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Veganalysis: The Most Comprehensive Blog Post Available on Examining and Optimizing Your Vegan Diet

28 Sep

veganalysis

A vegan diet is about living more compassionately and more consciously. It is a lifestyle of pure intention. This purposeful way of living will bring you inner peace, and if done right, provide complete nutrition your body has never seen before! In this blog we explore the latest science in vegan nutrition. The complex science will be explained in an easy to understand way through infographics, easy to understand explanations and recipes. You will learn how to examine and how to optimize each of your organ systems by eating only plants, and apply it to your everyday life!

Part One: Examining Your Vegan Diet

1.1 Why are you Vegan? To be a healthy, balanced vegan you must Nourish the Body, Mind and Soul

  1. For a Nourished Mind: Chances are if you are vegan you are more intentional with the food you choose. Ask yourself these questions to see where your intention is. Do I know where my food comes from? Is it organic, local, fair-trade? Where was my food grown? Upgrade your choices, and choose foods that benefit your environment, community and the people who grow it. Are you connecting with your food? Know that after you eat your food it becomes a part of you. Try mindfully eating your food, enjoying every flavor and texture. Examine how you feel before and after eating and monitor the trends. Do you crave certain foods such as sugar? To nourish the mind we have to detach ourselves from the wanting of certain foods. Look at your food beyond the immediate gratification. The goal is to form a healthy relationship with food. Knowing that food is here to heal us, not harm us. We must see food for what it really is, a healing, energy source.
  2. For a Nourished Body: We hear in the media stories about celebrities like Beyonce going vegan for a month for health reasons. This can anger many long-term vegans, because it can portray the vegan diet as more of a diet than a lifestyle. I argue that this is a great place to start. You can still call yourself a vegan and eat potato chips, orange soda and Oreos all day, but why are you treating other animals with love and respect, but not yourself? To nourish the body, we have to feed it the right nutrients it needs to thrive. It can be done on a vegan diet, but must be managed thoughtfully with professional guidance. 
  3. For a Nourished Soul: Believe it or not, the type of energy put into your food makes a difference. Try pouring as much positive energy into your food when growing and creating it as possible. Look where your food has been created, has it been lovingly created, and assembled? Or has your dinner been put together by disgruntled, underpaid food workers? Continue to choose non-animal dishes. Today’s factory farms are not like the ones most of us learned about in school; they are mechanized factories where an animal’s welfare is of little concern compared to profit. Veganism emerges as the lifestyle most consistent with the philosophy that animals are not ours to use. By eating this suffering, you are ingesting the energy of that animal who has suffered.

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1.2 Are you a good role model?

Being a good vegan role model means being kind and leading by example. I understand that it can be frustrating to see people eating meat, visiting zoos and sea world, or wearing fur. The biggest impact I find is that when you are kind, compassionate and live your own life with conviction, others will see your transformation and want to learn more. Don’t put anyone down because of their choices. Chances are you ate meat and animal products at one point in your journey, so you should not judge others. Kindness is the key.

Beagoodrolemodel

1.3 Are you getting enough variety?

  1. A varied diet makes sure you are covering all your nutritional bases. It keeps you safe and helps you avoid over-exposed to hazardous chemicals, or overexposure to one specific nutrient. For example raw spinach everyday in your morning smoothie may over expose you to too many oxalates. 
  2. Veggies and Fruits/Antioxidants: Goal at least 6-11 cups/day of organic vegetables like asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cabbage, cucumber, collards, kale, spinach, radishes, squash. These should be a mix between cooked and raw. 1 cup raw=1/2 cup cooked. Goal for at least 1-2 cups/day of low sugar fruit like fresh strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries for adequate antioxidants and polyphenols.
  3. Beans and Lentils/Protein: Choose at least 2-3 cups of whole plant based proteins like red lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, red lentil, green lentils, mung beans. Be sure to sprout your beans and lentils to maximize the nutrients. Sprouting also helps to neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which aids in better digestion and absorption of important nutrients like zinc copper, iron, magnesium and calcium.  The goal is to completely avoid processed fake meats. To calculate you protein needs take your body weight in KG (divide pounds/2.2 to get KG), and that will be approximately how much protein you need per day in grams for the average person. Multiply your weight in KG by 1.2-1.5 if you are an athlete, or wanting to build muscle. If you need more protein try a plant based protein powder like Sunwarrior or Vega Sport
  4. Nuts and Seeds/Fat: Get in 2-4 servings of nuts and seeds like, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds for fiber, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals. Choose sprouted varieties when possible. We will talk more about fat when we get into optimizing 2.1, 2.7 and 2.9, but I want to encourage you to NOT shy away from fat. Getting enough healthy fat (30-50% of your total calories/day) will help absorb certain nutrients like Vitamins A,D,E,K, sustain a healthy brain/nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, healthy functioning mitochondria, and prevent mood disorders. Getting enough fat will help your body and mind stay energized all day long. Choosing a total fat intake of 5-9 servings per day including the 2-4 servings of nuts, seeds, and also including also avocados, olives, walnuts, olives, and oils like extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, algal oil, Brain Octane by Bulletproof are all great choices. It is a good idea to avoid all vegetables oils like canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and peanut oil. These types of fats (PUFAS) are now showing a higher connection with heart disease due to the high amounts of Omega-6’s in them. Completely avoid margarine that contain trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils.
  5. Grains/Carbohydrates: Don’t go overboard on grains. The goal is to keep our blood sugar and insulin levels from spiking all the time. Sometimes on a vegan diet we can lean more toward a grain/carb centric diet. Ideally only 1-3 servings of grains per day. Choose wild rice, forbidden rice, quinoa, brown rice. When possible, instead of grains, choose other carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, plantains for complex carbs, additional vitamins and minerals, and variety. Try to avoid gluten if you can. There are so many other types of grains to choose from than gluten! Give amaranth a try, for example! Do you best to limit added sugars, even in the forms of agave, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Try a natural sugar alternative like a monkfruit sweetener, or non-GMO xylitol, or non-GMO erythritol. Lakanto makes a great one with a combo of monkfruit and erythritol.

VarietyVariety2 (1)1.4 Are you deficient?

  1. Being on a vegan diet requires special attention and proper managing to get the right nutrients. There are too many stories to count with vegans who start off feeling great for the first couple years, but then start to experience fatigue, sickness, hair loss, anxiety, diminished sex drive, and mental breakdowns. As a solution to this, a properly managed vegan diet can provide “gene therapy in the kitchen,” and keep you feeling amazing for a lifetime! 
  2. Ask yourself, How do I feel on a regular basis? Am I tired, sluggish and dragging towards the end of the day? Am I experiencing brain fog, or reduced concentration? Do I have mood swings, or bouts of depression? Am I an athlete with increased fatigue? These are all examples of possibilities that you are not getting enough of the right nutrients, and/or your mitochondria are not functioning properly. 
  3. It is important to look at your blood work to monitor trends, and to see what is going on inside. Get these nutrients to get tested yearly-
    1. 25(OH)D, CMP, CBC, ferritin, Total iron binding capacity, Cortisol, Omega 3 (DHA, EPA), RBC magnesium, RBC Folate, Copper, Zinc, B12, Homocysteine, CRP, Serum Methylmalonic Acid, Iodine, T3, T4, TSH, Lipid Panel

