November 4, 2020

10 Foods to Include in a Well-Planned Vegan Diet from a Vegan of 42 Years

 


I recently celebrated 42 years as an unwavering vegan (beyond diet), and I've learned a thing or two about foods with scientifically-verified health benefits. Food can be our medicine and keep us healthy. I include these foods in my diet and try to avoid doctors. (Being a strict vegan, I avoid pharmaceuticals because they're tested on animals; only taking them when absolutely necessary and there's no alternative vegan food or nutraceutical remedy.) Here are 10 foods to help keep us vegans healthy:

1) Apples. Everyone's heard the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It has some scientific merit. The pectin in apples helps lower bad cholesterol, and thus reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease.  Eating sweet apples as an evening snack (after dinner) helps create an alkaline environment in the stomach, and works well to relieve symptoms of acid reflux. 

2) Tempeh is high in complete protein, more easily digested than other soy products, has prebiotics, may help lower bad cholesterol, and is rich in minerals and vitamins. L-carnitine is a non-essential nutrient because we make it in our bodies from 2 amino acids. It is primarily found in meat products, and may be a difficult nutrient for vegans to source from food. Tempeh is the best vegan source of L-carnitine. (Avocados also have L-carnitine, but in much lesser quantities.)

3) Broccoli sprouts have been scientifically shown to have health benefits. They're a staple in my diet. I sprout them myself at home. Eating a daily portion of broccoli sprouts can help tame the H. pylori bacteria, linked to stomach ulcers and cancer. A very large number of people are hosts to this bad bacteria. Broccoli sprouts are very rich in sulforaphane, a dietary component shown to suppress the ability of breast cancer stem cells to form tumors. Broccoli sprouts have been shown to protect skin cells from sun damage, boost liver detoxification, and improve survival rates of bladder cancer patients. 

4) Carrot juice has many health benefits, but first and foremost, one cup is packed with 250% of the DV (daily value) for Vitamin A; in the form of beta carotene; which turns into Vitamin A in our body. This highly nutritious beverage can help with eyesight, may boost immunity, may provide anticancer effects, may improve skin health, aid heart health, and protect your liver. 

5) Unpasteurized sauerkraut (or vegan Kombucha) contain live lactobacilli and beneficial microbes, and is also rich in enzymes. It improves digestion and promotes the growth of healthy bowel flora, protecting against many diseases of the digestive tract. Sauerkraut contains Vitamin K2 which contributes to stronger and healthier bones. Vitamin K2 helps prevent the loss of calcium from bones, and many people are deficient in Vitamin K2. It is advised not to consume sauerkraut or kombucha in excess. 

6) Bok Choy / Broccoli. We're told that green vegetables are healthy and we should eat them. Most green (and other) vegetables have oxalic acid or oxalates, which can lead to kidney stones. I will eat some kale and arugula, but I prefer broccoli and bok choy which are low in oxalates. I rarely eat spinach or swiss chard because they're high in oxalates. 

7) Food-sourced vegan Vitamin D. The only vegan food source of Vitamin D is some mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight. We make Vitamin D3 from sunshine exposure on our skin. Most all the vegan foods that contain Vitamin D are from a supplement; not food-sourced. However, as vegan living advances, we are now finding a few marketed vegan products that contain food-sourced Vitamin D (from shiitake mushrooms). One of these marketed products is the very healthy and delicious MadeGood Granola snacks - and also snacks under the brand name of Good Health. Monterey Mushrooms offer a mushroom that is high in Vitamin D. It should be noted that there is widespread deficiency of Vitamin D; which not only helps strong bones, but is very important for immunity. Reportedly, 80% of people who contracted Covid-19 were Vitamin D deficient

8) Quinoa: Rice is tasty and full of B-Vitamins, however it takes a lot of water to grow it, and it is not as nutritious as other grains. I prefer to eat Quinoa which has complete protein; containing all the essential amino acids. Quinoa is a good source of antioxidants and minerals; providing more magnesium, iron, fiber, and zinc than many grains. It is also gluten-free.

