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The Healthiest Sugars

Everyone reading this probably uses sugar at some point in their day/week, right? There are tons of different sugars, from regular table sugar, coconut sugar, brown sugar, date sugar, cane sugar, and other sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, barley malt, black strap molasses, and corn syrup.

When we eat sugar, we’re probably not too concerned with how healthy it is because we know that sugar isn’t healthy and that is not our purpose for eating it. However, what if I told you that there were two sugars that have tons of health benefits to them? Well, it’s true.. and those would be Date Sugar and Black Strap Molasses: the healthiest sugars.

Date Sugar

Dr. Michael Greger explains in the video below that most sugars are just empty calories; yes, even maple syrup and agave nectar. However, date sugar is the healthiest sweetener on the planet. He says how it’s not really ‘sugar’, it’s just dried dates pulsed into a powder. And since it’s the only whole plant food on there, it contains all it’s fiber and nutrients as any other fruit.

Benefits of dates include:

  • Good for digestion/aids in constipation. Dates have high levels of soluble fiber, which is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and the comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve symptoms of constipation.(x)
  • Bone strength: The significant amounts of minerals found in dates make it a super food for strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating diseases like osteoporosis. Dates contain selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, all of which are integral to healthy bone development and strength.(x)
  • High in iron/good for anemia: The high level of iron balances out the inherent lack of iron in anemic patients, increasing energy and strength, while decreasing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.(x)
  • Nervous System Health: The vitamins present in dates make it an ideal boost to nervous system health and functionality.(x)
  • Sexual Weakness: Studies have shown that dates are even beneficial for increasing sexual stamina. (x)
  • Abdominal Cancer: Research has pointed towards dates being a legitimate way to reduce the risk and impact of abdominal cancer. (x)

Date+Sugar

Black Strap Molasses

Black Strap Molasses also contains many vitamins and nutrients. Although it has an acquired taste that many don’t like, you should still give it a try to add some extra nutrients into your meals. I take 1 tbsp every morning and since I don’t really like the taste that much, I take a big gulp of orange juice after.

“It has the lowest sugar content of any sugar cane product. The wonderment of blackstrap molasses is that it’s unlike refined sugar, which has zero nutritional value. Blackstrap molasses contains vital vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.”

  • It can be digested slower, which helps stabilize blood sugar in the body. (x)
  • Blackstrap molasses contains both calcium and magnesium, so it can help you guard against osteoporosis. About 5 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, 95 percent of iron, and 38 percent of magnesium. (x)
  • Great for people with anemia: Blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron. About 5 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 95 percent of your daily allowance of iron. (x)
  • Good for diabetics: Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses has a moderate glycemic load of 55. This makes it a good sugar substitute for diabetics and individuals who are seeking to avoid blood sugar spikes. Moreover, one serving of blackstrap contains no fat and only 32 calories, making it suitable for a weight loss diet. (x)
  • Blackstrap is a natural stool softener that can improve the regularity and quality of your bowel movements.(x)
  • Two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses also contains 18 percent of our RDI of manganese (which helps produce energy from proteins and carbohydrates), 9.7 percent of our RDI of potassium (which plays an important role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction), 5 percent of our RDI of vitamin B6 (which aids brain and skin development) and 3.4 percent of our RDI of selenium, an important antioxidant. (x)

Blackstrapmolasses

 

 

Food Health

Carbs and Fruit Sugar Myths

I often hear people expressing their concerns regarding the amounts of sugar found in fruit, as well as being afraid to eat too many carbs. People consider fruit ‘bad’ if you eat too much because of the high amounts of sugar, and people have this negative connotation with eating carbs for some reason because those are the thoughts that society has instilled into us for a long time. So I’m going to break things down for you and explain things, scientifically, so you stop fearing fruit-sugar and carbohydrates.

#1. CARBS

CARBS ARE GOOD FOR THE BODY!!

Firstly, there is a difference between good carbs and bad carbs.

Simple Carbohydrates/BAD CARBS are things like refined fructose and glucose which are found in white flour/starch (white bread, white refined sugar) and are “empty calories”. One thing to stay away from is high fructose corn syrup found in sodas and processed foods.

Complex Carbohydrate/GOOD CARBS are fruits, vegetables, whole grains (oats, rye, quinoa, rice, etc), beans, legumes, pasta, potatoes, certain bread, etc.

“In general, the more refined, or “whiter,” the grain-based food, the lower the fiber.

