Every once in a while I come across a headline that screams ‘How my vegan diet almost killed me and my entire family’. I don’t even waste my time to read one of these stories any more, but as long as we don’t make an effort to better educate people, we are doomed to keep seeing these every once in a while.
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Anyone who eats a vegan diet knows there will be several questions coming their way by most anyone they meet who finds out they don’t eat animals. I find it funny that most meat eaters don’t get asked, “Where do you get your chlorophyll?” or “Where do you get your antioxidants from?” Or how about, “Where do you get your soluble and insoluble fiber from?” Wouldn’t those be conversation starters for the dinner table?
Yet plant-based eaters get questioned up and down about their diets, especially when people find out they’re not just vegetarian but actually a full on vegan. Being vegan is one of the most enjoyable and compassionate experiences a person can imagine, but there are most definitely some questions you’ll need to be aware of if you’re considering making the switch to a vegan diet or you’re trying to eat more plant-based foods. Remember to be nice to others when they ask these questions and respond in a positive way that shows how intelligent you are about the benefits of a eating vegan. After all, nobody likes an angry vegan, now do they?
1. Where Do You Get Your Protein?
Let’s start with the most commonly asked question of all that I guarantee every vegan is asked at least once. People can’t fathom that a person is able to obtain plenty of protein without meat, dairy, and eggs. I know- it’s crazy but true. Don’t treat them like they’re insane when they ask, but instead, nod your head like you understand why they’re asking and then share with them that all kinds of tasty foods have protein– even down to vegetables. Tell them you obtain your sources of protein from foods like tempeh, tofu, plant protein powders, nuts, seeds, spirulina, and spinach. Then be sure you share with them all your delicious protein-packed recipes (or some of ours!). See these 10 Healthy High Protein Vegan Snacks and A Dozen Protein-Packed Vegan Meals.
2. Where Do You Get Your Calcium?
Despite calcium being a mineral that comes from the soil (not a cow), most people have a difficult time wrapping their brain around the fact that cow’s milk isn’t the best source of calcium as we were once taught. Instead of getting angry with them, politely tell them that calcium is a mineral and all minerals are found in the ground, not animals. Originally, cows would eat grass and obtain minerals that way, but they are now fed diets high in processed corn and soy to fatten them up, therefore calcium is actually added back in after pasteurization of the milk. This process is no different than the type of calcium added to plant-based milks, so be sure you inform them of how delicious almond, soy, and hemp milk are and that these milks contain more calcium than dairy milk. You might also fill them in on the detrimental effects of drinking cow’s milk and the fact that all leafy greens are loaded with calcium, not to mention foods like chia seeds, spirulina, broccoli, almonds, soy, most beans and legumes, and dried figs.
3. Do You Get Enough Iron?
Iron is also a mineral, so it also comes from the ground like calcium. Most people can accept the mineral issue once you point it out to them but still have a hard time imagining that you can obtain enough iron through plants alone. Be sure you remind them of Popeye in a joking way and how he ate spinach since it is chock-full of iron and protein. That is sure to get a chuckle out them! Then be sure you inform them that not only is spinach rich in iron, but so are foods like spirulina, chia seeds, prunes, raisins, and cacao. Trust me, most people will love when you tell them chocolate is actually good for them!
4. What About Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Since omega 3 fatty acids are all the rage these days, most people turn to fish to get their fill. When you’re asked how you get your omega’s, politely share that flax and chia are chock full of omega 3 fats, as are walnuts and hemp seeds. Plus, they might find it interesting to know that fish obtain their omega 3’s through algae, so it’s much easier to cut straight to the source and skip the mercury found in fish in the process. Algae supplements can be taken which have the recommended amounts of both DHA and EPA found in fish oil and fatty fish. Be sure you inform them of how toxic fish can be to humans and to the environment while you’re at it.
5. What Do You Eat?
Even those who understand you don’t have to eat animals to obtain nutrients will still be curious about what you’re supposed to eat. Don’t expect them to get excited when you tell them how much you love oatmeal, smoothies, salads, veggies, tofu, tempeh, and nuts and seeds either. Though these foods are awesome and ones most vegans enjoy thoroughly, those who are used to eating chicken, steak, and eggs aren’t going to be thrilled about most any of those options. Knowing this ahead of time you might share a recipe with them or invite them over for a meal. Make something especially delicious and let them experience just how delicious being vegan can be.
