Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

Issue #058 VEGAN P90X®

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Going Vegan, P90X® Style

By Denis Faye

Tempeh, anyone? Gone are the days when vegans were viewed as anemic, sprout-chewin' wimps. Athletes like triathlete Brendan Brazier, cyclist Molly Cameron, bodybuilder Robert Cheeke, and track and field Olympian Carl Lewis, just to name a few, have proven to the world that a body can be in top physical form without ingesting animal meat or byproducts.

Vegetables

But then there's P90X. It's one thing to win three gold and one silver Olympic medals while sustaining yourself on vegetable matter, but what about pulling off Shoulders & Arms or Back & Biceps? How's that supposed to happen? And Plyometrics! Who could possibly do PlyoX without the aid of animal protein?

The answer? You!

Here's how.

A few things to consider before you start.

P90X Nutrition PlanThis article isn't a complete guide to vegan athleticism. It merely tweaks the P90X Nutrition Plan a little to make it more accessible for those electing to go meat-free. It'll get you through 90 days, but if you're looking to make this a lifetime commitment, you'll want to do your homework. Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina is an excellent all-purpose guide. If you're an endurance athlete, check out Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier. It can be a little alarmist and supplement heavy, but there's still useful information within. Lastly, if you're looking to build mass, read Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness by Robert Cheeke and Julia Abbott.

Second, remember that the P90X phases aren't set in stone. Without the aid of calorically dense meats and dairy, you'll be eating a lot of volume to get all the protein required for Phases I and II. If it's just not working for you, go to Phase III. If you're concerned about getting the fat-cutting benefits of high-protein nutrition, don't be. Macronutrients are just a small factor in weight loss. The calorie deficit is the primary factor.

Finally, if you spot-check these diets against online calorie counters, you'll probably find that the protein, fat, and carb numbers don't match up perfectly with the typical X balances. That's fine. Again, the calories are the real concern here. Furthermore, unless you plan on consuming massive quantities of supplements, your diet is probably going to be a little carbohydrate heavy. If they're good carbs, don't sweat it. It's just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

Potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies

VitaminsHumans are omnivores, meaning our bodies will survive on just about whatever we shove down our blowers. It also means we thrive better with variety, so when we deliberately kick aside foods we've been eating since we started walking on two feet, we need to be smart about it.

The five nutrient deficiencies often associated with the vegan diet are vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. The modified Fats portion list below should help with omega-3s.

B12 and D are tricky. It's hard to find veggie sources, so you'll probably want to take a good multivitamin, like ActiVit®.

As for iron and calcium, if you keep plenty of variety in your diet, you should be okay, but you'll want to lean towards the following foods:

Calcium: Leafy greens, almonds, broccoli, oranges, chickpeas, and soy. A salad a day should cover it.

Iron: Spinach, pumpkin seeds, white beans, and lentils

Whole-grain cereals are often fortified with both of these minerals, so check the labels on those as well.

Vegan Recovery Drink recipe

DrinksMost recovery drinks, including our own P90X® Results and Recovery Formula, utilize whey protein because the body absorbs it so quickly. Since whey comes from dairy, we suggest soy protein, or pea and rice protein, in its place. These may not be soaked up as quickly, but they'll get to where they need to be, so don't stress. I've left hemp protein off this list because it's typically loaded with fiber, which further slows down absorption.

Just mix 12 ounces of apple or grape juice with the protein powder of your choice. Powders tend to vary in calorie amounts, so do the math. You'll want approximately 10 to 12 grams of protein to the 45 grams of sugar you'll find in the juice. You're shooting for a carb-to-protein ratio of between 3 to 1 and 5 to 1.

The fructose in fruit juice isn't an ideal sugar for a recovery drink, but it works and it's about as natural as you can get, which is a priority for many vegans.

The Plan

Woman Shopping for GroceriesIf you know the existing P90X plan, the serving amount modifications below won't be too difficult to figure out. We've modified a few of the portion lists. Most notably, carbohydrates have been split into two subcategories: legumes and grains. The reason for this is that vegans need to get protein wherever they can find it. Legumes contain half the amino acids essential to humans. Grains contain the other half. Eat both and you get yourself complete protein. Note that you don't need to eat them at the same time to get the benefit. Any time during the same day is fine.