“Added sugars, also known as caloric sweeteners, are sugars and syrups that are added to foods at the table or during processing or preparation (such as high fructose corn syrup in sweetened beverages and baked products)” – http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/carbohydrates?page=2

good-carbs-vs-bad-carbs

SECONDLY, we are brainwashed into believing that carbs are bad for us.

Carbs are not bad for you. I’m not sure why we have grown up in a society that frowns on carbs? When did it become such a hip/trendy thing for carbs to be bad. If you recall the Mean Girls quote by Regina George: “Is butter a carb?” you can understand why girls have this fear of consuming carbs.

Michael Pollan discusses the carb phenomena in his book The Omnivores Dilemma. He states how in 2002, a New York Times magazine claimed that “fat doesn’t make you fat – carbs do”. This caused a downwards spiral effect of all carb products such as bread and pasta. All of the grocery stores and supermarkets restocked their shelves and changed product placement in fear of the carbs. Atkins and other fad diets let people believe that they could still eat meat and lose weight, as long as they laid off the bread and pasta.

NONE OF THIS IS TRUE.

“In September 2002, the National Academies Institute of Medicine recommended that people focus on getting more good carbs with fiber into their diet.”

  • To meet the body’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein.
  • There is only one way to get fiber — eat plant foods. Plants such as fruits and vegetables are quality carbohydrates that are loaded with fiber. Studies show an increased risk for heart disease with low-fiber diets. There is also some evidence to suggest that fiber in the diet may also help to prevent colon cancer and promote weight control.

#2. SUGAR IN FRUIT

Sugar from fruit is not equivalent to processed, white refined table sugar. It is not stripped from its whole form and won’t cause your blood pressure to sky rocket and crash later.

It’s release is regulated by the water and fibre, and because of that, it does not have the same effects as white sugar.

FRUIT PLATTER

“The soluble fiber in the berries has a gelling effect in our intestines that slows the release of sugars.” http://www.care2.com/greenliving/if-fructose-is-bad-what-about-fruit.html#ixzz3rNdi38Q1

“Sugar as it occurs in whole foods is not an issue; in fact, it is necessary and should be embraced. It’s a problem only when it is extracted from its natural package and used to excess. Also, the foods highest in added sugars frequently are higher in added fats, sodium, refined flours, and animal products, making them unhealthy for a variety of reasons and not just because of the added sugars.” – Forks over Knives

“Fresh fruit offers so much more than the natural sugar it contains – including water, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients (those naturally-occurring plant compounds that have wide ranging beneficial effects on the body).

“Faced with a serving of fruit, how much sugar are we talking about, anyway? An average orange has only about 12 grams of natural sugar (about 3 teaspoons) and a cup of strawberries has only about 7 grams – that’s less than two teaspoons. And either way, you’re also getting 3 grams of fiber, about a full day’s worth of vitamin C, healthy antioxidants and some folic acid and potassium to boot – and it’ll only cost you about 50 or 60 calories. “All sugar”? I think not.

By contrast, a 20-ounce cola will set you back about 225 calories and, needless to say, won’t be supplying any antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or fiber. You’ll just be chugging down some carbonated water, maybe some artificial color and flavor, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 grams of added sugar – about 1/3 of a cup.” – http://www.discovergoodnutrition.com/2011/02/the-truth-about-sugars-in-fruit/

 

So in conclusion, carbs are not the enemy, and you will not get fat from the sugar in fruit. Enjoy these foods in abundance.

For more information, check out these books:

The Starch Solution – Dr. John McDougall  (STARCHES+COOKED FOODS = GOOD FOR YOU)

80/10/10 by Dr. Douglas Graham (RAW FRUITS + VEGGIES = GOOD FOR YOU)

Article Health Mindfulness Vegan

Curing Cancer and Living to 100

The other day I heard the people on the radio talking about how scientists are inventing this new drug that will help people live to be over 100 years old. This drug will also apparently eradicate such illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and alzheimers. And I immediately thought: when will people realize that the answer to health and longevity is not in a pill; it’s in our diet and lifestyle.

Recently I’ve been presented with an abundance of knowledge and information regarding humans living longer and healthier. I guess it all started about a month ago when I watched the presentation by Dr. Michael Greger titled: “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.” Consequently, I found the speech life changing. His presentation is full of extensive studies and research done over periods of 30 years and more. What he explained was how by eating a plant based diet full of fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, nuts, etc: we can cure, prevent, and reverse 15 of the 16 top causes of death in North America. These would be diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and many others. I would highly recommend watching the presentation as I felt very enlightened afterwards and wanted to share it with everybody.

But then I had a thought that has crossed my mind multiple times in the past: if the solution is so simple, why isn’t the whole world having access to this information? If we can all prevent cancer and heart disease by eating plants, why doesn’t everybody know about this??

