My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘fiber’

It’s Never Too Hot for Chili! Meaty Beany Chili and Red Lentil Thai Chili recipes from Isa Does It

IsaMeatyBeanChili

I know we’re in the middle of a heat wave, but sometimes all you have in the house are beans and cans of tomatoes and a bunch of spices.  That’s what happened to me, so last night I went to my trusty Isa Does It cookbook by Isa Moskowitz and found a recipe I hadn’t tried yet.  I had enough of the ingredients to make my own version.  Here is Isa making it:

As you know, I believe in using what you have.  I used leftover lentils I had in the fridge, I cooked up some dried Adzuki beans, and since I didn’t have any fresh jalapenos, I used a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilis.  Of course, I didn’t use the oil.  Instead, I just swapped it out with vegetable broth. My husband couldn’t stop eating this. He says it’s the blending of the savory flavors that make it the best chili he has ever tasted!

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IsaRedLentilThaiChili

Today, since I still haven’t gone grocery shopping, I made Red Lentil Thai Chili from Isa Does it.  I had made it before and knew it was fantastic, because I always date the page in the cookbook when I make it and write a few notes about what swaps I did and how we liked it.  (Don’t want to remake any duds!)

Isa’s recipe is here: http://www.theppk.com/2010/12/red-lentil-thai-chili .  I, of course, changed it.  As always, I didn’t use the oil. Instead I used vegetable broth. I didn’t have red lentils, but I did have leftover green lentils. (How much do the colors really matter anyway?)  I also was out of onions, red bell pepper, and cilantro, so I just omitted them. Instead of kidney beans, I cooked up some Adzuki beans. As a swap for lite coconut milk, I just used unsweetened soy milk with coconut extract mixed in it.  Delicious!

UPDATE:  Now, my husband says THIS recipe is his favorite!  When I pressed him, he admitted that between the two, his favorite is the one that is in front of him at the time!

Inadequate Fiber Intake Appears to be a Risk Factor for Breast Cancer, Which May Explain Why Women Eating Plant-Based Diets May be at Lower Risk

High Cholesterol? Does Your Doctor Jump Right to Medications or Does He/She Follow Official Guidelines and Recommend a Dietary/Lifestyle Change?

Chia Seeds I Love Them!

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan as Taught to Nurses

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

From NursingDegree.net

Vegans are frequently misunderstood as fringe eaters with an unnatural passion for animal rights. While many vegans do feel passionately about animals, its time for others to see that a vegan diet and lifestyle go way beyond animal rights. Following a healthy, balanced vegan diet ensures a host of health benefits as well as prevention of some of the major diseases striking people in North America. Read these blogs to find out about the health benefits or going vegan or just provide better information to your patients.

Nutrition

All of the following nutritional benefits come from a vegan diet full of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products.

  1. Reduced saturated fats. Dairy products and meats contain a large amount ofsaturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you’ll improve your health tremendously, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.
  2. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will burn muscle tissue.
  3. Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.
  4. Magnesium. Aiding in the absorption of calcium, magnesium is an often overlooked vitamin in importance to a healthy diet. Nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium.
  5. Potassium. Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
  6. Folate. This B vitamin is an important part of a healthy diet. Folate helps with cell repair, generating red and white blood cells, and metabolizing amino acids.
  7. Antioxidants. For protection against cell damage, antioxidants are one of the best ways to help your body. Many researchers also believe that antioxidants helpprotect your body against forming some types of cancer.
  8. Vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C also helps keep your gums healthy and helps your bruises heal faster. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
  9. Vitamin E. This powerful vitamin has benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, brain, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E.
  10. Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.
  11. Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.

Disease Prevention

Eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent a number of diseases. Find out from the list below what you could potentially avoid just by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating.

