Healthy Living in Connecticut Blog

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Gaining Muscle... 15 Pounds Worth!

When I started my plant based journey nearly 9 months ago, I was about 192-195 pounds. I was trying to gain muscle but my diet was not as good as it could be.

Then I discovered the many vegan bodybuilders online and I began to read Robert Cheeke's book "Shred It!". That changed my whole way of eating and the way I trained. Bodybuilders like Robert Cheese and many others are eating only plant based foods and are definitely getting results.


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A Healthy Plant Based Approach

Did you know Oreo cookies are vegan? Did you know a lot of processed foods are vegan as well? Vegan foods do not necessarily mean healthier choices. That is why I consider myself to be plant based, although admittedly, I use both terms interchangeably.

I know some vegans are not early the way they do for health reasons, which is why they have no problem eating the junk food. I do love animals, but I became plant based for health reasons too. the amount of protein I would need to build muscle by eating meat would cause too much damage on the body. At least plant protein is good for the body... and plants offer lot of nutrients that animal products don't have, like fiber.


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Six Months Since Going Plant Based!

Six months ago, I started on a plant based journey. I had done week long vegan challenges, even two week challenges, but have never gone so long without any kind of animal products before now. What started out a 13 week challenge based on Robert Cheeke's "Shred It!" book has become an important part of my daily routine.

Here are some things that many people need to be aware of... plant based people are not depriving themselves in any way. I eat more variety now than when I ate meat. What do typical meat eaters have? Most likely chicken, turkey, beef or pork. What do plant strong people eat? Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, black beans, chick peas, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, berries, sweet potato, almond butter, peanut butter, quinoa, oatmeal... you get the idea. There are a lot of choices.


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Plant Strong... The Name Says It All!

I have made a lot of improvements this past week in my muscle building initiative. I decided to wear this new shirt I got in support of Rip Esselstyn, a former fire fighter turned author. Rip is the author of the Engine 2 Diet. He was also responsible for turning his fellow firefighters into healthy "plant strong" eaters to help save a colleague, who had very high cholesterol. His term "Plant Strong" really says it all, describes my goal perfectly.

So this week, I increased weight for both my chest and arms. I only go up small increments but to me, it's a big improvement. I'm no where near my goal yet, but eventually I would like to bench press my body weight... got a long way toward that goal!


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Building Muscle But What About Body Fat Percentage?

I've been so much focused on weight lifting I haven't been thinking about my body fat percentage. I really haven't had it checked for a while but I know body fat is important in order to see 6 pack abs. Judging from all the advice I've seen online regarding ab definition, the body fat needs to be in the single digits. The last time I wrote about it, I believe my abs were at 10.38 percent.

I let the body fat talk subside as I wanted to focus on the strength. In order to build muscle, I needed to put on some weight. Once I start seeing more results with the muscle, I'm sure my focus will then go to the body fat percentage again.


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