiology and orthopedics at the University of British Columbia Hospital in Vancouver. Additionally, he was trained in obstetrics at the University of California Hospital, San Francisco. Dr. Klaper is board-certified in Urgent Care Medicine.

Dr. Christina Miller

Dr. Christina Miller’s mantra is, “Together we are healthier”

Christina Miller, MD, FACEP, is double board-certified in Emergency and Integrative Medicine.  She worked for ten years in the Emergency Department and served as president of Colorado ACEP (American College of Emergency Physicians), where she advocated for the care of emergency patients and physicians. Due to her own health concerns and the overwhelming amount of chronic disease she saw every day, she radically changed her practice to lifestyle medicine and health promotion.  She studied nutritional science and has completed a fellowship in Integrative and Functional Medicine.

 In 2013, she opened her own Lifestyle Medicine practice and founded Eat and Live Healthfully website and blog. She now focuses exclusively on nutrition and lifestyle changes to get to the root cause of disease and illness, and today helps empower people to take back their health, essentially keeping people OUT of the Emergency Department.

In 2018, Dr. Miller was medical director at Aspen Valley Hospital and created their Integrative Medicine program. She was also selected to be a member of the Pitkin County Board of Health, where she helped with policy and public health concerns. In 2019, she moved to New Hampshire, where she currently works in a local clinic seeing patients, teaching classes, giving talks, and reaching out to the community. One of her favorite mantras is, “together we are healthier”.

During this interview, these three experts and I touch on many important health-related topics, and answer some of the most pressing questions we get from you, our listeners.

Be sure to check out the Plant-Based Telehealth Website for more information on their valuable services and to book your appointment today!


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From Tragedy to Enlightenment with Bodybuilder Champion & Vegan Geoff Palmer

Geoff-Palmer-Vegan-Life-Coach-Podcast

Some stories are so powerful and extraordinary they must be shared. And today’s podcast guest is no exception… Vegan Geoff Palmer takes us on his journey from tragedy to enlightenment.

vegan bodybuider

A veteran vegan of 35 years, Geoff Palmer, is natural bodybuilding and physique masters champion. He’s the owner of Clean Machine, plant-based fitness nutrition, vegan patent holder, and NEXTY winner for best supplement of the year in 2016 and 2018.

Geoff is also an author, national lecturer, and was selected number 40 of the top 100 most influential vegans by plant-based news.

Geoff created the first 100% vegan bodybuilding competition in the world. And on top of that, his company, Clean Machine, donates 10% of sales every quarter to organizations that promote a plant based lifestyle. 

His accomplishments are impressive. But it is the incredible story of his journey from tragedy to enlightenment that will leave listeners inspired. 

Geoff-Palmer vegan fitnessIncluding, how & why Geoff became a vegan 35 years ago. The life events and tremendous amount of suffering that sent him looking for change.  And how from that experience, Geoff gave away his possessions, traveled to 48 countries, and the journey that led him to where he is today. 

While his story is sure to inspire, it is Geoff and my discussion about the importance of being open to the world around you, and how to release patterns in your life that hold you back that will empower you to take action in your life.

We also discuss benefits of supplements, including why they are beneficial to our diets. As well as,  the part that permaculture, biodynamic farming, and veganic farming play in it.

This is a conversation not to be missed. 

Be sure to stick around for the light-hearted, and fun, Sprint Round at the end of the episode where I ask Geoff five questions and Geoff answers with whatever comes to mind. 

Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better then when you know better, do better.” Geoff Palmer helps people both know better and then know how to do better. 


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Grab the valuable gift we have for you HERE.

Have a question you’d like us to answer? Leave us a voice (or written) message HERE.

Interested in receiving a free coaching session to air on an upcoming episode? Apply HERE.

What is the Body Neutrality Movement?

The past few years, the media has begun to tell women to love their bodies regardless of their size while at the same time hypocritically continuing to use the same models with the same “ideal” proportions. While those proposing all women shower themselves with body self-love meant well, the message nevertheless often felt hollow and phony to those with physiques that didn’t match the images we’re still seeing.

Additionally, some of those in the health care field felt that while teaching women to love their bodies no matter what reaped psychological benefits, it ignored the reality of the potential health risks associated with obesity.

A recent response to all things body-positive focuses instead on a neutral acceptance of ones’ physical appearance while still admitting room for improvement exists. The body neutrality movement offers a more authentic way for women to end negative self-talk while still focusing on achieving physical fitness to avoid future health woes.

Similarly, Ella’s Plant-Empowered Coaching Program is based on the philosophy that accepting, respecting, and loving yourself exactly as you are is a PRE-REQUISITE for changing your body. This is because when you make food and fitness choices out of love for yourself, and respect for you values (e.g. compassion for animals), you take discipline and will power out of the equation. Nutritious vegan food becomes a form of self-care, which becomes a priority when you develop true self-love. (If this resonates with you, be sure to attend Ella’s powerful master class on the 5 Steps to Ditch Diets and Adopt a Healthy Vegan Lifestyle you Love.)

