Is it time to get tough…

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I have always thought that the best way to encourage folk to a healthier and more meaningful life was to gently explain facts and trust that their sense and judgement would eventually win through.  However after a week of listening to ignorance of folk I know and especially on social media I wonder if it is time to turn up the heat a little.  

People, if you think the mass production and then the mass destruction of animals in outrageously cruel and environmentally unfriendly conditions is in anyway acceptable you need a knock on the head.

The ethical argument against causing such suffering to any other species in itself SHOULD be sufficient for you to be mindful of what you are putting into your mouth, how it got on your plate in the first place and what it is doing to your body and society at large.

Your thought processes are half cooked if you can’t recognise and adhere to the significant science based findings that have demonstrated the cost to us all.  We cannot afford the wanton “growing”, transportation and slaughtering of animals and the effects this has on our Earth and societies.

To be blunt we just can’t afford you to eat meat the way you are doing nor your attitudes that go along with it.  Take just your own health and ask yourself this; “Am I healthy?”  Well i’m afraid the answer for a growing number of folk is: “No you are not’

If you are an overweight, weak muscled individual it’s likely that you are eating pigs and cows, plumped up turkeys and lice infused fish.  All of which are pumped full of a cocktail of antibiotics and growth hormones.  That is what you are putting into your own body!  Are you mad?  Why are you so devoid of the ability to make reasoned judgement over your own basic needs?

And while you are doing this you scoff at healthy vegans, plant based eaters who radiate vitality and ooze well-being and contentment.  As we say in Scotland “yer aff yer heid!”  And frankly we shouldn’t let people get away with it.

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Because I can…

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Motivation as far as I am concerned is the desire to do something or achieve something.  We know simple desire can achieve huge amounts whether it is training for an ultra marathon or starting your own business. But I think you also have to mix in a good dollop of bravery as well.

Achieving a goal of any sort usually means that something in your life has to change.  And we all know that change can be scary which is where the notion of being brave to cope with the change comes from.

Writing down your goals, visualising success and repeating mantras are techniques that some people teach to help with motivation.  But for me there has to be something more and that is having the right mindset to begin with.

I am motivated to achieve well over a long time and I am quite happy if the thing I want to achieve is difficult as the challenge to achieve that thing is even more motivating.  Training for distance running for example is a long game but the sense of achievement when I completed my first marathon was so great I knew immediately that I wanted to keep challenging myself by running faster, stronger and longer.

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Me and Mum after a Half Marathon 

I don’t think I have always thought this way however.  Like most people I was motivated more to avoid failure and unrealistic goals.

For example when I was younger I wanted to be super slim and wear the most fashionable clothes and have a super model like life style and naturally loads of money…  To achieve that I forced myself to barely eat and excessively exercise.  I did not achieve supermodel status,  I just made myself sick.

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20lbs lighter and still not happy!

People ask me these days how it is possible to stay so fit and slim and keep to my plant based healthy lifestyle.  They ask as if it is a burden and an impossibility for them to equally achieve.  The thing that they are missing in their thinking is that they can because I can!
As soon as you desire the promise of pleasure and happiness from living a healthy lifestyle more than the sludge of inactivity and biscuits and pastries you won’t have any difficulty with motivation.
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How tiresome…

I had a great weekend on a photo shoot that I hope will show my followers the fun and health of plant based living.

It was just slightly marred last evening when I watched a BBC documentary that highlighted a woman telling her audience that eating cadbury’s chocolate was good for you and plant based “diets” were a fad and people like Ella Woodward, whose cookbooks I treasure were unhealthy and promoted eating disorders.

Really?  When was it that the BBC allowed skewed and scientifically dubious rants airplay without challenging such assertions by offering the other side of the story?

Why are we still listening to folk who don’t practice good health, care little for the environment and don’t seem to understand the negative moral, social and economic aspect of meat eating?

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I would never suggest that carbohydrates should be left out of a diet nor that you should avoid a whole food group.  I might not eat cheese and milk but I know to ensure I have even better sources of calcium and vitamin D.   Of course we need a balanced diet and a great deal of care needs to be taken to achieve this.  But that is the case whether you are a meat eater or not.

I think the rise in obesity, diabetes and other related illnesses as a result of fizzy drinks and sugar and fat laden choices should be of far more concern than taking a slice out of people living a healthy and “balanced” lifestyle.

Check out my blog post- What I really eat – here

What’s taking so long?

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Eating plants over meat just makes too much sense.  Plant production uses less land, water and fossil fuels.  It produces much less CO2.  It is just more efficient – it is win win: more nutrition can be gained whilst using less natural resources to get it.