Phase I:

Level 1
Proteins 5
Fruit 1
Vegetables 2
Fats (omega-3) 1.5
Carb one (legumes) 1
Carb two (grains) 1
Snacks: double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 1

Level 2
Proteins 7
Fruit 1
Vegetables 4
Fats (omega-3) 2
Carb one (legumes) 2
Carb two (grains) 1
Snacks: single, double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 2

Level 3
Proteins 9
Fruit 2
Vegetables 4
Fats (omega-3) 2.5
Carb one (legumes) 2.5
Carb two (grains) 1.5
Snacks: single, double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 2

Phase II:

Level 1
Proteins 4
Fruit 1
Vegetables 3
Fats (omega-3) 1
Carb one (legumes) 1.5
Carb two (grains) 1.5
Snacks: double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 1

Level 2
Proteins 6
Fruit 1
Vegetables 3
Fats (omega-3) 1
Carb one (legumes) 2
Carb two (grains) 2
Snacks: single, double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 2

Level 3
Proteins 7
Fruit 2
Vegetables 3
Fats (omega-3) 2
Carb one (legumes) 2.5
Carb two (grains) 2.5
Snacks: single, double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 4

Phase III:

Level 1
Proteins 2
Fruit 2
Vegetables 2
Fats (omega-3) 1
Carb one (legumes) 2
Carb two (grains) 2
Snacks: double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 1

Level 2
Proteins 3
Fruit 3
Vegetables 3
Fats (omega-3) 1
Carb one (legumes) 2.5
Carb two (grains) 2.5
Snacks: double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 2

Level 3
Proteins 4
Fruit 3
Vegetables 5
Fats (omega-3) 2
Carb one (legumes) 3
Carb two (grains) 3
Snacks: double (or two singles), Vegan Recovery Drink
Condiments 3

Revised Portion Lists

Revised Protein Portion List
Hemp protein powder - 100 calories, depending on brand
Rice and pea protein powder - 100 calories, depending on brand
Seitan - 3 oz.
Soy burger - 1
Soy cheese slices - 5
Tempeh - 2 oz.
Tofu - 3 oz.
Veggie burger - 1
Veggie dog - 1

Revised Carb One (Legumes) List
Baked beans - 1 cup
Beans (kidney, black, etc.) - 1 cup
Hummus - 1 cup
Lentils - 1 cup
Peanuts (raw or home-roasted) - 1 oz.
Refried beans, nonfat - 1 cup

Revised Carb Two (Grains) List
Amaranth - 1 cup
Whole grain bagel, medium - 1
Bran muffin (2.5 oz.) - 1
Whole-grain bread - 2 slices
Whole-grain cereal - 1 cup
Whole-grain couscous - 1 cup
Whole-grain crackers - 12
Whole-grain English muffin - 2 halves
Oatmeal - 1 cup
Pancakes (3.6 ounces) - 3
Whole-grain pasta - 1 cup
Quinoa - 1 cup
Rice, brown or wild - 1 cup
Whole wheat tortilla, large - 1
Whole-grain waffles - 2
Wheat berries - 1 cup

Revised Fat (Omega-3) Portion List
Flaxseed Oil - 1 Tbsp.
Pumpkin Seed Oil - 1 Tbsp.
Walnut Oil - 1 Tbsp.
Canola Oil - 1 Tbsp.
Chia Oil - 1 Tbsp.

Revised Snack List
Single snacks

Dried fruit - 1 oz.
Frozen fruit bar – 1
Fruit - 1 medium piece
Rice cake - 1
Peanut butter (with celery sticks) - 1 Tbsp.
Popcorn, air-popped or light - 3 cups
Soy nuts - 2 oz.
Seaweed - 10 oz.

Double snacks
Bean dip (with 4 oz. chips) - 4 Tbsp.
Hummus (with carrot sticks) - 1 oz.
Pumpkin seeds - 2 oz.
Raw nuts - 1 oz.

One final note

Couple EatingMaking the choice to go animal-free is a big one. (Almost as big as deciding to commit to P90X!) It takes some serious thought and planning. While we thoroughly tested the menus for the initial P90X Nutrition Plan before release, what you're reading here is a work in progress. Do we have a test group? Yes. You're the test group. Please, give the plan a try and tell us what you think. What did we miss? What's not working for you? If the feedback is constructive and positive enough, we'll try to weave this vegan plan into future editions of the Guide.

So put your steak knives away, bust out your salad forks, and let's eat!

Related Articles
"Tropic Plunder: 6 Super-Healthy Exotic Fruits"
"Cereal Killer: Are Grains Really That Bad For You?"
"12 Ways to (Painlessly) Go Green in 1 Year"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, December 13th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Bring Home BRING IT! for the Holidays

Tony Horton's "Bring It!"Tony Horton's putting the X in Xmas this season! The Master of Motivation's new book Bring It! hits bookshelves December 21st, but you can preorder yours now at the following online retailers for up to 46% off the retail price!

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble.com
Borders.com
Indiebound.org

Order today to make sure Bring It! gets brought in time for Christmas!

