My Plantcentric Journey

Archive for September, 2012

Do Your Favorite Snack Brands Contain GMOs?

Food Babe has posted a list of America’s most popular snack brands that contain GMOs, including  Nabisco, Frito Lay, Orville Redenbacher, and Kellogg’s.

She also posted a chart of GMO free replacements for each snack product and recommended several Non-GMO snack brands.  She also pointed out that Big Food companies have already redesigned many of their products without GMOs for Europe and asks why do Europeans deserve safer food than Americans?

See the info here:  http://foodbabe.com/2012/09/28/do-your-favorite-snack-brands-contain-gmos/

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What’s the Healthiest Diet?

I thought this was so interesting.  Hope you do too.   Laura

 

Vegan Diet Mistakes: 5 Common Pitfalls When Starting A Purely Plant-Based Diet

vegan

Vegan Diet Mistakes: 5 Common Pitfalls When Starting A Purely Plant-Based Diet

Thinking about adopting a purely plant-based diet?

We get it — after all, it’s been linked with decreased stress and increased happiness.

And who can forget that former president Bill Clinton adopted a meat-free eating plan to improve his heart health? (He underwent quadruple bypass and stent surgeries in 2004 and 2010, USA Today noted.)

But whether you’re doing it for health reasons or ethics (after all, a vegan diet means you aren’t eating any animal products — even fish, dairy and eggs), there are some mistakes a newcomer to the diet might easily make.

We asked two experts in plant-based eating — Amy Lanou, Ph.D., an associate professor of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina Asheville, and Vandana Sheth, R.D., C.D.E, a Los Angeles-based dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — for their advice for people who are just starting out on a vegan diet.

Their biggest tip? PLAN.

“A vegan diet can be healthy and have many positive health benefits, but ensure that it’s well planned and nutritionally balanced,” Sheth, who is a lifelong vegetarian, tells HuffPost. Make sure it “includes whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables and heart-healthy fats.”

Sheth says that a vegan diet can be healthy as long as you get the nutrients your body needs from a variety of plant-based foods.

Other tips from Sheth and Lanou:

– Drink plenty of water, as your body may not be used to getting all that extra fiber from the added fruits and vegetables.

– Let your doctor know about your new diet. Every body is different, and your doctor can help you understand what you might need more or less of, within the scope of a vegan diet. Also, if you’re on medications (like for blood pressure or cholesterol), your dosages may change.

Read on for some common mistakes Sheth and Lanou say new vegans may make — and their tips for avoiding them.

Are you a vegan? What piece of advice would you give to someone who is starting a completely plant-based diet? Tell us in the comments!

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  • 1. Eat The Same Amount As Your Pre-Vegan Days

    Always hungry on your new vegan diet? You may not be eating enough, says Lanou.

    “What people find when they move to a more whole-foods diet built from plant foods, is they have to eat larger quantities of food,” she says. “People find themselves hungry or not feeling full and it’s because the caloric density of the food they’re eating is lower.”

    For example, you can’t expect to go from eating a sandwich that has meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato, to a sandwich with only lettuce and tomato and expect to feel the same amount of fullness, she says. So you “have to eat more food, and that happens anytime you’re taking out, or removing, the calorie dense foods from your diet.”

  • 2. Don’t Seek Out Vitamin B12

    There are a myriad of plant-based options to get most of our body’s essential nutrients — you can get calcium, for example, from leafy green vegetables and tofu instead of milk, and you can get omega-3 fatty acids from chia seeds and flax seeds instead of fish. But a big mistake many new vegans make is not going out of their way to find a plant-based source of vitamin B12, which is vital for proper neurological development and functioning, Sheth says.

    The nutrient “primarily comes from animal products, so make sure you’re getting it either through things like fortified cereals or plant-based beverages fortified with B12,” Sheth adds.

    Lanou explains that because the body is able to store up vitamin B12 for a long period of time, you may not even notice that you’re deficient until a year or more after you’ve started a vegan diet.

    Older people who are going vegan should talk with their doctors about getting enough vitamin B12, Sheth notes, because the “intrinsic factor” in our bodies that help us absorb vitamin B12 diminishes with age.

