GUEST BLOG | Plant-Based Nutrition
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
It's my honor to introduce Colman Power. Our first guest blogger, Colman hails from Cork, Southern Ireland. A horticulturist and personal trainer, Colman understands the value of good fuel; feeding our bodies with the best possible ingredients for long-term health and wellness.
A strong advocate of organic produce, Colman shares with us his wisdom on why the food that we place inside of our bodies should always be the best we can get.
The idea that all food is the same and a calorie is a calorie whether it comes from a cupcake or a cucumber is ridiculous.
My life is totally different to what it was just four years. I used to think that if I just ate chicken, broccoli and rice I would be healthy… I soon got sick of that. My background was always active, often playing sports and working out. During college I studied horticulture and then became more interested in food, completing an MSc. In Organic Horticulture In Cork University, Ireland.
From there I started to come in more interested in vegetables, their benefits and how they affected the body, starting my own organic veggie patch. I started doing my own research and soon found that there were certain proteins that we could get from plants, such as beans, lentils and peas, but were not a complete protein. So that’s why we eat meat, right?
You can get all the protein you needed from plants if you combine them with other incomplete sources of protein such, as grains (oats, rice, pasta etc).
Then the next steps were making sure I was getting enough protein, fats and carbohydrates in the foods I do eat to fuel my body. I’m a personal trainer as well as an organic grower, so this also helped me to properly advise the clients I was training. Now I help people to not only have a more plant-based approach to their diet, but I also help them reach their fitness goals by changing their composition.
However, the story doesn’t end there. While the idea that vegetables are beneficial for you and needed in certain amounts is vital, it’s is also important to make them taste nice. I have a Top 50 meal plan that I use to get people to pick and choose the meals they like. These meals are balanced and are exactly what is needed for optimal health. Tempeh, for example, is a complete protein source that is high in protein and is made from fermented soya that is also beneficial for gut health. Gut health is massively improved by a plant-based diet due to the increase in high-fibre foods. Gut health is linked with increased vitamin absorption, leading to more energy as the body can run more efficiently, as well as improved mood, with 90 percent of your serotonin being produce in the gut.
If there was a tablet that could give you that kind of outcome we would all be taking it!
To give you a brief synopsis of my background, I used to be smaller and weak, I used to need an inhaler for my asthma and I had rashes on the backs of my legs. Changing up my diet to a more plant-based approach has completely turned my life around. Being nearly 30, I feel, look and have as much energy as I had when I was 20.
Here are three things that I do every day that really help me consume more vegetables in my diet for optimal health:
Starting every day with a green smoothie with kale and fresh berries from the garden, or frozen if not in season. Kale is a superfood as it contains vitamins A, K and C to improve the immune system, muscle recovery and blood health.
Eating a high-protein salad that contains nuts for healthy fats with carbs from black beans. I usually use spinach for my lunches, which is an excellent source of iron. The protein is from spiced tempeh and black beans, providing two variations of plant protein. Health fats in this meal are from hemp seeds that increase fat-soluble vitamins. Lastly, I add some steamed beetroot full of the antioxidant anthocyanins to improve brain function.
My dinner is a simple one-pan dish with lentils as my plant protein and carbs, with some tofu in there too just to give an extra boost of protein. I cook these in extra virgin olive oil with onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes and parsley, all of which I grow myself. The onions are a high fibre food good for gut health, the garlic is a superfood that has been proven to increase your endurance, and parsley is good for digestion, as well as muscle repair and skin health due to its high levels of vitamin C.
Fact of the Day: a pepper has more Vitamin C that an orange! Sometimes I eat them raw like an apple as a quick snack at farmer markets.
My approach is that the food we eat has a direct result in the way we look and feel, and how much energy we have. Organic produce is the gold standard, as it is far more nutrient-rich, chemical-free and not only better for you, but also for the environment. There is not one person on the planet that would not benefit from consuming a more plant-based diet. So give it a try and buy organic wherever possible, or even grow it yourself. After all, you cannot gain the advantage of something you do not do.
If anyone wants any information on being a healthier, fitter individual using the power of organic vegetables, feel free to follow and message me at: @colman_power_organic_fitness
Do you want to feature on the Real Men Eat Plants blog? If you have a plant-based message to share, whether it is valuable knowledge, and inspiring journey or simply your perspective and experiences with some aspect of the plant-based lifestyle, write it down and email to me at: www.realmeneatplants.com/submit-a-story
Bryan is a 'self-taught' plant-based activist, discovering the benefits of eliminating animal products from his diet over 10 years ago. Since that time, he has advocated not only for a social shift in dietary and environmental awareness but also to reverse the construct that meat consumption is somehow tied to manliness and machismo.
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