Vegetarianism

What to Worry About This Week: Coconut Oil, Fries, and Everything Else You’re Eating

How drastically have new advances in science changed what we know about nutrition? This week, just a little. We’re looking at three studies on potatoes, coconut oil, and vegetarian diets.

Coconut Oil Loses Its Shine

The headline: Coconut Oil Is as Bad for You as Beef Fat and Butter

The story: Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, just like lard and butter, but it has a better reputation. It just seems healthier, you know? It makes your baked goods fluffy and your hair shiny. It may even have a small fat-burning effect (maybe, I repeat, maybe), but it’s also a big pile of calories just like any other fat or oil. So if you were thinking of it as a totally free, wholesome health food, you were already a little too optimistic.

Today’s news is an advisory from the American Heart Association that says we should quit eating so much saturated fat. That includes coconut oil. But their studies don’t specifically link coconut oil with heart disease, except to say that coconut oil raises LDL (bad) cholesterol as much as butter.

Cholesterol levels aren’t the same as disease risk, and we can’t ignore previous studies that say saturated fat may not be so bad for you. Dietary fat is actually a really tricky subject, and we still don’t have clear answers on whether butter or coconut oil is harmful. It’s fine if you want to back away from the coconut oil. But we don’t have the evidence to say if that will make a real difference to your health.

The take-away: Coconut oil is full of calories and saturated fat, so please don’t think it’s totally cool to eat in large quantities. If you use a lot of it in your diet (or butter or lard, for that matter), you might want to err on the side of caution and replace some of that with olive oil.

Fries Aren’t Poison

The headline: Eating French…

Eat To Strengthen Bones Without Any Consumption Of Dairy Products!

In order to improve and maintain your health, a well balanced diet and regular exercise is a necessity. But for individuals with dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance, or a vegan or vegetarian diet, nutrients such as protein and calcium become more difficult to attain. That is the stigma anyway. The truth is that you can consume more than enough calcium in your diet without animal-based dairy products.1

Since infancy, the majority of us were raised drinking cow’s milk without complication. That is due to a mutation that causes an immunization to the adverse effects of dairy products. But those who are not able to develop this mutation suffer from what is known as lactose intolerance. If dairy products are consumed, their bodies go into rejection mode and it isn’t pretty. They must find alternate sources for calcium in order to reap the benefits that it provides for the body.

Some people choose to avoid dairy simply because it contains saturated fat, cholesterol, allergenic proteins, lactose sugar, and traces of contamination for a multitude of disturbing sources. So whether you choose to omit dairy for health reasons, moral reasons, or because your body simply cannot process it; there are still a number of plant-based resources where you can get more than enough calcium.2

Calcium helps to aid and control many bodily functions, and can cause complications if we do not consume enough.

So we know that we are supposed to get a sufficient amount of calcium daily.3 But why? What does it do to benefit our bodies? Although there is some contradictory evidence that high levels of calcium actually may increase your risk of osteoporosis; that is likely linked to the intake of calcium through animal-based dairy products.4 Until more information on the subject comes to light, we are going to stick to what we know. Calcium benefits our bodies by:

• Growing and maintaining strong bones and teeth,

• Nerve signaling

• Muscle contraction

• Secretion of hormones and enzymes

• Plant based calcium sources also contain vitamins C and K, as well as the minerals potassium and magnesium; also important for bone growth

As you may have already gathered, not getting enough calcium can lead to a number of issues.5 The average person needs to intake between 1000-1200 milligrams of calcium per day. Here’s what can happen to your body if you do not meet the recommended requirements:6

• Numbness in fingers and toes

• Muscle cramps

• Convulsions

• Lethargy

• Weak bones

• Loss of appetite

• Abnormal heart rhythm

Best Plant Based Calcium Rich Foods

Just one serving of this powerhouse food (about 140 mg) contains 39% of your daily calcium intake!7 In addition to the bountiful amount of calcium, consuming this healthy treat will also provide your body with fiber, protein, omega…

A Vegan Diet Is Not Only About Giving Up On Meat, It’s More Than That!

Ever wondered what it would be like only eat plant-based foods and completely remove any type of meat from your diet? Then ask a vegan! Veganism is a term that does not really refer to a diet, but rather a lifestyle as being a vegan does not only mean you are avoiding any animal-derived food, but it also means that you are completely avoiding the use of any products that are derived from animals. While veganism and vegetarianism are often associated with one another, it is vital to realize that there is a distinct different between the two. Where vegetarians solely avoid eating meat, vegans completely remove any animal products and animal derived products from their daily lifestyle – this does not only extend to meat and food sources, but also to non-consumable products such as leather handbags. In this post, we’ll discuss what veganism is, where it came from, what you can eat and, of course, what can’t vegans eat.