9) Nutritional yeast (powder or flakes) has a delicious, nutty, cheesy flavor that I sprinkle on my food. There are many brands that are fortified with Vitamin B12; making it the most fun and tasty way to get some B12 in our diet. Please note that Vitamin B12 is not naturally occurring in nutritional yeast (nooch), so check labels for brands that are fortified. 

10) Butternut Squash is a phenomenal source of Vitamin A, and contains other vitamins and minerals. One cup of baked squash will provide about 340mg of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); a short chain fatty acid that (slowly) turns into long-chain fatty acids in our body. A well-planned vegan diet should include ample sources of omega-3 fats, as we don't consume foods with long-chain fatty acids; like fish. Good plant sources of ALA omega-3 fats are: hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, purslane, and walnuts. There are algae-derived vegan supplements of long-chain fatty acids DHA/EPA for those who feel it might benefit their cardiovascular health. 

*Please note there are several nutrients that are generally found in animal "foods" and not in plant foods. However, most of them can be made in our own body from other nutrients. Rather than killing animals for nutrients that we can make in our own body, vegans do their homework and educate themselves as to how they can obtain nutrients without causing other species to endure torture and persecution. 

*In celebration of my 42nd Veganniversary, I was asked to do a live interview for Jane Unchained News. Check it out by clicking HERE



July 25, 2020

10 VEGAN Companies to Support

These brands sell ONLY vegan products. They are worth supporting just for that reason. However, they also make superior and trustworthy products.


Vio-life is 100% vegan. They offer a wide variety of cheese products. They can be found in the United States and in Europe; with their main office located in Greece. They offer Harmless food for those who care about the life of animals and the planet. Clean food; free of preservatives and GMO's. Healthy food; free of allergens. They have acquired many certifications and awards.













Sjaak's - All of Sjaak's chocolates are vegan; chocolate bars, gift boxes, and holiday treats. They have "melk" chocolate bars to replace milk chocolate. The sugar they use is non-bone char sourced. They are also organic and fair-trade. Truly ethical and incredibly delicious. They're based in California, U.S.A.




Sheese is an award-winning, superior 100% vegan line of cheese made by Bute Island Foods, in Scotland. They offer a wide assortment of tasty vegan cheese. Sheese products are stocked in many retailers throughout Europe, and also in Canada, New Zealand, Asia, and South Africa. With over 30 years experience, they have made it easy for people to go dairy-free.



Field Roast offers very tasty plant-based meats, such as sausages, breakfast sausages, burgers, holiday celebration roast, deli slices, etc. and also CHAO cheese slices and products. Field Roast uses whole-food ingredients to craft their artisanal quality products. Their meat alternatives are NOT gluten-free. They are GMO-free. They're all plant-based. They are not totally organic. They are easy to find at major grocery stores.



Made-Good offers granola minis and bars, crispy squares, and baked mini cookies. They are seriously healthy. I'm addicted!  They're all certified vegan. They are made in a dedicated nut-free facility and are allergen-free. These sustainable, organic snacks are perfect to send with your child to school, as they contain a vegetable extract blend. They're an ethical business.



Miyoko's Creamery is "compassioncentric". Their business is based on compassion for all living beings. Their mission is "phenomenally vegan"; to craft dairy products that everyone loves, that are kinder, greener, and tastier than ever before. They're based in wine country, California. They offer cheese wheels, vegan butter, vegan mozz, vegan cream cheese, and vegan roadhouse. These healthy and delicious products can be found at major suppliers like Walmart, Publix Grocery Stores, and Target.




Follow Your Heart are the makers of the #1 vegan mayonnaise: Vegenaise. It's the best! In addition, they offer other dairy alternatives like shredded and sliced cheese, salad dressings, breakfast VeganEgg and Yogurt. They are leaders in making plant-based foods that are delicious and better for you. Earth Island is the facility where they produce 'Follow Your Heart' products, and is sustainable and zero waste. They can easily be found all over the U.S., in many European countries, as well as many other countries worldwide, and under the 'Earth Island' label in Canada.




