Meet Glenn, 55 years of age, and our Life Begins at 50 Person of The Month for February, 2018!
Glenn has been exercising since elementary school, and his passion for fitness is surpassed only by his love for family. While it is true that we may see certain physiological changes in our bodies and our overall health as we reach our 50's, you can still get into the best shape of your life. Engaging in regular exercise, and a healthy diet are key. A resident of West Nyack, NY, you only need to look at him to tell Glenn is in terrific shape, but there is more to this outstanding individual than meets the eye!
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Operations General Manager
How many days a week he
works out: 6 to 7
Favorite types of exercise: Calisthenics, Weight Lifting, Running
When he's not exercising, Glenn's hobbies are spending time with family and reading (mostly non-fiction).
With the first month of the new year gone, our theme for this month is: Changes in 2018...have you made any? How's it working out?? One change a large number of individuals are making, is the change to vegetarian or even vegan diets. Glenn informs us that he has made this change. "I'm new to Vegan eating, and I'm enjoying the change", he says. He's not alone, in 2017, an estimated 6% of the U.S. population identified as vegan, over just 1% in 2014. We're talking about an increase of about 16 million Americans, in three years! This is according to the Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017 report by research firm Global Data.
This raises some important questions. Are you getting enough protein in your vegan diet? How does one maintain variety in a vegan diet? According to mindbodygreen.com, one question vegans get tired of hearing is; "how do you get your protein?" However, I think that when you work out 6 to 7 days a week, this is a legitimate concern, considering the muscles' need for protein."I think the protein issue is a bit misunderstood. Getting enough protein is not difficult..." Glenn says. Things like quinoa, and nut butters are just a few examples. Mindbodygreen's article on 10 Vegan Sources of Protein gives us a list of viable alternatives. There are more and more plant based proteins on the market nowadays, as the vegan population continues to grow. In fact, plant-based proteins could represent one-third of overall protein by 2054, according to Lux Research, and according to Innova Market Insights, introduction of new products with plant-based proteins grew 14.7% in 2014 (while animal protein grew 7.5%). Sales of these types of protein are expected to be around 5 billion dollars globally by 2020.
As a trainer, and a person who does intense strength training, I have my own take on the the topic of getting protein from plants. Things like beans and nuts in and of themselves, are not complete proteins. That is, they do not contain the nine essential amino acids needed for muscle repair and growth. These nine amino acids are considered essential because unlike the eleven non-essential aminos, our bodies cannot produce them. Essentially what this means is this; you can get protein from these sources, but by themselves, they may not be as effective for muscle repair. That is not to say you cannot make them complete by adding certain other non-meat foods. For instance, add rice to your beans, and you've got a complete protein. Peanut butter is not a complete protein, but when you put it on a slice of whole wheat bread, it is complete...and quite frankly, more appealing. The fact is, most legumes such as beans and nuts are only rich in one essential amino acid, and its called Lysine. However, grains like wheat and rice are rich in all of the others, except Lysine. So, they kind of need each other to be effective in the way that our muscles need them to be. This can be a bit of a dilemma though, if you are watching your carbs and/or calories, as the grains usually add quite a bit of both. If you haven't added quinoa to your vegan diet, you should consider it. It is not only a complete, (plant-based) protein by itself, it is a superfood that is extremely versatile. You can make delicious meals, hot and cold, with this wonderful grain.
I believe that vegan dieting takes a bit of planning and creativity. This is mainly because, even with the increasing popularity of veganism, there is still a lack of wide-spread inclusion of these foods on your average menu outside of the home. As for variety, I see some vegans (my youngest son included) eat a lot of the same things, day in, and day out. Pastas, beans, salads, and tofu, seem to to be a mainstay for him and others I've observed. Granted, I don't know if my son, and those vegans closest to me, represent the majority. However, I'm sure many of you probably imagine that these things are what ALL vegans stick to. "There is plenty of variety, but you need to be a little creative at times. My wife and one of my boys are vegan too, so it makes it a bit easier to experiment with new meals" Glenn tells us. Having others in the family or in your circle of friends, can make it easier.
So how do you keep the variety in your vegan diet? The answer is...research, research, and more research! If you are a new vegan, or thinking of converting to veganism, there are plenty of websites devoted to this lifestyle. Findingvegan.com, vegan.com, and veganessentials.com, are just a few sites where vegans can go for recipes, products, and general information.
Why make this particular change? I have a client who is vegan, a choice she made some years ago, and she lost 100+ pounds as a result. Her initial reason was she felt that it would make her feel less lethargic, but as the weight began to come off, she realized there was much more to it. We talked with Glenn about the benefits, and he says, "My energy level feels about the same, but the quality of my sleep seems to have improved...in time I may notice other changes". I've heard many reasons for not eating animals and their byproducts. There are those who feel it is cruel, and those who do it for health reasons. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters are.
There is a plethora of information out there regarding the benefits of eliminating meat and dairy from your diet, and I applaud people like my son, and Glenn for making such a commitment in the name of health. As for me, I believe that there is some merit to it, and my wife and I try to have a meatless meal at least once or twice a week. Who knows, maybe we'll eventually increase the amount of meatless meals we consume, but as for full immersion, I don't know...I still love a good steak every now and then.
What changes have you made, or vowed to make in 2018? How's it going? Let us know. Post your comments here or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!