Let’s now explore how the body neutrality movement came about, and what it can show us about the future of helping all people accept themselves regardless of size or weight.

What Does Body Neutrality Mean?

Body neutrality encourages women to practice true self-love by accepting their physical realities and making choices that promote good health. Body neutrality challenges women to objectively evaluate their bodies, not in a critical way, but rather by honestly assessing their strengths and challenges.

Unlike the body positivity movement that preached love of self regardless of ones’ diet and exercise habits, those embracing body neutrality not only accept their physical limitations but also take proactive steps to improve their diets and overall health.

Those practicing a body neutrality path take personal responsibility for engaging in behaviors that lead to poor health outcomes. This doesn’t equate to beating themselves up over an occasional (vegan) doughnut indulgence or skipping a single workout, but they do take note of these less-than-healthy behaviors to prevent them from turning into daily habits. In addition to accepting their physical realities, followers acknowledge the factors and influences that contributed to their excess body fat without allowing them to become excuses for poor health habits.

Which Approach Works Better — Body Positivity or Body Neutrality?

Both the body positivity movement and the more recent body neutrality movement offer benefits to many women. Even experts in fitness and nutrition disagree as to which approach works better for each individual.

Experts do agree that tying ones’ sense of self-worth to anything related to physical appearance wastes valuable emotional energy that could best be spent elsewhere. Tying ones’ sense of self-worth to physical appearance can lead to mental health issues such as depression and eating disorders. Taking either approach, body positivity or body neutrality, can benefit those whose body size interferes with achieving a sense of happiness and satisfaction in life.

Some women feel most comfortable practicing a combination of body positivity and body neutrality. It’s natural to feel elated after completing a vigorous run or tough fitness class. However, we all have certain days when we feel down or experience disappointments, such as gaining a pound due to normal female hormonal cycles. Part of body neutrality involves treating the self gently and refusing to let one setback completely derail progress toward improved health.

Some nutritionists and fitness experts consider body neutrality a stepping stone toward true self-love of our physical bodies. While this may hold true in some cases, women should take care to reward themselves simply for making healthier decisions overall, not just reaching their ideal weight or pants size.

In this sense, self-care isn’t just about weight. It’s also about things like preventive medicine, scheduling annual checkups, taking care of your bones and skin, staying properly hydrated and understanding the value of eating a wide variety of whole plant foods daily. Self-care is an ongoing project that doesn’t end just because you shed that extra 15 pounds from the holidays. When in doubt, practice this kind of self-care above all else.

Embracing Body Neutrality for a Healthier Life

Those wishing to adopt body neutrality in their own lives can begin by taking an honest and objective assessment of their physical selves. Which daily practices encourage good health, and which areas can be improved? For example, one woman may do an excellent job of attending regular fitness classes after work but may also overindulge in highly processed foods with little nutritional value. Another may consume more carrots than Bugs Bunny but resists breaking a sweat.

Focus on correcting one unhealthy habit at a time. Beginning a new fitness regimen while also attempting to stick to a diet can lead to feelings of disappointment. When the inevitable slip-ups occur, avoid letting one bad day evolve into a bad week or month. Practicing forgiveness and kindness toward oneself is an important part of developing a positive mental outlook.

The body neutrality movement can offer many women a more realistic alternative to expressions of self-love that often ring hollow. By focusing on improving health outcomes over developing the so-called “perfect” body, we can learn to love ourselves by making healthier choices one decision at a time. There’s no greater expression of self-love than keeping both mind and body healthy.

Why You Need Probiotics in Your Diet

Keeping your belly happy is an essential part of keeping your body healthy.

We all try our best to eat a healthy diet — getting enough of the three macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and protein) and a sufficient amount of the necessary vitamins and minerals for a healthy life. One thing many of us neglect is our gut health — the bacteria that call our digestive system home to help us break down and absorb our food.

What can you do to improve your gut health and why do you really need probiotics in your diet?

What Affects Your Gut Health?

First, let’s take a look at your gut bacteria. No one likes to think about their gut being filled with bacteria, but these little microscopic organisms play a vital role in digestion. A number of things can negatively affect your gut health, including:

  • Eating too much of the same thing If you eat the same thing all the time, you’ll create an environment that only supports a specific type of bacteria. Eat more diverse foods to start healing your gut health.
  • Lack of healthy fiber in your diet Healthy fibers, known as prebiotics, help to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
  • Drinking Too Much Alcohol Alcohol in moderation can be good for your health, but drinking too much can unbalance your gut bacteria.
  • Taking Antibiotics Antibiotics are necessary, but while they kill the bacteria making you sick, they’ll also kill your healthy gut bacteria.

