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Kettlebell Training for Athletes

By now you know about Kettlebell training. It’s not a passing fad. Kettlebells are here to stay for a very very long time. Athletes all over the world are starting to use Kettlebells to improve their cardio, strength endurance, and enhance power.

If you’re an athlete looking to incorporate Kettlebells into your training program, then here some things you need to know:

Get Faster and More Powerful with Kettlebells

Core – the region that includes your abdominals and lower back – are the most important area for any athlete looking to improve his or her performance. Every single Kettlebell movement activates the core region.

In addition, the basic kettlebell movements – swings, cleans and snatches – places greater stress on your lower back. In fact, these movements also work your posterior chain (calves, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back).

The posterior chain has been known to make athletes faster. Makes sense. Sprinting involves these muscle groups, and every single sport out there (except bowling) involves sprinting. For combat sports, the posterior chain and core region help you develop faster kicks and powerful take downs.

So just by incorporating swings, cleans, and snatches into your current training regimen will help improve your athletic performance. Here is a basic workout you can do 1-2 times per week to steadily transition into hardcore Kettlebell training:

  • 1 arm Swings – Max reps in 30 seconds
  • 30 seconds rest

This sequence will take 90 seconds. Start off with 5 sets, or 7 and a half minutes of work. Steadily work your way up to 20 sets, or 30 minutes of work. Then move to a heavier weight.

Further Improvement with Kettlebells

Almost every single movement can be replaced by Kettlebell exercises. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it to you:

Barbell Power Clean can be replaced with:

  • One Arm Kettlebell Clean
  • Bottoms Up Clean from the Hang Position
  • Two Arm Kettlebell Clean
  • Alternating Kettlebell Clean

Barbell Shoulder Press can be replaced with:

  • One Arm Kettlebell Military Press to the Side
  • One Arm Kettlebell Press Looking Forward
  • One Arm Kettlebell Para Press
  • Seated One-arm Kettlebell Military Press
  • One Arm Kettlebell Sots Press
  • Two Arm Kettlebell Military Press
  • Alterate Kettlebell Military Press
  • Kettlebell See Saw Press
  • One Arm Kettlebell Push Press
  • Double Kettlebell Push Press
  • One Arm Kettlebell Jerk
  • Two Arm Kettlebell Jerk


Barbell Clean and Press can be replaced with:

  • Alternating Hang Kettlebell Clean and Press

Bench Press can be replaced with:

  • One-Arm Kettlebell Floor Press
  • Double Kettlebell Floor Press
  • Extended Range One-Arm Kettlebell Floor Press
  • Extended Range Alternating Kettlebell Floor Press

Bent Over Rows can be replaced with:

  • One-Arm Kettlebell Row
  • Two-Arm Kettlebell Row
  • Alternating Kettlebell Row
  • Renegade Kettlebell Row
  • Alternating Kettlebell Row

Barbell Squat can be replaced with:

  • One Kettlebell Front Squat
  • Front Squats with Two Kettlebells
  • One Arm Overhead Kettlebell Squats
  • Kettlebell One Legged Squat

Abdominal Training can be replaced with:

  • Kettlebell Windmills
  • Advanced Kettlebell Windmill
  • Double Kettlebell Windmill
  • Kettlebell Bent Press
  • Kettlebell Side Press
  • Kettlebell Turkish Get Up (Lunge Style)
  • Kettlebell Turkish Get Up (Squat Style)
  • Kettlebell Pass Between the Legs


Deadlifts
can be replaced with:

  • One Arm Kettlebell Snatch
  • One Arm Kettlebell Swing
  • Double Kettlebell Swings

There are many more variations you can perform. But I believe this to be a decent list.

Kettlebell for Cardio and Fat Loss

For sports where weight is an issue, such as wrestling and MMA, Kettlebells can be used for Fat Loss. It can also be used to improve ones cardiovascular endurance. I have a number of great Kettlebell Cardio workouts for you to try:

Women: 6 Nutritional Tips to Help Boost your Metabolism for Fast Summer Fat Loss

The summer is….almost here. And you need officially declare war on that stubborn fat. One of the key ways or burning more calories throughout the day is to raise your metabolism. Lets look at some interesting ways of doing this:

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Metabolism Tip #1: Eat More Spices

According to the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, eating certain spices leads to a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent. This doesn’t mean that you should go to your local Indian restaurant and eat extra spicy food.

