My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘dairy’

American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR): CRU: High-fat Dairy May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer Death

“After an average of almost 12 years, women who consumed more than one serving a day of high-fat dairy foods had a 49% increased risk of dying from breast cancer during the course of the study!” http://www.aicr.org/cancer-research-update/march_20_2013/cru_dairy_breast_cancer.html

It’s Our One Year Plantcentric Anniversary!

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Last Christmas, after a substantial weight loss journey for both of us, I surprised my husband with
Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Rip Esselstyn’s The Engine 2 Diet, Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D., CPT The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, The Forks Over Knives Companion Book, and Kathy Hester’s The Vegan Slow Cooker.  After reading Dr. Esselstyn’s & Rip Esselstyn’s books, my husband, Bill, turned to me and said, “I’m going vegan.  You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but I am.  I’m starting now.”  I about choked!  We had just “come out” as vegetarian, but this was different. This was really radical.  Go without cheese??  And ice cream and pudding?  I shakily said, “OK.  If you are, I am too.”  Gulp!

Then, we watched Dr. Robert Lustig’s The Bitter Truth About Sugar

We had already been following the Rule of 5 from You on a Diet by Michael F. Roizen, MD and Mehmet C. Oz, MD, one of which was no high fructose corn syrup, but now we cut out any kind of added sugar.

We are also learning about GMO’s and trying to cut them out of our diet.  Pretty hard when there is currently no labeling.  We definitely are supporting legislation to have all food that has GMO’s in them to be labeled.
What a great year it’s been.  It hasn’t been hard.  We just armed ourselves with knowlege about the effects of dairy and used vegan cookbooks.  We discovered great new flavors, spices and ways of cooking.  No meat, no dairy, no added oil and no added sugar.  Our palates have really grown.

jesse                                                      fbpic2

This was taken 3 years ago this Easter                                                                                                 Christmas 2012

 

Now, I daresay, we are actually becoming foodies again!  We love trying all new recipes.  I really love Chloe Coscerelli’s cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen http://chefchloe.com/.

I hope you are enjoying following our journey.  I’ve been humbled when I hear how we’ve inspired you to make changes in your own life as we continue to make changes in ours.

Let me know how you’re doing and what you like about this blog!

Happy Plantcentric One Year Anniversary!!

Laura

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin-Flavored Coffee is NOT Vegan

MEGHAN S


Beware: Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin-flavored coffee is NOT vegan. The seasonal pumpkin flavor contains skim milk.

Directly from the website, the ingredients are:

INGREDIENTS: Brewed 100% Arabica Coffee, Pumpkin Spice Syrup [Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt]. 

All other flavors seem to be vegan (caramel, cinnamon, coconut, etc) but double check to be sure.

 

Meghan Schmitt | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Philadelphia, PA Meghan has been an animal lover since she brought her first hamster home as a child. She has been involved with animal rescue for more than 12 years and recently became vegan. She is a stern advocate for spay/neuter programs, as well as adoption over buying.

Photo credit: Wikimedia commons/ Tianliu

Milk It Does the Body Harm Dr. McDougall

http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/mcdougalls_moments_milk.html

9 Surprising Foods That May Raise Your Cholesterol Web MD

Did you know that ground turkey could boost your cholesterol? Learn about these nine surprising artery-clogging foods. Which one shocked you the most?

