Friday, December 14, 2007

The Argument Against Drinking Cow's Milk

A lot of people think that cow’s milk is the “perfect food” and they will stand very firm in this believe.

But parents of young children should try to educate themselves about milk allergies and lactose intolerances so they can be prepared. The main reasons why cow’s milk isn’t perfect for humans are:

1) It was made by cows for cows, not humans.

2) If you don't take magnesium along with cow milk, you won't get any benefit from the calcium.

3) If you consume something with iron in it, your body also cannot uptake calcium at all. So eating red meat and drinking a glass of milk at the same time is not a great idea.

Milk allergy can happen when your child is an infant. This allergy affects the digestive system along with skin and airways. Milk allergies can in some cases be life threatening to infants if not recognized and something done about it. If a child develops a milk allergy, they are usually put on soy milk by the family doctor.

Lactose intolerance can often show up when your child is a little older and is caused by the body not being able to break down the milk sugar lactose. This affects the digestion only, and causes symptoms such as bloating, gas and loose bowels. This only happens after drinking milk or eating dairy products. Lactose intolerance is not a serious intolerance and many people can still drink milk or dairy products in small amounts and not really feel any symptoms.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Vegetarian Food Allergies

What do you do if you are a vegetarian with food allergies? Laura Bruno explains in this excellent article - Vegetarian Food Allergies - When Soy Annoys.

Vegetarian Food Allergies - When Soy Annoys
by Laura Bruno


Going vegetarian in college did not exactly bring me the surge in health and vitality that I'd expected. Far from it: my sinuses clogged, thoughts grew fuzzy, skin broke out, and periodically

I developed the worst stomach pain ever! We're talking writhing on the floor, Sigourney-Weaver-in-Alien style pain. After a few weeks of "trying veg," I would crawl back to my meat-eating ways, ashamed that my body seemed to thrive on chickens, cows and fish. Because I can telepathically communicate with animals, though, the Standard American Diet seemed equally
intolerable: I could actually feel the pain, fear and sorrow of each animal I consumed. With the choice to "meet my meat," or suffer the after-effects of another vegetarian stint, I lost all pleasure in food.

Through sheer determination to make a vegetarian diet work for me, I finally isolated the problem: food allergies. By the time I decided to go vegan, I was allergic to soy, nuts, wheat, and some legumes. In fact, a visit to the allergist confirmed that the only foods I was not allergic to were mold and pork. Ewww! OK, most of those I could do without, but soy? How can someone stay vegan without tofu? Especially if they can't fill up on seitan and walnuts!

But a funny thing happened. When I eradicated all hidden sources of dairy for thirty days, many of my reactions lessened. Unfortunately, soy continued to annoy for quite some time, and so I learned to live without it. So many soy-sensitive vegetarians and vegans wonder how, that I decided to write this article.

How can I tell if I'm allergic to soy? You can visit an allergist to have a skin or blood test, which will determine a true allergy; however, you can experience sensitivities without having a full-blown soy allergy. Symptoms can include stomach pain, breast tenderness, altered menstrual cycle, acne, slow thyroid, mood changes, excess phlegm, brain fog, and/or joint pain.

If you suspect soy plays a role in your health concerns, completely avoid it for two weeks and then reintroduce it. Pay attention to any reactions. If you have a reaction but really, really hope it's just a coincidence, repeat the experiment again-two weeks off, reintroduce, observe. You might also test different types of soy. For example, some people have trouble with isolated soy protein or chocolate soymilk, but they can eat organic tofu just fine.

People do occasionally outgrow soy allergies, but it can take a year or more of complete avoidance to stop triggering a negative response. Once you determine you have a problem with soy, your quickest route to embracing tempeh probably involves a year of soy-abstinence. Then you can try your experiment again, taking some food enzymes to encourage a happier outcome.

Where will I get my protein? So many other forms of protein exist that you really don't need soy in order to thrive. If you tolerate gluten, you can enjoy seitan in place of tempeh or tofu. Packed with protein, this "wheat meat" absorbs flavors just like its soy cousins. Legumes and nuts contain large amounts of protein, too. Soaking beans, nuts, seeds and grains activates their enzymes, thereby increasing the protein your body can absorb from them.

If you still feel concerned about getting adequate protein, Rainbow Light and Nutribiotic make rice protein powders, and a variety of sources sell hemp protein powder, which does not cause the bloating associated with whey or soy supplements.
Also consider some of the largest and strongest animals on earth-gorillas, elephants, bison-who eat mostly greens. Choosing amino-acid rich grasses and leaves, they grow huge muscles without soy sausages and protein supplements. You can, too. To get more greens into your diet, start your day with a "green smoothie," made popular in Green for Life by raw food educator Victoria Boutenko. Blend a handful or two of greens with two cups of water and some fruit. You might even throw in some superfoods like spirulina, acai berries or hemp nuts. Green smoothies improve your digestion, sometimes eliminating the strain that caused your original sensitivity.
Where can I find a soy-free veggie burger and soy-free, dairy-free milk?
Sunshine Burgers and Ruth's Hemp Burgers both offer gluten-free, soy-free vegan grillers. You can also make your own by mixing a grain, some beans or seeds, something gooey like nut butter or oil, fresh herbs, and other seasonings-mashing them all together into a patty. Rice Dream offers various flavors of rice milk, but if you crave the thicker texture of soymilk, you might enjoy Almond Breeze or Living Harvest's Hemp Milk.

Again, you can make your own alternative milks. To make almond milk, soak 1 cup raw almonds overnight in the refrigerator. Rinse and add three cups of water. Blend thoroughly and then strain through cheesecloth or a special nut/seed milk bag. Save the pulp for something else and then re-blend the liquid, adding in any flavoring you desire. Sound too complicated? Jack La Lanne's Power Juicer Elite lets you make almond or rice milk in a flash.

Why should I cleanse if I have food allergies? Allergies of any kind indicate that your body has passed its threshold for effective elimination of toxins. When our liver, colon, lungs and kidneys work well, our skin and immune system don't need to overreact. Ongoing stress, physical or emotional trauma, exposure to pesticides or pollution, medication, and diets rich in animal fat increase our toxic load. Eventually, our organs can't keep up with the demand for detoxification, and things go haywire. Some people develop cancer; others get asthma. Sometimes the body instinctively rejects otherwise healthy foods that require extra processing.

A healthy body digests soy or wheat, but in a compromised state, even health foods can trigger an aggressive immune response. Burdock root and milk thistle provide liver support, while red clover helps the kidneys. Nettles support kidneys and open the bronchia. Green smoothies, psyllium husks and raw foods stimulate and cleanse the colon. You can also try fasting one day per week, in order to give your digestive system a much needed break.

