7 Ways to Share your Healthy Eating with Family and Friends

When it comes to healthy eating, do you lack support from your loved ones? Do you feel separate or isolated? If so, this blog post is for you.

If you’re like most health conscious people, it took years (or decades) before you had an epiphany that led you to change your diet.

Before that point, you weren’t ready. For example, you didn’t know all the reasons, didn’t feel compelled by those reasons, or couldn’t overcome your love for animal foods.

As you remember your own journey, have compassion for people who aren’t ready, or don’t feel compelled. Some of them may have an epiphany like you did… but it won't happen at precisely the same time.

With that said, her are tips to creating more harmony with your friends and family. These might compel some of them to join you, and at the very least, you'll feel more supported.

Be the example you want to see. When you preach, it makes others feel judged. So rather than preaching, let your loved ones see the benefits with their own eyes. Let them see how amazing you feel, how much energy you have, how much weight you’ve lost, etc.

Describe the reasons for your diet in first person tense. People are bound to ask why you eat differently. Tell them why in a non-judgmental way. For example, tell them how much better you feel. Or tell them how you were amazed to learn about the planetary impact of your former diet.

If compassion for animals is the main thing motivating you, then describe your reasons in the first person. For example, “I felt sad when I learned that chickens are crammed into tiny cages… And even worse when I learned that their beaks are chopped off. I didn’t want to keep supporting those practices.”

To demonstrate the importance of the first person tense, imagine someone disagreeing with you about abortion or the death penalty. How would you feel if they judged you, condemned you, or made you feel guilty? Now imagine the difference if they described their reasons in first person tense, saying: “For me, I’ve found that…. And it makes me sad when….”

Make it FUN. Meat eaters love food that tastes great, even when it’s meatless. So invite friends over to prepare healthy recipes that sound yummy. They might love helping you prepare a yummy lentil soup, gazpacho, or wild rice salad. However, avoid recipes that might disappoint them. For example, if they’re used to eating cheese pizza and deep fried falafels, they could be disappointed by vegan pizza or raw falafels. These recipes could confirm their negative perceptions about healthy eating.

Have a dinner party. Expose your friends and family to healthy meals that are YUMMY! Many people assume that healthy food is boring or lacks flavor. Create a space for exploration and show them how the process can be fun!

As an example, raw chef Heather Haxo Phillips used to bring a delicious kale salad to her parent’s house for Thanksgiving each year. They loved it so much, they invited her to bring more side dishes each year. Now they come to HER house for Thanksgiving. And except for the turkey (which they bring), everything else is raw and vegan.

Focus on what you ARE eating, not on what you’re omitting. Focus on the food you’re sharing rather than the food that separates you. Make sure there are some plates you’re all enjoying, even if they’re side dishes. When bringing a dish to someone else’s house, bring plenty of it. Then everyone else can try it too. If it’s delicious, it might change their negative perceptions of healthy food.

Ask for support. Rather than expecting your loved ones to help and support you, ask them to.  This open communication will lead to a dialogue about your experience, which may inspire them to be more open to your healthy lifestyle.

Connect with people on the same journey. If your loved ones aren’t on this health quest with you yet, get support from others. One great resource is www.meetup.com . Just type in your zip code and the kind of diet you eat (for example, “vegan” or “raw foods”). It will show you local support groups that have monthly gatherings, potlucks, or perhaps even guest speakers.

Remember, the key to having people join your healthy mission is by igniting their individual spark for health. We all have different reasons or situations that brought us to the point of transitioning to a healthier way of eating. Don’t focus on what separates you from your loved ones focus on what connects you. This will create a space for new ways of connecting, including sharing healthy food together.

Do you have other suggestions not mentioned here? If so, please post them in the Comments section below.

The tips above are a small excerpt of what you'll find in Lesson 21 of The Vegan Mastery Program. Here are the four topics it covers:

- How To Gracefully Overcome Social Challenges
- Disarming and Educating People Who Challenge You
- Tips For Getting Well Fed At Hotels and Restaurants
- How to Get Your Needs Met At Someone’s Home, Without Burdening The Host With Special Requests

It also includes a wonderful 1-hour Q&A on this topic, which you can download.

 

How To Spend Less On Groceries & Still Eat Healthfully

Would you like to spend less on groceries, while still eating a healthy diet? If so, this blog post can save you a few hundred dollars over the course of the next year.

Some of my suggestions are only relevant for raw fooders and raw food recipes. But some apply to folks who eat cooked food too.

