Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Becoming vegetarian while keeping variety in your diet

You’ve weighed your options carefully, studied the pros and the cons, and decided that the vegetarian lifestyle is right for you. But where do you start making the changes? Do you go ‘cold turkey?’ Do you adopt a more gradual approach to transitioning to vegetarianism? However you choose to make the change, you can begin to achieve the health benefits of vegetarianism by significantly cutting down on the amount of meats consumed, and making vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains the focus of your meals.

Choose whole-grain products like whole wheat bread and flour, instead of refined or white grains. Eat a wide variety of foods, and don’t be afraid to try vegetables, fruits, grains, breads, nuts, or seeds that you’ve never tried before. Experiment and explore! You may discover a new favorite or two, and learn fresh new ways to liven up more traditional vegetarian dishes. Many vegetarian foods can be found in any grocery store. Specialty food stores may carry some of the more uncommon items, as well as many vegetarian convenience foods. When shopping for food, plan ahead, shop with a list and read food labels. And if you decide to eat dairy products, choose non-fat or low-fat varieties, and limit your egg intake to 3-4 yolks per week.

Becoming a vegetarian can be as easy as you choose to make it. Whether you enjoy preparing delectable, delicious meals or choose quick and easy ones, vegetarian meals can be very satisfying. If you get in the habit of keeping the following on hand, meal preparation time will become a snap:

- Ready-to-eat, whole-grain breakfast cereals, and quick-cooking whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads and crackers, such as rye, whole wheat, and mixed grain and other grains such as barley and bulgur wheat

-Canned beans, such as pinto, black beans, and garbanzo beans

-Rice (including brown, wild, etc.) and pasta (now available in whole wheat, spinach, and other flavors) with tomato sauce and canned beans and/or chopped veggies

-Vegetarian soups like lentil, navy bean, or minestrone

-A wide variety of plain frozen vegetables, and canned and frozen fruit

-Fortified soymilks and soy cheeses, should you choose to not eat dairy

-A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, which should be the core of any diet

As you learn to experiment with foods and learn that a meatless diet doesn’t have to lack variety, you’ll find your decision for vegetarianism was not only wise, but easy and fun come mealtime.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Vegetarianism & Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia

For the majority of people, vegetarianism is a very healthly way to live and as discussed in my earlier postings, eating vegetarian food can often help you to live longer and be less likely to be diagnosed with heart diseases and certain cancers.

Very occassionally adolescent vegetarians can become more weight and body conscious after embarkling on a meat free diet. The following articles discusses the symptoms and affects of anorexia nervosa and bulimia, so you can be aware of the signs.

Malign Effects of Anorexia and Bulimia
By Groshan Fabiola

Eating disorders make lots of victims among people nowadays. The persons suffering from these conditions are exposed to many threats, developing obsessions with food and experiencing changes in their behavior. Eating disorders are a sort of mental illnesses that seriously affect the health and the lifestyle of the persons who suffer from them. People with eating disorders usually feel depressed, tired, anxious and confused. Eating disorders lead to severe mental and physical damage, making people susceptible to malign behaviors and activities.

Anorexia Nervosa (anorexia) and Bulimia Nervosa (bulimia) are considered to be the most common and dangerous eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia both involve obsessions with food and a constant fear of gaining weight. The differences between anorexia and bulimia, however, are related to the body weight and the behavior of people who deal with their effects.

Anorexia involves a constant desire to be thin, regardless of how much the persons actually weighs. People who suffer from anorexia have a distorted perception of their physical appearance, always feeling that they are fat. No matter how much effort they may sustain in order to lose weight, the persons with anorexia are never appeased with their accomplishments. Anorexics are usually a lot thinner than bulimics. People with anorexia usually have a strong will, eat very little food, respect drastic diets and carefully count the calories of their meals.

Bulimia involves several different eating habits. People who suffer from bulimia may eat very little food for some periods of time and then eat large amounts of food instead. However, despite the great deal of food they eat at once, bulimics make sure to get rid of it from their system. The persons who suffer from bulimia purge the food from their bodies by vomiting or by taking laxatives and diuretics. They also exercise a lot in order to burn the food they consume.

Both anorexia and bulimia can lead to internal complications and even death from malnourishment. Anorexia and bulimia, as well as other eating disorders can be treated but it is very important to act quickly when dealing with this sort of illnesses.

