Plant Based Goodness – as featured on trainingforchocolate.com

Hollie Kempton
Hollie Kempton – full of beans

You may know me on Instagram as @powered_by_vegies and yes it is true I am quite literally powered by vegies.

I am a whole food plant based foodie, teacher and fitness instructor. I am super active and love learning as much as I can about nutrition and

the difference it can make in fighting disease and promoting holistic health.

I have answered some questions that I regularly get asked about what it’s like to be plant based…

What does it mean to be plant based?

Banana and Mango Smoothie
Banana and Mango Smoothie

I feel like sometimes we like to place things into neat little boxes to make sense of our world. We are a society that is driven by labels so I guess if I was to put a label on my lifestyle and diet it would be “whole food plant based diet”.

To me this means eating whole foods that are from plants. I do not consume animal products or by-products, for example, red and white meats, dairy, eggs, etc.

Some people would call it “vegan” but I think that some people that follow a vegan lifestyle eat junk food (like Oreos… yes, they are vegan).

A whole food plant based diet consists of foods that are less processed, and as close to how they are found in nature as possible. The best way to explain this is that I eat olives instead of olive oil because there are no cold press machines found in nature.

Centering our diets around whole plant foods involves a reduction in meat and processed food consumption. We should try to get our nutrients (including fibre) in produce form by eating legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Why I chose to be plant based?

Colourful salad and brown rice noodles
Colourful salad and brown rice noodles

I have always been what I thought was a “healthy” eater and tried to make choices about my food that followed this principle. I am a big animal lover so I tried hard to purchase organic and grass fed/free range products when possible.

However on my quest for knowledge I came across a documentary called “Forks Over Knives” – if you haven’t seen it you really should. (Don’t worry, it’s not one where you see animals getting slaughtered all over the place.) After watching it and having many “Ah Ha” moments, otherwise known as a moment of sudden realization, I learnt many things about nutrition from peer reviewed sources that totally changed my mind about animal products.

Now I am not saying this is for everyone but including more plants in your diet is something we could all benefit from… right?

I dived into the lifestyle head first and have never looked back. I feel like my choices now align better with my values and my health has never been better.

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Vegie-packed stir fry
Vegie-packed stir fry

Without a doubt the most common question I get asked is “Where do you get your protein?”

We need to eat foods that supply us with the nine essential amino acids that our bodies can’t make on their own. Some plant-based foods have all of them (quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chia and hempseed) while others have a mix of some and not others.

As long as foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are consumed daily, you’re getting everything you need, and more.

For more information check out http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/plant-based-diets/

Do I get all the necessary vitamins?

Vegans average fewer nutrient deficiencies than average omnivores while maintaining a lower body weight, without necessarily losing muscle mass. Those eating plant-based diets may experience enhanced athletic recovery.

However there are important nutritional considerations. There are two vitamins not available in plants: vitamins D and B12.

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, so some sun exposure is important for all of us.

B12 once found in healthy soil is now more difficult to get as we often wash and sterilize our produce. I get regular blood tests to ensure that I am not low in B12 but you can take an oral supplement sporadically if necessary.

What does a typical day on my plate look like?

berry smoothie
Smoothie time, yum

I thought I would include a day in the life of me. I have included when and how much I exercise to give you an idea of my activity levels as well.

5.30am:  Wake up…… jump out of bed. Go for a run (today it is 8km).

7.00am:  Breakfast – Steel cut oats (1/2 cup soaked) with fresh fruit with almond milk and coffee

11.00am:  Morning Tea – Yoghurt (homemade from organic soy) with fruit (seasonal)

1.00pm: Lunch – usually leftovers from dinner the night before, or a large salad with vegetables and beans

3.30pm:  Green smoothie and carrot

5.30pm:  Coconut water with a scoop of organic pea protein and teaspoon of raw cacao powder

6.00pm:  Teach Pump class

7.45pm:  Dinner – usually a curry, stir fry with some zoodles or brown rice (check out my IG for more details)

9.00pm:  Snack – square of Pana chocolate and cup of tea

10.00pm:  Sleep time