Recipe Substitutions

The following are recipe substitution suggestions that will work for almost any recipe. But of course, use your judgment and consider the impact the substitution will have on a recipe.

When a recipe calls for…

Dried fruit: Use the cheapest unsweetened dried fruit which is usually raisins.  Raisins have a much stronger flavor than dates, so if the recipe calls for dates, make it half and half with dates and raisins.

 

Frozen fruit: Substitute some of the frozen fruit with frozen bananas.  To freeze bananas, peel them and break them into pieces and put them in your freezer in a bowl or on a plate.

 

Fresh fruit: Use what is in season and can be bought at a low price at your local farmer's market.  If it is peach season but the recipe calls for mangoes, use peaches anyway.

 

Frozen vegetables: Use the least expensive frozen vegetables.  The kind of vegetables generally won't matter much, unless it's a particular vegetable you dislike.  If you prefer organic, select the least expensive organic frozen vegetables.

 

Nuts: Substitute part of the portion of nuts with coconut shreds.  In some recipes, as much as three-quarters of the nuts can be replaced with coconut shreds without much change to flavor and consistency.  Make sure you use some of the nuts that the recipe calls for however.  Different nuts may have very different effects.  Almonds and Brazil nuts are both unique and offer very particular flavors.  Walnuts and pecans are sometimes interchangeable.  Macadamia nuts and cashews are often interchangeable. 

 

Avoiding Certain Recipes

 

Many recipes are out-and-out expensive no matter how you substitute.  When selecting recipes, one can scan the ingredients and get a feel for how much it's going to cost.

When selecting recipes to try out, avoid recipes that call for…

A large amount of a specific brand-name ingredient.

 

More than a quarter cup of nuts.  (Unless using coconut shreds to cut the cost.)

 

More than four cups of a non-dairy milk.

 

More than two cups of a non-dairy yogurt.

 

Large quantities of an exotic fruit that is imported from far away.

 

More than two spices you don't already own.

 

Avoiding Waste

 

Another way one can save is by avoiding waste.  Sometimes when we don't know how to preserve something we use trial and error and learn the hard way.

How to preserve extra fruit salad:

Option 1: Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to the fruit salad.  Use one lemon for every two cups of fruit salad remaining.  Put in a dish with an air-tight lid and store in the fridge.

 

Option 2: Put in the freezer to turn into pudding, smoothies or ice cream later in your food processor or blender.  May also use a masticating juicer using the "blank" to create ice cream from frozen fruit.

 

 How to preserve extra cooked grains or grain-like dishes such as quinoa:

 

Option 1: Store cooked grains in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two days.

 

Option 2: Store cooked grains in a container in the freezer for up to a week.

 

 What to do with pulp after making juice at home:

Option 1: Add vegetable pulp to soups, breads, or salsa (add minimal amounts to salsa).  Add fruit pulp to muffins, pies, breads, soups or salsa.  (Be careful not to add to much.  Pulp is almost pure fiber!)

 

Option 2: Compost.  Pulp breaks down fast and makes great fertilizer for your garden or for growing wheatgrass indoors.

 

Option 3: Add seeds, nuts, oats, coconut shreds, spices and/or oils and blend in your food processor.  Spread in your dehydrator at 110 degrees to make raw crackers, or put in your oven at a low temperature with the door slightly open to gently slow-cook crackers.

 

 To keep nuts, dried fruits and other "shelf-stable" foods fresh and away from bugs:

 

Option 1: Store in ziplock bags within air-tight containers.

 

Option 2: Store in the fridge in bags or containers.

 

Option 3: Store in the freezer.

 

 Leftovers & Wilting Produce

 

Another way to avoid waste is to "refurbish" your leftovers or wilting produce.

 

With greens, such as chard, kale and spinach, you don't want them wilted as a salad, but they are fine to throw in soup.

 

Mushy over-ripe fruits are great in smoothies and desserts.  Just cut away any spots that are really bad, and use the rest.  Fruit can sometimes be bought "mushy" at a discounted price at farmer's markets.

 

Quinoa, rice, millet or other similar foods that have been cooked, stored, cooked again, and stored again can be turned into a new meal in a vegetable stir-fry.

 

Over-ripe or drying-out citrus fruits may be juiced with an electronic juicer or a hand-juicer.  The juice may be enjoyed plain, added to water for drinking, fruit salad for extra punch, or added to a dessert.  If using an electronic juice, one may add cucumber, celery and/or carrots.  (Carrots and oranges sometimes taste bad together.)

 

Peppers and herbs that have been left out to dry, or dried in a dehydrator can be crushed and put into spice jars.