The answer to that question is simple: money.

The government makes money off of our sickness. The meat and dairy industry make money off us spending all of our money on their products. And then when animal-based foods like meat, dairy and eggs cause diseases like cancer, obesity, heart disease, and all the others I listed above; well, you see how the system works. It’s all about money. And unfortunately, if everybody was healthy and lived long, the medical industries would be out of business. One of my favourite quotes is actually from Family Guy when Lois’s dad says: “Why cure someone of cancer in a day? When you can treat them for a lifetime and bill them every step along the way?

It’s so sad that we live in a generation where cancer is the most deadliest thing someone can hear. But what if all of that could change; what if there really was a cure to fix it all?

Well, there is; it’s called eating a plant based diet.

In Dr. Greger’s presentation, he specifically outlines the causes of cancer, and how eating animal foods can cause cancer growth to grow. And when patients were fed a diet of only plant based foods, the cancer cells shrunk. I really cannot do it any justice by describing it to you so please, if you are doubting me or are just interested, go watch the speech now. It’s only an hour and can literally change your life.

The next week I came across this TED talk by Dan Buettner titled: “How to Live to be 100+“. In the presentation he discusses the tribes of people who are the longest living on the planet: in Sardinia, Okinawa, and Loma Linda. What all of these groups of people had in common was that they ate a predominantly plant based diet: consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

But it’s not just diet that aids in their longevity, it’s also their culture. These people do not live like we do in Westernized societies. They wake up each morning with a happy and peaceful mind. They pray to whatever God or higher powers they believe in; they spend quality time together in their community; they form genuine connections with people who will be with them their entire life time; they do not over eat like North Americans do, they simply eat until they are 80% full to ensure they do not over eat. They also say a prayer before each meal and also say that they will appreciate this meal and not over eat. Another thing all of these communities have in common is that they do not exercise; yet they are the healthiest people on the planet, where living to age 100 is normal, even 120 is average for them. They do not have a word for retirement because these people believe that the job they have is not a job at all; they believe it is their duty to their community; to help and serve. They never want to finish working because they love it so much. They work to be 97 and older.

The difference between these communities and ours is that we live these busy, hectic lives. We are overwhelmed by industrialization, consumerism, and the internet. We rush around the busy streets surrounded by tall buildings and polluted air. We stress about the future and let things from the past haunt us. One specific thing that these tribes do is to sit down once or twice a day and just relax and pray. To say what they are appreciative for, and to de-stress/mediate, and relax their minds and bodies. We do not do that enough.

So with all of these things combined – diet, stress, culture – they live much longer and healthier than we do.

I aspire to be like them. I want us all to aspire to be like them. Because if we can all be happy and live long together, why wouldn’t we?

But then I am reminded; where is the profit in that?

And that is why we will never be like them. Because our Westernized world revolves around money and greed, not the wellness of our people. Unfortunately, people being sick is what keeps the money flowing. And until people wake up and do their own research on these things, they will continue to be a slave to the system. And I truly do not want that to happen to people. That is why I highly advise you to watch these presentations, read these books, do your research, and learn about these things. Because sometimes the internet can help you more than think.

Food Health

Vegan Vitamins and Nutrients

One of the biggest misconceptions about going vegan is that you won’t get any vitamins and nutrients. We’ve grown up in a society that tells us that we need to get protein from meat, and calcium from milk. So when you switch over to this completely new and different lifestyle, it can be scary, and you may not know anything. So that is why I created this post; to show you that YES, it is possible, and very easy, to get every single essential vitamin, mineral, and nutrient that your body needs to thrive.

Some vegans take supplements, some vegans don’t. It’s all up to you really, and you need to be smart about it. Personally, I eat a ton of fruits and veggies, and can be certain I’m getting all of my nutrients (yes, even B12. I eat nutritional yeast and spirulina every day, and the almond milk we buy is fortified with it). But if you cannot guarantee getting every single vitamin or nutrient, then don’t be afraid to take supplements! Most people who eat meat, dairy and eggs have to take supplements, so it’s perfectly normal.

VITAMIN A (beta-carotene)

  • Bright yellow and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and apricots.
  • Vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
  • Other sources of beta-carotene include broccoli, spinach, and most dark green, leafy vegetables.