You could even take them grocery shopping with you and show them all the amazing vegan alternatives to animals products on the market such as nondairy milks and ice creams, vegan butter, vegan cheese, and vegan pizzas. Also be sure you share with them that many of their favorites like PB&J, oatmeal with bananas, and apples with peanut butter are already vegan foods they don’t have to replace. Showing others all the colorful produce they can enjoy is another way to get them excited about starting a vegan diet too.
The truth is, most people question you about being vegan because they’re interested – not because they’re trying annoy you. Fill them in on all the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and the benefits you’ve seen from it. Which one of these questions do you get asked the most?
For many people in the U.S. — and across the globe — recent political events have left the future looking ominous, indeed. Things seem more uncertain than ever, and there’s no shortage of important issues competing for our attention and concern. But our biggest collective threat (by far) is climate change. If our planet heats to an excessive temperature, there’s no escaping the consequences; even the one percenters won’t have anywhere to go. This is the only earth we have, and Mars is far from ready for colonization.
Vegan diets are becoming more and more popular because of their health benefits and sustainability. Turning yourself into a vegan might seem like a daunting task, but you’re probably already eating foods that are vegan without even knowing it. This is a list of foods you didn’t know were vegan (and that you can keep enjoying even after you give up animal products).
Veganism has never been more popular with more than half a million Brits now choosing to avoid food derived from animals. If you’re one of the people who’s new to the lifestyle, knowing what to eat on a daily basis while keeping your body healthy can be an absolute minefield. As part of their latest report the team at Viva! Health have created a handy infographic suggesting what you should eat each day to help.
Each glass of cow’s milk comes with an unimaginable amount of animal suffering. So ditch the dairy and include these calcium-rich plant-based foods in your diet:
The truth is that actors take their diets extremely seriously, and for good reason. Their health is very important to them, because their body is their career. If they start to look old too quickly, they lose out on many potential roles. The entertainment industry is incredibly harsh, and expects all people on the big screen to look like picture-perfect super humans. So these actors who were presented with a pizza on the talk show were not being snobbish, they simply cared about their health.
As it turns out, many actors have made the choice to become Vegan for this very reason- they are trying to take care of their bodies. Many studies suggest that this type of diet can reduce the risk of cancer and a huge variety of other illnesses, as well as actually prolonging one’s lifespan. So is it any wonder why so many actors are Vegan?
“I don’t want to be vegan,” David Carter once said to his wife. “That’s for weaklings.” At the time, Carter was an NFL defensive end, weighing in at more than 300 pounds. Growing up in Los Angeles, he was raised on barbecue at his family’s restaurant and felt that meat was his source of strength, so there was no way he’d ever adopt his wife’s vegan diet.That is, until he started to experience health problems that affected his career, which ended in 2015. “I had been big and strong,” Carter says. “But … I was taking medication for high blood pressure and suffering from nerve damage,” and as a result, he had a hard time doing bench presses and pushups.
On Feb. 14, 2014, his attitude suddenly changed: “I was drinking a milkshake and watching (animal rights documentary) ‘Forks Over Knives.’ And I just thought to myself, ‘That’s it, I’m done.’ I got up, threw out the milkshake and went vegan.”
For many athletes who have switched to a vegan lifestyle, the change was prompted by reasons similar to Carter’s.
Poor health plagued Rich Roll before he adopted a plant-based diet and began a career as a world-class ultramarathoner in his 40s. And tennis star Venus Williams famously chose a raw vegan regimen five years ago after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an immune-system disorder that caused her joint pain, fatigue and shortness of breath.
Along with these stories comes a common query from incredulous nonvegans: “How do you get enough protein?”
“It’s always the first question,” says Torre Washington, a bodybuilder who has been following a vegan diet for 18 years, laughing. “But you really don’t need protein to get shredded and lean. I’m looking for nutrients and focused on variety.”
Indeed, vegan athletes including Washington and 10-time Olympic medalist Carl Lewis – who has said that athletes have “the worst diets in the world and compete in spite of it” – tend to agree that athletes should put an emphasis on increased calories when in training, as opposed to more protein.
“I’ve never met a patient who has had a protein deficiency,” said sports dietitian Susan Levin, who is also a vegan and recreational runner. “It’s really a nonissue.”
Ashley Koff, a registered dietitian, agrees that “we tend to overemphasize the amount of protein that we need,” but says a plant-based diet of vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes may not be enough for many athletes. Williams, for instance, calls herself a “cheagan” because she occasionally cheats by indulging in cheese, yogurt or even fish.
“Plants play a primary role,” Koff says, “but … all of our digestive systems and our bodies work differently. I like to say that you are not what you eat; you are what you digest and absorb.”
