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Anna is a registered dietitian with over 7 years of experience in nutrition counseling and board certified in sports dietetics.
Once a rural 4-H farm kid, Anna went vegan in 2019 after finally realizing there was no difference between her two beloved cats and farmed animals. She’s been lifting weights for 6 years and picked up running over the pandemic, leading her to compete in powerlifting and running 3 ultramarathons. Outside of exercise, Anna loves grocery shopping, all carbohydrates, planning camping trips, heirloom beans, and astrology birth charts.
You can connect with Anna over on her Instagram page or via her website!
- Ed Winters (Earthling Ed)
- Gardein’s Vegan Turk’y Roast
- Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets (affiliate link*)
Christine: At the gym, you’ve got a trainer there who’s got a degree in “bro science,” and he says that you need to eat animal protein to build muscle…
What do you say to your clients who are confused because they think they need it and they’re vegan and they don’t want to, but you know, “bro, science guy” is, you know, he lays down the law. 😉
Anna: Yeah. So usually I’ll talk about that. We actually don’t need protein per se, right? We need the amino acids that comes from protein.
The amino acids are the individual components that make up protein and not just muscle protein, right? Any protein in our body.
Christine: Welcome to the Plant Powered You Podcast! The podcast devoted to clearing up confusion about nutrition for vegans.
I’m Christine, your host and vegan bestie, and oh yeah, I also happen to be a dietitian too. Whether you’re curious, transitioning to veganism or very well seasoned, these episodes are made for you.
As a disclaimer, this podcast is just providing education and a bit of entertainment. If you have any questions about your health or diet, talk to your own healthcare provider. Please see our full disclaimers on our website. The link is posted in the show notes below (here it is). Now, let’s get to the episode.
Hello Anna. Welcome to the podcast.
Anna: Hi Christine. Thanks so much for having me. I’m so excited to talk today.
Christine: So Anna is not only a registered dietitian, but she also happens to be vegan and a board certified specialist in sports dietetics.
The topic of of our conversation today is all about vegans who lift and nutrition.
So Anna, just give us a little story about what you do, how you became vegan, and also how you got into sports dietetics, and that’s a lot, so I’ll remind you
Anna: Yeah, for sure!
I’m a registered dietitian, so I’ve been a dietitian for seven years and I’ve always been an active person. I grew up in rural Maine. We were always hiking, camping, canoeing, bicycling, just outside active, you know, played high school sports.
I did not start weightlifting until a little bit later, so probably until… maybe I was like 28 or 29 and just fell in love with it. Loved being in the gym, loved lifting weights-felt so natural. It was so much fun to like get stronger, like see the weight go up.
And that was around the time that I was in grad school for nutrition as well. So sparked the interest and I started learning a lot more about it. After I got my RD, I went on to do my board certification in sports dietetics. So that takes about 2000 practice hours in the field or the topic, so doing sports nutrition related counseling, and at least two years of just general dietitian knowledge and working as well.
And then I passed my board exam of course too. So yeah, it’s been a fun process. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been super rewarding to help people along their journeys too.
I went vegan in 2019, so it’s been about four years for me and, it took me a long time to get to this place, so I was like a farm kid 4-H kid, grew up with like chickens and sheep. We always had a ton of animals, and I just always ate meat.
I was vegetarian in college and in undergrad for like environmental reasons, but I was still consuming dairy. And then I started to eat meat kind of on and off again through my twenties.
And a lot of the rhetoric when I started weightlifting was very meat and dairy focused: “You have to do whey-that’s the most bioavailable protein powder to take, you need to get more than two grams per kilo of protein per kilo.” So it was very animal pro protein heavy, and I fell into that for sure. I was doing egg whites, Greek yogurt, boneless, skinless chicken breast, whatever.
And so eventually I kinda came back to it a little bit. Started learning more, you know, like actually relearning a lot about factory farming and like animal rights, you know.
And it was one day I was like, oh my gosh, I remember this very vividly! I couldn’t get the cats in their carriers cuz they were like crying and I couldn’t bear to pick them up and like shove them in their carriers.
Even though I-it was because we were going to their for their own good. My husband had to do it! And I was like, okay- so I can’t even put my cats in the carrier cause I don’t wanna hurt them. I don’t have right eating animals or paying someone to hurt an animal for me. So I just stopped cold turkey.
Christine: Wow! Did you watch earthlings before that?
Christine: Or, what prompted you to just like, you just saw your cats and you were like making a connection?