Simply take your regular, healthy meals and turn them from bland to hot. Give them some flavor. You’ll not only enjoy your foods more, but you’ll also burn a few extra calories along the way (while you eat).

Metabolism Tip #2: Drink some Coffee

A study published in Physiology and Behavior found that individuals who drink caffeinated coffee increased their metabolism rate by 16 percent. So not only does coffee wake you up in the morning, it also boosts your metabolic rate.

The way this works is that coffee actually stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing. It’s almost like your working out! But don’t overdo coffee. There are also some down sides to excessive coffee consumption.

Metabolism Tip #3: Consume Iron

Iron is important. Iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles. If your muscles don’t get enough oxygen, your energy levels fall, and your workouts suffer. Your metabolic rate suffers as well. Women lose a lot of iron during their periods each month.

So eat iron. When you hit the grocery stores search for iron-fortified products. Eat more beans, spinach, and broccoli.

Metabolism Tip #4: Eat More Fat

I’m talking about Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These healthy fats tell your brain that you’re full, meaning you’ll feel fuller, longer. You can get healthy fats from a variety of sources including fish, nuts, and olive oil.

Metabolism Tip #5: Grab some Green Tea

A recent study showed that individuals who drank 3-5 cups of green tea per day for 12 weeks lost 4.6 percent of their bodyweight. Other studies indicated drinking two to four cups of green tea per day may help burn up to an extra 50 calories.

50 calories may not seem like a lot, but when you’re trying to burn off stubborn fat, every little bit helps. You can drink your coffee in the morning, and green tea later in the day during lunch.

Metabolism Tip #6: Stay Away from Contaminated Foods

I’m talking about going organic. Now, in recent years, many companies have been putting “organic” labels on their products that aren’t really organic. That means you need to do your research. Stores such as Whole Foods are a good place to start.

You don’t need to make a full, 100% transition to organic food. Eating clean in general helps a lot. Think of your body as an engine. You don’t want to put junk oil into that engine. You want the best stuff to make it work as smoothly as possible.

Make these simply tips to your nutrition and you’ll start to notice some decent fat loss within a few weeks. Combine these tips with a solid training program, and you’re on your way to achieving your goals.

For women, the best workout out their is Booty for Wife, developed by Craig Ballantyne. Click here to learn more about Booty for Wife.

The 40 Workout Kettlebell Snatch Challenge

Unlike other Kettlebell challenges, the 40-workout is progressive and implements safer protocols. The idea is that you begin with 2-arm kettlebell swings, and perform 25, 50, 75, or 100 reps (depending on your level of fitness). On the second day you add 5 reps. On the third day add another 5 reps, then on the fourth day lower 5 reps. Fifth and sixth days you add 5 reps, respectively, then on the 7th day drop 5 reps.

So here is a sample 40-day plan for 2-hand kettlebell swings, starting with 100 reps:

  • Day 1: 100 reps
  • Day 2: 105 reps
  • Day 3: 110 reps
  • Day 4: 105 reps
  • Day 5: 110 reps
  • Day 6: 115 reps
  • Day 7: 110 reps
  • Day 8: 115 reps
  • Day 9: 120 reps
  • Day 10: 115 reps
  • Day 11: 120 reps
  • Day 12” 125 reps
  • Day 13 120 reps
  • Day 14 125 reps
  • Day 15 130 reps
  • Day 16 125 reps
  • Day 17 130 reps
  • Day 18 135 reps
  • Day 19 130 reps
  • Day 20 135 reps
  • Day 21 140 reps
  • Day 22 135 reps
  • Day 23 140 reps
  • Day 24 145 reps
  • Day 25 140 reps
  • Day 26 145 reps
  • Day 27 150 reps
  • Day 28 145 reps
  • Day 29 150 reps
  • Day 30 155 reps
  • Day 35 150 reps
  • Day 36 155 reps
  • Day 37 160 reps
  • Day 38 155 reps
  • Day 29 160 reps
  • Day 30 165 reps
  • Day 31 160 reps
  • Day 32 165 reps
  • Day 33 170 reps
  • Day 34 165 reps
  • Day 35 170 reps
  • Day 36 175 reps
  • Day 37 170 reps
  • Day 38 175 reps
  • Day 39 180 reps
  • Day 40 175 reps

After 40 days, take a minimum 10-day break, then restart the cycle with either a more difficult movement, with higher repetitions, or with greater weight. The purpose of the challenge is to eventually be able to do it with the Kettlebell snatch.