Who says so?

Well the World Health Organisation, WHO in a joint report with the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations.

They found that:

“Although two-thirds of the world’s population depends on cereal or tuber-based diets, the other one-third consumes significant amounts of animal food products. The latter group places an undue demand on land, water, and other resources required for intensive food production, which makes the typical Western diet not only undesirable from the standpoint of health but also environmentally unsustainable. If we balance energy intake with the expenditure required for basal metabolism, physical activity, growth, and repair, we will find that the dietary quality required for health is essentially the same across population groups.”

What is unbelievable is that the report was consulted on in 1998 and reported in 2002 – and we still haven’t changed our practices significantly!

Read the whole report here

If they can do it why can’t we?

It seems that the Chinese health ministry has released dietary guidelines, supported by no lesser figures than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Avatar director James Cameron, with the goal of cutting meat consumption in China by 50% in the next 15 years.

If this goal was achieved it it would, I understand, mean a reduction in meat consumption that would be greater than all the meat consumed in the US.

I wonder how long it will take Europe and to me very importantly Scotland to issue similar guidelines.  And again I have to ask if the science is there why are public bodies feeding meat to kids in school, to patients and staff in hospitals and elderly folk in care homes?

This is such a good step in the right direction both for the happy health of Chinese people as well as for a happy planet.

You can read more about it here

Here is a fabulous podcast with Rich Roll and James Cameron’s wife Suzy Amis Cameron  explaining their journey to plant based eating.

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What’s the story with… Turmeric

There are heaps of claims made about so called ‘superfoods’ and the amazing health benefits to be found by including them in your diet. But how do you know if such claims are valid – can some foods really benefit you as much as enthusiasts allege?

Studies certainly seem to stand up for turmeric as one of the most powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatories on the plant.

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Turmeric is a plant native to South India and Indonesia and is part of the ginger family.You’ll know it well if you like curry and be familiar with its distinctive yellow colour. What you might not know is that because of its primary active ingredient, curcumin, it is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories available.

Many of the foods that we eat encourages arterial inflammation and leads to cholesterol-clogged arteries, which is a leading cause of heart disease. And in terms of working out, exercise induces physical stress which also causes inflammation and this in turn impedes muscular repair. The more quickly the inflammation subsides then the quicker the recovery from training.

Foods like turmeric that can reduce inflammation will therefore support recovery as well as circulatory health. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric can be taken in capsule form or just dissolve 1/2 spoonful in hot water for a super boosting tea!

Where to learn more

NutritonFacts.org

Harvard Health Publications 

Some tasty vegan recipes with Turmeric can be found here

You can buy you Turmeric here 

What foods do you eat for their health benefits- send pictures to faldaeats@gmail.com or share using hashtag #faldaeats

 

 

Is feeding young kids with vegetables just a fad?

I thought that a Scottish radio phone in the other day was a joke – but no it was for real!  The topic: is feeding vegetables to babies just another fad?

I can imagine my mum over in sunny Spain having an apoplectic fit when she hears this one.  My mum and dad spent significant time and energy feeding me and my two siblings mashed up vegetables and ensuring we had a balanced diet.  And guess what – we just couldn’t’ have been healthier.

Mum tells me we were happy, bouncy full of energy youngsters and apparently I walked up my first Munro around the age of four.  The only problem at the time was she thought we had to have milk and yogurt and cheese to get our protein.

Based on the scientific research of lots experts in the field of nutrition she ditched this idea and is also now fully plant based.   Neither me or mum are scientists however and we think it best if readers seek peer reviewed evidence rather than just take our word that we don’t need to eat animals for protein.

One of the sources I use for inspiration and to check facts in an easily digestible way is through plant based ultra marathon runner Rich Roll.  In his podcasts he interviews really inspirational folk and a range of professionals including scientists who put the science and the protein issue to bed.

I also swear by the healthy approach of Dr Furhman who sites many, many sources in his book Eat to Live.  You could also try and have a squint at The China Study by Dr Colin T Campbell a great resource and he was one of the excellent interviewees on Rich Roll’s podcast.

Finally and for fun and inspiration checkout The Happy Pear over in Ireland, Mum just came across them and I thinks they are a great pair.  If you want a real giggle listen to Rich Roll’s podcast when he interviews them.

Some books to check out:

The China Study

Eat To Live

 

 

How yellow is your pee?

There is a lot of  information about that supports the need for drinking a good amount of water daily to make sure your body systems are working properly – including brain function!

If you are exercising you will need even more to replace the fluid loss through sweat.  Additionally if you are not fully hydrated before you begin to exercise you are not going to perform as well as you should.