This is a small sample of the things that can play a role in your gut health.  What can you do to ensure a healthy crop of gut bacteria?

What Are Probiotics?

We are constantly bombarded by food advertisements for things like saurkraut and kimchi claiming that these foods are filled to the brim with healthy probiotics, but what actually are probiotics?

Probiotics are defined as good bacteria that are similar or identical to the healthy bacterium that already exists in your body. Introducing these bacteria into your digestive system can help to repair the balance of bacteria in your gut. They can be found in foods or in supplements available for purchase at your local health food store.

Where Can I Find Probiotics?

Without taking supplements, what can you do to add more probiotics to your diet?

  • Enjoy some German food Specifically, eat some sauerkraut. The fermented cabbage that is a staple of German cuisine is also a great source of natural probiotics. Make sure you’re not getting pasteurized sauerkraut though — that kills the healthy bacteria. It’s still tasty, but it’s not as good for your gut.
  • Eat some coconut yogurt You can’t have coconut yogurt without bacteria. For the best results, look for coconut yogurt labeled as containing active cultures.
  • Head to Japan Miso, a staple in Japanese cuisine, is another great source for probiotics. Miso is made from fermented soybeans and makes a great appetizer or soup.
  • Indulge in Kombucha This fermented tea might sound gross, but it’s packed full of bacteria good for your gut. Some people even swear it helps to give them more energy or lose weight, but in general it’s a great source of healthy gut bacteria.

Most fermented foods have a high amount of good bacteria. Tempeh, an Indonesian soy food is another great option if you can find it. It can be hard to get authentic tempeh in the United States due to FDA regulations regarding pasteurization.

Why Do I Need Probiotics?

Why do you need to focus on keeping up with your gut health and adding probiotics to your diet? There are more than a few reasons why you should consider adding some healthy probiotics to your diet.  Our favorites include:

  1. You should trust your gut. You’ve actually got neurotransmitters in your gut, like in your brain. If your gut is out of whack, it can negatively affect your brain’s neurotransmitters. There are some studies right now looking at an unbalanced gut as a possible cause for Parkinson’s disease.
  2. It strengthens your immune system. Studies have found that having a healthy cross-section of gut bacteria contributes to a stronger immune system. It can even help with cancer treatments by improving chemotherapy effectiveness and stopping malignant tissue growth.
  3. They help to speed up your metabolism. While probiotics might not be the secret weapon for easy weight loss, having a healthy gut can help speed up your metabolism making it easier to lose weight.
  4. It might help fix your bad breath. If you keep up with your brushing and flossing regimen and your oral health is otherwise good, but you still suffer from bad breath, it might be coming from your gut. Healthy gut bacteria can help to reduce your chances of suffering halitosis.

 

With all these benefits that are either directly or indirectly related to your gut health, what are you waiting for? Head to the store, change up your diet and add some healthy fermented foods to your shopping cart. Good probiotics can help get your gut back in balance, improving your overall health and wellness with just a few cups of Kombucha.

Top 5 Plants for Hormone Balance

Plants-for-Hormone-Balance

Many plants have hormone-balancing properties, and consuming them can be helpful if you’re experiencing symptoms related to imbalances.

Hormones are our bodies’ chemical agents for regulating the various biological functions. However, sometimes the endocrine glands that produce these hormones don’t perform at optimum levels, causing hormonal imbalance. This can happen due to disease, environmental factors, diet and lifestyle factors. Hormonal imbalances often go undetected, but over time, they produce undesirable symptoms.

There are various medical treatments to correct hormonal imbalance, but a natural approach is usually safer, less costly and more sustainable. Certain plants and herbs are renowned for their positive influence on the endocrine system by providing vital nutrients for the optimal function of endocrine glands. In this article, we share five plants that are good for hormonal balance.

Avocados

avocado for hormone balance

Healthy fats are essential for hormone function. While most people get enough Omega-6 fatty acids from cooking oils and animal proteins, they are often deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are the building blocks of hormones, and a healthy ratio of the two types is required.

Avocados provide an inexpensive and versatile source of Omega-3 fatty acids and celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow swear by their benefits. They also contain potassium, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin E and some B-vitamins. These micro-nutrients all aid in hormone regulation.

In particular, avocados promote the production of progesterone, which regulates the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. They also inhibit estrogen absorption which can increase the risk of certain cancers and osteoporosis when produced in excess.

Maca Root

Maca or Lepidium meyenii is a turnip-like plant that grows in high altitude areas such as the Andes Mountains in Peru. The root of this plant is consumed as a vegetable and is said to have many health benefits that even celebrities such as Miranda Kerr can’t resist. Besides its energy boosting ability that is said to have made it a diet staple for Incan warriors, maca root is famous for its hormone balancing qualities.

