The American sprinter, Elijah Hall, says: “Changing my diet was the best decision I could have made.” The athlete made this decision to ditch meat and dairy from his diet a few months ago because “he’s on a mission” to win. Hall adds, “the effects that it’s having on my body is amazing. Becoming a plant-based athlete has opened many doors to my health and my training.”
Hall holds records in the indoor 200 meters and was training for the Tokyo Olympics that were scheduled to take place this month, but was postponed a year due to the pandemic. Last year, Hall said he took the entire summer off to train, “Took the summer off to get it right… Let’s get to it !!” When it comes to track and field, a plant food diet means getting it right!
Dr Chan Hwang scans the carotid artery of a Vegfest attendee.
Heart disease is still the number one cause of death for both men and women. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. A plant-based diet can reduce your risk of a heart attack by 40%. If you wish your doctor knew about this, we want you to know that we do too! That’s why we wrote a letter to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. They published an Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on the role of non-statin therapies for lowering LDL Cholesterol, but they “forgot” to include the plant-based diet! We told them about their omission, and we published it as an open letter, complete with references to all the latest research on the topic. Read more
In an interview, Starr revealed he went vegetarian after attending a bullfight in Spain. Since then, the musician has been admired for his graceful aging. Former drummer for The Beatles, Ringo Starr, recently revealed the secret to “staying young” and maintaining high energy levels. Speaking to music and pop culture magazine Rolling Stone, Starr commended his vegetarian diet for helping him stay “so young and active.” Starr says, “I am a vegetarian, I have broccoli with everything and blueberries every morning. I just do stuff that I feel is good for me.”
The musician, who is 80 years old, spoke about how he keeps up with his busy life, including the launch of his new coffee table photo book “Another Day in the Life,” and an upcoming tour with the All Starr Band, when the virus lifts. The All Starr Band is 31 years old and still going strong as is fellow Beatle, Paul McCartney, also a vegetarian.
“You’re a busy man these days,” Rolling Stone interviewer Rob Sheffield said to Starr. He asked the rock star how he maintains the lifestyle. “I think staying active keeps you young,” Starr said, adding that he works out with a trainer. But diet also plays a role; the drummer highlighted that he follows a vegetarian diet and includes broccoli “with every meal.” Many have pointed out that he looks even younger than his son. Keep up the good work, Ringo!
More good news about the benefits of a plant-based diet! A new study shows that following vegetarian diet reduces the risk of stroke. We’ve been reporting on the many health benefits of vegetarian diets for lowering the risk of disease such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer and colon cancer. We can now add reducing the risk of stroke to the growing list. This is important since stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans. Read more
A plant-based diet doesn’t just reduce your risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetics, but has benefits for the health of your thyroid as well. The thyroid gland is critical for maintaining a healthy body. Thyroid hormones have functions ranging from control of metabolism, heart beat and reproductive function.
Millions of people in America suffer from hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, most commonly in the form of Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which are autoimmune diseases. Those following a plant-based diet are much less susceptible to autoimmune diseases in general and thyroid disease is no exception. Vegans have been shown to experience a 22% lower risk of hypothyroidism, and a 51% risk of hyperthyroidism.
However, there are a few things those following a plant based should do for optimal thyroid health. Most vegans get enough iodine in their diet, but many don’t!
Iodine deficiency can lead to a variety of medical problems at all ages. This is a special concern for pregnant women. Children of mothers having an iodine deficiency during pregnancy may have mental retardation, deaf mutism, spasticity and short stature. Congenital hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental retardation in the world. Iodine deficiency may also be a factor in the development of breast cancer, so consuming sufficient iodine may help protect against this all too common cancer.
It’s important to get enough iodine your diet. There’s usually enough iodine in the different foods we eat. Some foods that are a good choice for iodine include black eyed peas, navy beans and whole wheat bread. If you’re not on a sodium restricted diet, iodized salt, as is commonly sold in the supermarkets, can be very helpful and has a good track record of preventing iodine deficiency. However, the salt in commercially prepared food is not iodized.
It’s also important not to get too much iodine. Seaweed can contain high levels of iodine. It’s fine to eat various kinds of seaweed as long as it’s in moderation.
The message is clear. A plant-based diet will reduce your risk of both hyper- and hypothyroidism. Getting an adequate amount of iodine will enhance the health of your thyroid gland even further.
A recent study of 237,000 singles found that online dating customers using the EliteSingles dating platform, who mentioned veganism or vegetarianism, received 73% more responses than the average member. The singles were selected randomly and anonymously based on mention of any of three words: vegan, vegetarian and veggie. The study team then looked at the average number of messages that profiles with these words received and compared them to the average number of messages received by customers on the same platform overall. Read more
It’s the New Year and many people are resolving to make changes in their lives, especially concerning the food they eat. But we all know how that often goes! We’re super motivated during January, but by the time February rolls around, the enthusiasm has worn off and we’re back to our old habits. So how can we make changes that are sustainable for the long term?
