To visit the Vegan Bodybuilding website click here

Saturday, 20 February 2016


By Pete Ryan

Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner was in some ways ahead of his time.  He may not have had reasons that were fully understood, but he was one of the first modern day healers to realise that plant foods had properties that made them especially healthy.  He focussed upon raw plants and helped people regain their health consuming raw fruits and vegetables.  Today he may be best known for popularising muesli that most people have eaten. He was heavily critiqued until around the 1930’s when vitamins in fruits and vegetables were discovered.  In fact in professional nutritional circles it was generally believed that humans could not thrive on a plant-based diet, this took many years to be disproven (this is despite the fact that many within the physical culture movement at that time that did in fact thrive on that very diet). Even today we have a few nutritional 'experts and gurus' that believe that meat is somehow essential, despite that fact that many people survive and thrive without it.  Since the 1930’s many other health factors have been discovered in fruits and vegetables.  The ideas of Dr Bircher have actually been proven to have some merit.  Meat is not necessary for a healthy diet. Some forms of meat have been linked to diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses.  Fruits and vegetables do appear protective of many chronic diseases.  Eating whole plant foods does seem to improve overall health and longevity.
Dr Bircher also believed in physical activity to improve health.  Again, this has been proven today, but at the time physical activity was frowned upon as either unnecessary, or even dangerous.

Start your day with bircher

Bircher is a variation of muesli.  You can add fruit and nuts to an oat base.  The difference is you must soak overnight to get maximum benefit.  These days we know that soaking removes the anti-nutrients.  There are agents within grains and seeds that hold nutrients inert until the seed is ready to grow, wetting the seed causes these binders to breakdown and so maximise nutrient intake.
My morning starts with either a bircher or a chia pudding.  The bircher is:

1/3 a cup of oats
125ml hemp milk
A handful of fresh or frozen fruit
Optional 3-5 teaspoons of plant yoghurt

I mix this up the evening before.  You can mix it in a minute, then pop it in the fridge.  That is it.  An easy, quick start to the day.

My complete breakfast is:

125ml warm water with the juice of half a lemon and 2 tablespoons of unpasteurised, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 litre of herbal tea
1 bowl of bircher or chia pudding
1 protein shake with turmeric, black pepper, kelp, cocoa powder, green powder, ginger and some other bits.

It works for me. I am not saying I will always stick to this version of my breakfast, as times change, so my needs will evolve and I will change my diet to suit those changes, but for now that gives me enough nutrition to get the day started right without overfilling me.

Product/company of the week
Vegetology sell vitamin D, DHA/EPA, multivits and joint health products - all vegan
Use code VBBFEB get 25% off

Monday, 15 February 2016

Bfree gluten-free breads


By Pete Ryan

Finding gluten-free bread as a vegan can be problematic.  For some reason makers love to put egg, dairy, or some other nasty in there?  I admit that making a good gluten-free bread isn’t as straight forward as making bread with wheat in it, so it is great to find a brand that is completely vegan and gluten-free.  I am not a gluten-free person, I still consume gluten regularly, but I know many people who are, so I often get gluten-free products so that no one feels left out.  I will be comparing these to the wheaty products I normally consume, so this is not so much these compared to the best gluten-free out there, but these against the best other products out there. As a side note, these are a little more expensive than the wheat-based versions, but they are comparable in price to other gluten-free products out there.
Lastly these are my opinions on the products, you may disagree (and that is fine). We all have different taste buds and prefer different mouth textures we enjoy, so go search them out and try them for yourself.  I have found some of these on tescos and I am sure other places must sell them as well.

Bfree brown seeded loaf

This tasted like a normal wholegrain loaf to me. I haven’t really much else to say, if you have eaten wholegrain bread and liked it, then you will like this.  It is a small loaf, but taste and mouth sensation are the same. It also holds together well if you pack them for travel.  I used these going over the South Downs and took some to a vegan event when I was on a stall all day. They did well, surviving all the travelling.

Bfree soft white loaf

I am not really a fan of the texture of white bread, so although I found this a good copy, it wasn’t my favourite.  If you like white bread, you will like this, and as a side note, it is nutritionally superior to wheaty white bread.

Bfree Bagels

I like bagels.  I found these to be a better than white wheat flour bagels, but not quite as good as wholegrain wheat bagels.  Nutritionally they contain more fibre than the white bagels as well.  They were firm, held together well when filled and my gluten-free friend thought they had gone to heaven, so I suspect any gluten-free people out there would enjoy them a lot. If you like white flour bagels, try these instead for a change.

Bfree soft white roll

I’m repeating myself, but I prefer the texture of wholegrain breads.  This was not quite the texture of a white roll, it was more like a half and half texture-wise.  Very bread-like though.  If I enjoyed white bread these could easily replace it for me.

Bfree wrap

I liked the wraps a lot! I tried these first, the texture and ability to hold together when filled with damp salad was good.  Add some hummus to the mix and you have something special.  I rate these a lot.

Bfree quinoa and chia wrap

I tried these ones after the plain wraps.  These were even better in my view. If you want a wrap I would choose these over any other wrap I have ever tasted. The chia and quinoa give it a little texture and taste that boosts the flavours of the fillings. I liked these a lot!