How to Perform the Kettlebell Snatch

There are certain movements you must master before attempting the snatch:

Here are the key points you must practice:

1 – Perform a “clean” in front of your face

The Kettlebell clean requires you to pull the Kettlebell, then “flip it” with an open hand technique, and have it rest against the outside of your arm, without banging it. It’s a very important technique to master, and very difficult to teach. Once you’re able to perform the Kettlebell clean, the idea is to “clean” the kettlebell higher up, closer to your face, and then punch through. The punch through idea we’ll discuss later, but until then check out this tutorial on how to perform the clean:

 

2 – Shoulder Mobility and Flexibility

You must be able to properly hold the Kettlebell in a vertical, lockout-position over your head. Some people simply don’t have proper shoulder mobility and flexibility in order to perform the movement. If you’re a big dude, and have performed typical bodybuilding movements, then you may be lacking in this department. This is dangerous. If the arm is not in perfect vertical alignment, it could cause you to shift out of balance and lead to injury. One recommended movement to practice the overhead lockout position is the overhead kettlebell carry:

 

3 – First part, Swing

Some might see the snatch and think it is Kettlebell one-arm swing with an overhead press. This is only somewhat true. It is very important to be able to generate enough power in the one-arm swing to be able to easily transfer into a high clean position followed by an overhead lockout. It’s one fluid movement, but begins with the one-arm swing. If you haven’t yet practiced this technique, then you need to watch this tutorial:

4 – Second part, high pull

Once you’ve gotten the swing portion right, then it’s time connect the swing with the high clean using the high pull movement. The high pull as performed will help target the upper back, but when performing in a snatch sequence, you are only performing the movement partially. Regardless, it’s an important movement to master:

 

5 – Do not bang the bell

Finally when putting these four movements together, it’s important to practice how NOT to bang the bell. Keeping the hands loose helps with the smooth transition. Check out this video for further explanation:

 

Finally let’s put all these five steps together:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider then shoulder width apart with a kettlebell between your feet.
  • Grab the kettlebell with one hand and pull the bell towards your body. Keep pulling it up, bringing your elbow above your head.
  • Use the momentum to swing the kettlebell toward the back of your forearm the way you would in a clean, and punch through so that you arm is now vertically above you.
  • Return the kettlebell to starting position in a controlled manner and repeat. 4

Check out the video:

 

Kettlebell Swing vs Kettlebell Snatch

You’ve seen many Kettlebell swing challenges out there, but what about Kettlebell snatch challenges? Would such challenges be considered safe, and are Kettlebell snatches really the next step from swings?

Here are some key facts to know about both movements:

  • Swings develop more of the lower body, as one is able to lift more weight in the swing.
  • Both are great developers of the upper back and posterior chain.
  • The one-arm swing version activates both your abs and your obliques. The snatch is also a great abdominal movement, but the obliques do not have to work as hard.
  • Snatches win in the fat loss department simply because the movement trains more muscles groups at the same time
  • Biggest drawback of the snatch is that it is not a beginner movement. It will take time to perfect the exercise.

Kettlebell Snatch Alternatives

If you’re unable to perform the Kettlebell Snatch, then you’re better off sticking to Kettlebell 1-arm swings until you have perfected the movement.

There are no other alternatives to performing the snatch. It is truly something you must practice with lighter weights before you can take on a full challenge implementing the Kettlebell snatch.

Do not simply exist, conquer.

  • Parth

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Feel Lucky by Dealing with the Now

“If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.” – Jim Carrey

We believe we need “luck” to get through life. We constantly worry about our future and replay our past, while our present moment erodes away.

