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Thriving on a Vegan Diet, Pt. 2

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Maya Henderson

Your source for all things yoga and wellness in Chicago.

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Last week, I wrote about being vegan and why I decided to do the Thrive in 30 Challenge with a few friends. Now it's time to hear from them. First up is acupuncturist Lisa Reichert. I asked Lisa to participate because I knew she could provide a Traditional Chinese Medicine take on Brazier's The Thrive Diet.
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Lisa Reichert
, Jill-of-all-Trades, primarily rebalances the whole self with Oriental Medicine with a nutritional bent. Though her background in art therapy, depth psychology, counseling and acupuncture & herbs provide the framework for her practice to treat the physical as well as the emotional body, she believes food's healing properties are the best medicine! Lisa educates community, clients and students on Oriental Medicine basics, wellness, preventative medicine, relaxation, nutrition, gluten-free baking, and fermented foods. When she is not treating patients, Lisa is biking the city end-to-end or expressing her creativity through the arts and culinary pursuits. For more info about her, visit her new blog, the Alchemist & the Needler.

BBB: Describe your typical daily routine. No morning alarms, snoozes or groans for me, I pop out of bed between 5 -6 am. I am on-the-go until 8 or 9 pm and crash by 11 pm. I start the day with meditation and move on to food, coffee and supplements. 

My activity level is moderate. Spring and Summer, biking is my mode of transportation so I average 20 miles a day and more for recreation. Bring on the Fall winds and the mileage drops to maybe 20 miles per week. With my constant schedule all over town, I rarely fit in a group exercise class - 2 or 3 a month if I am disciplined!

BBB: What do your normally eat?
I start with some combination of chlorella, tinctured herbs, and coconut kefir followed by 8 oz of French pressed coffee, and either a quart of green veggie smoothie or one of these three with banana, pecans and go ji berries: 1 cup of steel cut oats, puffed amaranth, or millet. I've never met a green vegetable or fruit that I didn't like, but believe all things in moderation so animal products are not excluded from my lifestyle! Since I am on-the-go from early until late 6 or 7 days a week, I pack my bag with steamed or raw veggies or some combination of vegetable, gluten-free grain, and maybe legumes. When I am not managing my time well, (this is where the non-vegetarian foods creep in) I grab a sandwich, soup or salad from anywhere that is not fast food. And when I am seriously stressed, I get a cookie or a slice of pizza! BBB: Why did you decide to take the Thrive in 30 Challenge? What are your expectations? I believe Thrive is the next step in my process and will create more discipline in planning a variety of healthy foods for my week as well as spark creativity in the kitchen. Up until life got busy and some things had to fall away, I used to spend hours or an entire day in the kitchen. Since I enjoy food simply prepared, I easily steam some veggies and go. This program will bring in sprouting, unique food combining, and combinations to meet a complete nutritional balance. Just from glancing at the daily food plans, I noticed a couple red flags. One from my professional experience, energetics of food and seasonal eating as relating to the individual's constitution (Oriental medicine constitution, that is). The other from a personal lifestyle, I think I eat larger portions, so hunger over the next few weeks has crossed my mind! I will blend Thrive components and Oriental medicine and share my experience with you throughout Thrive in 30!

BBB: Now that we're well into the challenge, how's it going? Is it what you expected?
I found that Thrive didn't vary much from the staples in my current lifestyle. I began a healing regime earlier this year for cleansing, support, and overall wellness. That regime nixed all cravings for fats and wine, aided in monitoring stress better, and started a physical and emotional healing process.

Though as the book states sprouting only takes an extra 10 minutes of your day because the magic happens overnight; it is a mindset change which takes longer to integrate. Seed or grain + water + 8 hours = sprouted food. Finding the time to prepare the items for the day and actually consume the items are my issues since I am gone 15+ hours 7 days a week. 
I have loved my kale wraps which are smaller and more filling than the Thrive recipe since i added sprouted quinoa and a nut/seaweed pate to it. I eat one every day! I drink 2 - 4 cups of green smoothie adding in hemp, cacao, maca and goji berries. Sometimes I just have to have my steel cut oats and also add the hemp, cacao and maca and goji berries for a super-filling breakfast! I am eating far less than he even suggests and am satiated. 

BBB: How far are you with the videos? Which one resonates with you the most? I haven't watched the videos honestly; I just read the attached material. All of if it resonates with my beliefs and the information I pass on to clients.

BBB: If you're sticking with the challenge, or at least making some changes, have you noticed any shifts in energy, mood or weight? My energy and mood has maintained though not improved, because I think I have great energy level! I am doing well with stress and energy since I began eating 80% raw/smoothies this summer. With this Challenge, I added in extra superfoods and sprouting which my body has assimilated to easily.  
Even with drinking a quart of green smoothies daily and nixing most carbs this summer and all dairy and sugar, I have not lost weight, BUT I believe I may see some results by the end of the 30 days. I joined a gym and am working out 4-5 early mornings before the sun wakes.