That means she might build organic pasteurized eggs into an athlete’s diet because it’s a highly absorbable protein, but not, say, cheese.
Susan Levin is head of nutrition education for the nonprofit Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine, which promotes nonmeat and nondairy nutrition. She cites the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans as an appropriate starting point. It recommends that about 10 percent of total daily calories be protein, meaning roughly 200 calories in an ideal diet.
“Protein is actually a fairly small percentage of what goes into a healthy diet,” Levin says. “The emphasis really is on having a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods throughout the day, and, because protein is found in varying amounts in plants, legumes, grains and nuts, it’s pretty easy to get to the recommended amount. Most athletes don’t need a different diet, they just need more calories.”
When Carter, who is 28, was in intense physical training, he was consuming 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day and looking to get about 300 grams of protein. “You’ve got to be focused to get that many calories in a day,” Carter says.
Once he made the switch to a vegan diet, he realized that all the beans, grains, fruit and vegetables he was eating were helping him be big and strong, bench-pressing 465 pounds on a diet of bananas, lentils and cashew cheese.
“The biggest and strongest animals on the planet – elephants, gorillas, rhinos – are herbivores,” Carter says.
James Loomis, medical director of the PCRM’s Barnard Medical Center in Washington, admits packing on calories with a vegan diet is still not easy for athletes.
“Some people struggle with it,” he says. “Try eating 1,000 calories of quinoa or blueberries.”
Koff says, “The quality of what you put into your body is really critical for athletes – you want to get the most bang for every bite.”
Loomis, who served as team internist for football’s St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams and baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals before he got interested in plant-based medicine, saw professional athletes develop serious health problems at an early age by focusing only on eating a lot of calories.
“I call it ‘bro science,’ ” he says. “They’re thinking about getting big and strong without thinking about the long-term impact. But if we help develop healthy habits in younger athletes, it helps them in post-career.”
Inflammation caused by dietary choices, which can lead to a host of chronic diseases, is a common concern for Loomis, Levin and Koff, even if they don’t agree on the need for a completely vegan diet. Eating meat and animal products, Koff says, has been associated with inflammation, “so it’s all the more reason to have a lot of plants in the diet to balance (that) out.”
Matt Frazier, 35, an ultramarathoner and author of “No Meat Athlete,” used a gradual transition from omnivore to vegan for his own diet.
“I spent a whole year without eating four-legged animals before I took the next step and cut the two-legged animals out of my diet, and then spent a month there before I stopped eating fish,” he says. At that point, Frazier found that his speed and endurance were increasing, leading him to shave 10 minutes off his marathon time to ultimately qualify for the Boston Marathon. Over the next two years, he gradually cut out eggs and dairy.
“I think short-term challenges are a great way to dive in and see what it’s like,” Frazier says. “Try a 10-day vegetarian or vegan challenge, and if it goes well, make it 30 days. Having that finish line at the end keeps you from having to deal with those ‘I can never eat a cheeseburger again?’ thoughts that aren’t helpful at all when you’re trying to transition.”
The feared loss of indulgent food is a topic that seems to come up often among both vegan athletes and curious omnivores.
“I like to make junk food that’s not really junk food,” Carter says. “My favorite is nachos with couscous, beans and cashew-cheese queso. I’ve converted so many athletes with that cashew cheese – they eat it and say, ‘Man, that tastes just like real cheese, bro!’ ”
Original article here
A few months ago, Beyonce teased that she’d be making a HUGE announcement on “Good Morning America.” The Beyhive was buzzing, overcome with fervor, anticipation, and speculation. Is she dropping a new album? Announcing a world tour? A bun in the oven? She just wanted us to know that she went vegan—and that’s her secret to looking the way she does. Anti-climactic, for sure. The backlash ensued. But no doubt, she served as inspiration for what a healthy plant-based diet can do. And guess what? Beyonce is not the lone pioneer of celebrity veganism (although she is No. 1 on our list cause she’s No. 1 on everything). Here are six other animal-loving stars who embody vegan #goals.
Study after study has shown that a plant-based diet is beneficial to your health. Meat is linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization reported that processed meats are just as hazardous to your health as cigarettes. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic recently reported that switching to a plant-based diet could add up to four years to your life. What would you do with four more years?
Because male chicks will never lay eggs, they are considered useless to the egg industry and are killed almost immediately after hatching.
10. A standard farm practice known as “thumping” will make you sick.
Dehorning, tail docking, debeaking, and castration are all forms of mutilation performed daily on factory farms. These cruel acts are carried out without the use of anesthesia. Because of the filthy conditions, they often result in infection.