VITAMIN B1 (thiamin)

  • baker’s yeast (active yeast), nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), coriander, pine nuts, Jerusalem artichokes, hibiscus tea, watermelon, whole grains, acorn squash, soymilk, soybeans, rice bran, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts (or butter), tahini, sesame seeds, spirulina, green peas, most beans, asparagus

VITAMIN B2 (riboflavin)

  • cereal grasses, whole grains, almonds, sesame seeds, spinach, fortified soy milk, spirulina, mushrooms, beet greens, quinoa, buckwheat, prunes

VITAMIN B3 (niacin)

  • baker’s yeast (active yeast), nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), coffee, chili powder, spirulina, peanuts, peanut butter, rice bran, mushrooms, barley, durian fruit, potatoes, tomatoes, millet, chia, whole grains, wild rice, buckwheat, green peas, avocados, sunflower seeds, tahini

VITAMIN B5 (pantothenic Acid)

  • baker’s yeast (active yeast), nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), paprika, mushrooms, sunflower seeds (and sunbutter), whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms, avocados, tomatoes, soy milk, rice bran, sweet potatoes

VITAMIN B6 (pyridoxine)

  • all soy products (choose non-GMO), bananas, watermelon, peanut butter, almonds, sweet potatoes, green peas, avocados, hemp seeds, spirulina, chia seeds, beans, rice bran, chickpeas, prunes, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, pineapple, plantains, hearts of palm, artichokes, water chesnuts, all squash and pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, green beans, pistachios, figs, nutritional yeast, baker’s yeast (active yeast), garlic, sage, peppers, kale, collards

VITAMIN B7 (biotin)

  • almonds, chia, peanuts, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, onions, oats, tomatoes, carrots, walnuts

VITAMIN B9 (folate)

  • spinach, beans, lentils, asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, mangoes, oranges, most whole grains, nutritional yeast (nonactive yeast), baker’s yeast (active yeast), basil, soy products, peanuts, artichokes, cantaloupe, walnuts, flax, sesame, cauliflower, tahini, sunflower seeds, peas, okra, celery, hazelnuts, mint, leeks, chesnuts

VITAMIN B12 (cobalamin) *

  • nutritional yeast (one of the best), spirulina (best source), soy products, fortified cereals (choose an organic, non-GMO brand), fortified almond milk (Silk), fortified coconut milk (Silk), some vegan protein powders.

“As you can see, you can usually obtain all the B vitamins you need from vegan foods alone. You should take specific caution to take a Vitamin B12 supplement if you do not take one already, or you don’t consume at least one teaspoon or spirulina per day or at least 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast per day. Both those sources in the specified amounts provide over 100% of the daily values. In terms of the other vitamins, it’s quite easy to get enough through your diet or you can simply take a vegan B complex supplement.” – http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/b-vitamins-how-to-get-them-in-a-vegan-diet/

VITAMIN D*

“For almost all of human history, humans got their vitamin D from sun exposure. In fact, before the days of fortification, it would have been pretty hard to get enough from food. The only food sources were certain fatty fish, and you would have had to eat a lot of them to meet vitamin D needs.

Even the most common fortified food in the U.S. diet—cow’s milk—doesn’t have enough vitamin D to meet daily needs.

In many parts of the world, it’s impossible to make enough vitamin D during the colder months. So, although vitamin D is sometimes thought of as a “vegan issue” in nutrition, it’s really not – vitamin D is hard to come by for everyone. Supplements are the best answer for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.” – http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-health/meeting-vitamin-d-needs-on-a-vegan-diet/

With that being said, here are some foods that contain vitamin D:

  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Chanterelle mushrooms, raw
  • Fortified foods/drinks such as soymilk, almond milk, organge juice, soy yogurt, etc.

VITAMIN C

  • orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon
  • Dark leafy greens, broccoli, etc.
  • Papaya, strawberries, pineapple, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, and raspberries

IRON

  • Tofu (1/2 cup): 6.6 mg
  • Spirulina (1 tsp): 5 mg
  • Cooked soybeans (1/2 cup): 4.4 mg
  • Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
  • Quinoa (4 ounces): 4 mg
  • Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp): 4 mg
  • Tomato paste (4 ounces): 3.9 mg
  • White beans (1/2 cup) 3.9 mg
  • Dried apricots (1 cup): 3.5 mg
  • Cooked spinach (1/2 cup): 3.2 mg
  • Dried peaches (6 halves): 3.1 mg
  • Prune juice (8 ounces): 3 mg
  • Lentils (4 ounces): 3 mg
  • Peas (1 cup): 2.1 mg