We'll check in with Lisa in a week at the conclusion of the Thrive in 30 Challenge to get her final thoughts and will be hearing from other participants soon. In the meantime, check out the free Thrive in 30 website and challenge yourself to try a vegan, plant-based diet to improve your mental clarity, energy, mood and athletic performance.

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7 Comments

lisa reichert said:

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Hey Maya, Thanks for the post. I will keep you updated on how the last weeks of the Challenge are progressing! Lisa

Jen said:

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I really enjoyed Lisa's addition to this, and what she generally eats each day (which is a very impressive daily diet in my opinion.) I'm also very excited to see that she drinks her daily coffee, but I have a few quick questions for Lisa. Do you ever feel that yucky coffee withdraw if you haven't had coffee for a day, and how did you train your body to naturally wake up at 5am and keep going all day? Is is mainly due to healthy eating habits?

lisa reichert said:

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Hey Jen,
I have always been a morning person much to my parent's distain! That being said, I have had periods in my life I have been drinking a glass of wine every night and eating heavier not so nutritious food, and then experiencing light sleep and low energy days and weeks. So, yes, food, drink and exercise are key in restoring and maintaining energy. No way around it. Well, you can get acupuncture and take some herbs! But being able to make healthy changes at home, though it is challenging is the best for the long term.

I started a cleansing process in the Spring, went through a little bit of detox/processing, and now am back on schedule with deep delta sleep and good food. As a rule, once your sleep deepens, you will need less because you will wake more refreshed.
With my motto of everything in moderation, yes, I drink coffee. Anything I consume needs to be something I am going to totally enjoy or it just isn't worth it! I don't drink coffee for any jolt or grab one from a chain coffee place, but enjoy an amazingly brewed or pressed 8 oz. coffee. (And not necessarily every day) Because I don't caffeinate through my days, I don't get those withdrawal headaches. I do know what you are describing because one can get that withdrawal from anything one consistently indulges! Best idea if you want reduce the possibility of the headache is slowly decrease your intake and increase water. Or possibly switch over to green tea or yerba mate, and either stick with the tea or reduce that consumption and increase water.

Coffee is a medicinal "herb" in Chinese Medicine and has benefits, but as it is non-medicinally consumed in Western society no one is receiving the benefits! Though coffee may give you a temporary boost, coffee is actually draining your reserve energy from your adrenals worsening your low energy causing long term adrenal fatigue.

And, for me, the green smoothies were key in making changes because I am getting uber-concentrated total nutrition that my body uses instead of pulling from the adrenals. And drinking a quart of a green smoothie is easy to do; you don't have to be aware of everything you consume the rest of the day because your body has gotten all the veggies (and fruit) it needs.
lisa

Jen said:

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Thanks Lisa! That actually clarifies a lot. I have stopped relying on coffee during my work days during the week because I was feeling completely drained and grossly jittery after about an hour, and have made the switch to either a mint green tea or black tea, and I've cut out that afternoon caffeine crash.I definitely can feel the difference from not working out this week, so that's another good point. Exercise makes a world of difference. What are you putting in your green smoothie, and would you be willing to share a recipe maybe? Thanks for the good tips.

Maya Henderson said:

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Lisa, thanks for this response. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I couldn't agree more with what you said. If you're going to drink it, it should def be in moderation, home brewed, high-quality and not for an energy jolt.
I use to be a daily coffee drinker a few years ago. I did a pretty intense 10 day cleanse, had the worse caffeine withdrawal headache for the first 3 days but once that cleared up, I never touched coffee again. My body (and my mind) just didn't crave it anymore.
Green smoothies are an absolute must! That is one thing I started doing regularly for the challenge and I love it. I suggest starting with 60% veggies to 40% fruit and going with something simple like spinach, parsley, apple, lemon and goji. If you like ginger, add in a small piece and that will help keep you warm on colder days. Oh, and having an AWESOME blender helps.

lisa reichert said:

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Maya's guidelines for green smoothies are right on! I tend to go more veggie. In about 24 hours I will have a few blog posts up with smoothie recipes and some Thrive update news at alchemistneedler.blogspot.com. If you are looking a smoothie recipe right this minute: 1/2 a cucumber or 1 or 2 celery stalks, large handful of spinach, 1/2 a granny smith apple, juice of a lemon or half a grapefruit, 1 cup of frozen berries or cherries, and 1-ish cup of water or nut milk.

Jen said:

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Awesome! Thanks Ladies :)

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