V-Dog is vegan-owned and operated. They make animal products without animal products! They offer a quality kibble, mini kibble, breathbones, and wiggle biscuits. Plant-powered pooches, like vegan humans, leave behind a much smaller environmental "paw-print". V-dog is committed to loving, snuggling, and protecting all animals, not just "pets". When pups adopt a plant-based diet, they're taking a stance against animal cruelty. V-Dog is easily found in U.S. stores and online, and in a growing amount of countries worldwide.



Angelic Bakehouse offer nutritious and delicious whole grain, sprouted bread products. Their products are all vegan (though the crackers, which I've never seen, say 'cane sugar' and I'm not sure if it's bone-char-free sugar). They are also Non-GMO, allergen and nut-free, kosher, and they only use ingredients you can pronounce. They use red wheat berries, quinoa, oat groats, rye berries, barley, amaranth and millet. After sprouting them to increase nutrients, they press them into dough for more flavor. You can buy them online or at a retail store. I purchase them from Costco.



So Delicious are the makers of the finest vegan ice creams and frozen desserts, yogurt, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream novelties, CocoWhip frozen topping, beverages, creamers, shreds, etc. They are easily found at major grocery stores, Walmart, etc. They offer coconut base, or cashew, or soymilk in some. I recommend the cashew ice cream. They buy UTZ certified cocoa, which means the cocoa is sourced from farmers who comply with sustainability standards of the UTZ program; see UTZ.org. All products they make are certified-vegan. They have some certified organic products, and use a lot of organic ingredients, as well as Non-GMO and kosher.

June 6, 2020

I've Never Seen Anything Like It ~ Black Lives Matter Protests

It's 2020. In all my 62 years on Earth, I've never seen anything like the global pandemic Covid-19. On top of that and truly breathtaking, I've never seen so many people, all around the world, unite in protest (during this pandemic when we should be social distancing) for "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations. The last straw was the murder of George Floyd by a police officer who did not change his 'knee-on-neck' position, when Mr. Floyd cried out "I can't breathe" for nearly 9 minutes; ... until he died. People of color have unfairly lost their lives to police brutality before, many times. The United States judicial system and law enforcement is polluted with racism. The police who kill civilians generally don't get convicted. However, this horrific scene was caught on camera. The world saw it with their own eyes. Protests arose across cities in the United States. The world stood together on this important issue. We witnessed protests erupting in Denmark, New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, South Africa, Israel, Canada, Nigeria, Iran, Jamaica, Guam, Latvia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Belgium, Armenia, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Mexico, Qatar, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Poland, India, Norway, South Korea, Pakistan, Lithuania, Italy, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Japan, Syria, Columbia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Spain, Virgin Islands, Hawaii, etc. Like I said, I've never seen anything like it! I'm against all injustice, systemic racism, and police-brutality. I stand against "white supremacy". I also stand against "human supremacy" over other species. My life's stance is nonviolence, with all my heart and actions. I will always stand with the unfairly oppressed.

Partake of some of the poignant protest signs, and large crowds, from coast to coast, and the world over:






























































 ~~~~~
I'm drafting legislation to reform laws that govern police misconduct, require police to report use of force data, create a national police misconduct registry, ban racial and religious profiling, and end choke-holds and no-knock warrants. Our outrage must lead to real change. ~~ The peaceful protesters in the streets right now are showing, once again, that the power of the people is greater than the people in power. ~
Senator Cory Booker
 

I am EXCELLENCE and GREATNESS. Look not upon the color of my skin but the content of my character. ~ Torre Washington; vegan bodybuilder

To me, veganism is a way of living that rejects animal use in all its different forms. ~ Brenda Sanders; Executive Director of Better Health, Better Life, a public health organization in Baltimore, MD.

“All social inequities are linked. Comprehensive systemic change will happen only if we are aware of these connections and work to bring an end to all inequalities—not just our favorites or the ones that most directly affect our part of the universe. No one is on the sidelines; by our actions or inaction, by our caring or our indifference, we are either part of the problem or part of the solution.” 
Dr. Amie Breeze Harper, Sistah Vegan - senior research analyst/strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions



P.S. Police brutality is a serious issue in the U.S. and it is not only towards people of color. Check out this horrific behavior of police that has seriously harmed a 75 year old "peace activist" in Buffalo.