Tag Archives: Plant Based

FOOD FOR LIFE TRAINING (PCRM)

After my last post, my life  jumped into a whirlwind of excitement that had me flying across the country, meeting medical and nutritional idols and being away from my family for FIVE days!

So do you remember back in March, I posted about the fact that I was headed to Washington D.C. to attend the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s (PCRM) Food for Life Certification program?Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.35.58 PMWell folks, it’s official!! I am a Certified Food for Life Instructor!!! Certificate of Completion

The Tuesday after I finished Canyons, I hopped on a plane and flew to D.C. for my training. The plane ride left me with time to sit and recap the race in my head with the intentions of blogging while I was there. It happened, eventually (read my race report here).

Most of my time in D.C. however was spent soaking up SO MUCH information and meeting 25 of the loveliest attendees ever. Over 90 people had applied and 26 were selected. We had someone from Ireland and someone from China! It was amazing and to sit in a room with that many like-mined, empowered and energized people was unbelievable. Everyone was eager to learn and our instructors were hands-down some of the most intelligent and kindhearted people on Earth.

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Every morning, I would leave my hotel and walk the .4 of a mile to PCRM and the Barnard Medical Center. The weather was gorgeous and the walk was easy. Each morning they provided us with a plant-based breakfast! It was delicious.

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PCRM is the only nonprofit organization in the country that provides nutrition and cooking classes that focus on disease prevention and survival. It is 100% evidence based. It was founded in 1985 by Dr. Neal Barnard and has been growing and educating ever since.

Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Neal Barnard

Dr. Barnard spoke on our very first day. He truly has a heart of gold and a passion for animal rights and health.

In addition to his talk, we had some lectures on administrative stuff, a full-on cooking demonstration and a panel discussion where we were free to ask four PCRM dietitians anything we wanted! The last class of the first day however, was one of my most favorite!

The last class was called, Teaching for Understanding: What to say and how to say it so that your students truly learn. It was phenomenal! By full admission, I am a terrible public speaker so I am always looking for ways to improve. This class gave us plenty to think about and  techniques to implement when we are conducting classes. I loved it.

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The second day started even earlier than the first and once again, a full breakfast was provided.

The second day of the training consisted of an introduction into the many different classes we will be allowed to teach.

Food for Life general logo horiziontal

There is a curriculum for Cancer (Food for Life: Cancer Project – Acquire knowledge about the link between diet and cancer) and one for Diabetes (Food for Life: Diabetes Initiative – Learn more about the benefits of a plant-based nutrition approach for diabetes and prevention) in addition to so many more!

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Lead the way in facilitating an office culture of health and wellness that employees can carry into their lives at home.
Food for Life Employee Wellness horizontal logo
Realize the savings incurred with healthful eating are not only by dollars but also in quality of life.
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Establish in children knowledge and skills necessary to form healthful habits they can carry well into adulthood.
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Discover the world of health through general topics ranging from digestion to blood pressure.
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Discover how simple qualitative dietary choices can lead to a healthy weight.

You get the idea … the possibilities and topics to teach are plentiful and best of all life saving.

We also had to perform our very own cooking demonstration in front of the group and our instructors. Afterwards, we were critiqued and given ways to improve or enhance our class.

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Not going to lie, that was a little nerve wracking but I think it was imperative to give us a sense of what we will be doing when we return home.

The group at PCRM thought of everything. They answered our questions and they helped us navigate the endless opportunities we might be able to find using our new found skills and tools.

PCRM gets nothing in return mind you. Their only hope is that we, as Food for Life instructors go forth and teach! The more people we can reach across the world, the better.

With over one million people being diagnosed with cancer and 25 million people being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the United States each year – The Food for Life program is an innovative approach to a medical challenge.

So what is my plan? What is my agenda now that I am a Food for Life Instructor? Well for starters, I still have to study all the books, curriculum and information we received while at the training. I do have some ideas rolling around in my head though. I think to start, I’ll do a pilot program with a small group just so that I can get my “feet wet” and my materials ready.

The mighty 26 who are ready to TEACH!
The mighty 26 who are ready to TEACH!