Most people with food allergies also suffer from Candida overgrowth. Commonly known as "yeast," Candida naturally lives in our digestive tracts. A "yeast infection" or "thrush" indicates severe overgrowth spreading into other areas of the body. When the ratio of Candida to "good bacteria" grows too high, this fungus latches onto and tears portions of the intestine, creating a "leaky gut" that allows whole protein molecules to enter the bloodstream. These undigested protein molecules seem like foreign invaders to the immune system, which launches an attack. Oil of Oregano, Pau d'Arco tea, and acidophilus are three common supplements that combat Candida. (Note: in order to reap the highest benefits, take probiotics like acidophilus a couple hours after Oil of Oregano, and don't try to kill the yeast too fast! Candida produces a severe die-off reaction, so cleansing requires patience.)

Can mind-body techniques get rid of my soy allergy? They can certainly help! In my practice, I work with a lot of people who suffer from food allergies, and oftentimes emotions do play a role. Begin by focusing on your breath, inhaling all the way into your belly. Before you eat, consciously relax your mind and body, reminding yourself that you eat for nourishment and healing. If you like meditating, you can invite an allergen into your meditation, imagining the trigger food in front of your heart center. Visualize white, pink, golden or green light emanating from your heart center and surrounding the food with love.

In this quiet space, ask your body why it wants your attention through this food. Notice any thoughts, feelings, memories or images that appear. This takes practice, but it can help a lot! Once you sense the root cause of your resistance, inhale and pull all those feelings up to the top of your head. Then let them go as you exhale. Return to your heart and repeat again, dragging the resistance up to your crown and releasing it with your breath. Continue until you feel lighter and ready to stop.

Sometimes the mental-emotional causes of symptoms lie so deeply buried that you have trouble accessing them consciously. In these cases, you can either request someone else's assistance or ask yourself how badly you want to overcome the allergy. For example, I have resolved all my allergies to vegan foods, but I suspect I'm still allergic to dairy. Since I have no desire to eat dairy again, the possible allergy makes no difference to my quality of life.

Not having access to foods like flaxseed, soy, wheat and nuts did interfere, so for me, it was worth the effort to recover. If you don't care about a particular food allergy, I suggest you let it go for now and focus your attention on the ones you really do wish to heal. Express gratitude for the foods you can eat, and each day, tell yourself, "My tolerance to _____ is actively improving." Imagine yourself enjoying that food with no adverse reactions. If you cannot imagine this scenario, consider ways in which this food allergy might be a sign post to guide you back to health and wholeness. Our bodies always act in the best interest of our souls, so if your body screams for your attention-listen up!

Laura Bruno is a Life Coach, Medical Intuitive and Reiki Master Teacher from Sedona, Arizona. In addition to private coaching and intuitive sessions, she teaches Conscious Eating 101 classes, Intuition workshops and Reiki Certification classes around the country and in beautiful Sedona. For more information on classes, raw food coaching, transitional coaching, animal communication, and letting your gifts shine through your career, please see: http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com or call 928-282-2595.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Benefits of Juicing for Vegetarians

Juice can actually be considered a natural water source and provides the body with protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that can be absorbed quickly and efficiently. Fresh juice also contains necessary enzymes, and pigments such as carotenes, chlorophyll, and flavonoids.

Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables provides numerous nutritional advantages that are extremely important to weight loss. In addition, diets containing a high percentage of uncooked foods are significantly associated with weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and lower blood pressure.

Your appetite finds a raw foods diet more filling. Cooking can cause the loss of up to 97% of water-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since uncooked foods such as juices contain more vitamins and other nutrients, they are more satisfying to the body, so it does not feel starved for nutrients. This means the metabolism will keep running efficiently and keep your weight loss efforts headed in the right direction

Juicing kick-starts your body's digestive process and enables quick absorption of high-quality nutrition, which can result in increased energy. This is one of the great advantages of achieving weight loss through improved nutrition. Fresh juices, combined with a well-balanced diet will provide you with the energy needed to burn more calories, fat, and provide you with the fuel you need for physical activity.

However, juicing does remove the fiber from these nutrient-dense foods. So be sure to include an appropriate amount of fiber-rich foods in your daily diet. Juicing should be a complement to a well-balanced healthy diet, not a substitute.

So with a little planning and creativity, juicing could enhance your well-balanced diet and add some zest. The internet is a great resource for juicing recipes and information, and with the realization that raw foods and juicing is a great health boost, books and magazine articles are touting the benefits and offering recipe ideas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eating Vegetarian Indian Food

I don't know about you, but I love eating vegetarian Indian food. Here is an article which will give you lots of ideas for types of Indian vegetarian food to eat.

Vegetarian Indian Food
by Manasi Gandhi

We recently moved into a new house. Our neighbour Mark is a vegetarian, and lives with his wife and four children. During one of our over the fence conversations he mentioned the monotony of eating vegetarian food. Being Indian, we were quite surprised to hear this. Though we are not vegetarian ourselves, we do eat a lot of vegetarian Indian food regularly. I invited him over for dinner and he happily accepted.

In the few years that I have lived in the UK, I have discovered the love of the Britons for Indian food. When I was training as a teacher at the University of Cambridge, I had the opportunity of visiting schools in the very English Boroughs of Britain. One thing which was common to all these places was that as soon as one stepped out of the railway station the first thing to be seen was an Indian Restaurant. My students had hardly ever seen an Indian, but had tasted a variety of Indian foods.

As much as the Britons love the good old ‘Chicken Tikka Masala‘, they also relish some vegetarian Indian foods. So taking these known dishes as reference points we can easily discover the huge range of vegetarian Indian Dishes. Lets start with ‘Biryani‘. Contrary to the misconception that Biryani contains chicken or meat, it can be vegetarian as well. Vegetable
Biryani is a mixture of fragrant spices, rice and a variety of vegetables, enriched with cashews and slow cooked in a pot with a tight lid. Rice is a staple diet of Indians, and provides the much needed carbohydrates. It is cooked in various ways, plain, sweet, savoury, and is often accompanied by a curry or lentil soup (daal).

Daal’ is made from lentils, sometimes cooked with vegetables, the most common example from south India is the ‘Sambar’ which is served with dosa (pancakes made from rice flour- one more rice recipe). There are different varieties of daals served with rice, for example the luscious ‘Daal Fry’ served in restaurants is a lentil soup tempered in butter and a variety of spices. Besides being a rich source of proteins, daal also acts as a hydrating element when mixed with rice or as a dip for Indian bread .

The most known among Indian breads is ‘Naan’ bread. It is made from the flour of wheat which is also an important crop in India. The flour is kneaded and rolled and then baked in kilns similar to a pizza base. Chapati’ which is slimmer version of Indian bread is also becoming very popular. It looks very much like a Mexican tortilla wrap the only difference is that chapati is made from whole wheat flour, unlike the tortilla which is often made from corn. Besides these, there is ‘Puri‘-a deep fried puffed bread, ‘Roti’- similar to naan but less oily, ‘Bhatura’ -which is similar to puri but thicker and bigger in size (often served with Chole- a famous chickpea curry of north India), and Parathas -readily available in frozen form- plain or stuffed with potatoes, onions and a variety of vegetables.

