The Best Protein Sources (Other Than Meat, Fish, Dairy and Eggs)

January 22, 2012

Lately I’ve decided to try to cut my overall intake of meat (I’ve cut out pork completely for that matter). I’ve never been a big meat eater, but chicken and turkey have always been a main part of my diet. I was (and I am still) convinced that there’s nothing like meat to get your protein intake, but I’m also more conscious that eating too much meat (even if organic lean meat) is not ideal for your health. That's why I I decided to resort to other plant sources of protein.
Also, during one of my triathlons last year I met two vegan triathletes and one of them - to put it mildly - just “beat the crap” out of me during the race.  He was almost faster than me in the swimming segment (which for me is a big deal ) and when we jumped on the bike well, there was no match.
I was really impressed by this guy because he seemed to have some kind of secret source of energy that made him almost fly throughout the race.
Then I thought to myself: this guy is vegan and he’s an amazing triathlete, how does he feeds his muscles? Because let’s not forget that a vegan doesn’t eat meat, fish, dairy products or eggs. Hence, it can get quite tricky to get your proteins. I have many vegan friends, some of them are amazing yoga teachers, others are good athletes but none of them is even close to being a triathlete.
Training for triathlons (and triathlon races themselves) requires a lot of energy and the post-training/race recovery can become quite problematic if you can’t rely on readily available protein sources (such as whey protein, egg whites or chicken).
I asked him for some guidance on his diet and he replied that he relied heavily on quinoa, organic soy (including soy protein powder), hemp, legumes and brown rice.
All in all he made me realize that there are so many other sources of protein other than standard meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.
Let’s dig more into this!

Bread Is (Always) An Ultra-Processed Food

January 18, 2012

Yesterday we talked about the classification of foods between unprocessed, lightly processed and ultra-processed. Today, with that knowledge in mind we are going to put on trial what is possibly the most popular food in the world. One that man has made for thousand of years, refining the techniques for baking it and one that you can find in almost all households around the world (except mine): bread.
An all time favorite that you use for making your favorite sandwiches, to spread peanut-butter and jelly, to accompany all of your meals and so on.
And why it is on trial today? Because beside being the most common food, it is also an ultra-processed food. No matter if you make it at home from whole ingredients or if you buy the “industrial” Wonder Bread at the supermarket, it's still ultra-processed food.

Do You Know The Difference Between Unprocessed, Lightly-Processed And Ultra-Processed Food?

January 17, 2012

Nowadays we hear a lot of times the term “processed” when it comes to food. And you probably have also heard that we should be eating more unprocessed foods and less processed foods.
But do you know what exactly is processed food or unprocessed food, for that matter?
Yes, I mean, everybody can tell that an apple or a banana are unprocessed and that an Oreo cookie is processed but what about flour, olive oil or yogurt? Can you tell if those are processed or unprocessed?

If you’re interested in this topic you’re probably going to be happy that nutritionists have created a system of categorization to differentiate between different kinds of food.
It’s also pretty simple and you’ll be amazed how
this will change your point of view when you’ll be at the supermarket picking up groceries.
I found a really interesting paper authored by Prof. Carlos Monteiro that with exceptional simplicity provides clear-cut classification of processed foods.
If you’re interested in reading the whole paper you can download it for free at here I will just briefly sum-up the main ideas of his writing.

Nuggets and fries: a classic example of ultra-processed food

Crunches v. Planks: What's The Best For Your Abs?

January 11, 2012

R.I.P. Crunches, you have been a very good friend but it is time to let you go once and for all!
this is more or less the message that Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove convey in the recently published book “The New Rules of Lifting for Abs” (Avery, 2010). A very interesting one if you’re looking for an entertaining reading.
Schuler, an award-winning fitness journalist and one of the authors of the book, confessed that he hasn’t done a single crunch in at least ten years "The idea of doing crunches and sit-ups is to make the abdominal muscles bigger," he told.
"But we all have muscles there. My son had a six-pack for most of his childhood, without doing a single sit-up. He was just a skinny, active kid."
We all know that diet is far more important than exercise if you want a six (or even eight) pack. Most guys also probably don't realize that the most effective moves for chiseling the belly aren't crunches or sit-ups (which can actually do more harm than good). In fact, the best exercise to target your gut does the exact opposite of a crunch, and that is a plank!

The Christmas Survival Guide (For Your Health)

December 22, 2011

It’s almost Christmas and according to some popular tunes: “It’s the best time of the year!” No one doubts about this however from our standpoint there’s one thing you should be careful with and that is your health! (No surprise since that’s what we’re passionate about here @TheIronYou).
The fact is that besides presents, what Christmas really comes down to is EATING and DRINKING and let’s face it: too much of it!

Christmas parties, Christmas dinners and Christmas lunches all filled with delicious (high-caloric) food and flowing with drinks. But after of all this bonanza what are you left with? Let me tell you: with few extra pounds on your belly, waist and tights (depending on where you store it!)
According to some recent studies The average person gains 5lb (2kg) over Christmas. Some of this extra weight - 1 lb to 4 lb - will be water and glycogen (stored carbohydrate); the remainder will be fat.
So here are our two cents on how to make it through Christmas without becoming a big tub of lard!

Spice Up Your Life #6: The Value Of Oregano

December 21, 2011

Do you use oregano? I bet that at the most you sprinkle it on your pizza or maybe you add it to your pasta sauce, but that’s about it, right?
Well, after you finish reading this post and discover all the health benefits of this herb I’m sure you’ll find new ways to enjoy it!

Spice Up Your Life #5: Garlic Amazing Properties

December 16, 2011

We all know garlic very well as it’s widely used in almost all cuisines around the world. And I bet you’re also aware that garlic is good for you: but do you know to what extent is it good for you?
I initially thought I knew it all but the more I dig into it, the more I found out...

Spice Up Your Life #3: The Magic Of Chili Pepper

December 10, 2011

Third chapter of the “Spice Up Your Life” saga: it’s chili peppers’ turn.
Chili pepper is a very common spice that find its way into almost all households around the globe. It’s responsible for putting on fire your tongue and maybe even make you shed a tear when you add it to your favorite dishes.
However, if you’re brave enough to use it you will get a lot of health benefits from it.

Spice Up Your Life #2: The Benefits Of Cinnamon

December 8, 2011

Second episode of the “Spice Up Your Life” series: today we’re going to talk about cinnamon and all the health benefits that it brings along.
First of all: do you know what is cinnamon? I used to ignored it an just found out that it’s a small tree that grows in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Egypt and Vietnam.
I also discovered that cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to humans. To prepare it, the bark of the tree is dried and then rolled into the very well-known cinnamon sticks (also called quills).
Cinnamon can also be dried and ground into powder which is the most common use in American households.
The flavor and aroma comes from a compound in the essential oil of the tree bark called cinnamonaldehyde.

Spice Up Your Life!

December 7, 2011

Do you know that herbs and spices have more disease-fighting antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables? This means that they may help protect against certain chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Most of the evidence exists for cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary.
For instance anti-inflammatory compounds contained in cinnamon have been linked to lower inflammation, as well as reductions in blood glucose concentrations in people with diabetes. We are going to explore some of the most used herbs and spices in the next days for now let's just get a general idea on them.