In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part one, focusing on Tim VanOrden's take on this issue.

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

Every Autumn I proclaim that it is surely the best season of all. Then, without fail, every Spring I find myself feeling and saying the same thing. How can any season be better than this time of renewal, rebirth, and unlimited potential for beauty to spring up in front of your eyes with every glance?

Jim here... It's not often that we're able to recommend a movie that's perfectly relevant to the raw food lifestyle. But, if you're a raw vegan and haven't seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we highly recommend this film. Not only is it wonderful, but it's also, for much of the film, a nice metaphor for living the raw foods lifestyle.

Continuing on, today, with Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

While on our walk, Pete pointed out that in the building on our right there are some amazing kale chips being produced. Kale chips ! I asked if he was referring to raw food kale chips and he nodded. Of course, I had to investigate and find out who was producing them and possibly meet the person. Well, what a treat we were in for!

One of the workers directed us to an office nearby where we met a lovely woman named Blessing. It turns out, Blessing is the producer of the kale chips we received from our Official Snack Sponsor during our tour, Natural Zing. Not only does Blessing produce some of the most popular kale chips in the raw community, her company is also the manufacturer of the famously delicious "Raweo" cookies (which you can find on Natural Zing's site)!

As many of you know, I'm more of an intuitive eater than anything else. I eat what I intuitively feel my body needs most of the time. Well, for the past two weeks what my body has been asking for is cauliflower. I went through a cauliflower stage sometime last year, and it seems I'm back to eating that lovely white flower veggie again!

At first I was making mashed cauliflower (like? mashed potatoes) and keeping the recipe very simple. I've made complex versions of the mashed cauliflower before, but I was really drawn to a more simple taste so all I was adding was some olive oil, salt, and a tiny bit of macadamia nuts. Yesterday, however, as I was cleaning the cauliflower (since my body was telling me it wanted more of it), I had a sense that I wanted something more vibrant, more fun than simple mashed cauliflower. So, I followed my intuition (picking up whatever I felt my body wanted to eat with the cauliflower) and here's what I created...

We're into soft foods and treats these days, because Jim recently had a wisdom tooth extracted (KDcat insists he is less wise for having done so). We've been having a lot of fruit smoothies! I made a big mistake and created a smoothie with a grapefruit for the juicy part (I normally only use oranges). I don't care for grapefruit, because the bitter part just isn't appealing to me. However, I thought for sure that bananas and frozen berries would override the bitter taste of the grapefruit. It didn't, so I added some agave to the mixture and blended it again. Nope--still bitter. So, I asked Jim to taste it (he LOVES grapefruit) and he thought it was fantastic. He consumed the entire pitcher of the bitter concoction.

Jim here... Until our home sells (SOON!!!) and Wendi and I launch ourselves into the world as full-time raw food teachers / lecturers / inspiration providers, I'm more or less stuck in the corporate world during the day. While much of what happens in this Dilbert-esque environment is, as many of you likely know, absolutely meaningless, there is nonetheless the occasional pearl of wisdom to be pried from the clammy jaws of the 9-to-5 world. I was, for example, just reminded of a story I heard at a seminar once. Not surprisingly, the seminar pertained to the art of money making. However, there's another more fulfilling message to it as well.

A large modern newspaper company still uses these ancient printing presses from the 1950s -- huge old monstrosities with enough belts, pulleys, and greasy gearboxes to make any modern-day steampunk enthusiast squeal with delight. One day, not long after the old press manager finally leaves the company, the main press breaks down. Manuals are consulted, technicians brought in, engineers asked to take a peek. No one can bring the beast back to life. But there's a woman on the Internet who specializes in these babies -- and, guess what, she's local! So, they call her in. She listens to their problem and says she can fix it, but it's going to run them $5,000.

As we promised yesterday, we're featuring a wonderful (and LONG!) video interview today with the incredible John Kohler of Santa Rosa, CA. You may be familiar with John from some of his popular web sites, most notably his "Living and Raw Foods" community site at www.RawFoods.com. Below are parts one, two, and three of Wendi's interview. They're roughly 10 minutes each. (That's a lot of time, I realize, but at least check out Part 1 if you're short on time, as it offers an amazing look at John's front yard.)