Curry is the main accompaniment in an Indian meal. Most supermarkets now sell Indian vegetarian curries, e.g ‘Paneer Tikka Masala’ -consisting of Indian variety of cheese paneer(similar to Mozzarella) fried in butter and cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with some mild spices, ‘Sarson ka Saag’ -a leafy green vegetable cooked and typically eaten with a bread made from corn makke di roti (one more variety of Indian bread), ‘Bombay Aloo’ -Potatoes boiled and stir fried in spices, ‘Vegetable Korma’ -mixed vegetables cooked in a mild sauce with spices to name a few. If we try to explore all the vegetarian curries in India space wont be enough,.

Besides these there are a number of other dishes served alongside the above main dishes, for example ‘Mango Chutney‘- a sweet and sour sauce of mangoes and a hint of spices (Coconut

Chutney is another very famous chutney served with idlis- Indian rice cakes- and here goes one more rice recipe), ‘Onion Bhaji’ - onions mixed with spices and batter and deep fried in oil, ‘Poppadums’ -deep fried Indian crisps, mostly made from rice flour-(rice once again), Lemon

Pickle -lemons preserved in a mixture of oil and spices and the list goes on.
Mark was a happy man at the end of dinner and wishes to come back again to take recipes from me and try them himself.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Manasi_Gandhi

Monday, September 10, 2007

How to Lose Weight if you are Vegetarian

Here is an article that explains how to lose weight the right way if you are vegetarian.

The Vegetarian Weight Loss Diet - How To Do It Right
By Phillip England

Vegetarianism has long been considered an effective way to lose weight, and for good reason. In a nutshell, vegetables have fewer calories, less fat, and more nutrients compared to processed meats. Celebrities who went vegetarian showed dramatic weight loss, and those who tried it for even a few days felt generally healthier.

But as with any weight loss plan, a vegetarian weight loss diet has its risks and benefits. Before trading that steak for a salad, it’s important to know the pros and cons. Here’s a quick guide to help you out.

Weight loss benefits

Several studies have shown that vegetarians are far less likely to become obese than meat eaters. In Western countries, vegetarians have lower blood cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). But people on a vegetarian weight loss diet enjoy several other health benefits. They have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions linked to excess weight. A study of Seventh Day Adventists, a religious group that practices vegetarianism, shows that members had half as much risk of high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and various cancers.

How it works

So why are vegetables so effective for weight loss? It’s mostly because meat and animal products contain fewer preservatives, calories and saturated fats—the primary causes of unhealthy weight gain. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which eliminate the free radicals that cause cell death and lead to disease. They are also rich in fiber and juice, which makes them more filling. A vegetarian weight loss diet doesn’t require you to starve yourself—you can eat normal servings and still get fewer calories than you would from a meat-based meal.

Some risks

Of course, vegetables can’t provide you with everything you need. One of the main concerns about the vegetarian weight loss diet is that there aren’t enough sources of protein. Most vegetarians get their protein from beans, tofu and legumes. But while these are excellent food sources, their protein content is not as easily absorbed by the body as those that come from meat. If you’re combining your vegetarian weight loss diet with an exercise regimen (which you should), consider taking protein supplements or consuming more vegetable proteins.

Types of vegetarianism
You don’t have to give up all animal foods to enjoy the benefits of a vegetarian weight loss diet. In fact, if you have certain health problems, your doctor may recommend some modifications. Vegetarianism is divided into several subtypes depending on which foods are restricted. Some of the most common are the following:

Semi-vegetarian: A semi-vegetarian weight loss diet rules out all red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb, but allows fish and poultry. Dairy products are also included.

Pesco-vegetarian: This diet prohibits all animal products, except fish and seafood. Some also allow eggs and dairy, although it’s more often a personal choice.

Lacto-vegetarian: Meat, poultry and eggs are prohibited; the only animal products allowed are milk and dairy.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian: This is the most common type of vegetarian weight loss diet. It only prohibits animal meats, but allows by-products such as animal oils, milk, eggs, and dairy.

Vegan: Described as “pure” vegetarianism, vegan diets prohibit all animal products. Vegans are not so much health buffs as they are animal rights advocates. As such, they also stay away from non-food products such as leather and fur. Read labels Just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re consuming less fat. The way you prepare your vegetables greatly affects their nutritional value. What good is a low-fat vegetable salad if you slather it with a creamy dressing? To get the most out of your vegetarian diet, you still need to read the labels and watch your fat intake.

Watch your iron

Plant-based iron is different from animal iron. The former is less easily absorbed by the body, so vegetarians are usually prone to anemia. To increase iron absorption, combine iron-rich foods such as nuts, beans and legumes with vitamin C-rich ones like oranges, strawberries and tomatoes. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron is 12 to 15 mg daily. The same goes for calcium: you can compensate for the lack of dairy-based calcium by eating fortified cereals, eggs, milk, and cheese.

Phillip England is a weight loss expert and Author of the popular report "The Ultimate Weight Loss Secret". To receive your free information on the secret that doctors, and health companies either don't know, or don't want you to know, please see http://www.theultimateweightlosssecret.com/secret

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why some Vegetarians do not Eat Sugar

Some vegetarians--usually strict vegans--will not eat sugar. The reasoning behind this is that sugar is often whitened with bone char from cows.

If you are a vegetarian and you want to continue eating products that contain sugar, but do not want to cause suffering in the process, you have a number of options.

The first option is to only eat products made with beet sugar. There are two major sources of sugar in the United States: beet sugar and cane sugar. Cane sugar is often whitened with bone char from cows; in contrast, beetsugar is never whitened with bone char.

So, if you want to completely avoid the bone char, you can do this by eating only beet sugar. The only challenge--and this is a big one--is finding out which foods contain beet sugar and which foods contain cane sugar.

To make things more complex, you can also consume a number of types of cane sugar, as long as you are willing to findout what the source of the sugar is.

You can do this in a lot of cases by looking at the nutritional panel on food before you buy it. If it says fructose or dextrose, the sugar is from a plant source (either beet or corn). If it says sucrose, it could be from a number of sources, which could include bone char-whitened cane sugar.

Now, if you are cooking with sugar, you can personally verify that is bone-char free by purchasing from the following companies, which have publicly-stated that they do not use bone-char: Florida Crystals Refinery, Imperial Sugar Company, Irish Sugar Ltd., Sugar In the Raw (which isalso less-refined), and American Crystal Sugar Company.

If you can’t find these brands, but want to avoid consumingbone-char sugar if possible, you can avoid these brands, which have publicly-stated that they do use bone-char: Domino, Savannah Foods, and C&H Sugar Company.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

How to Eat a Varied Vegetarian 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.

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Vegetarian Body Builder

Yes, it is possible to be a body builder and a vegetarian. Read this article to find out how...

The Bodybuilding Vegetarian
By Gray Rollins

Surprisingly, being a vegetarian bodybuilder isn’t really as difficult as many people automatically assume it is. In some ways it may be easier because adhering to a real vegetarian diet takes a lot of focus and discipline, two things that will greatly help you in the gym.

