Author Archives: Vegetarians of Washington

Single biggest way to reduce your impact

Footprints - greenFollowing a plant-based diet can be the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on earth, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by up to 73%. Meanwhile, if everyone stopped eating these foods, they found that global farmland use could be reduced by 75%, an area equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and Europe combined. Not only would this result in a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions, it would also free up wild land lost to agriculture, one of the primary causes of mass wildlife extinction.

According to the authors, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.” They also noted that it has a far bigger impact than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car, which would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The new study, published in the journal Science, is one of the most comprehensive analyses to date into the detrimental effects farming can have on the environment and included data on nearly 40,000 farms in 119 countries.

So if you consider yourself an environmentalist, but you still eat animal products, think again! Avoiding the consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.

Learn more about the impact of our food choices on the planet.

 

 

Pizza Pascalina – the anti-tumor pizza

Pizza-Pascalina-keste-pizza-2Cancer researchers and chefs have teamed up in Italy to create a healthy vegan pizza that actually helps protect you from cancer and heart disease. The team is calling this “Pizza Pascalina”, an “anti-tumor” pizza and “the pizza that extends life.” The Pizza Pascalina team was on a mission to prove to people that even pizza can be healthy, when topped with the right ingredients, and when harmful ingredients like animal products are left out.

The plant-based pizza is based on health-promoting ingredients such tomatoes, olives, nuts, rapini, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. The cheeseless, meatless pie is devoid of all animal products, from the simple wheat-based crust to the vegetable toppings. Much of the cancer-preventing agents lie in the tomatoes. Based on solid research, the scientists believe that these tomatoes can inhibit certain cancers. They also found that meals low in fat and high in fresh produce can reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease.

Let’s hope that the Pizza Pascalina catches on as a popular option at all pizza outlets. Learn more about how a plant-based diet can reduce your risk of cancer.

 

No reason to celebrate Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation DayChick-fil-A recently held a “Cow Appreciation Day”, but we’re doing anything but celebrating. Their idea of “appreciating” cows is to give away free chicken. While we’re all for skipping the burgers, substituting chicken has to be one of the worst deals of the century. Let’s look at some of the details of the Chick-fil-A bad deal.

While not quite as high as beef, chicken still has high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol that contribute to clogged arteries and other diseases. Cooking chicken also produces more cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) than any other meat when cooked, and fried chicken is even worse. So there’s no doubt that eating chicken is bad for your health. Read more

Tempting Tofu Recipes

TofuOf all the possible protein sources you could eat, tofu has to be the most versatile, and the healthiest. It is made from soybeans, and is high in protein, low in fat, and also contains good amounts of calcium and some B vitamins.

There are two main types of tofu, regular and silken tofu.  Regular tofu comes floating in water in a small tub. It needs to be refrigerated and used within a few days. It is best used crumbled, sliced or diced, and can be marinated to absorb different flavors. It can be baked, fried, or added to soups, stews and curries.

Silken tofu has a creamier texture which blends particularly well, to make quiches, desserts, smoothies etc.  It doesn’t hold its shape well, so doesn’t work so well sliced. It often comes vacuum packed and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It keeps for several months.

There are hundreds of different recipes available, and even some whole cookbooks focusing just on tofu. Every style of cuisine can be recreated, so search vegetarian websites or buy a good cookbook, and enjoy the diversity of this nutritional powerhouse.

Recipes

The following recipes are from The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, by Vegetarians of Washington:

Seven-Layer Fiesta Dip

Mexican Seasoning Mix

Tofu Cutlets with Tapenade Sauce

Spanakopita

Read more

Elmhurst Dairy goes all vegan!

Elmhurst nut milks

When New York City’s Elmhurst Dairy opened in 1925, founders Max and Arthur Schwartz hand-bottled milk from 200 cows. They then delivered the bottles, which sat in containers of ice, in a truck throughout the city. Over the next few decades, Elmhurst became one of the biggest dairy companies in New York City.

But now everything has changed. While the family owners are still the same, Elmhurst has become a vegan company, and now only produces dairy-free milks (made from almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and cashews) called Elmhurst Milked.

At the plant, the company has developed its own process of making the nut milks, which it calls “milking.” Cold milling machines extract all of the protein, fat, and micronutrients from the nuts, which means Elmhurst doesn’t need to fortify the milks with additional vitamins.

Plant-based dairy alternatives have grown into a $1.4 billion industry. A recent Nielsen survey found that many people consider those dairy-free products to be healthier, since they often are lower in calories, cholesterol, and fat than cow’s milk. Others buy them because they are lactose-intolerant, have a dairy allergy, or have gone vegan. “It’s about transforming with the times,” CEO Henry Schwartz says. “As awareness and demand for vegan products continues to grow, we’re seeing plant-based options become mainstream.”

Meanwhile, over here on the west coast of the country, we were delighted to feature Haus Mylk at Vegfest this year.  They plan to start delivering fresh nut-based milks to homes in the Seattle area in the near future.

 

 

 

Erectile Dysfunction – diet matters!

ED - disappointed coupleErectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for intercourse. Erectile dysfunction (ED) has considerable impact on the quality of life of middle-aged and senior men, and is a significant global health problem  affecting millions of men throughout the world.

It’s very important to note that men with ED are at significantly increased risk of a heart attack. There is consistent epidemiological evidence which links ED with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cholesterol levels. We know that a plant-based diet greatly reduces the risk of those diseases and so it follows that it also greatly reduces the risk of ED. Other evidence shows that the lower BMI (Body Mass Index) that vegetarians are more likely to have also helps reduce the risk of ED, as does the reduction of saturated fat intake and increased fiber intake.

One study found a 10% reduced risk of ED with each additional daily serving of fruits and vegetables consumed. Another study showed that phytonutrients, nutrients besides vitamins and minerals which are found only in plant foods, were a major reason for the reduced risk. A long term study of a diet rich in whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and olive oil was associated with an improvement in erectile function.

They’ve even done a small experiment on erectile function.  Three athletes were tested overnight after different meals.  The experiment showed that erectile function was improved after a plant-based meal. Smoking cessation and exercise increased the effectiveness of the dietary intervention in several studies.

While diet and diet-related diseases are major causes of ED, there are other factors such as psychological problems and medication side effects which can also have an impact. However, switching to a plant-based diet is a safe way to reduce your risk of ED and it forms a vital role in its treatment.

California encourages plant-based options

Patient eating Hospital foodCalifornians who are in a hospital, nursing home or prison may soon be able to choose a totally plant-based diet.  State Senator Nancy Skinner has introduced Senate bill 1138, which requires these institutions to make a vegan meal available to those who request it.  While the option of a vegetarian meal was already required, this new bill allows for the option of meat-free, fish-free, dairy-free and totally vegan meals. Read more

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