img 0777 - Food Stamp Project Day 6

Yesterday's lunch—leftover seitan & veggies

I’m almost done with this project! Honestly, it hasn’t been that hard, but it has showed me a lot about the importance of planning—and cooking—ahead. More than the value of money, it’s taught me about the value of time. You have to use it efficiently.

Speaking of efficiency, last night I went to see athlete and author Brendar Brazier (also founder of Vega products) give a talk last night on veganism for athletes at Jivamukti’s Yoga Center cafe. While I’m neither a vegan nor an ironman athlete, I found a lot of what he said to be pretty sensible and logical overall. I particularly liked his emphasis on high-quality whole-food plant sources of nutrients—even protein.

img 0782 - Food Stamp Project Day 6Though I can’t say I would recommend a vegan diet for everyone, I believe that with enough planning (especially when it comes to iron, B12, calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3) it can done. However, supplements are usually a good insurance against deficiencies, and while Brendan’s Vega products are among the best in their field, I have mixed feelings about “relying” on expensive powders to get your nutrients.

That said, one thing that fascinates me about nutrition is the impact the digestion process has on how your body utilizes nutrients in foods, which affects how you feel after eating various things. For someone concerned with getting nutrients as quickly as possible (such as an athlete),  drinking something made with a powdered, plant-based source that can be “assimilated” much more quickly can be a good option. Or you could throw a bunch of whole foods (fruits, flax seeds, leafy greens, etc) in a blender instead of using a pre-made formula. Both have their place.

While Brendan also talked about hormones (especially cortisol, everyone’s favorite stress hormone), the main thing that really stuck with me was his emphasis on recovery and on making it possible for your body to recover from a workout more quickly and efficiently. He talked about the importance of reducing stress (and cortisol) in order to make it possible for your body to perform more efficiently. He also talked about the importance of quality sleep over simply a larger quantity of sleep. As I found myself tossing and turning last night, I did a little brainstorming about that one ; )

There’s been a lot rushing around lately in this little brain of mine, and a lot of it is stressful stuff that doesn’t need to be there. While most of the de-cluttering is up to me and not some magic vegan powder, I did enjoy the smoothie I made this morning with a sample of the Whole Food Optimizer. Today is one of those rest, recover, and study days. The rest of last night was spent in Brooklyn with some lovely folks I went to college with, so today I’ll be hitting the books instead of the whiskey (and water!). Haha that’s totally me making my 1.5 drinks sound like 3.

img 0789 - Food Stamp Project Day 6It’s funny—I feel like more people have been asking me about my tattoo recently.  For example, yesterday, a little girl in the bathroom at Whole Foods yesterday started asking me about my tattoo. She really liked it and wanted to know the story behind it. I gave her the short version, which is that I got it because I need help with positive thinking, and that it reminds me to think good thoughts.

“Like, ‘Yes I can?'” she asked.

“Exactly.” I wanted to laugh because it sounds kind of silly, but she had a point. It applies as much now as it did when I got it four years ago. As this semester unfolds, it’s become apparent that I need a little refresher course—My Mother, the Hypnotist would probably tell me all these strangers have been asking about my tattoo recently because the universe is trying to tell me something, that perhaps I should be focusing on that “yes” instead of on the overwhelming things.