Bloodtests

Part Two: Optimizing your Body Systems

2.1 Brain Power: Nervous System

  • DHA: Many if not all vegans are not getting enough of this vital omega 3 fatty acid. If you are getting omega-3s in the form of hemp seeds, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds for example then great! However, you will not be able to convert enough over of this ALA form, to the DHA and EPA forms. If you are insulin resistant, deficient in certain vitamin or minerals like zinc, magnesium, biotin, Vitamin B3, B6, C, stressed, male, or at an advanced age, you will be converting over even less. DHA is such an important nutrient because a deficiency can result in serious mental and physical health problems. DHA is the primary structural component of the brain and the retina. Especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding, your baby is dependent on the omega 3 from your diet, which can impact the brain and eye health of your growing child. DHA helps to protect the vascular system, combats cancer, adequate learning and memory, prevents Alzheimer’s, and increases the production of the master antioxidant, glutathione in the body. It also turns on a gene to make a growth hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is known for making new brain cells. Most people and especially vegans are consuming far to many omega 6’s than omega 3’s which causes inflammation. So do your best to reduce or eliminate vegetable oils in your diet, and get omega 6’s in the whole forms of nuts/seeds. Please start incorporating a EPA/DHA supplement in the form of algal oil daily to raise your levels of omega 3. Pure Encapsulations makes a great vegan supplement. Also Pure One and Dr. Furman do as well. 
  • Curcumin: The ancient Indian healing spice turmeric is capable of improving cognition, mood, alertness and contentedness. It also has been shown to significantly improve performance on sustained attention, working memory tasks, and preventing/fighting depression. Turmeric has a powerful compound in it called Curcumin which has the ability to: Protect against oxidative stress caused by physical or emotional stress. Oxidative stress causes damage to our cells and genes that can result in certain types of cancers. Chronic inflammation makes you feel lousy, it stops your body from working as well as it could, and it can also contribute to other problems like insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome down the line. Curcumin is neuroprotective, promotes neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. This basically means you get smarter and improve your memory. It can improve the functioning of your neurotrasmitter systems. So, this means it can improve your mood. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit a type of degenerative brain plaque found in Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure to get in turmeric in at least 3x a week. If you have a lot of stress in your life, or are an athlete I recommend taking a curcumin supplement with black pepper and a fat source for the best absorption. 
  • Folate and B-12: Adequate levels of folate are essential for brain function, and folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders, such as depression and cognitive impairment. Getting enough folate in conjunction with other B vitamins such as B12 has been shown to be effective at preventing cognitive decline. Supplementation with B12 is essential for all vegans to help prevent functional folate deficiency, prevent elevated levels of homocysteine, prevent macrocytic anemia, and irreversible neurological damage . Recommended 1 mg 2x a week. Please do not rely 100% on fortified nut milks, cereals for your B12.
  • Other important nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Choline, Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin C, Copper, Iron, tyrosine, polyphenols, caprylic acid.
  • Summary: Take a DHA/EPA supplement everyday, and aim for 1000-2000mg of combined DHA/EPA daily split between 2 doses. Have at least 3 recipes with turmeric a week, with a goal of 7-10 tsp/week of organic turmeric powder combined with black pepper and fat source. Supplement with curcumin if you are highly stressed or an athlete, 500-1000mg/day with black pepper included in supplement, and fat source. Take a B12 supplement daily or weekly minimum 1-2mg/week in supplement form, bonus with nut milks, and fortified foods. Consider a vitamin C supplement boost the conversion from dopamine to norepinephrine. Be sure to create weekly recipes with foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, almonds, beans, leafy greens, avocado, Brazil nuts, cashews, broccoli, chickpeas, black-strap molasses, black pepper, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, dark, chocolate, pomegranates, berries, grape seeds, coconut milk, brain octane oil, and lentils to hit the important brain-boosting nutrients like choline, flavonoids, antioxidants, B Vitamins, Vitamin C and E. For a bonus include the medicinal mushroom lion’s mane for increased creativity and memory.

Recipe: Brain Boosting Buddha Bowl

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Bowl: 1 serving

  • 2 cups Leafy green mix of spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula
  • 1/4th cup cooked Quinoa
  • ½ Avocado
  • 1/4th cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • ½ cup cooked and chopped Sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup shredded Carrots
  • ¼ cup sliced Strawberries
  • ½ cup chickpeas or black beans, drained from can and rinsed

Dressing 6-8 servings

  • 1/2 cup Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons organic sesame tahini
  • 2 tablespoons organic turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of Celtic or Himalyan Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thrive Oil
  • 3-4 drops Pure One or Dr. Fuhrman’s EPA/DHA purity  
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Directions:

  1. Mix all the Buddha bowl ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing. Keep leftover dressing in container with a lid. Enjoy!

Brainpower

2.2 Gut Health: Digestive System

  1. Your health depends on your gut bacteria! Did you know that you have about 3-5 pounds of microbes in and on you right now? The bacteria in your gut are especially important, and we need to take a closer look at them. These resident microbes within the body, collectively called the microbiome, regulate inflammation, digestion, immunity, production of various vitamins, detoxification, carbohydrate metabolism, and even the production of important neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Researchers are now also able to identify patterns in the types of bacteria in the gut that may either correlate with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Increasing the diversity of the gut bacteria can help to manufacture some of the vitamins and cofactors needed for building bones, including B6, B12, and K. Scientists also suspect that a healthy gut flora helps the body properly digest calcium, and increases vitamin D receptor expression. You want to try to avoid antibiotic use unless it is absolutely necessary, and also include more prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet.
  2. Prebiotics:  These feed the good bacteria in our gut. Prebioitcs include garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, dandelion greens, baobab tree powder.
    polyphenols.
  3. Probiotics: These contain the friendly bacteria themselves, such as kombucha tea, water kefir, kvass, rejuvelac, fermented veggies like kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented soybeans like natto.
  4. Summary: By limiting antibiotic use, and including a diet rich in probiotics, and prebiotic foods you will create an extremely diverse microbiome. Also try to limit sugar intake, and choose organic foods or at least non-GMO foods. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup on all GMO foods can disrupt the microbiome. Also do your best to avoid aspartame which can also disrupt the microbiome. Include a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water each day to help improve digestion. 
  5. Recipe: Digestive Drink

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Ingredients: 

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender. Enjoy!

guthealth

2.3 Strength: Muscular System

  1. Amino Acids: We cannot talk about a vegan diet without going into protein. All cells in the body contain protein. There are proteins in cartilage, ligaments, bones, hair, skin, and hemoglobin called structural proteins. There are pigment proteins such as melanin that determine the color of your eyes, hair and skin. There are clotting proteins that are needed to clot our blood. Certain hormones such as insulin is a protein that acts as a chemical messenger, which regulates body processes and responses. Enzymes are proteins. There are transport proteins such as hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the tissues. And of course we all know that proteins make up the muscles, which enable us our muscles to move. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Think of amino acids like charms on a chain to amino acids make a beaded bracelet. There are 20 different amino acids that can make up these bracelets. There are 9 amino acids that must be supplied by the diet. These are considered essential amino acids. The body can make the rest of the 11 amino acids. However, under certain conditions some nonessential amino acids can become essential. Where should we get our essential amino acids? How can we be sure we are getting enough of the essential ones? If we are vegan, do we need to combine different plant sources together? Great questions! Nearly ALL foods contain some protein, but no natural food is 100% protein. That is right, even strawberries contain protein! Animal products contain high amounts of the 9 essential amino acids. Plants contain all the 9 essential amino acids, but may be lower in one. Does this make plant protein inferior?? NO! because the plants do contain all essential amino acids. As long as your body is getting as much protein as it actually needs per day, and is provided lots of variety, it doesn’t matter what form the protein comes in. You also don’t have to worry that you won’t get enough usable protein if you don’t put together some sort of magical combination of foods at each meal.
  2. BCAA: Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are considered the Branch-Chain Amino Acids. The structure of these amino acids allow your body to transport BCAAs directly from the liver to the bloodstream, while other amino acids are subject to a more complex metabolic cycle. BCCAs perform a number of functions, but compared to other amino acids, BCAAs are more involved in stimulating muscle growth. BCAA supplementation can promote muscle protein synthesis and increase muscle growth over time. Keep in mind too, that muscle growth also requires load and movement. BCAA have also been shown to suppress cortisol levels, reduces inflammation, increases testosterone, and reduces muscle soreness post exercise which helps you recover faster. Good sources of plant-based BCAA are Leucine: beans and lentils, Isoleucine: almonds, cashews, and chickpeas, Valine: peanuts, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils. You can also choose a plant-based protein supplement that contains BCAAs, such as Vega Sport Performance Protein which has 6 grams of BCAAs per scoop.
  3. Magnesium: This nutrient is important for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, is involved in ATP production, and also important for a healthy muscular system. Over 75% of the population is deficient due to soil depletion and poor farming practices. Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem. And because magnesium operates on a cellular level as a “key” to over hundreds of biochemical reactions, symptoms of deficiency may overlap those of alternate causes. Magnesium is important to support muscle recovery after exercise and for ATP production. Taking Magnesium orally can sometimes cause some GI distress, so I recommend using the transdermal method. Spray Magnesium oil, Ancient Minerals, on 20 minutes before your shower. It can be sprayed directly on sore muscles or on the thighs for better absorption. 
  4. Other important nutrients: calcium, potassium, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Sodium, Iodine, and water
  5. Summary: Protein combining is a myth and as long as you have a balanced diet with a variety of foods such as hemp seeds, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, leafy greens you will be meeting your needs. If you have high needs, such as athletes, consider a protein powder or protein bar like Garden of Life or Sunwarrior brands. Include magnesium rich foods like spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, but also consider a topical magnesium spray due to the depletion of magnesium in our soil.
  6. Recipe: Weight Lifting Wraps, 4-6 servings

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Walnut Taco Mix:

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/8 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just to mix. Don’t over-blend, or you will end up with walnut butter!

Cashew “Sour Cream:”

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least 2 hours
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp water (approx.)

Directions: Put all ingredients except water in a high speed blender or food processor and blend, adding water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water, for a thinner sauce, use more. (You will not achieve a perfectly smooth sauce with a food processor, but it is still delicious!)