9 Surprising Foods That Do Increase Cholesterol

  1. Ground turkey. Even when ground turkey is labeled as 85% lean, it has 12.5 grams of fat in a 3-ounce portion, says Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, Georgia State University nutrition professor emerita. Her advice: Ground turkey breast can be a heart-healthy substitute for ground beef, but watch the portion size because it’s not without fat.”
  2. Added sugars (such as table sugar or high fructose corn syrup). One of the biggest surprises is that added sugars in processed and prepared foods are associated with decreased HDL levels. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in April 2010 found an association between added sugars and blood lipid levels and discovered adults averaged 21 teaspoons of added sugars daily. “Increased added sugars are associated with blood cholesterol levels and heart disease risk,” says Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, author of Guide to Better Digestion.  Everyone would benefit by reducing the amount of added sugars in the diet because they can also lead to obesityand type 2 diabetes, Bonci says. The AHA recommends getting no more than 100 calories from added sugars on a 2,000 calories-per-day diet.
  3. Mashed potatoes. “Most mashed potatoes, especially at restaurants, include hefty portions of butter, cream, whole milk, sour cream, and/or cream cheese, turning a perfectly healthy potato into a saturated fat bomb,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Marissa Moore, MBA, RD. Order a plain baked potato and top it with vegetables, salsa, or low-fat sour cream. Another option: Enjoy the natural sweetness of a vitamin A-rich plain baked sweet potato.
  4. Pizza. Just one slice of plain pizza has 10 grams of fat and 4.4 grams of saturated fat — and we all know that one slice without any pepperoni is not the usual order. Stick to one slice and top it with lots of high-fiber, filling vegetables.
  5. Whole-fat dairy products. “Dairy foods are nutrient-rich, loaded withcalciumprotein, vitamins, and minerals, but if your choice is full-fat, you could be getting a hefty dose of saturated fat,” says nutrition consultant and author Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD. For example, one cup of Fage Total Plain Classic Greek yogurt has 18g saturated fat, but if you choose their 0% variety, it has no fat. When you choose nonfat or low-fat, you get all the nutritional benefits without the extra calories or fat. If you love full-fat cheese, “portion control is the answer,” Ward says.
  6. Plant foods from the tropics. Coconut, coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter all sound healthy but they are the only plant foods that contain saturated fat, says Connie Diekman, Med, RD, Washington University nutrition director. “Read labels for these terms and enjoy them in small doses so they won’t sabotage your cholesterol level,” she says. Karmally calls pina coladas “heart attack in a glass — there are 602 calories and 20 grams saturated fat in a 12-ounce glass.” And Moore says, “Don’t forget about chocolate, when eaten in excess can lead to increased cholesterol levels.”
  7. Ghee (clarified butter). In India, ghee is associated with healthful eating and honoring your guests but it is very high in saturated fat, just like butter, says Karmally. “It is also high in palmitic acid which is artery clogging.” Use heart healthy olive oil or a trans fat-free margarine instead of ghee.
  8. Pie and pastries. “Flaky crusts, streusel topping, custard filling, cheese filled pastries — these all promise a hefty dose of saturated fat because they often include butter, shortening, cream, cream cheese, and/or whole milk,” Moore says. It is the butter or shortening that makes the crust so nice and flaky. Choose fruit pies and eat mostly filling and only a few bites of the crust for a lower-fat and calorie treat.
  9. Movie theater tub popcorn. Regal Cinema’s medium-sized popcorn has a whopping 60 grams of saturated fat and 1,200 calories. Why? Because it is popped in fats, then topped off with more fat, earning it a spot on foods that can wreck your cholesterol level. Shave the fat and calories by skipping the buttery topping and opt for a smaller portion.

Read the Label

Reading food labels can help you avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats. To limit trans fat, avoid fried foods, foods with vegetable shortening, margarine, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

When reading labels, keep these numbers in mind: Saturated fat should not exceed 7% of calories and trans fats less than 1%, according to the AHA. That’s less than 16 grams saturated fat and 2 grams trans fat on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Read more at:  http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/9-surprising-foods-that-may-raise-your-cholesterol