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, December 13th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Eat More, Lose More. (Really?)

By Justine Holberg

You work out practically every day and you're feeling good because you've lost some weight. Until a week or so passes and you can't get the scale to budge. It's like an invisible wrench has been thrown into the works. Now what?

Scale and Kitchen Utensils

You start second-guessing everything you're doing:

  • Maybe I'm eating too much?
  • Should I work out harder?
  • Do I have to live on parsley and hot water?

So you restrategize. You slash calories and step up the intensity of your workouts. Unfortunately, after another week, you're still not losing. Now you want to give up altogether. But before you throw in the towel, ask yourself this:

Am I eating enough?

Contrary to popular belief, sometimes you have to eat more to lose weight. While that may sound counterintuitive, it often does the trick. Here's why:

  1. ScaleMetabolism is the key to weight loss.
    If you don't eat enough, or often enough, your metabolism slows to a crawl and weight loss becomes more difficult, especially when you're exercising. That's why skipping meals isn't a good idea if the goal is to shed pounds.

    • Tip: Always eat breakfast to kick-start metabolism and try eating mini-meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism fired up.
  2. To keep your metabolism up, you MUST eat.
    Conventional wisdom dictates that when you first start dieting, the less you eat, the better. While it's true that you often should eat less, eating too little can backfire over time. As your body composition changes, your body will think it's starving, which can make it hold on to fat. (The process actually has to do with excessive release of a hormone called cortisol, but you don't need to know the details, so we'll just call it fat.) To avoid this, most experts agree that over time, you shouldn't eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day for women, 1,500 for men. If your daily diet consists of fewer calories than that, consider eating more.

    • Tip: Keep a food diary to track calories.
  3. PlannerYou need more calories when you work out.
    If you're exercising while following a low-calorie eating plan, you'll need to take into account the calories you're burning. That's because it's now easier to enter starvation mode. Let's say you're burning 400 calories and only eating 1,200 to 1,300 calories per day. This means you're really only taking in 800 to 900 calories per day before you begin to calculate how your body composition is changing. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, so as your body changes, you need to eat more to keep the weight loss coming.

    • Tip: Drink an after-workout recovery drink like P90X Results and Recovery Formula. After hard workouts, its calories are utilized so quickly by your body, some people refer to them as "free calories." They aren't, but they will ensure your muscles; hence, your metabolism will recover quickly.

      And remember this:

      Figuring out to what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat isn't easy. That's why people often refer to losing weight as a journey. It takes a few different paths to get there. Sometimes you have to adjust your ratio of protein, fat, and carbs to start losing again. Or adjust your calorie level, which can include eating more to lose weight.

      • Team Beachbody® Meal PlannerTip: Use the Team Beachbody® Meal Planner. It can make figuring out your calories much, much easier. You can personalize an eating plan that takes your workouts into consideration.
    • Finally, if you're still on the fence about needing to eat more to lose weight. You might be thinking, "How come I know some really skinny people who barely eat?"

      The answer is this: You can eventually lose weight by not eating. It's called starving. Reduce calories enough and your body will start breaking down its muscle tissue, and this will result in weight loss. However, it makes your body increase its emergency hormonal responses, which also causes your body to be stressed and hang onto fat, making it very easy to gain the weight back again.

      So I hope you take you take this thought away with you today: The idea is to keep your metabolism revving and running. This will help you get healthy and stay strong. Eat the right amount of food to help your body continuously burn calories and you're more likely to shed those unwanted pounds.

Related Articles
"5 Things to Cut Out of Your Diet"
"29 Tips for Keeping Portions Under Control"
"Everything You Need to Know about the Glycemic Index"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, December 13th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Healthy Eating: Roasted Root Vegetables

Live from Tony Horton's kitchen, here's Tony's personal chef Missy Costello demonstrating how to make one of Mr. X's favorite vegan meals. Whole garlic cloves and fresh herbs add amazing flavor to this healthy medley of roasted carrots, parsnips, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets. Click below to watch the video and click here to download a PDF of the recipe.

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Recipe: Vegan Pasta Salad

Vegan Pasta SaladIn keeping with the vegan theme of this week's newsletter, here's a tasty, healthy twist on traditional pasta salad. The pasta's whole wheat fusilli, the mayo is egg-free, and the veggies are to-die-for fresh and crunchy! Whether you're vegan or not, this recipe's sure to become one of your go-to favorites.

  • 8 oz. whole wheat fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise, such as Vegenaise®
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Large serving bowl
  • Wire whisk

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place pasta in a large serving bowl, add all the vegetables, and toss to combine. Whisk the mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar together until smooth. Pour over pasta and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
292 7 g 2 g 34 g 12 g <1 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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