What about our CURRENT relationships?

Our CURRENT level of wealth?

Our health RIGHT NOW?

We have problems staring right back at us TODAY, and we distract ourselves by worrying about our tomorrow.

Tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed. Why are we worrying about something that isn’t even guaranteed?

Perhaps it’s morbid thought, but it’s the truth. Don’t be afraid of the truth. This is reality.

What’s guaranteed is the present moment. Right now. You breathing. You alive. So this moment that you have, take stock of all that you have to deal with and find a solution to it.

Personally, when I’m faced with a problem that I don’t know how to fix, I do two things: 1) ask someone and 2) pick up a book.

I’m fortunate enough to have a nice, core group of friends around me who are ambitious in their own lives.

I also have a great father who’s gone through some ups and downs. After all, he came here as an immigrant and built a business all on his own. He has to know a thing or two about facing life’s problems.

The second action, picking up a book, is so important. Jim Rohn says, “The difference between where you are today and where you’ll be five years from now will be found in the quality of books you’ve read.”

Books give you a glimpse into the experiences and lessons of someone else. Now, not only do I have access to the experience of 3 of my best friends, plus my father, but I also have the experience of countless authors who have been inspired enough to share their stories.

What could be greater that this!

Why we hold onto our past

Even the answer to this question can be found in a book. There have been many books written on psychology that can easily show you just how fickle our minds are. When we experience something bad, it replays over and over in our minds. Each time it is replayed, it becomes embedded deeper into our psyche. Each time the event is replayed, our mind is tricked into thinking that this is our present moment.

We literally have two minds playing at once: our conscious and our subconscious. Our subconscious mind is build like a computer – there is no moral compass, no definite past, present or future, no understanding of goals or objectives.

Our conscious mind is the operator of the subconscious mind. The problem is that so many of us don’t know how to program our subconscious minds and teach it to live in the present moment.

Like a coder, the project of reprogramming our subconscious minds takes time and constant effort, but it is certainly possible.

Here’s what you need to do on a daily basis in order to stop living in the past:

When you find yourself thinking about the situation, stop yourself, close your eyes, and breath. Recognize where your are and what you have to do now. Once you’ve brought your mind back to the present moment, engage in some mental self-talk. Tell yourself that the past is done. It’s in the past. Explain to yourself that you’ve learned the lessons that you needed to learn from that past experience, and it is your responsibility to live in the present moment, using those lessons to build a better future.

That’s how it’s done. Do not simply exist, conquer.

  • Parth

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Best Kettlebell Workout for Fat Loss

Sorry to break it to you, but there is no “BEST” Kettlebell workout for fat loss. However, there is a “BETTER” Kettlebell workout for fat loss. Your Kettlebell training should gradually progress to become more challenging and more intense.

So how do you make a workout become more and more challenging? Well, I like to set little mini challenges up for myself. I’ll start off with a basic workout, and then I’ll design a more advanced version of that workout.

The idea is to gradually add more work to the first workout until I hit my target, advanced workout. Here is an example:

Basic Workout:

3 rounds of:

  • Kettlebell Snatch, 5 reps
  • Kettlebell Turkish Get Up, 3 reps
  • Rest 1 minutes

Advanced Workout:

5 rounds of:

  • Kettlebell Snatch, 8 reps
  • Kettlebell Turkish Get Up, 5 reps
  • 2-Hand Kettlebell Swing, 12 reps
  • Rest 1 minutes

That advanced workout is pretty tough. Especially if you do it with a 50lb Kettlebell. So how can we steadily transition to the Basic Workout to the Advanced Workout? Here’s a sample progression plan:

  • Week One – Perform 4 rounds
  • Week Two – Perform 6 Snatches, and 4 Get Ups
  • Week Three – Add in 10 Repetitions of 2 Hand KB Swing
  • Week Four – Perform 5 Rounds
  • Week Five – Perform the Advanced Workout

Your progression may take longer than 5 weeks. But the bottom line is that a) You’ve created a decent 6-week training program in a matter of minutes, and b) you’ve been challenging yourself so you’ll be stronger, faster, and leaner from where you started out from.