First, we should define our terms because there are three basic groups of people who consider themselves “vegetarians.” I refer to these three groups as pseudo-vegetarians, meat vegetarians and vegetarians. The pseudo vegetarian avoids beef, chicken and poultry but will sometimes eat fish and has no problem with other animal products. A meat vegetarian avoids all meat. A vegetarian avoids any foods (or products in general) that contain any amount of animal product.

This article is aimed directly at the true vegetarians, who avoid all animal products. The meat-vegetarians and pseudo-vegetarians will gain useful information as well, but true vegetarians have very specialized needs during bodybuilding.

Since there is no difference in biological manner in which a vegetarian and a carnivore actually build muscles, we don’t need to go into any specific exercise differences. Instead, we’ll be focusing on dietary issues.

The first challenge goes back to the way muscles build in our bodies. We exercise our muscles, which does microscopic damage to the tissue and then our bodies repair the damage with bigger and stronger tissue while we recuperate. To effectively do this, our bodies need to use protein in massive amounts, which is why bodybuilders increase their protein intake.

Vegetarians face a challenge here because the most common source of protein is meat. Okay, so it’s not actually that much of a challenge. According to the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score, soy is equal to whey and superior to beef in protein content. Soy provides all 8 essential amino acids required by your body for growing and repairing muscles. Vegetarians would be well-advised to consider soy as a primary protein source.

The really good news is that soy is also a fantastic source of glutamine which many bodybuilders already take in supplemental form. Soy is available in many different forms such as tofu, miso, soy powder and soy milk. Soy milk is definitely something to have on hand as it can be used to replace cow’s milk in recipes, which will help expand your basic food options.

Almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and pistachio nuts are all excellent sources of both protein and fat; the vegetarian needs to work on getting enough good fats as well, so with the above examples you can go nuts…was that a pun?

You can also add a tablespoon or so of flaxseed oil, as flax seed is one of the very best sources for the essential fatty acid alpha linolenic acid.

Finally, vegetarians need to ensure that they get enough vitamins and minerals. This can be done in multivitamin form although most of the meal-replacement shakes which are so popular among bodybuilders already contain vitamins and minerals galore. The only additional vitamin to look for is B12, which is generally an animal product based vitamin.

Like I said in the beginning, it isn’t nearly as hard to be a vegetarian bodybuilder as many people would think. You’ve got the discipline part down and, by following the guidelines listed above, you will be set up nutritionally to build massive amounts of muscle!

Gray Rollins is a featured writer for MuscleProgram.com - a site dedicated to helping people build muscle and get fit. If you're interested in reading more about vegetarian bodybuilding, and healthy ways to gain muscle mass, then visit us.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Vegetarianism and Cancer

You might already have an idea that eating a vegetarian diet is more healthy for you. But do you really know how much less the incidence is of certain types of cancers among vegetarians?

Vegetarian diets are natuarally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and full of cancer-protective phytochemicals which help to prevent cancer. Large studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters.

In the U.S., studies of Seventh-Day Adventists, who are largely lacto-ovo vegetarians, have shown significant reductions in cancer risk among those who avoided meat. Similarly, breast cancer rates are dramatically lower in nations, such as China, that follow plant-based diets. Interestingly, Japanese women who follow Western-style, meat-based diets are eight times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who follow a more traditional plant-based diet. Meat and dairy products contribute to many forms of cancer, including cancer of the colon, breast, ovaries, and prostate.

Harvard studies that included tens of thousands of women and men have shown that regular meat consumption increases colon cancer risk by roughly 300 percent. High-fat diets also encourage the body’s production of estrogens. Increased levels of this sex hormone have been linked to breast cancer. A recent report noted that the rate of breast cancer among premenopausal women who ate the most animal (but not vegetable) fat was one-third higher than that of women who ate the least animal fat. A separate study from Cambridge University also linked diets high in saturated fat to breast cancer. One study linked dairy products to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The process of breaking down the lactose (milk sugar) evidently damages the ovaries. Daily meat consumption triples the risk of prostate enlargement. Regular milk consumption doubles the risk and failure to consume vegetables regularly nearly quadruples the risk.

Vegetarians avoid the animal fat linked to cancer and get abundant fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals that help to prevent cancer. In addition, blood analysis of vegetarians reveals a higher level of “natural killer cells,” specialized white blood cells that attack cancer cells.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Leek, Sweet Potato and Tomato Soup Recipe

Here's another great soup recipe suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Leek, Sweet Potato and Tomato sounds like an unusual combination, but these combine well to make a very colorful and tasty soup. It is also is a very healthy and low calorie option for anyone who is trying to lose weight.

Leek, Sweet Potato and Tomato Soup

Ingredients:
2 Leeks, sliced
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
400g of Sweet potato, chopped
1.5 Pints of vegetable Stock
Low fat Creme Fraiche

Instructions:
(1) Lightly fry the leeks in a pot with a small amount of oil. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and let the leeks sweat in the pot with the lid on for 5 minutes
(2) Add the chopped tomatoes, leeks and sweet potato to the pot
(3) Stir in the vegetable stock mixture and bring to the boil
(4) Put a lid on the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes
(5) Use a hand blender to blend the mixture into a smooth soup
(6) Finally serve the soup and add a little creme fraiche to each bowl
(7) Season with salt and pepper

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Raw Food and Vegan Restuarants

One of life’s great pleasures is going out to eat and trying new restaurants and dishes. This holds true for raw food and vegan restaurants too! There are, believe it or not, more than 5000 natural foods restaurants in the U.S. alone. Predictably many of these restaurants are in major markets and in college towns. You might not live in an area where you can visit a natural foods restaurant regularly, but if you’re traveling, do some research and see where there might be a natural foods place to visit.


Here are a few notable restaurants around the USA:

Delights of the Garden has gained amazing popularity in Washington, DC, considering that city is a haven of power lunches between lobbyists and the like. It features a cool-looking cafe with raw and cooked vegan favorites.

Arnold’s Way is located outside Philadelphia, PA in the Bucks County town of Lansdale. They have a raw café and also have classes in raw foods preparation.

Au Lac in Fountain Valley, California serves 7-course raw dinners, although you want to call in advance to give the chefs time to prepare.

Quntessence in Manhattan features an all raw menu, all organic, salads, fresh juices, soup, guacamole, essene bread, almond shakes, and more.

Dining in the Raw in Key West, Florida features macrobiotic, vegan and raw foods.

The Organic Garden in Beverly, Massachusetts is a living and raw foods restaurant.

Suzanne’s Vegetarian Bistro in Miami, FL has a daily raw soup on its menu.

Golden Temple in Birmingham, Alabama is a vegetarian restaurant that features a juice bar.

These are just a few raw foods restaurants. Many cities have magazines with restaurants listed by categories.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

List of Vegan Vegetarian Foods

Here's a list of vegan / vegetarian foods that are suitable for vegans and of course vegetarians too.