Regardless, the fire has been lit and I am eager to get teaching! There is so much power behind food. There is no denying that it directly correlates to our health and well being. I think everyone knows and understands this but I also think, they could use a friend … a helping hand … a TEACHER to help them traverse what may seem like a difficult road ahead. I hope to be that person.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

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HEADED TO WASHINGTON!!!

How can it be March already? Time sure does fly when you are having fun and boy am I having FUN! I am not even sure where to begin my excitement is so over the top right now. 

So let’s start at the beginning shall we? 

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Depending on how long you have known me, you might not know that I have been plant-based for almost 23 years. Maybe not entirely 100% whole foods and oil-free plant-based for ALL of those 23 years, but definitely sans meat in anyway shape or form. 

With that said, despite my long history of being plant-based, I still seek out information. I don’t have a degree in nutrition. I am not a doctor. If I could do things over in life, I might have gone in a different career route but I don’t regret one single day of my college education. 

So despite knowing what I know, I always feel better when I can fully educate myself on the latest science behind the benefits of a plant-based diet. That’s why more often then not, you’ll find my nose in the latest book (just finished The Cheese Trap by Dr. Neal Barnard – a MUST read)…

Photo from www.pcrm.org
Photo from www.pcrm.org

 … as well as attending a conference or taking some kind of certification to further bolster what I know deep down inside is right for the human body. I just feel more confident explaining and advising others, when I can tell them that I know what I know not just from experience, but from thoroughly studying and educating myself on the topic.  

To date, I have taken T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certification Program, graduated from Rouxbe’s Plant-Based Professional Certification Course as well has having attended countless lectures and seminars by some of the most respected physicians in the plant-based world.

Dr. Michael Greger's lecture in 2016
Dr. Michael Greger’s lecture in 2016

Just last month I attended The Healthy Taste of Sacramento and heard Dr. John McDougall speak as well as Dr. Garth Davis and countless others. 

Healthy Taste of Sacramento Conference
Healthy Taste of Sacramento Conference

In my spare time, I’ve gone and visited places like True North, attended cooking demos and let us not forget Plant-Stock, the Mecca of plant-based education!! 

Plant-Stock 2016 with Dr. Garth Davis
Plant-Stock 2016 with Dr. Garth Davis
Plant-Stock 2015 with Rip Esselstyn
Plant-Stock 2015 with Rip Esselstyn

I do this because I love it. I do this because I live it. But more importantly, I do this because I want OTHERS to live it and love it too and I want them to have faith in what I am teaching them. Am I an expert? No, of course not but I am living proof that one can fully function as an ultra endurance athlete, a full-time working mom and basically a real person eating a 100% plant-based oil-free diet. I am not weak. I am not wasting away from a protein deficiency. 

I look sickly and totally unhappy don't I?
I look sickly and totally unhappy don’t I?

So it is with great excitement that I share with you, that I have been selected to go to Washington D.C. to become a Food For Life Instructor as taught by PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), Dr. Neal Barnard’s organization. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.35.58 PM
Photo from www.pcrm.org

Way back in September I started the grueling application process. Application, resume, references, videos … followed by phone interviews and back ground checks etc. PCRM only selects 25-30 people a year (globally) to attend (100 or so apply) and this year, I am one of few selected!

This May, I will fly to Washington D.C. for an intensive 3 day training at PCRM. They will teach us everything that we need to know (8 different kinds of curriculum) so that we can come back and in turn, educate others. 🙂

Photo from here.
Photo from here.

You may wonder, “What does she do for a living? This must be part of her job then.” Well, the answer to that is no and now, yes … stay with me here. 

My full-time job is not in wellness. Not one bit. I do all this plant-based stuff (like my cooking demos) because I like to do it and want to do it.

Fast forward to early February wherein my employer’s CEO gave a speech in which he stressed that he wanted to focus on his wellness and the wellness of our company.

His message had great intentions and excited a lot of people but they didn’t sit well with me. So I opened my big plant-based mouth and sent him a long email. Long story short, we had lunch at his request. Just the two of us, in his office and we discussed his wellness, the wellness of our company and the wellness of our country. It was a long lunch.

Just in that discussion alone, he saw my passion. He saw it and he told me, he wanted to utilize it.

So I am going to Washington, D.C. to get certified even further in Plant-Based Nutrition and Education. When I return, I can use my new certification to teach all kinds of classes AND best of all, I can use my certification to help motivate my fellow employees!

