Tag Archives: vegan

Hershey’s launches vegan chocolate bars

Hershey’s is testing a vegan chocolate bar made with oat milk. While some dark chocolate bars are naturally vegan, many are not, and of course milk chocolate is very rarely vegan.  Some smaller companies, such as Pascha, have come out with high quality vegan milk chocolate bars, but this is the first time we’re aware of that a major brand has launched a vegan milk chocolate.

The new line of Hershey’s Oat Made bars will come in flavors such as Classic Dark and Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt with each oat milk-based bar clearly labeled vegan.  The Oat Made line is part of a real-time marketing test Hershey’s is conducting and the new vegan chocolate bars will be available at very limited retailers, including select Target locations, nationwide starting this month and through June 2022, a Hershey’s spokesperson confirmed.

Hershey’s is working on producing more “Better for you” brands, including plant-based options, through both research and acquisition of new products.  Its vegan chocolate bar is a part of this program. “We are the leader in US confection, and our consumers rely on us to understand their needs for everyday moments, seasons and special occasions, offering high-quality and great tasting candy that’s accessible for everyone,” Kristen Riggs, Chief Growth Officer at Hershey, said. “Expanding our expertise, building new capabilities, and delivering more choices in better-for-you confection is the next big category opportunity for us to lead.”

The new Hershey’s Oat Made chocolate bars are currently available online at Target, if you’d like to give them a try. Pascha chocolate is available at PCC Community Markets, Marlene’s Market, and some other natural food stores.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Veg Diet helps

Rheumatoid-Arthritis handsRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) hurts. Nearly 3 million Americans suffer from it. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition also can damage a wide variety of body organs, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. There are treatments, but many have significant side effects.

Following a plant-based diet can reduce your chances of getting RA. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, comparing those who followed a vegetarian diet to those who ate meat but otherwise followed a healthy lifestyle, showed that those following a vegetarian diet reduced their risk of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis 50%. Read more

Top restaurants dip their toes

Top restaurants and chefs are embracing plant based cuisine. As they open up again after the pandemic, some of the top restaurants are switching out specific animal products for plant-based alternatives, while others are choosing to go all in as a fully plant-based restaurant.

Chef Josef Centeno recently replaced dairy with vegan cheese in multiple dishes at his Tex-Mex eatery Bar Amá in Los Angeles, CA. An acclaimed chef who holds a Michelin star at his other LA eatery Orsa & Winston, Centeno partnered with So Delicious to make the switch. Centeno—a nominee for Best Chef at the 2020 James Beard Awards—realized that he could switch out regular cheese for plant-based alternatives without sacrificing the texture or flavor, so he now uses vegan cheese in place of dairy in some of his most popular dishes, including Cheddar Almond “Queso” and Chile Relleno.

In 2018, Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier removed foie gras at his French restaurant Gauthier Soho in London. Prior to the change, the restaurant sold more than 40 pounds of this especially cruel animal product every week. While he has offered a vegan menu since 2015, Gauthier decided to reopen Gauthier Soho as a fully vegan restaurant earlier this year after going vegan himself. 

Here in the US, the chefs at the restaurant “Eleven Madison Park” in New York were looking for a creative way to reopen their popular top restaurant and realized that the world has changed.  Chef Daniel Humm said, “It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn’t open the same restaurant. With that in mind, I’m excited to share that we’ve made the decision to serve a plant-based menu in which we do not use any animal products—every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains, and so much more.”

While there’s no sign yet of any of Seattle’s top-rated restaurants going 100% plant-based, we are lucky to have several excellent vegan and vegetarian restaurants, such as Cafe Flora, Plum Bistro and Harvest Beat in Seattle, plus many more casual vegan eateries throughout the area.  We encourage all restaurants to try out the many plant-based alternatives available and find which would work best for their popular dishes, as a solution to the climate crisis and to reduce the suffering of animals.

Olivia Newton-John – plant-based to fight breast cancer

Olivia Newton John is using a vegan diet to help in her fight against breast cancer. 

Seventy two year old singer, Olivia Newton-John, is best known for her role in the musical film Grease back in 1978, but she also produced many solo hit single recordings in the 70s and 80s and has continued to record and perform throughout her long career.  She’s a four-time Grammy Award winner with five US number one records and another 10 Top Tens on Billboard’s Hot 100. She has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

She has been a longtime activist for environmental and animal rights issues. In 1992 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has since become an advocate for cancer research and other health issues as well. She enjoyed a long period of remission, but in 2017 she was again diagnosed with breast cancer, and she switched to a plant-based diet to help her get healthier while being treated.  She shared that her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, is key in helping her to eat more plant-based foods. “I’ve been eating vegan because my daughter was visiting me and she’s a vegan.  I feel very good.  After having lived for years with different cancers, and having surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, I thought it would be wonderful if we could find different kinds of treatments for people going through cancer” she said.