Do this for two other workouts, and you have a great, 3 day per week Kettlebell program that just takes 20-30 minutes per session. Keep yourself educated with the latest exercises and try to invent some new ones along the way.

To continue your Kettlebell education, I suggest picking up a copy of Kettlebell Revolution. Click here for more information

The Best Kettlebell Workout

I’ve said it many times before. There is no such thing as the “BEST” workout. Then, what’s with the title? Well, that’s really just to draw you in. And apparently it worked because you’re reading this!

I do have a point. Here it is: marketers are using words like “Best” to draw you in and make you believe that their workouts are better then everyone else out there. The truth is the best workout does not exist.

There is only a “better” workout.

Here’s my tip to you: when choosing your workout, try to choose something that’s more challenging then what you’re currently doing. Fitness is a work in progress. It’s a lifetime commitment.

You don’t do it for 3 months and then give up. You don’t stop after you’ve achieved your dream body. It’s forever. If you’re not ready to make that long term commitment, then forget about even purchasing a Kettlebell or training program.

Get serious.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, lets get into some program design. There is no best way to design a Kettlebell program. And the great thing about Kettlebells is that there are lots of different techniques you can use to design a workout.

You have pyramids, supersets, trisets, interval training, circuit training, rounds training, edt, lactic acid training, ladder training, wave loading, and hundreds of other twists of existing training methods.

So which one do you choose? Anyone. Just choose a training program, and gradually improve upon it. Keep up to date with the latest training techniques by grabbing the latest products put out by world class strength coaches.

Yeah. I’m basically telling you to buy eBooks online. Why? Well why not? It’s cheaper than getting a Kettlebell Coach. And it’s more effective because you can do the workouts at your own pace and time.

There’s no one watching. No one telling you that what you’re doing is wrong. Oh and by the if you ever come across anyone that states that they’re training program is better than what you’re doing right now….ignore them. For some really great Kettlebell workouts, I suggest picking up a copy of Kettlebell Revolution. Click here for more information

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Kettlebell Workout Routines for Men

Kettlebell Workouts can help men build strength, muscle, and drop fat. Guys tend to get stronger faster then women do, and so they need to be constantly challenged with more weight and varied exercises.

 

With Kettlebells, you don’t need to continue to add weight – as adding weight is difficult with Kettlebells. However, there are so many unique movements that you do with Kettlebells, that you can continue to get stronger and add muscle.

Here’s an advanced strength and muscle workout using some unique Kettlebell movements:

3 rounds of:

  • Getup Situp, 5 reps each hand, 30 seconds rest
  • Floor Chest Press, 5 reps each hand, 30 seconds rest
  • Lawnmower Rows, 5 reps each hand, 30 seconds rest
  • Rolling Pistol Squats, 5 reps each hand, 30 seconds rest
  • Partner Assisted Eccentric Swings, 5 reps each hand, 30 seconds rest

Now, some of these movements are brutally hard. So you can substitute the movements for easier ones that you already know how to perform. I’ll go over a few that you may have not see before:

Getup Situp

The getup situp is similar to a Turkish Get up except that you do not stand all the way up. The idea is to start off in a lying down position with the Kettlebell extended out over your head, and then simply perform a situp while keeping the Kettlebell locked out over head.

Lawnmower Rows

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Grab a Kettlebell with your right hand. Bend your body to the left side, placing your left forearm on your left thigh. Bend your knee slightly and keep your back straight.

Perform a row, starting the pull from near your left foot. This looks you’re starting a lawnmower engine.

Rolling Pistol Squats

If you can’t do pistols, then do these with two feet. Hold the Kettlebell in front of your body with two hands, each on the side of the handle. Perform  squat. At the bottom position of the squat, roll back.

Then roll forwards back into squat position and stand up. (Make sure the Kettlebell doesn’t hit you in the head). For additional Kettlebell workouts, I suggest picking up a copy of Kettlebell Revolution. Click here for more information

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The 5 Vegetarian Weight Loss Mistakes Caused By Advertisers

The following is a guest post by Kardena Pauza, author of Easy Veggie Meal Plans:

Naturally, when most people think of vegetarian foods and weight loss, they think of men and women eating healthy meals with plenty of energy to spare.

