The Hungarian Authentic a.k.a Humble, Unique, Authentic

Conclusions after reading The Plant-Based Power Plan book

Conclusions after reading The Plant-Based Power Plan book

Abstract of the book “The Plant-Based Power Plan by TJ Waterfall

With my wife we have commit to ourselves, 2023 will be the year when we bio-hack our body. We aim to reach a healthy and extremely good looking body. First, I have read recently the book called The Plant-Based Power Plan: Increase Strength, Boost Energy, Perform at Your Best” by TJ Waterfall. This is a science based read about the plant-based diet based on latest scientific evidences (studies from mainly Europe and the UK). This is a fantastic resource for any vegan athletes and sports people. I wanted to read about this topic because after 4 years I feel, I should follow more consciously my plant-based diet (wanted to know what I eat and why) and I had a commitment; this year I am striving to reach my best ever body shape. I chose this book because many books in the topic were written by authors in the US but I wanted to read which is based on scientific studies researched in Europe (as being European). I was so confused about how much protein I should consume, what other minerals and vitamins my body may have deficiency of.

“World Health Organization have classified processed meat as a group 1 carcinogen, which is the same category as tobacco smoking and asbestos!”

by TJ Waterfall

This book is a Must read if you are a Vegan or if you just follow a plant-based diet – often, these two come together (if you are conscious about animal welfare, you certainly think about twice buying leather shoes, right?). However my experience is that many people just jump in to the plant-based diet and learn the basics on the go, learning lessons after making serious mistakes. They do not bother reading a 300 pages long book about the topic. I was a person like this. I thought, let’s take Vitamin B12 and D3 and I am all set…how wrong I was!

After rigorously reading the book, I took notes about the most important facts I must always remember for. From my most recent post I experienced, how effective I can learn something if I share what I learnt. For this post I needed to select my notes from this book, read them over and over, shorten and then type them. The book and this post gives a list of all nutritional deficiences vegans may can suffer from and gives a list of the key nutrients required to be consumed. Also, it gives valuable information about how you can perform better, how you can recover better after exercising, how you can prevent injuries.

Disclaimer: Please note, I don’t make any guarantees about the information shared in this post. The information shared here is intended to help you to gain information about the plant-based diet and get a tasting of this book. However without the intention of going deep inside each topic. I am not an expert of nutritions, only sharing what notes I took while I read the book and some of my experiences. This post does not replace the need of reading this book and I strongly encourage you if you like this post, purchase it to get all value.

10 Important facts and quotes about the plant-based diet from “The Plant-Based Power Plan”

  1. “Increasing consumption of whole plant foods, including fruit, helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce inflammation, protect against diabetes, and will help athletes take their performance to the next level.”
  2. “Increased fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with decreased risk of cancer… and eating more fruit and vegetables is protective against cancer.”
  3. “World Health Organization now recommends putting an emphasis on plant-based foods while limiting red and processed meat to promote human health and protect the environment. The British Dietetic Association confirms that a well-planned vegan diet can support healthy living in people of all ages.”
  4. 80% of Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are thought to be preventable by lifestyle change. There is a 25% reduction in risk of heart disease in vegans and vegetarians versus omnivore.
  5. In Europe, between adults aged over 25, one in ten have diabetes. There is a 27% risk reduction in developing diabetes between vegans.
  6. 20% reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia with higher intake of fruit and vegetables. Consuming red – and processed meat increases the chance of mortality rate by 29%.
  7. Chronic oxidative stress (when antioxidant levels are low) is one of the primary causes for all the major diseases listed in a percentage of 42-45%. The body can generate its own antioxidants, but some must also come from the diet. Meat products have antioxidants but plant foods have an average of 64 times(!) more – more chance to win against oxidative stress. Taking antioxidants in supplement cannot replicate the effect of gaining it from plants directly, most effective directly from plants.
  8. “It looks like fruit and vegetables provide double benefits: they can help reduce oxidative stress during the exercise, and actually enhance the adaptation process, by also ramping up the body’s own antioxidant defences. To date, this effect has been shown with antioxidant-rich plant foods like grapes, blueberries, blackcurrants, lemon verbena, watercress and spinach.”
  9. “Balanced plant-based diets are abundant in vitamins and antioxidants, and these beneficial compounds protect our health, reducing the risk of numerous diseases like cancer and heart disease. But they have another benefit: because they’re able to help our bodies neutralize free radicals, they can aid with exercise recovery too.”
  10. “High levels of antioxidants in fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains help reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress.” A plant-based diet can also improve the fluidity of your blood. If you think of your blood as liquid within a plumbing network, then you can imagine that thinner, more fluid liquid will flow through the piping system much more quickly and efficiently than thicker, viscous liquid.