CALCIUM

  • Kale (1 cup contains 180 mg)
  • Collard Greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg)
  • Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)
  • Tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg)
  • Turnip Greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)
  • Fortified non-dairy milk (1 cup contains 200-300 mg)
  • Hemp milk (1 cup contains 460 mg)
  • Fortified orange juice (1 cup contains 300 mg)
  • Tahini (2 tablespoons contains 130 mg)
  • Almond butter (2 tablespoons contains 85 mg)
  • Great northern beans (1 cup contains 120 mg)
  • Soybeans (1 cup contains 175 mg)
  • Broccoli (1 cup contains 95 mg)
  • Raw fennel (1 medium bulb contains 115 mg)
  • Blackberries (1 cup contains 40 mg)
  • Black Currants (1 cup contains 62 mg)
  • Oranges (1 orange contains between 50 and 60 mg)
  • Dried apricots (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
  • Figs (1/2 cup contains 120 mg)
  • Dates (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
  • Artichoke (1 medium artichoke contains 55 mg)
  • Roasted sesame seeds (1 oz. contains 35 mg)
  • Adzuki beans (1 cup contains 65 mg)
  • Navy beans (1 cup contains 125 mg)
  • Amaranth (1 cup contains 275 mg)

PROTEIN

  • 1 cup garbanzo beans =14.5 grams
  • 1 cup pinto beans =12 grams
  • 1 cup refried beans =15.5 grams
  • 1 cup soybeans =28 grams
  • 1 oz. cashews =4.4 grams
  • 1 oz. peanuts =6.5 grams
  • 1 oz. sesame seeds =6.5 grams
  • 1 oz. pistachios =5.8 grams
  • 1 cup tofu =22 grams
  • 1 cup lentils =18 grams
  • 1 avocado =10 grams
  • 1 cup broccoli =5 grams
  • 1 cup spinach =5 grams
  • 1 cup peas =9 grams
  • 1 medium artichoke =4 grams
  • 1 cup asparagus =5 grams
  • 1 cup beet greens =3 grams

ALMOST EVERYTHING CONTAINS PROTEIN!! Not getting enough protein is not the problem. Getting too much protein is the problem. http://mindfullybliss.com/the-obsession-with-protein/

(lentils, cous cous,tofu, potatoes, seitan, tempeh, quinoa, peanuts, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, almonds, whole wheat bread, black beans, rice, pinto beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, cashews, artichoke, corn, peas, avocado, banana, pumpkin seeds, watermelon, spinach, flaxseeds, broccoli, pecans, kidney beans, rye bread, popcorn, steel cut oats, soybeans, etc)

 

FIBRE

I guess this isn’t a problem for vegans as much as it is meat-eaters. People often ask vegans and vegetarians, “how do you get your protein?” But the real question to them is, “how do you get your fibre?” Fibre is super important in our diets, and can help people lose weight. Everybody should be getting fibre in their diet. That means eating lots of:
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Quinoa
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Flax Seed
  • Chia Seeds

OMEGA 3 – ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

  • Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds
  • Dark leafy greens: romaine, arugala, spinach
  • Beans: navy beans, kidney beans, soybeans
  • Cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts
  • Winter Squash

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/plant-based-foods-with-the-highest-amount-of-omega-3-fatty-acids/

Good sources of omega-3 fats are the oils of some nuts and seeds such as flax, mustard, hemp, rapeseed and walnuts. Making rapeseed (canola) oil your primary kitchen oil is an affordable, straight-forward approach to obtaining good fats. Why not try hemp milk and spirulina powder (also high in omega-3) in smoothies, walnuts on your breakfast cereal, or ground flax seeds in baking?

Other sources of omega-3 include green leafy vegetables, soya and grains; however, vegans should not rely on these sources as they tend to be high in omega-6, which can inhibit omega-3 uptake.

https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-health/vitamins-minerals-and-nutrients/omega-3-and-omega-6

OMEGA 6

Vegan diets, which tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and seeds already gain enough omega-6 to be healthy. The trick is to make sure you’re not consuming too much omega-6 compared to omega-3.

MAGNESIUM

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Pumpkin seeds, flax seed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Dark Chocolate = more than 100 milligrams per ounce
  • Almonds = 84 milligrams per ounce
  • Lentils = 1 cup serving of lentils provides approximately 70 mg of magnesium, or as much as 20 percent of your daily value.
  • Bananas = One banana provides 32 mg, according to the U.S. National Nutrient Database.

http://www.care2.com/causes/5-surprisingly-yummy-sources-of-magnesium-2.html#ixzz3p1o0vPUC

SELENIUM

The adult RDA (Recommended Daily or Dietary Allowance) is 55 mcg (microgram) of selenium. For safety, don’t have more than 400 mcg each day.

