My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘kale’

Kale vs Spinach Health Food Face-Off

To see the full image and see which one won, go to:  http://www.prevention.com/whats-healthier-kale-or-spinach?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Prevention-_-food-faceoff-_-kaleorspinach

Obstacles to Plant-Strong: Middle of Nowhere

Engine 2 Diet: Natala here, today I share about living in the middle of nowhere and staying plant-strong. My husband and I have been traveling for 3 1/2 years now, we’ve lived in towns with 150 people and large cities. We have a pot, a pan, a knife and a spatula (and 2 place settings). We have never had a problem staying plant-strong no matter where we are.

Obstacles to Plant-Strong: Middle of Nowhere

July 31, 2012

You live 4 hours to the closest Whole Foods. The nearest grocery store is 45 minutes, and is not that great. What do you do?

My husband and I have been traveling for 3 1/2 years, full time. We have had no official home base. We have lived in large cities like San Francisco and we’ve lived in tiny cities, the smallest population count was 150. And guess what? We’ve never had a problem eating plant-strong. In fact, oddly enough we tend to have a much easier time the further we are from ‘convenience’ foods.

So how do you become a plant-strong rock-star in the middle of nowhere?

1. Have a good attitude. I get so many e-mails starting out in dispair. “BUUUUTTTTTTTT I can’t do it!!!!! I don’t have a Whole Foods! I don’t have Trader Joes! I don’t have a veg. cafe in my town!”

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have those things from time to time. But seriously? Most of our long term studies done on the benefits of plant-based nutrition were in rural China. Guess what? They are really far from Whole Foods. In fact most of the healthiest populations on Earth are more than likely not relying on veg. cafe’s and organic markets.

So chin up! Put your best foot forward and put the excuses and “buts” down.

2. Figure out what your local store does well. So many the fresh produce is nothing to write home about. But maybe they have a great grains, beans and frozen vegetable and fruit selection. Awesome, you have enough to get you going. We have yet to find a store that does not carry non dairy milk, but you really don’t NEED non-dairy milk, you can make oatmeal just fine with water. Rip’s big bowl? You can use water and squeeze some grapefruit juice into it (this is what Rip does in a bind). The other thing – ask your store to carry something. We were in a very small coastal town in North Carolina in the winter, we’re talking BARE BONES, often the employees outnumbered the shoppers by a good number. One day, while talking to one of the cashiers I mentioned Ezekiel bread, she asked her manager and a week later they had Ezekiel bread. Turned out that other people on the tiny coastal town wanted it as well, it became a best seller. It can’t hurt to ask.

3. Join a CSA. If you can join a local CSA, that is great! Better yet, grow your own food! We’ve become so far removed from food, sometimes we forget if we have a yard we can start our own garden. We know not everyone can do this, but if you can, or if you can join together with some friends, it is well worth it. Good news, kale is VERY forgiving.

4. Shop online. My husband and I signed up for Amazon Prime – you get 2 day shipping on pretty much everything and it is really inexpensive (I think 79 dollars for the year). We order a lot, and we usually get it for cheaper prices than we can get at a major chain store. We order Uncle Sam’s, Barbara’s, beans, grains, oats, spices, nutritional yeast and more. Pretty much, if it is dry, we have found it. We have some of our favorite foods in our Amazon store (including some good traveling/camping food options).

5. Eating out. If you have lived in your town for a while, chances are you know the people at the places you eat out. And chances are they have vegetables in the kitchen, the might even have brown rice or potatoes. Go to the manager and tell them your situation, ask them if they could make something for you. We have yet to find a place that wasn’t willing to help us out. We’ve had some of our best meals in tiny places that had nothing on the menu we could eat, however when we asked for something off the menu? We were all set. Remember to leave nice tips and nice yelp reviews for businesses that help you out, they will want to continue to help you out.

