Back in 2010 I was approached by 'Mens Fitness' magazine to write an article about vegan nutrition and fitness. They gave me the questions that they wanted to publish for their readers. The aim of the article was to give their readers an idea of what a vegan/vegetarians would eat to stay in shape. (The magazine particularly wanted me to focus only on 'salads', so you will notice that my answers don't include fruit. So please bear that in mind. I'm not advocating to don't eat fruit, it was just for the purpose of this article- I personally eat a lot of fruit).
I was so excited for this to be published, it would have been my first ever publicised article (apart from my own publishing) and I thought it was going to be a break through for the vegan lifestyle to go main stream. After emails to and fro, the editor was really happy with what I wrote, but then strangely asked me "Do you mind if we add meat to all the recipes, as this will appeal to our readers more". Stop the press, what the?!
So that was it, the end of my 15 minutes of fame. Money vs Morals, I choose the moral highway and declined his request. But thats ok, I still have the article that I wrote and I can publish it myself- 'Power to the people' as the saying goes. Actually, joking aside, I think we are in a time now were we can actually take a lot more personal responsibility and not be as dependant on others to create the things or life we desire. Technology has helped that a lot.
Please find below the Q&A that was never published ;)
1)What ingredients should you put into a basic salad and what is it going to do for you ?
The base of any basic salad has to be without doubt ' leafy green' vegetables. I'm not talking about a side salad of iceberg lettuce which has been left in the fridge for 3 days, which you bought from the supermarket. I'm talking about the fresh organic deep green leafy types like Spinach, Kale, Chard, Basil, Little Gem Lettuce, Rocket, Romaine and Corn Salad. Ideally the most nutritious salads would be grown by your own loving hands, although buying them from your local organic fruit and veg shop is the next best thing. So how do these puny little lettuce leaves give you the vital energy, supreme power and increased strength to keep you in shape and build muscles on your bones as hard as rocks ?
Well, to understand this thoroughly, lets take a look what rocks are made of. Rocks are made up of different types of essential minerals, which are the building blocks of all life. And where do we find the highest concentration of all these potent minerals ? In the soil of the Earth. And what grows so abundantly in highly rich mineralized soil ? You've guessed it, leafy green vegetables. Leafy green vegetables have the ability to absorb all of these life sustaining minerals from the soil and transform them into bio available Angstrom sized particles for animals and humans to eat and gain complete nourishment. Most mineral supplements sold on the market are not of ' Angstrom' size, and therefore they are not able to be absorbed by the cells in our bodies. Minerals are responsible for and activate all of our vitamins and they are the basis of all our organ and cellular structures of the body. There are 23 key minerals, including 16 major and 7 minor trace minerals. These are all needed for our bodies to function at the highest level. Minerals are used up and transformed all the time in exercise, so if we don't have the proper minerals in our system, then we don't have the cellular building blocks needed in order to repair and regenerate our tissues. This is reason why anybody wishing to gain extreme health and fitness, must add leafy green vegetables into their diet everyday.
2)What ingredients could you add for more muscle and why ?
The main ingredient one needs to build muscle is not strictly or uniquely protein but it is in fact 'intense workouts'. Excess protein actually thickens the cellular membrane and prohibits those all important minerals from entering the cell and doing it's job of building and regenerating our bodies to health and fitness. Although protein in the form of Amino acids are essential for building muscle, your body will only use what it needs and excrete the rest, so don't get worried about not having enough protein. What is essential for growth is 'Nitrogen'. Protein cannot form without Amino acids, and Amino acids are absolutely dependent on Nitrogen. In the muscle system, 'myosin' which is the principle protein in muscle, is made up of 17% Nitrogen. Foods which you can add onto your salad which contain a high source of Nitrogen are Almonds, Pine nuts, Walnuts, Peas, Beans , hulled Hemp seeds, Tomatoes, sea lettuce and Dulse Sea weed.
3)What ingredients could you add to improve your energy levels and why ?
The average person has in their body around 3- 4 oz of the mineral Potassium. Muscular people, athletes and people who engage in long term repetitive workouts have a higher amount of potassium in their bodies due to the fact that Potassium has an affinity with Oxygen, which increases tissue oxygenation. Potassium works in a dynamic synergy with Sodium. These elements work together to create a pumping action which creates vital energy on a cellular level. Potassium is essential for all energy metabolism, including the rapid firing of nerve impulses. To increase Potassium into your diet, add to your salad Sun dried black olives, Dulse, Avocados, Tomatoes, Raisins, Cucumber, Parsley and Watercress.
4)What ingredients would work in a salad that could improve focus?
One of the essential nutrients needed for brain function is Choline. Choline is derived from Lecithin, and Lecithin is used for people with Alzcheimers disease and brain deterioration. Lecithin is found in brain and nerve fibres. Lecithin can be found in the deep chlorophyll green leaves of plants, although it is not activated in the body without enough supply of phosphorus. Foods rich in Phosphorus which can be sprinkled over a salad are soaked nuts like Brazil nuts, Walnuts, mixed seeds like pumpkin and sunflower, olives, carrots, bee pollen and all sea vegetables.
5)What things could you put into a salad that would help with weight loss ? Why would they do this instead of other things ?
The great thing about eating salads is that nutritional value is extremely high and the calorie content is relatively very low. When the body receives sufficient nutrients such as proteins, fats, vitamins and carbohydrates it essentially switches off the signals in the brain that tell you, you need to eat. Junk food, irradiated food and cooked foods are all depleted of the these life sustaining nutrients which are needed for health and rejuvenation. If you eat these types of food, the body will not register that it has taken in any nutrients that are beneficial for the body to use as fuel and growth. This will create a message saying that it needs more sustenance to fulfil its function, and this signal will make you hungry again, even if you have just eaten. Failing to respond positively to this message from the brain by not eating mineral dense foods, will again prompt you to eat more food, all the while increasing your calorie intake. If you are not working out hard enough, then this excess of calorie intake will turn to fat and you will simply put on weight. So the advantages of eating salad greens, nuts and seeds over meats, rice and pasta, is that you can eat less and gain more nutrients, and this will also be extremely beneficial to your digestive system by giving it less work to do. This means you do not even have to worry about calorie counting or over eating, as you will reach your optimal body weight naturally.
Salad for Muscle building
Large bowl filled with chopped baby spinach.
1 cup of soaked and washed walnuts
½ cup of pine nuts
4 cherry tomatoes
Bunch of chopped corriander
Sprinkled handful of hulled hemp seed
Handful of Dulse seaweed
Drizzle with Olive oil and Apple cider vinegar
Salad for Energy
Large bowl filled with massaged Kale leaves.
15 black Sun dried black olives
6 Sun dried Tomatoes
1 cup of soaked and washed pumpkin seeds
2 inches of chopped cucumber
top with Watercress
Dressing to serve over Salad ~
Blend in a blender
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of celtic salt
1 juice of a whole lemon
2 Tble of Dulse seaweed flakes
1oz of Olive oil
Salad for Brain Power
Toss in a Large bowl of mixed lettuce leaves ( little gems, basil)
Handful of chopped Brazil nuts
1 grated Carrot
1 grated Beetroot
Dash of Celtic salt
Sprinkle of poppy seeds
2 Tble of Seaweed Salad.
Drizzle in Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar
Salad for Fat Loss
A large bowl of tossed Spinach and Arugula
2 large tomatoes diced
2 Tble of chopped chives
sprinkle of chopped parsley
2 Tble Lemon juice
1 tsp of Cumin spice
1 tsp of Celtic salt