Wrap:

Directions: Remove stem from Swiss chard and top with walnut meat, favorite salsa, “sour cream” and avocado. Garnish with extra cilantro. Wrap and eat!

Strength (1)

2.4 Fighter: Immune System

  1. Glutathione: is the master antioxidant in the body. It such an important antioxidant because it is inside our cells. Research is showing that it is pivotal to health, and the amount of glutathione in our cells can predict how long we will live. Glutathione deficiency causes cells to be more vulnerable to oxidative stress, which contributes to cancer development, and stresses the immune system. To increase glutathione, eat at least 1 cup of sulfur rich veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, Bok Choy, 1 serving of high folate foods like sprouted lentils, avocado, spinach, garbanzo beans, which which help with methylation. DHA and turmeric will increase your glutathione levels. In addition to eating these foods, taking an absorptive glutathione supplement during times of sickness, travel or high stress can be very beneficial. 
  2. Selenium: Selenium is a potent nutritional antioxidant, that boosts our immune systems. Adequate selenium intake helps to increase glutathione. Selenium can protect the deepest part of your body’s cells – the nucleus which contains your genes (DNA). People who don’t get enough selenium in their body are more likely to suffer with fatigue and swollen glands, as their body struggles to overcome infections. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to obtain sufficient selenium through your diet, as very few foods are a rich source of this important mineral. Our food is an unreliable source of selenium due soil depletion and poor farming practices. So while consuming a variety of foods known to be high in selenium like Brazil nuts, Pinto beans, Shitake Mushrooms, Reishi Mushrooms, Chia seeds, Green veggies, it is also a good idea to add a couple drops of Trace Minerals to your water each morning.
  3. Zinc: Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system. Your white blood cells simply can’t function without zinc. Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity of the common cold in humans and possibly shorten its duration. Zinc also functions as an antioxidant and can stabilize membranes. Zinc is also needed to convert Beta-carotene to Retinol. Like selenium it can be hard to get enough Zinc while on a strict plant-based diet, because our soil is so depleted of these precious minerals. Choose foods known to be high in zinc like pumpkin seeds, cashews, peanuts, cacao, tahini, and almonds. Consider taking an all in one multivitamin like Thorne Research 2 a day to getting adequate cheated zinc for better absorption (note this supplement’s vitamin D is made from lanolin). This vitamin will also include selenium. Be sure to choose spouted foods and to increase absorption. Sprouted foods reduce the phytates that can decrease the zinc absorption. If you have a chronic disease like Chron’s disease, IBS, or diabetes you will want to increase your intake of zinc. 
  4. Others nutrients to boost immunity: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, B6, B12, Thiamine, Riboflavin.
  5. Summary: Along with not smoking, regular movement, maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure, getting adequate sleep, and limiting alcohol intake, be sure to eat at least 1 cup of sulfur rich foods to increase glutathione, and a liposomal glutathione supplement during high stress times (sickness, post-surgery, work, family stress, intense, exercise). Zinc and Selenium are key minerals to get enough of keep your immune system strong. Eat zinc and selenium rich foods throughout the day, and consider a supplement such as a multivitamin that includes both. Vitamin C rich foods are also important for immune strength.
  6. Recipe: Immune Elixir, serves 4-6

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Ground turmeric
  • 6 Lemons, pealed
  • 1-2 tsp 10 mushroom blend Four Sigmatic
  • dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • 10-20 drops of Trace mineral drops
  • 1 grain size amount of Shilajit
  • ½ cup Filtered Water or Coconut Water

Directions:

  1. Blend ingredients in a high powered blender. Serve in shot glasses.

Fighter (1)

2.5 Balancing Hormones: Endocrine System

  1. Thyroid: The thyroid, found in the neck next to your voice box, is the master controller, that regulates nearly every major metabolic function in the body. Your Thyroid hormones affect your metabolism. We need dietary iodine to synthesize thyroid hormones. For those with healthy functioning thyroids, it is important you are eating iodine rich foods like seaweed in your diet daily. Try adding Kelp granules on top of you salads. Or try pan-frying some whole leaf dried dulse in avocado oil over medium heat until crisp, to create a bacon like flavor. Still not so sure? Try this product which has pickled beets, dulse and kale! Take note that some with hypothyroidism, excess iodine can worsen the condition. It you have a thyroid condition do not completely shy away from foods like Bok choy, Kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli. Though they do contain goitrogens, the benefits outweigh the downsides. Be sure to cook them, this can substantially reduce the goitrogenic substances. 
  2. Adrenal and stress management: Stress and overstimulation of the adrenal glands can increase the hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol causes inflammation. In addition to high cortisol levels, those with chronic stress can have low levels of DHEA. DHEA is considered the parent hormone, responsible for creating other necessary hormones within the body. Are you getting enough sleep? How high is your stress level? Are you over exerting yourself with exercise? If so, how can you manage this better?
  3. Blood Sugar Regulation: Eat every 3-4 hours, reduce added sugars, avoid white pasta, bread, flours and aim for whole plant based foods to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day.
  4. Summary: Healthy adrenals, blood glucose management and stress management will all impact the thyroid. So, it is not only is it important to manage these individually for overall health, but also for thyroid health. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, reduce added sugars, reduce caffeine, reduced processed vegan food, avoid vegetable oils, and manage your stress maybe with breathing exercises, yoga or meditation. Consider using lavender oil before bed to help with sleep and stress. Use a red-light app on your phone before bedtime to limit blue light from devices. If you have a well-functioning thyroid then be sure you are eating iodine rich foods like seaweed, and selenium rich foods like Brazil nuts regularly. 
  5. Recipe:Balancing Brazil Nut “Tuna” Serves 6-8

brazil-nut-tuna

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw Brazil nuts – soaked for two hours
  • 1/3 cup canned organic chickpeas
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic – pressed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kelp powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 green onions diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced

Directions:

  1. Drain and rinse Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds. Add all base ingredients except green onions and celery into processor and mix until it is almost a paste. Put paste in bowl and mix in green onions and celery. Eat immediately or let refrigerate. Will keep if sealed for 5 days.

Hormones

2.6 Bones: Skeletal System

  1. Vitamin D3: Unless you are a lifeguard in Southern California, there’s a decent chance you’re deficient, especially if you live at a far northern latitude. We need to make sure we are getting enough vitamin D3 because if we are deficient then we will not be absorbing the calcium from our food. If it is not being absorbed, than calcium will be taken from the bones and teeth. Vitamin D3 is also important for balancing mood so it is connected with brain health and also immune health. I recommend getting you blood tested every year for Vitamin D. If you are low, you will need to supplement. Taking 1,000 units/day is usually a good idea for maintenance. 
  2. Calcium: We all know that we need calcium for strong bones. In addition to making sure we are meeting our vitamin D requirements, eating calcium rich foods on a daily basis will ensure we met our needs. Eating 1-3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables will give you plenty of calcium. Foods also high in calcium are sesame seeds, apricots, almonds, blackstrap molasses, chia seeds and Brazil nuts.
  3. K2: Vitamin K2 is critical for a healthy heart and skeletal system. This vitamin is often overlooked in the vegan diet. Among other things, K2 helps shuttle calcium away from your arteries (where it can contribute to plaque formation), and into your bones and teeth, where it rightfully belongs. Some K1 is converted to K2, but not much. As you are probably learning from this blog, it is not ONLY about what you eat but also what you absorb and convert that really matters. Vitamin K2 is only found in certain bacteria and animal products. We can get it through a fermented food called Natto or a supplement. K2 has incredible dental benefits as well. I recommend all vegans take a daily K2 supplement if they are not consuming natto on weekly basis. Consider trying the protein powder by Sunwarrior called Illumin8 which has natural sources of K2.
  4. DEXA Scan: Consider getting a DEXA Scan done, which is a special type of X-ray to measure your bone density on a yearly basis.
  5. Resistance Training: To keep strong bone density and maintain muscle mass, regularly do resistance training with weights 2-3x a week. 
  6. Summary: The first step to strong bones is to see what level your Vitamin D level is at. From there you can see if you need to supplement. Vitamin D will facilitate the absorption of calcium from your food. If you are low in vitamin D, most that wonderful calcium rich plant food you are eating will not be absorbed, and worse you will be pulling calcium from your bones and teeth. Now, once you have normal levels of vitamin D, and are eating lots of calcium rich plant foods, it is vital you are getting enough vitamin K2 to shuttle all that calcium to the right places, your bones and teeth. We do not want the calcium to go to the arteries. Consider eating more Natto or supplementing with K2. Getting a DEXA scan yearly can help you monitor your bone density trend. Keep your bone density strong with resistance training 2-3x a week. 
  7. Recipe:Strong Bones Stir-Fry, Serves 6-8

bok-choy-mushroom-stir-fry-su

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds baby bok choy
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 small dry red Chinese hot peppers
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms (about 4 dozen), stems removed
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lakanto monkfruit sweetener
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 cans navy beans, rinsed from can
  • 6 scallions, sliced diagonally, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds and almond slivers  for garnish

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cut off and discard stem ends of bok choy. Separate leaves, rinse and drain. Drop leaves into boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until barely cooked. Immediately remove, rinse with cool water, drain and pat dry. Arrange leaves in one layer on an ovenproof earthenware platter, then set aside.
  2. Put a large wok or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and heat until nearly smoking, then add hot peppers and shiitake caps, stirring to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Reduce heat slightly and add garlic, ginger, Lakanto, and coconut aminos. Stir-fry for 1 minute more.
  3. Spoon shiitake and pan juices over reserved cooked bok choy. Serve at room temperature, or if you prefer, reheat covered with foil for 10 to 15 minutes in a hot oven. Fold in navy beans and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, and almond slivers. Serve with a side of natto.