Brazil nuts can be high in selenium: a Brazil nut grown in selenium-rich soil may contain half of your RDA! Wholegrains, beans and white rice may also be rich in the mineral. It is recommended to eat one or two Brazil nuts each day, or take a reliable selenium supplement. However, be careful not to eat more than 3-4 Brazil nuts each day due to selenium’s toxicity. – https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-health/vitamins-minerals-and-nutrients/selenium

  • brazilnuts (30g)
  • spaghetti (215g)
  • Couscous (140g)
  • soybean kernels (250ml)
  • shiitake (85g)
  • whole-grain wheat flour (30g)
  • sunflower seeds (30g)
  • rye (45g)

http://selenium.rich-vegan-foods.com/

PHOSPHORUS

  • Yellow beans (100g=488m)
  • Soybeans (250ml=445mg)
  • Lentils (250ml=377mg)
  • Pumpkin seed kernels (30g=370mg)
  • Toasted sunflower seed kernels (30g=347mg)
  • Falafel (140g=269mg)
  • Brazil nuts (30g=218mg)

ZINC

We need 8-11 mg of zinc per day, though the Institute of Medicine has suggested that vegans with high intakes of unrefined grains might need 50% more zinc than recommended.

  • Tofu, tempeh, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and fortified products (like breakfast cereal and meat substitutes

To increase the uptake of zinc you can toast nuts and seeds, choose risen bread over flatbread and drink orange juice with each meal. While unrefined grains tend to be higher in phytate, wholegrain bread’s higher zinc levels make up for its poor absorption – so you don’t have to give up on the other nutritious benefits wholegrain provides.

https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-health/vitamins-minerals-and-nutrients/zinc

 

Article Food Health Vegan

Is Eating Meat a Personal Choice?

So often I hear people say, “I respect vegan’s choice not to eat meat, and they should respect my choice to eat meat.”

“Each to one’s own”

“You do your thing, I’ll do mine”

shutterstock9723865This argument is dangerously flawed in many ways. The first factor being that the individual saying this is clearly thinking about THEIR choice, but not the choice of the animal. The cow/pig/chicken that you are eating did not have a choice. They were taken and killed against their will. This argument will be irrelevant for people who do not care about farm animals, and solely believe that they are “just food”. But to anyone else who may have an inkling of compassion in their hearts for those poor farm animals; you are neglecting the choice that they did not get.

The second factor of this argument is that it really isn’t a ‘personal choice’, as it does more than just affect that individual. Animal agriculture and factory farming are the leading causes of environmental destruction due to the amount of resources (water, food, land, etc), and greenhouse gasses used to keep these animals alive to turn into food. So when you eat that burger, you aren’t just affecting your own life; you are affecting the entire planet. (See sources here.)

Not plucking one’s eyebrows is a personal choice. Going bald is one’s personal choice. Heck, not showering for a week is someone’s personal choice. These are choices that solely effect that one individual. But there are many things in this world that are more than just personal choices. For instance; wearing makeup. I was originally going to say in this post “wearing make-up is a personal choice!” But is it? Most of the brands out there test on animals. So if you wear the majority of the popular make-up brands, you are contributing to the testing and deaths of  innocent animals. And people will say “but I love make-up; it makes me feel happy/confident/insert emotion here. That’s fine! You are allowed to wear make-up! But individuals should be aware about what they are putting their money into. So it is a choice to participate in that, or you can choose to wear cruelty free brands. 

When people choose to continue to pay for animal by-products, they are giving into the demand. If we all suddenly stopped eating meat, that demand would go away, causing the need to kill animals to decrease.

You see, we all make a difference in this world, whether you know it or not. When you purchase animal by-products, you are shaping how this world will turn out. So it is up to you whether you make a positive or negative choice.

It bothers me that people also refer to veganism as a ‘belief’ or even a diet. They say, “Don’t shove your religion down other people’s throats”. But when did justice and compassion become equivalent to Christianity or Judaism? It didn’t. It is not a belief or a religion or a diet; it is way beyond that. Stopping the slaughter of sentient beings is not something that you choose to ‘believe’ in; it is choosing to do something that is morally and ethically right.

180764_dbdac4eea9aa2bd7339c240a3bd44322_largeI guess it all stems from the argument, are we all equal? Many people do not think so. Humanity feels superior for many reasons. But once you take away those layers, and strip it down to the basic thinking, you realize we were all created on this earth for a purpose; we are all earthlings and we are all equal. When egotistical/ superior thinking comes into play, humans get cocky and become know-it-alls. “We need meat to survive” “We’ve been doing it for thousands of years” “Animals can’t feel pain; they don’t have souls; we’re supposed to eat them”

Yeah, only until we’re not.

