Tag Archives: healthy tips

Nutrition for vegan athletes – Part 2

Last month I wrote a post about nutrition for vegan athletes where I told about protein, iron and multivitamins. Go check that out if you haven’t yet! On this post we are going to get into 3 nutrition more for vegan athletes.



Magnesium is really important to athletes. It regulates hearth rhythm, supports normal functioning of muscles and blood vessels. It can boost your exercise performance. Magnesium deficiency is quite common. Especially runners and endurance athletes tend to need more magnesium. During exercise your magnesium need can be 10-20% higher than when you are resting.

You can have magnesium enough from vegan diet for example almonds, broccoli, dark chocolate, spinach, oat, sesame seeds, quinoa, black beans and spirulina are rich in magnesium.

Like I told already runners have higher risk to get magnesium deficiency and I really can feel the difference after running if I am taking magnesium or not. When I don’t take it after long run I usually wake up middle of the night because my legs are cramping. That is actually one of the most common sign of magnesium deficiency. Other deficiency symptoms are low energy, hormone problems, depression and anxiety, sleeping problems and high blood pressure.

If you have some of these symptoms you could try magnesium supplement. Best time to take magnesium is at the night before bed because it has relaxing properties. We have this puhdistamo tripla magnesium which contains three different type of magnesium. It is really clean supplement without any additives and it doesn’t have any animal products so it is suitable for vegans!



Vegan diet tend to be higher in carbs so this is not something you should be worried about but carbs are really important to athletes and it really does matter which type of carbs you are eating so that is why I wanted to include them in this post.

Nowadays many athletes just worry about how to get enough protein and are trying to lower carb intakes. Carbs are essential part of any human dietary requirement so avoiding all carbs really doesn’t do anything good. Our body uses carbs as main energy source. They are essential for the normal function of fat metabolism. If we avoid carbs our fiber intake also decreases. Lack of fiber causes problems in the intestine such as intestinal cancer, constipation and irritated bowel. Fiber also can your lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

It is true that carbs are everywhere and we get them a lot easily. Like I already said it is also huge difference that where does your carbs come from. If we consume a lot white sugar, white bread and other fast and processed carbs those are bad for us and there is no reason why athletes or anyone would need those in their diet. But on the other hand also legumes, vegetables, berries, fruits and whole grains are carbs sources and those in our diet are really useful. When we eat bad carbs our blood sugar levels rises fast and after a while they come down just as fast. Then we feel tired and we don’t have power to exercise. If we eat vegetables and whole grains our blood sugar levels rises slowly and stays like that and then we have power to do exercise.


Usually vegan food is lower in calories than meat, eggs and dairy products. That is why I wanted to take this topic here. If you change your diet from eating meat to vegan you can easily lack calories. Key word is just eat more. If you want to enhance your sport performance it is really important to get enough calories. If you go to gym and try to gain muscles you have to get about 200 kcal more than your daily calorie consumption. You have to feel satisfied after every meal and you know that you get calories. If you eat only salads and low calorie vegetables then you feel constantly hungry and lack calories. Your body doesn’t have power to do exercises.

Fortunately it is quite easy to know that are you getting enough calories. Without enough calories your body doesn’t have power and after workout it doesn’t recover. You will be hungry all the time and you might not be able to sleep well.

If you have feeling that after going vegan you are constantly hungry and you don’t have power anymore that might easily just be because you are lacking calories. So what should you eat then. Make your diet variant. Eat vegetables, legumes, berries, fruit, quinoa, oats, nuts, seeds. Actually nuts and seeds are really easy way to increase your calorie intake. Just handful of nuts can be like 100 calories. If you are having hard time to get enough calories you can use oils and protein powders.


Just in case if you still think that it’s not possible to get enough protein as athlete from vegan diet here is some vegan athletes who are thriving very well with vegan diet. Go check them on Instagram!


  • Lewis Hamilton, British race driver, one of the most famous athletes in the world has shown us that you really can win world champions and hold records as vegan. He has told that after starting a vegan diet he feels the best he has ever felt physically and mentally.




  • Naturally Stefanie is a vegan fitness youtuber who makes youtube videos for more than 190 000 subscriber. She has been vegetarian more than 10 years and vegan 6 years.  On her videos she shows how to workout and eat as vegan!