6. Get creative, or not. My husband and I structure almost all of our meals the same way: grain/starch, bean, vegetable, leafy green. For breakfast I like oatmeal or quinoa he has a big bowl ever morning. Our lives are much less complicated, but not lacking flavor and we never get bored. We are also big fans of Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD and Burgers and Fries DVD. No need for special ingredients or equipment (we have 1 pot, 1 pan and a spatula).

7. Make it simple. Pick 5-6 meals to rotate in and out for a while. When you are tired of those meals, pick 5-6 more meals to rotate in and out. Sometimes we tend to over complicate things. Remember a lot of the healthier societies are mostly surviving on rice and beans and doing well. Part of the problem is that in our over sold to society, we have been introduced to 1000′s of tastes (most not good) we’re constantly looking for substitutes, when what we should be doing is looking for our tastes to change.

8. Start a dinner club. Not everyone in your circle of friends/church group/volunteer group has to be plant-strong do do this. See if your group of friends would be up for a plant-strong meal exchange. Put people ‘in charge’ of different dishes, even if it is just once a month. So someone gets the main dish, someone gets dessert, someone gets a side (and so on) and everyone makes enough for 5 people. You get together and exchange your dishes. Give them the plant-strong guidelines. Who knows, maybe they will all be up for a 28 day challenge! It is a fun way to get your friends involved with healthy eating.

9. Stock up. There have been a few times where my husband and I knew we were going to be a few hours from a grocery store. So we buy some freezer bags, ice and we stock up. We also have a bunch of dried goods sent to us. We did this once for a 2 month stay, and things worked out just fine.

10. Prep ahead. To make things easier for yourself, prep your food ahead of time. Pick a couple of hours on the weekend, get the entire family involved. Chop, dice, mix, stir. Prepare meals, you can freeze almost anything just fine, but for the week most things hold up just fine in the refrigerator.

Bottom line, while living in the middle of nowhere can present its own obstacles, it should not stop you from getting plant-strong!

Do you live in the middle of nowhere? What is your strategy?

Natala Constantine
A few years ago Natala was on almost 15 medications daily, had out of control Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, issues with nerve damage, and was morbidly obese. She decided to take her life back by adopting a plant-based diet, and has since lost over 200 pounds and no longer needs medication. Natala became passionate about nutrition, received her Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University, and now works with Rip Esselstyn and The Engine 2 Dietteam.

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.

http://crazysexylife.com/2012/vegan-myths-debunked/

THE BEST RAW VEGAN PLANT BASED PROTEIN SOURCES ON THE PLANET

The Best Raw Vegan Plant Based Protein Sources on the Planet

Woman Running on Beach

Could there be a greater controversy in the health realm than the vegan vs. omnivore debate over protein? If you’ve been living a plant based lifestyle for a while now, you probably chuckle when someone makes a comment like “there’s no way you can get enough protein from vegetables”, or the alternative, you might get a little bit annoyed after hearing it for the 100th time. But let’s face it, there’s a ton of confusion surrounding what we should eat in the world, and some of us have been downright convinced that vegetables are nothing more than water.

My intention is to show what’s possible if you’re choosing to go plant based and opt out of animal protein, for whatever reason. Maybe you’re hoping to heal a dis-ease or health condition, lower your blood pressure, lose weight or increase your energy. These are all common reasons for choosing plants over flesh. But before we get into it, let me be clear that this post is in no way pushing plant based living as the only way to live. In this world, we must live according to our individual paths, and for some of us that means consuming animal flesh and for others it means consuming plants.

My greatest concern when it comes to consuming animals, is the disregard we’ve developed for the animals life, the abuse and suffering that goes on in factory farms, and the inevitable consequences on our bodies when we consume the stress, hormones, anti-biotics and fear based energy of those animals. I could go deeper into why some animal products don’t contribute to healthful living, but this post isn’t about that. For a lot people living in modern urban areas, hunting for food or purchasing from a local organic farmer is not an option. This is a problem, and the solution is going plant based. It’s far safer for you to consume a plant based diet, than to consume factory farmed meat, eggs, milk or dairy.