Anna: Right. So kind of prior to that too, I had gotten to a point where like I was only eating you know, like happy meet. So we had like a meet CSA from like this family farm down state in Illinois.
And I wasn’t eating factory farm. I was eating like plant based outside of the house. And at home, we were still doing this like, meat CSA.
And another thing happened. I was googling the slaughter house, that they took the animals too. Cause I was like, “I hope it’s okay!” Literally Christine, I was like “I’m Googling a slaughter house to see how nice it is! Like, it is not nice. It’s a slaughter house: These animals are going in there and they’re being killed. So that was another one too.
Christine: Although you can make Google tell you anything you want basically.
Anna: Oh, for real!
Christine: So I wouldn’t be surprised if you found a “happy slaughter house” in quotes!
Anna: Sure, of course. Right. But I was like, okay, this is crazy, I need to stop.
So I stopped. But yeah, I’ve I’ve felt great ever since. I eat mostly whole foods plant based with some processed food, of course, and fun foods, snack food, junk food, whatever. So it’s been really rewarding for me too to help people in their transition periods, to plant-based diets, especially if they’re coming from meat or dairy heavy ways of eating.
Christine: And folks out there who are wondering: you don’t have to watch any graphic videos about what happens to animals.
Anna: Absolutely not.
Christine: You can literally just read what is the standard procedure. But thats getting more into the vegan stuff. Let’s get back to the weight lifting stuff, because I think a lot of us go to the gym, and we see the people weight lifting, we get intimidated.
Maybe we wanna stay over in the treadmills and walk or jog, you know? So I guess the first question is: why should I even lift? Like what are the benefits?
Anna: Yeah, that’s a great question. In the weight room, especially commercial gyms, can be super intimidating. I think oftentimes, especially for us as women for sure, but the biggest reason to weightlift is honestly to build and preserve lean body mass-mostly muscle mass.
Muscle tissue grows in response to stimulus, which is: lifting. So you know, we’re bearing like micro tears after we lift or expose the muscles to stimulus. And lean body mass is so important, not only for our metabolic health that increases our insulin sensitivity. It actually creates a higher energy expenditure, so we get to eat more!
So the more muscle mess you have, the more food you can eat. It’s, also correlated with like a decreased risk of falling in elderly populations and putting on muscle tissue gets harder the older we get. So actually this is a great habit to form now when we’re younger, twenties, thirties, forties- so we remain as strong and mobile and independent as possible when we’re 70, 80, nineties, hundreds, Who knows?
So, but yeah, lifting also helps, honestly, just lower blood pressure. It also really helps prevent injuries and endurance athletes. So even if people are primarily runners or cyclists, you know, if they’re swimmers, if they do mostly endurance sports, it still is beneficial to do some lifting just for strengthening.
And especially for us as women, it actually really helps strengthen our bones. So again, going back to longevity, going back, you know, for us being as strong as possible as we age.
So this takes us back to our, our anatomy and physiology days, but when muscles contract, they pull on those little bone insertions. And that actually stimulates bone cells, the osteoblasts to stimulate new bone. So the more muscle we have and the more lifting we’re doing, it actually helps strengthen our bones too, which again, super important for us as women.
Christine: So that sounds like a lot of great benefits right there. I’m looking into, getting in some kind of lifting routine.
My husband, he works at a university that has a nice gym, so I’m thinking, let me take advantage of that after I learn from Anna!
Anna: You should, totally! Yeah. I actually, I left at a university gym too, and I love it. It’s like a very chill environment. I find (it) much more relaxed than a commercial gym. So Yeah, definitely should.
Christine: Yeah. That’s on my list. Speaking of which, the nutrition side of things: If we’re trying to build muscle, should we eat anything before training? And if so, like how long before-is there like an ideal timing?
And then for a third question, what, what are some examples that vegans can include before training?
Anna: Yeah, for sure. So a lot of this will depend on when people train during their days. So it kind of depends on the timing and the person. So this is something that will look different, maybe person to person, just depending on what they prefer, you know? So if people are like saying, you know, if they lift in the evening, like after dinner, you know, then that’s great. Then they have dinner and they can go to the gym.
It’s also okay honestly to not eat anything before people lift. So if, like, they prefer to work out in the mornings before work, if they feel fine training fasted, like going just to the gym in the morning and lifting, that’s great.