Five Major Poisons Inherently Found in Animal Foods

The McDougall Newsletter

Five Major Poisons Inherently Found in Animal Foods

Protein, fat, cholesterol, methionine (a sulfur-containing amino acid), and dietary acids, which are all superabundant in animal foods, are poisoning nearly everyone following the standard Western diet. Most people cannot fathom this, because it takes four or more decades of consumption before disability, disfigurement, and death become common from these endogenous toxins. This long latent period fools the public into thinking there is no harm done by choosing an animal-food-based diet. If the case were one of instantaneous feedback—one plate of fried eggs caused excruciating chest pains, paralysis from a stroke followed a prime rib dinner, or a hard cancerous lump appeared within a week of a grilled cheese sandwich—then eating animal foods would be widely recognized as an exceedingly unwise choice. Similar failures to appreciate slow poisonings from our lifestyle choices are seen with tobacco and alcohol use. If one package of cigarettes were followed by a week on a respirator or a bottle or two of gin caused hepatic (liver) coma then no one would indulge in these instruments of long-drawn-out death either. The difference defining the failure to take long overdue actions is that the dangers from tobacco and alcohol use are universally known and accepted, whereas almost everyone considers red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products necessary parts of a healthy diet.

The Art of Selling Slow Poisons: Distract the Consumer

Sellers of animal foods for human consumption draw in customers with the marketing strategy of “unique positioning”—each industry tries to make its merchandise stand apart from other foods by promoting a nutrient that is especially plentiful in its product. Over time this effective advertising approach has meant that the mention of calcium brings to mind milk and cheese, iron has become synonymous with beef, and eggs are well known as the “best source of high quality protein.”

Because these highly sensationalized nutrients are always plentiful in basic plant foods, illnesses from deficiencies of these nutrients are essentially unknown, as long as there is enough food to eat. Thus, there are no real nutritional advantages to choosing red meat, poultry, dairy, and egg products with an especially high density of one particular nutrient. Ironically, milk and cheese are iron deficient, and red meat, poultry, and eggs (unless you eat the shells) contain almost no calcium.

Focusing on the abundance of an individual nutrient accomplishes an even more insidious marketing goal; it diverts the consumer’s, and oftentimes the professional dietitian’s, attention away from the harmful impact on the human body of consuming all kinds of animal foods. In my 42-years of providing medical care I have never seen a patient sickened by eating potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, rice, beans, fruits, and/or vegetables (unspoiled and uncontaminated). However, during my everyday practice I have witnessed (just like every other practicing medical doctor has) a wide diversity of diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer, from eating fresh killed and/or collected, as well as processed and/or preserved, animal-derived foods.

A Simplified View of Animal-food Poisoning

Animal foods—be they from cow, pig, or chicken muscles or the ovum of a bird or the lactation fluids of a mammal—are all so similar in their nutritional makeup and their impact on human health that they should be considered as the same (see the comparison tables at the end of this article). In order to avoid the confusion created by the marketing strategy of “unique positioning,” lets look at different kinds of animal products mixed together to make one food; and compare them to their antithesis, starches.

If I were to blend together red meat, chicken, eggs, and cheese, which most Americans do three or more times a day in their stomachs, the end product would be a highly acidic mixture of mostly protein, fat, and water—each individual food having contributed a similar amount of each component. A blend of various starches—beans, rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes—would produce an opposite in composition.

Continued at:  http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2010nl/jan/poison.htm

6 Ingredients You May Not Want in Your Food

By: Food Republic, Huffington Post

Garden burgers. Power bars. Protein brownies. Bottled water that makes you thin, young and smart. And we used to wonder what they put in Pop Rocks…

These days it’s hard for even die-hard foodies to know what they’re eating or drinking. That’s because food has changed from something that didn’t need a modifier — if it walked, swam, flew or grew out of the ground, it was food — to something that stopped off at Mr. Burns’ nuclear plant on the way to your plate.

Let’s call it “foodiness.” Like Stephen Colbert’s truthiness, which wasn’t about truth, we’re not consuming food as much as we’re consuming an edible manufactured doppelganger designed to look and taste like food, but isn’t actually food: like veggie puffs with no vegetables; fruit bars with no fruit; like goldfish crackers with no goldfish.

And now, below, a look at some typical foodiness ingredients that are packaged, flavored and presented as food.

1. TBHQ, A.K.A: Butane

Turns out butane isn’t just for lighters anymore – it’s also an artificial antioxidant that they put it in chicken nuggets to keep them “fresh” tasting. So instead of your chicken nuggets being fresh, butane keeps them “fresh.” Eating butane probably wasn’t what you had in mind last time you lit up, got the munchies, and ordered those nuggets. Try homemade chicken wings instead, for fuel-free food.