Bones

2.7 Love your heart: Cardiovascular System

  1. Iron: Getting enough iron in your diet, and absorbing that iron is vital to heart health. Low iron can lead to anemia, or a low hemoglobin level in the blood. Iron deficiency can often be linked to heart disease because the heart has to work harder to pump more blood and oxygen through the body. Combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C helps the absorption.
  2. Healthy Fats: Choosing healthy fats instead of damaged, or vegetable oils. Do your best to avoid fried food, and vegetable oils like canola, corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, peanut, cottonseed, which contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. It is ok to have some Extra-Virgin olive oil or avocado oil in your diet, but avoid cooking them at high temps. Use coconut oil for cooking. 
  3. K2: Coming back to K2 again. The K2 will help shuttle the calcium that is absorbed to the right places, bones and teeth.
  4. Spirulina: can prevent LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized which helps prevent heart disease.
  5. Copper: Insufficient copper intake is associated with increases in cholesterol levels, clot formation, and heart disease.
  6. Summary: To ensure you are getting enough iron on a vegan diet, be sure to combine iron-rich plant foods with vitamin C-rich plant foods. For a healthy heart we must make sure our iron levels are within normal limits. Eat healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds and stay away from vegetable oils. K2 will help shuttle the calcium to your bones and teeth where it belongs. Consider a K2 supplement, or make sure your multivitamin has K2 in it. Superfoods Spirulina and Raw Cacao contain nutrients which protect your heath, so consider adding the spirulina and copper rich foods like raw cacao in your diet.
  7. Recipe:Heart Health Vitality Balls, makes 15-20 ballsblog_cacaoballs-00168

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup almonds
  • ⅓ cup brazil nuts
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp spirulina powder (adjust to your palette)
  • 1 ½ tbsp raw cacao
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 8 dried apricots
  • 8 pitted medjool dates (the stickier the better, if too dry soak for 15 min)

Directions:

  1. To prepare, place almonds and brazil nuts in food processor and pulse until it is a rough meal with small bits of nuts still left.
  2. Add pumpkin seeds, spirulina and raw cacao powder and pulse a couple of times to mix and crush the seeds.
  3. Add the almond butter butter, pitted medjool dates and dried apricots and pulse/mix.
    When the mixture is combined but still a little rough, sticking together when you press it between your fingers, remove it from the food processor.
  4. Press/roll into balls, roughly the size of half a golf ball. I
  5. if you wish roll in coconut and keep in the fridge for 5-7 days or freeze for a later date.
  6. Enjoy as a healthy protein packed snack.

Heart

2.8 Beautiful Skin: Integumentary system

  1. Biotin and Vitamin C: Biotin and Vitamin C are nutrients that helps us keep a young, attractive appearance since it plays a major part in maintaining the health of our hair, nails and skin.
  2. Microbiome/Sugar: Keeping a healthy gut flora and diverse microbiome helps with healthy skin. Sugar intake can interrupt the microbiome and also cause spikes in blood sugar which can impact the skin.
  3. Vitamin E: Infused with antioxidant properties it aids in maintaining a youthful glow by warding off free radicals. Vitamin E rich foods help in delaying aging process, and also help in preventing skin pigmentation.
  4. Skin care products: The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it’s the one that receives the most abuse from the sun, the pollution in the air, and destructive toxins we put on our skin.  So choose natural products to put on your skin. The best one…coconut oil!
  5. Moringa: This superfood is high in many nutrients, and also wonderful for the skin. Try making a mask out of it with apple cider vinegar and turmeric or adding it to your morning smoothie!
  6. Spices: Spices like fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, thai basil, rosemary and oregano contain many healthy chemicals as we learned about turmeric. These polyphenols from the spices enrich the skin when added to the diet.
  7. Summary: Your skin is our largest organ and our first line of defense. It is one of the most meaningful ways we connect with one another whether that be a handshake, a hand on the shoulder or a warm hug. So treat it well by including Biotin rich foods like chard, vitamin rich foods like citrus and berries, vitamin E rich foods like nuts and seeds, reducing added sugars, adding in superfoods like moringa and spices. Avoid putting harsh chemicals and skin products on your skin, and choose natural products like coconut oil!
  8. Recipe:Healthy Skin Stuffed Peppers, Serves 4Quinoa-Stuffed-Peppers-SQUARE

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (168 g) quinoa or rice, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • scant 2 cups (460 ml) vegetable stock (sub water, but it will be less flavorful)
  • 4 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) salsa, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup chopped chard
  • 1 Tbsp (4 g) nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans, drained (if unsalted, add 1/4 tsp sea salt)
  • 1 cup (168 g) whole kernel corn, drained

Toppings:

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Hot sauce
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Diced red onion

Directions:

  1. Add quinoa and vegetable stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy – about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Brush halved peppers with a neutral, high heat oil, such as avocado or refined coconut.
  4. Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients – salsa through corn. Mix to thoroughly combine then taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding salt, pepper, or more spices as desired.
  5. Generously stuff halved peppers with quinoa mixture until all peppers are full, then cover the dish with foil.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove foil, increase heat to 400 degrees F (204 C), and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are soft and slightly golden brown. For softer peppers, bake 5-10 minutes more.
  7. Serve with desired toppings (listed above) or as is. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until warmed through – about 20 minutes.

Skin

2.9 Let’s Talk About Sex: Reproductive

  1. Vitamin A: Vitamin A is crucial for healthy bone tissue, vision, proper hormone function and making healthy babies. But plants don’t contain “true” vitamin A—only certain provitamins, particularly beta carotene, that your body converts into vitamin A. Eat Beta-Carotene rich foods with a fat component to help the absorption amount, and be sure to eat beta-carotene rich plant foods daily.
  2. Zinc: This is an important nutrition because it converts the beta-carotene to Vitamin A. Zinc helps promote natural testosterone levels which can enhance your sexual health and sex drive.
  3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen in women, which means low sex drive. It also causes low testosterone in men.
  4. Maca Root: Superfood Maca Root works by releasing chemicals and nutrients that sends message to the pituitary gland, which tells the body how much of each hormone to produce, whether it is producing enough, too much or just the right. It can improve libido, and help with providing relief to symptoms from menopause like hot flashes.
  5. Summary: Along with getting a variety of beta-carotene rich foods it is important to combine those foods with fat for better absorption of beta-carotene. Make sure you are getting enough zinc rich foods and consider using the Trace Mineral Drops in your water daily talked about earlier. If you feel your hormones may be unbalanced, try including Maca root in your diet to help improve libido, and reduce PMS, and menopause symptoms.
  6. Recipe:Maca Carrot Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups carrot chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion sliced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 16-oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh carrot juice
  • 3 teaspoons of Maca
  • 6 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds for topping 

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot to medium low heat. Add onions and carrot. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add fresh ginger and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. While the soup is reducing, juice the carrots. Add coconut milk to the pot and turn off the heat. Allow the soup to cool slightly and then add in the fresh carrot juice. Season with the Maca, salt and dill. Pour soup into a blender and blend on high for 4 minutes. Serve!