You know, ideally, hopefully that they will have had a good dinner beforehand. So that’s gonna serve as. Energy availability in the morning, you know, and again, like if someone finds, hey, I really, you know, I just feel a lot better if I have a small snack before I’m working out. That works too.
If someone’s going to exercise, maybe say like right after work, you know, they eat lunch at noon and they’re gonna be at the gym by 4:30, then I’ll usually recommend they have a snack mid-afternoon enough time so it can have some time to settle-but so they’re not going right into the gym.
But again, a lot of this will vary person to person to how they feel. It’s not necessary to eat something before training, but some people prefer to, it’s usually more of important to look at it, kind of the big picture overall. Are people getting enough calories and energy during the day overall to support their training?
If people are gonna eat before they work out- if it’s like a full meal, it’s a good idea. Maybe to wait, you know-a couple hours, kinda let your food just settle before you get into the gym.
If you’re doing like a small snack, say you know, it’s in the morning, you’re on the way to the gym, you know it’s fine to eat something a little bit smaller.
So pre-workout, it’s ideal to have something with some carbohydrates, ideally a little bit low in fiber for faster digestion. And then usually like a little bit of protein or fat. Give it like a little staying power, you know?
So like carbohydrate wise for people, this usually looks like, doing crackers or pretzels, bagel, bread, English muffin, some fresh fruit if they like that.
I’ve had people use those like baby food, you know, squeeze packets, things like that. Cause they’re easy to take with you and they taste good. Yeah, dried fruit.
And then probably pairing it with something else. So, you know, for example, Rice crackers or rice cakes like putting on some peanut butter, you know, on the top, dipping some pretzels in hummus. If people like fruit, you know, doing like a handful of nuts with that. I’ve had folks even do like small bean burritos, like refried beans and a tortilla. They take that with them. So something like that.
But again, that will look a little bit, probably individual to people and what they tolerate, what their stomach, like, what their hunger is.
Christine Okay! And how about like during your sweat session? Should they be eating anything or just water is fine?
Anna: For sure. Yeah. Again, usually just water is fine. during a workout, some people will take protein shakes-It’s not necessary. It can just help them get the protein and that they do need during the day if they just take one to the gym with them.
Some exceptions to that would be if your workout is particularly intense or long. You know, so if it’s like, you’re gonna be in the gym for, two hours or over an hour and a half, or you’re working at pretty high intensities, maybe you’re doing CrossFit or something like that, that’s pretty energy intensive.
Then taking some sort of carbohydrate about like 45 minutes after the start of an activity. And again, we want something low in fiber, so now is not the time to do like a whole grain or like whole wheat. It sounds counterintuitive. To have like a dietitian telling you that to like, Oh, you should, you should eat some white bread, right? Crackers!
So I’ve had folks do, again, things like crackers or pretzels work pretty well. Candy- people do like sour patch kids or Swedish fish: It’s just pure sugar, sports gels. Sometimes pureed, the apple sauce sauce or pureed fruit works well for people. I’ve had folks just do juice or like coconut water even for some quick carbs as well.
If it’s going to be, if you’re like sweating very profusely, (this usually doesn’t happen during weightlifting- Like electrolyte management is typically more important for endurance athletes. But if it’s like a very hot day, in like an open face gym and it’s the summer and you’re really sweating – then doing some electrolytes or additional sodium, that’s also fine if you just like the taste of something- you know, if plain water is not that appealing too, then using some electrolyte powder is a good way to get some more water in too.
Christine: Are they mainly vegan? The ones out there?I don’t know.
Anna: Yeah, most of them should be vegan. I would still check cause you never know when someone’s gonna put something in there!
But people like Nuun a lot. I’ll do. Like Gatorade or Propel Zero. Elemental is a brand that’s very high in sodium, so that’s nice if people are very heavy salt sweaters. So some people notice when they’re sweating a lot, they’ll actually (again, this is more common with endurance athletes), but, if they notice like salt crystals on their skin, or they’re getting like the white rings around their necks or hats, they might actually be losing a lot of sodium. So Elementals a nice one to replenish sodium with that. I think Scratch has one too.
Christine: Ok. Before, during, and then of course we have to talk about after.
Anna: Yes, totally.
Christine: Yeah, what should we be eating after our workout?
Anna: Yeah, for sure. So I think there’s that real, it was popular for a while that you have to eat in the anabolic window, right? You have to eat within a half an hour, you know, after exercising or you’re not gonna get any benefits from that.
It’s not true.