Found in:
 Frozen, packaged or pre-made processed foods with long shelf lives such as frozen meals, crackers, chips, cereal bars and fast food.

2. Estrogen

Regular milk is full of hormones used by the milk industry to keep the cows knocked up and lactating all year round. Sound gross? It is. So when you drink regular milk you take a shot of hormones with it. And all you wanted was a bowl of cereal.

Found in:
 All non-organic dairy, so organic is recommended.

3. Spinach Dust

Think that green sheen on your veggie snacks is giving you your daily serving of vegetables? Think again. That’s just powdered spinach dust, which is spinach that has been dehydrated and sucked dry of its nutritional value. So the upshot is that green sheen is about as nutritious as actual dust.

Found in: “Healthier” vegetable flavored snack foods.

4. Propylene Glycol, A.K.A: antifreeze

Antifreeze is used in cars, pills, cosmetics, deodorant, moisturizer… And, in a way, food! It keeps your car from freezing over, your moisturizer moist, and your fat-free cookie dough ice cream creamy, smooth and juicy. If it’s good enough for your SUV it’s good enough to eat, right? Right?? Right???

Found in: Cake mix, salad dressings, low-fat ice creams and dog food.

5. Wood Pulp: Vanillin

Vanillin, which is a byproduct of the pulp industry, is used as an artificial vanilla flavor. Ester of wood resin, which comes from pine stumps, is in citrus-flavored sodas to keep the citrus flavor evenly distributed through the can

Found in: Artificially flavored yogurt, baked goods, candy and sodas

6. Castoreum

Castoreum comes out of a beaver’s behind – it’s extracted from their anal glands and is used to make artificial raspberry flavoring. Try not to think about that next time you order the diet raspberry tea.

Found in: Artificially raspberry flavored products such as cheap ice cream, Jell-O, candy, fruit-flavored drinks, teas and yogurts.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/food-republic…

Related DVDs

Hungry For Change

We all want more energy, an ideal body and beautiful younger looking skin… So what is stopping us from getting this?
Introducing ‘Hungry For Change’, the latest ‘Food Matters’ film. ‘Hungry For Change’ exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more. Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?Format: DVD – Region Free
Running Time: 89 minutes
Price: $34.95

10 Brawny & Buff Vegan Men (Plus a Bonus!)

Our picks for the brawniest vegan men.

BY CHINA DESPAIN FREEMAN MAY 25, 2012

If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll hear this question at least once in your life: “But where do you get your protein?!” Despite plenty of scientific evidence to the contrary, there is still a pervasive belief that humans must eat meat — and lots of it — to ingest adequate amounts of protein and build muscle.

Not only that, but there’s also a stigma, particularly for men, that being vegan is somehow less “manly” than following a carnivorous diet. In fact, a recent study found that people tend to describe meat as more “masculine” than vegetables. The study’s authors say that, “To the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American food. Soy is not. To eat it, they would have to give up a food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy.”

This is clearly a misconception that needs to be addressed, so we’re doing our part to show that there’s nothing wimpy about vegans. In fact, there are plenty of examples of strong, studly, masculine dudes who abstain from animal products, and we’re here to prove it. So, without further ado, we present our choices for the top 10 brawniest vegan men, with a vegetarian bonus.

Robert Cheeke

Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke has been a vegan since age 15.

Robert Cheeke is a bodybuilder whose vegan diet helps him maintain his ripped physique. He grew up on a farm in Oregon, an experience he credits with helping develop his compassion toward animals, and at age 15, he gave up all animal products. Now he gets his protein from legumes, greens and plant-based protein powders, and considers fruits and nutrient-dense burritos his go-to foods. “Yams and potatoes, quinoa, kale and artichokes are some of my other favorite whole foods. Thai and Indian dishes, especially Masaman and Yellow Curry and vegetable samosas and Aloo Matter, are by far my favorite dinner meals. Avocado rolls are another menu item I indulge in regularly,” he says.

