Category Archives: Healthy Tuesday

6 Health Reasons to Choose a Plant-Based Diet

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This is part two of my reasons to chose a plant-based diet.  If you missed part 1 which is the environmental reasons, look here, this list is showing the 6 health benefits, check them out!  They are huge!

 

  1. Reduce risk of Heart Disease: Vegetarian diets are naturally lower in saturated fats and cholesterol.  Studies have been shown that vegetarians have a 24% lower risk of dying of heart disease than meat eaters.  It has also been found that patients on a low-fat vegetarian diet have actually reversed coronary heart disease.

  2. Prevent Cancer:  Studies have shown a significant reduction in the risk of cancer among those that have chosen a plant-based diet.  Meat has no fiber or other nutrients that have a protective effect.  Meat also contains saturated fat and in some cases carcinogenic compands such as heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) form when it is cooked at higher temperatures.  The PAH’s that are formed are believed to increase cancer risk.  Along with the high fat animal products also increase hormone production increasing the risk of hormone-related cancers like breast and prostate cancer.

  3. Live longer, and prevent aging: An Oxford study found that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by 6 years.  Plant-based diets are usually rich in fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which strengthen the immune system and slow down the aging process.

  4. Avoid toxic food contaminants:  Meat is loaded with dangerous poisons and contaminants, like hormones, herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics.  These toxins are fat-soluble, so they concentrate in the fatty flesh of the animal.  Not to mention viruses, bacteria and parasites such as salmonella, trichinella, and other worms and toxoplasmosis parasites.

  5. Control or prevent type II diabetes:  Vegans have a 60% less chance of developing diabetes than meat-eaters.  In 2006 a Diabetes Care study that involved 99 people with type II diabetes, both a vegan diet and and ADA-dietary guidlines diet improved the control of blood sugar levels.  However the benefit was greater in the vegan group.  Researchers also found that the vegan diets may have a beneficial effect on hemoglobin A1C levels, which measure your blood sugar levels over time.  After 22 weeks the begans decreased their hemoglobin A1C levels by .96% compared to .56% amung the ADA dieters.  $3% of vegan dieters reduced the number of diabetes medications that they were taking, while only 26% of the ADA group.

  6. Lose excess weight and keep it off:  While this isn’t always true (like me for instance lol) but on average, vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters.  Obesity rates in the general public are extremely high and climbing, the obesity rate in vegetarians is under 6%!  A plant based diet low in fat and rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes along side of daily exercise is the perfect formula to lose weight in a healthy way.

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His Plate / Her Plate # 6 – Cilantro Lime Marinade

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This week, limes were on sale and I bought a ton of them.  I couldn’t juice them fast enough so I set out to figure out something to make with them for dinner.  I recently got a Vitamix  (!!!) and it came with a huge cookbook and I was looking through it for some ideas.  I found a cilantro lime marinade that sounded really good and simple.

All you need for the marinade is

  • 3 limes peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Throw that in your blender and blend until its smooth, then just pour it over your chicken and veggies.

I put Jake’s chicken breasts in a sandwich bag and marinated his chicken while we were at the gym and  for me I marinated vegetables and white beans.  I sautéed my vegetables but I would have rather grilled them on my George Forman grill.  The problem was I only have one grill and I was grilling Jake’s chicken so to save time I just threw mine in a pan.

veggies

I also made a fresh salsa with avocado in it.  I don’t know why I never made my own salsa before.  It was so easy, and so much better!  for my salsa all I used was:

  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 avocado
  •  juice of 1 lime
  • cilantro to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

All I did was dice the tomatoes and avocado, and the onion and jalapeño I chopped really fine squeeze the lime juice over it, stir and put it in the fridge for the flavors to come together.  Now I am going to start experimenting.

cilantrochicken

cilantroveggies

Mine was so hard to make it look pretty so I ended up giving up and just put it on the plate.  We were so hungry and I didn’t want to dirty anymore plates.  Pretty or not it was really good but I think next time I might sweeten up the marinate for the veggies.  All that acid works well on meat and probably tenderizes it but the veggies tasted a smidge tart for my liking.