  • Heavy weight boxing champion David Haye has told that after he started eating on a vegan diet he wakes up brighter in the morning and his skin, nails and hair has never been better. He weight more than 100kg so his protein amount per day is pretty huge. He has told that in order to get all that protein he uses a lot plant based protein powders and also he developed his own protein powder which is made from quinoa, brown rice and pea protein.



  • Sisters Venus and Serena Williams are both tennis player and they are both vegan! When Venus was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome she decided to start eating on raw vegan diet and her sister and roommate Serena adopted the same diet. Venus has said that changing her diet has made big difference and she feel huge improvements since she was first diagnosed. They have been in a vegan diet since 2012 and after that Serena has won the US Open three times.


See you in the shop!

Milla – Anni’s vital shop, Los Boliches


Nutrition for vegan athletes

I’ve heard many times “I would like to go vegan but because I work out I need meat” Well… I am vegan and I work out as well. I go to gym, pilates, run,  play pádel and do yoga. I think that it has been just easier work out as vegan. I feel like I have more energy and the body recover better. So don’t be afraid to go vegan because you are athlete or definitely don’t be afraid to do sports if you are vegan.
I have told on my vegan nutrition post what supplements I recommend for vegans. On this post I will tell you what supplements you should take if you want to work out as vegan. I am not getting into so much those points that I already went through on my vegan nutrition post so go check it if you haven’t yet and keep those also in your mind. Everything what I told there is also good for vegan athletes.



Like in my vegan nutrition post first which we are going to get in is protein. It is definitely the most questioned topic. For me it’s not difficult to get my daily protein intake full from my diet. I am consuming a lot of legumes, oat, tofu, quinoa, lentils, nuts and seeds. Just remember keep the diet versatile and combine different protein sources because legumes lacks amino acids methionine and cysteine, and wheat lacks amino acid lysine. Quinoa, buckwheat, soy, spirulina and hemp has complete amino acid profile so if you think you might lack some amino acids include these in your diet.
Even though it’s quite easy to get protein from vegan diet athletes can benefit taking extra protein from powders or bars. When average person needs about 0.8 grams protein per kilogram of body weight athletes need 1,2-2,0 grams protein per kilogram of their body weight every day. Protein build, maintain and repairs our muscles and our body can also use protein for energy. In order to get the best results from your exercise you should get protein no more than 2 hours after work out. Not always we have time to cook high protein meals right after work out so in those situations powders and other protein supplements can be useful.
Usually if I’m going to the gym at the morning I like to add a scoop of protein powder to my breakfast smoothie. That way I have power to work out, I don’t feel hungry during my work out and my body recover much better. There are plenty of options of vegan protein powders. We have in Anni’s vital shop rice, soy, pea and hemp protein powders. Also we have these Nordiq’s post-workout and pre-workout protein powders which are specially made for athletes. It’s 100% organic mix of plant proteins, adaptogens, mushrooms and nutritious plants which gives energy, strengthen your mind and body and support recovery. If I go to gym straight from the work it’s easy option just grab one of those pulsin protein bars with me. They are totally natural just made of nuts, fruits, rice and pea protein. We have many different flavours like orange chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip and vanilla chocolate chip and they all are really tasty!




Iron is not as questioned topic as protein but maybe it should be. Iron deficiency is actually one of most common nutrition deficiency in the world. It is essential mineral found in every cell of our body. There are many vegan iron sources like soy, quinoa, kale, tofu, tempeh, spirulina, chia seeds, dark chocolate, apricot, figs and broccoli. So again remember to keep your diet versatile, eat some of these everyday so you should get enough iron. Depending how often and what type of exercises you do your need for iron can be higher than usual.  Women tend to have more iron deficiency than men and especially women athletes has high risks for deficiency. Our body lose iron through sweating and women lose small amount of iron while menstruation.
Even though there are many vegan iron sources vegans has to be a little bit more careful because there is two types of iron, heme and non heme. Heme is more easily absorbed form and it’s only found in animal products which are usually 40% of heme and rest of the iron is non heme. All plant based iron sources contains only non heme iron. There is also the bright side getting your iron from plant based sources and it is vitamin C. It helps the iron absorb and vegetables usually are pretty high in vitamin C. So if you are a vegan woman who works out you might feel like eating veggies and doing exercises is super healthy and of course it is but also you should be aware that these habits can increase your risk to get iron deficiency. If you are feeling tired or you are not getting wanted results of your work out you might be lacking iron.
I am not taking iron supplements right now. I eat many different iron sources daily and I am taking the OmniVegan multivitamin which has 14 mg iron. I am feeling that those are enough for me. I feel energised and I have power to do my work outs. But if you are feeling that you need more iron we have this amino jern supplement in offer whole March and it is really good choice to people who workout and it is 100% vegan!
Just little reminder that coffee and tea can reduce our iron absorption more than 40% so avoid taking iron supplements or eating your iron sources together with cup of coffee or tea.