VegNews named him one of its 15 most influential vegan athletes, and in 2006, Cheeke released a documentary about vegan fitness. He has also been involved in animal advocacy campaigns for PETA and VegSeattle.
Photo credit: Mikkei

Mac Danzig

The champion fighter embraced a vegan diet after seeing the plight of pigs in a slaughterhouse.

Mac Danzig, an MMA fighter and UFC competitor who has won numerous titles, including King of the Cage Lightweight Champion and Gladiator Challenge Lightweight World Champion, is a strict vegan who has campaigned with PETA for animal rights. ”Animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses don’t have a fighting chance,” Danzig says in the PETA ad. “I don’t eat animals because I don’t want to contribute to their suffering — it’s that simple. Do yourself a favor, do the planet a favor, and help end animal abuse — go vegetarian. I am a fighter in the best shape of my life.”

In 2008, he was listed as a finalist in Men’s Health magazine’s 25 Fittest Guys in America, and in the profile, he explained how, due to an allergy, dairy was detrimental to his health. “A lot of people don’t realize how hard milk, whey, and other dairy products are on the sinuses and respiratory system, and the dairy industry would like you to believe that you need milk to get calcium. That notion is as oxymoronic as you can get. Although not everybody has as severe an allergy to dairy products as I did, I just wanted to point out that after years of battling with ear and sinus infections, eliminating dairy completely cured my problems. Anyone with similar problems may want to try it for a while,” he said.
Photo credit: PETA

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson credits his 130-pound weight loss to his vegan diet.

He may have suffered a number of ups and downs in his career, but there’s one thing that can’t be disputed: this brawny guy was a really great boxer. A former heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson holds records as the youngest boxer to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF titles (he was 20 at the time). Now retired from the sport, Tyson lives a much more peaceful life overall, shunning all animal products from his diet.

He credits the diet overhaul with helping him shed 130 pounds (revealing a sleeker, stronger physique), and explained in 2010 that it was part of an overall plan to revamp his life and improve his mental and physical health. “I wanted a different life. I felt like I was dying. I had an incident in life where I lost my 4-year-old daughter in a tragic accident at home. I don’t know. I didn’t want to live anymore. So I said, that in order to go there, I had to change my life. I am going to change everything I dislike about myself. I changed everything that I was as a human being. I started that journey in October or November…I don’t smoke anymore. I wanted to give up everything. I had to change my life.” Mission accomplished.
Photo Credit: CarlaVanWagoner / Shutterstock.com

Brendan Brazier

Brendan Brazier went vegan at age 15 to improve his sports performance.

This Canadian athlete is proof that a vegan diet is more than enough to fuel an active lifestyle. A former triathlete, Brendan Brazier won 50-kilometer ultramarathons twice: once in 2003, and again in 2006 (If you don’t do metric, that’s about 31 miles. In other words, a really long way to run!). An advocate for a plants-based lifestyle, Brazier is also the man behind the Thrive Diet and the Vega sports nutrition line (fellow brawny dudes Robert Cheeke and Mac Danzig are fans).

Brazier discovered veganism as a teenager, and has never looked back, even though he no longer competes professionally. “I’ve been vegan since I was 15, and I got into it just because I wanted to be a better athlete, I didn’t care what I ate,” he says. “At the time I would’ve eaten anything if I thought it would have made me a better athlete. And I just tried different ways of eating…That’s what brought me to it, it was really selfish reasons. I mean, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it. Then I found that a properly put together, plant-based diet was a real performance advantage, and I started racing professionally.” The rest is triathlon history.
Photo credit: Iknowiknowithink

Jake Shields

Jake Shields is a lifelong vegetarian who made the switch to vegan in 2011.

