Wellness Wednesday: An Experience with Plant-Based Eating

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Wellness Wednesday: An Experience with Plant-Based Eating

 

At Athletic Outcomes we focus on more than just fitness...

We take into consideration proper recovery, nutrition, and training. Dr. Brittaney Cook is co-owner, has her M.S. in Nutrition & Human Performance, and is a Level 2 Precision Nutrition Coach! If you couldn’t tell by her credentials, she takes nutrition very seriously. That’s because she knows how to properly fuel your body for optimal results and has a passion for helping others.

Recently, Athletic Outcomes held a 21 Day Plant-Based Eating Challenge lead by Dr. B that consisted of… well… 21 days of Plant-Based eating! Dr. B helped to coach the participants throughout by giving them daily tips, statistics, and weekly schedules to stay on track and complete the challenge in a healthy and efficient way.

After the challenge (which was a huge success!) we interviewed one of the participants to give you guys the run-down on how things went and the why that comes with plant-based eating!


Meet Christina.

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Christina was a virtual participant (she lives in Chicago!). Before the challenge, she and her beautiful family were regularly eating eggs, meat, and dairy.  Although she couldn't quite convince her 2.5 year old boy and her husband to participate in the challenge with her, she still decided to go for it alone. Read all about her experience below!


What motivated you to try the Plant-Based Eating Challenge?

My sister recently became vegan and a couple close friends. I was curious as to why and how they could not eat so many things. I am a pretty healthy eater, so thought I was up for the challenge.

 

Have you been plant-based before and if so, why did you decide to stop eating plant-based in the past?

I was vegetarian for a couple years in my early 20's. It was not really a strict vegetarian plan, so I fell back into eating more meat without hesitation after a couple years.

 

How would you describe your experience with the plant-based challenge?

The first week was tough. I was pretty tired, albeit that could have been life, but I associated it with the change in diet. After that first week, I felt great, got in more of a swing of cooking meals that tasted really good and didn't feel like simply a bowl of rice and veg.I definitely felt less of a 'full', uncomfortable feeling after meals and I noticed an uptick in my energy level at the gym and throughout the day.

 

What was something you learned?

I read a lot about the stress on the environment and resources with consuming meat and dairy products. It was kind of alarming and it felt pretty good knowing eating my little plant based diet would help slow down this depletion of resources.

Eating the plant based diet made my monthly cycle way more tolerable. Less cramps, bloating, irritability, and overall energy was higher. After reading about this connection it seems that all the hormones, inflammatory agents in meat and dairy were exacerbating the above symptoms. So, I'm super happy about that:) So is my husband!

 

What ended up being your favorite recipe that you discovered over the 21 days?

My favorite recipe was from Oh She Glows, the Vegan Lasagna. My sister came over and we decided to have a cooking night. I was thinking how the hell is this basil cashew concoction going to replace cheese....but low and behold it did and was actually better! My husband had a meat option for dinner and started with that, then ended up eating 3 pieces of the lasagna!

 

Are you still plant-based today?

I actually am and it's been a fairly easy transition. My husband and son are still eating eggs, meat, and fish, but less frequently because I'm cooking vegan options that substitute meat or fish for them. My husband feels like his energy level has been higher as well, even just cutting out meat a few nights a week.

 

For people who are hesitant to try plant-based eating- what advice would you give them?

I say try it. The evidence is there that plant based diets can reduce incidence of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Who doesn't want to live healthier and longer? Do it cold turkey and stumble through the first week like I did and then you'll most likely find a rhythm and find foods that taste as good as your old meals did. Oh ya, another thing that is amazing is your grocery bill! It is way cheaper to be vegan. Meat, eggs, dairy products are pricey. I was shocked at how much less we spent at the store.

 

What did you like most about the challenge?

I liked being able to commiserate with my sister about vegan recipes, be able to relate to her choices, how she feels when out to eat, or eating with the family. It definitely takes some extra work, but it honestly makes eating food feel more simple. You know exactly what it is and where it came from.

I'm still working on eating fruits and veg that are seasonally appropriate. The store makes it so easy to buy fruits and veg that are not in season. So, lots still to learn and I'm excited about it!

 

 

 

 

 

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AO Member Highlight: Personal Training & Massage Therapy

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AO Member Highlight: Personal Training & Massage Therapy

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Trying to kick your performance into high gear but don’t know where or how to begin or dealing with an injury? We talked with one of Athletic Outcomes members, Sarah, all about her experience with AO.  Read all about her story of personal training with Pat, moving on to classes, and even dipping into massage therapy with Christine! Hope you enjoy. 