So our bodies don’t usually work on like, a tight of a window as that.
So after working out for sure is a great time to eat. Our bodies are just like “primed” for nutrient absorption. But that window tends to be more like 24 hours.
So if people are eating normally during the day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you know, a couple of snacks, then they’re going to get those nutrients in too.
But, In general, like insulin sensitivity is high. Muscle protein synthesis is high. Your body’s working to repair and recover. Blood flow is high, so it’s certainly, I usually ask people to eat within an hour of stopping their workouts, cuz sometimes if people go too long, Sometimes then they’re not getting in just enough food.
Or they’re hungry.
Christine: Or they’re starving and getting hangry!
Anna: Yah, totally!
Christine: I know after I work out, I’m always so hungry- definitely by an hour later.
Anna: Yeah, for sure. Usually ask people within an hour, which is typically reasonable. And again, that may look like. If you know, oh, I’m gonna have dinner in a couple hours, maybe that looks like taking a smoothie or a recovery shake with you, you know, so you can drink it on the way home from the gym or having a snack and then sitting down and having a meal.
But a recovery meal should have like 20, about 20 to 30 grams of protein and like a good amount of carbohydrate. So usually like at least a hundred grams. And that’s typically within. That’s typically kind of what, like a normal meal would look for us anyway if we sat down to, to eat.
You know, maybe you’re sitting down and you’re, you know, you’re having tofu stir fried for dinner, so you have some tofu and edamame, some rice, some vegetables, maybe you have fruit on the side for some extra carbohydrates or something to drink- fruit juice or a small smoothie or coconut water or something on the side with some carbs as well too.
And actually soy is my favorite protein after a workout. It’s high in leucine.
Christine: That’s a buzzword in the workout community! What’s up with that? Why is it so popular?
Anna: Yeah, so leucine is a branch chain amino acid and it actually helps stimulate or trigger muscle protein synthesis- which is a fancy word for like creating new muscle tissue. So soy is actually a great choice I have to work on. I’m a big fan of soy milk, so even if someone’s gonna mix a smoothie, you know, or a shake to take home with them, great! So if your doing like a pea protein powder, put it in soy milk and mix it cuz you’re just gonna get a little bit extra.
Christine: What can’t soy do?
Anna: I’m a big soy fan.
Christine: It’s awesome.
Anna: So yeah, I push soy wherever I can.
Christine: And I just love that there’s just so many ways you can enjoy it.
Speaking of soy, some people are intimidated by it for other reasons such that they heard that it’ll give me man boobs!
Christine: So, is this true? Is there any truth to it? Is it a myth? What do you tell your clients if they’re worried about soy?
Anna: Yeah. A lot of people have soy anxiety, you know, And so I think that’s one of the great things that we can do as dietitians is really provide some evidence-based nutrition to say: Hey, you know, this is what we see from the literature. This is what we see from, you know, research and cohort population studies.
So, it gets a lot of bad rap because it has phytoestrogen in it. These are like the plant version of estrogen. So it can bind like weekly to our own estrogen receptors. Of course, not as well as like estrogen from a mammal-which we are.
So it’s always funny to me when people get really anxious about hormones and soy when they’re drinking dairy milk, which actually has actual mammal hormones. Which are the same as ours.
So with a lot of the soy fear mongering, oftentimes, like you have to look at those studies.
You know, there’s a lot of studies done on soy, but a lot of them are not applicable to either us as humans or how people usually eat soy products. So unfortunately, a lot of those studies are done on animals. We don’t metabolize soy in the same way that a rat or a mouse does, or a rabbit does.
Anna: We have to look at the relative amount being fed to animals.
Oftentimes they’re being fed amounts that are not equivalent to anything that you and I, you know, none of us are gonna sit down and drink a gallon of soy milk a day. That’s weird. And you know, so it oftentimes varies too in the type of soy that they’re using in studies, whether it’s isolated, whether it’s ultra processed.
So for me, I think its both important to look at the evidence and literature because a lot of it shows that soy is either neutral or even protective against cancers including like breast cancer.
And for me, you always have to look at the anthropology too-that was my degree in university, so I always come back to that.
And you have to think and you have to think how do people eat? You know? And when we look at how soy has been a traditional part of Asian cuisine for like thousands of years. That people consume. Soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and quite a bit of it too.
Christine: And quite a bit of it!
Anna: Yeah! For sure! And in these populations we don’t see huge amounts of…
Christine: man Boobs?