Maca contains several nutrients including vitamins A. B2. B6, and C plus minerals including zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, iodine and calcium. It also contains plant sterols that stabilize estrogen, progesterone and testosterone production.

Maca is categorized as an adaptogen which means it regulates the action of different hormone glands including adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus. Maca root is a celebrity favorite is available in powder form, which may be raw or gelatinized. Adding maca powder to your diet can help relieve PMS and menopause symptoms, stabilize blood glucose levels, regulate thyroid function, increase sperm production, among other benefits.

Beans

black-beans

Beans are another common and affordable plant food that can help balance your hormones. They are a natural solution for low testosterone because they contain vitamin D and zinc. They also contain folate, proteins, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Studies have shown that adequate consumption of Vitamin D increases testosterone levels. Zinc is also known to boost the testosterone levels. Beans also hormone production in the body. Beans also help female hormone imbalance by regulating estrogen production and reducing symptoms of the polycystic ovarian disorder (PCOS). There are many different types of beans including black, garbanzo, mung, black, kidney, pinto, red, Roman and navy beans.

Chasteberry

The fruit of this herb is also known as vitex or agnus castus. This dried herb is useful in the treatment of various female hormone imbalance related diseases. These include amenorrhea, PMS, dysmenorrhea, fibrocystic disease, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and infertility.

Vitex works on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to regulate the production of Luteinizing Hormone, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, prolactin, and progesterone. For men, vitex can help treat enlarged prostates and inhibit prostate cancer cells proliferation.

Flaxseed

These small, black seeds contain an omega-3 fatty known as ALA, fiber, protein and important phytoestrogens called lignans. Lignans act on hormone receptor cells to either increase or reduce production of the hormone. A study showed that lignans also reduce androgens in men with prostate cancer.

Flax seeds also balance hormones by stimulating the production of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), a protein found in the blood. SHBG binds to excess estrogen and testosterone molecules to render them inactive. This reduces the hormonal imbalances that cause PCOS and PMS. The fiber in flax seeds also helps in bowel regulation which helps in excreting excess hormones.

Final words

From the above, it is clear that adding more plants and herbs to your diet can help provide the nutrients required for a healthy endocrine system. However, care must be taken when consuming herbs as there are recommended dosages for different people. Herbs can also interact with medication you are taking, so it is a good idea to inform your physician of any herbal supplements you intend to use.

Image source: Pixabay

Top 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bones on a Vegan Diet

strong-bones-on-a-vegan-diet

For ages the dairy industry did a killer (pun intended) job preventing people from thinking you cannot strengthen your bones on a vegan diet.

We heard it all the time growing up, “Finish your milk! You need it to grow strong bones.” And if you’re like me, I had to come up with ways to choke it down. I found that if I followed these steps I managed to get the job done. First I held my nose tight. Then I chugged the entire glass without breathing. Next, before taking a breath, I chased it with another drink like orange juice. Only then could I release my nose without gagging.

Well, times have changed and the cat is out of the bag. Dairy actually has been shown to have the opposite effect on bones than the USDA has led us to believe is true. Those on a plant-based diet actually have less of a risk for developing osteoporosis than dairy-drinkers.

So to help jump start you into a bone-healthy vegan diet plan, Kei Nishida gives us 5 awesome ways to promote strong bones with plant-based eating… Here they are:

Tofu and Soy ProductsTofu Tempeh Soy

Aside from calcium, protein is one of the most important ingredients in building strong bones and overall healthiness. Consider soy especially in forms like tofu which is high in protein and has so many other beneficial nutrients. With 10 grams of protein per serving as well as tons of calcium, tofu is a great way to fill your daily protein needs and keep your bones strong. This goes for other soy products like soy milk, too, with beans in general being a great way to eat your protein.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are packed with tons of great vitamins and minerals, many of which support bone health. While you can’t go wrong when choosing to add mushrooms to your food, whether they’re raw or cooked, one of the best varieties to use when looking to strengthen your bones is the shiitake mushroom.

Shiitake have the highest concentration of copper of any mushroom species, an essential element in creating the enzymes that help our bones, skin, joints, and blood vessels stay healthy and repair themselves. In fact, one serving of shiitake mushrooms provides about 65% of your daily recommended amount of copper while also being high in zinc, another key ingredient in building regulating your bones.

Broccolibroccoli for strong bones

As one of the best dark leafy greens you can eat, it’s no surprise broccoli is loaded with vitamins and minerals that assist in bone growth. A major source of vitamin K, iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, eating broccoli is one of the best things you can do if you want healthy bones, teeth, and nails.