Why Raw Fooders Eat Way Too Much Fat & Don’t Realize It

In his book, Healthy At 100, John Robbins studied the societies that live the longest and remain the healthiest even well past 100 years of age.

These societies consume between 15% and 20% of their calories from fat.[1] Respected doctors like Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. John McDougall, and Dr. Michael Klaper all recommend keeping your fat intake in this same low range to minimize your risk of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. (Yes, even so-called "good" fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.)

Now here's the problem. When measured by *volume*, the amount of fat in our meals looks deceptively small!

Let me demonstrate. If you pour just 1 tablespoon of olive oil over 2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce, you'll get 16 calories from the lettuce and 119 calories from the oil.[2]

In other words, 88.1% of your calories are from fat!

Even fatty whole foods like nuts, seeds and avocados range from 55% to 89% fat.

I thought I had a good handle on this topic. But last month, I attended an eye-opening presentation called "Fruit or Fat?" [3] with Laurie Masters, the editor for Doug Graham's book, The 80/10/10 Diet. You can watch her presentation here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvelNdJnuyU

What new stuff did I learn from Laurie?

First, a nut loaf (even if made from half nuts and half veggies) has more fat than lentil loaf or traditional meatloaf made from full-fat ground beef.  And raw nut-based pie crusts often have double the fat of a conventional pie crust!

Second, eating a meal with 1/4 cup of oil significantly constricts blood flow for six hours. This includes raw, cold-pressed oils. Here's a video by Jeff Novick, RD that describes this phenomenon (at 08:10):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfBKauKVi4M

Third, the delicate layer of endothelial cells lining your blood vessel walls is damaged whenever you eat oil. This inhibits your cells from producing nitric oxide. To learn about the important functions of nitric oxide, check out this audio interview with Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QWMD-uHvoA&feature=related

But don't you need some fat in your diet?

Actually, the only fats your body can't produce are omega-6s and omega-3s. You don't need any other fats. Since coconut oil has neither of these, guess what? There's nothing in coconut oil your body needs!

Sure, lauric acid has some antibacterial properties. But nevertheless, it’s not an essential oil for humans.

Most foods that contain these two polyunsaturated fats contain much more omega-6 than omega-3. For example, corn oil has a 46:1 ratio and safflower oil has a 76:1 ratio (in favor of omega-6)![4]

Since the optimal omega 6:3 ratio is about 1:1, the solution isn't to "load up" on omega-3s. Rather, it's to avoid or minimize foods with unfavorable omega 6:3 ratios. Most packaged and processed foods fall into this category, because they use oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil. So do most restaurant foods prepared with oil.

As I've stated before, flax and chia seeds have omega 6:3 ratios of 1:4 and 1:3 respectively. So do their oils. But for the reasons I'm outlining here, we recommend grinding flax seeds and soaking chia seeds, instead of eating their oils. These are the only seeds (and oils) we know of with more omega-3s than omega-6s. But here's something new I learned from Laurie.

Spinach and romaine lettuce also have more omega-3s than omega-6s. The Omega 6:3 ratio of spinach is 1:6, and the ratio of romaine lettuce is 1:3. Kale, collard greens, and arugula have a 1:1 ratio. So be sure to include hearty portions of these veggies in your daily menu plan.

Vegetables are very low in calories. So when you cut back on fatty whole foods, how do you get enough calories? There are three possible approaches:

1) Eat lots of fruit, especially sweet fruit that's high in calories.

2) Add sprouted grains to your raw food diet.

3) Balance your diet with cooked foods like whole grains, legumes, and root veggies.

Dr. Rick Dina addresses the first two in Lesson 45 of The Vegan Mastery Program, "How To Eat A Balanced Raw Food Diet". And Ginny Messina, RD, addresses the third in Lesson 31, "Which Foods Are More Nutritious Raw vs. Cooked?".

[1] John Robbins, Healthy at 100 (New York: Ballantine Books, 2006) p57

[2] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2010. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

[3] View the video of Laurie's presentation at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvelNdJnuyU. Her website is www.GreenSongPress.org.

[4] Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oils & Foods, Comparison of Dietary Fats, http://www.manitobaharvest.com/ http://www.manitobaharvest.com/, (December 2010).

Why and how to get more raw foods into your diet

Raw foods are very important and very undervalued in our society today. We are living in an industrialized world that makes it cheaper and easier to eat processed foods than healthy foods straight from nature.

The best raw foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that have not been dried, juiced, powdered, or processed. The best of the bunch will of course be organic or free of pesticides too.