If we can survive without meat, then why are we still eating it?

Habits. Culture. History. Taste.

Those are difficult barriers to break through. Difficult; but not impossible.

I did it. Many people did it. You just have to find your true reasons for wanting to go vegan; something that clicks in your brain and makes you say ‘hey, you’re right. Why are we still killing animals and destroying our planet?’

It’s not easy, but it is possible.

We can do this.

So no, I don’t think eating meat is a personal choice. I think it is a very public choice that affects the entire planet and it’s species. Oceans, rainforests, third world countries, North America, etc. It affects everything.

So today you have a choice; what kind of change will you make for this world?

 

Article Health

The HCLF Diet

(Please note that this post was written in Sept 2014. Please see my newest post for an update on my opinion on this lifestyle: Why I’m No Longer HCLF or Raw Till 4)

Tired of working out excessively and not seeing results? Upset from counting every calorie and restricting yourself from indulging in what you love? Well, what if I told you that there was a lifestyle where you could eat TONS of food a day in abundance and never have to restrict or worry about a single calorie ever again? Don’t believe me? Well it’s true folks; it’s called a High Carb Low Fat vegan diet.

2014-05-18 004 2014-05-18 001What is this you ask? Well basically it’s a diet or as I like to call it, a lifestyle, where one consumes mostly carbs such as fruits and veggies, and low amounts of fats (sugars, salts, oils, etc).

Now before you get to asking, “but I thought carbs are bad!?”, wait and hear me out first.

There is a difference between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates.

Good Carbs/Complex Carbs = Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains (oats, rye, quinoa, rice, etc), Beacns, Legumes, Pasta, Potatoes.

Bad Carbs/Simple Carbs = Fructose and Glucose which are found in white flour/starch (white bread, white refined sugar) and are “empty calories”. One thing to stay away from is high fructose corn syrup found in sodas and processed foods.

Basically you can eat as much as your body truly needs, and the beauty of it is, you stay slim and fit. Thousands of people have thrived on this lifestyle and have only seen great results. Forget everything you know about weight loss and dieting. Forget that voice in your head that says “CARBS ARE BAD!! STAY AWAY!” No. Carbs will not make you fat. No more cutting back on calories and skipping meals. No more worrying about every single food you put into your body and how it will affect you. When you are eating wholesome and healthy foods, your body will only show you positive results, and you don’t have to worry about all those old dieting fads. Oh, and this diet will work as long as you are; so that means working your body and getting enough of your daily exercise. You can’t sit on the couch all day and eat tons of food and expect to see results.

You may see other people doing this diet differently, and that is because everybody is different! What works for one person may not work for another. So don’t get alarmed if someone else is eating 10 bananas in a smoothie and you can only eat 2!! That is perfectly okay. Never stuff yourself full to “get in more calories” just because people on the internet said so. Listen to your body and eat intuitively. Eat when you are hungry; stop when you are full. It is that simple.

“So what do I eat?”

FOOD FROM THE EARTH! Mother nature has blessed us with an abundance of food for us to grow and eat naturally without causing any harm to any other beings. Plant based foods contain ALL of the nutrients the human body needs to survive, and they do not contain cholesterol, fatty acids, and many other things that only animal by-products contain.

Fruit

Fruits are high in carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber and water content. They also contain little to no fat. And absolutely NO cholesterol. Specific examples of the highest carb fruits include apples, pears, raisins, dates, peaches, bananas, grapefruits, grapes, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes and pineapples.

Vegetables

Vegetables are similar to fruits in the fact they are low in fat and high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and water content. The place they differ is the carb content. Only a select few vegetables are high in carbs and they include acorn and winter squash, sweet potatoes, yams and regular potatoes.

Legumes

Legumes are seeds that are contained inside a pod. These are high in fiber, carbs and vitamins and they are low in fat. Examples include peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, soy beans, kidney beans and lima beans.

Rice, Potatoes, Pasta

Now a days, girls are so afraid to eat carbs. They think they will get fat. Well, no… you won’t. You can eat rice and potatoes and NOT get fat. DO NOT LISTEN TO REGINA GEORGE. CARBS ARE GOOD FOR YOUUUUUU.

An example of what 3 meals a day for someone following the HCLF diet looks like this:

Breakfast: a smoothie, nana ice-cream, or a monomeal (an abundance of one type of food such as 1 pineapple, half a watermelon, half a cantaloupe, 5 mangos, etc)

Lunch: A monomeal of fruits, a smoothie, a salad, etc.