Anorexia and bulimia affect people regardless of their age or sex. However, girls and young women are more exposed to developing eating disorders, especially due to their permanent preoccupation with their looks. Studies indicate that around one percent of young women and girls suffer from anorexia, while two percent are confronted with bulimia. The number of male persons suffering from anorexia exceeds the percentage of female persons affected by the same illness. The percentage of male people with anorexia is somewhere around five percent or more.

Despite the fact that anorexia and bulimia has attracted the attention of many scientists and psychiatrists lately, the performed studies haven’t yet clarified the causes of anorexia and bulimia. Although it is thought that eating disorders are exclusively of psychological nature, appearing on the background of emotional instability and depression, there is also the possibility that some eating disorders might be developed due to some physical predispositions.

Anorexia and bulimia can be prevented by eating properly, respecting an appropriate eating schedule and by making improvements in your lifestyle. You should learn to take better care of your body and to be content and appeased with your physical appearance. Good self-esteem and self-respect are very important in the prevention of eating disorders.

Follow this links for great information on anorexia and bulimia. It's one of the best anorexia information sites on the internet with great content about girls with anorexia.

Platinum Quality Author

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Argument Against Drinking Milk

Many Americans, including some vegetarians, still consume large amounts of dairy products, but here are several strong reasons to eliminate dairy products from your diet.

Milk has long been praised as a ‘weapon’ in the war against osteoporosis, but recent clinical research shows that it actually is associated with a higher fracture risk, and there’s been no protective effect of dairy calcium on bone. Increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables and beans, along with exercising have been shown to help strengthen bones and increase their density.

Dairy products are also a significant source of fat and cholesterol in the diet, which can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. A low-fat vegetarian diet that eliminates dairy products, as well as adequate amounts of exercise, proper stress management and quitting smoking not only will help prevent heart disease, but could also reverse it.

Ovarian, breast, and prostate cancers have been linked to dairy product consumption. According to a recent study by Daniel Cramer, a Harvard doctor, when excessive amounts of dairy products are consumed and the body’s enzymes are unable to keep pace with breaking down the lactose; it can build up in the blood and affect a woman’s ovaries.

Another recent study showed that men who had the highest levels of IGF-I, (insulin-like growth factor) which is found in cow’s milk, they were at four times the risk of prostate cancer compared to those men who had the lowest levels of IGF-I.
In addition, milk may not provide a consistent and reliable source of Vitamin D in the diet. Milk samplings have been found to have inconsistent levels of Vitamin D, and some have been found to have as much as 500 times the indicated safe level. Excess Vitamin d in the blood can be toxic and can result in calcium deposits in the body’s soft tissues.

Milk proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products may pose health risks for children and lead to the development of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and formation of plaques in the circulatory system that can lead to heart disease.

By choosing to consume a nutrient-dense, healthful diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods including cereals and juices, you can help meet your body’s calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements easily and simply, without the added health risks from dairy product consumption.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Almost Vegetarian Cookbook

The Almost Vegetarian cookbock is an excellent book for vegetarians, people who are vegetarian some of the time or for people who just like good wholesome, tasty food.


Almost Vegetarian


Almost Vegetarian by Diane Shaw has over 200 pages of recipes and useful information. It includes recipes for soups, salads, pasta, starters, side dishes, main dishes and desserts as well as a directory of fresh vegetables and a directory of seasonings.

The book has a great easy to follow format with lots of "How to" boxes beside the recipes and nutritional information for those health conscious people.

Recipes include chilled corn chowder, chick pea curry, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, vegetable tofu stir fry and sweet potato pudding

Overall Almost Vegetarian is an excellent book and I highly recommend it!

Monday, November 20, 2006

You are What you Eat

You’ve certainly heard the expression many times, “You are what you eat.” Have you ever really thought about what it means? And do you think about it when you’re making food choices?

In some ways, we do become what we eat, literally. Have you ever seen an example of your blood plasma after eating a fast food hamburger? What was previously a clear liquid becomes cloudy with the fat and cholesterol that’s absorbed from eating a high-fat hamburger.

And when you think about it, we also become what we don’t eat. When we switch from eating meat to a vegetarian-based diet, we become less fat and less prone to many types of cancers. Our cholesterol can improve. When we’re leaner and eating fewer animal products, then many other health and fitness issues are reduced. The incidence of Type II diabetes is reduced. Blood pressure falls into normal ranges. When you’re healthier, you’re taking fewer medications. Even if you have a prescription drug benefit in your health plan, you’re still saving money with fewer co-payments on medications.