Vitamin K, especially, is important for bone health, as more and more research begins to suggest it may play a more crucial role in building strong bones than even calcium. Given that a single cup of broccoli supplies almost 300% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin K, it would be a good idea to eat plenty of it to ensure your bones stay in peak condition. It can also help prevent and treat bone diseases like osteoporosis, making it great for those looking to rebuild bone strength in addition to those preserving it.

Nettles

While it’s probably not your first choice when thinking of plants to increase the strength of your bones, the stinging nettle is a great source for tons of different nutrients related to bone health. Stinging nettles are natural sources of calcium and magnesium, key ingredients in healthy bone construction and bone metabolism regulation. Other key nutrients include boron and silica, as well as vitamins C, D, and K.

There are many ways to ingest it, too. Properly prepared stinging nettles can be a component in thick and hearty soups, fresh salads (after steaming), or potentially even used in teas. Just be careful when handling them raw, as their tiny needles can prick you and cause skin irritation.

Green-Tea-for strong bones

Japanese Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most popular drinks and flavors in Japan, and for good reason. Among its many health benefits include bone strengthening. Japanese green tea, as opposed to other types of tea, is especially good for bone health due to not being fermented or oxidized, as well as its high levels of polyphenols that help to reduce inflammation and bone breakdown, as well as normalize bone mineral makeup and assist with calcium uptake. It can also help to activate enzymes responsible for bone growth, overall making Japanese green tea one of the best bone strengtheners available.

As recommended by Doctor David B. Samadi, drinking three cups of green tea a day can help significantly reduce the likelihood of bone breaks and other injuries, as well as treat the symptoms of and potentially prevent the onset of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. If you happen to be worried about the caffeine content of green tea (as high amounts of caffeine can lessen bone density), there are decaffeinated green teas available for purchase.

Final Thoughts

These are only a few of the many plant-based bone strengtheners available for vegan consumers. If you want to ensure your body is running at maximum efficiency while keeping your bones healthy and strong, try any or all of these recommended items and see the results for yourself.

 

Store Bought Veggie Burgers

store bought Veggie Burgers

Wondering what store bought veggie burgers are healthy and which should be considered vegan junk food?

The First Question to Ask Yourself Is…

“Is this veggie burger vegan?” Some store bought veggie burgers are vegetarian, but contain animal bi-products such as egg whites. With that in mind, know that all the frozen veggie burgers I mention in this post are vegan.

Then What?

The second criteria can be taste. If a veggie burger doesn’t taste good, it really doesn’t matter how healthy or junky it is! That being said, all the veggie burger brands I will mention in this post are ones I find tasty.

The next criteria is how healthy the veggie burger is. Does it follow the vegan dietary guidelines I recommend?

The last criteria is how similar it is in taste and texture to meat. Since I haven’t eaten animal protein since the age of 7 (30 years ago) I’m not the best person to judge. However, I had friends help me give the vegan burgers in this post a “realistic rating.”

I split veggie burgers into two main categories… Those that I can feel good about eating on a regular basis, and those I consider “treats” and should only be eaten on occasion. Here are my top three picks for each category.

Burgers I  Recommend Suitable for Regular Consumption

These patties, though processed, are primarily made of whole foods. They are absolutely delicious, but must be looked at as their own unique food items, not to be compared to the taste and texture of a beef patty. My top picks include:

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger Dr. Preagers California Store Bought Veggie Burger

These store bought veggie burgers are great because they are made from whole food ingredients, are low in calories, low in fat, and high in fiber. I also enjoy Dr. Praeger’s Bombay Veggie Burgers. Keep in mind they really have no similarity taste or texture-wise from animal-based burgers (which for some of  us is a good thing, while others may find this disappointing.

Sunshine Store Bought Veggie BurgerSunshine Burgers

This vegan burger can be thought of as a hearty meal, as it is higher in calories and fat than the many others because it’s base is sunflower seeds. I also like the Southwest style burger from Sunshine Burgers. Sunshine burgers are great for cutting up and adding to a salad as well.
Hilary's store bought veggie burger

Hilary’s

Hilary’s makes several great versions of their veggie burger (original, root vegetable, adzuki bean, etc.). You can feel good about eating these as part of you’re go-to foods list. The base for these store bought veggie burgers is millet and quinoa. They need to be cooked in the way specified in the directions, or else they can come out on the dry side. Hilary’s burgers are great alone or on a salad.

Store Bought Veggie Burgers for Special Occasions

These vegan burgers are ones that look, taste, and feel most like beef burgers. They may be something you want to use for barbecues or when trying to appease a meat-eater or your own craving for meat if you are at a point where you still have those cravings.