Anna: Growing man boobs, right? (they laugh) Like men are not dying of low testosterone, you know?
Anna :So you have to look, I think too, on how these foods have been traditionally eaten by, by people. And soy has a number of great health benefits for us. Yeah.
Christine: Yeah And back to the point about like how some of these studies show that they were eating so much…
If you really think about it, like if you’re eating so much of just about anything , it’s probably not gonna be the best for your health. You know-you’re crowding out you know, nutrients from other foods, for example, and you know, just, yeah! we need variety and soy is a great food to put into that variety.
Anna: Yeah, I agree for sure.
Christine Unless you’re allergic to it!
Anna: Of course, right? If you’re allergic to something, don’t eat it. We’ll help you find something else you can eat, you know, for sure!
But that’s just it, you know, as for us as dietitians, if anyone, if someone was eating huge or inappropriate quantities of anything, we would say: that’s not gonna be super healthy. Let’s talk about getting some more variety in or, or what else can we do?
Christine: Yeah, exactly.
So at the gym, you’ve got a trainer there who’s got a “degree” in “bro science,” and he says that you need to eat animal protein to build muscle.
What do you say to this-(to your clients) who are confused because they think they need it and they’re vegan and they don’t want to, but you know, “bro, science guy-” You know-he lays down the law! (they laugh).
Anna: Yeah, so usually I’ll talk about that. We actually don’t need protein per se, right? We need the amino acids that comes from protein. So, and the amino acids are the individual components that make up protein and not just muscle protein, right? Any protein in our body.
Enzymes, tendons, ligaments. Any type of tissue in our bodies. Yeah, so there’s quite a lot of diversity in protein and protein structures. I usually explain it like the amino acids are like the beads and the different proteins are like the necklace and the bracelet. So you put the beads in different orders and you get different color combinations, different styles of bracelets, necklaces, whatever.
So amino acids are in all the foods that we eat, they tend to be highly concentrated in the foods that we usually label as like protein foods when we talk about that. So they’re available in plants, they’re available in vegetables, they’re available in whole grains, they’re available in legumes, nuts, seeds, whatever.
There’s some protein in fruit. It’s it’s like a gram, two grams of you know, protein for bananas. So that’s why we don’t get our protein from bananas. So those amino acids are all present. When in the digestion process, our bodies are gonna break down protein into their individual amino acids.
They go into an amino acid pool, and our body’s gonna pick it up and use it as it sees fit and as it needs to build certain protein structures in our bodies.
The bioavailability of these amino acids are is higher from animal sources, which means that a greater percentage is absorbed and used.
The difference is like 20%. It’s really not that big. So it’s really not huge enough to make a difference in any way. So plant proteins are a little bit less bioavailble. And a lot of that has to do with fiber and like cell walls. It’s just harder for us to digest those of course. It’s one of the reasons that fiber is actually super beneficial for us.
And actually I’ll put another plug for soy in here too, because soy actually has the same bioavailability as animal proteins. Once you remove the fiber with like pea protein, a close second. So like a pure soy protein-like isolate, like you might find in a protein powder actually is really well used by our bodies.
But yep, we don’t need animal protein to build muscle. We can do it just with plants. Just takes a little bit, usually just a little bit more planning and awareness.
Christine: So tell “bro science dude” to listen to this podcast so he can learn to!
Christine: That’s awesome because I know we have vegans who are at the gym and they hear all this stuff and they’re thinking, well, you know, but I’m vegan! I can’t eat that!
Anna: Yeah! Totally.
Christine: Ok, so, somebody wants to eat to get bigger muscles. Looking at the big picture, is it really more about what we eat or how we do resistance training
Because I think that there’s some people who think that if they just eat like a lot of protein, they’re gonna get bigger muscles. So is there any truth to that? Or is it more about the resistance training?
Anna: So if people are looking to gain muscle mass, they have to train for it. If someone eats 400 grams of protein a day and sits on the couch, they’re not gonna get bigger muscles.
So to build muscles, the training has to be there and there has to be enough protein. Protein needs are usually just lower than people expect.
Again, especially entering into weightlifting or seeing a lot of, Yeah. More bro science online necessarily. So the actual amount of protein that we need in the day is a little bit lower usually than people think too. So it’s not necessary to eat, you know, your body weight in grams of protein.
It’s not necessary to eat three grams per kilo or whatever-You know, the Instagram bodybuilder is telling you online. So for people who are listening,
Christine: thats a ton.
