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10 Surprising Sources of Vegetarian Protein and How Much You Need

Protein may have gotten a bad rap in more recent years due to low-carb, high-protein diets. Some of those diets boasted that you could eat all the bacon, sausage, or steak you wanted and still lose weight. We now look at that behavior as wildly unhealthy. In fact, earlier this summer research published suggesting that low-carb diets are linked to heart disease. Protein is actually a very valuable nutrient, you should just be sure to recognize the difference between a healthy lean protein and a processed or fatty animal source.

Protein is an essential nutrient and many of us are not getting enough healthy protein in our diets. As well, our sources of protein aren’t nearly as diversified in our diets as they could be.

Why is protein so important? Madelyn Fernstrom is a TODAY contributor and the director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She has explained that protein is one of the big three macronutrients; carbohydrates and fats are the other two. Protein is essential for maintaining the body’s muscle mass and its normal growth. Furthermore, protein is vital in maintaining a healthy immune system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system.
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Mark Pinhasovich’s Whirlwind Arnold Classic Experience

By Mark Pinhasovich, owner of AMPD Fit Camp and at-home winner for Biggest Loser 10.

What did you guys do this past weekend? Did you take it easy? Did you work out hard? Maybe somewhere in between? You know I always push it to the max, so what did I do and where did I go?! Two words: Arnold Classic!!! That’s right, I was able to make it out for the world famous fitness and bodybuilding show started by the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger!!!

Let me preface this by saying that it is NOT a bunch of “I lift things up and put them down!” type people at this show. There were 48 different sports represented here including such pastimes as fencing and ballroom dancing! There were so many great people there from all walks of life. Estimates put the attendance numbers at over a quarter million people!

As I walked into the hall for the first time, the sheer amount of protein (or more likely the result of that amount of protein) hung in the air like a mist in the jungle. I was there to help out at the Ultimate Flurry Bar booth, which is a ridiculously good tasting high protein/low carb bar. They also had Xtreme Shock, a great Beta-Alanine energy drink, and Protein Ice, a Gatorade-like protein drink. Joining me at the show were Amanda Arlauskas, finalist from season 8 of Biggest Loser, and Coleen Skeabeck from season 6.

The first day went by in a blur. I was not expecting this amount of people! All day we were talking to great people with great stories and took tons of pictures! We were pretty wiped out by the end of day one. What did we get ourselves into?
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Fit in 5: 5 Protein Powders You May be Missing

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

In the fitness world whey protein is king. Everyone’s post-workout shake is whey. Everyone’s pre-workout shake is whey. Everyone is cooking and baking with whey. You would think it was the only kind of protein powder out there.
While whey protein is the most popular, it isn’t the only protein powder on the block. In fact, you may be missing the boat if you aren’t including some other protein powders in your nutritional arsenal. Depending on your lifestyle and goals, there may be a better fit for your nutritional plan.

Soy: A non-animal derived protein powder that is also a complete protein. Soy may be a better fit if you’re a vegetarian or avoiding dairy. A 2004 study at the University of Ohio indicated that soy could be better at protecting against oxidative stress than whey, making this easily digestible protein an alternative for your post workout shake.


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Conjugated Linoleic Acid: A Helpful Supplement for Vegans

Being a vegan certainly isn’t easy. Just ask Bob Harper, veteran trainer from The Biggest Loser. Bob himself follows a vegan diet, and with his contestants often discovering they have obesity related diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol, it’s not hard to see why Bob pushes a diet that eliminates red meat, eggs and dairy.

The first concern that comes to my mind when I think of a vegan diet, however, is where the protein and calcium will come from. The substitutes for protein in meat, eggs and dairy in a vegan diet can come from legumes, nuts and beans. The calcium that normally could be obtained from milk and cheese would require a calcium and vitamin D supplement, but what about your conjugated linoleic acid?

Never heard of it? Most haven’t, but it is an important concern if you go vegan. Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, are a group of fatty acids that are found in dairy products and red meat. Conjugated linoleic acid is a fatty acid that our body can not make on its own, so supplementation for vegans is essential.


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6 Nutrients Every Vegetarian Needs

By Delia Quigley for Care2.com

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~Albert Einstein

As people strive to improve their health and evolve their food choices to a more plant-based diet, it is easy to get lost along the way. You can happily end up living on chocolate whole-wheat croissants for breakfast, cheese pizza for lunch and a large bowl of fettuccine alfredo for dinner, but the pounds will eventually stack up as your energy declines. When you transition to a more vegetarian way of eating it is important to educate yourself about the nutrients your body will need on a daily basis.

Learn how to create a balance of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and quality fats with each meal. You must also replace the six essential nutrients provided by animal proteins with plant-based foods containing the protein, iron, zinc, calcium, B12, and Essential Fatty Acids that are reduced with the elimination of meat, poultry, pork and fish. The fun part is putting them together into delicious recipes and then chewing slowly for the full satisfying experience.


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