If you haven't planned your meal or need a recipe for the Fourth of July, here are a few favorite plant-based recipes that might do the trick. Put on your chef's hat and prepare to be won-over by this delicious menu for Fourth of July. Easy enough to prepare that you won't be in the kitchen all day. Even make some dishes the day before and wow your meat-eating friends. Add grilled veggies, like peppers, onion and eggplant to complete the menu.
Lose Weight with This Simple Tool
If you are struggling with weight loss, I just read about an interesting result from doing one simple thing... Tracking your weight EVERY day and charting your results. Weight loss CAN happen even if this is the only thing you do. My guess is that it occurs because it's in your consciousness every day. With this simple chart, you can put in YOUR desired weight loss goals.
I discovered this simple idea while reading, The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, by Timothy Ferriss. It has an amazing plethora of ideas on the topic from insulin control to exercise. Many of them he experimented on himself. I glean what I can from books like this. It's not vegan or even vegetarian, but there are a lot of interesting suggestions and I'll share a few of them with you. Until then:
PRINT THE CHART ABOVE. Use this simple method to track your weight EVERY day and you just might lose weight! Put your beginning weight on the top left. Then going down the left, reduce the weight in even increments according to your needs (it could be 2 lb increments or more) to your ideal weight at the bottom. See sample below.
Across the bottom are the days for you to lose. It's up to you what goals to set; however, this chart is over 4 months, May, June, July and August. If you want a different time frame, use different numbers.
Place a dot on the chart to note where your weight is each day. Good luck :) And, let me know how it's going.
Why would you give up Cow's milk, you might ask. "It's a staple from my childhood and the main source of calcium," you say. It may seem like an impossible feat, but it can be done. I wouldn't have thought it myself, as I loved milk in my morning coffee. But here I am today, making my own almond milk and using unsweetened soy milk in sauces, baked items AND my coffee. And enjoying it. (See how to make almond milk here.)
Many articles have been written about cow's milk and I'll only briefly touch on on that here, but why don't you give it up seriously if you are still using. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need dairy products to get calcium. Many natural foods contain calcium and especially greens. Dairy products aren't particularly healthy for you either. Consider that dairy contains hormones and promotes heart disease. Here's a great article on Protecting Yourself from Osteoporosis.
How can you get your calcium instead? Here is a partial list: broccoli, garbanzo beans, kale, romaine lettuce, soybeans, bok-choy, sweet potatoes, tofu and more. 1 cup milk = 300 mg. 2 cups kale = 350 mg of calcium, for example.
And, look at the these almond beauties - full of good oils, protein and fiber, they are a power house of nutrition. According to Dr. Fuhrman, "Nuts and seeds contain a spectrum of micronutrients including LDL cholesterol-lowering phytosterols; circulation-promoting arginine; minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium; and antioxidants, including flavonoids, resveratrol, tocopherols (vitamin E), and carotenoids." And, the idea of nuts being fattening has been proven false. "Although the myth that nuts and seeds are fattening has persisted, the research suggests that nuts are actually beneficial for weight loss."
Here's what nuts can do for you:
* Aid in weight loss
* Cut the risk of cardiovascular disease
* Potentially enhance lifespan
Best eaten raw or lightly toasted. See Dr. Fuhrman's complete article on the benefit of nuts and learn how to make your very own almond milk here.
Watch Dr Fuhrman's inspirational TED talk. Better health than ever before is possible. A "nutritarian" diet seems like a miracle cure for heart disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Dr. Fuhrman is "on a mission to share the power of nutritional excellence." It is more therapeutic than medication and the results can touch your heart.
Over the years I seen many articles on the benefit of Hibiscus and have purchased tea like the Celestial Seasonings brand pictured below. I recently purchased a bag of the dried flowers after being reminded of their amazing benefits by nutritionfacts.org. If you don't know, Hibiscus, is the same flower you might find in your backyard. Originally from Hawaii, it packs a wallop of nutrition. If you're trying to find an alternative to coffee, this might help you on your way. Want to lower your blood pressure or increase your good cholesterol? Consider this a plus. It's a bit tart so a few teaspoons of sugar alternative, like Erythritol, helps (see a video on this sugar substitute in my previous post). Add it to your smoothies or keep it in your fridge as a treat when you get the urge for something sweet. To prepare, steep 1/2 cup of the dried flowers in 4 cups of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Add your sugar alternative and serve either hot or chilled over ice. You may also add the almost equally beneficial pomegranate juice (straight, no sweeteners) to cut the tartness. To read more about the benefits of this amazing flower, see this Mother Earth News article.