Keep in mind that when we exercise our body consume more every nutrient so besides to a varied diet take some multivitamins to make sure your body can keep up with your sport performances. We have three different multivitamins which are specially for vegans. OmniVegan, Longo vital vegan and SpectroVEG. Like I already told I am taking right now the OmniVegan one. That’s actually the only multivitamin which I really can feel that it is working for me. I feel more energetic and sleep better when I take that. And for an athlete long and good sleep is really important. Our body recover better while we are in sleep and after good sleep we have so much more energy to do our exercise. OmniVegan is a lot higher in all B vitamins than most multivitamins so that is probably the reason why I sleep better with it. B vitamins regulate the body’s tryptophan levels which is essential amino acid for sleep. Even though this is really high in all B vitamins I really recommend to take also separately vitamin B12. It’s something you can’t find in plant based food and because of its poorly absorption it’s good to take high doses of vitamin B12. If not every day at least few times of week.

Like I told on my vegan nutrition post there are many vegan calcium sources but calcium is also something that athletes should take extra care. It is necessary to our muscle function and bone health. OmniVegan has 150 mg calcium which is great addition but it’s not enough on its own. Make sure to also eat different calcium sources in your diet. Like tofu, sesame seed, nettle, broccoli, kale, tahini, spinach, almonds, hazelnuts. In order to make your calcium absorb take also vitamin D supplement. OmniVegan contains 20 mcg of vitamin D3 but it is quite a small amount because there are not many sources of vitamin D in vegan diet, so I recommend increasing the amount. In our selection we have  this Veg D-3 which has 75 mcg vitamin D3 and together with OmniVegan makes 95 mcg  so that is good amount.

Veg D-3 is on offer until end of the March and you can save up to 2.70€!
See you in the shop (or at the gym😉)
Milla – Anni’s Vital Shop, Los Boliches


Alcohol & Triglycerides

By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
Nurse- & Health specialist,  Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.

EspañolEnglish * Suomi * Dansk


After all the holiday loveliness, everyday life has returned. For most of us, it is probably a good, to give our liver a much-needed break, because alcohol and triglycerides, along with a damaged liver, appears to be a world-wide problem.

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The inspiration for this months’ article came when I visited one of the many restaurants on the peninsula Yucatan in Mexico. We picked a restaurant in Chuburna, because the small village was the one we stayed in during our first visit, a couple of years back.

The restaurant looked like all the others in the area: Large, with a clay tamped floor, and plastic tables and chairs set in a delightful random mixture of red and white.

We chose this one because, unlike the other restaurants, it was surrounded by a luxuriantly sea of flowers and lush plants.

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We were the only customers, because we arrived outside of normal serving times. The food was absolutely wonderful. In my opinion, it could easily compete with any 5-star restaurant, in terms of presentation, as well as quality. Added to that, there was plenty of it. My guacamole, and my friends’ fishplate struck us all with awe. I called on the waiter—if you can even call him that, considering he was a young friendly-faced boy, wearing a pair of worn-out jeans and T-shirt, which had seen better days as well. I asked him: “Who on God’s green earth has prepared this lovely meal?”

He answered with a smile, telling me it was his mother who absolutely loved to cook, after which I asked to speak with her, of course. She appeared, all modest, and I told her how I truly enjoyed her food and admired her plants. In turn, she told me that taking care of her plants, and conjuring up wonderful meals for her customers, gave her the greatest pleasure.

This led to a long, pleasant talk, in which she expressed her curiosity about where such a red-haired woman like me originated from, and what I did for a living.

I told her about my life in Spain; that I’m a trained naturopath and owner of a small chain of businesses.

Afterward, she returned to her work, but came back shortly with pencil and paper in hand. She sat down at the end of our table and asked if I could help her.

“If I can, off course!” was my answer.

The problem: she had very poor liver numbers and heightened triglycerides, but she rather not take the medicine her doctor prescribed.

I guessed that I should probably stick to one product. In part due to their economic limitations, and partly because I didn’t think she was ready for more at the time. I recommended that she should take milk thistle in liquid form. She carefully wrote down how and when to take the product I suggested, gave me big hug and left us thankful and full of hope.

