Tag Archives: vegan

Vegan Chocolates, anyone?

Chocolate bon bonsOn Valentines Day, many of us dream of being given a box of delicious luxury chocolates by someone close to us. They’re seen as a special indulgence that we may save for a treat on just such special occasions, but we also want to stay true to our values, so we hope for vegan chocolates, fairly-traded if possible.

Many dark chocolate bars readily available in the grocery stores are naturally vegan, and there are several brands which use fair-trade chocolate. But it can be harder to find luxury vegan chocolates.  Local fancy chocolate suppliers still don’t offer any vegan options, but fortunately new companies are springing up online to fill the gap, and some may even be found in local grocery stores.

  • Enjoy Life Foods has a selection of dairy-free chocolate minis, including some made with rice milk to give that milk chocolate sensation.
  • Rawkin Raw Chocolate offers special organic truffles packed with antioxidants, and sweetened with dates and spices to provide the best nutrition.
  • No Whey Foods offers luxury vegan chocolate boxes, such as their signature truffles, with many fancy flavors to entice every taste bud.
  • Rose City Chocolates also offers a good selection of vegan luxury chocolates.
  • Lake Champlain Chocolates has dark chocolate hearts in a gift bag.
  • Lärabar also offers several flavors of chocolate truffles in a resealable pouch.

Look out for some of these and other vegan chocolate companies at Vegfest on March 30 & 31.

Learn more about the health benefits of chocolate.

Chronic Kidney Disease treated by plant-based diet

Kidneys cartoonHere’s the big news: a plant-based diet helps prevent and treat Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This is a big deal because CKD is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States and sucks up 20% of the Medicare budget.

Vegans and vegetarians have a greatly decreased risk of kidney disease. One study showed that vegan have better kidney function than meat eaters. This only makes sense since vegetarians and vegans have much lower rates high blood pressure and diabetes two of the leading risk factors for kidney disease. While this is news to many people and patients, the medical researchers have known this for a long time.

Other studies show that a plant-based diet slows the rate of decline for those who already have kidney disease. This means holding off the need for kidney dialysis.

Now protein in the diet causes extra work in the kidneys of kidney disease patients, but only when the protein source comes from meat, fish, poultry dairy and eggs. Plant proteins don’t cause stress and this is one of the key advantages of a plant-based diet.

The kidneys have a vital role in keeping us healthy. They filter wastes products from the blood, keep our fluids in balance and help control our blood pressure. A plant-based diet gives the kidneys what they need to stay healthy all throughout our lives. As a bonus it also reduces the risk and treats other diseases such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer just to mention a few.

Prescribing a plant-based diet to patients at risk of or already suffering from chronic kidney disease seems like a simple solution which would lower the costs and the suffering that so many patients experience. Unfortunately, most doctors are not yet aware of the power of a plant-based diet to prevent and treat kidney disease and so don’t know to prescribe it to their patients. To help make doctors aware of this dietary option for preventing and treating chronic kidney disease, we wrote a detailed article addressing much of the research that has been done on this topic.  We’re pleased to say that this article was recently published in the medical journal, JOJ Urology and Nephrology.

Christie Brinkley – a “flexible vegan”

christie brinkley

Supermodel Christie Brinkley was first discovered as a model in the early ’70s and went on to be the only model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated three times — in a row. Since then, she’s walked thousands of runways, launched a skin care line, starred on Broadway and is now writing a book on health and wellness.

So how does she manage, now that she’s into her 60s, to still look so young and healthy? Here’s how she explains it: “I tried some pretty weird diets in the beginning. I did everything from juice fasting to eating one kind of food at a time, to eating a grapefruit first before everything. The only thing that really lasts is a well-balanced diet.”

Christie has been largely plant-based for years.  In fact she became a vegetarian when she was only 13, out of love for the animals.  She aims to eat a rainbow of different colored plant foods every day. “For many, many, many years I’ve always said I go for as many colors as possible in a day,” Brinkley said.

She starts her day with whole grains topped with fruit and walnuts. Lunch is always a salad of leafy greens, with various fruits and vegetables topped with nuts. For dinner, pasta and veggies are the most popular option. She has found some vegan dairy alternatives she really likes, such as a soy hazelnut coffee creamer and various vegan desserts.

Brinkley believes in being as kind as possible to your body and exercising to feel good and look good. She said, “Feeling good is looking good, and that can translate to an energy you exude.” She’s a huge fan of avocado toast, raw oatmeal, brown rice with lentils, and sweet potato.

While we hope she gives up eating the occasional animal products in her diet, we’re glad that she’s such a good role model for healthy plant-based eating.

Vegan burgers at McDonald’s

mcdonalds-vegan-burger-chicagoVegan burger at McDonalds!  Yes, you heard me right. We said “Vegan burger at McDonald’s.”  Some of us thought we’d never see the day when McDonald’s would serve up a vegan burger. But, the fact that that day has come shows just how much the plant-based diet is catching on.

The new vegan burger is debuting at their headquarters in Chicago Illinois. They’ve put it front and center. The new burger is called the McAloo Tikki and consists of a toasted bun filled with a veggie patty made with potatoes, pea, and seasoning reminiscent of samosas; topped with fresh red onions, tomato slices, and an eggless creamy tomato mayo (this still has some dairy though). Read more

Vegan chocolate making

Pascha-Chocolate-Bars-AllBeing chocolate lovers, we wanted to know more about vegan chocolate. We caught up with Simon Lester, the founder of Pascha Chocolate and got a chance to ask him a few questions:

How did you get the idea of vegan chocolate in the first place?

When one of my daughters developed a serious, life-threatening food allergy my life changed.  All food items had to be examined and re-thought because cross contamination was serious and endemic.  The penny dropped when I thought back to my early career experience with Cadbury chocolate in the UK.  Read more

Go on a greenhouse gas diet!

Field of wheat

The world needs to go on a greenhouse gas diet! A recent study from researchers at the University of Oxford found that ditching animal products could reduce your carbon footprint by 73 percent.

Get ready for this. The lead scientist of the study says, “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. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

That’s right! The food you eat is more important than the car you drive, the light bulbs you buy, the insulation in your house and all the other nonfood items you use.

Eating meat is crowding out the planet. In addition to greatly reducing your carbon footprint, researchers found that if everyone went vegan, global farmland use could be reduced by 75 percent. This would be an amount of land comparable to the size of the United States, China, Australia, and the whole Europe combined freed up.

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 for mass wildlife extinction.

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. The Oxford report comes on the heels of several other studies showing that raising livestock is a major factor of global warming. Let’s hope people are starting to take notice!

Harry Potter actress now vegan

Evanna LynchFree-spirited Luna Lovegood of the Harry Potter series possesses a quiet courage: She’s a nonjudgmental, gentle soul who takes the side of the oppressed simply because it’s right.

Evanna Lynch—the Irish actress who portrays her in the movies— seems to share those traits. Through her weekly podcast, The ChickPeeps, the passionate animal advocate gently encourages her fans to try plant-based eating.

After moving to Los Angeles a little over five years ago Evanna, now aged 25, found herself often being asked “Well why aren’t you vegan?” ‘It’s so common there,’ she says. She came across the book Eating Animals around age 20/21 when everything changed. Evanna says: Read more

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