So what health benefits come from eating raw foods? Raw foods supply you with loads of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, oxygen, water, probiotics, and enzymes.

Before processed foods were the trend, raw and lightly cooked foods were the norm. Now, when people eat raw foods, because it is not a larger part of their diet, they feel amazed at the results. People often feel lighter, their skin gets clearer, they lose belly fat, and they feel more energetic too!

Now the question is, "How do you get more raw food into your diet?"

With a few simple tips you will be including raw foods into your current diet in no time and feeling a new high on life!

Smoothies - After a good night's rest, what better way to start your day than with a powerhouse breakfast full of nutrients to get you through your day. You can blend fresh fruits and veggies with a bit of lemon water. Or you can add protein powder. It takes only minutes and it tastes great!

Juicer- A good juicer at home can boost your passion for raw foods because they can taste sooo good!  And, if you are interested in doing special juice cleanses every once in a while, this can be a super bonus.  Juice has a very high delivery of nutrients to the body, so drink up!

Farmers market – This helps you to support your local economy, and educates you on the cycles of the earth; which are also cycles in your body. This food will be the freshest food you can find outside of picking it from your own garden. So it will have the highest nutritional content.  Plus, its a fun community gathering.

Start every meal raw- It never hurts to add more healthy foods into your diet. When you add them at the beginning, you know you have the space in your tummy to get it all in. This way, you are not taking anything out of your diet either. Over time you may even find you want more of the healthier foods and less of all the rest.

Add veggies as a topping or side dish - When you make a sandwich, add extra sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes. Whatever it is you eat, it's always fabulous to add color and flavor with extra veggies.

Eat fresh fruit for dessert - One of our favorites is papaya. It has lots of enzymes that aid in digestion.  But really, whatever fruits you love, try them out all on their own for a dessert. You never know what you will discover about your food habits and favorites.

Eating raw food only gets challenging when you try making raw food the bulk of your diet. After all, few people feel full eating only fruits and veggies.

People who've tried eating 75-100% raw sometimes complain about hunger, cravings, recipes that are too time-consuming, and boredom from the same old meals. Not to mention overreliance on fatty foods (which replace traditional complex carbs, like root veggies and whole grains.)

That's why we're so excited about Nomi Shannon's groundbreaking new book, "What Do Raw Fooders Eat?".

Nomi got 48 raw fooders to keep meticulous food journals for an entire week. Then she compiled these journals, along with recipes and personal information, into her new book.
 
When you click the special link below, you'll get three of Nomi's recipe books (worth $21.00) full of mouth-watering recipes for smoothies, dressings, sauces, and raw soups like Gaspacho). Plus, a complimentary chapter from "What Do Raw Fooders Eat?".

 

Since the book hasn't been released publicly yet, you'll be among the *very first* to preview it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Beans may help save your life!

Nutritious, affordable, and delicious. Beans are a popular staple in countries all over the world and to top it all off, they may even help save your life!

Beans are a high protein, high fiber food that has almost no fat. The USDA says that diets that include beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.  

Your risk for high blood pressure goes down, your ability to lose weight goes up, and if you have diabetes, your chances of controlling it increases all with the addition of beans to your diet. 

Not only do beans have loads of protein and fiber but they also have vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, folic acid, and potassium.  All of these nutrients are essential for the function and health of your body from your bones to your skin.

One cup of beans can provide 16 grams of lean protein. 1/2 a cup of beans can give you as much as 8% of your daily calcium needs. 480mg of potassium can be ingested through 1/2 up of beans. 264mcg of folic acid can be obtained from consuming just 1 cup of beans.  

Carbs are everywhere but complex carbs are not.  Beans are a great source of complex carbs and are low in the glycemic index meaning your blood sugar levels will stay in balance longer and you will stay full for longer. Beans also contain soluble and insoluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber helps to keep your digestive tract clean and healthy.  Soluble fiber helps to move fats, carbs, and cholesterol through the body which can also help to lower cholesterol levels.

Beans are a staple food all over the world.  In America though, the consumption of beans is very low. Why? It is partially because people just don't know enough about how to use them and how to cook them.  Plus, if you buy them dried they can take a very long time to cook.

India and Pakastan use lots of lentils in curry dishes.  Beans and corn are used daily in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America. Europeans use beans in many dishes and soups.  Where ever you go, beans are on the menu. With a few tips below you can be on your way to adding more beans to your diet in no time.