If you have a family history of high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then it’s particularly important for you to revise your eating habits. Moving towards a more vegetarian diet has been shown statistically to reduce the incidence of so many of the diseases of industrialized countries. Vegetarians are statistically healthier than omnivorous persons; they’re leaner and live longer.

Isn’t it time to think about what you want to be and to eat accordingly? Do you want to be sluggish and fat? Do you want the risk that goes with eating animal products, with their high fat content? Or do you want to look like and be what vegetarians are? Leaner and fitter with a longer anticipated lifespan. It’s never too late to change what you’re doing and increase your chances for a longer, fitter life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

How to eat a Healthy Diet if you are Vegetarian

The vegetarian way of eating can be a very healthy style of eating. The rules still apply with healthy eating, although you should add variety, balance, and moderation.

Vegetarians will often wonder how they'll get enough protein. Although you may not realize it, the average American actually consumes more protein than they actually need. For the lacto-ovo vegetarian, dairy products are an excellent source of protein. Vegans on the other hand can get their protein from nuts, seeds, and soy products.

There are several types of beans and pulses to choose from, including green or red lentils, peanuts, split peas, pinto, soy, kidney, and many more. Some of them you are already familiar, such as kidney beans in chili, refried beans in Mexican dishes, red beans and rice, and pinto beans. Although some beans taste good as they are, others are available with different flavors
to help enhance their taste. Nuts are high in protein, although they deliver a lot more fat than beans, which means you should enjoy them in moderation. Did you know that by having one cup of cooked beans, you'll get the same amount of protein as eating two ounces of meat!

The nutrients of concern for vegans, who avoid all types of animal food, are vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D. In the average North American diet, the primary source for B12 is animals. To have an adequate intake of B12, vegans should reguarly consume vitamin B12 supplements or foods, which contain vitamin B12, such as soy products or milk.

For calcium, vegans can rely on orange juice or soy milk, as they are fortified with calcium. Beans and leafy green vegetables will also contain some calcium as well.

Although all types of vegetarians rely on simple food groups, controlling your vitamins and calcium intake is something you should always do. This is very importantfor eating healthy, as well as staying healthy. If you control what you eat, you'll have many years of healthy eating ahead of you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Eliminating Red Meat from your Diet

If you’re thinking of changing to a vegetarian diet, how do you start? Do you just start shopping in the produce aisle of the grocery store? You might have some anxiety attached to this change as well, and this is understandable.

Try to think of this as adding to your dietary habits, rather than a drastic change. If your diet has consistently included red meat, perhaps you can start substituting other foods for the red meat. Or eliminate the most processed and high-fat meats first, such as bacon and hamburgers. Certainly try to eliminate fast food burgers, which have such a high fat and sodium content. If you think you’ll miss the taste of bacon in the morning, try substituting a turkey or vegetable-based bacon substitute. It won’t be the same, but you won’t be giving up the foods you’re used to all at once.

If you’ve had a health scare and feel the need to change everything at once, make sure you include a lot of variety in the foods you buy as you begin to discover new flavors and textures that you’ll like to replace the ones you’re used to eating. If you don’t need to make a dramatic change all at once, you’ll have a much greater chance of long-term success if you take it slow. Reduce the amount of red meat that you eat on a weekly basis, even if it means substituting pasta with marinara sauce for meat just one night a week. Increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables you eat. Start with raw vegetables at night before dinner so you’re not so hungry when you get to the main meal. Start reversing the proportions of meat and vegetables and make meat a side dish, with vegetables and grains your main course.

We’re creatures of habit and resistant to change. This is why so many diets fail, because we make drastic changes to facilitate dramatic results, quickly. This is a decision and a change you want to make for a lifetime. Make it a natural and gradual change and you can look forward to many more years of healthy living.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Vegetarianism and Heart Disease

No matter what your reasons for eating a more vegetarian diet, there’s no denying the obvious health benefits that are derived from removing of red meat from your diet. On average, vegetarians have lower levels of the blood fats, cholesterol and triglycerides than meat eaters of similar age and social status. High levels of blood fats are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Lacto-ovo vegetarians, those who eat eggs and dairy products, which contain cholesterol-raising saturated fats and cholesterol, have higher cholesterol levels than vegans. But even among lacto-ovo vegetarians, cholesterol levels are generally lower than they are among meat eaters.