- All Vegetables e.g. lettuce, leeks, celery, carrots, onions
- All Fruits e.g. bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, pears, peaches, plums
- All Legumes e.g. sprouts, beans, lentils, peas, peanuts
- All Seeds e.g. cereals/grains, nuts
- Milk Substitutes e.g. soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, grain milk, hemp milk
- Meat Substitutes e.g. tofu, mushrooms, quorn, quinoa, tempeh, yuba

Recommended Vegan book with over 150 recipes - Vegan Vengeance


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vegetarians and Weight Loss

Vegetarian Weight Loss - Can You Achieve Weight Loss the Vegetarian Way?
By Vanessa Youngstrom

Obesity is a growing problem. Two thirds of Americans are overweight. More and more people are searching for natural weight loss options and vegetarian weight loss programs fit the bill.
The commercial market is overflowing with a large number of diet supplements and weight loss options. But natural options are the safest way to shed pounds. Dieticians and nutritionists recommend natural weight loss diets to people who are health conscious.

People who follow a diet of raw fruits and vegetables for weight loss are less prone to heart disease, stroke and cancer. Vegetarian weight loss programs can be structured using a point system so that vegetables are a “0”, fruits are between 1-3 points and nuts and seeds rank higher because they are higher in calories and fats.

The desire for a lean healthy body must include regular intake of water, the right foods and regular exercise. Like in any other program large helpings of high-fat protein sources such as peanut butter, nuts and cheese can cause vegetarians to gain weight.

Instead of using peanut butter or nuts as snacks, use whole grain snacks, fruit and vegetables during the day. Using a vegetarian weight loss program does not ensure automatic weight loss. Keep a written record of everything you eat during the day to keep a handle on your eating habits. Keep watch on everything that isn’t raw fruit and vegetables.

Plan your meal choices during the day since last minute choices are usually higher in calories. Those chips, cookies, power bars and candy, although meatless, are higher in calories, sugar and fats. Use a daily multi-vitamin to fill in the gaps.

There are convenience foods sold in the grocery store that fit a vegetarian weight loss program. Check out the health food store and watch the calories, sugars, fats and oils in the products. Do not resort to junk foods. When all else fails apples and bananas are convenient, filling and full of good nutrition.

You can also put together pre-made bags of your own trail mix. Include almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for a healthy nutritious snack. Try to eat only raw and organic nuts and seeds for the best flavor and fuel.

Preparation of your vegetarian weight loss program can be just as important as the foods you eat. Grocers now carry vegetarian burgers that can be microwaved as opposed to fried. Frying foods is just as dangerous as eating meats because of the increased animal fats and the processing that vegetable oils and lard go through to make them palatable. Try to eat as much raw foods as possible to help your digestive system.

Vegetarian weight loss is a healthy and natural weight loss option to add to your weight loss arsenal. Done right you’ll see some fast weight loss initially and you’ll feel better and have more energy.

Vanessa Youngstrom, a nurse practitioner, enjoys writing and educating on health and wellness topics. You’ll find more articles at http://www.PathToYourHealth.com

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vegetarian Lasagna

By Melissa Lastelle


If you are looking for the best vegetarian lasagna recipe available on the internet then you have come to the right place!

I made this vegetarian lasagna for my family and they loved it so much that it is now in the permanent family recipe book!

This vegetarian lasagna is not only delicious but highly nutritional. What other vegetarian lasagna recipe can claim to be enriched with potassium and folate?

Many people are under the impression that by not eating meat you would be lacking in protein and essential vitamins and minerals. They could not be further from the truth.

The high spinach content in this vegetarian lasagna recipe is believed to reduce the risk of cancer, help to avoid and relieve anemia and is said to protect against eye degeneration and heart disease!

Who ever said lasagna had to be unhealthy? This vegetarian lasagna is also high in protein and low in carbohydrates, courtesy of the cottage cheese content.

Vegetarian lasagna is widely believed to bland and unsubstantial in comparison to regular lasagna. This is not the case, choosing your favorite sauce or a sauce that the family (or whoever you are preparing the vegetarian lasagna for) usually have with pasta dishes will help to familiarize them to the idea and it is certain to be highly rated! We all know how scary it is to try new recipes out on the family, especially with fussy children.

If you are new or are introducing your family to the vegetarian lifestyle then starting off with dishes such as vegetarian lasagna or anything similar is wise. It is not advised to go straight to recipes and ingredients that your family members are not used to. This usually results in negative feedback and will only make it harder for you to be a successful vegetarian.

This delicious vegetarian lasagna recipe is highly nutritional, popular with the family (yes even the kids!) And easy to make! Best of all, it’s free!

VEGETARIAN LASAGNA

INGREDIENTS:

1 Package lasagna noodles
1 Jar favorite meatless pasta sauce
1 Small package lite mozzarella cheese 1 Fresh medium eggplant
3 Tomatoes
Parsley Flakes
1 Package frozen spinach
Salt and pepper
1 Small package of cottage cheese

METHOD:

Thinly slice eggplant into rounds and lay on a paper towel, salt lightly. Lay another paper towel on top and layer with eggplant slices and salt lightly. Continue this layering method until all eggplant is used.
Place a heavy pan on a cookie sheet on top of stack and leave to sit for half an hour to two hours. Defrost spinach and drain as much water out as possible. (Using a colander)
Cook lasagna noodles in oven at 180˚C until soft and tender
Mix cottage cheese and defrosted spinach together in a large bowl and add salt and pepper
Using a casserole pan, spread a layer of sauce and then place a tender lasagna noodle on top
Place a layer of spinach/cottage cheese mix, sauce, eggplant slices and then a noodle. Repeat this process until pan is full then place in the oven.
Place sauce and thinly sliced tomatoes on the last layer and then sprinkle mozzarella cheese heavily on top.
Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees. (Eggplant should be soft and a brown color)
SERVES-4

Melissa Lastelle-Founder of http://www.TheVegetarianBible.com

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spirituality and Vegetarianism

How do you feel spiritually when you eat a meal that contains meat? You’ve probably never given it any thought, but that may because spiritually you feel nothing after eating a meal of meat except tired and sluggish. A diet of meat makes our bodies less functional, and we think of nourishing our bodies in terms of our organs and blood, but we don’t often think about how what we eat can impact the most important organ in our body, the brain.

When you eat a vegetarian diet, you begin to feel physically lighter and fit. When your body is fit, your mind is also lightened. Most cultures that focus more on spirituality and enlightenment are also vegetarian cultures. From the beginning of recorded history we can see that vegetables have been the natural food of human beings. Early Greek and Hebrew myths all spoke of people originally eating fruit. Ancient Egyptian priests never ate meat. Many great Greek philosophers such as Plato, Diogenes, and Socrates all advocated vegetarianism.

In India, Shakyamuni Buddha emphasized the importance of Ahimsa, the principle of not harming any living things. He warned His disciples not to eat meat, or else other living beings would become frightened of them. Buddha made the following observations: "Meat eating is just an acquired habit. In the beginning we were not born with a desire for it." "Flesh eating people cut off their inner seed of Great Mercy." "Flesh eating people kill each other and eat each other ... this life I eat you, and next life you eat me ... and it always continues in this way. How can they ever get out of the Three Realms (of illusion)?"