Final thoughts

These are the best gluten-free breads I have tasted.  As I said I am not gluten-free myself, so I am comparing these to traditional bread.  They easily out-perform all the gluten-free breads I have  tasted and some of the products equal traditional bread (the brown bread loaf for example equals brown bread), and in some cases surpasses the wheat originals (the plain wraps and even better the quinoa and chia wraps are better, in my view, to the wheaty equivalents). I was not best to judge the white products as I am not fond of that consistency, but they seemed close to the original, although veering a hint towards the wholegrain, like a half and half product in the wheaty world. If that is what you enjoy, then give these a go, even of you eat wheat, as nutritionally they are far superior to the white wheat bread versions.
You can find bfree in shops and supermarkets or contact them at


Vegan related adverts

Product/company of the week 
Viridian nutrition - vegetarian and vegan supplements

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Veggie-style Protein

By Pete Ryan
Veggie-style are the new kids on the block in the supplement world.  Run by animal-advocates, veggie-style make a range of proteins, fat-burners, B12 and other products useful to vegan (and other) athletes, as well as those just into improving their health.
We were lucky enough to get two tubs of protein to try out and below I will give you my personal view of the proteins.  Before we go any further, protein powders are weird.  People vary hugely in their love/hate of them.  They seem to bring out extremes in people (or maybe the people who tend to take them are simply more extreme?).  So, if I love something, you may hate it.  Conversely, if I hate something you may love it. If possible, whenever you want to try a new protein powder see if you can get a sample or a small size to see how you will like it.  My personal preference is for a less sweet protein, which can be seen as lucky as recent studies have shown that the actual taste of sweetness, without extra calories, can cause insulin to spike and fat to be stored. However, you may have different taste buds, so just remember this is my opinion of the protein powders.  The final decision has to be yours.
With that said let’s take a general look at the proteins.  They are a mixture of proteins, blended with other ‘superfoods’ to give you around 30-40g of protein per serving and  loads of health boosting antioxidants and nutrients, with things like moringa, chlorella, maca and many others.  Both of the proteins tested are sweetened with stevia. I mixed both of these using the plant milk of my choice, I prefer powders mixed with plant milks compared to water, that is my personal choice, if you prefer water, fruit juice or whatever, then do that.

Power greens strawberry shake

Power greens is a blend of pea, rice, quinoa and hemp protein powders along with a selection of dried green plants and some other botanicals, sweetened with stevia.  It is not overly sweet and mixes fairly easily.  Like most protein powders it has a fairly strong taste, you could disguise it with fruit if necessary, but I found it palatable enough. The scoop is small.  They suggest 5 scoops for every serving.  This is a niggle, but as I usually have a shake in the morning I prefer just grabbing and doing one scoop.  Counting in the morning ....uuuggg! That is more me in the morning, than anything, but there is not too much wrong with the blend so I had to focus on some negative aspect.  Oh yea it is vaguely green as well.  You should probably expect that from a product called “Power greens”, but be warned if you aren’t expecting it. The taste wasn’t totally amazing, but nor was it awful.  I could down it no trouble first thing in the morning with zero issues.
Protein and moringa chocolate shake

The moringa tree has been used for 1000’s of years as a medicinal plant.  The leaves have been fed to pregnant and lactating woman to insure their babies get enough nutrients to grow and thrive. This is a blend of pea protein and rice protein with moringa and stevia to add a little sweet taste to the product. The chocolate taste is quite mild in this product.  I have tasted some very strong chocolate tasting shakes before, this one has a much milder taste. Unlike most green shakes this one can be taken by pregnant and lactating mothers (algaes have not yet been given the ok for use with these groups of people as the research into their safety isn’t finished yet).  As moringa has already been used for multiple generations in human communities with only beneficial effects, it is actually encouraged that mothers or mothers-to-be use morninga to increase their nutrient intake. This shake had the consistency of rice protein.  If you have had rice protein before, then you will know it does have a texture when mixed, not exactly powdery, but not as smooth as a pea or soya protein powder.  It is different, but not nasty.  Within a week it will become the normal texture of your shake.  You could easily add things to this shake.  The taste is not that strong, it has a mild taste, moringa doesn’t really taste at all, the chocolate is mild and the proteins are masked by the mild chocolate taste, so you could add fruit, nut butter, whatever taste you wanted if you wanted to experiment.

Overall view

These products take a different approach to protein powders than most manufacturers.  They are more ‘nutrient replacements’, than basic protein powders.  They include other botanicals that will boost your overall health and nutrient intake, so should be looked at a little differently to the average ‘off the shelf’ powder.  If you are looking for a raw product that contains lots of nutrients, if you are (or could become) a pregnant or lactating mother, or if you just want something a little bit different to the run of the mill protein shake, then these may be worth exploring.  Remember they are made with natural products so the taste may vary a little batch to batch as leaves can be picked at different times of the season, or algae harvested at different points in its growth cycle.
I thought veggie-style was interesting enough that I got us a discount code from the supplier, so if you are interested pop over to: 

Discount code VBB for 10% off
Side note the code works on ALL their products, not just the protein. Other note.  This is an affiliate link, so we do make a few pennies off of you using the code.

Vegan related adverts

Product/company of the week 
Viridian nutrition - vegetarian and vegan supplements

Monday, 8 February 2016

Self myofascial release

I have just written this book, you can get it at
It is a book/video combo.  It covers what we know about self myofascial release (SMR), runs you through a routine with photos, text explanations and a video, so things should be crystal clear. If you had any questions about how to start or why you should be considering it, this will answer it for you.
Those that have followed this blog for some time know I spent 2 years studying massage.  I don't believe that SMR is comparable to a massage, but it is better than not doing anything and in some situations may be the preferred modality.
It is by donation, so although I would like you to pay a little towards the costs if you can afford it, those of you are on a very low income can just grab it for free.