  1. Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.
  2. Cholesterol. Eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. Your heart will thank you for that.
  3. Blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways, including lowering high blood pressure.
  4. Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also “easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association.” Read more about it here.
  5. Prostate cancer. A major study showed that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who switched to a vegan diet either stopped the progress of the cancer or may have even reversed the illness.
  6. Colon cancer. Eating a diet consisting of whole grains, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce your chances of colon cancer.
  7. Breast cancer. Countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a much lower rate of breast cancer than do the women in countries that consume more animal products.
  8. Macular degeneration. Diets with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration.
  9. Cataracts. Much the same way macular degeneration is headed off by a vegan diet, cataracts are also thought to be prevented through the intake of the same fruits and vegetables. Produce high in antioxidants are also believed to help prevent cataracts.
  10. Arthritis. Eliminating dairy consumption has long been connected with alleviating arthritis symptoms, but a new study indicates that a combination of gluten-free and vegan diet is very promising for improving the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
  11. Osteoporosis. Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.

Physical Benefits

In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits. Find out how a vegan diet makes your body stronger, more attractive, and more energetic.

  1. Body Mass Index. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower BMIs–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body.
  2. Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. Read more about weight loss and a vegan diet here.
  3. Energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher. This blog post in Happy Healthy Long Life describes how NFL tight-endTony Gonzalez started eating vegan and gained energy–while playing football.
  4. Healthy skin. The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.
  5. Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.
  6. Body odor. Eliminating dairy and red meat from the diet significantly reduces body odor. Going vegan means smelling better.
  7. Bad breath. Vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having morning breath.
  8. Hair. Many who follow vegan diets report that their hair becomes stronger, has more body, and looks healthier.
  9. Nails. Healthy vegan diets are also responsible for much stronger, healthier nails. Nail health is said to be an indicator of overall health.
  10. PMS. When switching to a vegan diet, many women tell how PMS symptoms become much less intense or disappear altogether. The elimination of dairy is thought to help with those suffering with PMS.
  11. Migraines. Migraine suffers who go on vegan diets frequently discover relief from their migraines. Read more about the food-migraine connection in this article.
  12. Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.

Too Much in the American Diet

The typical American diet not only consists of too much food, it also relies on too much of unnecessary food products or toxins. The following list explains how a vegan diet can eliminate these problems.

  1. Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis (see above).
  2. Cow’s milk dairy. The human body is not designed to digest cow milk and cow milk dairy products, yet the idea of milk being healthy is pushed through advertising. As many as 75% of people in the world may be lactose intolerant and many people suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies or sensitivities. By eliminating cow’s milk from your diet, you are improving your overall health.
  3. Eggs. Many nutritionists believe that the number of eggs in the American diet is too high. While sometimes disputed, it has been shown that eggs can raise cholesterol levels.
  4. Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.
  5. Sugar. Most people have heard that Americans consume way too much sugar. Relying on other sweeteners that are not synthetic, processed, or derived from animal products is a healthier way to eat. Many vegans do not eat processed sugar due to the fact that most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones.

Other Benefits

In addition to the health benefits above, following a vegan lifestyle and diet also provides these benefits as well. From helping the environment to avoiding serious bacterial infections, learn other benefits to eating the vegan way below.

  1. Animals. Many people begin a vegan diet out of concern for animals. Whether opposed to the conditions of animals intended for food or eating animals in general, going vegan will help your conscience rest easily.
  2. Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.
  3. E. coliE. coli comes from eating contaminated red meat and is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. Young children, those with compromised immune systems, and elderly people can become extremely ill or die from E. coli. Eating vegan means completely avoiding the risk of E. coli infection.
  4. Salmonella. Another gastrointestinal illness from animal products, salmonella food poisoning is closely related to E. coli. The most frequent way people contract salmonella food poisoning is through contact with raw eggs or raw chicken meat from chickens infected with salmonella. Again, going vegan means eliminating this risk altogether.
  5. Mad cow disease. It’s safe to say that most people would want to avoid contracting a fatal, non-treatable disease. One way to ensure you don’t get Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is by not eating animals infected with mad cow disease. While the incidence of mad cow disease is not reportedly so high in North America, it does exist.
  6. Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance.
  7. Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
  8. Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.

Read the rest at:  http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/57-health-benefits-of-going-vegan/

10 Must Have Items for a Perfect Vegan Pantry

I agree with everything except the oils.

By Stephanie Rogers, EcoSalon

Stock up on these 10 basic essentials for your vegan pantry including beans, whole grains, non-dairy milk and a variety of seasonings.