24 key takeaways of “The Plant-Based Power Plan”

  1. Soya consumption show no effect on men’s testosterone levels (15 clinical trials showed). It likely has little to no effect on the thyroid or testosterone levels in both adult men and women. Which is a relief, because in my opinion tofu is one of the best form of eating soya and a perfect meat alternative.
  2. For our healthy gut microbes consuming sufficient fibres are crucial and the plant-based diet is rich in fibre. Fibre helps to slow the absorption of antioxidants from our food and helps to evenly distribute antioxidants during the day for better benefit. Dietary fibre helping us maintain a healthy weight, reducing cardiovascular disease risk by actively lowering our cholesterol, and providing fuel for our gut microbes. The recommended intake of fibre (for adults in the UK), both male and female, is 30g per day (for example 100 grams uncooked whole grains, 1 cup of cooked beans, 2-3 servings of fruits a day). 
  3. We consume iron in a form of non-haem (plant foods) and haem (animal products). These have different structures and absorbed differently. Consuming higher intake of haem iron from meat is associated with risk of several cancers. While by consuming plant foods and non-haem iron with, we get protection against inflammation and chronic diseases. The reference intakes of iron (for adults in the UK) are 8.7mg a day, or 14.8mg a day for pre-menopausal women. Interesting fact that Vitamin C (even in a quantity of a small orange) boost the iron absorption by 3x-4x. Beans and tofu are rich in iron. 
  4. Nitrates and nitrites naturally occur in plants. These are very healthy and support performance. Nitrites in processed meats form nitrosamines during the processing, which is a dangerous form of carcinogen! In plant foods, much more of the nitrates are converted to nitric oxide, boosting vascular function, plays important role in increaseing blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles. The foods highest in nitrates and nitrites include celery, cress, chervil, lettuce, beetroot, spinach and rocket. Fennel, leek, parsley, celeriac and Chinese cabbage are also great sources.
  5.  Folate (vitamin B9) is crucial for maintaining healthy cells in the body. Legumes and dark green leafy vegetables are the best source of folate. Beetroot, bananas and citrus fruits, as well as nuts and seeds contain various amount of folate.
  6. Potassium helps maintaining normal levels of fluid inside our cells. It’s important for heart and bone health and reduces the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium (cooked spinach and broccoli, potatoes, peas), for a full list refer to this link. Adults (19 to 64 years) need 3,500mg of potassium a day.
  7. Magnesium is stored in bones and supports muscle and nerve function and energy production. The recommended magnesium intake (for adults in the UK) is 300mg a day for men and 270mg a day for women. Fruits high in magnesium include dried figs, avocados, guavas, bananas, kiwi fruit, papayas, blackberries, raspberries, cantaloupes, and grapefruit.
  8. Vitamin B12 isn’t produced by plants, it’s produced by microorganisms. In animals these microorganisms live in the stomach, and produce B12 which is absorbed into the bloodstream and accumulates in the animals’ tissues (meat). This is why Vegans have to take this vitamin from a form of supplement. Vitamin B12 is needed to form red blood cells and DNA and it is also a key player in the function and development of brain and nerve cells. Fatigue and weakness, tingling, numbness, memory loss can be a sign of B12 deficiency. The reference nutrient intake for vitamin B12 (in the UK) is 1.5µg a day. It’s the one vitamin which absolutely must be taken either in supplement or by foods fortified with B12 (like vitamin fortified oat milk).
  9. Zinc is an essential mineral, it plays important roles in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, and DNA synthesis, vital for energy metabolism.  Mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic are rich in zinc. The UK dietary reference values of zinc for adults (in the UK) are 7mg a day for women and 9.5mg a day for men.
  10. Keep the intake of saturated fats (cheese, sausage, bacon, generally in most processed meats and diary products) and trans fats (example is frozen pizza, microwave popcorn, commercial baked cakes, cookies, fired foods) to a minimum, try avoiding.
  11. Mono fats keep cholesterol level down. This is the fat you get from avocado, nuts and olive. Polyunsaturated fats are a type of healthy fat that includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and what you can find in flax seeds, wallnuts and soybean. These fats have been associated with health benefits when consumed in moderation.
  12.  In the West, diets are high in omega-6, and tend to be low in omega-3 (both are healthy fatty acids but these must be kept in balance). The ratio is on average more like 16:1 (this used to be 1:1). This is because we eat more deep-fried foods, fast foods, crisps and many processed foods like cakes and biscuits. The ideal ratio we aim for is 6:3. Keeping this ratio as low as possible could decrease inflammation and the risk of several inflammation-associated diseases. To keep this ratio, 1-2 serving of plant-based food a day is recommended which rich in flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, also walnuts while you limit eating food cooked in sunflower and corn oil. Grinding flaxseeds and drinking in a shake is a perfect way to consume your daily Omega-3. Algae (Spirulina – giving the same benefits as fish oil) are one of the best source of Omega-3.
  13. Healthy fat sources include nuts (e.g. peanuts, cashews, almonds and their nut butters), seeds (e.g. sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds), avocado, and extra virgin olive oil in moderation. None of these have much Omega-3 but they’re made up primarily of monounsaturated fats, so won’t impact your omega-3:6 ratio nearly as much as cooking oils like sunflower or vegetable oil.
  14. Calcium plays important roles in a wide variety of bodily functions, ranging from intracellular messaging and blood clotting, to neurological function and muscular contractions. It’s vital for bone health (other nutrients that are vital for bone health include magnesium and potassium). Pak choy, spring greens, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage have the magical combination of a high calcium content along with low levels of oxalates, which means lots of highly absorbable calcium. Protein can boost the absorption of calcium, which is then filtered through our kidneys and excreted in the urine. Interesting fact: The adult skeleton is remodelled and replaced approximately every 10 years. It’s staggering to think that your skeleton now is almost completely distinct from your skeleton 10 years ago!
  15. There are several other vitamins and minerals needed for metabolic processes related to bone, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, vitamins A, C, K, and the B vitamins. Smoking, alcohol, excessive caffeine and high salt intakes can be detrimental. Consuming more dairy isn’t protecting your bone health. Adding meat to the diet resulted in more calcium being lost in the urine.