 

But, what most people don’t realize is there are a number of these so-called “health foods” that vegetarians are regularly consuming that aren’t just unhealthy, but lead to weight gain, and I’m not talking muscle.

Over the years I’ve made many mistakes when it comes to eating healthy on a vegetarian diet and so I thought I would share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned.  This way, only one of us has to make the vegetarian blunders.

With that being said, here are the 5 biggest weight loss dieting mistakes people make when switching to vegetarian meal plans:

1. Eating “health food bars” and protein bars as a healthy snack alternative or as a meal replacement.

This one is a biggie.  These bars are loaded with junk binders and fillers with very little nutritional value.  Unfortunately, many people believe the advertising and so think they are eating a healthy substitute.  My advice, read the labels before you eat them.  If nothing else, skip the bars altogether and have fresh fruit instead.

2. Falling for the convincing advertising that energy pills, energy drinks, or anything labelling itself as “thermogenic” will lead to fat loss.

While you’ll get a two hour burst of “mania”, the incredibly large dosage of caffeine in these products will bring your “high” to a crashing halt that often lingers for two to four hours.

Tip: avoid these ingredients: taurine, guarana, caffeine

Truth be told, energy products do NOT accelerate fat loss and none of them even work to curb your appetite.

So, do yourself a favour; skip the energy roller coaster and avoid every energy product that contains either sugar or caffeine.

3. Thinking there is a magic cereal diet.

There isn’t one.  In fact, most recently a popular women’s magazine was glorifying a particular cereal as the breakfast of choice for those wanting to lose fat. Shame on them!

 

What they don’t tell you is that many of these cereals contain way too much sugar and refined carbs, little-to-no protein, a small amount of fibre, and worst of all, fat derived from hydrogenated oils.

With that being said, if you really want to lose fat, then whatever you do, avoid processed grains and do NOT eat cereal in place of real food.

4. Wasting money on bodybuilding supplements

Why spend your hard-earned money on a product that is really just processed milk?  Simply put, you don’t need the junk that is advertised in bodybuilding supplement magazines.  You can avoid them and still lose fat and build a better body.

5. The misconception that low-fat products are your best bet for fat loss

Again, those advertisers are real sneaky I tell you!  But here is something they don’t tell you; the only way to make these low-fat foods taste worthwhile is by pumping them full of sugar.

Sugar causes a number of potentially damaging side effects to your body, but the most visible nasty side effect is the fat that is stored right on your belly and thighs.

Tip:  I recommend consuming no more than 6-9 grams of sugar per sitting.  Just be careful of the nutritional label as it might indicate 6 grams/1 cup serving, while you’re eating 2 cups and oops, you just consumed 12-18 grams of sugar!

So, those are 5 of the biggest mistakes made by those switching over to the vegetarian lifestyle.  If you follow those guidelines you’ll be well on your way to a healthy vegetarian fat loss diet.

For More Information on Healthy Vegetarian Nutrition, Check out Kardena’s website, www.EasyVeggieMealPlans.com

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How to Get All the Nutrients You Need Without Animal Products

The following is a guest post by Kardena Pauza, author of Easy Veggie Meal Plans:

The most common argument against a vegetarian diet is that you can’t get enough calcium or iron, or that you will need to get a Vitamin B12 shot from your doctor.

However, it is easy to get plenty of calcium to build strong bones and it’s not difficult to get enough iron. The ONLY nutrient that will take a little extra effort is Vitamin B12.

Calcium

Everyone thinks you need to drink milk to get calcium, but cows, horses, gorillas, and elephants, some of the world’s strongest and most powerful animals, all have built their big strong bones on a vegetarian diet.

Plant based calcium sources are easier to digest, and you don’t have to worry about being lactose intolerant when you eat plant based calcium sources.

The BEST non-dairy sources of calcium are fortified beverages (such as soymilk and orange juice) and dark, leafy greens like kale and broccoli. Other foods like legumes and almonds can give you calcium.

Iron

Iron is an important element in your red blood cells to help carry oxygen throughout your body. Iron deficiency is known as anemia and is characterized by chronic fatigue and

being susceptible to infections. If these symptoms exist then you MUST first visit a doctor to verify and diagnose the issue.