  1. If you buy your beans dry, try cooking them in a pressure cooker to reduce the time it takes to cook them.  Also, I add kombu (a sea vegetable) to my cooking beans because it helps to soften the beans and make them easier to digest.  Plus, kombu adds more trace minerals!
  2. If you buy canned beans, look for the eden brand.  Eden makes an effort to line their cans so no extra chemicals are seeping into the food in the can and they cook their beans with kombu.
  3. Try a variety of beans.  There are more beans than you may know.  Try them all out and google a recipe if you find one you don't know how to use.  I have learned many simple bean dishes this way. The best way to find new ones is to go to your local Asian market. 
  4. The smaller the bean is, the easier it is to digest.  For many people, beans can lead to gas and bloating because their bodies are not used to digesting them.  When you start with smaller beans such as lentils, mung beans, and adzuki beans you will notice less of those smelly side effects.  If it still gets to your digestive system then try adding some digestive enzymes with your meal for a little while until your body knows how to handle it better.

If beans give you flatulence, it’s because they have complex sugars that are hard to break down. But here’s great news…

There are three ways to break down these sugars *before* making your bean recipe…

1) Soak beans overnight in a large bowl or pot, then pour off soaking water. Add fresh water and cook as usual. Soaking overnight begins bean germination and promotes enzyme release. The germination process breaks down the complex bean sugars.

2) Several hours before making your recipe, submerge beans in plenty of water and bring them to a boil for two minutes. Next, remove from heat and let the beans soak for 2-6 hours. Then pour off the “soak water” and cook as usual with fresh water.

3) Sprout the beans before cooking them. We detail this approach in Lesson 20 of The Vegetarian Mastery Program.

If you have any great bean stories for us please do share!  And always remember to tell us what you like about this post so we can give you more of what you want.  Have a great bean adventure.

Best foods to promote recovery after exercise

 

If you want to look and feel the best you can in your body you need to know what to eat to recover from your exercise routine.  Even the best athletes reach a limit if they do not have proper nutrition and care.

This article will cover the 3 keys to improving your athletic performance and foods that will nourish your body to a fast recovery.

 

The 3 keys to improving your athletic performance are: 

  1. a great exercise routine with lots of diversity 
  2. adequate amounts of rest
  3. proper nourishment and hydration

If your body is properly nourished during its recovery phase, you will need less rest.  If you need less rest you will have more time to do the things you love and improve the conditioning of your body faster. 

Exercise is a stress on the body.  Some stresses are good and healthy but too much and your in bad shape.  When you exercise your goal should be to put as little stress on your body as possible to achieve results. This means that your body should be prepared to exercise.

To prep your body for exercise one of the most important things is to hydrate before you begin and stay hydrated during and after your workout.  Your heart rate goes up if you are dehydrated and your body can not work as effectively. Coconut water is a super natural, low calorie hydration.

Once you finish a work out, the best foods to ingest after you are fully hydrated are fresh fruits and proteins. Digesting fruit is super easy and it has a good amount of naturally occuring sugars that your body can use to help restore muscle glycogen stores.  

When you combine this with a bit of protein, your body can utilize the sugars from the fruit even faster.  A great ratio is 4 parts carbs and 1 part protein.  

The protein you are ingesting at this time should be particularly easy to digest so your body has as little work to do as possible.  Liquid proteins are an easy choice as are small beans.  Mung beans, adzuki beans, and lentils are all fast cooking and easier to digest than other beans.  

Calcium and magnesium are minerals that help with muscle contraction.  Both of these mineral get excreted with sweat and must be restored after exercising.  One way to get some of these minerals is to add some tasty sea vegetable into your diet.  Nori, kelp, and wakame are easy to find and use.

When you eat and take supplements after a work out, try your best to get this all ingested no longer than 45 minutes after the workout has ended.  Many people have found their recovery to be best during this time frame. 

Thrive, a vegan athletic performance book by Brendan Brazier has some great after workout snacks such as Chocolate Recovery Pudding.

A couple hours after your workout snack you will no doubt want to eat again. If you can, try to consume only easily digested foods so that your digestive system doesn't take all your energy away from muscle recovery happening. Hemp, pea, and rice all come in a protein powder that is easy to use for this purpose.

Alkaline producing foods can also help in recovery.  When you exercise, lactic acid is produced by your body and this is what causes the pain that you feel. When you eat a highly alkaline diet, you help to neutralize the acids in your body. Check out recipes that are suitable for a macrobiotic diet for suggestions here.

If you find a tasty after workout suggestion let us know!  Happy sweating!

