Get fit and strong with the power of plants - Interview with Barrington Goldson

The second I saw Barrington's Instagram feed, I was mesmerized by his beautiful pictures and quite honestly, athletic physique. Once I was finished staring at his pictures, I realized that his writing was equally interesting and had to reach out to him! By the way, for those of you, who follow my blog, will remember that he is also one of my "9 inspiring foodies you should be following"

After 9 years of being a vegan, I still get the same question asked over and over again : Where do I get my protein? So I thought I would ask my friend Barrington here to help me proof that you can get all the protein your body requires to thrive (and so much more), be incredibly fit and healthy by living a plant-based lifestyle. 

Barrington is a Culinary Instructor, Photographer, and the sole Creator behind his brand Food Health Fit.  His mission is to increase awareness about the benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition and has created the first ever class on Plant-Based Cooking & Nutrition at St. Luke’s Hospital Network in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

Q: First of all, what made you decide switching to a plant based diet?  

In a nutshell, my interest in nutrition but also my general frustration with the “confusion” behind what a healthy diet is.

Q: Who is your personal vegan hero?  

There are so many! Doctors Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, and John McDougall have done a fantastic job of systematically documenting the benefits of a plant-based diet on a large scale.  Vegan athletes like Scott Jurek (holds the United States record of the longest distance ran in 24 hours), Carl Lewis (previous fastest man alive), and Patrik Baboumian (holds a world strength record) show me that vegan athletes have been the best in the world in their respective sports which just smashes all the myths to death.  From these people, I learned that vegan diets are not just an advantage for your health, but for your athletic pursuits as well.

Q: What is your take on protein powders, shakes and bars so many athletes swear by?  

They are completely unnecessary and should only be looked to for convenience.  If you do choose one, try to find a brand that is derived from primarily whole plant-based foods. 

Q: What is your favourite pre-and post workout snack? 

What if I told you that I don't really put any effort into having anything pre and post workout?  Digestion is a slow process, everything that your body needs to recover it already has from what it digested in your previous meal or probably the one before that.  I might have a small snack (fruits) before working out if I'm hungry.  I think this is more of a common sense process and if you continuously eat when you are hungry, your body will always have the proteins and nutrients that it requires to recover, when you need it. 

Q: I assume you get this question asked 10 times per day. Where do you get your protein?  

Everything!  Protein is in all foods, including all plants.  Protein is in all fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds, green leafy vegetables, starchy root vegetables like potatoes, everything; and in the correct proportions to live and thrive healthfully.  We do not need to focus on trying to eat foods with the most protein as this has not been shown to demonstrate better health.  Human protein requirements are lower than one might think and when is the last time that you've heard of someone running to the doctor with a protein deficiency?  

Q: On a typical work out day, what do you eat to stay energized and strong?  

I love my daily green smoothie.  People like to tell me that smoothies don't fill them up, until I give them one of mine!  It's about 32 oz, it's a beast, it's delicious, and keeps me full for hours.  When I don't have them for a few days I always notice the difference as far as my energy and overall well-being.  You will find the recipe to my favourite smoothie below. 

Q: For a fitness enthusiast, who just switched to a plant-based diet and is worried about not getting enough nutrients, what are some tips you would give to that person?  

I usually explain to people this simple concept.  Nutrients come from plants, when you eat animals you are just eating whatever nutrients are left over.  Whatever nutrients that an animal did not need after digestion, then that is what you get.  When you eat plant-based, you get more nutrients, not less!  I think what people should primarily be concerned with is nutrient assimilation, and that is your body's ability to properly digest and absorb the nutrients that it consumes.  

Barrington's Mango Peach Green Smoothie

© Barrington Goldson

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup frozen mangoes
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • Juice and some pulp from 1 navel orange
  • 2 medjool dates (remove pits and stems)
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • I also add a spray of my vitamin b12 spray to this, but that is optional.

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients, except water, to blender
  2. Add 1/2 cup water and blend, if needed add additional water to blend until smooth.  The quality of your smoothie will depend on the power of your blender.  A lower powered blender may require extra water.

Notes

  • If you'd like this to be less sweet, remove the orange
  • This will make about 28-32 oz. of smoothie, depending on your appetite this may be too large. This shake is designed to be a meal replacement (or a substantial snack).
  • All frozen fruit is not made equal.  Quality differs depending on brand and ripeness often varies by season.
  • A higher powered blender will make a better smoothie.
  • Try to keep your smoothies on the thicker side for a meal replacement.

You can find more of his recipes on his website, right here