  • 3. ‘If It’s Vegan, It Must Be Healthy’

    When some people start a vegan diet, they load up on foods like processed veggie burgers, processed veggie cheese, processed veggie hotdogs, and other, well, emprocessed/em veggie-based foods. While this can help you to stick to your meat- and animal-free goals, some of these foods aren’t giving you the nutritional benefits you would get if you actually ate whole, real, non-processed foods, Lanou says.

    “The benefit of going from an omnivorous diet to a vegan diet has to do with what you’re taking out emand/em putting in,” she says. “If you’re putting things in that are too similar, you may not be getting all the benefits you could be getting.”

    Sheth agrees, saying that she discourages her clients switching to a vegan diet only to rely solely on those processed vegan foods.

    “Those are also heavily processed — high in sodium and fat. But you wont want to live off that either — it’s emstill/em a processed food,” she says.

  • 4. Always Eat The Nuts/Salad When You Are Out And About

    Many restaurants and stores now have plenty of options for plant-based eaters — but not all of them. So, it’s wise to carry some delicious, nutritious back-up options if you find yourself in a place where you have nothing to really eat.

    “You can always find a bag of peanuts or cashews somewhere, and that’s not bad food, but you don’t want to live on that,” Lanou says.

    And the same goes for restaurants — don’t feel like you always have to have the salad if you’re out at a place that serves meat-centered dishes, Sheth says.

    “You can customize and say, ‘I’ll have the grains and vegetables that come with the steak,’ but ask if they have tofu or a bowl of chili so you can easily have all the nutrients you need,” she adds.

  • 5. Don’t Listen To Your Body

    Every time you alter your diet pattern, it will take about three weeks for your body to adjust, Sheth says, so don’t be discouraged if you’re feeling strange or still adjusting your eating habits when you first start. And don’t take cravings as a sign that your body “needs” a certain food (a bacon craving doesn’t mean your body needs bacon!) as it could just mean you need to reassess what nutrients you’re consuming.

    “If you’re craving meat or bacon, what have you been eating the last few days? Maybe you’ve just been living off salads, so you may not be getting adequate heart-healthy fats,” Sheth says. “See if you can balance it out. Is it the fat your craving? The salt? Just assess what you’re doing and see if you’re meeting all your nutritional needs.”

    Lanou advises people to listen to their bodies, and adjust accordingly.

    “If your body is telling you it’s hungry, eat. If it’s telling you something doesn’t feel good when it’s in your stomach, buy something else,” she says.

  • You’ve Got Vegan Food’s Benefits

    In this edition of You’ve Got, Kathy Freston tells you all about the health benefits and variations of Vegan food.

    http://spanishchef.net/spanishchefblog/2012/09/29/vegan-diet-mistakes-5-common-pitfalls-when-starting-a-purely-plant-based-diet/

Thirty Days, Thirty Reasons, Thirty Ways: Go Vegetarian In October!

Kathy Stevens

Founder and director, Catskill Animal Sanctuary

So on Monday, October 1, is World Vegetarian Day–the kickoff for Vegetarian Awareness Month than runs throughout October. If you’ve been toying with the idea of going vegetarian, then let me be your cheerleader, and let the following lists inform and inspire! Good luck…and please share your journey!

A Reason a Day to Go Vegetarian
1. Because there are thousands of reasons to go vegetarian (only room for 30 here), and only two not to: 1. because you’re afraid to try something new 2. because you don’t know what to eat. Thousands of reasons outweigh two, don’t they?

2. Because if you want to get healthy, you should start with food! Replace cancer-causing, fat, pesticide and hormone-laced meats with cancer-preventing, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering foods like apples, broccoli, blueberries, carrots, flax, garlic, leafy greens, nuts and sweet potatoes.

3. Because vegetarians are about 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters.

4. Because our meat and dairy-centric diet is woefully lacking in health-giving fiber, contained only in plant-based foods. A minimum of 35 grams per day is recommended; the typical American consumes only 12.

5. Because four out of five Americans with cardiovascular disease who switch to a healthy (low-fat, whole foods) vegetarian diet reverse their symptoms completely.

6. The news gets better. Heart and blood-vessel diseases, diabetes, and of course obesity are preventable for 95% of us if we follow a healthy vegan diet, exercise, and manage stress.

7. Because I’ll bet you agree with Dean Ornish, one of the researchers who proved statement #4: “I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic while it is medically conservative to cut people open or put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs.”