Dr. BJ Fogg, founder and director of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, has been looking into this challenge, and he’s identified a formula for any successful shift in behavior. He suggests that the first step to a successful change is motivation. You need to pick a change that you really want to do, not just feel like it’s something you ought to do. So think carefully through your motivation to change your diet, is it for your health?, for the environment? or for the animals? for example. Find or print out a positive picture relating to that motivation and stick it on your refrigerator – perhaps it’s a picture of you when you were healthier and more energetic, a picture of a beautiful forest, or cute farm animals – something that will inspire you every time you think about food. Read more
A cookbook can make the perfect gift for someone who is moving toward a plant-based diet. With an abundance to choose from these days, we thought we’d give you some tips and suggestions to guide your selection, whether it’s for you, a family member, or a friend who just needs a little nudge to get started!
We recommend you choose a good vegan cookbook, avoiding all animal products. Some people will appreciate the extra creativity and adventure of a cookbook that uses only plant foods for ingredients. Others will appreciate recipes that are healthy, save the animals and protect the environment.
For a good all-round cookbook that includes lots of variety, from simple to gourmet, as well as many ethnic dishes from all over the world, we highly recommend our own Veg-Feasting Cookbook! This is a restaurant cookbook, with recipes from veg-friendly restaurants all over the Pacific Northwest, plus some special recipes from Vegfest chefs, so it has plenty to captivate the reader while covering all the bases. Most ingredients are familiar, and recipes are often adaptations of old favorites, so it’s a valuable cookbook for all levels of experience.
Cookbooks designed for students can vary from those using from scratch ingredients to those which include some ready to nuke and eat ingredients. Note for students: cooking from scratch can save you a lot of money and the food might just taste a bit better. For those on a tight budget, Eat Vegan on $4 a day by Ellen Jaffe Jones, is an excellent cookbook with lots of money saving hints and tips. It shows how to get the best flavor out of simple, affordable, but high quality ingredients, using whole foods such as grains, beans, fruits and vegetables to create delicious meals.
At the other end of the spectrum, for those chefs who want to produce gourmet vegan dishes, Extraordinary Vegan by Allan Roettinger is an excellent introduction to unique ingredients that make a dish really special. With dishes such as Piña Quemada Ice Cream and Edamame Salad with Penang Curry, this is a book to entice the chef to take the time to perfect the flavors and textures of vegan cooking.
For the health focused cook, a whole-foods plant-based cookbook, which doesn’t overdo the salt, oil and sugar, is a great choice. Ramses Bravo, the chef from the True North Health Kitchen, provides delicious recipes that are at the core of a food-based treatment strategy to help regulate weight and safeguard against disease. His cookbooks combine simple, fresh wholesome ingredients that are converted into gourmet meals filled with color and nutrition. Choose either his original cookbook, Bravo, or for those pressed for time, his more recent Bravo Express.
New meat and dairy substitutes are readily available and increasingly popular these days. For those cooks who want to experiment with making their own, Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese provides an insight into how she creates those delicious cheesy flavors from plant-based ingredients. For readers who want to whip up something quick, Miyoko provides recipes for almost-instant ricotta and sliceable cheeses, in addition to a variety of tangy dairy substitutes, such as vegan sour cream, creme fraiche, and yogurt.
This is just a brief introduction to the range of available vegan cookbooks. Look carefully at the style of cuisine, the types of ingredients used, the complexity of the recipes, and any other features, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect cookbook for your needs.
There’s more good news from New York! New York City has the largest public school system in the country with a million students. We’ve written about several New York City public schools going all vegetarian. Students, parents and teachers have been very happy at the results – they’re seeing healthier kids and better grades. Read more
Put the following ingredients in a ziplock bag, (multiplying for team members as needed)
1/3 cup green lentils (per person)
1 stock cube
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp garlic flakes
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp rosemary
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp Black pepper
½ tsp Cumin
Chili flakes (to taste)
Pre-chopped fresh carrot, broccoli, cauliflower as desired
1/4 cup dried potato flakes to thicken and add calories as needed
1 pita bread pocket per person
At camp, bring 2-3 cups water (depending on how many servings) to boil. Add lentil mixture and boil until lentils are soft (20 mins), adding any extra veg after 10 mins. Pour into bowls or eat from the pot, with pita bread on side.
Cashew Curry recipe
Makes enough for 4 meals – 2 people evening meal and lunch the next day!
Put the following ingredients into a ziplock bag:
1½ cups quinoa (or couscous)
2 Tablespoons curry powder
¼ cup dried onion flakes
1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 vegetable low sodium bouillon cube
2 teaspoons garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Put 1 cup raw cashew halves into a separate ziplock bag.
At camp, bring 3 cups water to the boil in a pot. Add the quinoa mixture. Let it simmer until quinoa is cooked. Boil off any excess water, stirring to prevent burning. Stir in cashews. Enjoy!
This can be eaten cold for lunch the next day, so bring a suitable container to store it in.
Warming Breakfast recipe
Put the following ingredients in a ziplock bag:
1 cup quinoa (rinsed, dry toasted)
¼ tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup dried blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and/or raisins
2 tablespoons dried soymilk or coconut milk powder
¼ cup hazelnuts or pecans (dry toasted)
At camp, bring 2 cups water to boil. Add quinoa mixture. Simmer until quinoa is cooked. Serve quinoa in a bowl, topped with nuts. Milk powder can be included with quinoa mixture, or rehydrated separately and poured over the cooked quinoa.
This recipe would also work with oats, but oatmeal might make it a little harder to clean the pot afterwards!