sex

2.10 Powerhouse: Energy

  1. Mitochondria: The powerhouse. Mitochondria is not considered an organ system, but it is probably one of the most important parts of your body to optimize. I saved the best for last! You can live without food or water for a couple days/week, but without your mitochondria you wouldn’t live for more than a couple seconds. It is vital to have these little guys functioning at optimal levels to keep you energized and preventing disease states like cancer. The tiny factories in each of our cells that turn the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe into energy. The more healthy mitochondria your body contains, the better you’ll feel, and the more robust your metabolism will be. A mighty mitochondrial force translates to better energy and focus, and greater ability to sustain high levels of activity without fatiguing. Progressive loss of function in the mitochondria—the cellular generators responsible for nearly all the body’s energy output—speeds aging and death.
  2. Detox: Riding heavy metals and detoxing the body from processed foods, chemicals and the environment can help improve mitochondrial health. Include organic cilantro, and chlorella in your diet weekly to help rid heavy metals.
  3. Shilajit: Long known to Ayurvedic practitioners for its healing power, shilajit is an organic substance harvested from biomass high in the Himalayas. It acts as a powerful adaptogen, providing broad systemic defense against stress and illness. Cutting-edge scientific analysis has isolated humic substances as the principal active ingredients that enhance mitochondrial energy flow. It also contains fulvic acid with helps to carry unwanted chemicals out of the body. I highly recommend the Lotus Blooming Herbs Brand.
  4. Reduce stress/meditation: Stress is intertwined with all systems especially mitochondrial health. Consider the Headspace app or 10 min guided meditation a day.
  5. Healthy Fat: Eat healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds.  Reduce your added sugar intake. Your mitochondria run better off of real food, unprocessed food. Try your best to avoid artificial sweeteners like Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose which can disrupt your mitochondrial health.
  6. Exercise: Movement can increase mitochondrial density= more energy
  7. Summary: I saved the best for last. Mitochondria may be one of the most important parts of your body to optimize. Consider adding in chlorella, cilantro, Shilajit, healthy fats, including moderate exercise, and reducing stress to boost your energy levels.
  8. Recipe: Detoxifying, Energy Boosting SmoothieCleanse the heavy metals and boost mitochondrial health with this smoothie! Serves 2-3Super-Kid-Friendly-Banana-Green-Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 green apple or pear
  • 1 lemon peeled
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 large handful of kale
  • 1 small handful of cilantro
  • 2 dates pitted
  • 1/4th avocado
  • 1 thumb of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of chlorella
  • 1 grain size portion of Shilajit (Lotus Blooming Herbs brand)
  • 2 cups coconut water depending on desired consistency

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

energy

Thank you for reading! If this all seems overwhelming to you, and you would like more guidance on making sure you are meeting all your needs on a vegan diet then let’s work together! Visit my website www.NutritionTanslator.com for more information on my services! 

For my 1 week Detox Meal Plan click here.

❤ Colleen Poling, RD

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“How I Became Happy and Healthy”- The 10 Lessons I Learned During My Health Journey

17 Jul
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About The Author: Hi! My name is Hanna and I am a Junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism with a Sustainability Certificate. At the University of Iowa, I am a member of the public relations team of my sorority and starting in the fall, I will hopefully be writing for Iowa’s school newspaper, The Daily Iowan. After graduating from Iowa, I hope to be attending law school to study Environmental Policy and Law. Outside of academics, I enjoy practicing yoga and channeling my creativity through different forms of art. Being a vegan for over a year, I am frequently spending my free time learning more about the vegan lifestyle.

Hi Everyone! Like many others, living a life that promotes both physical and mental health is a top priority, which is why I have spent the past year discovering different strategies that keep me healthy from the inside out. These 10 themes I learned are based off my personal experience, but anyone can apply these topics to their lives regardless of where they are! Each of these tips falls into one of three categories: nutrition, exercise, and mental health. So here are the top 10 lessons I learned while on the path of living a physically and mentally healthy life 🙂

1.    Fuel your body with the proper nutrients!

healhtyeatEating nutrient dense foods is the first step to becoming your healthiest self! A plant-based/vegan diet has all the necessary nutrients your body needs to become strong, toned, and healthy! Consuming our essential macro nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat) in whole  plant foods will leave you feeling energized and nourished.

Proteins= The building blocks to our bodies! Proteins make up the structure and function of our tissues which is very important when building muscle! It is extremely easy for vegans to not only consume enough protein for their body’s everyday-function, but also to consume enough to build and maintain muscle mass. My go-to protein providers are quinoa, buckwheat, beans, chickpeas, tofu, and Evolve plant protein powder (it’s so good)! Don’t forget that all plants have protein so don’t worry about not getting enough! Here is an awesome piece about plant-based protein!

Carbohydrates= Energy! All fruits and vegetables have carbs in them which our bodies use to create glucose. Glucose is the sugar that gets used for energy immediately or stored for later. Not only do out bodies need glucose, but so do our brains! With the bad rap carbs get, it’s important to understand that in order to be a functioning, healthy human we need to consume carbohydrates. My favorite complex carb-dense foods are bananas, sweet potatoes, lentil pastas, brown rice noodles, and home-made treats!

Fats= Absorption! It is essential to have healthy sources of fat in your meals so your body can absorb and receive the benefits of all the nourishing vitamins from whole foods! Healthy fats also help you feel satisfied, satiated and can curve cravings. I like to get my servings of fat from avocados, coconut oil, nuts, vegan chocolate, and almond butter!

2.    The timing of your food matters!

nourish bodyNot only is it extremely important to eat the right types of food to be healthy, but it is also important to know when to eat specific foods!

If you have a day packed with activity like walking a long distance, a tough workout, or a race to run, you’ll want to prep your body with a carb-dense meal. Leading off your most energy-expending activity of the day with a substantial, carb based meal will guarantee that you will have a steady flow of energy throughout!

One of the most crucial steps to being fit is making sure you are providing your body with enough protein to gain and retain muscle mass. After an activity where you are exerting large amounts of energy from your muscles (lifting weights, HIIT sessions, long cardio sessions, a challenging hike, etc.), consuming 20-40grams of protein will give your body all the necessary amino acids to repair, maintain, and increase the muscle tissue!

3.    Discover the type of training that works the best for your body!

There are endless benefits to exercise that leads to a healthier body and mind; so in order to be your healthiest and fittest self, finding a workout routine that you love, gets you results, and is sustainable, are key pieces! Whether your goal is to gain muscle, lose body fat, gain speed and endurance, or just to be active overall, there is a style of training that will help you get there. Everyone’s body and goals are different, so find a style of training that makes you the happiest and healthiest!

After trial and error periods, I have found that a routine centered around explosive and body weight exercises consistently gets me to my goals! My workouts always involve exercises that require more than one muscle group like jump squats, push-up-burpees (aka death), walking lunges, and commandos. These are just a few exercises that get my heart pumping and leave me dripping in sweat! Despite the fact that I sometimes think I am going to collapse during a difficult workout, this type of training is what I enjoy, what is sustainable for me, what pushes me, and what keeps me fit!

4.    Find your motivation!

We can’t forget that it takes hard work, discipline, and patience to be the healthiest version of yourself! Ask yourself why you want to commit to this journey. Is it because you’ve played sports or been active your whole life and want to continue? Is it to be confident and completely comfortable with how you look? Is it to get stronger? Leaner? Faster? Do you want to feel your best and be energized? Is it all of the above? Whatever your reason is, find what motivates and inspires you to put in the effort even when you don’t want to! My recommendation is to try to find a mentor or role model that reflects your goals in a healthy and safe way (I have listed my personal favorites at the end). There are so many amazing young men and women that share their fitness and health journeys that provide the opportunity for anyone to follow so find someone who you trust and look up to!

5.    Develop a Healthy Mindset

There is an extreme amount of pressure put on both young men and women to look a certain way, for women to be “thin” yet “curvy” and men to have the “triangle” shape with broad shoulders and a six-pack. These difficult expectations are not only promoted through advertising campaigns but also found through different social media platforms. It is challenging for young men and women to avoid comparing themselves to these unrealistic standards. With the constant pressure to look a certain way, it is crucial that you retain a healthy mindset regarding yourself, your food, and your workouts!

body careI have experienced first hand of what an unhealthy mindset looks like; I counted calories, restricted myself, counter-acted any “slip-ups” with 2 hour long workouts, and sometimes I would even go to the gym twice a day. But the unhealthiest part during this time was that I put an extreme amount of pressure on myself to be this impossibly “perfect” person. After much needed self reflection, I decided that I was no longer going to sacrifice my health and happiness to meet these expectations. I now look at my health and fitness journey with these 3 attitudes.

View food as your friend, not your enemy! Nutritious, whole foods are the necessary support to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Nutrient dense plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and grains will be your allies in being your fittest self! When you do decide to indulge in your choice of “junk food”, try to remember that having a vegan doughnut (my go-to) or a vegan double-cheeseburger is not going to ruin your progress or require you to spend 3 hours at the gym the next day. Don’t be hard on yourself if you “treat yo-self” once in a while!

View your exercise and workouts as a time to make progress toward your fitness goals, not a counter to not-so-healthy choices! Viewing exercise as a time for yourself and a way to increase your strength, speed, endurance, and overall health leads to a healthier mindset. Also, don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a day of exercise! Our bodies require time to recover so don’t force yourself through a workout if you’re sore or if you aren’t up for a gym session! Listening to what our bodies are saying will lead to a healthier self inside and out!

