By Delia Quigley for Care2.com
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~Albert Einstein
As people strive to improve their health and evolve their food choices to a more plant-based diet, it is easy to get lost along the way. You can happily end up living on chocolate whole-wheat croissants for breakfast, cheese pizza for lunch and a large bowl of fettuccine alfredo for dinner, but the pounds will eventually stack up as your energy declines. When you transition to a more vegetarian way of eating it is important to educate yourself about the nutrients your body will need on a daily basis.
Learn how to create a balance of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and quality fats with each meal. You must also replace the six essential nutrients provided by animal proteins with plant-based foods containing the protein, iron, zinc, calcium, B12, and Essential Fatty Acids that are reduced with the elimination of meat, poultry, pork and fish. The fun part is putting them together into delicious recipes and then chewing slowly for the full satisfying experience.
Celebrity Bethenny Frankel has said that she’s raising her new baby as a vegetarian. Many people flock to “follow the stars”, but is this a case of an action that could harm your baby?
One of the most oft heard concerns about avoiding meat products in your baby’s diet is that if you don’t feed a baby meat, he won’t get enough protein for proper growth. Many people feel that meat, particularly red meat, is the only real source of protein. This is false. There are two main sources of protein; meat and plants. At face value, though, you might see why people would think that – the main element in meat that is essential would be all nine amino acids, and no one plant offers all nine. However, by eating combinations of vegetables and grains, you can combine the amino acids to form a complete protein.
It’s important to realize, though, that many of us overestimate the amount of protein needed for proper nutrition. Current recommended values are approximately one gram of protein per pound of body weight during the first year of life, with the ratio dropping to half a gram of protein per pound in the second through fifteenth year.
Part of the joy in endurance running is that the athlete is afforded more calories than their couch dwelling counterparts. However, when a well-meaning non-runner says to me, “you get to eat whatever you want though, right?” I have to sadly answer no and explain how I believed that lie once too.
I began running with hopes that I could eventually eat junk food all day long and pay no penance for it. It took me just a few stomach churning runs to realize that I was wrong. For most runners, their performance is directly related to their diet.
“Junk in, junk out,” is the phrase nutritionist Diane Greenleaf likes to use as a reminder for how our body works. She pointed out that while training does lead to more calories being burned, it doesn’t replace the fact that the body needs nutrients. And it’s no surprise that our tasty junk food isn’t chock-full of vitamins.
When you lead a busy life, grocery shopping can be a time-consuming chore. If you’re beginning a new diet, you have probably seen a number of resources that offer sample grocery lists and suggested items that deserve a permanent place in your pantry or refrigerator.
While those lists can be helpful, they are sometimes more confusing than useful. Recently, we caught up with Caroline Cederquist, M.D. and founder of BistroMD, a gourmet meal delivery service developed by physicians. Cederquist shared her top ten grocery list items that she recommends patients purchase when they want to eat a healthier diet.
“The shopping list consists of top 10 mainstay items that help you stay on track, lose weight, and add lots of flavor to meals and snacks,” Cederquist said. “A lot of these items can also be used to substitute higher calorie foods for healthier ones.”
Textured vegetable protein, or TVP, is a highly concentrated mixture made from soy flour. It’s very easy to cook, has virtually no taste and has no fat. Doesn’t sound very appetizing, right? Actually, that’s far from the truth.
I’m a big fan of using vegetable protein in place of ground beef , turkey or chicken. TVP is most often made from high protein content soy flour, but it can be made of cotton seeds, wheat or oats. The mixture is extruded, and becomes a spongy mass that is then cut into chunks, nuggets or grains. These shapes are then dried. TVP is approximately 50% protein before rehydration.
When reconstituted, the TVP can be mixed with ground beef, turkey or chicken with a ratio as high as 3:1. The TVP takes on the flavor of the meat that it is mixed with and makes a fantastic filler. It’s very inexpensive and can be shelf stable for up to a year. These qualities make TVP a staple for those who follow a vegetarian, and in some cases, vegan, lifestyle. For those who are trying to lose weight, the reality that it is fat and cholesterol free make TVP a dream come true.
Confession: I am a coffee drinker. I can manage a french press myself. I drink it black. Despite a Starbucks in my family tree, I don’t find the coffee sold at that chain store up to my standards. I was skeptical about trying CLICK Espresso Protein Drink.
According to press releases, “CLICK is the brainchild of Greg and Beth Smith, a Fresno, California couple who owned a small chain of women’s fitness centers. The Smiths were seeking a delicious, healthy beverage for their members in response to the growing wall of sugar based energy and espresso drinks on the market.” The 15 grams of protein per serving is designed to provide sustained energy, in addition to the “two shots of espresso” or 100-150mg of caffeine per serving.
Most people have heard that eating breakfast is important for maintaining a healthy weight, but a new study from the University of Missouri is proving this old wisdom with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of the brain.
The research focused on teen girls who usually skip breakfast. An estimated 60 percent of teens regularly skip breakfast, which is associated with overeating later in the day and unhealthy snacking that leads to weight gain. Researchers compared hunger in individuals who continued to skip breakfast, those who ate a 500 calorie breakfast of milk and cereal, and those who ate a 500 calorie meal of waffles, syrup and yogurt. The latter meal was highest in protein.
I’ve had kids playing sports for more than 15 years (just typing that out makes me feel so, so old) and time and again, I’ve noticed one thing that just about every practice or game has in common.
Doesn’t that surprise you? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Admittedly, I’m a self confessed health food aficionado – although I have been known to dig into some french fries time and again – but I really have a hard time with the foods that many kids are offered after a difficult game. My kids have been given corn chips, candy bars, fruit snacks, squishy fruit punch pouches and even sodas. Rarely are there healthy choices offered.
I’ve been the team mom many times, and although I have often requested that healthier snacks be offered, the overwhelming concern is that kids just won’t eat them. A Sports Moms Study, funded by PepsiCo, found that more than 70% of moms are raising kids in competitive sports. The study found that sports moms spend 1/3 more time and more than twice as much money across their children’s extracurricular activities than those families without kids in sports. According to the study, the area in which most moms feel that they have the highest level of influence is their athlete’s nutrition. (more…)
We live in the age of extremes. We have to be the fastest, baddest, biggest and the best at everything we do. This is America! When speaking of cars, computers and the speed at which we receive our text messages, our all or nothing attitude is a definite advantage, but it is this mind frame that has lead us to gigantic food portions, exponentially rising obesity related healthcare costs and the first generation of children with a shorter life expectancy than their parents. We certainly are the biggest and baddest in terms of girth and the quality of our nutrition, that’s for sure.
It works the other way, too. We want instant gratification, instant results and immediate weight loss when adopting a fitness routine. In the age of the Biggest Loser, where contestants work out 8+ hours a day, everyday, and see double digit weight loss, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that more is better. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t work that way.