Healthy Sugar Alternatives

We all have a sweet tooth every now and again. Learn how to satisfy your cravings with out compromising your health with some great healthy sugar alternatives. Healthy sugar alternatives taste great and don't lead to the same health concerns that refined sugars do.

Overconsumption of refined sugars can lead to weight gain, hypoglycemia, diabetes, bad cholesterol, increased risk for heart disease and more.  In some cases sugar may even be the cause of learning and attention disabilities that children are diagnosed with. Sugar causes havoc on our bodies!

Stevia – is an herb that has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years by the Paraguay Indians.  It can be up to 30x sweeter than sugar and has almost no calories and ….no sugar!  It can be used the same way that people use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or even in baking (this needs special recipes since it's measured amount is so much sweeter than sugar.) Make sure you select green stevia which is the natural stuff. White stevia is mixed with artificial sweeteners.

Palm Sugar – comes from the nectar of coconut trees and has a naturally low glycemic index (GI) – a measure of foods impact to your blood sugar.  Its lower in carbs than typical sugar and a little less sweet but it can be used in baking just as you would use regular sugar.

Date sugar – is made from dehydrates ground dates and can be used in similar ways to brown sugar. The benefit here is that it has all the nutrition of the whole date.  Its still sugar but it will be easier on your blood sugar balancing than any refined sugar will be and it has other vitamins and minerals in it so its not just an empty calorie.

Brown rice syrup – is a sweetener made by steeping brown rice with enzymes. It creates a smooth sweet liquid extract that has a buttery nutty flavor. It can be great in baking desserts too. Brown rice syrup is a polysaccharide or complex sugar. This means that it will take longer to digest so a sugar crash is much more unlikely.  

Barley Malt – is made from dried sprouted barley that are cooked very slowly until they form a sweet, dark syrup. It has a malty flavor and is great in baking.  Just like brown rice syrup, barley malt is a complex sugar and so it less likely to create a dramatic sugar crash after ingestion. Because of its similarity to molasses, it can be a great substitute for molasses. Make sure you read the label carefully because some barley malts have corn syrup added to them and corn syrup will diminish all the good stuff the barley malt has to offer.

Xylitol – is a sugar alcohol. It tastes as sweet as sugar but has almost half the amount of calories that white sugar has. Plus, xylitol is absorbed and metabolized very slowly so your body does not produce any insulin spikes or raise your blood sugar levels to an extreme like white sugar does.

It can be traded out and used exactly the same as white sugar but with none of the harmful effects of sugar. The only complaint is that it can be hard to digest and cause mild gas and bloating. This will however, go away with time. The key is to start off with smaller quantities and work your way up.  

When you need to find a way to eat a healthy treat, look for choices like the ones listed above. Baking a cake or some cookies made from scratch will save your health. Once you have tried them out once and know what works for you the second time around will be a piece of cake….literally!  Be sure to tell us if you have any favorite recipes where you have swapped out white sugar for a healthier sweetener.



Essential Fatty Acids for Vegetarians

What are essential fatty acids?

Essential Fatty Acids or EFA's are considered to be good fats.  These EFA's are polyunsaturated and are of critical importance to your health and well being.

EFA's are considered "essential" because they are absolutely necessary for your body to maintain good health but your body does not make them on its own.  In other words, they must be ingested through your diet or dietary supplements in order to stay healthy.  

Deficiency in EFA's can lead to many symptoms such as decreased immune function, depression, dry and scaly skin conditions, reduced growth rates, and changes in the blood.  It can also contribute to higher rates of heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.

Taking adequate amounts of EFA's may help to prevent heart disease and strokes and provide relief from menstrual pain, joint pain, and skin conditions such as dryness or acne. Today people are also taking in more EFA's to help manage weight depression, and a stronger immune system.  The list goes on and on.  You can read all the research you want at Omega-Research.com

Two families of essential fatty acids

In order for the body to function at its highest, there must be a proper balance of the two families of EFA's.  A 3:1 ratio is suggested by current research.  Often times, the typical american diet, and yes, even the typical vegetarian diet has an over abundance of  Omega-6's from eating processed and refined foods.  

Omega-3's, or the lack there of, are a main contributor to chronic health conditions.  Heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression are among the leading health problems that americans fight with today.  Omega-3's or EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are now said to be one of the most beneficial EFA's for your health and maybe even the most popular dietary supplement on the market today.  

Omega-6 or GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) is also an important EFA in vegetarian health.  As mentioned earlier, getting these are not so hard to do through any regular diet, healthy or unhealthy.  If you want to learn more about this topic, definitely look into the vegetarian health institutes membership program.