  16. Vitamin D is involved in the modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation. Best consuming it naturally through UVB rays. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorbtion.  In the UK, most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen from late March or early April to the end of September, especially from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Use at least SPF15 sunscreen when UVB ray radiation is high. There are two types of vitamin D supplements: D2 and D3. Both can help you meet your vitamin D requirements, but it’s been shown that D3 is more efficient at raising blood vitamin D levels. Everyone in the UK (aged over 1 year) should get 10µg (400 iu) of vitamin D a day. 
  17. Iodine is needed in a very small amount. It regulates the speed at which your cells and tissues work (for example, your heart rate may become slower than normal, or your intestines may work sluggishly, leading to constipation). Iodine deficiency symptoms can include tiredness, feeling cold, weight gain, poor concentration and depression. Seaweed is a more concentrated source of iodine which can be incorporated into the diet. The British Dietetic Association don’t recommend eating seaweed more than once a week. For most people, eating a variety of plant foods, eating some seaweed from time to time, using a little iodized salt in your cooking, and perhaps incorporating some fortified foods should provide plenty of iodine. In the UK, the daily reference intake is 140µg a day for both adult men and women.
  18. Along with iodine, selenium plays an important role in our body (antioxidant defences, thyroid hormone production, testosterone metabolism, anti-carcinogenic effects). Low selenium increase the mortality risk and studies showed, increase the inflammation, and immune-related diseases occurrence by 71%. The recommended level of selenium gives a strong protection (73-75%) against various cancers and CVD. High dose of selenium is toxic. The daily reference intake in the UK is set at just 75µg a day for adult men and 60µg a day for adult women, and a safe upper limit has been set at 450µg a day by the Food Standards Agency. Brazil nuts contain the most selenium (consume no more than 2 Brazil nuts a day to prevent overdosing selenium).
  19.  A varied, balanced, plant-based diet fuels you with enough protein, you do not need any meat sources for that. UK Daily Reference Intake of protein is 0.75g per kg bodyweight daily. Requirements may be lower (than 0.75g/kg) for overweight/less active people or higher in underweight/more active people. It does not make any difference when you consume protein during the day, best if it is evenly distributed in all meals during day. Consuming high protein before/during/after your exercise does not have a proven muscle growing effect. Consuming some protein before your night sleep (when resting) is a good habit. You can use Apps (MyFitnessPal) to record your daily meals for a few days to see much protein you consume daily – and see if it needs adjusting. The most protein dense plant foods are seeds: Dry beans/lentils/peas, soybeans (tofu), fresh peas, buckwheat, quinoa, sunflower seeds, flax, chia, pumpkin seeds, and the true grains: oats, millet, wheat, sorghum, corn, or rye. Vegan protein powder is now also available in various brands and flavours made from soy or peas.
  20. Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids; 9 of which are ‘essential’ because our bodies can’t produce them on their own and these must be supplied by the food we eat (quinoa and soy are good source). Many vegan protein powders are now containing all necessary amino acids we need, check labels before purchasing.
  21. Carbohydrates fuel the brain and central nervous system mainly, and important for muscular work. With vegan diet the required carbs level can be easily achievable with consuming potatoes, whole grains, starchy fruits and vegetables (white and sweet potato, green peas, beets, butternut squash, turnips, banana – most in unripe bananas, dried figs raspberries). Important to eat carbs along with protein when exercising because this gives you energy. For the best results, consume carbohydrates at regular intervals, beginning shortly after you start the exercise, and focus on high glycaemic index foods (watermelon, bananas, oranges, mango, grapes, raisins, dates and pears).
  22.  Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive “drug” in the World. Caffeine exert a significant ergogenic effect on muscle endurance, muscle strength, anaerobic power and aerobic endurance by stimulating the central nervous system. It does this by blocking a chemical called adenosine, which builds up in the brain throughout the day and has a negative effect on neurotransmission, wakefulness, and pain perception. As such, caffeine can reduce fatigue, dampen pain reception, blunt our perception of effort, and improve alertness and concentration. Drinking 1–2 cups of coffee can be beneficial for physically active people. There are many studies recently about whether caffeine is healthy or not, I would say with moderate consumption your body should be able to cope with without any long term side effect.
  23. Creatine is made by the liver and kidneys and found in skeletal muscles. The body produces creatine using the amino acids. So, as long as you’re getting enough of these amino acids in your diet likely, you’ll be making sufficient amounts of creatine. As creatine is stored in muscle tissue, meat eaters consume more creatine than vegans. Vegans can consume extra dose of creatine from supplements, which can improve performance during sport activities, increases in creatine stores, muscle strength, and whole-body muscle mass. The ‘maintenance’ dose of creatine supplement is 3–5g a day. Supplementing appropriately is safe both in the short and long term (up to 5 years). Creatine users experienced less incidence of cramping, heat illness/dehydration, muscle strains and total injuries than those not taking creatine. Creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and clinically effective form of creatine, so if you do choose to try creatine, this would be the safest option. Creatine isn’t recommended for people with kidney or liver disease, or diabetes. Others who should avoid taking it are children under age 18 and women who are pregnant or nursing.
  24. Bonus (this is not from the book, based on my own research online): Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, which is 1/3 of the total protein composition. Important part of our tissues, muscles, nails, teeth, hair and almost every part of the human body. Collagen is from a greek word and means “glue”, that glues important parts together. Our body creates collagen naturally from nutrient we consume. No plants contain collagen therefore there is no vegan collagen supplement that contains collagen. Vegan collagen supplements only can boost our body to create collage. Zinc (beans, chickpeas, tofu, lentils, walnuts, cashew) and Copper (nuts, seeds, mushrooms, leafy greens, dark chocolate) are important vitamins for collagen. Omega 3 plays important role in the collagen formation. A nutritionally rich plant based diet fuels our body to create sufficient amount of collagen however if you are concerned, you can take a booster. Sun destroys collagen in the skin and smoking prevents the generation of it. More info is here.