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Triglycerides and Alcohol

It seems that even small doses of alcohol can contribute to heightened triglycerides.

Triglycerides are fats in the blood. Almost all fats have triglycerides in them. If the number of triglycerides in our blood is too high, there is a higher chance of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.

Higher levels of triglycerides are often caused by a liver that isn’t working properly. It can also be a symptom of diabetes – which our Mexican cook denied having.

Besides recommending that she take milk thistle, we also talked about diet and lifestyle.

She wasn’t overweight, and even though she stands and walks a lot in the kitchen, I recommended that she take walks along the ocean—which was just around the corner—and dip her feet in the water every day. Also, to completely exclude alcohol for at least three months. Next I suggested that she steer clear of cola, which is an especially praised drink among the Mexicans.

Clinical trials on mice have shown liver damage, after consuming cola for just four weeks.

I think the exclusion of cola, seemed more troublesome to her than the exclusion of alcohol. Instead, I recommended that she drink 7 – 8 glasses of water a day, of the best quality available.

I’ve noticed that all the people that I’ve met in Mexico, consume enormous quantities of sugar. And personally, I have noticed that I started to get sugar cravings due to the immense heat.

Be that as it may, I still asked her to leave sugar, sweet drinks and sugary foods behind, and only got her sugar from fresh fruits…and even those in a moderate amount.

Lastly, I advised that she avoid all forms of bread, be it normal bread, tacos, or tortilla, which is a large part of the everyday foods in Mexico. It is impossible to enter a restaurant without being served a bowl of tortilla.

Her man is a fisherman, so I asked her to eat as much fresh fish as she could.

She listened with much interest, but whether she has the willpower to follow my advice, only time will tell.

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A good friend of mine told me that in Mexico, in the area where we were, there are three important days in the week: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday is a social day, where the men get together and drink “kaquama”, which are large bottles of beer that are passed around. If you don’t wish to drink, then you can’t take part in the social life, even if you just pay for the beer and sit there for company.

Saturday is sex day. Many Mexican men take lovers and even have kids outside of marriage.

Sunday is family day. This is a very important day to everyone. The entire family gets together and eats, maybe watch football, and enjoy each other’s company. They really care about their family days, which my friend and I noticed on a Sunday, where we wanted to buy a trip onto the flat waters to see the flamingos. We offered double the price, but despite the high levels of poverty, the answer was still no.

My friend prodded the man, quite provocatively, if he wouldn’t like to bring some extra money home to his family. The man answered: “yes, I would, but my wife won’t let me” (There was an important football match on the television that day).

I think it was a wonderful and thought-provoking experience that proved that not everything is for sale.

Dietary supplements that rejuvenate your liver

Obviously, you shouldn’t take all these dietary supplements at once. Instead, this is a selection of suggestions, which can help strengthen your liver individually.

  • Omega-3 fats, exists in many different forms both from fish, and now also in (vegetarian) seaweed. There is also plenty of omega-3 in linseed oil. Linseed oil can quickly turn rancid, so make sure to buy it in dark bottles, refrigerate it, and finish it reasonably fast. If the taste is harsh, then unfortunately, you must throw it out. Omega-3 oils are great for counteracting heightened triglycerides, and it also removes a lot of the cravings for sweets.
  • Vitamin-E counteracts the forming of fat cells.
  • Other noteworthy vitamins to treat the liver are all the vitamin-Bs including cholin. Cholin deficiency can result in the creation of fat deposits in the liver.
  • Lecithin, must not be overlooked, as the product can contribute to the removal of fat deposits in the liver.
  • It is good to take a daily dose of vitamin-C.
  • When it comes to minerals, then it’s especially important to take zinc and selenium.

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  • Milk thistle takes the spotlight when we talk of herbal medicine and the liver. Silymarin is one of the components in milk thistle. It’s a heavily liver protecting compound, and can help reinvigorate a fatty liver.
  • Artichokes contain some specific fat-active elements, which support the liver- and bile system, and stimulates fat digestion.
  • Effective herbal medicine can also be dandelion. It is diuretic and holds a large amount of calcium, whilst also stimulating the liver- and bile system.

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Alcoholism is one of our greatest problems all over the world, not just causing suffering for the alcoholics themselves, but also for their spouses, children, close relatives, families in general and even their friends.

