My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘omega 3’

Sources of Iron and Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Vegans Are Plentiful

LORI

One of our Twitter friends recently asked the following question:

To @thisdishisveg if you could also include some great ideas for iron and omega 3? I eat fish because when i was full veg. i’d get dizzy a lot.

Great question!

Consuming adequate amounts of iron and omega 3 fatty acids are both very important factors in maintaining optimum health. Luckily, they are both abundant in many plant foods.

Iron is a nutrient that should be paid some attention when transitioning to a plant diet based diet. It is an essential nutrient, as it assists our blood in carrying oxygen via hemoglobin. This is why a lack of iron can certainly make you feel tired or dizzy! There are 2 kinds of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is better absorbed by the body, but it is found only in animal products, and makes up about 40% of their iron content. Non-heme, though absorbed less readily, is abundant in all plant food sources. This absorption issue is why the iron requirement is higher for vegans than for meat eaters. The good news is that a well balanced vegan diet will provide you ample intake, and absorption, of iron.

Leafy greens are one of the best sources of iron. Prime sources are kale, parsley, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens. Other vegetables high in iron are asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, and brussel sprouts. Although they are high in iron content, spinach and chard are NOT good sources of iron because they contain oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is a substance that binds with iron and inhibits its absorption. However, it’s okay to eat these greens in moderation, as long as you are not relying on them as your iron source.

Some iron rich fruits are mulberries, cherries, apricots, figs, raisins, and dates. Seeds can also be a very high source of iron, the most iron rich being pumpkin seeds. Other seeds to include in your diet are sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Grains to look for are quinoa and millet. Legumes such as black-eyed peas, lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, and chickpeas are also effective sources. And don’t forget about almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts and pistachios. Tofu and soy are also good sources, and many dairy free milks are often fortified with iron. Blackstrap molasses is a very rich source as well.

When considering iron, it’s important to understand that vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from food. This is especially noteworthy when eating foods that contain non-heme iron. Fortunately, many vegetables that are high in iron are also high in vitamin C, such as broccoli and bok choy. Another way to increase your iron absorption is through conscious food choices and food combining. Eating beans with tomatoes, for example, will increase your iron uptake due to the high Vitamin C in tomatoes. Hummus is an excellent choice because it combines iron rich chickpeas with the high vitamin C content of lemons! Other foods high in vitamin C are potatoes, kale, brussels sprouts, peppers and many fruits.

You should take caution to avoid consuming tea, coffee and/or calcium supplements during an iron rich meal. Both calcium and tannins (tannins are found in tea and coffee) reduce iron absorption. They should be ingested at least a few hours before or after an iron rich meal. With all the foods mentioned, it is best to eat them in their RAW form, or as close to raw as possible, in order to achieve maximum benefit.

Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for inflammation control. Our bodies need a balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, many of us consume foods that are high in omega 6, and not enough omega 3, leading to inflammation. As for omega 3 plant food sources, I have a personal favorite… chi-chi-CHIA! Who remembers those old commercials where you sprinkle the seeds on your Chia Pet and it grows into a fun little plant?! Those silly little seeds are actually nutritional powerhouses! In addition to being a potent source of omega 3s, chia seeds are high in calcium, protein, fiber, and act as blood sugar stabilizers by slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars. Chia seeds are hydrophilic (water loving) and will quickly absorb liquid if they are immersed in it. An easy way to to incorporate these little seeds into your diet is to simply add them to your smoothies, or stir them into your oatmeal. For a creative way to eat them, try making a ‘pudding’ by letting about a tablespoon of chia seeds sit in a cup coconut milk. Chill this mixture for about 15 minutes, and you will have a tapioca-like pudding that is delicious!

Other excellent sources of omega 3s are flax oil, walnuts, hemp seeds, and soybeans. I like to add hemp seeds to my smoothies, as they give it a sweet flavor. Hemp seeds also taste great sprinkled on steamed broccoli, and flax oil can be drizzled over any veggies, warm or cold, for an omega 3 boost. Just be sure not to heat your flax oil as this will denature it.

Trying to break down the nutritional contents of foods can be exhausting, but it is important to have a good understanding if you are new to (or experimenting with) a plant based diet, so that you can be certain you are obtaining adequate nutrition. I encourage anyone making changes in their diet to do so carefully, and under the supervision of a professional if further education is needed. However, once you learn the ropes you will see that the key to a healthy, nutrient rich diet is simply eating a wide variety of whole foods! It’s not complicated… in fact, it’s as easy as pie (vegan pie, that is)!

Lori Zito | @LoriZito
Lori is an animal-loving, life-loving vegan who is passionate about spreading the message of better health through a vegan diet. She works as a certified holistic health and nutrition coach, a yoga instructor, and a physical therapist. Learn more at her website Live In The Balance and follow her on Facebook.

Photo Credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/83096974@N00

http://www.thisdishisvegetarian.com/2010/08/sources-of-iron-and-omega-3-fatty-acids.html

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.

Carrie Underwood Says Her Cystic Acne “Really Cleared Up” After Ditching Dairy

Carrie Underwood said her cystic acne “really cleared up” after ditching dairy.

A vegetarian for a long time, you recently went vegan. How has that impacted your skin?
I definitely notice a difference since I stopped eating foods like greasy fried chicken. I also never knew how much dairy can mess with your skin; my cystic acne really cleared up after I stopped eating it. I’m still learning the ins and outs of what I can and can’t eat, but so far I’m loving it. And of course, drinking a lot of water helps too.(http://bit.ly/JpL3f4).

Dr. Mark Hyman says dairy and sugar cause acne.

How To Prevent and Treat Acne

Eight simple steps will help most overcome their acne problems.

  1. Stay away from milk. It is nature’s perfect food—but only if you are a calf.
  2. Eat a low glycemic load, low sugar diet. Sugar, liquid calories, and flour products all drive up insulin and cause pimples.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. People who eat more veggies (containing more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds) have less acne. Make sure you get your 5–9 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day.
  4. Get more healthy anti-inflammatory fats. Make sure to get omega-3 fats (fish oil) and anti-inflammatory omega-6 fats (evening primrose oil). You will need supplements to get adequate amounts (more on that in a moment).
  5. Include foods that correct acne problems. Certain foods have been linked to improvements in many of the underlying causes of acne and can help correct it. These include fish oil, turmeric, ginger, green tea, nuts, dark purple and red foods such as berries, green foods like dark green leafy vegetables, and omega 3-eggs.
  6. Take acne-fighting supplements.Some supplements are critical for skin health. Antioxidant levels have been shown to be low in acne sufferers. And healthy fats can make a big difference. Here are the supplements I recommend:
    • Evening primrose oil: Take 1,000 to 1,500mg twice a day.
    • Zinc citrate: Take 30 mg a day.
    • Vitamin A: Take 25,000 IU a day. Only do this for three months. Do not do this if you are pregnant.
    • Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols, not alpha tocopherol): Take 400 IU a day.
  7. Try probiotics. Probiotics also help reduce inflammation in the gut that may be linked to acne. Taking probiotics (lactobacillus, etc.) can improve acne.
  8. Avoid foods you are sensitive to. Delayed food allergies are among the most common causes of acne—foods like gluten, dairy, yeast, and eggs are common culprits and can be a problem if you have a leaky gut.http://drhyman.com/blog/conditions/do-milk-and-sugar-cause-acne/

And here’s more:


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