So What Are Some Reliable Plant Based Protein Sources?

Sprouts

  • Sprouts of all kinds are nutritional powerhouses with a high protein content ranging from 20-35% protein. Not only that, but they’re also excellent sources of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • Broccoli sprouts contain 35% protein
  • Pea Sprouts contain 25% protein

Bunch of Pea Sprouts

Bunch of Pea Sprouts

Greens

  • Dark Green Vegetables will serve your protein needs and provide your body with calcium, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids
  • Broccoli contains 45% protein
  • Spinach contains 30% protein
  • Kale contains 45% protein

Green Kale

Green Kale

Nuts & Seeds

  • Nuts & Seeds are also sources of good healthy fats like omega 3, 6 & 9′s. There is a concern however surrounding the overconsumption of omega 6′s and not getting enough 3′s. For this reason, eating nuts and seeds as part of a raw, vegan or vegetarian diet shouldn’t be considered the main protein source but used in addition to other foods with a lower fat content like sprouts & green vegetables.
  • Hemp Seeds are the only food known to have a perfect harmony of omegas 3,6 & 9. They’re also 22% protein.
  • Pumpkin seeds are 21% protein.
  • Almonds are 12% protein per ounce.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds

Algae sources

  • Spirulina is about 68% protein and also helps detoxify the body. It’s packed with vitamins and contains EFA’s (essential fatty acids).
  • Chlorella is about 60% protein and is known for it’s rapid tissue repair properties. It’s a great food if you’re very physically active or have higher protein requirements. Use it in your shakes to help speed up recovery times.

Spirulina Powder

Spirulina Powder

Gabriel Cousens discussed the use of spirulina and chlorella for protein supplementation in an interview with Dr. Mercola. He gave an example of someone who wanted to consume 45g of protein per day (which is almost twice as high as what the American Nutritional Journals and World Health Organization recommend). If you were to consume 2 tbsp. of spirulina or chlorella with each meal (let’s say in a juice or smoothie), you would easily hit this mark for protein.

Our Protein Powder of Choice

Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein

Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein

Visual Examples of Fit, Muscular Vegans

I’m excited to share these examples of super fit, muscular looking vegans that Caleb and I have come across in our googling adventures. Since coming across these amazing examples, we’ve begun to connect with some of them as well so we can continue to give you insight into what their diets and lifestlyes really look like. Stick around to watch this protein discussion evolve in the very near future.

Click here to an interview with Frank and CutandJacked.com

Vegan Bodybuilder Frank Medrano

Vegan Bodybuilder Frank Medrano

Click here to read an interview with Marzia Prince and SimplyShredded.com

Female Vegan Bodybuilder Marzia Prince

Female Vegan Bodybuilder Marzia Prince

Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. There are many different lifestyles you can follow, some will make you look really good and fail you when it comes to nutrition, and some will serve you not only through physical results, but through internal results.

A plant based lifestyle can provide a host of benefits, many of which I touched on already and in aprevious post on protein. Some people will be quick to judge and say this cannot be true, but those same people have likely never tried a vegetarian diet, let alone a raw vegan diet. When we open our mind up to possibilities, we gift ourselves the chance to experience optimal health, whatever that looks like for us. The key is to be open to experimentation. If your current lifestyle isn’t working for you, considering giving a plant based lifestyle an honest shot. Even a 7 day trial is a great place to start!

I’d love to hear some of your favourite protein sources in the comments below!

Learn how to integrate raw foods into your lifestyle in our 3 months course How to Go Raw, Not Crazy!We’re taking a few more student testers, if you’d like more details on how you can get a discount on registration you can  email us with the subject line “how to go raw”.