This MMA and UFC competitor is a lifelong vegetarian and current vegan who cites the SunWarrior brand as his protein powder of choice. A middleweight and welterweight champion, Jake Shields is an animal rights advocate who teamed with PETA to support vegetarianism. The Srikeforce champ denounced the way slaughterhouses treat animals, and cited himself as an example of a successful vegan athlete. ”I’m living proof that you can further, train harder, and pack a meaner punch without eating animals,” reads his PETA ad.

Shields has been advocating for a meat-free diet for years. Back in 2009, he explained, “I’m a life-long vegetarian and the diet obviously works. I also have two brothers that are strong and healthy. But you do have to have a good balanced diet and eat healthy foods. There’s plenty of ways to get protein other than eating meat.” Well said.
Photo Credit: PETA 

Rip Esselstyn

Rip Esselstyn is the creator of the Engine 2 Diet, which is featured in a Forks Over Knives companion film.

The success of vegan documentary “Forks Over Knives” helped make Rip Esselstyn a household name (his father is one of the doctors profiled in the film), and now he has his own documentary touting the benefits of a meat-free diet. A former All American swimmer and top triathlete and current firefighter (and Lance Armstrong workout buddy), Esselstyn’sfitness background is impressive: ”[Esselstyn] took first place in many major events, including the 2001 Police and Fire World Games, the world’s largest athletic competition. He also won the Capital of Texas triathlon eight times and was the leader and top-three finisher at many televised events, including the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, where he was first out of the frigid, shark-infested waters six years in a row. Rip still competes in various events, recently winning the master national championships and setting the national record in the process.”

Esselstyn is also the creator Engine 2 diet and hosts its companion film, “Forks Over Knives Presents: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue” (it streams on Netflix if you want to check it out), which features him teaching two families basics of a plant-based diet. He initially created the Engine 2 diet to help save the life of one of his firefighter co-workers (it worked!), and now works with Whole Foods to spread the message about the benefits of a vegan diet.
Photo credit: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue

Georges Laraque

Georges Laraque is an animal-rights activist and vegan restauranteur.

Canadian athlete Georges Laraque may have retired from hockey, but the 6’3″ forward made quite an impression on the ice in his day: in 2003, he was named “Best Fighter” by The Hockey News, and Sports Illustrated crowned him “Best Enforcer” in 2006. Despite his tough on-ice persona, Laraque lives a decidedly more peaceful life outside the rink as a PETA supporter and vegan restauranteurIn a PETA video, Laraque says, “I don’t put up with much, and I certainly don’t want to put up with the cruelty of the meat industry. I’m Georges Laraque, and I’m vegan.”

His decision to abstain from animal products came after watching the documentary “Earthlings.” “After I saw that video…I encouraged people to watch it, because I am sure people, like me, are sensitive to cruelty. And when you see that animals go through so much cruelty, why would you want to encourage that?… I felt better, I have much more energy, and I feel even stronger, so the stereotype that says that big guys cannot be vegan, if you don’t eat meat, you can’t be strong, it’s not true,” he says. And not only did the film lead him to change his diet, but it brought on a whole new level of activism for Laraque,including participation in fur protests. Now that’s a fight we’d like to see him win.
Photo credit: PETA

John Salley

Former NBA star believes a raw vegan diet is optimal for good health.

It takes a lot to fuel 6’11″ of muscle up and down a basketball court, but former NBA starJohn Salley knows the key to a healthy diet is abstaining from animal products. Salley has had a varied entertainment career since he retired from sports, but his real passion is health, and he’s an outspoken raw vegan who has worked with PETA and the PCRM and who has his own line of organic, vegan food products.

Salley’s discipline is both physical and mental; he considers his body a temple, and takes care of it through fitness, diet and spiritual study. And he believes it’s up to adults to spread the message of good health to our children. “As a former athlete, I know that the nutrition of the food I eat has a direct impact on my physical and mental performance on the basketball court. More fruits, vegetables, and other vegetarian foods help you stay healthy, fit, and alert. Adults influence kids’ eating habits. We have to improve kids’ eating habits — and re-educate adults about what is food and what is not food. People can have pizza and pastries without dairy products and eggs. They can have tofu mozzarella cheese or egg substitute and they should use agave in place of high-fructose corn syrup and refined whole sugar,”he said back in 2010. Here’s hoping his suggestions catch on.
Photo credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

Bryan Danielson

Bryan Danielson credits his meat-free diet with helping him succeed in the WWE ring.

