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.

Here's an older post, from August 2008, about modifying one's diet to experiment with attaining even greater health. ?I know the before/after pics, alone, are inspirational enough to live a raw vegan lifestyle!

*blows kisses to everyone*

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A while ago, I received an email asking whether I had any thoughts on how old or young a person needs to be in order to benefit from a raw food diet. Yes. Yes, I do have thoughts on that! Lots of thoughts! ... Here goes:

The easy answer, of course, is that people of ALL ages can (and should) benefit from raw foods. I can assert with confidence that, for most people, increasing your intake of raw fruits and vegetables will likely bring about positive changes to your health, regardless of your age, dietary habits, or current state of health. (Naturally, reducing or eliminating the "bad" things is also paramount.)

Yesterday we talked about stress eating and I suggested coming up with a plan for ways you can deal with stressful situations in the future, before mindlessly turning to food for stress relief. I even said maybe it was okay to eat a gallon of ice cream if that's what makes you feel better. A healthy lifestyle isn't only about the foods we put into our mouths; it's about overall health (body, mind, spirit, emotions) and the decisions we make regarding our overall health on a daily basis.

Many times, individuals who struggle the most when trying to eat a healthy diet are the ones who have other aspects of their lives keeping them from attaining the healthy lifestyle they're desiring so much. For them, working on their diet may not be the best approach to overall health. If eating something we know is healthy for our bodies, something we know looks and tastes great, is difficult to do then there's something bigger going on in our lives than just food. If that's the case, it's important to figure out what's going on.

Hey, where the heck is Pure Jeevan this week ??? Sorry for the silence on our end; we're actually in Portland, Oregon, closing on our new digs -- the new HOME of Pure Jeevan!!! Exciting stuff, but we're SO busy that we may not be able to blog again until the week of June 7. But, we'll definitely return by then, and maybe even post a thing or two from here. It all depends on our internet situation. In any case, it's SO wonderful to be taking direct action on the future on Pure Jeevan. It's a huge leap of faith on our part, but it seems right by all accounts. So, see you soon when we return! -Jim & Wendi

Original Comments

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

On May 28, 2010, Gopika wrote:

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I was grocery shopping in Giant Eagle with a friend the other day; I was just there to keep her company. When we left the Nature's Basket area (where they sell organics and more natural items), I felt a strange feeling. I hadn't realized it, but over the past two years I stopped shopping in the other areas of the store! I told her that by the time we hit the packaged shelves of the Nature's Basket area, I'd already be done shopping and my cart would be filled. We had a good giggle and went on shopping.

Anyway, that has since brought my attention to the shopping carts of those around me. We do about 5% of our shopping in Giant Eagle (last minute things that we've run out of, that don't merit a trip to our Food Co Op), so lately I've found myself in Giant Eagle looking into the carts of those around me. I'm not judging anyone, I'm just curious. On average, just about everyone has a small bunch of bananas in their cart. There are the occasional carts with something like a cantaloupe, a bag of apples, and once I saw a single tomato and a bag of lettuce. The rest of the carts have been filled with packaged foods. There is next to no living food in the carts.

It's been an interesting week for us here. We've looked at a handful of ways that people may either become obese, or sustain an obese body -- all largely for reasons outside of dietary intake. The three situations we looked at included maintaining weight as a defense mechanism (Tuesday), becoming obese through worrying about becoming obese (Wednesday), and obesity as basically a physical manifestation of a non-physical longing (Thursday).

Without a doubt, these are just three out of hundreds of possible non-physical contributors to poor health. The idea was merely to start a thread on these things, opening people's minds to possibilities that perhaps they'd never seriously considered.

Okay, so here's a recipe that may make you raise an eyebrow. "Baked " "Rice " Well, it's not really baked and there isn't really rice in it, but it tastes like a baked rice and veggies dish! I created this one day by mistake and we all loved it.

Baked Rice and Veggies

2 cups pureed sunflower seeds

For many people, a change in diet is largely a mental issue. You *decide* that you're going to do something different, and then commit to it. You may shop a little differently than before, but quite often that is the extent of any action taken (other than preparing and eating the new foods rather than the old ones).For many, the commitment aspect is the trickiest part. ?Books could be written on this subject alone (and we're sure we've discussed this at length here on the blog).

Today we want to share a super-easy tip to help with the commitment side of this: Keep your fruits and vegetables VISIBLE.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Yesterday, I posted a question on Facebook and was met with some wonderful responses. The question was essentially, "If you're a trying to run a health-conscious household, and if you truly believe that most sugary candy is actually damaging to people's health, then what should you give away to all of the little trick-or-treaters who visit on Halloween night "

I got some great responses! Raisins, fruit leathers, glow sticks, etc. Thanks to those responses, I went out and bought about 60 glow-stick bracelets (the kind that you snap and then they glow brightly for 6 horus or so). I think the kids will think these are neat, and will all want to wear them. I also picked up a bunch of small juice boxes with 100% juice in them. (They're pasteurized, of course, but at least it's not sugary junk.) So, between all of that, I think I'll make it through the night without getting egged.