The down side is that they are more processed and contain less healthy ingredients. So while you are doing right by the animals by not supporting their horrific life and death, you are not doing your body a favor by eating them. That being said, we are all entitled to treat ourselves to some vegan foods that are not the best for us every now and then. I know I do! As long as you are keeping your regular diet clean and exercising there’s no reason for guilt 😉 

Beyond Meat’s The Beyond BurgerThe Beyond Burger Vegan

This veggie burger is probably the closest to “the real thing” on the market today. I therefore recommend this one if you want to show others how they could begin to transition to a vegan diet without feeling deprived. In fact the beets they use to give the patty a red-meat appearance have led some in the media to remark that the burger “bleeds” beet blood. (This is NOT an attractive feature to me though!)

The Beyond Burger, primarily made up of isolated pea protein, is similar to beef burgers in number of calories, grams of protein. The Beyond Burger has more iron and less saturated fat than meat burgers, but be aware that the veggie burger is high in sodium and contains some saturated fat (coconut oil). Of course, as for all plant foods, it has zero cholesterol (whereas beef patties have about 80 mg).Store Bought Beefless Burger by Gardein

Gardein Beefless Burger

Gardein prides itself on how realistic their meat substitutes are. Their veggie burger is no exception. This may be one of the least healthy options on the market today. It’s main ingredients are soy protein isolate and vital wheat gluten. Super tasty though!

amys bistro store bought veggie burger

Amy’s Bistro Burger

This veggie burger has been around the longest out of these top three “treat” burgers. Since Amy’s the brand has been around for such a long time, it could be easier to find at your local grocery stores then the others. It’s also gluten free and the option with the highest amount of whole food ingredients out of the three. It’s delicious too!

 I hope this guide helps you make the right store-bought veggie burger for the right occasions!

Top Vegan Resources For A Happier Healthier You!

vegan-resources-for-health-and-happiness

In this post I’m sharing with you some of my favorite vegan resources that can empower us to take our health and happiness to the next level!

Part of my 6-Week Plant-Empowered Coaching Program is making sure my clients are set up for continued success by arming them with a ton of awesome resources to continue guiding them on their transformational path. Now I’m sharing them with all of you! I sorted them by category and have personally tried all of the resources on this list so I can give you honest reviews 🙂

Vegan Food/Drink:

Barnivore 

This awesome website and app is the best resource for checking to see if the beer, wine, and/or liquor you want to drink is vegan-friendly or not. In case you didn’t know, a large percentage of wines use animal products such as eggs and fish bladder in the filtering process. There are also liquors and beers that have non-vegan ingredients such as dairy and honey. Unfortunately these ingredients don’t usually show up on the labels. Barnivore has over 22,000 entries that have been checked and often double or triple checked by the Barnivore community, letting you know products’ vegan statuses. And now they have also released an app to make it easier to do your research on-the-go!Happy Cow

Happy Cow 

A website and app, this resource has been helping travelers and people everywhere find vegan, vegetarian, and healthy food wherever you go since 1999. This is not only a restaurant and health food store guide, but also an online hub that serves as a one-stop resource for everything veg.

Vegan Nutrition Information:

NutritionFacts.org  

Dr. Michael Greger releases a new, short and to the point nutrition-related video or article every single day (amazing)! He has a huge database of videos and articles at this point covering just about any vegan health related question you may have. Everything he presents is based on the latest research from the most trusted sources. Bookmark this website for sure! I also love that all the proceeds from the sales of his books and DVDs go to charity.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 

This website combines the expertise and experience of over 12,000 physicians to give us the most up-to-date, scientifically accrued information on health related to diet. In addition to tons of articles, they have a free 21-day Vegan Kickstart program designed for anyone wanting to explore the health benefits of a vegan diet (based on research by Neil Barnard, M.D.).

Vegan Health 

Founded and run by Jack Norris, RD, this website is a project of Vegan Outreach and a great resource for getting answers to your top nutrition and health questions.

Healthy Vegan Recipes/Vegan Diet Plan:

Dreena Burtan’s Plant-Powered Kitchen 

Dreena’s focus is on natural, non-processed ingredients and most of her recipes are fairly simple and definitely delicious.

Fat Free Vegan 

Susan Voisin creates and posts delicious dishes made with whole foods and without added refined oils. 

Oh She Glows 

A fantastic, inspiring blog full of tasty recipes by Angela Liddon. Many of these are more complicated than I’m up for doing myself, but if you enjoy cooking then you will love what she offers on this site. There are also many easier, more simple recipes that are more my style, you just have to do a little searching to find the ones that work best for you. 

One Green Planet

There is a huge variety of healthy vegan recipes submitted and approved by people all over the world on this website. There are so many it’s slightly overwhelming, but also ensures you will find whatever you’re looking for.