What changes I introduced to my daily life after reading this book

The second half of the book gives you an idea about nutrition rich plant-based meals, so you can plan your meals more easily following these recipes.

For one month we monitored our daily nutrition intake meal by meal. By the evening we knew if we needed some extra protein, fibre, potassium, iron, iodide to be consumed to reach the recommended daily minimum limit. If you follow and monitor the plant-based diet this strictly, the only vitamin you need in a form of supplement is B12 and D3 (Vitamin D is only in winter if daily Sunshine is available). Of course, the multivitamin supplement substitute any missing nutrients and it is always better to get nutrients directly from plants in your meals. Multivitamin is a comfortable way of making sure you get every nutrients your body needs but not by all means the best solution.

On the below picture you can see what extra supplements we have at home now. From Asian supermarkets we can buy roasted seaweed and Amla powder (Indian Gooseberry). From MyProtein we get our protein blend, peanut butter powder and Creatine. From Amazon we order our Vegan multivitamin and Collagen booster. Creatine is something I am taking occasionally now.

I came to the conclusion, I will start using B12 and D3 supplements only and leaving the Multivitamin and Collagen booster, as I am having time now for nutritionally rich meals.

I am exercising 5 days a week (45 minutes/session) and walking minimum 3 times a week 10.000 steps, so using some of these supplements to boost my health, energy level and to be able to recover quicker.

My supplements I usually take (in the UK)
Roasted Korean Seaweed snack (once a week for healthy iodine intake),
Spirulina powder (daily, an all-in-one source of nutrients including protein),
Amla powder (daily, for hair and skin immunity),
MyProtein Peanut butter powder,
Vegan collagen booster (daily, for healthy bones and joints)
MyProtein Vegan Protein blend (all in my fruit shake),
VeganVitality Multivitamin (daily, when not eating sufficient fruits and veggies) OR
Vegan B12 Vitamin and Vegan D3 Vitamin (daily, if eating sufficient fruits and veggies)
MyProtein Creatine Monohydrate (daily when exercising)

I hope you enjoyed this post, learnt from it and from now you will consciously choose how and what you eat daily. I would love to hear from you! Please comment what supplements you take as a vegan, how you look after your daily nutrients intake.

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