If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. We tend to be the biggest and toughest critics of ourselves so it is crucial that we maintain a healthy mindset towards what we see in the mirror. Understanding that people see you differently than you see yourself can switch your self-criticism to self-acceptance. No one is going to notice that pimple on your forehead, that you’re a little bloated today, or whatever insecurity is on your mind. Positive self-talk is so important for your happiness and self esteem, so expressing gratitude and appreciation towards how amazing your body is and everything it does will help you feel confident throughout your journey!

These last few lessons I learned are concepts that I follow in order to be in-tune with myself and my happiness!

6.    Don’t forget about your passions!

Each of us has small passions that provide a way to express our creativity and ideas! When we’re trying to keep up with the pace and demands of our lives, sometimes it can be easy for us to forget about our little hobbies that make us happy. Whether you love to create art, build things, take photos, make fire mix-tapes, write poems, watch old movies, whatever it is, just do it! Carving out the time to do something that you love enhances your individuality and will leave you feeling accomplished, content, and proud of who you are. Your passions are what make you, you!

7.    Put yourself first!

This might sound selfish but hear me out. I believe that taking the time to provide space for yourself to decompress and do what is best for yourself benefits not only you, but others. Putting yourself first dedicates the time and mental room to ground and recharge yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or a little off! If you take the time to support yourself, love yourself, and understand yourself, you then can support others, love others, and understand others!

8.    Learn how to be alone

The wise lyrics of Lil’Boosie and Lil’Phat, “I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, do you know what that mean mayne?”, asks an important question of the meaning of independence. Being independent doesn’t just apply to your ability to support yourself, it also applies to your emotional and mental independence! There will be times in our lives we won’t have our family and friends surrounding us; maybe we are away at school, or we moved to a different city. Whatever the reason, eventually we will need to learn how to be alone. Spending significant time by yourself allows you to really think about who you are and who you want to be. I am not saying spend a month in solitude just to figure out where you want to go to college, but being alone can lead you to your own conclusions and decisions without outside influence! Spending time in your own company will inevitably create a strong support system for yourself and solid coping skills that will be necessary when making big decisions and struggling with conflict.

9.    Allow room for growth

grothEveryday we are presented with both big and small trials and decisions whether they relate to our careers, home life, school work, or health! These areas of our lives offer the opportunity for us to challenge and push ourselves outside our comfort zones. This final push over the threshold of comfort is where we find the most growth! It may be challenging, uncomfortable, nerve-racking, and even a little scary to challenge ourselves to keep growing in different areas of our lives, but the outcome of our progression is completely worth it. We all have dreams and goals we wish to reach and achieve and its our job to push ourselves to be the best we can be!

10.    Take one step at a time

Life is hard. We get dealt hands we don’t want and we get thrown curve balls we don’t expect. Sometimes we have to adjust our lives, plans, and dreams in order to accommodate our new situations. It may seem overwhelming and daunting when trying to become the person you want to be; but I promise if you just take one step at a time, soon you will be able to look back and see how far you have come!  It doesn’t matter what you are facing; it could be the start of your fitness journey, a mental health situation, relationship problems, uncertainty about your future, whatever it is we’ve probably all experienced it. Just keep moving towards your end goal and I promise that you will make it out on the other side stronger and wiser!

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read this piece; I hope I could provide beneficial advice and a helpful point of view!

Here are links to just a few individuals who inspire me to continue on the path of healthy living!

Tess Begg – Both a fitness and vegan inspiration! Tess has delicious recipes and great workouts!

Sarah’s Day – My go-to girl for great workout routines and exercise plans! **Disclaimer: I do not agree with or promote Sarah’s food choices, I only recommend her workouts!**

Hanna ❤

Connect With Hanna!

 

Low-Sugar Strawberry Almond Oat Pizzas. Vegan+GF

31 Jan

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Reducing the amount of added sugar in your diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Even if you just reduce it 10%, it can have a significant effect on your health! Reducing the added sugar in your diet can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, decrease risk of heart attack, keep your brain sharp, decrease risk of developing dementia, keep skin looking younger and clearer, lower your risk of diabetes, reduce certain cancers, fewer cavities, balance hormones, reduce anxiety, give you more energy, help you maintain a healthy weight and have fewer crashes!! I highly recommend to challenge yourself, and start reducing the added sugar in your diet today!! Know though, that it is possible to go through a type of withdraw from added sugars, and it can take a week to start feeling better.

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So, what is a person with a sweet-tooth to do? No worries, you can still enjoy yourself! Check out this delicious low-sugar recipe:

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Low-Sugar Strawberry Almond Oat Pizzas:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Blend Oats, almond flour, baking powder, oil, Lakanto and salt into a food processor until cookie-dough consistency.
  2. In a 9 inch circular pan lined with parchment paper, press down the dough evenly.
  3. Top with Jam, and evenly coat to desired thickness
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust lightly browned.
  5. Once cool, cut into pizza pieces!

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❤ Colleen Poling, RD

The 411 on Protein

16 Dec
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Ally Kuehn Kuehnhealth

About the Author: My name is Ally Kuehn. I am a 21 year old, senior at Ohio University majoring in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics. I am preparing myself to graduate in May 2017. My goals are to become happy and healthier person through nutrition, health and wellness.   Instagram: Kuehnhealth Website: Click Here to see KuehnHealth Blog

Why Protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient that everyone needs in their diet. No if, and’s, or buts about it, because its such an important energy source for your body! It’s involved in muscle, hormone, blood, skin and bone development. Fun fact, hair and nails are mostly made up of protein! How much protein do we need to consume daily? According to the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake), 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. For an average male who is sedentary  this calculates to about 56 grams per and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.

I personally am adopting a more plant based lifestyle. In the beginning stages of transitioning, I was personally so closed minded. My thoughts were “I couldn’t eat meat, welp there goes all my good protein”. Now, through the help from my nutrition and dietetics professors at Ohio University I was able to see that protein is in so many various food sources. Which blew my mind! Now, I get to share all of my knowledge with all of you!

Say What?

When people think about protein, they think meat, beans, and nuts.  Contrary to popular knowledge fruits and vegetables are sources of protein too! Fruits provide less protein than vegetables, but, are still a good source of protein! Who knew? I researched some of the top five high protein fruits:  thumb_600

  • Blackberries
  • Guava
  • Dried Apricots
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Any Many More Fruits!

 

Its very important to your body to consume adequate amounts of protein. I have attached a very informative info graphic to assist in the explanation of good sources of protein!

Protein 1.PNGProtein 2.PNGProtein 3.PNGProtein 4.PNG

How can you add more of these protein sources to your diet?

This is very achievable for everyone! From the tips from the ” Be Creative” portion of my last post called How to Start Food Budgeting with Less Than $100 A Month. Get inspired and add these alternative protein sources to your meals today!

Are you making rice for your taco night? Maybe add some beans, or switch to quinoa “fried rice”  Click here for an awesome recipe! (for vegan version subtract the eggs).

Are you making a salad? Add some crunchy pumpkin seeds, fresh spinach, kale, or mushroom for some added protein to that delicious salad!

In the morning, jazz up your toast with some almond butter! Maybe add  a little healthy monounsaturated fat to your toast  from avocados!

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Who to talk to about protein if you still need more assistance!

Consult with Nutrition Translator Colleen Poling RD, or a registered dietitian in your local area. With the new year coming up, a healthier you will never go out of style! Invest in your self this year and seek out some assistance from a Registered Dietitian.