These are cultures that are considered more enlightened and focused more on spirituality than is Western culture. If we are to evolve into more spiritual beings, then we must begin to manage our physical lives in a way that will enhance our spirituality, and this means taking the path of vegetarianism as a path to enlightenment.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Reasons for not eating Pork

Many people reject eating pork and other meats derived from pigs for religious reasons or health reasons. When people start eating a more vegetarian diet, red meat is usually the first thing they eliminate from their diets. When they do, various health indicators generally start to improve, such as their cholesterol levels and blood pressure readings. Health is one of the most compelling reasons to eat vegetarian, but the inhumane treatment of the animals mass-produced for human consumption is another reason many people are rejecting a carnivorous diet.

Pig farming follows the same processes that chicken farming and other animal farming employ. The pigs are kept in small crates with limited movement. They’re overfed so they can be slaughtered more quickly. Their living conditions can be dirty and they’re fed growth hormones to stimulate weight gain and antibiotics to ward off diseases that are the results of their living conditions.

They’re forced to live in unnatural conditions and they exhibit signs of chronic stress that other animals produced for human food do. They chew on the bars of their cages or worry with their water bottles excessively. Their limited range of movement prevents the rooting behavior that’s natural for a pig.

The pigs pay an extremely high price to feed us. And we pay a high price for eating pork and other red meat. We’re basically not made to eat meat. Our teeth weren’t developed to rip and tear meat. We evolved from herbivores and it’s still the better way for us to eat. When we eliminate red meat and other meats and animal products from our diet, we get healthier – more lean and fit, less tired and sluggish. And there’s the added psychological benefit of knowing that we’re not contributing to the suffering of innocent animals.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Does being Vegetarian help to Prevent Cancer?

Does being Vegetarian help to Prevent Cancer? The answer to this question is a definite "Yes".

Vegetarian diets—naturally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and replete with cancer-protective phytochemicals—help to prevent cancer. Large studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters. In the U.S., studies of Seventh-Day Adventists, who are largely lacto-ovo vegetarians, have shown significant reductions in cancer risk among those who avoided meat.

Similarly, breast cancer rates are dramatically lower in nations, such as China, that follow plant-based diets.

Interestingly, Japanese women who follow Western-style, meat-based diets are eight times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who follow a more traditional plant-based diet.

Meat and dairy products contribute to many forms of cancer, including cancer of the colon, breast, ovaries, and prostate.

Harvard studies that included tens of thousands of women and men have shown that regular meat consumption increases colon cancer risk by roughly 300 percent. High-fat diets also encourage the body’s production of estrogens. Increased levels of this sex hormone have been linked to breast cancer.

One study linked dairy products to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The process of breaking down the lactose (milk sugar) evidently damages the ovaries. Daily meat consumption triples the risk of prostate enlargement. Regular milk consumption doubles the risk and failure to consume vegetables regularly nearly quadruples the risk.

A recent report noted that the rate of breast cancer among premenopausal women who ate the most animal (but not vegetable) fat was one-third higher than that of women who ate the least animal fat. A separate study from Cambridge University also linked diets high in saturated fat to breast cancer.

Vegetarians avoid the animal fat linked to cancer and get abundant fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals that help to prevent cancer. In addition, blood analysis of vegetarians reveals a higher level of “natural killer cells,” specialized white blood cells that attack cancer cells.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sample Diabetic Vegetarian Menu

Though the task of planning out a diabetic vegetarian menu might seem a little daunting, with a little creativity and forethought, it can actually be very straightforward. Here is a sample two-day menu for some ideas and inspiration:

Day One
Breakfast: 1/3 cup cranberry juice orsugar free cranberry juice cocktail3/4 cup cooked oatmeal with 1/2 banana and1 teaspoon vegan margarine8 ounces enriched soymilk
Morning Snack: 3 cups low fat popped popcorn with2 teaspoons nutritional yeast1/2 cup orange juice
Lunch: 6" pita stuffed with 2 ounces meat substitute (equivalent to 2 ADA meat exchanges), lettuce, radishes, and cucumbers1 cup shredded cabbage with 1-1/2 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise8 ounces enriched soymilk
Afternoon Snack: Fruit smoothie made with8 ounces soymilk, 2 ounces silken tofu, and1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries, blended together3 sugar-free ginger snaps
Dinner: Baked eggplant (1/2 cup) with1/4 cup tomato sauce1/2 cup black beans with 1/3 cup brown riceone medium baked apple
Evening Snack: 2 Tablespoons peanut butter on 6 crackers

Day Two
Breakfast
: 1/2 cup melon slices2 slices French toast (made with soy milk and cooked in vegetable oil with 1/4 cup chopped peaches or apricots4 ounces enriched soymilk
Morning Snack: 1/2 cup fresh grapes6 assorted low-fat crackers Sparkling water
Lunch: 1 cup mushroom barley soup with2 ounces smoked seitan (A chewy, protein-rich food made from wheat gluten and used as a meat substitute) 1/2 cup green and wax bean salad with2 teaspoons sesame seeds and 2 Tablespoons reduced-fat salad dressing8 ounces enriched soymilk
Afternoon Snack: 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate pudding (You may create this at home with a sugar-free mix like Sorbee or Estee and any nondairy milk.)
Dinner: 1 cup chili with lentils with1/4 cup prepared Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) over 1/3 cup white rice 1/2 cup steamed or roasted carrots1/2 cup fresh pineapple slices
Evening Snack: 1/2 cup pretzels8 ounces enriched soymilk

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Reasons for not eating Chicken

If most of us thought about the conditions in which chickens used for meat and eggs are raised and slaughtered, we’d become vegetarian immediately. Egg-laying chickens can be raised in cages with 6 chickens to a cage, each chicken getting only 67 square inches of space for its lifetime.

Unless they’re certified and labeled as being free-range or organic or natural, they might have been fed growth hormones to get them to slaughter faster, and antibiotics to combat the diseases which come from being raised in cramped and less-than-clean conditions.

And consider what the recommendations are for cleaning up after touching poultry? It’s recommended to clean surfaces with bleach to remove bacteria, and to wash your hands thoroughly after touching a chicken.

Do you really want to put something into your body that requires bleach to clean up after? Something that needs to be cooked to specific temperatures to be sure you’ve destroyed any bacteria that could make you sick?

Chickens and turkeys have become so mass-produced and injected with antibiotics and hormones that there’s no taste to it anymore, so why bother? Even the most humanely treated chicken has either been stunned in a salt-water brine before being beheaded. In John Robbins excellent book and video, Diet for a Small Planet, he shows us pictures of chickens being grabbed in groups by the neck and thrown into cages. Can you really consider eating a chicken with that vision in your head?

Any means of mass-producing animals for human consumption is by its very nature unhealthy and cruel for the animals, and unhealthy for humans as well. Even if you’re of the opinion that man is a natural hunter, how natural is it to eat an animal that’s been raised in captivity and fed a diet of hormones and antibiotics?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Sample Menu for a Pregnant Vegetarian

Though your nutritional needs increase now that you’re pregnant, your pregnancy vegetarian diet shouldn’t have to change all that much. With some careful planning to ensure your caloric, vitamin, and mineral needs are met, you can still enjoy a rich variety of nutrient-dense delicious foods and help give your baby a nutritious jump-start. Consider the following daily menu for ideas and inspiration.