AUTHOR:Sheleana Breakell -Young and Raw

Sheleana is the co-founder & chief blogger of YoungandRaw.com, a self taught raw vegan chef and big time animal lover. Like many, her path to a high raw and plant based lifestyle came through a series of challenges and discoveries. After healing her body and spirit of chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance and shedding over 45lbs of weight through raw foods, Sheleana was inspired to help other people take their power back and re-build more sustainable relationships with the food they eat. As the author and co-creator of a 3 month raw food program for beginners called How to Go Raw, Not Crazy! She and her partner Caleb take students on a journey of self discovery, raw food preparation, meal planning, weight loss and conquering cravings. Rather than suggesting everyone be a raw vegan, she simply chooses to share the information that resonates with her at her core in hopes that it will reach the people who are meant to receive it. There is never any pressure to adopt a certain diet or lifestyle 100%. Sheleana is a free spirit and fully embraces all aspects of life’s’ challenges as lessons and opportunities for growth. She knows everyone is on their own journey and what works for her may not work for others. The Young and Raw philosophy is based on unconditional love, self awareness, compassion for all life and radical authenticity.

The Dairy Product Industry Needs to Stop Milking School Lunches

Make sure you watch the video.


The Dairy Product Industry Needs to Stop Milking School Lunches

The dairy product industry has been milking school lunches for profit since the National School Lunch Program was introduced more than a half century ago. The federal government spends more money on dairy products than any other food item in the school lunch program. But it’s time to get milk out of school lunches. Abundant research shows milk does not improve bone health and is the biggest source of saturated (“bad”) fat in the diet—the very fat that Dietary Guidelines push us to avoid. So PCRM recently petitioned the USDA to stop requiring milk in school lunches.

The nutritional rationale for including milk in school meal programs was based primarily on its calcium content. Milk was presumed to promote bone health and integrity. Time and again, this has proven false. Milk-drinking children do not have stronger bones than children who get their calcium from other foods.

A study published by the American Medical Association in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine this year showed that active children who consume the largest quantities of milk have more bone fractures than those who consume less. This was not surprising. Prior studies show that milk consumption does not improve bone health or reduce the risk of osteoporosis and actually creates other health risks.

Milk is the number one source of saturated fat in children’s diets. One in eight Americans is lactose intolerant. More than 1 million U.S. children struggle with milk allergies, the second most common food allergy. And milk also contains sugar in the form of lactose, animal growth factors, and occasional drugs and contaminants.

Calcium is an essential nutrient. But if children get calcium from milk, they miss the beta-carotene, iron, and fiber in vegetables. Children can get all the calcium they need from nondairy sources such as beans, tofu, broccoli, kale, collard greens, breads, cereals, and nondairy, calcium-fortified beverages, without any of the health detriments associated with dairy product consumption.

In this video, I explain more about eating for healthy bones:

Times have changed. So should school lunches. To safeguard the health and well-being of the nation’s schoolchildren, the USDA should issue a report to Congress recommending that Congress amend the National School Lunch Act to exclude milk as a required component of meals under the National School Lunch Program.

To learn more about the dangers of milk and other dairy products, visit PCRM.org/Health.

http://www.pcrm.org/media/blog/july2012/dairy-product-industry-stop-milking-school-lunch

Vegan Sources for Calcium

Ann Esselstyn: 8 Tips on Healthy Eating

Guest post: Ann Esselstyn:8 tips on healthy eating.

April 5, 2012

We might be biased, but we think that Ann Esselstyn is the best food coach around! Here are her tips on healthy eating:

“I am not a chef.  I don’t peel anything and if it looks even a little bit complicated, I don’t make it.  What we have found is that eating plant based  WITHOUT OIL is delicious, easy and  above all magical.

Follow 8 principles and you may well find yourself becoming PLANT PERFECT!