I bought a newspaper in the nearby village of Chelem called “La Verdad”, which had an article about antidepressants, women and suicide. The article stated that 47% of women, which had been the victims of violence (often due to alcohol consumption), ended up buying antidepressants without a prescription, and that many of these women later committed suicide.

I discussed the article with my cleaning lady, who said it was true. She had a close friend who committed suicide after repeated abuse by her alcoholic husband. Said friend had also been taking antidepressants.

We hear the same sad tale when it comes to alcohol all over the world. Luckily, there are many great rehab clinics where you can get help.

Through the research I did concerning rehab possibilities, I found a beautiful prayer which is said to be used by many AA associations.

The prayer is called “The Serenity Prayer”.

Serenity means peace of mind, tranquility, and harmony.

As we are nearing the end of this article, I’d like to wish everyone a beautiful and merry new year, and recite this prayer, which I think we all, no matter age, gender, or challenges, can appreciate:

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

Festive food – watch out for those sweet treats!



At this time of year, it’s very tempting to throw caution to the wind when it comes to what you eat.

From Christmas puds and yule logs to mince pies and candy canes, Christmas treats often come packed with sugar.

However, simple sugars are a source of calories that provide little in the way of nutrition or satiety (the feeling of fullness). As a result, it’s quite easy to consume sugar foods in excess, especially as they have an addictive quality and especially during the festive season. Simple dietary sugar can cause blood glucose highs and lows, the latter causing poor concentration, fatigue and of course sugar cravings, starting the cycle all over again.


This overconsumption of sugars can lead to weight gain while being overweight or obese elevates the risk of type 2 diabetes development. Latest research has also indicated a link between higher levels of glucose in the brain and worsening symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
While sugar is not the sole cause of diabetes, it is a large contributing factor, but thankfully it’s something we can do something about.

Dietary considerations

The World Health Organisation has recommended that daily sugar intakes should be no more than 5% of total calorie intake (approximately 25g/day for an adult). Starchy carbohydrates (wholegrain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice ,etc.) are generally more slowly absorbed than their counterparts, making you feel fuller for longer and steadying blood sugar levels.

Adequate fruit and vegetable intake is vital, but the emphasis should be on vegetables. Vegetables offer a high density of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and typically low instrinsic sugar. Fibre-rich foods, healthy fats (such as oily fish) and lean protein are all healthy additions to a diet.


Type 2 diabetes and obesity

If you’re overweight or obese, you may be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, as the pancreas struggles to produce enough insulin for the body’s needs. Fat tissue stored around the abdomen especially contributes to diabetes risk as it is considered highly hormonally active.

This tissue has been shown to produce pro-inflammatory compounds known as cytokines, which can cause pancreatic issues including diabetes. Working towards reducing this excess weight through exercise and healthy eating choices can significantly lower your diabetes risk.


What else can you do to reduce your risk?

There are natural steps that can be taken to control blood glucose levels and to ensure that we can make the most of available sugars in our foods.

Research published in Panminerva Medica in June 2014 showed that an extract of maqui berries (known as Delphinol) can assist in the control of blood glucose, by reducing the rate at which glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream from the digestive tract. The active ingredient delphinidin was shown to inhibit the sodium glucose co-transporter (SGLT), which facilitates the uptake of glucose from food into the intestinal tissue and the blood, thus avoiding the sharp spikes in blood sugar which can result following eating.


Chromium and blood glucose

The role of the trace mineral Chromium (found in small quantities of green leafy vegetables, poultry and nuts) in blood glucose management is well established. High blood sugar can also be a sign of chromium deficiency, and it can even resemble diabetes.

Adequate chromium intakes are necessary for optimum function of insulin and therefore, blood sugar regulation. When choosing to supplement with chromium, chloride or picolinate forms are common and typically have very low bioavailability (0.5-2%), meaning poor absorption from tablet to bloodstream.

ChromoPrecise® (an organically bound chromium yeast) demonstrated up to ten times the bioavailability of chloride or picolinate forms and has been approved by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) after extensive investigation. It has also been confirmed that ChromoPrecise helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

Be sugar smart

Controlling blood sugar can have a massive impact on health, beyond reducing the risk of developing or furthering diabetes. Good sugar control can be useful for:

· The maintenance of healthy weight
· Stable energy and concentration levels
· Controlling sweet and sugar cravings

So while it’s tempting to sink your teeth into some sweet Yuletide treats, being sugar smart could help you enjoy yourself way beyond Christmas and into the New Year.


Photos by Tiina Arminen