The Six Weeks To Sexy Abs Meal PlanSix-Weeks-to Sexy Abs Meal Plan

This is my new book in which I guide you through an easy-to-follow 6-week meal plan that’s designed for anyone with the goal of a lean, strong body. The idea is that no matter how hard you workout, if you’re not eating the right food it’s impossible to lose those last few pounds that are hiding your six pack! I give you a hundred simple, whole-foods based recipes with grocery lists to go with them. The plan and recipes are designed to be totally do-able for even the busiest people. I make them as practical as possible. I also give guidelines for the plan so that if you go out to eat, or want to create your own recipes it’s totally fine, as long as you’re following the guidelines of the plan. The book itself is also very high quality with beautiful pictures to go with the recipes. It’s also available in kindle format. To see the blog post I wrote about the book click HERE. Hope you enjoy!!!

Inspirational Vegan-Related Podcasts:

Rich Roll Podcast 

I can listen to many of Rich’s podcasts over and over again because they are not only inspiring, they’re also entertaining and very “rearich-roll-podcastl”. Here’s how it’s described on the website (I couldn’t describe it better if I tried!) “Each week Rich delves deep into all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. Intimate, deep and often intense, these are not interviews. They are conversations. A weekly aural dance designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self.” He also has an app that makes it easier to listen to all the podcasts he’s ever done.

Main Street Vegan 

Main Street Vegan is a “lively hour devoted to your health, well-being, and ways to live lightly and lovingly on planet Earth.” Host Victoria Moran is super entertaining and brings you the latest on the vegan life every week. If you simply want to look and feel amazing, eat extraordinary food, help animals, and “create a physical body perfectly attuned to spiritual growth” you must check this podcast out. Victoria’s guests range from vegan authors, activists, physicians, chefs, spiritual leaders, and even some of those glittery celebs. I’m honored to announce that I will be featured on the show on February 16th, 2016!

Planted In Miami 

I found out about this one when I got a message from Jeanette asking if I would be a guest! Jeanette and Alex, the hosts, also lead the No-Meat-Athlete meet-up group in Miami and are the most delightful couple you’ll ever meet. This “New & Noteworthy” podcast is all about the business owners, artists, musicians, farmers and others who are moving Miami forward through social awareness and community engagement. From environmental causes to healthy lifestyles, animal welfare to conscious living, it’s about giving people the information that they need to make informed decisions about living a more thoughtful and compassionate life. I had a ton of fun recording the episode I was featured in – I also wrote a post on the experience and more details about the hosts HERE.

Overall Happiness:

Mind Body Green

This website is a platform with the mission of revitalizing the way people eat, move, and live. The site has a ton of articles and posts from different contributors giving you tips, tools, and ideas to help make your life better and inspire you to be your best self. The blog post/article categories are “Eat,” “Move,” “Live,” “Breathe,” and “Love” to give you an idea of the variety of information offered. I recommend checking it out for sure! I was thrilled to be able to contribute two articles, one called, “What I Tell My Clients Who Want To Eat For Toned Abs,” and one with recipes from my new book, “Slow-Cooker Sunday: Quinoa Soup With Sweet Potato Mash.”

Headspace

Described as ‘meditation made relevant to modern life’, Headspace is a platform that makes meditation more accessible for everyone, especially people like me who have only dipped my toe in meditation before, never achieving consistency. The founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe is present throughout the app (he’s got a great English accent that’s very pleasant to listen to) imparting his words of wisdom and guiding you through the process one step at a time. The first ten-minute lessons, (or exercises of the mind you could call them) are free. If you then want access to a huge library of guided meditations, and to join over a million users you can pay a monthly fee (or year in advance to make it cheaper). You can also map your journey, track your progress, and get rewards as you go. You can even buddy up with friends and motivate each other along the way. It’s pricey, but trying out the first ten sessions will help you decide if you can commit to continuing your meditation practice in which case I think it’s worth the cost.

10% Happier App 

This is a great app for newbies and skeptics of meditation. I have known about the basics and benefits of meditation for years, but until recently have not been motivated to actually commit to doing it (sitting still is not my strong suit)! I’ve struggled with insomnia for over 10 years and have tried everything else that’s ever been suggested… except meditation. So I finally decided to give it a shot and this app was a huge help to stick with it. Dan Harris gives very short, interesting videos that precede each meditation. The guided meditations begin very short – 5 minutes, and move to 11 minutes. And it’s extra cool that you get an actual person as a meditation coach who texts, emails you, answers any questions you may have, and gives you encouragement. The app starts out free so you can get a feel for it, and then you pay $19.99 (one-time fee) if you want to continue. 

Vegan-Related Documentaries:

Forks Over KnivesEarthlings, and Cowspiracy are all simply must-see movies for everyone. Please check them all out!

*For more information on the 6-Week Plant-Empowered Coaching Program, and to apply for a free strategy session with Ella click HERE

The Vegan-Mood Connection

vegan-good-mood

Most clients come to me with a few common complaints, one of which is feeling run-down and/or low on energy.