Dinner: A huge salad with a bunch of veggies, OR if you’re doing Raw till 4, pasta, potatoes, stir-fry, rice, etc.

and snacks? FRUIT, DUH!!

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“Isn’t all that sugar bad for me?”

NO! Disregard everything you’ve heard about the sugar in fruit being bad and making you fat. I can’t guarantee anything, but seeing how many thousands of people live this lifestyle and are SLIM AND FIT, I can tell you there’s a pretty good chance you can be too. As long as you are listening to your body, not over eating, and getting minimal daily requirements in for exercise.

“How do I get started?”

Simple; eat. All you have to do is eat a BUNCH of fruits, veggies, and other whole foods and you’re set. People living this lifestyle tend to eat in abundance, and also eat mono meals, which are meals that consist of one thing. An example of this would be having a 5 banana smoothie for breakfast, or eating 1 whole pineapple for lunch. Yes you may think it’s crazy and extreme, but wait till you try it. I too once thought eating that much was scary, but that was until I tried eating all these healthy foods in abundance and realized how amazing my body felt. You feel youthful, revitalized, light, and happy. For lunch I now have either half of a watermelon, or a bunch of fruit. Yes, I feel full, and yes, I do get a ‘food baby’ afterwards, but I’ve never lighter and happier after meal times. I feel way better than I did when I used to eat meat dairy and eggs. And “bloating” is normal after eating a bunch of fruit because hey are high in fibre and contain a lot of water. You will just pee it all out and then your belly will be down again 🙂

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For more information, follow the links below:

Freelee the Banana Girl – https://www.youtube.com/user/Freelea

Steph Yu: https://www.youtube.com/user/happyandhealthy96

Laura Wolf: https://www.youtube.com/user/lolacookss

or go to Instagram and search the hashtag: HCLF

 UPDATE: Read my new article: Misconceptions About the HCLF Diet.

Article Health

Counting Calories

Today I had three people ask me about counting calories. My answer is, and will always be, NO, I do not agree with counting calories.

Trust me, I know where you’ve been. I used to have the “My Fitness Pal” app on my iphone where I would input everything I ate in the day, and it would tell me how much I had left, and at the end of the day it would say “if you keep eating like this for 5 more weeks, you’d weigh ‘so in so’ lbs”

Okay, do you know how much complete BS that is? The app isn’t a nutrition app. It doesn’t track your personal health factors, it simply records what you’ve ate that day, regardless of what is is.

For instance, I could have oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, maybe a Special K granola bar (ou, probably low in calories so I’ll have it) Hmmm, even those Thinsations are good too! They have 20 little OREO COOKIES for 100 calories! Wow, they must be amazingly healthy for me. Oh and also this LIGHT peanut butter is 90 calories, where as normal peanut butter is 100, yep I’ll choose this one. Okay, and I have 200 calories remaining after my dinner, so I’m going to treat myself to some chocolate cake.

Do you understand? It doesn’t MATTER if you count calories if all you are eating is junk. I don’t count calories because they don’t matter. I know that everything I eat is healthy, so I’m not concerned about how many calories it has. I promise you that you will NEVER get fat off of fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, grains, etc. If you are eating all the right foods, you should not be concerned.

Another example I always give is this: An avocado is fairly high in calories, but is SUPER good for you and your body. Coke Zero may have 0 calories, but is awful for you. Now which one would you rather have?

Personally, I’d rather have something that’s good for me than bad for me, regardless of how many calories it has. Like I said before, you won’t get fat from healthy foods, so why bother worrying about how many calories an apple or orange has if it will never have a negative effect on you?

The last thing is, if you are listening to an app, you are not listening to your body. Okay, so imagine you’ve entered in all your macros for the day, and by dinner time, you’re almost up! So you have a small dinner to even it all out. But then at 8:00pm, your stomach starts to growl and you realize that you’re hungry. What do you do!!?? The app on your phone says you’ve already exceeded your daily recommended caloric intake, but your body is trying to tell you it’s hungry. It is literally sending you hunger pains. So what do you do? LISTEN TO YOUR BODY OF COURSE!!

I always advocate for listening to our bodies, and by following a calorie counting app, you are not doing that. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Eat the foods that your body craves, healthy of course, and you will be fine. Stop over thinking it and just go back to the basics. Don’t binge out on chocolate cake and ice-cream, but find a happy balance where you can have green smoothies and salads and vegan pizza and vegan brownies all in the same day. Counting calories just leads to stressful and obsessive habits.

I hope this helps all those people who are wondering this and spend their time worrying and stressing about calories. Don’t let them consume your life. Nourish your body with whole, healthy foods and you will be just fine.