❤ Ally Kuehn

 

 

 

3 Daily Routines That Will Change Your Life

1 Jun

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Surprising Vegan & Organic Finds at Costco

29 May

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Today I ventured into Costco for the first time! I was a very overwhelmed at first with the huge carts and all the STUFF people were buying, especially with this being Memorial Day Weekend. Carts were full of junk food, electronics, paper products, clothes and anything else you can imagine. Although, this did bring me back to my childhood, when my dad would bring my brother, twin sister and I to Sam’s Club to buy giant boxes of Rice Krispie Treats, Jumbo Rope Licorice and Ice Cream Snicker’s Bars! That was heaven for a little kid. However, now as a conscious consumer, it was my goal not to get sucked in too far, and only buy what I needed. Much to my surprise I found some AMAZING vegan, and organic items. Check them out:

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List of Finds: Organic Frozen Berries, Organic Peanut butter, Organic Frozen Broccoli, Organic precooked Love beets, Organic Frozen veggies Galore, Dates (Non-GMO), Organic Tofu, Dried Figs (Non-GMO), Suju Mighty Greens Juice, Organic Hemp Seeds (serious deal here!!), Organic Chia Seeds, Nut Milk, LaraBars, Organic Edamame Spaghetti, Frozen Acai berries, Organic Apples, Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk, Vega One protein, Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup, Organic Cashews, Organic Hope Hummus, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Avocado Oil (Non-GMO), Organic Edamame, Organic Coffee, Organic Butternut Squash, Organic Vegan Protein, GT’s Kombucha, Organic Black Beans, Coconut Oil, Organic Bananas, Organic Agave, and even a Vitamix was there to buy!
I highly recommend getting a Membership!!!
❤ Colleen Poling, RD

5 Cutting Edge Ways to Optimize your Health

26 Mar
Epigenetics-imageDid you know it is possible to increase your brainpower, immunity and cancer fighting ability with not only your diet, but also by how you live your life? Epigenetics is a growing field of research that focuses on changes in gene expression of our given DNA without altering the underlying genetic sequence. New scientific studies are supporting that by the way you eat and live your life, you can turn on or off certain genes. Making you more prone, or less prone to certain cancers, for example. You have the power to turn on or off certain biological characteristics simply by how you live day to day. Include these 5 tips in your diet/lifestyle everyday to optimize your health by making sure you get the most out of what your momma and dad gave ya!
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
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Omega threes are vital to our heart health, cardiovascular health, memory, and to prevent inflammation.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 fatty acid, and is the precursor of the longer chain omega 3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and to a lesser extent DHA can be made in the body from ALA.  Flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, sacha inchi (incas peanut), are great sources of ALA. Fish and Algae are good source of EPA and DHA.
DHA has been shown to be extremely important for brain health. DHA turns on the growth of new brain cells, offers protection for existing brain cells, and enhances the of ability of one brain cell to connect to the next. This is called neuroplasticity. DHA also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation of the brain plays a huge role in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and virtually every other neurodegenerative conditions. DHA also produces glutathione, the master detoxifier, master of our immune system, and major antioxidant of the nervous system. Glutathione also helps regulate the function of how protein is produced. To make sure we are producing enough Glutathione, we need to make sure we are getting enough DHA in our diets.
A vegan and vegetarian diet provide little EPA and DHA, even those consuming a lot of walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds can be still be low in DHA. Try supplementing with Dr. Furman’s EPA/DHA supplement, it is derived from lab-grown algae and has no environmental contaminants. Vegans need to load up in this department for optimal neurological function. Non-vegans and non-vegetarians need to be careful as to where they get their fish, and what type of fish, due to the mercury content.
2. Turmeric
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Turmeric is a root with a deep orange/yellow color that has been used throughout history in Chinese and Indian medicine. We are just now catching on to the powerful healing benefits of Turmeric here in the west. Research is showing that Turmeric can possibly treat depression, and be as effective as the medication prozac. The main phytochemical in turmeric, called curcumin, fights against depression by reducing inflammation, modulating the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, and turning on a gene to make a growth hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is known for making knew brain cells. Regular physical activity and getting enough DHA can also activate the gene for making BDNF.
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Black pepper combined with turmeric enhances the bioavailability of curcumin, which means you get more benefit from it. If supplementing, be sure to buy a supplement with organic curcumin extract that contains black pepper. Check out this amazing recipe for Golden Milk too!
3. Prebiotics & Probiotics
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Did you know that you are made of 90% microbes, and only 10% human cells? You do not look like a giant blob of bacteria because your human cells are much larger than your microbes. Your gut makes up much of the microbes, and they play a special role in your health. The bacteria inside you right now can affect your digestion, immunity, and even mental health. The emerging science on this topic is very exciting, and the variety of bacteria in your gut can say a lot about you.
A bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile, or Cdiff resulting in debilitating diarrhea, and sometimes death is common in patients visiting the hospital. Patients are treated with antibiotics, which kills all of their good and the bad bacteria in their guts. Sometimes the antibiotics fail, and this is where a Fecal Microbiota Transplant can come in. Fecal transplantation is the transfer of stool from a healthy donor into the gastrointestinal tract for treating the recurrent C. difficile. This treatment is very safe and effective. Fascinating, right?
Did you know that the gut bacteria of obese people are imbalanced too? The obese microbiome has an increased ability to extract energy from food, breakdown fiber, and absorb dietary fat, due to the abundance of the two dominant bacterial strains, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes.  In one study scientists gave germ-free mice a fecal transplant with obese microbiota, and this resulted in an obesity! This diminished biodiversity in the gut’s ecology explains the loss of functionality to maintain proper physiology.
Increasing the diversity of the gut bacteria can help to manufacture some of the vitamins and cofactors needed for building bones, including B6, B12, K, and folic acid. Scientists also suspect that a healthy gut flora helps the body properly digest calcium, and increases vitamin D receptor expression.
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Here I am making homemade Sauerkraut at the San Diego Fermentation Festival this past Jan 2016!
There are a number of ways we can increase our gut diversity. Limiting antibiotic usage is important, and including more prebiotic foods and probiotic foods in our diet. Prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria in our gut. Prebioitcs include garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, dandelion greens, baobab tree powder. Also include probiotic foods daily,which contain the friendly bacteria themselves, such as kombucha tea, water kefir, kvass, rejuvelac, fermented veggies like kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented soybeans like natto.
4. Medicinal Mushrooms
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Mushrooms have been used for centuries for their therapeutic benefits. Research has shown that certain mushrooms can increase the immune system, decrease inflammation, restrict blood vessel growth feeding tumors, cause programmed cell death of cancer cells, provide antiviral properties, restrict growth of harmful bacteria and even assist with conventional anti-cancer drugs to work more effectively so they can be given at lower doses. Mushrooms are functional foods, which support our systems on a multi-factorial level. Try including some of these medicinal mushrooms in your diet.
Reishi: The Queen of medicinal mushrooms. Reishi is highly researched, and has been shown to reduce stress, detoxify the liver, increase immunity, and promote better sleep. Reishi is an adaptagen, which means if you are feeling tired it will give you energy, or if you are feeling anxious it will calm you back down.
Lion’s Mane: Helps to improve memory, boosts creativity, helps with concentration, has anti-dementia effects, helps with neurological damage and can penetrate the blood brain barrier. Lions’s Mane is a think food. Plan on taking Lion’s mane consistently for maximum benefits and noticed results.
Chaga: Is considered “black gold,” and has one of the highest sources of antioxidants in the nature. It fights against pathogens, and balances out the immune system. Chaga is also very high in zinc.
Cordyceps: Supports adrenals and produces long lasting energy levels. Cordyceps is wonderful for endurance athletes because it increases oxygen uptake, decreases recovery time, and increases ATP levels. You will feel cordycep’s benefits relatively quickly after consumption.
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Check out FourSigmatic.com for their amazing mushroom powder drink packets. I highly recommend them!
5. Meditation and Mindfulness
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Neuroscience research has shown that staying in the moment, and being mindful changes the way your brain functions. It changes and  improves the way we experience ourselves in the world. It is not just mumbo-jumbo! We spend a lot of our day in the personal narrative of our life. We obsess about the future, we dwell on that conversation we had last week, or last year, and we remain entrenched in the storyline of our life. Researchers call this the “default network” and it’s dominated by cortical midline structures (CMS). While this “default network” has benefits, when we spend too much time in self-referential thinking, especially if we are caught up in negative thinking, it can lead to poor emotional and behavioral outcomes, including depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness practice is about attending to the present moment. It teaches us to notice how the body feels, right now, paying attention to the breath and observing, without grasping onto our current state of mind. By definition, mindfulness moves us away from our personal narrative about how our life should be and into how life actually is, moment to moment.With as little as a few minutes a day, studies have shown increases in grey-matter density in the hippocampus region of the brain, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Studies have also shown that meditation decreases grey-matter density in the amygdala region of the brain, which is known to play an important role in anxiety, stress and the fight or flight response.Decreased grey-matter in the amygdala does not negatively impact the fight or flight response. If you get chased by a bear, you will still be afraid and want to run away. The decreased grey-matter helps you lower the stress and anxiety levels faster after a stressful situation, say getting chased by a bear or getting in trouble with your boss at work. Check out a guided youtube meditation or buy a guided journal to de-stress at the end of your day, or to start your day off stress free.
Happy optimizing!
❤ Colleen Poling, RD