Why are Essential Fatty Acids important for vegetarians?

Essential Fatty Acids help the body to produce eicosanoids which are present in every cell of your body and therefor have the ability to impact every system and function in your body.  Eicosanoids help your body with a natural antiinflammatory response. They also help with good circulation and blood pressure.  They protect the cells in your body kind of like a superman or superwoman.

The USDA suggests that we all ingest more EFA's. But too much of anything is not good so follow the recommendations of the FDA and dont ingest more than 3,000 mg per day.

Where can vegetarians find essential fatty acids?

As a vegetarian, supplementation can be even more confusing than how to navigate your way through a traditional american family meal. Getting your Omega-6's as a vegetarian are the easiest if you want to supplement with evening primrose oil or borage oil. Omega-3's are a different story.  Most people are now taking fish oils to obtain a adequate amount of Omega-3's.

Good new is that vegetarians are the least likely to have any of the health problems associate with a deficiency of EFA's but that does not mean you should not put a little extra effort in to making sure you are supplying your body with all it needs.

Omega-6's are found in seeds, nuts, grains, leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and other oils such as black current, borage, evening primrose, and hemp.  As you can see, if you eat a well rounded vegetarian diet you wont have any trouble getting your omega-6's in.

Omega-3's can be found in ground flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans, mung beans (or urid in an asian market).  ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is an omega-3 that can be found in many fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.  It can also be found higher concentration in oils such as wheat germ, canola, walnut, soybean, and my favorite, flax.  

Although ALA is an omega-3, it must first be converted into an omega-3 by your body once you have ingested it.  Certain factors can help or hurt your body's ability to convert ALA to a usable omega-3.  If your diet is too high in omega-6's, they compete with omega-3's, making them less available for your body.  So do your best to avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils as well as restaurants that cooks with soybean and corn oils that all have loads of omega-6's.

To assist your body in the uptake of healthy omega-3's you can also be sure to supplement your cooking with olive or canola oils that have much lower omega-6's in them.  You can also try adding a supplement of omega-3's for vegetarians such as Ascentia which is made of micro algae.  Studies are now showing this supplement to be highly absorbable!

 

 

 

 

One teaspoon of flaxseed oil or one tablespoon of ground flax seeds will give you all you need for a daily dose of Omega-3. Be sure to not cook these seeds or oils since heat damages them.  Also, try to store them in your fridge or freezer to keep them as fresh as possible.  I suggest you try using it in a salad dressing or even on a baked potato.  If you decide to use ground flax seeds instead of the oil you can buy the whole seed and grind them in a coffee grinder daily for super freshness. Then sprinkle it into a smoothie, onto cereal or salads.  You can really get creative with this stuff one you know how it tastes.

"The topic of omega-3 fatty acids, like many topics in nutrition, is fluid. Recommendations change as new studies provide more information." (VHI)  If you have any creative ways to get Omega-3's into your diet be sure to share with us all.

7 Tips for Making Your Easter Festive, Healthy, and Veg-Friendly

Whether your Easter celebration is about the resurrection of Christ or about a white bunny hiding candy and eggs everywhere, Easter time is full of fun traditions.

This year, you can celebrate a traditional Easter while staying veg friendly! Here are a few tips and creative ideas so you can spend your time bonding rather than planning, and stay as veg friendly and festive as possible!

1) If you're a strict vegetarian, beware of typical Easter Candy that has refined sugar.  Refined sugar contains charred animal bone. Use fruit as your sweetener or less processed sugar sweets such as turbinado sugar, maple syrup, or green stevia.

2) Try making or buying some whole grain, egg-free cookies. If you're making them yourself, use a bunny cookie-cutter to make them fit the theme.

3) Use nuts that are still in their shell to put into an Easter basket.  They are super healthy and many of them are an egg shape too.  Plus, most of us don't get the pleasure of cracking open nuts before we eat them in their most fresh state.

4) Add some small gifts like books, car toys and/or dolls to replace the typical candy in Easter baskets.

5) Instead of hunting for Easter eggs, hide baby carrots, apples, and boxes of raisins around the house.  You could even add plastic eggs filled with money or small trinkets.

6) Typically, Easter meals are centered around ham.  Try a veg friendly option instead.  If you really want to have that traditional dish feel and taste, try a meat substitute from soy or wheat gluten.  Field roasts are a great holiday treat if you are into this idea. For lots of fun vegan Easter recipes, visit our Vegan Passover & Easter Recipes blog post.

7) Include diversity in your meals.  Lots of colors, textures, and flavors are sure to satiate the taste buds of even the pickiest eaters and enliven your senses.

