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Why the Word “Vegan” is More Powerful Than Ever

By Colleen Holland

VegNews’ Colleen Holland explores why companies are clamoring to position themselves as “vegan.”

It wasn’t long ago that the word “vegan” evoked images of emaciated hippies, angry activists, and starving dumpster divers in the mainstream lexicon. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a lean physique, being passionate about a cause, and saving perfectly good food from going to waste, but in the past five years, something has changed. Perhaps the shift occurred when Ellen DeGeneres announced to the world that she was thriving on a vegan diet, or when the pro-veg film Forks Over Knives swept the nation with its sound science and promise that diseases like diabetes and obesity could be cured with a plant-based diet. Or was it the CNN interview with Bill Clinton where he extols the virtues of living without meat and dairy, the exposure to delectable vegan food through the hundreds of meat-free cookbooks now published every year, or the constant barrage of undercover factory-farm footage on major television networks? However the change took place, the perception of veganism is more positive than ever before, and everyone from Anderson Cooper to Arian Foster are talking about it. It is nearly impossible to deny that veganism’s moment has arrived.

According to the latest “how many vegetarians are there?” poll by the Vegetarian Resource Group, roughly 7.5 percent of the population identifies as either vegan or vegetarian, and an astonishing 33 percent eat “mostly veg.” Combine that with the millions more allured by the health benefits of ditching dairy and beef for almond milk and veggie burgers—not to mention the unprecendented 12-percent nose dive in meat consumption over the past five years—and we’ve got ourselves a little vegetarian revolution.

The Power of Vegan
Remember that scary word, vegan? For years, marketers were told to stay clear of using it on product packaging and promotion. It was seen as a turn-off to consumers, and a surefire way to get buyers not to buy a product. But now that it’s 2012, and veganeverything practically grows on trees, I wanted to find out just how far we’ve come. Are companies finally embracing the once-forbidden label? For Seth Tibbott, founder of Turtle Island Foods (a 32-year-old vegan company that makes veggie dogs, sausages, deli slices, and the famous Tofurky), the answer is an emphatic “yes.” He says, “We showcase the term ‘vegan’ as a major point of differentiation from our main competitors. This makes it easier on current vegans, interesting to meat reducers, and intriguing for others.” Earth Balance, an all-vegan food company that produces everything from butter spreads and soymilk to nut butters and mayonnaise, has prominently marketed its products as vegan since the company’s inception in 1998. Marketing Manager Adriane Little emphasizes the importance of communicating this message to consumers as “a way to show that a vegan diet should not be restrictive, but the opposite—a lifestyle filled with good-tasting, good-for-you options.”

But what about non-vegetarian companies? Have they recognized the benefits of marketing their brands as vegan? In my own analysis (spending a day at a natural-food store photographing any product that used the word vegan on its packaging), never before have I seen such a broad use of the once-taboo term. The word is splashed across boxes of Boca burgers (now owned by Kraft); popular pasta-sauce purveyor Victoria Fine Foods has launched an all-vegan line called Victoria Vegan; and Dr. Praeger’s—whose product line also includes seafood—doesn’t hold back when touting vegan on the front of its packaging. Combine this trend with such recent news as Subway testing vegan sandwiches in Washington, DC stores and McDonald’s opening its first all-vegetarian restaurant in India, and it’s just a matter of time, I believe, before major food brands embrace the word vegan to represent health, sustainability, and authenticity. For vegans, these values are nothing new, and according to Tibbott, we’re just ahead of the curve. “Vegans are ahead of their time in terms of eating a diet that we feel will be adopted by more and more people in the coming years. By living their values, they inspire others to consider dietary changes.” I couldn’t agree more.

To see an array of products currently marketed as vegan, check out Colleen Holland’s Vegan Food Slide Show.

Thank you to Staff of Life in Santa Cruz, CA for allowing VegNews to shoot the photography for this piece.

http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4950&catId=1

Anderson Cooper I’ll Have What He’s Having

All Vegan.  All Delish.

This Esselstyn Guy Knows His Stuff image

2012 Poll Shows Baby Boomers Go Vegetarian for Health Benefits

More baby boomers live vegetarian lifestyle to improve health
BY ALLYSON KOERNER AUGUST 22, 2012

You’ve heard the term baby boomers, right? More than likely you’ve connected the expression with people who were born between 1946 and 1964, who are known for growing up with “Leave it to Beaver,” experiencing the Vietnam War and seeing John F. Kennedy serve as president. Well, now baby boomers may be remembered for living a vegetarian lifestyle.

According to a 2012 Harris Poll conducted for the Vegetarian Resource Group, about 2.5 million Americans over the age of 55 have adopted a vegetarian diet. The big question is “why are baby boomers choosing a plant-based diet?”