I love my company, I do, but for a very long time I have been frustrated by just how unhealthy we really are (in varying degrees). I am excited to be able to share my passion at work with those I interact with on a daily basis.

Of course I have a full plate between now and early May. Races, birthdays, swim team among other things (like further developing my YouTube Channel). Yet, I wouldn’t change a thing. This is who I am.  I love being busy and I love helping others heal.

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Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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RUN RUN LIVE Podcast Interview

A few weeks ago I received an email from Chris Russell, the host over at Run Run Live podcast1Someone had told him that I would be an interesting person to interview. HA! While I am not so sure about being “interesting” it was a super fun conversation that lasted about 25 minutes. I talk about running, mom’ing, plant-based stuff and how the heck I squeeze it all in!

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If you want to listen, you can click HERE. The beginning of his podcast starts with Chris talking about his marathon training and a piece on beating those winter blues.

My portion of the podcast  starts at about 18 minutes.

You can also listen on RunRunLive on  iTunes.

Many thanks to Chris over at RunRunLive Podcast for his time and interest and a big HELLO to the new readers his podcast had channeled my way.

It never ceases to amaze me the path our lives can take based on the people we meet in life. I have had an incredible February and I feel truly blessed.

February has been the month where I have felt my “plant-based super-powers” have been utilized the most and I look forward to helping and doing more! 🙂

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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TRANSFORMATION

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Heart disease is also 100% preventable. It is a life-style disease and if you have it, it can be reversed through diet and lifestyle changes.

February is Heart Health Month which coincides with Hallmark’s favorite “holiday” … Valentine’s Day. Quite obviously planned that way, I am sure.

What you may not know however, is that February is also the anniversary of my mom’s passing … from a heart attack. Do you see the theme here?

My mom.
My mom and a creepy clown.

She was 47 years old when she passed from a massive heart attack with very little warning. Two months prior, I had celebrated my 17th birthday and the joy of finally having a driver’s license.

My dad was turning 50 in early February as well and my mom worked endlessly planning a huge surprise birthday party for him.

She worked on every detail. She was so excited at who was coming and was busy buying all kinds of “over the hill” decorations.

It was also around this time, that I was making a more conscious (and vocal) effort to stop eating meat. Growing up I was never a huge fan of the stuff. There were a few things I would eat but I hated turkey and would always try and hide it under my mashed potatoes. 🙂

The party came and was a huge success. Two weeks later, she was gone.

The last photo of the four of us together - at my Dad's 50th party.
The last photo of the four of us together – at my Dad’s 50th party.

For those that know me now, that photo may be a bit of a shocker.

Me at 17 vs Me now
Me at 17 vs Me now

I’ve always admired the “success stories” that I see online of those who have been transformed physically that I guess I never really saw my own transformation until I revisited these photos recently.

Then vs Now
Then vs Now

Yet, the transformation that I love the most, is how my mind set changed after my mom’s passing. Whether intentional or subconscious, I made the connection between eating certain things and heart health.

The older and more mature I became, I would learn to research, read and understand the connection fully and more importantly, implement it daily.

Now it is a way of life for me. I can’t recall anything else and there is no other way I would want to live. Do you know why?

Peanut & Squeaker
Peanut & Squeaker

Those two blonde cuties right there. Having turned 40 not too long ago, it hasn’t gone unnoticed in my own brain that I am just now 7 years younger than when my mom left this Earth and more importantly my family. In 7 years, the Peanut will be roughly 16 years old herself. I am certain that history will not repeat itself.

How am I so certain? Because I am in control. I know that cholesterol only resides in animal products. Think chicken is a better choice? It contains the same amount of cholesterol as red meat. Eggs? One egg has as much cholesterol as a Double Whopper. Think about that. One egg!? And don’t get me started on oil (any oil) – it has the potential to impair the flow of blood to your heart significantly not to mention it is highly caloric and contains no nutritional benefits.

Don’t worry, I am not going to turn this into a “don’t eat meat or oil post” … (but seriously, don’t) instead, I want you to stop and think about what you are putting in your mouth in connection with how you feel on a daily basis.