How did you find out about AO and what brought you back… multiple times? ☺

My fiancé had just started taking some AO classes through ClassPass and would always comment on how great the classes and instructors are. He recommended I reach out to them when I began looking for a Personal Trainer. 

I ended up training 1-on-1 with Pat for a few months. He was incredibly attentive, constantly giving me feedback, ensuring that everything felt the way it was supposed to and giving me alternative exercises when something didn't feel right for my body.

After my training was over I dropped ClassPass and joined AO full time (as did my fiancé). Now I take group classes and I continue to receive high levels of attention and feedback. All of the instructors give personalized feedback and are constantly checking everyone's form and correcting when necessary. I also appreciate how much effort they put into making the classes different every time - they never get boring or repetitive. 

All of these reasons, as well as the awesome AO community Pat & Brittaney have cultivated, keep me coming back.

Tell us what your injury was coming in and how that affected your workout routine and life in general.

I'd been having chronic neck, shoulder and back pain for about 3 years. I had gotten to the point where I was constantly in pain - I’d wake up in the middle of the night every night because of it, I couldn’t sit on a stool or backless chair for more than 5 minutes, even something as simple as brushing my hair was a painful task. I stopped working out altogether for a few months as it seemed anything I did would make the pain worse. And an equally taxing side effect was the mental toll it took on me to be in pain all the time and feel like there wasn’t much hope to remedy it.

I was seeing a physical therapist who was helping a lot, but I had come to a point where I needed to work on re-patterning my movement & start building strength in meaningful ways. That’s where AO came in.

What is your background in fitness/wellness? (former athlete, gym rat, cycle enthusiast, none of the above?) 

I was a pretty serious ballet dancer up to the age of 17. Unfortunately, my fitness routine greatly declined when I stopped dancing, and I had never been super comfortable working out in a gym or gym setting.

What did you expect out of your treatments/PT sessions? 

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Personal Training. It sounded scary and potentially torturous as someone who’s mental picture of a Personal Trainer was a drill sergeant-type. I was also hesitant to be too hopeful as I had already tried a lot of different things to try to feel better.

Now going through them, how does that compare to the above expectation and what have you learned or gained?

It’s now easy to say that my Training sessions have greatly exceeded and corrected some of my expectations. Pat was great at encouraging me in a helpful way and at making me feel comfortable as I had never done 85% of the exercises he was having me do. 

Through Training, not only was my chronic pain greatly minimized, but I gained strength, confidence, and knowledge on how to properly move and work out.

Who would you recommend AO to? Christine’s Massage Therapy to? (not specific people BUT rather people with what types of injuries?)

I would recommend AO to anyone who is interested in building meaningful strength and just feeling great all around. The AO emphasis on proper movement and form as well as the fully modifiable exercises makes it a perfect place for anyone from a gym layman/laywoman to a gym rat looking to rehab an injury or just build strength and move better.

Again, I’d recommend Christine to anyone, with any level of athleticism. With my chronic pain, I had gotten a lot of massages and none come close to how effective Christine's are. She has incredible knowledge and awareness of the body and can get to the root of an issue even if I have a hard time pinpointing it.

What can someone expect from AO when walking in the doors for their first class, PT session, Nutrition Consultation, Massage Therapy?

You can always expect a warm welcome, effective methods, and a positive, encouraging atmosphere!

 

 

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Summer Salad

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Summer Salad

Looking for the perfect salad to compliment those grilled proteins? Check out this super tasty and nutritious version of a nicoise salad. Packed with nutrients, veggies, and proteins, you'll be sure to wow a crowd or thoroughly enjoy all by yourself. 

What you'll need for 3-4 servings: 

2 stalks of Romaine Lettuce

1.5 cups of green beans

4 red potatoes

4 hard boiled eggs

3/4 cup of chopped raw pecans

* Your favorite dressing or hummus

 

Directions

Bring three pots to boil, one for the hard boiled eggs, one for the red potatoes, and one for green beans. Cook eggs for about 10 minutes, potatoes for about 15 - 20 minutes (until soft and cooked), and the beans for 3-4 minutes until crisp and tender. Drain all once cooked and then refrigerator to cool down. In the mean time, chop your Romaine and place on a platter. Once all cooked ingredients have cooled, cut them into quarters and then add to the platter with Romaine. Top with pecans. Add your favorite dressing or hummus and top with salt/pepper. Enjoy!

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