Since meat is traditionally known as the best source of iron, people think vegetarians will end up iron-deficient and anemic.

However, there are many iron-rich vegetarian foods, and by eating a variety of whole foods the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients work together synergistically to maximize absorption of the other nutrients in the foods.

For example, scientists have found that eating vitamin C rich foods with iron rich foods (like spinach) increases the absorption of iron. For example, because bell peppers give you 230% of your daily Vitamin C requires (that’s more than twice as much as oranges),

you can eat a salad containing spinach and bell peppers and you’ll absorb a lot of iron.

Plant SOURCES of iron range from green leafy vegetables (spinach, collard greens,

swiss chard, kale), whole grains, legumes, soy beans, black strap molasses and dried fruit. And remember to eat foods rich in vitamin C to enhance absorption.

With that being said, the RDA recommends for pre-menopausal women 15 mg per day and 10 mg for men and post menopausal women.

Here’s a list of iron rich foods:

Broccoli ½ cup 0.7 mg

Tofu ½ cup 13 mg

Black beans ½ cup 1.8 mg

Molasses, black strap 1 Tbl. 5 mg

Raisins 1 oz. 0.7 mg

Parsley 3 Tbl. 0.6 mg

Whole wheat cereal 1/3 cup 1.1 mg

Oats, whole rolled 1/3 cup 2.5 mg

Lentils, sprouted raw 1 cup 2.5 mg

Buckwheat 1/3 cup 1.3 mg

Kale fresh 1 cup 1.1 mg

Beets 1 cup 1.1 mg

Wheatgrass juice 1 oz. 0.6 mg

As you can see, it’s not hard to get enough iron by consuming whole, natural foods. In addition, many foods – such as breads and cereals – are now FORTIFIED with iron which can help supplement your diet if necessary. However, just watch that these cereals and breads are not refined or full of additives or preservatives.

Vitamin B12


Vitamin B12 is essential for your body and is stored in the liver and released when it is needed. Scientists like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study”, say that

Vitamin B12 can be stored for up to 3 years. As of right now the only confirmed way to obtain Vitamin B12 is through fortified foods or supplementation. The RDA for Vitamin

B12 is 2.4 micrograms for adults.

You may need to talk to your Doctor about taking a Vitamin B12 supplement because this is the one nutrient that is not naturally found in plant foods.  So it is ESSENTIAL to make an effort to add this to your diet.

Foods fortified with Vitamin B12 include non-dairy milks (soy and rice milk), veggie “meats” and breakfast cereals. But look at all the ingredients in these foods to eliminate refined products or additives and preservatives.

I personally use “Living Vitamin B Nano Plex” as an excellent source of Vitamin

B12. It is the first Vitamin B12 made from probiotic fermentation which is more

bioavailable to the body. Another option is taking B12 sublingual (dissolve under the tongue). I recommend methylcobalamin which is naturally occurring.

Cyanocobalamin is a commonly used synthetic B12 supplement that’s also used in fortification of foods because it can be produced so cheaply. When cyanocobalamin is metabolized in the body the by product created in small amounts is cyanide. We are not exactly sure the impact on the body but I don’t feel comfortable using it.

For More Information on Healthy Vegetarian Nutrition, Check out Kardena’s website, www.EasyVeggieMealPlans.com

The Best Sources of Vegetarian Protein

The following is a guest post by Kardena Pauza, author of Easy Veggie Meal Plans:

Most foods have some combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat – even vegetables contain all three macronutrients! So here’s a list of some whole foods and their protein, carbohydrate, and fat content.

The reason I am showing you the three macronutrients is because people tend to eat too much of the wrong foods and they are gaining weight or stuck at a plateau and not losing weight. Typically a person is more likely to over eat on starchy carbohydrates or fat.

Some foods may contain more fat than protein, adding an excessive amount of calories in such a tiny portion. You want to be aware of these foods so you make sure and eat the right portion so you can easily lose weight.