Dr Babraj from Abertay University, Dundee recommends that you should begin hydrating before a challenging run three or four hours before you start.  Hydrating immediately before exercise is too late.  Dr Babraj explained in a recent talk about preparing for a long run that you will know if you are properly hydrated because your pee will be a pale yellow colour.

How much hydration you need to replace following exercise however is difficult to estimate.  We are all different sizes and we perform at different intensity levels, some folk sweat more than others and the temperature you are exercising in has a huge effect on how much fluid loss you are going to experience.

A simple way to determine your “sweat rate” is to weigh yourself before and after a run.  If you find that you lost four pounds while running, you know that those four pounds are due to fluid losses – sorry to burst your bubble if you thought it might be fat loss!

One litre of water weighs one kilogram which is equivalent to 2.2  pounds so if you have lost four pounds in sweat you need to drink a good two litres of water.

That’s a lot of water to get down though and I find it quite a struggle so I also eat fruits like melon and strawberries because they are about 90% composed of water and I get all the rest of the super nutrients in them as well.

Mum’s Tip:  a good way to add flavour to water is to add orange and lemon slices to a jug of water and let it sit for a while to infuse.  Add even more flavour with a few sprigs of mint. A couple of stalks of rhubarb is also delicious when it’s in season.

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Thirst quenching nutrient dense smoothie recipe

Whizz together the following  (I use a Nutribullet for this one)

2 stalks of celery

¼ cantaloupe melon deseeded

Handful of strawberries

Big handful of spinach

For more information :

https://www.reference.com/science/much-1-litre-water-weigh-kilograms-2da596fdd53cfdc4

 

 

 

Mum’s skippin’ to the beat…

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After our running challenge mum was literally out of breath.  Having fallen over quite often and also pulling an intercostal muscle taking a breath was a sore effort.  Pretty much mum was sick and tired of running.  However she knew from experience the feeling would pass and meanwhile she didn’t want to lose fitness.  So enter skipping.

 Skipping is a great way to keep up aerobic fitness and strengthen.  Mum has incorporated a tabata/hiit routine which is fun and still challenging.  She warms up with a four minute routine: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, repeated eight times.   This was followed by three cycles of 40 seconds on, ten seconds rest x eight. 

 

After a few days of focusing on coordination (she hadn’t skipped since she was a girl!) this proved a fun and quick way to keep up her training.

Mum is also focusing on stretching for running and is trying out yoga sequences for flexibility and strength as she feels that being a “wee bit older” it might be a wise move for overall body mobility.  I will keep you posted on her progress…

 P.S  she has finally found Spotify and is skippin’ to the beat of 80’s radio!

How did we train for the Rome marathon?

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Mum and I have been asked quite often recently how we trained for our first marathon last year and if we had any tips.  Well we don’t feel that we can really give out tips because we are not in any way ‘seasoned’ runners.  However we did follow advice from online sources and from friends who had a lot more experience than us.

 
This is some of the key things we did do…
 
First of all we drew up a 16 week running plan and we made the decision to stick to it, we think in retrospect that was the ultimate decision – sticking to what we decided to do. 
 
As we were already running three or four times a week for 3 – 5 miles we produced a schedule that built up our long runs.  We read enough to realise that it was very sensible to stick to the rule of not increasing our weekly mileage by more than 10% – although that can be difficult in the countryside when you are stuck for finding decent long runs.  Here is more on the 10% rule and lots more advice on all aspects of running.  
 
Each week we also made sure we did a long run so that our bodies got used to progressively  longer distance and longer time on our feet – so that the hours on our feet for the marathon didn’t come as too much of a surprise! Some runners prefer a long run every two weeks and some just one long run per month.  You can read more about the pro’s and cons of your long runs here.
 
Here are some of the things we didn’t do…
 
We didn’t stretch enough (or at all really) a very silly omission – we were lucky we didn’t pick up any serious injuries.  Here is some info on stretching and marathon training.
 
We also didn’t do any core strengthening exercises which was a real missed opportunity.  Here is some advice on core strength training. 
 

We ate too much – mum even put on weight despite the mileage we were doing.

 And … we didn’t learn how to hydrate properly but luckily the Rome marathon organisers knew what they were doing and we were ok on the day.  This is my post on what we do now to keep us going on long runs.
 
Overall as we progressed we realised a one fit plan doesn’t suit everyone for example we had different aches and pains, availability for training and different needs for hydration and food on long runs.  And don’t forget there is a 28 year age gap between us!
 
So what we needed was a whole system that we could adapt to our specific needs to help develop our speed, strength and endurance.