One of the main reasons is to improve health issues. The Washington Post reports that doctors say “this demographic group is heading into prime time for health issues and sees vegetarianism as a way to protect their bodies.”

It is known that strokes are more prevalent in middle-aged people; older women are more prone to osteoporosis; and the more red meat consumed, higher the risk for cardiovascular disease. So, embracing fruits and veggies over meat can help in these areas.

All sorts of research exists out there, but here’s one example showing how forgoing meat is good for the body. Harvard researchers discovered in April 2012 that the more red meat one person eats the easier it is to develop heart disease. By adding just 3 ounces of meat to your daily diet, in addition to what you already consume, the risk of cardiovascular diseases increase 16 percent.

“Vegetarianism can be used as a way to combat many conditions that plague boomers: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity. We now know, for example, that such a diet can lower your blood pressure,” John Salge Blake, Boston University’s registered dietician, said.

Some of the most famous vegetarian baby boomers include former President Bill Clinton,Sir Paul McCartney, Michelle Pfeiffer and even talented actor Sir Ian McKellen.

As you know, Clinton suffered great health risks and after having a heart attack and undergoing a quadruple bypass surgery he quickly switched over to a vegan diet. He turned his life around and reaped the health benefits of saying sayonara to animal products.

Are adults over 50 taking note from these public figures? This just could be.

For further information on baby boomers and other statistics, visit The Washington Post for the complete article.

Photo Credit: Anthony Correia / Shutterstock.com

About Allyson Koerner

Allyson Koerner is a graduate from Emerson College where she obtained her Master’s in Print & Multimedia journalism. Passionate about writing, reading and entertainment, she is looking to make her way into the journalism profession.

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/08/22/2012-poll-shows-baby-boomers-choose-vegetarian-lifestyle/

21 Foolproof Vegan Recipe Substitutions

by Mykalee McGowan

21 Vegan Recipe Substitutions

It was once known as the diet of hippies and extreme animal lovers, but not anymore. Veganism is slowly becoming mainstream as professional bodybuilders and celebs from Mike Tyson to Bill Clinton — not to mention some normal folks — transition to the vegan lifestyle.

The vegan diet means eliminating all animal products on the plate. So most vegans steer clear of meat, dairy, eggs, and even honey. Some vegans are motivated by humanitarian concerns, but the vegan diet has some potential health benefits, too, like a reduced risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer[1]. Still scared to try the V-word? We’ve rounded up 21 delicious substitutions that can help ease the blow.

Meat

1. Tofu (firm or extra firm): One of the most common substitutes for meat, tofu has a light, fluffy texture. Half a cup packs 10 grams of protein, about half the quantity of protein in the same amount of chicken. (So make sure to add some nuts or sesame seeds when replacing meat with tofu.) Tofu stars in a range of dishes, from vegan lasagna to this summer salsa dish, but there are a fewcooking tips to keep in mind to avoid a tasteless meal.

2. Seitan: Made from wheat gluten, seitan has almost as much protein and less fat than the same amount of ground beef. Even though seitan doesn’t pick up flavors as well as tofu, the texture is more meat-like. It’s a great replacement for meat in beef and chicken main dishes — try this veganteriyaki recipe.

3. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP): TVP doesn’t exactly sound appealing: It’s basically defatted soy flour (meaning the oils were removed during processing) that comes in the form of granules. But a lot of people find TVP quite tasty — and nutritious. It’s not only a good source of protein, but it’s also rich in fiber, a key nutrient for digestive health. And no need to forgo tacos andchili — TVP’s a great substitute for ground beef or ground turkey!

4. TempehTempeh is made from whole soybeans, meaning it has a pretty bumpy texture. The meat substitute is packed with protein (about 15 grams per half-cup serving), fiber, and all sorts ofantioxidants. The next time a BLT craving hits, skip the bacon and opt instead for a “TLT.” (That’stempeh, lettuce, and tomato.)

5. Chickpeas: Also known as Garbanzo beans, chickpeas are rich in protein (12 grams per cup) and folate, important for red blood cell production and proper brain function. Some great vegan chickpea choices include falafel and “Tu-no,” a vegan tuna recipe that may leave you free of the sea forever.

Cheese

6. Nutritional Yeast: Another meat replacement that’s way more appetizing than it sounds,nutritional yeast is a good source of protein and vitamin B12. Plus it’s a good option for those watching their blood pressure, with about 9 mg of sodium per ounce compared to about 428 mg in the same amount of Parmesan cheese. Still dreaming of Parmesan-covered spaghetti? Sprinkle on some nutritional yeast for some cheesy flavor on pastas and in sauces, like mac and cheese!

7. Soy Cheese: For vegan cheese lovers, this food is almost like magic. Soy cheese melts, spreads and tastes like the real thing — without all the saturated fat! Use soy cheese in all traditional cheese dishes, like fancy fondue. But keep in mind soy cheese doesn’t usually provide as much protein or calcium as most types of milk cheese, so add some nuts or another protein source to a cheese-free meal. Abracadabra!