Some of you might be wondering what the heck that pile of rice is in the back.  Well its black rice.  No, it is not marinated with anything, it’s just simply black.  I was honestly nervous the first time I made it for Jake, but turned out he loved it and now I stocked up.

blackrice

So what are the perks of black rice aside from looking cool on your plate?  It is actually even better for you than brown rice.  A spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries.  It also has less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants.  Anthocyanin antioxidants can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other health issues.  Sounds good to me.  It is kind of sticky rice so I kind of want to try to make sushi out of it next.  Try it and let me know what you think!

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Healthy Tuesday: Animals Are My Friends, and I Don’t Eat My Friends

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I have been vegetarian since I was really young.   I started off omitting red meat, then slowly worked each type of meat out of my diet.  It was hard when I was younger.  My mom didn’t really like to cook in general, and I was really too young to cook for myself so I ate a lot of side dishes.  I wouldn’t totally call myself a carb-loading vegetarian, but it wasn’t a perfect diet either.  No one else in my family is vegetarian, in fact they all think I am a little crazy but they have embraced it now.

I honestly am not totally sure how I decided that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore.  I was never much of a fan of fish, and I would never eat veal.  In fact I still remember (sorry for throwing you under the bus mom) one night my mom made veal parmesan for dinner and actually took the time to mold my piece of veal into the shape of a chicken breast and tried to trick me into eating it, but I figured out as soon as I cut it open.  I suppose that is something I wouldn’t have done, but I get where she was coming from.  She was tired of chicken all the time and needed something new.  I mean really I am sure all of you parents out there have fibbed to your kid at one point, or realized that you as a child were tricked by your parents.

How about the time that my dad told me that an artichoke was a fish and I believed it and never tried it until I was in my 20’s.  I didn’t know he was joking, and he forgot he made the joke.  When I was a kid it made sense since he was eating the heart, I honestly thought it was like some weird living sea plant looking animal.  Sounds crazy now, but I didn’t even find out I could eat it until I was 22 at T.G.I Fridays when my friend wanted to order spinach artichoke dip and I told her I couldn’t eat it because I didn’t eat fish.  I can still see the look on her face when she heard me say that.  All those years I was missing out on just how amazing artichokes are.

anyway…..

Now that I am 31, I have a lot more control over my diet, and I am completely settled in my vegetarian lifestyle, I also know what things are vegetables and what things are meat (lol).  I can tell you now exactly why I eat plant-based and it is for a ton of reasons.  Firstly it is the most obvious reason, animal rights.  By now I am sure everyone is familiar with the horrors of factory farming and I really shouldn’t have to preach about it.  At this point you either care or you don’t, but I hope eventually everyone starts to care.  The animals that are suffering just so people can have a cheap fast food hamburger are astounding and heartbreaking.

In this month’s Healthy Tuesday articles I am going to break down the other two less obvious reasons that I am vegetarian into two parts.  This week I am going to cover the environmental reasons, next week I will be back with a his plate/her plate recipe, then on the 16th part two:  the health reasons of being a vegetarian and lastly I will finish off every month with a new smoothie or juice recipe.

The biggest reason for having a plant based diet is for the environment.  The meat industry has a huge impact on the environment that I choose to not be a part of, here is why:

 

Six  Environmental Reasons to Chose a Plant-Based Diet

  1. Our waterways are being polluted:  The waste, antibiotics, and pesticides from factory farms are running into our water supply.  A typical pig farm produces the same amount of waste that 50,000 humans do, but they don’t have the same sewer system to take care of it.

  2. Our Forests are being cut down at an alarming rate:  Since 1967 our forests have been destroyed at an estimated 1 acre every 5 seconds for cattle in order to keep a cheap supply of beef for our fast food restaurants.  At this rate some of our rainforests could be gone in as little as 30 years.

  3. We are using our land inefficiently: The amount of land needed to feed one person on a meat-based diet could feed 20 vegetarians.

  4. We are wasting our resources:  It requires 16 pounds of grains and 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat.  Growing that amount of grain for human consumption could feed 16 people and only uses 250 gallons of water.

  5. We are wasting our energy:  It takes more than 10 times the fossil fuels to produce one calorie of animal protein versus the same amount of plant protein.

  6. We are destroying our oceans:  Commercial fishing nets catching everything in its path which destroys coral reefs, home to billions of different aquatic animals.

There are so many other environmental reasons for adopting a plant based diet, if these facts have sparked your interest start googling and you will see so many more.  Even changing one of your meat-based meals to a vegetarian meal can help make a difference! 

Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Tuesday article or recipe!

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