Wendi said she was at a loss for words when interviewing John at his home (and you'll soon see why!), because what he has done on his 1/10th of an acre lot is *phenomenal*. He told Wendi off the video that it's all a matter of trial and error--finding what grows easily and well, and working with those plants the most. If something takes a lot of effort, or is difficult to easily grown, he skips it and focuses on what can give the most yield for the least work. Almost everything grown on John's land is edible!

PART TWO:

PART THREE:

The video of John's garden and the pictures (see yesterday's post) are enough to inspire ANYONE to plant even a small garden for themselves! WOW!

John has a lot going on, including a monthly potluck. Wendi and KDcat happened to be in town on the night of the March potluck, so Wendi was invited to speak at the event. It was a nice, laid-back group of people, Wendi said, and they sat at a long table talking about the raw lifestyle, health issues / concerns, what children are fed in school, and so much more -- a really nice group of people, Wendi said, noting she'd love to visit them all again. To connect with John Kohler is pretty easy. He's on the internet at:

Once again, we d love to thank our generous trip snack sponsor, Natural Zing, for helping us to make this possible on our budget!

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On March 19, 2010, anasha wrote:

fantastic, thank you so much Wendi, very informative, what a guy and energy bomb he is, hope you are well again, you seem so
love to you

Hi everyone! It's Wendi here, back to updating the blog and giving Jim a much-needed break. ;-) He did an amazing job with all he did while we were away (his full time corporate job; assisting me with a part-time computer job; keeping the house ready for realtors and potential buyers to stop by; dealing with some sad issues around our dog, Julia; connecting with our hosts and those requesting meetups/talks across the country; catching up with KDcat and I for a bit each evening to hear how we were doing; collecting pictures/videos/notes from me to then go through and create blog posts for all of you; helping friends fix up their attic into a useable place; and so much more)! He missed us a lot, and we missed him a lot, too.

So, here we pick up from where we left off with our travels yesterday...

It wasn't easy leaving Arizona. KDcat and I both wished we had more time to play on the rocks in Sedona. But, we'll keep that for a time when all three of us (next time with Jim) can be there to experience the wonder of that beautiful place. So, it was off to New Mexico! Since our host in Albuquerque was going to be busy until the evening, we slept in a bit before leaving Arizona.

In Albuquerque, NM, we stayed in the home of the beautiful Darshanie, who was out of the country visiting her daughter and attending the wedding of her brother. I met Darshanie at the Peaceful Valley Ashram a few years ago (the same ashram where I held a raw food spiritual retreat). She's one of Leela Mata's beautiful and talented daughters, creating candles which she sells as well as offering intuitive readings [click here to learn more about Darshanie]. It was wonderful to be invited to stay with Darshanie during our travels, and I was a bit sad that she wouldn't be there when we arrived, but who would ever miss out on the chance to attend an Indian wedding ! If you're ever invited to attend one, consider it a huge honor and accept the invitation. Indian weddings are breathtakingly beautiful in so many ways.

Our weekend is going to be filled with Spring cleaning. Many may not think of any type of cleaning as fun, but there's something special about Spring cleaning. Maybe it's because when we do Spring cleaning in our home, we tend to make it a family event. When we do things together as a family, even though there may be a little bickering here and there, but for the most part we have fun. There's something truly rewarding about working together as a team for something that is going to benefit everyone.

Today I'd like to do something different for Makin' It Monday. I'll tell you what we've eaten today, but I want to hear what's been happening in YOUR kitchen!

This morning I sliced up three bananas, drizzled them with some agave, sprinked a bit of Himalayan crystal salt on them, and then topped them with hemp seeds and sprouted flax seeds with cranberries and gogi berries. I love this breakfast because it feels like I'm eating something a bit complex and more filling than simply eating the bananas plain (which is how I almost always eat them). KDcat had a bowl of oatmeal (not raw), and Jim had a few pieces of fruit.