20 Documentaries That Will Change You

3 Dec
I am obsessed with learning. Learning makes a person more open minded. Learning helps a person think critically. Learn more about the world with these awesome documentaries. Some can be found streaming on NetFlix, and some for free on Youtube.
1.Blackfish
BLACKFISH tells the story of Tilikum, a notoriously aggressive orca that killed three people while in captivity. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite uses shocking footage and emotional interviews to present a convincing case against keeping these wild animals for human entertainment.
2.Cowspiracy
COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret (http://cowspiracy.com) is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today, and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.
3.The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest 9 part Documentaries Series
Advanced doctors “Tell All” about how their patients are treating and beating cancer in this original docu-series.
4.Vanishing Of The Bees
This documentary takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee.
5.What’s For Dinner?
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/73461798″>WHAT'S FOR DINNER? Official Trailer</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/brightergreen”>Brighter Green</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>
What’s For Dinner? is a short documentary that provides a unique look into the rapidly growing consumption of meat and other animal products in China. Through interactions with a range of people within Chinese society, the film examines the impacts this monumental dietary shift is having in terms of sustainability, climate change, public health, food security, and animal welfare.
6.Fruit Hunters
A film about fruit-inspired lust, obsession and adventure.
7.The True Cost
The True Cost is a documentary film exploring the impact of fashion on people and the planet.
8.Damnation
This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move us through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.
9.Fed Up
This is the movie the food industry doesn’t want you to see. FED UP blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.
10.Forks Over Knives
FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
11. Bite Size
Bite Size tells the stories of 4 kids around the country as they embark on a journey to become healthier and lose weight. All it takes is someone to believe in you and the will to try.
12.Vegucated
Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated is a award-winning documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers from different backgrounds who, for six weeks, adopt a vegan diet and a whole new way of thinking about food.
13.Tiny
What is home? And how do we find it? TINY follows one couple’s attempt to build a Tiny House from scratch with no building experience, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into houses smaller than the average parking space. Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about sustainability, good design, and the changing American Dream.
14.The Harvest
THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA is the story of the children who work 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week to pick the food that we eat.
15.Dive
Follow Jeremy Seifert and his circle of friends as they dumpster dive in the back alleys and gated garbage receptacles of L.A.’s supermarkets. In the process they uncover thousands of dollars worth of good food and an ugly truth about waste in America: grocery stores know they are wasting and most refuse to do anything about it.
16.Bananas
Juan “Accidentes” Dominguez is on his biggest case ever. On behalf of twelve Nicaraguan banana workers he is tackling Dole Food in a ground-breaking legal battle for their use of a banned pesticide that was known by the company to cause sterility. Can he beat the giant, or will the corporation get away with it?
17.Soul Food Junkies
Baffled by his dad’s reluctance to change his traditional soul food diet in the face of a health crisis, filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out to learn more about this rich culinary tradition and it’s relevance to black cultural identity. He discovers that the love affair that his dad and his community have with soul food is deep-rooted, complex, and in some tragic cases, deadly. Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians and scholars, as well as doctors, family members, and everyday people, Soul Food Junkies puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its benefits and consequences. Hurt looks at the socioeconomics of predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options, and wonders if soul food has become an addiction in his community.
18. Sushi The Global Catch
From Texas to Seattle and New York to Moscow, the demand for sushi, a cuisine formerly found only in Japan, has grown exponentially and a multi-million dollar industry has been created to support it. In a rush to please a hungry public, the expensive delicacy has become common and affordable, appearing in restaurants, supermarkets and even fast food trailers. The traditions requiring 7 years of apprenticeship in Japan have given way to quick training and mass-manufactured solutions elsewhere. This hunger for sushi has come at a price and has the potential to upset the ecological balance of the world’s oceans, leading to a collapse of all fish species.
19.The Rise of the Suberbugs Resistant to Antibiotics
The nightmare is here. Rampant use of antibiotics coupled with an explosion in global travel has led to superbugs spreading worldwide. Join us as we step into the lab with leading experts and listen to shocking stories of the health implications. Let’s face up to the horror of antibiotic resistance before it’s too late, as once a superbug gets out, there may be no stopping it….An authoritative, timely film, on an issue we ignore at our peril.
10.Planeat
A group of leading international scientists, doctors and professors have spent their lives trying to find out what is the best way to eat. A pattern has begun to emerge in their research, which shows that our animal-based diets are the cause of our most challenging health and environmental problems. Having to battle against their own beliefs, and those of the institutions they worked for, they have come up with a solution that will change peoples lives forever. They share their ideas on how we can not only prevent prevalent diseases like cancer and heart disease but also cure them. And also how applying the same principles can dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time as providing more food for the planet. In accordance with this scientific evidence, pioneering farmers and chefs around the world are discovering new ways to produce and prepare the food we should be eating.

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

8 Jun

Being a vegan in an animal product based society poses more challenges than just finding a restaurant to eat at. Chances are if you’re a vegan you’ve been asked, “where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat, eggs or cheese? ” Every person who finds out I’m vegan asks me this question. Many people think that meat=protein and that’s the only way to obtain the proper daily amount of protein. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but that is not the case! Keep in mind that the average woman requires about 46 grams of protein, and the average man requires 56 grams.)

1) Green Peas: One cup of peas contains about 7.9 grams of protein. Peas are no longer just for the dinner plate, they are now made into protein powders as well. Sunwarior Protein Powder is a combination of pea and hemp protein. 

2) Quinoa (KEEN-wah): This one is a personal favorite. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. Not only is it packed with protein it is contains high amounts of all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that the body can’t produce and must be taken in through the diet. 

3) Beans (legumes): Beans are perhaps the biggest staple food for most vegans. With there being such a wide variety and uses its easy to see why (how affordable they are helps as well.) Just one cup of black beans contains a whopping 42 grams of protein! That is nothing to sneeze at. Every bean has a different protein amount and a different use, but they are all great sources.

4) Nuts: A great source of protein and healthy fats. They are a quick source of protein when on the go. A half a cup of almonds contains 15 grams of protein. Most commonly people ingest nuts in their “butter” form. 2 tbsp of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein. Other nut butters are on the rise in popularity, cashew, hazelnut and almond butters are also great sources of protein.

5) Soy: There is always controversy around soy but one thing is certain it’s a good source of protein. Tofu contains 10 grams of protein per half cup. But soy protein doesn’t just come in tofu form. Tempeh is another form of soy protein that contains 31 grams per cup. Both of these examples have an endless array of uses.

It’s easy to see where vegans get their protein. The sources aren’t even limited to these, there are so many other plant based sources to choose from. Every plant has protein, these are just sources with higher amounts. The next time someone goes to ask you where you get your protein you’ll have a good response.

By:

Bridget Newman, nutrition and dietetics student at The University of Akron

What You Can Do To Help the California Draught.

1 Jun

Right now the draught in California has been a hot topic. Blame has been placed on Nestle, the residence of the state all the way down to growth of almonds. While these are all factors, and I will not excuse Nestle for their actions, a huge culprit has been seemingly neglected by the major media sources. This culprit are the dairy farms. I know most people may be thinking that this can’t be a huge contributing factor, but it is. Currently California is the United States largest producer of dairy, exceeding Wisconsin by approximately 700,000 dairy cows (California as of 2014 records have approximately 1.8 million dairy cows). Milking dairy cows drink about 30-50 gallons of water per day. So while yes avoiding bottled water is a fantastic idea and watching how much water you use at home is still something I believe we all should do no matter which state you live in there is more you can do. There are many dairy alternatives that I can personally vouch for as being even better than the real thing.

So you’re a big milk drinker, cereal eater or even a big baker replacing dairy milk is easy in all instances. My personal favorite is unsweetened vanilla almond milk. With only 30 calories per serving you’re not only helping the environment but cutting calories as well. Plus, did I mention it’s delicious in cereal or on its own?
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Maybe you’re looking for a thicker milk for baking, we’ll I’ve got you covered. There are two great options, both are great for drinking alone as well. My favorite of the two is cashew milk. If you’re looking for a rich creamy milk this is where you find it. With it being so creamy its hard to believe that its only 25 calories and actually has less grams of fat than almond milk. But let’s not forget the perhaps most well known dairy milk alternative soy. Soy is hands down my favorite milk for baking. You want a fluffy muffin or biscuit this is the milk for you.
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The most common thing I hear among people who consume dairy is that they could give up everything but cheese. I am not going to lie this was personally the hardest dairy product for me to pass up. I mean pizza, who doesn’t love pizza? Giving up cheese doesn’t mean that pizza has to become something you used to eat. Daiya cheese shreds are the absolute perfect non-dairy cheese for pizza. They aren’t just good for pizza either. You name it the shredded or sliced form of Daiya will be a perfect substitute. But maybe you’re into the melty nacho cheese, fear not Teese has you covered. Trust me it’s better than the real thing by far.
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While these are the two largest categories of dairy alternatives that doesn’t mean they are the only ones out there. Honestly you name it there is probably a dairy free version of it. There are yogurts, ice creams, mayonnaise, ect. Options are honestly endless. So if you don’t already live a dairy free lifestyle its time to give it a shot with the endless alternatives there’s no reason not to.

By:

Bridget Newman, nutrition and dietetics student at The University of Akron