Breakfast:
1/2 cup oatmeal with maple syrup
1 slice whole wheat toast with fruit spread
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup calcium and vitamin D fortified orange juice

Snack:
1/2 whole wheat bagel with margarine
Banana

Lunch:
Veggie burger on whole wheat bun with mustard and catsup
1 cup steamed collard greens
Medium apple
1 cup soy milk

Snack:
3/4 cup ready-to-eat cereal with 1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup soy milk

Dinner:

3/4 cup tofu stir-fried with 1 cup vegetables
1 cup brown rice
Medium orange

Snack:
Whole grain crackers with 2 Tbsp peanut butter
4 ounces apple juice

If morning sickness is causing you problems, try eating low fat, high carbohydrate nutrient-dense foods. These are digested more quickly and stay in the stomach for less time giving less time for queasiness. Remember to eat often. Sometimes nausea is really hunger in disguise.

Be sure to drink juice, water, or soy milk if you can't eat solid food. Keep trying to eat whatever you can. If you’re unable to eat or drink the appropriate amounts of foods or fluids for 24 hours or more, get in touch with your healthcare provider.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Benefits of Tofu

If you aren’t a vegetarian now and haven’t been one in the past, you probably also haven’t eaten tofu many times. In fact, the only time most people hear about tofu it is in jokes aimed at vegetarians.

So why is it that vegetarians eat this stuff all the time? Is is it simply because they have no other choice?

The answer is both yes and no.

Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean you have to eat tofu. In fact, there are many vegetarians who never eat tofu or any popular meat-replacement dishes--such as "veggie burgers" or "tofurkey"--for that matter.

As long as they research and create meal plans, vegetarians can maintain a healthy diet eating traditional meals or ethnic dishes. Tofu is often cited as something exclusively vegetarian because it is a versatile, highly-nutritional, and can
be used to replace meat dishes.

Not only can it be created in textures, consistencies, and flavors that simulate a range of meats--from turkey to hamburg--but it can also actually replace and far exceed the nutritional value of similar meat dishes.

While vegetarians do not actually need to consume tofu, doing so is often a wise dietary choice--and also the next best thing to eating similar meat products (for those who enjoyed meat dishes before they became vegetarians).

Tofu is a low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-calorie food made out of steamed and compressed soy beans. Not only is it a great source of protein--which many vegetarians lack--but it is also heart-healthy and has been linked to a decreased
risk in cancer.

In addition to being served as a meat alternative, tofu is also served in a number of spicy and ethnic dishes, which were never intended to contain meat. Many ethnic Indian dishes contain large amounts of tofu cooked and spiced
in different ways.

So here is my suggestion to you: If you aren’t already a vegetarian, but want to become one, don’t let tofu get in your way. You can maintain a healthy vegetarian diet without ever eating it. However, if you already are a vegetarian, but haven’t tried tofu, I highly suggest you do. It is both nutritional and versatile - and it might not taste as bad as you think.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Benefits of Eliminating Fish from your Diet

Many people think if they just eliminate red meat and poultry from their diets, their eating healthier. This is partly true, but there are hazards to eating fish and seafood as well. The harm that humans have done to the environment has had a direct effect on the fish and seafood we eat.

There are elements of fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and children's proper growth and development. So, women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits. However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury.

For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

Is this any way to eat? In fear of what unhealthy elements are lurking in the food we eat? Eliminating red meat and eating a more vegetarian diet is an excellent start on the road to more healthy eating. Eliminating fish and seafood is one of the final steps towards eating a complete vegetarian diet and the health benefits that are your reward for making that change.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Vegetarian Cheese

Vegetarian cheese is cheese that is not curdled with rennet, an enzyme that occurs naturally in animal stomachs. Most vegetarian cheeses are curdled with either plants, fungi, or bacteria.

Vegetarians who do not consume cheese with rennet generally choose not to because it involves slaughtering animals to extract the enzymes.

Vegetarian cheese is hard to distinguish from cheese made with rennet. This lack of distinguisability often forces vegetarians who are ethically-opposed to harming animals to consume cheeses that contain rennet.

Even though more cheeses are being made with vegetable rennet, it is usually impossible to spot the difference, unless the package is clearly labeled "vegetarian cheese."

Recently, some grocery stores have started doing this to aid vegetarian shoppers, who would not otherwise be able to distinguish the difference between the vegetable and animal rennet cheeses.

In addition to eating cheeses made with vegetable rennet, there are more alternatives to eating regular cheese.

Vegans, for instance, do not consume cheese at all because it is an animal byproduct and subsequently requires animals to be caged and suffer. Many vegans, however, do
consume cheese substitutes.

Chreese is one of these substitutes. Chreese is an all natural, non-soy, cheese replacement that requires substantially less natural resources and energy to create than cheese with rennet.

And chreese is just one substitute. There are a number of other all natural alternatives you can find at local organic and health food stores.

If you are a vegetarian and you don't support animal suffering on your behalf in any capacity, you may also want to consider adjusting your dietary habits if you consume cheese made with animal rennet.

To summarize, you have three basic options:

(1) you can look for grocery stores that label vegetarian cheese;
(2) you can purchase vegetarian cheese online; or
(3) you can purchase cheese alternatives online or at your local organic or health food store.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Vegetarian Barbeque

Whether you’re expecting vegetarian guests to your barbeque or you have newly transitioned to vegetarianism yourself there are lots of different ways to prepare vegetarian barbeque options.

Before you start, remember that most vegetarian foods are more fragile than meat, and do not contain as much fat. Therefore, a clean and well-lubricated grill is essential to successfully grilling vegetables. It’d be a shame for those beautifully grilled peppers to stick to the grill!

Traditionally, vegetables have been considered a side dish in most meals, but at a barbeque they can take center stage as the entrée. Almost any kind of vegetable is great for grilling. Complement your meal by serving them over pasta, rice or polenta. You can also make them into great sandwiches with a soy-based cheese and some freshly baked rolls or bread.

Cut the vegetables lengthwise into thin slices in the case of zucchini and eggplant, or into thick rings, in the case of onions, tomatoes and peppers. If you'd rather have your veggies in handy bite-size pieces for serving with pasta and the like, try using a special pan for the grill with small holes that keep the veggies from falling through the grill and being lost. And probably the easiest way to grill vegetables on the grill is shish-ka-bob style!

Don’t forget to balance out those grilled vegetables with some fresh fruit salads, perfectly chilled and juicy. Watermelon, strawberries, grapes, and citrus fruits all complement one another well in a delightful fruit salad prepared with non-dairy whipped cream. Also use fruits to experiment with some fun smoothies and slushies for the kids – they’re fun and better for them than sugary sodas.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Top Nutrients lacking in a Vegetarian Diet

Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets have advantages. Vegetarian diets tend to be rich in antioxidants, certain vitamins, and healthy fats. Non-vegetarian diets, by contrast, tend to contain more protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B-12.