Anna: Yeah! So yeah, usually getting like 1.6 to 1.8 grams per kilo is going to be more than enough. For people. And that may vary in certain populations, but other than that, that’s usually going to be fine.
But yeah, there has to be resistance training and stimulus in order for muscles to grow.
Christine: Okay. And this, this wasn’t a question that I asked you in the notes, but I’m just wondering, like curious: What do you actually do? Do you like do you have like a leg day and then like an arms day?
Or do you do ’em all each day that you’re weightlifting? How do you do it?
Anna: Yeah, for sure. Right now I’m usually in the gym like four days a week, so usually I’ll do, like, I do split! So I’ll do like two upper body days and like two lower body days.
So on lower body days, I tend to do one that’s more like quad focus. So I’ll do like squats, like I’ll do my step ups on those days, like press. And then the other lower body day will kind of be more like like posterior chain, like hamstrings and glutes. So I’ll do like my heavier deadlifts on those days. I always forget what they’re called. They’re like the reverse uppers. I’ll look it up. Yep. But I’ll do that too.
And then of course, like for, I had injured my IT band last. Spring, summer, maybe like a year and a half ago. And unfortunately I had to take some time off heavy lifting. So I actually work in a lot of hip strengtheners now, so like clam shells, like hip dips.
So I do a fair amount of work with like my glutes in my hips too, and knock on wood, no issue with my I PT IT band since doing rehab. Yeah, I’ve been happy for that for sure.
Christine: Wow. So is the point of, you know, doing those certain muscle groups just to like give the others a nice long rest till the next time?
Christine: Oh! Okay.
Anna: Yep. I’m more advanced in my lifting years to kind of like intermediate. So oftentimes when people are beginning, they can do full body days and that’s no problem. Cause they they may be lifting a little bit lighter. So they may do like a full body day.
And even just waiting 24 hours gives enough time, you know, to rest and recover. So different trainers will write their plans in different ways too. And there’s of course, like always personal preference. Some people like to do full body days, they find that feels good to them. Other people are like, Nope, I’d rather have a same day.
Christine: Kind of like “taco Tuesday?”
Anna: Yeah, totally right?
Christine: Like “leg Wednesday” Yes. Like Wednesday . Oh, that’s neat. I kind of like that. Maybe it’s just like the psychology of it to think like, “Oh, you know, I don’t have to do my whole body today. I can just focus on my legs.” Something like that!
Anna: Right. Or I don’t have to like run around the gym and use like 20 different machines or like, I’m just gonna use a few cause I’m just doing this!
And with my running too, I stack my longer runs on the days that I do legs cuz it gives more time for my legs to recover, you know? So like I’ll squat in the morning, and then do like a longer weekday run, like on that same day, because then on Wednesday I’m like walking and doing upper body. And then on Thursdays I’ll do like dead lifts and again, another like longer run. Just cuz it gives my legs more time to like recover before Yeah.
So, have you gotten back into running?
Christine: Yes. A little bit! Like only like maybe 20 minutes is the max that I’ve done, but I’m trying to go nice and slow. I’ve gotten several shin and and foot injuries from just doing too much. Yeah. I haven’t been trying anything like an ultra marathon, I will say. How many miles is that?
Anna: They start at 50 kilometers, so like 31, 32 miles.
Christine: Oh my goodness.
Anna: Yeah. And then they go up from there. So yeah, I have friends who run like 50 milers or a hundred miles.
Christine: Wow! That’s crazy! But, you know, I feel like it’s, there’s so much mental to it, you know.
Because when I first started running, you know, I, I just got so burnt out and exhausted like, you know, I can’t do this. It’s so hard. But, the more I did it and the more I just like, you know, just kind of zone out a bit…
Anna: Well, and honestly that’s what I love about ultra running is because the intensity is so much lower than doing… because the events are so long, they’re not done unless you’re like an elite, or like looking to win and race, which I’m not!
So, you know, it tends to be pretty relaxed. Like you’re obviously still running, but people walk. There’s a lot of eating during the events.
Christine: Yeah, you’d have to!
Anna: People chat with you. Yeah, it’s a very friendly environment. And I think similarly, when I, I ran pre pandemic, this was probably like maybe 2018 or something like that. And I was doing that where I would like, I would just go out and run as fast as I could, you know, And it like, kind of, I didn’t like it.