Researchers have found that older men who eat meat six or more times a week are twice as likely to die of heart disease as those who abstain from meat. Among middle-aged men, meat eaters were four times more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack, according to the study. As for women, who are partly protected by their hormones and generally develop heart disease later in life than men do, the risk of fatal heart disease has been found to be lower only among the older vegetarians. In a 1982 study of more than 10,000 vegetarians and meat eaters, British researchers found that the more meat consumed, the greater the risk of suffering a heart attack. Though eliminating meat from the diet is likely to reduce your consumption of heart-damaging fats and cholesterol, substituting large amounts of high-fat dairy products and cholesterol-rich eggs can negate the benefit.

To glean the heart-saving benefits of vegetarianism, consumption of such foods as hard cheese, cream cheese, ice cream and eggs should be moderate. And the introduction of more vegetables, fruits and raw foods will definitely enhance the benefits of abstaining from eating meat.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Should a Yoga Teacher be Vegetarian?

There are many beliefs and myths about what one should do to become a Yoga teacher. Some Yoga teacher organizations do make official statements in regard to Yoga teacher ethics; and diet is included, sometimes.

However, if you teach Yoga, should you be a vegan? Are dairy foods and eggs okay? What about goats, chicken, or fish? Yes, some Yoga teachers do eat goat, but not beef. Some people still claim that fish feel no pain, but I never heard that from a Yogi. Are you confused? What is right and what is wrong?

Firstly, let’s step back a second. What you were taught about your religion and diet should be followed. This is for your spiritual health. You will feel more at ease, and you can live with it. Maybe Yoga teachers, and the world, could be a little more conscious of meat consumption and its consequences.

Due to the cultures people are raised in, they are used to the taste of a particular meat. An example of this is the global beef consumption. The Japanese had been used to eating whale meat. There are cultures that have acquired the taste of dogs and cats. Luckily, cannibalism has been outlawed worldwide.

Most of us are in agreement that our forests should be preserved. The forests serve as a filtering system for all of the fossil fuels we expel into the atmosphere.

Global warming may not be the only problem, if the last human on earth is gasping for oxygen. Removing any more forests, to make room for cattle to graze, is a slow form of global suicide. This only makes environmental sense.

Health problems, due to meat consumption, will require a book. If a person consumes any kind of meat, it should be in moderation. Obviously, there are better choices to eat than others, when considering cholesterol, cancer, and parasites.

Most of us have heard of Mad Cow, salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter. With fish consumption, mercury is always a factor. Fish is an excellent source of Omega-3 fats, but consumption should be limited when you consider mercury. Pregnant women should get a professional opinion about any fish consumption.

For the record, flax seed oil is also a good source of Omega-3 fats. Therefore, we do not have to eat fish for Omega-3 fats. When you eat meat, you are always gambling that nothing will happen. This is life - and life is a gamble – however, let me approach one last point.

Is eating any kind of an animal humane - when we do not have to eat them? Does any one of us really think that animals feel no pain? In the past, I have heard people state than animals have no soul. Throughout history, some people made the same claims about slaves. Will our opinions of animals evolve over time?

In summary, Yoga instructors are teaching an holistic method of health for maintenance of mind, body, and spirit. When you teach Yoga, awareness is instilled within you and your students.

At the very least, global meat consumption should be cut back. This is in the best interest of human survival, and all life on this earth. Yoga teachers should be examples of holistic health and high moral standards.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: "Yoga in Practice," and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cooking For A Vegetarian This Holiday Season

Are you worried about cooking for a vegetarian in your
family this upcoming holiday season? Well, worry no more.
This article will tell you exactly what you need to do
and know before you start cooking this holiday season.

You can start off by finding out what type of vegetarian
your guest is. For instance, if she is a strict
vegan, then there’s a chance she will not eat food
that contains honey or yeast; however, if on the other
hand, she is a "semi" or "pseudo" vegetarian, there is a
chance she will actually eat the meal as it is prepared,
including the meat. And if she’s a lacto-ovo-vegetarian,
she might eat anything with eggs and milk, but will
probably avoid meat dishes.

If you talk to the vegetarian in your family before you
prepare your holiday meal, you should consider asking the
following five questions:

1. Do you eat certain types of meat or none at all?

If the vegetarian in your family will eat certain meats
(generally fish, chicken, and turkey), then you should
consider preparing that as a side dish or asking them if
they would like to bring a small dish of it for their
own meal.