The original Vegan Society was founded in 1944, but the first traces of veganism dates back to approximately 500 BCE, as reported by The Vegan Society.1 At this time, the traces refer to a diet that is more similar to a vegetarian diet, but mentioning this discovery is important as it marks an entry point for the development of the vegan lifestyle. In 1806 CE, the vegan lifestyle became more developed when the lifestyle was promoted to be free of dairy products and eggs. The vegan lifestyle as we know it today, however, was developed in 1944 by Donald Watson – this is also now referred to as the modern-day vegan lifestyle. This lifestyle now includes a healthy diet plan, along with the removal of any items in your life that are made from any kind of material derived from animals.2 This includes leather, feathers and much more.

The vegan diet has received quite a lot of attention in recent years. Similar to how people have adapted their lives to becoming vegetarian or following particular diet plans, such as the paleo diet, many people have discovered that veganism is a healthy way of living and plant-based foods are still able to provide the human body with essential nutrients that are needed to promote overall wellbeing and longevity.3 It is reported that at least 2.5% of the entire American population are now following a vegan lifestyle and the consumption of meat are…

Why We Should Have More Vegetarian Protein and Where Can We Get It

Tell someone that you are a vegetarian and it is quite likely that the first thing you will be asked is, “But where do you get your protein?” A vegan friend of mine used to say that she felt as though she spent a significant part of her life explaining vegetarian protein1 to people.

Consuming the right amount of protein is important but how does plant-based protein compare to proteins derived from meat?

Animal Protein vs. Vegetarian Protein

When digested, protein is broken down into amino acids which are required for most metabolic processes. The main difference between animal protein and vegetarian protein is the types of amino acids that they contain.

Animal proteins are regarded as “complete” since they contain all of the essential amino acids. Vegetarian protein are sometimes viewed as being “incomplete” as some may lack one or more amino acid.2

However, there are various plants that are “complete” such as hemp seeds, quinoa, chlorella, and bee pollen. Furthermore, it is easy to combine different plant foods to have complete protein in your meals.

What are the Health Benefits of Vegetarian Protein

The good news is that you do not necessarily have to be a vegetarian to benefit from a plant-based diet! You can simply incorporate more vegetarian meals into your lifestyle. In fact, according to the American Dietetic Association, “appropriately-planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” 3

These are 5 health benefits of vegetarian protein:

  • You will lower your intake of cholesterol and unhealthy saturated fat which will lower the chances of heart disease.4
  • Animal proteins have little to no fiber. A vegetarian meal provides a good source of fiber which will…

How to Eat Less Meat

There are about a million reasons why we should eat less meat, considering its effects on our own health as well as the environment. But most of us don’t want to go full-on vegetarian and quit cold turkey. That’s okay. That’s Brian Kateman’s message in his new book, The Reducetarian Solution.

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This Week’s Discussion

People adopt vegetarian and vegan diets for a lot of reasons. Some people are concerned primarily with animal welfare and the environment and others just want to eat a healthier diet. Most of us, the average omnivore, are aware of these benefits but don’t necessarily want to give up meat completely. Hey, life is short and I enjoy an occasional steak.

Brian Kateman understands this. He coined the term “reducetarian” with his friend Tyler Alterman to refer to people who are trying to cut the amount of meat in their diet for whatever reason, without the pressure of ever being a “lapsed” vegetarian. It’s not a controversial idea that we should all—particularly Americans—eat less meat. Factory farming produces significant carbon emissions, the conditions for the animals can be cruel, and of course, some people don’t want any animals to die…

Buddhist Monks in China Have Offset 40 Million Tons of Greenhouse Gases

Article Image

Tibetan Buddhist monks take part in a special prayer during Monlam or the Great Prayer rituals at the Labrang Monastery, Xiahe County, Amdo, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

A newly released study shows that by eating a vegetarian diet, Buddhists in China annually prevent roughly 40 million tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of 9.2% of all the greenhouse gases produced each year by France.

As reported in Lion’s Roar, the study, by Ampere A. Tzeng from Arizona State, was published in the Journal of Contemporary Buddhism. Called “Vegetarian Diets: A Quantitative Assessment,” it may provide further impetus for a trend that’s already underway: More and more Buddhists are going vegetarian. In Tibetan Buddhism, a number of voices have spoken out in favor of eliminating animals from one’s diet, including the head of the Kagyu school, and “the world’s happiest man,” Buddhist monk Matthieu Richard.

Not all Buddhists in China or anywhere else are vegetarian, and certainly vegetarians are in the minority among the Chinese, who are famously omnivorous. On a visit to Guangzhou, a local man told me that, “The Chinese will eat anything…