I was like this, I don’t find this very pleasurable. And I did a half marathon and then I didn’t run after that until 2020 cuz the gym was, was closed down, which is why I picked up running cause I couldn’t lift.
And it was so enjoyable for me to go back and not look at the time, but like pay attention to my heart rate and like stay in that zone too and like You know, listen to podcasts or music. And like very relaxing. Yeah. So I’ve enjoyed it.
Christine: Yeah. It’s, it’s just so, so great for my mental health. I feel too running- if there’s no other benefit, it’s just that for me! Yeah, it sounds so strange to some people cuz they’re like, Oh, I don’t like running, I don’t get the runners high or whatever!
Anna: mm-hmm. Usually then I’m like, just slow down. Like, don’t run as fast!
Like, you know, slow down and see if you can enjoy it.
Christine: Yeah, my little girl, she sees me running, she tries to do it too and it’s very cute.
Anna: That’s so cute! Yeah. That’ll be awesome when she can run with you. How fun!
Christine: Yeah, I know. I’ll have a partner finally!
Christine: So yeah, we got, now we got into running!
Anna: I know it was a little side tangent right? (they laugh)
Christine: You might have to ask you to come back about that one.
Anna: Yeah, I was gonna say, I’m happy to come back for a round two with endurance athletes. So we can cover both bases.
Christine: Cool! Questions-but I did have a couple more. And that is: I think we talked a little bit about this already: Protein powders.
What should vegan specifically be looking for? Do they need like, those complete protein powders or…? Yeah, there’s just so much out there. What do you tell your clients?
Anna: It’s overwhelming, honestly-to look on it for sure. And usually I tell people, you know, a protein powders are not necessary- is what is a supplement, you can get what you need through food.
Protein powder is, is honestly really useful for us as vegan though, especially if someone has lower nutritional needs. There is no vegan equivalent to like egg whites or like boneless skin with stricken breasts, or like zero fat Greek yogurt.
All of our protein always comes packaged with some fat and some carbohydrates, which is not bad, and it just is what it is. So protein powder, it can sometimes be helpful because most of the brands should be just protein in it, so like no fat, no carbs. So it’s just convenient. It’s an easy way to get up protein if someone’s struggling with it, for sure.
The only issue with, of course, as you know, with supplements is that they’re not regulated by the FDA. So you’re trusting the manufacturer to, what they put in there is correct and accurate.
So usually I look for well established companies that manufacture either like in the US or in Canada and in Europe, just because like good manufacturing practices are a little bit more stringent there too.
I also look for a company that does third party testing and that makes the reports available. Some companies are third party, like certified, like one is like the “NSF for Sport” logo or certification. This is similar to organic certification, that it’s really expensive, so not all companies do it and it’s more important, or I would even say crucial if someone is participating in any drug testing.
So if someone like a student athlete and they are, you know, they need to submit drug tests to play or to keep their scholarships, or if people are competing in drug tested federations for like power lifting or body building. Then you really have to make sure your supplements are what they say there are.
Because you don’t wanna lose your spot if you come back positive on a drug test and you weren’t expecting that.
Most companies will provide their reports if you’d like. And then there’s also a website called Lab Door. They’re an independent organization, but they actually send out supplements for testing and will post the results.
Christine: Cool. Is there anything else that you would add that vegans should know about nutrition for lifting?
Anna: For sure. People also oftentimes get like a little bit anxious or maybe sometimes worried about creatine, but it’s really beneficial for weightlifters for a number of reasons. So, and I’ll qualify this!
It’s not a steroid, it’s a natural compound in our body. It is not a performance enhancing drug, but it’s a natural substance. It’s part of the creatine phos… Creatine phosphate that regenerates ADP to ATP. I know I’m giving you like Kreb cycle, like flashbacks to like school!
Anna: So if we supplement creatine, it helps our body regenerate energy more quickly in the anaerobic energy pathway, which is what we’re using when we are lifting.
That’s versus like the aerobic pathways, right? If we’re running or doing any sort of cardiovascular, cardio activity.
So creatine is stored in muscle tissue, so omnivores actually get it through the flesh meat that they eat. Obviously we don’t, so people don’t need to like load it. The creatine might have some water retention, so it may make the scale go up a little bit, but it’s just water.
And then also just that you don’t need to eat meat or dairy to enjoy weightlifting, to be successful at it, to meet your athletic goals, you know, and that a plant-based diet is honestly such a powerful tool for athletes for recovery, you know, both day to day and just for our overall health and longevity as people.
