My name is Adrienne and I love food and fitness. I am a native Floridian and I consume a gluten-free, plant-based whole foods diet (I am vegan, for the most part). I started this blog in response to the encouragement that I received from friends and family that I shared my recipes and fitness journey with.
I selected “Taste of Two Plates” as the name to represent the food plate and the barbell plate (also, who doesn’t love a good Charles Dickens pun?). Nothing makes me happier than starting my week off right with some squats and a large green smoothie.
Can you tell me more specifics about your diet?
- The Basics: I do not eat gluten, meat, eggs, dairy, refined sugars, oils, or any processed foods. I follow the dietary advice of T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study and Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. My diet is best described as a “whole food, plant based diet” which is approximately (from week to week) 75-80% carbs, 10-15% protein, and about 10% fat.
- Raw Foods and Carbs: I eat a lot of raw foods. My energy levels and digestion are better, and my skin looks amazing. I am not afraid of fruit and I eat several servings a day, usually in my green smoothies and for afternoon snacking.
- Cooked Foods Too (and More Carbs): While I enjoy a plethora of raw foods, I also eat cooked starches, whole grains, beans, and legumes. I need to incorporate these higher-caloric value foods into my diet in order to meet my caloric requirements for working out, which is between 3,000-3,200 calories a day when I am actively bulking. Another benefit is that the various fibers and resistant starches are great prebiotics for supporting a healthy population of gut flora. I try to soak and sprout the grains, beans, and legumes first, if applicable. This reduces phytic acid, which can reduce absorption of other nutrients. Fermenting and cooking helps with this too. I usually lean more toward starches and grains and try not to rely too much on beans and legumes because I seem not to digest them very well in large quantities.
- Fats and Omega Fatty Acids: I never cook my fats, and I try to follow a low fat diet with no oils (though I do occasionally eat out and I try not to stress it since it is so infrequent). Oils are extremely imbalanced in omega fatty acids, all of them having more omega-6 than omega-3 (except for flax oil). I use coconut oil for oil pulling or for external applications. I don’t eat it though. While it is low in omega-6, it has no omega-3 in it. Since I have a history of inflammatory disease, I try to eat as close as possible to a 1:1 ratio of omega-3:6. Eating a healthy ratio also helps to improve insulin sensitivity, which is great for building muscle. 😉
- Maximizing Nutrition: I try to maximize the nutritional value of my meals whenever possible. Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman has some great information about this.
- Leafy Greens: I am a huge fan of leafy greens for their nutritional value and I try to consume them every day by eating and/or drinking them. They are a great source of plant-based protein and calcium. I try to eat between 1/2 and 1 full pound of greens a day in various forms. It’s actually not difficult when adding greens to smoothies, salads, side dishes, and fermented dishes (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.).
- Fermented Foods: I make eat a lot of fermented foods. I try to eat or drink something fermented every day. Culturing my own probiotics has done wonders for my health. My immune system is stronger, my digestion and energy levels are better, and I don’t get sick anymore! Fermented foods also assist with the assimilation of nutrients, which aid in muscle growth and fat loss. They are also much more potent with more biodiversity, and cheaper than buying probiotic supplements.
- Organic: I try to eat as much organic food as I can. I am not legalistic about foods that I routinely peel (e.g. citrus, avocados, bananas, etc.).
- Herbs and Aromatics: I love to incorporate herbs into my recipes. While I don’t have a yard, I grow many of my own herbs on my porch to save money and always have access to a fresh supply of culinary and tea herbs. Food and medicine are the same to me.
Why do you eat a whole food plant-based gluten-free diet?
The short answer is that I have successfully reversed all of my chronic health issues and thrown away all of my medications. Eating this way saved my life and my health. I also discovered that it provided great benefits to my fitness routine.
The longer answer is that digesting animal proteins increases the respiratory rate, which is counter productive to managing asthma naturally. Additionally, I am allergic to eggs and bovine dairy (as well as sugar cane, certain strains of yeast, and some seeds and nuts). This makes me vegan by necessity most of the time, but I don’t really like labels. I eat local raw honey, which has done wonders for my seasonal allergies – they are now non-existent! I am also severely gluten intolerant (celiac disease). Eliminating it from my diet helped me to heal auto-immune thyroid disease and improved my digestion.
When I started getting serious about my fitness pursuits, I had some challenges. I wasn’t really sure what the right macronutrient for me was, and I wasn’t sure how much to eat, or when to eat, or when to workout. I was clueless about how to exercise. I hired a trainer who suggested I start eating meat to put on muscle. My husband even told me the same thing. I was, however, determined not to turn my back on the diet that had ultimately healed me of my chronic disease. After much research and some fine tuning, I realized the full benefit of eating this way. I was able to build muscle and shed fat at the same time (the clean-bulking holy grail!), and my recovery rates were much faster, due to the anti-inflammatory nature of the diet.
Where did you learn to cook and prepare raw food?
I am self-taught for the most part. Due to all of my food sensitivities and health preferences, I have been preparing most of my meals from scratch for a very long time. I enjoy reading cookbooks and other food blogs, and experimenting in the kitchen. It is very therapeutic for me. I will occasionally attend food demos or classes on the rare occasion that I find one where I can actually eat what I make without getting sick. I also took some raw food classes from Matthew Kenney Culinary. I’m please to say that I have not had a single knife accident in the kitchen since that time. That alone was totally worth it to me. 😉
Who does your food photography?
I do! I was always interested in photography as a child, and my mother would get upset at me for using up my film so quickly. I purchased my first digital camera in college in the late ’90s and I haven’t taken my finger off the shutter button since then. In the last several years, it has become much more than a hobby, as I have been doing professional shoots for local models and burlesque performers. I guess I should apologize in advance if any of my food photos seem to be a little “too sexy”. 😉
Are you available for lectures, demonstrations, or food photography?
Yes, indeed! In addition to my passion for food, I love to teach. I have plenty of public speaking experience. I currently work in the digital media / online marketing industry for a very large and well-known entertainment company, with presentation experience ranging from teaching at the University level to presentations for small groups of artists, business professionals, and executives. I am also available for any food photography needs you may have.
What are your credentials?
That’s such a subjective word. Many people have a long list of degrees and certifications, but education does not make up for lack of real world experience. While I have no medical training, I successfully reversed autoimmune thyroid disease, asthma (both allergic and exercise induced), and seasonal/environmental allergies when my doctors told me it was not possible. I have also improved the severity of my Tourette’s syndrome, lowered my cholesterol, corrected my hormonal imbalances, eradicated anxiety, and improved my energy levels. I went from having chronic respiratory infections to rarely suffering from even a common cold. I used to have to drag myself out of bed in the morning, and now I wake up early, hit the gym, and am perky without so much as a drop of coffee. I did this all with dietary and lifestyle modification. Doctors study little to no nutrition in medical school and at this point, I have literally spent half of my life reading research data and putting it to good practice on myself.
However, as I am always seeking self-improvement (and potentially considering a future with paying clients that I can assist in matters of health and nutrition), I have started to sign up for some more formal education in the areas of health, nutrition, and food preparation. Following is what I have completed:
- Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University – Completion: May 2014
- Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine from Matthew Kenney Culinary – Completion: August 2014
- Advanced Raw Cuisine from Matthew Kenney Culinary – Completion: October 2014
- Culinary Nutrition from Matthew Kenney Culinary – Completion: January 2015