Food Type : Protein / Carbohydrates / Fats (in grams)

·      Tofu 4 oz.: 8 / 4 / 4

·      Black Beans ½ cup: 7.5 / 20 / 5

·      Peanut Butter 1 Tb: 4 / 3.5 / 8

·      Almond Butter 1 Tb: 2 / 3 / 9

·      Cashew Nuts ¼ cup: 5 / 9 / 12

·      Seitan 3 oz.: 20 / 8 / 2

·      Tempeh 4 oz.: 16 / 14 / 6

·      Sunflower seeds raw ¼ cup: 6 / 6 / 14

·      Soybeans ½ cup: 16 / 14 / 8

One food I love is almond butter and I could eat almond butter everyday, twice a day.

The problem is it’s loaded with fat which means it’s very calorie dense. Every gram of fat equals 9 calories of energy where as protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram. You have to expend more energy to burn off 1 gram of fat than 1 gram of protein or carbs.

Fat is not particularly bad, it’s the quantity that’s the issue.

Our body’s need fat for many functions so please do not cut them out completely. On average for a female, you want to take in between 7-12 gr. of protein per sitting depending on your calories for the day and if you are eating it for a snack or as part of your main meal.

An extra scoop of nut butter here and there can add up to hundreds of excess calories that can sabotage your weight loss progress. It is easy to over eat on nut butters so measure out a serving and put the rest away so double dipping doesn’t happen.

What’s the Deal with Complementary Protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids, often described as its “building blocks”. We actually have a biological requirement for amino acids, not for protein.

Humans cannot make eight of the twenty common amino acids, so these amino acids are considered to be essential. In other words, we must get these amino acids from our food. We need all eight of these amino acids for our body to make certain proteins in the body.

Only eggs, milk, meat, and fish contain all of the essential amino acids.

Plant proteins on the other hand are usually low in one or two of the essential amino acids. For example, grains are lower in lysine (an essential amino acid) and higher in other amino acids. Legumes are lower in methionine (another essential amino acid) and high in other amino acids.

As a result, many diet experts insist that vegetarians consume “complementary foods” at

a meal – meaning that you eat two foods that combine to give you all the essential amino acids – such as beans and rice.

But that’s “old school” thinking.

Recent studies have shown that this is not the case at all. Our bodies have what’s called an amino acid pool where it cycles amino acids in the blood stream and stores them until it can use the amino acids for other purposes in the body or it’s used for energy.

Your cells are constantly breaking down and synthesizing new proteins. Each day more amino acids are recycled in your body than are supplied in our diet. If you eat a grain source of protein in one meal and a protein source from beans the next meal, then that will be just as good as eating them together at the same meal.

As long as you have a variety of proteins throughout the day, the body will hold on to the amino acids that have not been used and place them in the amino acid pool to be used later.

Our bodies are AMAZING and RESOURCEFUL.

As long as you eat a variety of grains, vegetables, and nuts everyday the body will have the resources it needs to build healthy protein.

What about Protein Powders?

Protein powders have found their way into every grocery store and health food store.

These powders can be helpful in supplementing protein when you are busy or if you are looking for an alternative to beans or nut meal.

There are a variety of protein powder options on the market now. Traditionally you would find only egg protein, whey, and soy. With newer technology and knowledge about other healthy sources of protein a new generation of protein powders has arrived.

Now you can find pea protein, hemp, rice, and artichoke protein. These next generation protein powders are great for vegans since whey and eggs are dairy-derived the selection was limiting.

Remember that protein powder is a supplement and NOT a meal replacement. These powders supply protein but you will need to eat other foods with your meal to ensure you are power packed with nutrients.

Whole natural foods are your premium source of nutrients and digestible protein so lean on this source mainly and secondly use protein powders.

A healthy and safe portion per day is 1-2 servings. A protein smoothie with berries for breakfast and possibly a snack size portion later in the day will boost your protein intake and still give you plenty of opportunities to incorporate whole foods. A serving size of protein powder for a female is approximately 15 grams and approximately 20 grams for men and half this amount for snacks.

So, there are just a few tips to ensure you get enough protein into your daily diet.

For More Information on Healthy Vegetarian Nutrition, Check out Kardena’s website, www.EasyVeggieMealPlans.com

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