Also known as Daniel Bryan and the Red Dragon, this vegan WWE superstar has a litany of credits to his name, including: “former Ring of Honor World champion, two-time Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World champion, a one-time Westside Xtreme Wrestling Heavyweight champion, a one-time FIP Heavyweight Champion and a one-time World Heavyweight Champion in WWE.” He’s also integrated veganism into his villainous wrestling persona to elicit crowd reactions.

Like many of the athletes on our list, he’s partnered with PETA to promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet. In a video for the animal-rights organization, he says, “As a WWE superstar, staying healthy and having a lot of energy helps me succeed in the ring, and that’s why I choose to be a vegetarian. My vegetarian diet allows me to lead a healthier lifestyle, reduce my carbon footprint, and save the lives of more than 100 animals every year. I’m stronger and healthier than ever, and I feel good about doing something positive for myself, animals, and the planet.”
Photo credit: PETA

Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis's most successful year as an athlete happened when he adopted a vegan diet.

Carl Lewis is one of the United States’ most decorated athletes. Standing tall at 6’3″, this former track and field athlete competed from 1979 to 1996, racking up nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, eight World Championship gold medals, one World Championship silver, one World Championship bronze, and three Pan American Games medals (two golds and a bronze). He was also drafted by both the NBA and the NFL, although he opted not to play in either league. All this and he’s a vegan — now that’s what we call impressive.

So, just how did his meat-free diet enhance his career? Lewis says, “In the spring of 1991 – eight months after beginning to eat vegan…I was drinking 24 to 32 ounces of juice a day. I ate no dairy products. And I had my best year as an athlete ever! You have total control over what you put in your body. No one can force you to eat what you don’t want to eat. I know that many people think that eating a vegetarian diet – and especially a vegan diet – will require sacrifice and denial. Jannequin Bennett demonstrates…that eating vegan does not have to be tasteless and boring. As she says, ‘vegan eating is a truly indulgent way of life, as vegans regularly partake of the very best foods that nature has to offer.’ Your body is your temple. If you nourish it properly, it will be good to you and you will increase its longevity.” Well said, Mr. Lewis.
Photo credit: Manfred Werner

Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan says he's stronger as a vegetarian than he was as a meat-eater.

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan is the 11th guy on our list, and we’re including him as a bonus. He’s not a vegan (yet!), but he adopted a vegetarian diet three years ago, and is a prime example that meat is not necessary to maintain a strong, manly physique (according to Wikipedia, he’s 6’5″ and 315 pounds). The star recently teamed up with PETA to advocate his animal-friendly diet, which helped him lose weight and improve his overall health.

In the video for the campaign, he says, “The best thing about being a vegetarian for me, number one, is I know I’m not harming any animals. The number two thing is increased strength. I’m a lot stronger than I was when I was eating meat. Most of your most powerful animals in the wild are vegetarian, so I’m trying to get my strength to that level…Don’t think that you have to have these gigantic steaks to get your protein. The protein you put in from the beans, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables will last way longer, and you’ll get more out of it than you will in that 12 ounces of meat.”
Photo credit: PETA

::

This pretty much proves it — there’s nothing un-masculine about abstaining from meat. On the contrary, these guys all concur that it’s not possible to be healthy, fit and strong on a vegan diet, it’s actually easier! And not only are they taking care of themselves, they’re also helping to save lives and protect the planet. That level of kindness is just plain hot.

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About China DeSpain Freeman

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Vegan Myths Debunked

Paul Jarvis

I’ve been vegan for years, so I’ve grown accustomed to certain myths people believe about what it means to eat a plant-based diet and live a creature-free life. Here are a few things people often get wrong about veganism.