1. Eat oats (Old Fashioned) for breakfast, any way you can as oatmeal, as a cold cereal as we do with alternative milk and fruit or in waffles or pancakes or just put  your cereal bowl with oats, banana and alternative milk and a table spoon of flax seed into your waffle iron and you have your oat breakfast in waffle form  There are delicious ways to use steel cut  oats too.  Oats help lower cholesterol and also reduce artery inflammation.  Find the breakfast  with oats you love then eat it EVERY DAY!!!

2. Eat GREENS especially leafy greens as well as all the symphony of rainbow colored vegetables.  Cooked or raw vegetables are king!  Make leafy greens like Kale, collards and Swiss chard the nest on which you put your food, mix greens into your food or pile greens on the side of your plate.  Make kale sandwiches , mix greens into soup, cook kale, etc. cut in small pieces into pasta 4 minutes before it is done, then drain and you have a meal in one or mix a bunch of greens into pasta sauce and spread on your whole wheat, no oil pizza crust (seewww.samisBakery.com on line for an awesome millet/flax pizza crust) and top with vegetables of your choice.  Never cheese.

3. Eat Beans and Lentils instead of meat and dairy.  All lentils are delicious.  Try red lentils in soup.  They cook quickly and make the soup a nice color.  Put beans in salads.  Hummus made without tahini or oil  has become our mayonnaise as a sandwich spread or dip for vegetables and crackers and even part of our favorite salad dressing.   Our main party dish is brown rice and black beans piled high with chopped tomatoes, thawed frozen corn, chopped green onions, water chestnuts, chopped cilantro, chopped arugula, chopped peppers, etc. and topped with salsa, low sodium tamari or if you don’t have heart disease with guacamole.  AVOID all the highly processed fake soy meats and any of the vegan cheeses, which have lots of oil in them.

4. Eat WHOLE  Grains.  Be sure that the word WHOLE is in front of wheat or rye in the ingredient list.   If not then it is just white flour fancied up to sound impressive.  Check also to be sure that there is no added oil in the bread.  Ezekiel makes many wonderful sprouted grain products available in the frozen food departments of health food stores. The Ezekiel Tortilla wraps are excellent and useful for everyday or parties.  Fill them with your choice and then roll them up and bake them for 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven.  Delicious!  Use whole wheat pastry flour or barley flour in baking instead of white flour.

5. Eliminate oil! Empty all oil, even virgin olive oil out of your cupboards then you CAN’T use it.  Instead any liquid works.  Vegetable broth (no sodium), water, wine, beer, orange juice, carrot juice, vinegar all work in stir -frying.  Instead of oil in baking, use applesauce, baby food prunes, bananas.    Finding a salad dressing you love is a challenge at first but there are so many possibilities out there you will soon never miss the oil filled ones.

6. Drink WATER! You can’t go wrong with water.  You can flavor it with a splash of  orange or apple, etc. juice occasionally.  Never drink juices!  And absolutely never drink pop, with or without added sugar.

7. Avoid sugar and salt as much as possible.   Save sugar for birthdays or special holiday treats.  Instead put grapes in your freezer for an amazing sweet treat or freeze bananas or mangoes and blend them in a strong blender for delicious “ice creams. “  Look at the government label for the amount of salt in a product.  No added salt is ideal or aim for the salt content being equal to the calorie content.  Instead of salt add vinegar, lemon juice,  lime juice or hot sauces.  You will lose your taste for salt before you know it.

8. Read Labels, especially the ingredients.    You will be surprised that often proclaimed zero fat products have oil listed in the ingredients.  The government allows anything under .5 grams of fat to be called FAT FREE.

Fill up with all the great plant based food.  Life is GOOD!!!”

Thanks Ann for the great tips!

Here are some of Ann’s favorite recipes:

Black Beans and rice

E2 Almighty health wrap

Kale, lemon, cilantro sandwich

Ann’s panini with spinach, mushrooms and hummus

reprinted from:  http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet/guest-post-ann-esselstyn8-tips-on-healthy-eating/

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