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Improve Your Executive Health by Improving Your Diet

It's important that I always stay at the top of my game, in order to bring the best to my clients.  Maintaining focus is a primary concern for me as an executive coach, so I need to be 100% present and fully alert.  This allows me to listening beyond the words that are being said.  However,  I was beginning to notice that while my wisdom has increased as I have grown older, some of my ability to stay focused was being compromised.  Thus,  I decided to make some changes from the inside out.  I began by changing my eating life style and have become a vegan--one who only eats whenever possible raw, organic food. That's a bit more extreme than becoming a vegetarian (but somewhat healthier). If you have ever thought of being a vegetarian or are one, it's never too late to start.  In this article, I'll be will be covering information from what is a vegetarian to what does a vegetarian diet look like. I'lll also be presenting you with a delicious vegetarian recipe that will help you transition into your new life as a vegetarian, or help spice up your current vegetarian lifestyle. Maybe in another issue, I'll include a fabulous vegan raw recipe.


So, what is a Vegetarian?


Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, and poultry. Vegans are vegetarians who abstain from eating or using all animal products, including milk, cheese, other dairy items, eggs, wool, silk, and leather. A raw vegan eats everything uncooked to preserve all the vital nutrients. Food can be heated up to 115 degrees.


Among the many reasons for being a vegetarian are health, ecological, and religious concerns, dislike of meat, compassion for animals, belief in non-violence, and economics. The American Dietetic Association has affirmed that a vegetarian diet can meet all known nutrient needs. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet, as with any other diet, is to eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Limit your intake of sweets and fatty foods.


Making the Change to a Vegetarian Diet


Many people become vegetarian instantly. They completely give up meat, fish and poultry overnight. Others make the change gradually. Do what works best for you. Being a vegetarian is as hard or as easy as you choose to make it. Some people enjoy planning and preparing elaborate meals, while other opt for quick and easy vegetarian dishes.


Vegetarian Nutrition


Being a vegetarian may make it difficult for you to determine what sorts of food and nutrients you need in order to live a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Below are a list of nutrients and sources of nutrients that will help you get started.





Vegetarians easily meet their protein needs by eating a varied diet, as long as they consume enough calories to maintain their weight. It is not necessary to plan combinations of food. A mixture of proteins throughout the day will provide enough "essential amino acids."

SOURCES OF PROTEIN: beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, tempeh, chickpeas, peas... Many common foods, such as whole grain bread, greens, potatoes, and corn, quickly add to protein intake.




SOURCES OF IRON: dried fruits, baked potatoes, mushrooms, cashews, dried beans, spinach, chard, tofu, tempeh, bulgur, and iron-fortified foods (such as cereals, instant oatmeal, and veggie "meats") are all good sources of iron. To increase the amount of iron absorbed at a meal, eat a food containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruit or juices, tomatoes, or broccoli. Using iron cookware also adds to iron intake.




SOURCES OF CALCIUM: Good sources include broccoli, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, tofu prepared with calcium, low-fat dairy products, fortified soymilk, and fortified orange juice.


Vitamin B12


The adult recommended intake for vitamin B12 is very low. Vitamin B12 comes primarily from animal-derived foods. A diet containing dairy products or eggs provides adequate vitamin B12. Fortified foods, such as some brands of cereal, nutritional yeast, soymilk, or soy analogs, are good non-animal sources. Check labels to discover other products that are fortified with vitamin B12. Tempeh and sea vegetables are not a reliable source of vitamin B12. To be on the safe side, if you do not consume dairy products, eggs, or fortified foods regularly, you should take a non-animal derived supplement.




To maximize production of DHA and EPA (omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and made by our bodies), include good sources of alpha-linolenic acid in your diet. Alpha-linolenic acid is found in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, tofu, soybeans, and walnuts. You can also obtain DHA directly from foods fortified with DHA from microalgae (in some brands of soymilk) and supplements containing microalgae-derived DHA.


Spicy Vegetable Stir-Fry



1 large onion, peeled and sliced

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced on the diagonal

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

3cm knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks

100g shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and cut into strips

1 small head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into tiny florets

3 green onion, trimmed and cut into finger lengths

2 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil



3 tbsp vegetable stock

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp agave nectar

2 tsp corn flour, mixed with 3 tbsp of water

Pinch of dried chili flakes



Have all the vegetables and aromatics prepared and ready to cook. In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce.


Place a wok or a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and swirl around the wok to coat. Add the onion and stir-fry for a minute. Add the carrot, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another minute. Now add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another couple of minutes until the carrot begins to soften. Tip the red pepper, broccoli and green onion into the work, then pour over the sauce, Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until the pepper and broccoli have both softened slightly and retained a bite. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a little more sauce, lim juice or agave nectar as needed. Divide the stir-fy between warm plates or bowls and serve immediately with noodles or rice.