I didn’t jump right into kale salads mind you. I went through a junk-food vegan phase. Sure, Frito’s and Oreo’s are vegan but let’s be honest, that is not food, not really. It took time.

And like me, you may still envision yourself looking a certain way when in reality, you probably do not look like your 17 year old self anymore. While we are at it, how are you FEELING?

Do you get out of breath easily? Is it hard to get out of bed? Can you walk a mile easily? Do you get leg cramps? Acid Reflux?  Sadly, heart disease does not often come with a warning. You don’t necessarily have to have high cholesterol or blood pressure either to have heart disease (my dad didn’t and he also suffered a heart attack).

There is a reason heart disease is called the silent killer. Sometimes the only warning that you get, is when you are having a full-blown heart attack and by then, it may be too late.

Don’t kid yourself. Everyone is getting older. Moderation is not “okay” anymore. As Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, the author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease has said, “If you eat unhealthy foods in moderation, then you’ll have a moderate heart attack.

I miss my mom every day. I often say: If I knew then what I know now, she’d still be here. Yet I might not know what I know now, if she hadn’t had a heart attack. I might still look like my 17 year old self, but with gray hair and quite possibly a few pounds heavier.

People often think Vans and I are so “fit” because we bike and run. That is only a small piece of the puzzle. When I was 17, I was playing basketball, softball and soccer – all year round and sometimes two sports at one time! You wouldn’t know it though by that photo.

Thin doesn’t equate healthy. I want you to look inside. I want you to really look. What is most important to you right now?

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Is it really worth jeopardizing your health, your life, your family to consume something that has the potential to stop the flow of blood to your heart? Forever?

Medication only masks the problem. It doesn’t fix it. Food, the right food (aka plant-based whole foods), can fix it. The right food, can reverse the damage that has already been done. The right food can allow you to see your children grow, walk them down the aisle and have grandchildren. The right food, can save your life.

We’re only given one heart … take care of it.

My heart belongs to these three right here.
My heart is no longer mine. It belongs to these three right here.

~Trailmomma

If you want more information, I urge you to please watch this video and read Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease or visit Dr. Esselstyn’s website.

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NEW VIDEO : CHIPOTLE BOWL WITH LIME CILANTRO RICE

Sorry, the blog has taken a major hit lately. It isn’t that I have not been running, I have … albeit drenched most of the time due to our increase in rainfall.

I hope to get back to blogging about running soon. I just haven’t found my rhythm yet.

What I have found however, is another recipe for my Instant Pot that I shot and edited for all of you.

I love Chipotle but what I don’t love is all the fat and oil that comes with it. Yes, even for the “vegan” food they serve, it still packs quite an artery clogging punch.

In the past, Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice (my favorite thing about them) was made with olive oil AND lime juice. A quick check of their menu recently, I don’t see that they list “oil” anymore on the ingredients but something is “a muck” here as this is the nutrition content for ONE 8 oz serving of their rice:

Photo from here.
Photo from here.

So one serving (which I rarely see just one 8 oz serving in a single burrito or bowl – it is more like 2 right?) is 4 grams of fat and 210 calories with 38 of those calories coming from fat. There is also 345 grams of sodium. The numbers just don’t add up for me.

Here is the nutritional profile from Lundberg Family Farms of just 1 serving of plain jasmine rice (1 serving is 1/4 cup dry which makes about 1/2 cup cooked).

Photo from here.
Photo from here.

I am sorry, cilantro and lime or lemon juice doesn’t add THAT much to the fat and sodium content to make the Chipotle numbers work.

Anyway, my point isn’t to bash Chipotle. I eat there from time to time. What I wanted to share was my latest YouTube video!

I made another Instant-Pot video in my kitchen this week. I was short on time and decided to just record while I was making dinner. So forgive the glitches. This was a one shot deal, no do-overs, no retakes. 🙂

I created my version of a “healthy” Chipotle Burrito Bowl complete with Cilantro Lime Rice. The recipe is in the description of the video itself if you want to try it.

If you like it, please give me a “thumbs up” and share with friends. You can also comment here and tell me what other videos you’d like to see or if I should just hand over my camera now and say “forget it.” 🙂

I am just having some creative fun. I don’t plan to have my own show on the Food Network anytime soon.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

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