8. Because humans are the only species that drinks the milk of another species, and that fact alone should give you pause. Think about it for a moment. Isn’t it logical that cow’s milk is designed to feed baby cows? When ingested by humans, cow’s milk is linked to constipation, allergies, obesity, acne, childhood diabetes, and much more. It’s chock full of cholesterol (plant foods have none), and likely filled with antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides.

9. Because of pink slime. PERIOD.

10. Because 70% of our antibiotics are fed to livestock. Doesn’t that scare you…just a little?

11. Because we are going to run out of food if we keep growing most of it to feed animals, who in turn feed far fewer peoplepeople than if we grew the food to feed directly to people. (One can feed 16 to 20 vegetarians with the same amount of natural resources as a single meat eater.)

12. In 2006, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concluded that worldwide livestock farming generates 18% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions — compared with 13% generated by all transportation combined. In 2009, however, WorldWatch Institute reported that the more accurate figure may be as high as 51%. Our diet is cooking our planet.

13. Because along with hundreds of scientists and many major media, the head of the U.N.’s Nobel Prize-winning panel on climate change urged people to cut back on meat to combat climate change.

14. Because it takes over 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, vs. 49 gallons to produce a pound of apples. We’re using so much water for beef production that many leading environmentalists are predicting that Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico will soon be virtually uninhabitable. Why? We’re taking 13 trillion gallons of water per year from theOgallala aquifer, the largest body of fresh water on earth. Its water is left from the melted glaciers of the last Ice Age. Once the water is gone, it’s gone.

15. Because vast bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay are becoming toxic waste sites. Due to massive algae blooms from chicken and dairy factories that line the Eastern Shore, only ten percent of the Bay has enough oxygen in the summer. It’s so depleted that animals leap from the water to breathe. We humans have given their desperate act the ironic name of “jubilee.”

16. Because 75% of our topsoil has been depleted primarily due to growing animals to feed people. It takes 500 years to replace one inch of topsoil–the stuff that food grows in. “A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt.

17. Because there are no septic systems on factory farms. Americans eat around 9 billion animal each year: that makes for a lot of poop. Some manure goes directly into waterways, and some is stored in giant pits called “lagoons.” When they leech, crack, or overflow, feces goes directly into our rivers, streams, lakes…and our drinking water.

18. Because chickens, cows, and pigs aren’t fed what they’re designed to eat. They’re fed what’s cheap and what makes them grow incredibly fast. Some of what they eat is rendered animals – the boiled and ground up remains of dead and diseased animals, including roadkill and euthanized pets.

19. Because in ways that truly matter, we are all the same. Think about it. Whether human or non-human animal, we all seek happiness and pleasure, we all try to avoid pain and suffering. We all have rich and complex emotional lives.

20. Because when folks sneak into chicken and turkey factories, here’s what they see: gas masks hanging inside buildings in which the animals lived, the lack of anything resembling farm life–not a single window to let in fresh air, not a tiny patch of earth. Dead and dying animals…lots of them: the bruised and bloodied ones, the ones struggling for air, the deformed ones, the ones covered in sores. As Jonathan Saffran Foer writes, “the power brokers of factory farming know that their business model depends on people not being able to see (or hear about) what they do.”

21. Because of “flip-over syndrome.” It’s the term used by the poultry industry to describe sudden death. Forced to grow more quickly than their bodies can handle, about five percent of chickens die this way prior to their predetermined death sentence at 42 days.

22. Because terms like humanely-raised, free-range, and all-natural are…um…bullshit. Sorry. Utterly meaningless. The definitions are ludicrous and the industries regulate themselves.

23. Because brain scientists have recently acknowledged that most animals are conscious and aware in the same way that humans are, and confirmed that virtually all animals have at least some degree of sentience — even bees, according to Christof Koch in his Huffington Post blog, “Consciousness is Everywhere.”

24. Because of the hundreds of moments we’ve witnessed at Catskill Animal Sanctuary: pigs laughing, sheep protecting other species, turkeys cuddling up in our laps to fall asleep, tender friendships among goats and chickens.

25. Because it’s plain and simply wrong for a newborn animal to be ripped from its mother, terrified and hungry, and driven into a crowded pen with other terrified babies, purchased and slaughtered immediately or caged in darkness for four months, then slaughtered. (Veal).