This Easter, have some fun with a these veg-friendly ideas and if you have any others tips to share, please do!

 

How to Remove Radiation from Drinking Water

 

Water may be the most valuable resource on the planet. Every living plant and animal needs water to survive. Water has the ability to make your body healthy or unhealthy.  

Getting safe water in your body is the key to all life. In this article learn the in's and outs of safe drinking water.

Why is water so important

It is said that as many as 75% of Americans have some form of dehydration! This can result in mental fatigue, fuzzy memory, and a confused metabolism. Water makes the entire human body function, from basic join lubrication to disease prevention. Because of the critical role that water plays in the human physiology, it only makes sense that the quality of water should be as high as we can get.  

Because of pollution, most of our drinking waters are contaminated with bacterias, chemicals and even heavy metals. Radionuclides or radio active particles are often found in drinking water and can lead to cancer over years of exposure. Drinking water from a good filtration system could be a very important investment in the quality of life for you and your family.

Water purification methods that can remove radiation 

Distillation

This is one method of water purification that can rid water of radiation. Heavy metals are classified in the same family as radiation in the periodic chart. Most heavy metals boil at a much higher temperature than water and so thermo distillation, which boils the water leaves behind radiation in the process.

The Waterwise 4000, a popular model, runs for $289 at Amazon.com. If you'd like to buy a Waterwise distiller, send us the best price you find (including tax and shipping), and we will beat it by $15.

We will do the same for Jupiter Science water ionizers, and the Mini-Classic and Steam Pure distillers from Pure & Secure.

Distilled water has no minerals or oxygen left in it. Because of this it has a flat taste and some believe that it will strip away the minerals from your body. To solve this, you can restore the lost minerals and oxygen by adding these products to the water: Minerals & Oxygen.

Reverse Osmosis

This is considered by many a superior form of purifying water. It's cost effective, efficient, and highly effective at removing impurities including nuclear radiation from drinking water. And it doesn't remove valuable minerals, and pure water is always on demand. No need to heat up your kitchen with a hot, noisy 4-hour distillation process. You can check out a scientific explanation at howstuffworks.com or about.com.

Click here to check out the Multipure reverse osmosis filter. If you want to buy it through us, we can give you a $20 discount.

How to pick a safe bottled water

When you need to buy water to drink the choices are usually plastic or plastic.  There are more varieties bottled water in America than there are types of donuts.  So, how do you choose a bottled water that is safe to drink?

Taste isn't the only thing to consider when you are picking out your next bottle.  As a matter of fact, research says that bottled water may not be any healthier for you than your tap water….it could even be worse.

 

Follow these tips to help you choose a safe bottled water.

  • Find a manufacturer that belongs to the International Bottled Water Association.  They require their members to test their water supply daily.  They also require an annual inspection of the bottling plant. (bottled water.org)
  • Read the label.  If a bottled water had failed federal regulations they must list that contains as "excessive level" of xxx.  A label will also list the source of the bottled water.
  • Pick the less toxic plastic bottle.  A clear plastic or glass bottle stamped with a number 1 on the underside will taste better and be the healthiest option.  Avoid numbers 3,6, & 7 which contain possible carcinogens in them and have also been reported to cause hormonal disturbances.

5 Types of bottled water

  1. Well water comes from an underground water reserve and is pumped to the surface.  Usually it is a local source or at least national.
  2. Spring water comes from an underground water source and it naturally flows to the surface of the earth.  This is often used to make bubble water that has carbonation added to it.    
  3. Artesian water comes from a drilled well that uses underground pressure to push water to the surface.  It often has a flavor similar to spring water.
  4. Mineral water is loaded with naturally occurring minerals.  It comes from an underground source and naturally flows up to the earths surface.  
  5. Purified water is treated water.  It may have been treated by reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization.  Sources of this type of water do not need to be identified as long as they state the treatment process.

What water is most prone to containing radiation?

When looking for radiation-free water, its good to remember that some home water supplies can be a source of radon (a well known radioactive chemical). If your water at home or store bought comes from an underground source such as well water or artesian water, it is more likely to contain higher levels of radon than water sources that naturally flow to the surface of the earth like spring water or mineral water. The reason for this is that when water flows to the surface of the earth on its own the radon has a chance to diffuse into the atmosphere and if it is forced to the surface it does not have the chance to do this.

Water makes up two thirds of the weight of your body.  Water keeps us alive and well. Shouldn't you be drinking radiation and pollution free water to prevent disease in your body?





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