Contrary to the assumptions of many a meat eater, vegans don’t solely subsist on lettuce and carrots. But what, exactly, should be stocked in a vegan’s pantry? Anyone looking to make healthy, nutritious meals that are free of animal products should have a few basic ingredients on hand at all times to provide protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals – and let’s not forget flavor. These 10 pantry essentials make sticking to a vegan diet easy and interesting, from beans and whole grains to truffle oils and agave nectar.

Beans, Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan

If there’s one nutrient that Americans tend to focus on when it comes to healthy diets, it’s protein. But no matter what meat-obsessed fad diets imply, it’s easy to get plenty of protein from vegan sources. Beans and tofu are two lean, cholesterol-free options for protein, and they’re incredibly versatile. Canned beans are convenient, but dried beans are cheaper and don’t come with the risk of hormone-altering BPA in the lining of the can. They simply need to be soaked overnight before cooking, or you can whip them up rapidly with a pressure cooker. Firm tofu can be marinated and tossed into just about any dish, while silken tofu is a nutritious addition to smoothies. Seitan is made from wheat gluten and has a meaty texture reminiscent of chicken, and chewy tempeh is a vegan sandwich staple.

Whole Grains & Flours

The difference between whole grains and refined grains goes beyond increased fiber and nutrients. Whole grains are packed with flavor, which translates into tastier dishes and baked goods. Brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, bulgur, spelt, oats, millet, barley and wild rice are a few examples of whole grains that you can incorporate into your diet, and most of them are available in flour form, too. Flours made from quinoa and oats aren’t just for people avoiding gluten – they impart their own particular flavor and texture to recipes like chocolate amaranth quinoa cake.

Non-Dairy Milks

Who needs cow’s milk when there’s almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk and soy milk? Stock your pantry with your favorite varieties of non-dairy milks, each of which has its own particular flavor and texture. Coconut milk and soy milk tend to be richer and heavier, frothing up a little more for satisfying beverages. Rice milk and almond milk have a natural sweetness, and heart-healthy almond milk is appropriately nutty. Soy milk is the highest in protein, and hemp milk has lots of omega fatty acids. Avoid the flavored varieties to cut unnecessary sugar and calories. You can easily make your own almond milk with nothing more than raw almonds, water and a blender.

A Variety of Oils and Vinegars

No kitchen is complete without extra virgin olive oil and white vinegar, no matter what kind of foods you like to eat. Beyond those two absolute basics is a wide variety of vinegars and oils with all kinds of different uses and characteristics. Vinegars include balsamic, red wine, white wine, apple cider, rice and malt. Coconut oil is great for high-heat cooking and baking, sesame oil has lots of flavor for stir-fries and salads, and truffle oils are a luxurious treat. Try oils and vinegars infused with herbs, garlic, chilies and even fruit, too.

Nuts, Seeds & Butters

Head to the bulk bins at your local natural foods store to stock up on a wide variety of nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. You can actually use cashews, macadamias and other types of nuts to make your own vegan ricotta cheese. And when it comes to nut and seed butters, don’t be afraid to branch out from the standard peanut and almond varieties – try cashew, hazelnut and sesame.

Nutritional Yeast

Missing cheese? Aside from making your own nut-based ricotta, you can add a cheesy flavor to all kinds of foods using nutritional yeast. This inactive yeast is a great source of vitamin B12, which can be difficult for vegans to get from other sources. Light and flaky, it can be added to popcorn as a topping, melted into margarine and/or non-dairy milk for a cheesy sauce or just tossed into any dish you like.

Healthy Condiments

Most condiments are processed junk full of fat, sugar and sodium. But there are some healthy condiments that can add complex flavors to your vegan dishes, elevating a simple meal to the sublime. Mustard, soy sauce, miso and hot sauces add a huge punch of flavor with just a few drops. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, a great vegan source of amino acids, is a popular way to add a little bit of savory “umami” flavor to any dish. Agave nectar is a popular vegan sweetener, and fruit preserves are almost always free of animal products.

