Camper’s Spotlight – Gram Going Further, Faster with a Vegan Diet

By September 7, 2018Camper Stories

Everybody’s got their personal tips, tricks and life hacks – something different in their routines that synergises all the other elements in their lives.  It’s an age old tradition to sit around the campfire and talk about these things. Campfire Spotlight honours this tradition by featuring one of our Campers and what helps them go further, faster.

Around Campfire, Gram can be found with a coffee in hand and deeply engrossed in conversation. Whether it’s a silly nonsensical debate about the number of s’mores you can safely consume in one sitting or a deep dive into the the techniques required to scale a 35° incline, Gram is deeply engrossed. He may not own up to it right away but he is essentially a modern day polymath. Gram knows his stuff on a variety of subjects (related or not)!

As the Alchemist CTO of WHub.io, Gram Milosevic is bringing the community together 1 byte at a time.  From transmuting questionable code into smooth operating goodness, Gram also turns fruits, nuts, and produce into deliciousness with a plant based flare. This is a prime example of what’s great about Campfire: our community is so diverse.  You never know what secret passions and talents are behind the faces of our campers!  With Gram, we are blessed with his knowledge and passion for a healthy lifestyle. Which is also the thing that’s streamlining the quality of his life and work these days.

Gram’s vegan story isn’t particularly romantic or glamorous.  However, it certainly strikes a chord with the realities of our relationship with food.  In 2017, Gram discovered that his wife’s ailing health would require some life changes in order to get back to butt kicking greatness.  The doctor prescribed a diet change: cutting meat, eggs, and dairy. Essentially, the good doctor was recommending a pescetarian diet.  Having experimented with dieting for several years already, it just made sense to join his wife on the new regime.  Seeing as it was a hop skip away from a vegan diet, Gram decided to go all the way. Unbeknownst to him, the effects would be dramatic.

It all started with learning from YouTube and it’s amazing wealth of food and nutrition information from sources like Munchies and Simnett Nutrition.  Thanks to passionate foodies, Gram arrived at 2 key conclusions:

(1) Vegan life is way beyond just salads, and

(2) the relationship between food and performance is very very real.

the science of flavour

“Since going plant based, most people think I eat salads all day or don’t get to enjoy sweet desserts the same.”

Food science holds some unexpected answers to the questions that often came up about veganism.  Despite the restrictive implications of going vegan, it turns out there are a wide range of delicious and nutritious substitutes for meat, eggs, and dairy!  Without getting too scientific here, below is a list of Gram’s top 3 tips for enjoying some sweet baked goods:

  1. Flax your baking skills
    Heart-healthy flax seeds are surprisingly egg-like when ground up and soaked in water!  1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds soaked with 3 tablespoons of water makes a gelatinous substitute for 1 egg.  This mixture is lower in cholesterol and higher in Omega-3 fatty acid content than regular eggs!
  2. Applesauce is Awesome Sauce
    One surprising egg replacement in baking is applesauce! How can this be?  Unsweetened applesauce has wonderful coagulating abilities which helps keep ingredients together instead of crumbling apart.
  3. Embracing the dark (chocolate)
    We’ve all heard about the healthful antioxidizing benefits of chocolate but some of us are reluctant (almost bitterabout leaving milk and white chocolate behind.  By skilfully blending in coconut milk (or your preferred dairy alternative) in place of regular milk or cream, you can temper the bitterness of dark chocolate into heavenly perfection.

 

“Outside of work I spend a lot of time rock climbing and over the past year I have seen a massive difference when it comes to recovery time compared to some of my climbing buddies.”

 

Sometimes, without empirical data, it’s hard to draw solid conclusions about the impact of diet change. It’s difficult to deny positive effects when you begin to perform better than your comrades and the only thing that’s changed is your diet.  The soreness that you get post-workout, that’s called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and Gram says this phase of recovery has noticeably shortened for him since becoming a vegan.

Other than resting and hydrating, the web recommends eating “enough protein” in order to facilitate recovery.  This is a common criticism of the vegan diet: not enough protein.  As it turns out, protein is hardly a problem for the experienced vegan!  With knowledge and creativity, alternative protein sources can be easily and deliciously incorporated into everyday meals.  Here is a comparison worth considering:

One cut of steak contains 40 grams of protein, is high in saturated fats and sodium.

One salmon fillet contains 30 grams of protein, is lower in saturated fats with acceptable levels of sodium but may contain many worries about toxic plastic polymers found in seafood.

One cup of tempeh contains 31 grams of protein, is low in saturated fats, low in sodium, and high fibre.

The biggest takeaway here is the spillover effects of the vegan diet.  The decision against meat, eggs, and dairy incidentally lead to a diet lower in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats. All of these diet changes lead to real improvements in physical performance! “[Nowadays], I have the energy to spare! When you work in a Startup, your hours can be quite long.  Being able to have enough energy to handle that just makes it that much easier,” says Gram.

Cooking at Campfire

“I have always marvelled at the amount of joy that something as mundane as preparing food can bring to other people.”

Because his vegan diet takes him further faster, Gram loves to share his passion for vegan food with the community.  To the benefit of our community, he sometimes makes Nice Cream in the Campfire Kitchen. Nice Cream is a frozen banana and coconut milk based sweet treat that’s a great alternative for traditional ice cream or frozen yogurt. He even brought in specialty ingredients so that Campers could try some exotic flavours such as mango, green tea, coffee, and dark salty chocolate.  “Being able to use the full kitchen in Campfire was really helpful because I was able to melt chocolate, mix ingredients and prepare fresh desserts instead of preparing them in advance,” he said, adding that  “this also allowed participants to enjoy the entire creation process and understand exactly how easy it is to do at home.”

 

What helps you go further, faster? We’d love to know!
Leave your comments below to share with the community.

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