2. Will you use serving utensils that have been placed in dishes
containing meat?

Some vegetarians experience severe gastrointestinal stress when they
consume meat and grease from meat, so it is a good idea to find
out whether or not they can do so ahead of time. If they can’t,
you can simply put out one utensil for all non-meat dishes and
ask that guests do not cross-contaminate.

3. Do you eat foods that contain milk and eggs?

As I mentioned above, lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat milk
and eggs, but other sub-categories of vegetarian will not.
Some wont do it for health reasons; others wont for
ethical reasons. Whatever the case, you can get around this
problem by either creating more dishes that do not contain
milk and eggs or by using egg replacer, which you can find
at most supermarkets, and milk replacements, such as soy
milk.

4. Do you eat honey and yeast?

Some vegetarians do not eat honey and yeast for ethical
reasons. If you find out that the vegetarian in your family
does not eat honey and yeast ahead of time, you can either
prepare alternate dishes or ask if they are willing to
bring an alternate dish.

5. Would you like to bring your own main dish (to replace
the turkey, ham, etc.)?

Many vegetarians eat popular meat-replacement dishes,
such as "tofurkey" and "veggie burgers." Your guest will
probably be more than willing to bring their own meat-
replacement dish if you ask.

To reiterate, there are a number of things you should take
into consideration when you cook for a vegetarian
this holiday season; however, the single most important
thing you can do is actually approach the vegetarian
and ask how you can accommodate her and if she would
like to cook with you or bring her own dish.

If you keep this in mind, your holiday meal will be a
success with everyone - even the vegetarian in your family!
Learn to accept things as they are with vegetarian food. Only through this will you learn the true value of vegetarian food.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Losing weight and being vegetarian

Think about it, have you ever seen a fat vegetarian? Probably not. In fact, for most of us, vegetarian is almost synonymous with lean and healthy, isn’t it? And when you start any diet, what’s the first thing the experts tell you? Generally it’s to increase the amounts of vegetables you’re eating and to eat limited amounts of meat, especially high-fat red meat and pork.

And what happens when you resume your old eating habits? Generally the weight will come right back on. Even the greatest will-power can’t overcome the unhealthy effects of eating high-fat meat.

When you eat a diet that’s higher in dietary fiber, that’s primarily if not totally vegetarian, you’re naturally healthier. You’re feeding your body and getting it the nutrition it needs to run efficiently. You have more energy and stamina; you wake up more easily and more refreshed. It’s easier to exercise, because you’re not so weighed down by digesting the high fat and excessive protein that comes from eating a carnivorous diet.

Many diets fail because we think of them as depriving ourselves of food we love. The trick is to change that thinking. There are so many compelling reasons to eliminate meat from our diet, so why not forget about losing weight? Focus instead on eating healthier, or eating in a way that’s in balance with the earth, and that doesn’t need to subsist on the suffering of animals. You’ll probably find you’ll start to lose weight without even thinking about it!

And when you do lose weight, so many other health risks can fall by the wayside as well. You’ll find your blood pressure falls into a healthier range and your risk for Type II diabetes can decrease. You’ll look better and feel better and probably never go back to your old ways of eating!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Your family and the transition to a vegetarian diet

If you’re considering moving to a vegetarian diet as an adult, you probably want to pass on this good nutrition and improved way of eating to your family as well. In fact, it’s your responsibility as a parent to nurture your children and help them develop physically, mentally and spiritually.

But that can be hard to do, especially in a culture where our children are bombarded with messages from fast food restaurants in the media. How do you teach kids to resist lure of Ronald McDonald? There isn’t a plate of vegetables on the planet that’s going to look as good to them as a Happy Meal!

You have to start slowly to change not only your own eating patterns, but your family’s as well. Like any other dietary endeavor, it starts at the grocery store. Begin stocking the refrigerator with healthy snacks like apples and carrots. Exchange good, chewy brown rice for white rice and processed side dishes, which are so high in fat and sodium. Make meat portions smaller and smaller and start incorporating more vegetables and grains in your family dinners.

Don’t make changes all at once. If you do give in and stop at a fast food restaurant, get fruit or yogurt in addition to or part of that meal. Make the changes so gradual that they’ll never notice their diets are changing. Kids are usually very sympathetic about animals, and it’s not too early to talk to them about eating in a way that isn’t cruel to animals.

You’ll be doing them a favor that will last them a lifetime. With childhood obesity at epidemic levels in many western countries, you will be setting up your children for lifelong eating habits that will help ensure a long and healthy life.