Newton-John recently launched the Olivia Newton-John Foundation with her husband, John Easterling, to promote plant-based eating as a way to stay healthy through cancer treatment.  Her foundation aims to develop less damaging forms of treatment, as well as to support research into how a plant-based way of eating can help nutrition and health for patients.

There’s already a lot of research into how a plant-based diet can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer in the first place and reduce your risk of recurrence if you’ve had breast cancer.  Let’s hope that this foundation finds evidence for the benefits of plant-based diets during treatment as well.

Ultrathon runner wins on vegan diet

Harvey Lewis

Ultrathon runner Harvey Lewis, 45-years old, won the most recent 135-mile Badwater endurance race, on a vegan diet.

Badwater is the most demanding running race offered anywhere on the planet. The race starts at 280 ft below sea level in California’s Death Valley, and finishes up at 8300 ft on Mount Whitney.  Lewis completed the race in under 26 hours, despite 100 degree heat. He has won this race before back in 2014, and has completed the race 10 times, with top wins half of those times. He credits plant-based nourishment for his endurance and athletic performance.

In 1996 at age 20, Lewis decided to become a vegetarian after his mother suffered a stroke at age only 54, which caused him to reassess the culture of the modern Western diet. Following a trip to the Australian rainforest for college credit and an overarching love for animals, Lewis considered his existing habits and their impact on his overall quality of life, as well as the impact on the planet.

More recently in 2016, he went fully vegan. He says being vegetarian, and now vegan, gives him the “necessary ingredients for my body to bounce back quickly from punishing endurance events.” He admits his daily nutrition varies significantly from his race-day intake, particularly for a 24-hour race. On a regular day, Lewis enjoys black bean burgers, traditional ethnic foods like Indian and Korean cuisine, and mango smoothies.

However, during lengthy races, he snacks on Clif bars and cran-razz shot bloks, Peppermint Patties, Coca-Cola, pizza and avocado sandwiches. For a race in the heat, like Badwater, Lewis relies on liquid calories, namely Clif hydration drinks and Coca-Cola. Lewis was featured on a No Meat Athlete podcast describing his Badwater win and race-day nutrition.

Several other ultrarunner athletes prefer plant-based diets, including a former member of ours, Scott Jurek, who co-authored a memoir called Eat & Run detailing his experiences with ultrarunning, going meatless in 1997, and becoming vegan in 1999.

Reduce your risk of stomach cancer

Medical studies show that a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of stomach cancer while meat increases it.

Cancer is often most easily treated when detected early, but some cancers aren’t easy to catch early. One of them is stomach cancer.  Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, begins when cells in the stomach start to grow out of control. By the time it’s detected it has usually spread to other parts of the body. Treatment is most often ineffective or of limited benefit in these cases.

So when it comes to stomach cancer, prevention is even more critical. What can be done to reduce the risk? It turns out a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of stomach cancer. For instance, one study showed that vegetarians have a 63% reduced risk of getting stomach cancer. Another study showed that vegetarians had 56% reduction in the risk of dying from stomach cancer.

Results from several studies suggested that a diet rich in vitamin C was particularly protective. Sources of vitamin C include fresh produce, such as green and yellow vegetables and fruit. Several studies have also reported the protective role of allium vegetables, such as onions and garlic, in preventing gastric cancer.

There’s another advantage vegetarians have when it comes to stomach cancer. Most cases of stomach have a bacteria, H.Pylori, as one of the causative factors. However, a vegetarian diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent or suppress infection with H. Pylori.

While a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of getting stomach cancer, processed meat such hot dogs and bacon increase the risk, as does red meat such as steaks and hamburgers. The choice for prevention is clear. Put a healthy vegetarian diet to work to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

NBA star JaVale McGee promotes vegan lifestyle

JaVale McGee shoots for the hoop
JaVale McGee

NBA star JaVale McGee plays center for the Denver Nuggets.  He is using his passion for vegan food and his star power to help promote vegan food products and a foundation called JUGLIFE, which provides clean, safe drinking water in underdeveloped areas of the world.

McGee went vegan in 2016, and credits his plant-based diet with helping him “get up and down the court.” In 2018, McGee helped his team, then the Golden State Warriors, win an NBA championship title, which he credited in part to his plant-based diet.  He actively promotes plant-based brands to athletes and fans.  McGee was one of the investors, alongside legendary musician Snoop Dogg, to help Outstanding Foods close a $5 million financing round last year. 