Milk

8. Soy Milk: One of the most common milk substitutes, soy milk is a nutritional superstar. Some brands pack protein, vitamin D, and 15 percent more calcium than skim milk. With its light taste, soy milk can replace cow’s milk in almost any dish — even doughnuts!

9. Rice Milk: Made from the liquid of ground rice, rice milk is a light-tasting, low-cholesterol alternative to cow’s milk, with about the same amount of calcium. Try it chilly in this ice cream recipe.

10. Almond Milk: Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk is about equal in calories and even higher in healthy fats and antioxidants. This thick milk is great for baking goodies, like this marbled banana bread.

11. Hemp Milk: Yes, hemp milk is made from hemp seeds, marijuana’s cousins. But the high we get from drinking this stuff is from the awesome nutrients. Hemp milk is a great source of omega-3fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. (But bones, beware: Hemp milk doesn’t have as much calcium as whole milk, so be sure to get extra calcium from othernon-dairy sources.) Pour it on cereal or in a mocha latte for a delicious milk-free delicacy.

12. Oat Milk: Surprised to hear there’s such a thing as milk made with oats? Don’t be. Oat milk can improve hair and skin health and provide a ton of fiber and iron. It’s lighter in taste than cow’s milk, can replace milk in a variety of recipes, and anyone can make it! Try the cashew version for an extra kick.

13. Coconut Milk: Go cuckoo for coconut milk. This low-calorie liquid packs protein plus vitamins and minerals like magnesium, which aids the muscular system. (The only downside is coconut milk doesn’t have quite as much calcium as cow’s milk.) Coconut milk is great in creamy sauces, especially curry sauces.

Eggs

14. Tofu (silken or soft): Just like an egg, tofu is a great source of protein. (A half-cup serving of tofu has 10 grams of protein; one large egg has 6 grams.) Tofu tastes great in heavy egg dishes likequiche and omelets. Or scramble tofu with some veggies for a nutritious breakfast.

15. Apple Sauce: Using unsweetened apple sauce in vegan baked foods is not only a creative way to replace eggs, but also cuts down on cholesterol. Use ¼-cup applesauce for every egg the recipe calls for, like in raspberry truffle brownies.

16. Flax Seeds: When it comes to baking, flax seeds are a great, if unexpected, substitute for eggs. The seeds turn baked goods from sweet treats into awesome sources of Omega-3 fats and fiber. Remember to ground the flax seeds or buy flaxseed meal before baking. (If not, prepare to eat some chunky muffins.) Then give this gingerbread flax muffin recipe a try.

17. Mashed Bananas: An egg and a banana might look pretty different, but they’re both great binding agents (the stuff that holds all the ingredients together). Use mashed banana as an alternative binding agent in different baking recipes for some potassium-rich cakes or chocolate chip muffins.

Butter

18. Coconut Butter: A nutritious, delicious butter alternative, coconut butter has absolutely no cholesterol. (Regular butter has about 33 milligrams per tablespoon.) Coconut butter’s also packed with nutrients that aid in brain function, immunity, and weight loss. Craving chocolate? Try this mouthwatering fudge recipe.

19. Soy Margarine: This spread might as well be called, “I can’t believe it’s not dairy!” Soy margarine’s as versatile as regular butter and tastes strikingly similar. And unlike regular butter, soy margarine contains no whey, lactose, or casein (all animal products). These crepes require soy margarine or another vegan spread. 

Honey

20. Agave Syrup: Even though it’s made from the same plants responsible for tequila, agave syrup won’t give us that happy-hour buzz. Still, as a honey substitute, it doesn’t disappoint. Agave syrup is sweeter than sugar and thinner than honey — but it can also be filled with fructose and calories, so use it sparingly. Agave syrup’s a great sweetener for teas, juices, desserts, anddressings.

21. Maple Syrup: It’s the secret Aunt Jemimah’s kept for too long: Maple syrup is a great alternative to honey. It’s full of antioxidants, zinc, iron and potassium, nutrients that help boost heart health and the immune system. Plus it’s usually lower in sugar and calories than honey. And flapjacks won’t be the only treat doused in sweet goodness: Maple syrup can also replace honey as an oatmeal topping and even sweeten up blueberry pie.

Did we miss any of your favorite vegan products? Let us know in the comments below!

Works Cited

  1. Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. Craig, W.J, Mangels, A.R., American Dietetic Association. Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2009;109(7):1266-82. []

http://greatist.com/health/vegan-recipe-substitutions/?utm_source=pulsenews&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+greatist+%28Greatist+-+Health+and+Fitness+Articles%2C+News%2C+and+Tips%29

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