If you have already decided to adopt a vegetarian diet, it is essential that you learn how to increase your intake and absorption of these nutrients to avoid short-term and long-term health complications.

Here is how you can regularly assimilate larger portions of these nutrients into your regular diet:

1. Protein - Different types of protein are made up of different permutations of amino acid chains. In order to create a "complete protein" or a protein that can be assimilated into the human body as tissue, you must consume foods that contain complementary chains of amino acids.

Wheat, nuts, and beans are three types of vegan-friendly incomplete proteins; however, wheat is hard to digest and up to 50% of its protein is lost during the process.

Isolated soy protein, which you can get from a number of sources (including soy milk), can be digested efficiently-enough to match the animal protein yields.

2. Iron - Plant sources contain a significant amount of iron, but in nonheme form, which is more sensitive to inhibitors than iron that comes from animal products. You should do two things to increase your blood-iron levels: 1) consume more plant iron; and 2) avoid absorption inhibitors, such as tea, coffee, and fiber.

3. Zinc - Whereas non-vegetarian diets seem to enhance the absorption of zinc; vegetarian and vegan diets do the exact opposite--they inhibit it.

Nutritionists suggest that you can overcome this by consuming more foods that contain zinc, such as soybeans, cashews, and sunflower seeds while reducing your intake of inhibitors by washing vegetables and grains.

4. Calcium - While vegetarians can easily consume an adequate amount of calcium without any dietary additions, it is important that vegetarians avoid consuming certain foods that are high in oxalates, which inhibit calcium absorption.

Dietitians suggest that vegetarians do not consume spinach, beet greens, and swiss chard as the
calcium component of a meal plan. While they are rich in calcium, they also contain high amounts of oxalates.

Rather than consuming those foods for calcium, vegetarians should consider other options, such as soy yogurt, tofu, beans, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods.

5. Vitamin B-12 - Many vegetarians lack vitamin B-12 simply because it does not exist naturally in any non-animal forms. Vegetarians should seek out vitamin B-12 fortified foods, such as certain soy milks and cereals to supplement what they lack.

As I outlined, there are a number of nutrients vegetarians can lack of they do not research and plan. This is not meant to discourage people from becoming vegetarians, but instead to encourage them to spend time planning a healthy approach to their vegetarian diet before starting it.

When planned adequately, a vegetarian diet can not only make up for what it lacks from animal products, but it can far exceed the healthfulness of most non-vegetarian diets.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Vegetarian Spicy Tomato and Pepper Soup Recipe

This is a really quick and easy recipe to make. The soup is delicious and it's also packed full of vitamins and fiber!

Ingredients:
2x 400g (14oz) Tins of chopped tomatoes
Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
2 medium carrots
2 peppers (red, yellow or orange)
600ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
Cayenne Pepper
Fresh basil, salt & black pepper to season

Method:

(1) Chop the carrots, peppers and onions into small pieces
(2) Gently heat the oil in a pot and crush the garlic
(3) Add the onions, peppers and carrots to the pot and stir for 3-4 minutes
(4) Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes
(5) Pour in the vegetable stock
(6) Add a teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
(7) You can also add a handful of red lentils at this stage if you wish to make this a more filling soup
(8) Bring the soup to the boil
(9) Allow to simmer for 20 minutes
(19) Use a hand blender to liquidise the soup
(11) Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh basil

Hope you anjoy the soup. It's really warming on a cold winter's day!

Friday, January 05, 2007

What Alternatives are there to Gelatin?

If you are a vegetarian or vegan and you are looking for something to replace gelatin, do not despair. There are ingredients that you can use instead.

Gelatin serves both nutritional and culinary roles in nonvegetarian diets, but all vegans and many vegetarians and do not consume gelatin in its many forms. This is because it is often created out of boiled pig skins and dissolved veal cartilage and bones.

This leaves vegetarians with a problem when a recipe requires a gel or a thickening
agent. It also leaves vegetarians with less options if they need a source of gelatin to increase bone and cartilage health.

Here are some alternatives to Gelatin:

1) Soy-based alternatives. Soyfoods USA developed
NuSoy Gel, a gelatin alternative which was created
entirely out of of soy isoflavones and contains 100% of
your vitamin c recommended daily allowance.

2) Seaweed-based alternatives. Agar-agar, for instance,
is a seaweed based alternative to gelatin that can simulate
the culinary functions of gelatin.

3) Rice starch alternatives. A&B Ingredients recently developed a rice starch alternative to gelatins that mimics
the cooking functionality of gelatins closely.

4) Increase your calcium intake. One component of gelatin sulplements that increases joint health is calcium. If you want to increase your calcium intake without eating gelatin, you can simply consume more
calcium-fortified foods and even take supplements.

5) Increase your glucosamine intake. No foods contain glucosamine, but you can increase your intake by purchasing supplements at your local grocery store or pharmacy. This is rumored to improve joint health if taken regularly.

6) Increase your vitamin c intake. Another component of gelatin supplements that allegedly increases joint health is vitamin c. You can increase your vitamin c intake by consuming more citrus fruit.

To summarise, gelatin has two main functions: it works as a thickening agent for foods and is alledged to improve joint health. Both of these functions can easily be mimicked by alternatives.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Detoxing

Now that Christmas and New Year is over, many people start to think about Detoxing. Not surprisingly, January is the most popular time for detoxing, with many of us wanting to reverse the damage from that overindulgement in alcohol after the holidays.

When people talk about detoxing and cleansing the body of harmful toxins, it’s often seen as a fringe element of vegetarians. People really don’t like to think about harmful toxins building up in their colons or in their arteries, but it’s often a by-product of a carnivorous diet. A diet that’s high in fat and processed foods tends to slow down our digestive systems, and our elimination processes are also interrupted.

This can allow harmful bacteria and toxins to accumulate and can create a general feeling of sluggishness, as well as a host of digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome or colitis. When we begin eating a more healthy vegetarian diet, we start to get more dietary fiber into our systems, and all of a sudden, our digestive systems start to work better,

When you eliminate high-fat meat and processed foods from your diet, then much of your body’s energy is freed from the intense work of digesting these foods. Everything becomes clearer – your blood, your organs and your mind. You start becoming much more aware of the toxic nature of the food you’d been eating before.

Toxicity is of much greater concern in the twentieth century than ever before. There are many new and stronger chemicals, air and water pollution, radiation and nuclear power. We ingest new chemicals, use more drugs of all kinds, eat more sugar and refined foods, and daily abuse ourselves with various stimulants and sedatives. The incidence of many toxicity diseases has increased as well. Cancer and cardiovascular disease are two of the main ones. Arthritis, allergies, obesity, and many skin problems are others. In addition, a wide range of symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, pains, coughs, gastrointestinal problems, and problems from immune weakness, can all be related to toxicity.

When you start a vegetarian eating plan, your body eventually cleanses itself of the harmful effects of these toxic foods.

So if you are planning on Detoxing this year, consider following a vegetarian diet for a natural healthy way to clean out your system.