In addition to his support of Outstanding Foods, McGee has been an athlete ambassador for vegan brand Beyond Meat since 2019 after he and a group of 13 other professional athletes invested in the brand—which also counts Snoop Dogg as an investor. “Shifting to a plant-based diet has been a literal game changer,” McGee said at the time. “And I’m excited to have my two favorite LA brands partnering to make plant-based eating not only delicious, but accessible.” 

Vegetarian Living – Going to Parties

Say No to Meat book coverWith the resumption of life after Covid-19, many are enjoying the opportunity to socialize and go to parties again. But if eating vegetarian or vegan is new for you, you may have some anxiety around how to maintain your food choices at parties.  This answer may be helpful to reassure you.

The following is an excerpt from our book “Say No to Meat“, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications.  This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

What do you recommend when going out with friends or to parties?

Research beforehand and come prepared. When going out with friends to a restaurant, encourage them to choose a restaurant that you know has some veggie options you can choose. If you aren’t able to influence the choice of restaurant, it may help to look online beforehand to see from their menu what options are available to you. You may need to ask for something special to be made, if you can’t find a suitable menu item. Most chefs and restaurants don’t mind special orders, so it’s important to speak up. Another alternative is to eat beforehand, and just go along to enjoy the company.

Know before you go. At a catered dinner, ask beforehand if possible, whether the caterer has any vegetarian options. When going to a private party, it’s a good idea to mention to the host that you are vegetarian, so that they can cater for your needs if food is to be provided. Alternatively, you can just ask which dishes include meat when you arrive, so that you can be sure to avoid them, rather than putting your host to any special trouble.

Some people just need a little help. You may wish to offer to bring some food, so that you know you’ll have something to eat. At a barbecue, bring a package of veggie burgers or veggie hot dogs for the grill. A potluck is a great opportunity to show others how delicious vegetarian food can be, so it’s worth making a special effort to bring a particularly appetizing dish or two. You can pick something up from a natural foods deli section if you don’t wish to cook. Be sure to eat when you first arrive, since others may like your food so much they eat it all before you get any!

Marked for better health

Several studies have now shown that vegetarians, and especially vegans, have better biomarkers than meat eaters. OK, great, but what the heck is a biomarker?

A biomarker is a chemical substance found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of either disease or health. The good news is that vegetarians and vegans have more of the biomarkers that indicate good health and less of the ones that indicate a disease process.

Studies have shown that vegans and vegetarians have lower levels of biomarkers that indicate inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis than meat eaters. This puts them at a lower risk of getting these diseases.

Even more impressive is a recent study that showed that vegetarians appear to have a healthier biomarker profile than meat-eaters for adults of any age and weight, and is also unaffected by smoking and alcohol consumption. Now this does not mean vegetarians can go out and start smoking and abusing alcohol, but it does show the power of a plant- based diet and that the greater positive health impact of a vegetarian diet can even outweigh the negative effect of smoking and alcohol consumption.

Do vegan labels matter?

Book cover for shopping guide

Millennials and Gen Z-ers make shopping decisions that largely depend on certifications and labels, a recent survey shows. A survey of more than 23,000 consumers internationally found that 91% prefer products provided with an independent stamp guaranteeing the product is really vegan, without having to read all ingredients list or spend time comparing and looking for alternatives.

While there is no one standard label in use in the US, the various symbols designating a product as vegan can be an aide for shoppers and we have found them to be reliable. We have also found products that don’t have a symbol but merely state “vegan” on the package somewhere, to be reliably vegan. However, there are also many great products that neither have a symbol nor the word vegan on the package. Perhaps these may even be the majority of vegan products, so reading the ingredients label is important. The ingredients on the product label are mandated by law and hence are the most reliable source of product information.

In fact, there is no legal definition of vegan. Our definition of vegan would be food that has no meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and anything else that came from an animal. Vegan products that are not overly processed carry additional health advantages, so we recommend a whole-food plant-based diet. Packaged foods can be minimally processed and considered a whole food, but it’s important to check the ingredients.

Therefore, we still encourage nutrition and ingredient label reading. It takes only a moment but it’s worth the effort and will help keep you from unnecessarily limiting your purchasing decisions. These labels can also provide extras such as what vitamins and minerals and how much fiber the food contains. It can tell you how much salt, sugar and fat is in the product and a long list of unrecognizable ingredients may indicate that it is overly processed.

Considering how important our food is to our health, the animals and the environment, food shopping is a skill well worth cultivating and we can help! We have a handy take-to-the-grocery-store shopping guide, In Pursuit of Great Food, that includes how to understand the nutrition facts label, some labels to look out for and lists of ingredients to avoid, along with an invaluable description of all the foods you might want to keep in your kitchen so that you can make delicious meals at short notice!

« Older Entries