September 14, 2012 by Steph
So, I wanted to talk to you guys (is anyone actually reading this?) about supplements. Last year, when I started competing in bikini competitions, I was introduced to a whole new world of potions and powders and capsules, etc. that I had never heard about. I started taking things like Branched Chain Amino Acids (known as BCAA, or if you want to sound super cool next time you are at the gym, turn to the dude next to you and say – “Hey, what kind of BC ayyyys are you taking”…. That is how the cool kids pronounce it. Or, if you are from Canada, you would say, “Hey – what kind of BC ayyys are you taking, ayyyy?). Anyway, all corny joking aside, they do serve a great purpose and can be very beneficial when you are working out. According to one of my vegan fitness idols, Robert Cheeke, “If you don’t consume protein and a wide variety of amino acids after exercise, you make yourself susceptible and potentially prone to injury from damaged muscle fibers waiting to be repaired. This can easily happen if you exercise hard [and] don’t supply your body with adequate nutrition”. As a vegan, I try to do everything I can to limit the amount of animal products I consume. Therefore, I have done some research into what BCAAs I can take. I have found a few brands online that are free of animal products, however, they can be really pricy. I have found that chlorella is a great source of BCAAs. Not only that but it is a great superfood that is an immune booster (bonus!). Here – read THIS!
|Chlorella consists of about 60 percent of proteins, and is also rich in essential amino acids, nonessential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Since chlorella has good composition of amino acids, you can take 9 kinds of essential amino acids properly. Besides that, chlorella contains a lot of nonessential amino acids, so it can make up for deficiencies in the body occurred with aging.|
So, before I went out to buy some vegan BCAAs, I decided to take 3000mg of Chlorella after I work out. So far, so good! One other thing that I love about not taking the BCAAs that are ubiquitous in the health food stores is that a lot of them contain artificial sweeteners, which I stopped using a few months ago. Now, I just use a little liquid stevia to sweeten things.
Another supplement that I take is “Purple Mushroom Defense”. I recently read in Christina Pirello’s book “This Crazy Vegan Life” that a study was done in Japan where thirty overweight participants took a supplement of maitake mushroom and made NO OTHER changes to their diet or exercise habits. After eight weeks, each participant had lost eleven to thirteen pounds. Some even lost twenty-five!!! So, I looked into getting a maitake supplement and found this one at Whole Foods. This is from the label:
Cell Forte Purple Mushroom Defense Description from ENZYMATIC THERAPY
-Boosts the body’s natural defenses against harmful free radicals.
–Delivers up to eight times more antioxidant power than the two leading mushroom formulas.
-Delivers more than 17 times the super antioxidant power of three antioxidant-rich fruits, including raisins, blueberries and strawberries!
-Clinically proven to intensify natural killer cell activity.
-Organic mushrooms plus organic, non-GMO Purple Kculli Corn provides antioxidant support.
No other mushroom formula contains this unique blend of ingredients: Agaricus, Maitake, Coriolus, and Reishi nourished by Purple Kculli Corn. Each ingredient works together amplifying your body’s own natural killer-cell activity for powerful, natural, deep-immune support.
Pretty cool stuff right? Anyway, I have been taking this for a week and a half. I cannot really report any benefit yet because I am not weighing myself (I am gauging my progress by measurements). But, I AM feeling good and that is all that matters, right?
The last supplement that I want to talk about is a multi-vitamin. I like to take a multi-vitamin as my “health insurance”. I have been consuming more veggies than I have in a long time now that I am vegan. I don’t, however, eat a lot of fruit because I am trying to limit my sugars (they are still healthy folks, so eat them if you like them!). What the multi does for me is makes sure I am filling in any “holes” in my diet from whatever it is I don’t get from my food.
You can look at the ingredients and read a little bit more about the benefits here.
So, there you have it…. the supplements that I take. I am trying to keep them to a minimum and am really honing in on using only the ones that support my goals. Muscle retention=BCAA’s (chlorella), Leaning out=Mushroom Defense, Dietary Insurance=Multi. Who wants to take a bunch of capsules and drink a whole bunch of crap if they don’t have to? Keep it simple!
Until next time…. 🙂