Herbs and Spices

Like condiments, oils and vinegars, herbs and spices simply make everything taste better. If you’re new to cooking and/or using spices, buy a variety and experiment to see what you like. Most herbs, including parsley and basil, are best used fresh, but some – like bay leaves and oregano – retain lots of flavor when dried. Spices, which are usually the dried seeds, bark or buds of plants, tend to stay fragrant a bit longer. Some basics include chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric and black pepper. Dried mushrooms are another delicious source of umami flavor.

Canned Fruits and Vegetables

Canned goods generally aren’t the best when it comes to flavor and texture, with many canned veggies – like green beans – barely resembling their fresh or frozen brethren. But they do have their use, especially as emergency back-ups and for quick meals. Home-canned fruits and vegetables tend to be superior in flavor to commercially canned goods. Tomatoes are one item that change in a positive way when canned; their flavors become richer and more concentrated, making them ideal for sauces.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

While most fresh fruits and veggies need to be refrigerated, some are ideal for pantry storage. The dark, cool and dry environment of a pantry (or a shelf out of direct sunlight) can help preserve onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash. For best flavor and texture, tomatoes should also be stored at room temperature until ripe.

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/07/05/10-must-have-items-for-a-perfect-vegan-pantry/

Cabbage Family Veggies Reduce Cancer Risk

Having had several friends pass away recently and several more friends and acquaintances battling cancer right now, I want to do all I can to share the latest research, thus www.itsadecision.com was born.  I’m not ashamed to say that having had my childhood friend, Donna, pass away this past winter of brain cancer, just a month before her 50th birthday has scared me to death.  I have completely changed my eating.  I feel like a new, lighter, younger person.  Hopefully, I’ll live to a nice, ripe old age.  Follow my blog and I’ll keep posting the latest research on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Seems like such an easy thing to do to prevent cancer:

Cancer Prevention: Cruciferous Veggies

broccoliBroccoli is loaded with cancer-fighting plant chemicals.

In honor of World Cancer Day, we’re focusing on cruciferous veggies—those from the cabbage family. Studies show that these vegetables have a special plant chemical that protects against cancer. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your everyday eating plan.

The Power
Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These superstar veggies are packed with so many nutrients it’s tough to keep count. They contain fiber,vitamins A and Criboflavin, B6, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fats. What’s more, they also have plant chemicals known as glucosinolates that have been shown to help reduce the risk of various types of cancer.

2011 study in the International Journal of Urology found that the more veggies that were eaten from the cabbage family, the lower the risk was from prostate cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, studies also link the various components in cruciferous veggies to helping reduce the risk of colorectal, esophageal, stomach, mouth and pancreatic cancer.

Brussels Sprouts
These green jewels can be broiled, roasted or steamed – or sliced and sautéed like in the recipe below. If you’re not familiar with cooking these babies, check out our recent post.

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Hash

Broccoli
Studies show that cooking broccoli may enhance its cancer-fighting properties. Keep a bag in the freezer and toss into pasta, soups, stews, stir-fry and rice dishes. Find out why broccoli is one of ourtop 10 superfoods.

Recipe: Broccoli, Mushroom and Cheese Breakfast Strata

Kale
There are many varieties of this leafy veggie including Dinosaur (a.k.a. Cavolo Nero), Curly, and Plain Leaved. If using raw in a salad, don’t chop or tear until you’re ready to use it in order to preserve the vitamin C.

Recipe: Kale Chips

Cabbage
Green or red, cabbage contains a plethora of nutrients. Red cabbage also contains anthocyanins, a potent anti-inflammatory antioxidant.

Recipe: Braised Red Cabbage and Turnips

Cauliflower
Although peak season is September through November, you can still find cauliflower in your frozen food aisle; look for brands without added butter or sauces.

Recipe: Oven-Roasted Cauliflower With Turmeric and Ginger

Bok Choy
Add this green veggie to soups or stir-fry. Raw bok choy adds a sweet crunch to salads and sandwiches too.

Recipe: Wilted Bok Choy With Soy Sauce and Cashews

TELL US: Which cruciferous veggies will you be cooking today?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

reprinted from:  http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/02/04/cancer-prevention-cruciferous-veggies/

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