Christine: Yeah. And back to that creatine thing.
So,, you said its found in muscle tissue of animals or something like that? So , I’m guessing is there vegans ones? Vegan options out there?
Anna: Yeah. So the one that you can buy online usually is vegan. Yeah. It’s lab created. It’s not like a distilled from like muscle tissue.
So almost all creatine brands. The powder people usually use is like creatine monohydrate, so it should be, all the ones I’ve seen are vegan. Yeah, always good to double check, but yeah, it doesn’t come from meat-Yeah, it’s just part of tissue. So
Christine: So that’s not another point for the “bro science guy” who says you can’t get vegan creatine! They do exist!
Anna: Yeah, yep, they exist for sure.
Christine: So ending question: this is just one I like to ask the guests who, come on!
What is your favorite dish at this very moment? Plus, who are you eating it with that’s a famous vegan who is also alive currently.
Anna: Yeah. Great questions. My favorite dish at the moment is, this is maybe too broad: Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my favorite food holiday, and we always taste test all of the different, like vegan, like Turkey roast options that come. So they always release new ones. They only get this time of year, so like, and they’re so easy for dinner. So that’s what we are doing right now.
Christine: do you have a favorite one by the way?
Anna: We like the Gardien brand?
Christine: Oh yeah! The one with the stuff in the middle- the stuffing?
Christine: Oh, I like that one too! tasty.
Anna: Yeah. And their gravy is good too. And then I just make like, you know, mashed potatoes or some stuffing on the side.
So we have Thanksgiving throughout the month of November, but Whole Foods has like a 365 brand that I wanna try to, cause it looks similar.
Christine: Okay, I don’t, I’ve tried that one, but I’ve tried Field Roast and Tofurkey- I like that one.
Anna: I think that one’s pretty good too. The field roast. I was so, so on. Yeah
Christine: Yeah. And I was actually, it wasn’t worth the price for me
Christine: It was expensive!
Anna: Yeah! Trader Joe’s has one too, but I didn’t love that, wasn’t super impressed. But yeah, we’re in Thanksgiving mode for sure over here.
And then I think I would love to have supper with Ed Winters. With Earthling Ed.
Anna: I admire him so much for his calmness and his eloquence. He puts himself obviously, like in these, oftentimes like (To me) oftentimes these very heated situations, right?
Anna: He’s, you know, debating or arguing, but he is just such a calm and cool person and he speaks so deliberately and eloquently that I would like love to talk to him.
Christine: Yes, for sure. Yeah. What, like what, what is he doing to stay that calm? I wonder Just get in side his head for one day! .
Anna: Yeah. He’s so relaxed. Right? You know, and I don’t know if it’s like his practice and he’s just talked to so many people and you know, heard all these different arguments. You know, that it’s very natural for him.
But yeah. Gosh, he is just, Yeah, He has a very deliberate way.
Christine: Yeah, if Ed Winters is out there listening to this podcast, please come on and please do a YouTube video about just what you do during your day! Cuz I would like to know what your routine is and see how that’s, you know, just, I’m just curious.
Anna: Right. Like how much do you meditate? Right.
Christine: Right? Do you do that? Do you do something else? I don’t know, but I’d like to know about it. (they laugh). Yeah. He is somebody I would definitely wanna eat with too.
So in closing: what’s the best way for people to contact you and learn more about, you know, your practice?
Anna: Yeah, absolutely. I usually hang out on Instagram quite a bit. So my handle is A.T_R.D So I’m there quite a bit. And then I have a website as well. So it’s my name, Annatitcomb.com with some more information about the services I offer, prices…that stuff.
Christine: Great! Well thank you Anna, for being on the episode! Go check her out!
Anna: Yeah, definitely. Thank you for having me!
Christine: Yeah, we’ll have to have you on another time for running.
Anna: Absolutely. Yeah. We’ll do a part two endurance!
Christine: Awesome. And see you hopefully next time!
Anna: Yeah. See you soon. Christine, thanks so much again for having me.
Christine: Hey folks before you go, don’t forget to follow Anna over on the gram! Check out her website if you are looking for help navigating plant based nutrition as an active human “bean”!
I’ll put a link to the transcript and things we mentioned in the show notes below or you can head over to plantpoweredyou.com/podcast
And finally, if you enjoy this episode, please subscribe and give it a five star rating on Apple Podcasts.
Until next time, may the fork be with you!