Surely you've read that sugar is bad for you. The evidence keeps mounting. So what's a sweet tooth addict to do? Isn't Stevia OK? Mmmm, maybe not. Watch this 2 minute video explain some of the scientific evidence and then hop over to Nutritionfacts.org and watch a couple of other videos in the series on sugar substitutes:
Aspartame Induced Fibromialgia
Is Stevia Good for You?
Thanksgiving 2013 is less than 3 weeks away and you might consider serving these delicious Thanksgiving inspired, plant-based recipes. They were generously contributed by Plant-Based Dietician, Julieanna Hever, who hosts a TV series called, "What Would Julieanna Do?" which airs on Veria Living TV. These recipes are 100 percent whole food, plant-based, sugar, oil and salt free.
Find the complete recipes here:
Fall Harvest Chowder
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Kale Salad with Mustard Dressing
Berry Apple Relish
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
I usually reserve recipes for, well, the recipe section, but there is so much good news here, I think you'll understand. Having a smoothie for breakfast can be an easy, quick and heart healthy choice. This one is particularly heart healthy and here are a seven reasons why you might want to drink your breakfast:
1. It's a good way to eat more greens. Add some spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce and you'll be on your way to having your daily dose of greens.
2. The blender does the chewing for you and helps release all the goodness in your food.
3. Cranberries contain polyphenols and they may boost heart health by alleviating arterial stiffness. And, blueberries help reduce atherosclerosis. Not to mention that both of these antioxidant rich berries help prevent urinary tract infections by blocking bacterias ability to bind to the bladder's wall.
4. Oatmeal can lower your cholesterol. It's soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and ushers it out of the system.
5. Clinic studies have shown pomegranates to be heart healthy. From Dr. Fuhrman, Pomegranate "not only lower cholesterol, but also lower blood pressure and increase the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away."
6. Flax seeds, which need to be ground to be bioavailable, are rich in lignans and omega 3 fatty acids and "scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease."
7. "Soy's lunasin peptide is "nutritional magic" for your heart. Lunasin is a naturally occurring peptide found in soy that disrupts production of cholesterol in the liver and clears LDL from bloodstream." from news-medical.net.
If you're concerned about soy, you can substitute unsweetened almond milk.
Heart Healthy Smoothie
If you haven't been to Dr. Greger's website, NutritionFacts.org, I highly recommend it as a great resource for fast and easy to understand video's about nutritional studies and health. I can't believe it's been a year since I posted Dr. Greger's 2012 video, "Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death" here. He's done it again this year, for free I might add, with "More Than an Apple a Day: Preventing Our Most Common Diseases." His entertaining presentation of interesting health and nutrition data may even make you chuckle. His video has had over 1 millions views already. Although it's an hour long, there are many tidbits that will help you stay focused and determined to eat a plant-based diet. Enjoy!
More Than an Apple a Day: Preventing Our Most Common Diseases
I've been writing this blog for about a year and a half, but you may have noticed that I don't share much personal information. I figure that maybe you're not that interested in hearing about me. The more I thought about that, though, the more I realized that the blogs I like and feel connected to are the ones that do share about themselves. So with that in mind, I thought I'd share my personal health journey. I'm not just talking about losing weight and lowering cholesterol although they are a part of it. It's about dealing with my increasing episodes of heart palpitations.
First, although most palpitations are harmless, if you are experiencing undiagnosed heart palpitations, it's best that you have it checked out by a doctor. I've had sporadic heart palpitations for most of my life and 25 plus years ago I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse (MVP). Nothing to worry about, they said. When the palpitations increased recently, I decided it was time to look again. A stress echo test revealed that I actually don't have MVP, but just a small leak. Apparently, the test for measuring MVP has changed over the years and many were diagnosed with MVP that didn't have it. The stress echo test revealed that my heart valves are all good, but why the palps? My cardiologist's first inclination was to medicate and do more tests because one of the causes can be plaques or blockages in your heart. My cardiologist did not ask any questions about changes to my diet or what was happening in my life.
Although I wore a heart monitor for a month, I was not willing to do a nuclear stress test because of the radiation exposure. The monitor revealed some non-dangerous palpitations and a few atrial fibrillations. (Note: the decision to forgo a nuclear stress test was purely a personal decision. This test does offer a relatively non-invasive way to measure blood flow to your heart muscle both at rest and during stress).
So off I went to do some research. I discovered that there's another simple ultrasound test that can reveal a lot about your heart. Why not do something less invasive first, I reasoned. It is actually recommended by Dr. Fuhrman. It's a scan of your carotid arteries in your neck and is about 95% correlated with what's happening in your heart. Check out more info about this at Dr. Fuhrman's site. I found out that,