All vegans are skinny, white women

We come in all colors, shapes, sizes and genders. Not all vegans are frail/anemic-looking waifs either – some are ultra-marathoners, UFC fighters, famous talk-show hosts, actors and actresses … most, however, are regular men and women. You can’t look like a vegan; you can just live and eat like one.

There’s also an often unspoken view that veganism isn’t very manly since Real Men eat meat. To that I’d say that real men take care of their bodies and want to decrease their risk of things like prostate cancer, diabetes and heart problems (all of which have been shown to worsen due to the consumption of meat and dairy).

Vegan food is all weird soy-based fake meat and cheeses

There are a lot of faux meats and dairy-free cheeses, but they’re not the only option for eating a plant-based diet. Think of them as “gateway drugs” for eating less meat and dairy. They offer comfort in similarity to a “typical” diet and some taste pretty good too. These products are really good for a transition from SAD (Standard American Diet) to a diet more focused on lots of whole vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains. It is really easy to eat vegan without them though, and focus more on eating a variety of whole, plant-based foods.

Veganism isn’t healthy

Technically, you could call yourself a “vegan” and live on potato chips, Oreo cookies (these are vegan because they don’t contain any actual food) and diet soda. But one of the main benefits of an intelligent, plant-based diet is the sheer diversity of whole foods you can and should eat on a daily basis. Every single day I eat more whole foods than I have fingers and toes. Add up all the fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds I’ve consumed by bedtime and it would total far more than 10. Countless studies have shown that eating this way can effectively treat, and even prevent, a slew of chronic diseases. Some real dangers and potential killers related to a non-vegan diet include cancer, diabetes and heart disease – all of which have been linked to dairy and meat consumption by actual medical journals, written by established scientists. So eating a plant-based diet can be really healthy, if you do it correctly.

Vegans can’t get enough protein or calcium

This is definitely the question that vegans hear most often. But when was the last time you heard of anyone being protein deficient in the Western world? It just doesn’t happen – among vegans or omnivores. I get my protein from eating a well-balanced, whole foods diet. There is protein in nuts, seeds, vegetables and many other foods. North Americans are obsessed with protein, and really, we eat far too much of it. If your diet includes various and diverse plant-based foods, you’ll get enough, even if you’re very active. Good sources of protein include foods like almonds, lentils, quinoa, beans, broccoli, tempeh and chickpeas. And none of these proteins have bad fats or cholesterol (bonus!).

Personally, I know that dairy is not a good source of calcium, but I definitely believe the milk industry has an insanely good marketing team. There’s more calcium in small amounts of broccoli, molasses, kale, grains or soy than in a big glass of cow’s milk. There are lots of cultures, past and present, that have never consumed any dairy as part of their diets, and they haven’t shriveled up and died from a lack of calcium.

Veganism is too militant/absolute

Being vegan isn’t a religion or exercise in absolutism. If you are vegan (or heading that way), it doesn’t mean you’ve got to sign up for a militant animal rights group or protest naked outside fur shops. If that’s your thing, all the power to you for making a difference. You can also make a difference in a more subversive way by making omnivore friends a delicious plant-based meal or simply by buying fewer animals and animal products. There are as many types of vegans as there are types of non-vegans – so whatever works for you is the best thing you can do for “The Cause.”

For every study or piece of research published about the benefits of a plant-based diet, there’s a news article that claims the latest healthy eating trend is actually horrible for you. I will offer this key piece of advice: Learn who funded the research you just read, or if it’s an article on a website or in a newspaper, ensure it’s based on a scientific find and not paid for by the meat or dairy industries. There is, unfortunately, a lot of money spent to make people think that meat and dairy are good for you, even if science says otherwise.

Finally, remember that veganism isn’t for everyone. It’s just for folks who want to stay healthy, feel good, live longer and generally be really awesome.

Paul Jarvis is the author of “Eat Awesome: A regular person’s guide to plant-based, whole foods.” He believes veganism is love – and that deliciousness always trumps dogma. He lives with his amazing wife Lisa, in Tofino, British Columbia.

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