26. Because here’s one of many examples of why switching to fish doesn’t help. During the process of fishing for tuna, 150 other species are routinely killed and thrown back into the ocean. Among them are great white sharks, swordfish, sea horses, bluefish, albatross, gulls, bottlenose dolphins, harbor porpoises, killer whales, pilot whales, humpback whales, loggerhead turtles.

27. Because unless we reverse course, there will soon be no more edible fish in our mighty, majestic oceans.

28. Because I’ve barely scratched the surface here in depicting how animals suffer under our modern agribusiness system. I haven’t even mentioned pigs, who, like the rest, suffer mightily.

29. Because my guess is that you try hard to be a good human being, yet as a carnivore, you unwittingly subject hundreds of living beings each year to a level of suffering that you wouldn’t wish upon the vilest human being you could conjure up.

30. Because in the time that it took me to write this article, the USDA reports that almost 1 million chickens, 28,526 turkeys, 23,027 pigs and many thousands more animals — animals brain scientists have just said are conscious and aware, just like humans — were killed to feed us.

Reeling? GOOD! Here are 30 ways to get started on your vegan journey!

1. Wanna learn about this lifestyle? Order the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’svegetarian starter kit,
2. or download a veg starter kit from Mercy For Animals.
3. PCRM even helps pregnant women take care of themselves—and the baby!
4. And they help parents get the diet thing right from the beginning!
Oprah to the rescue! From her ‘Vegan Starter Kit’ website, here are:
5. Three weeks of what to eat 3x/day,
6. answers to lots of questions you probably have,
7. a pretty awesome shopping list,
8. and vegan alternatives to everyday foods.
9. No matter where you live or travel, Happy Cow will help you locate somewhere good to eat!
10. So will VegGuide!
11. Pam Rice’s fabulous publication, 101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian, will inform and inspire (thanks to Pam for supplying some of the information in my lists!)
12. Think your favorite chain restaurant won’t have food for you? Think again! Moe’s, Subway, Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Changs, and Taco Bell have several options; some, like Moe’s, have lots! Even Burger King has a veggie buger. Go here to see for yourself.
13. If you live in New York City, Westchester, or most of the Hudson Valley, Healthy Gourmet to Go will deliver your meals for the week. And they’re good!
14. Let Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s books help you get cookin’!
15. On a budget? No problem! Veg diets don’t have to be expensive.
16. If you navigate life via your iphone/ipad, download helpful apps!
17. Ellen (as in DeGeneres) offers a short list of films to rock your world and inspire you onward.
18. To her list, I’d add Peaceable KingdomThe WitnessSuperSize Me,
19. Let’s not forget Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Our GO VEG page answers your questions and gives you and helpful resources. My first book, Where the Blind Horse Sings, will help you see farm animals from a whole new perspective, as will a weekend visit. Finally, meet great folks and hone your skills at a CAS vegan cooking class! Sign up early: they sell out fast!
20. As soon as you check out kriscarr.com, you’ll be hooked. Betcha.
21. Shop for products from food to clothes at Vegan Essentials and Pangea online.
22. Need some hand-holding or some know-how? You can still access PCRM’s 21-day VeganKickstart Program. (It’s even offered in Spanish!)
23. Here are some more replacements for your current — I MEAN FORMER — dairy and meat choices. (Many items are available in your local grocery or health food store).
24. Explore what various religions have to say about animal cruelty.
25. Follow CAS on Twitter for vegan recipes and breaking animal agriculture news.
26. For inspiration, education, shopping and so much more, read GirlieGirl Army and Our Hen House. And check out Our Hen House’s award-winning podcast!
27. For fun and good vegan gossip: Ecorazzi.
28. Relax at night with your copy of VegNews–celebrate your new life!
29. Attend an animal welfare conference or an animal rights conference to meet like-minded people. Or google “vegan meet-up” where you live.
30. Take your journey one day at a time, and remember that every step you take towards a vegan lifestyle is a powerful step in the right direction!

GMOs Aren’t Meant to Feed the World…They’re Designed to Sell Monsanto’s Herbicide Roundup

Read the article at:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=can-genetically-modified-crops-feed-09-04-16

The United State of GMOs

Operation: Whole Foods Hidden Camera GMO Sting – Bait Organic, Switch to GMO

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