When we explore these feelings a bit further, we find that a lack of energy and vitality causes a poor mood, which effects not just the person, but also everyone else in their life. 

Now don’t get me wrong… we all wake up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. And some of us have psychiatric diagnosis or disorders like clinical depression and bi-polar disorder which obviously affect mood. This is not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about mood as it’s affected by our lifestyle choices, in particular our food choices. I’m talking about moving through the world in a shitty mood or fighting feeling “down” more often than enjoying feeling good. 

Now, do you want the good news or bad news first? 

Let’s start with the good. We can actually change our mood from the inside out by improving our eating habits! Why good? We have the power to transform how we feel every single day!

Now for the bad. We can actually change our mood from the inside out by improving our eating habits. Why bad? Changing our habits is not easy! But is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!!!

Take it from a recent client in this little clip I call, “There Must Be Something To It!”

There is scientific evidence as to why a plant-based diet boosts mood. Dr. Greger of NutritionFacts.org does a great job explains the studies (as usual). At the same time, all the evidence I need I can find through my own experiences and the experiences with the clients I’ve coached over the last decade. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to see someone go from feeling crappy, to feeling positive and full of life in just a few weeks! 

The moral of my story… Don’t worry. Be happy. Go vegan!

Click HERE to book your free session with Ella to discuss how you can reach all your health and fitness goals.

12 Easy Additions To Complete Your Diet

Vegan Diet Additions

You have heard it your entire life: you are what you eat… so eat your Brussels sprouts if you want to grow big and strong!

It’s true, when you eat well and take in all the proper nutrients your skin looks better, your bones are stronger, your eyesight is keener, your brain works faster and so forth. A balanced diet is important to all aspects of life and taking in all the essential nutrients are paramount for health.

There are other nutrients, though, besides those with recommended daily allowances by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which can help you to live a healthier life. Following are 12 herbs and other plant-foods that you might find beneficial as part of your daily routine:herbs11

  • Cranberry

While cranberry has a variety of vitamins and nutrients that make it very good for you, most people know it for its clinically proven, natural ability to fight off urinary tract infections in both men and women.

  • Ginger

Ginger is not only a delicious addition to pumpkin pie and gingerbread, but this little root is very healthful. Ginger is known to settle upset stomachs and prevent motion sickness, has been shown to have cancer blocking properties, treat migraines, stop heartburn, reduce morning sickness in pregnant women and more. Ginger can be taken as a supplement or by grinding the root into recipes or tea.

  • Acai Berry

This berry is a known, powerful antioxidant that promotes healing, health looking skin, energy and more.

  • Garlic

Garlic has natural immune system boosting powers. Preliminary studies suggest it could also help to fight cancer, promote weight loss, fight free radicals and so much more. But unless you want to eat a ton of pizza or live with garlic breath, bulk vitamins are your best bet with this one.

  • Linden flowers

Most often taken as a tea, linden flowers are extremely effective in reducing free radicals that, when left unchecked, can damage DNA replication.

  • Green Tea

Green tea is both healthful and delicious. Among its many health benefits are making a positive impact on digestion, helping create healthful looking skin, and purging toxins from the body. Green tea can be taken as bulk vitamins or in actual tea form.

  • Black cohosh

This plant was used by Native Americans for generations. While little research exists yet to prove its benefit, many have found that it helps to induce labor by encouraging oxytocin production, help with the side affects of menopause, reduce the pain and inflammation from arthritis, and more.

  • Gingko Biloba

This plant extract has been used by humans for various health benefits from thousands of years. Today much research surrounds its use as a memory enhancer for people every day and possibly the ability to improve the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer disease.

  • Elder flower

Elder flower has been used in traditional and all natural medicine for generations as a natural pain reliever, antiseptic and inflammation reducer. It may also help with occasional constipation and preventing cancer.

  • Astragalus

This plant – root and all – has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. Among the potential benefits are promoting digestive health, lessoning the negative side effects of modern cancer treatments, and increasing white blood cell count.

  • Milk Thistle

While research is still being conducted, many believe that milk thistle helps liver function, can help manage blood sugar levels and more. It is important to note that it is a member of the ragweed family, so beware of allergy issues.

  •  Soy

Soy is a type of little round bean used to make a variety of foods. People drink soy milk, supplement drinks with soy powder, create soy based foods like tofu or soy burgers, and more. Soy beans are very high in protein and have a variety of nutrients. They also help to lower cholesterol, promote healthy bone growth, improve heart health and much more.

Always remember that many supplements and nutritional products are not regulated by the FDA. While all of the foods above are found in nature and generally healthful, there are potentials of allergies, interactions or overdosing, so talk to your doctor about the supplements and herbs you are taking.