The market for meatless products, according to this article in the LA Times, such as soy burgers is start to grow, up 2.4% to $636M. It's a positive trend and reflects the rising number of consumers who have meatless meals some of the time or all of the time. Some fast food chains, such as Subway and Burger King, have even added veggie meat options. As a result, consumers who want meatless meals have more options now than ever before making it easier to enjoy the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Author Camille Lamb in this article, "Veganism is My Health Insurance," advocates a vegan diet as a way to stay healthy and even avoid catching colds. She also writes about people who avoid chronic disease even though they are predisposed to it through family history and genetics. This is a motivating testimonial for a plant-based diet.
Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and it's finally in season! Usually a pound of asparagus spears, when it's not in season, can be between $3.99 and $4.99. But now it's dropped below $2.00. The meal I make the most when it's in season is asparagus soup. It's the most efficient and flavorful way to eat a large quantity of the vegetable and reap the nutritious benefits. I use a lot of garlic and ginger, among other spices, and always try to go through 1 lb per week. I also add it to stir-fries with tofu and mushrooms.
According to the website, Worlds Healthiest Foods, asparagus should be eaten within 48 hours of purchase since the nutritional value declines rapidly once the vegetable is harvested. Fresh asparagus deliver anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and digestive track health benefits. Key vitamins and minerals are vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, iron, and vitamin B1.
So enjoy asparagus while it's in season and make some delicious healthy food!
This articles about vegan beauty care by Susan Carpenter from the LA Times starts out with a great line. She writes, "If you don't wear animal products on your body, chances are you're loath to smear one on your face."
The availability of non-food products that shun any form of animal ingredients or animal testing is on the rise. Driven in part by the rise of the natural beauty care trend, products such as vegan cosmetics, cologne, perfume, hand lotions, and sun tan lotions are now mainstream. They are also proof that body care products can be safe and effective without using animals.
The trendsetter in this niche was Aveda with its shampoos, conditioners, and soaps that were eco-friendly and available in almost every mall. 7th Generation was also a pioneer in house cleaning products manufactured without animal testing; it's products are also widely available in Target and many other large supermarkets. Now the number of brands is growing with wider variety and a loyal and dedicated market. Good news for both consumers and animals!
I am a big fan of preventative health care. It's not very time consuming, costs much less than treatment, and makes one focus on long term good health. One of the best preventative health practices, next to regular screenings, is to eat a good diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. A plant-based diet can aid the body in fighting the onset of chronic disease.
One of the biggest health risks for Americans is colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it's the third most diagnosed form of cancer and a high cause of cancer death among men and women. According to this article on the anti colon cancer diet, it is largely preventable through diet. It offers eight dietary ways to prevent this disease including eating less red meat and consuming a variety of plant antioxidants.
In cultures where vegetables are the main course, colon cancer rates are lower compared to the U.S. It's not hard to add a few more vegetable meals to the routine and preserve good health for the long term. Lentil soup, cabbage salad, and a vegetable stew are great meals any time of the week!
Pistachios are gaining in popularity. In the last decade, according to this article on benefits of pistachios, production has grown from 5 million pounds to 300 million pounds. They are my favorite nut and I buy them whenever they go on sale at the supermarket. Here are a summary of benefits from this article:
- 1 ounce of pistachios contains as much fiber as half a cup of broccoli
- more antioxidants than green tea
- high amounts of protein, vitamin B-6, and vitamin E
- lowest fat content per ounce compared to all other nuts
- pistachios are more filling, so you can eat fewer and spend less money compared to other nuts
It is important to include nuts in one's diet. They provide a concentrated source of nutrients, vitamins, and protein. I usually keep a small bowl of nuts on the kitchen counter to snack on regularly. I like all types including pistachios, peanuts, almonds, and pecans, but pistachios are the ones I stock the most.
According to this recent study by Gallup on obesity in America, in almost all U.S. metro areas, 15% of the population is obese. In the most obese metro areas, 32% to 38% of the people were afflicted. As a result the incidences of chronic disease were higher in those areas and the health care costs paid were significantly higher. The article estimates that $80B is spent in health care related to obesity across all major metro areas surveyed. With such high numbers, it's possible to reduce the health care expenditure a lot by reducing obesity just by small percentages and prevent many common chronic disorders.
Being overweight is not an easy condition to overcome, but there are ways to combat it. The first step is to eat out less. Restaurant food will add pounds, no matter how careful one is when ordering. Second, eat less pre-prepared food. Avoid packaged and process foods or food that comes in a box. Regardless of how optimized they are for good health, they will always have some ingredient which is detrimental to the body. Third, eat more fresh food at home. Making a salad and soup for dinner is not very time consuming with the right recipes. In fact, it should take less time than driving and eating at a restaurant. Planning meals ahead of time will also make eating fresh at home more efficient.
While many will argue that a vegetarian or vegan diet will automatically reduce weight, it really depends upon the person and how much they eat. However, a plant-based diet will give one a very good opportunity to shed some pounds, especially if the diet is replacing pizza, burgers, or other high fat fast food.
By combining these three tips with daily exercise, it is possible to fight obesity and, in turn, reduce vulnerability to chronic disease and be less exposed to the high costs of health care.
I like to use cruciferous vegetables in cooking, especially broccoli and cabbage. Broccoli florets are a nice ingredient in stir-fries and salads. Cabbage is my main salad green, but I also use it in stews. This article highlights new research that concludes the cruciferous vegetables fight cancer at a molecular level and help boost tumor suppressing genes in cells. It's good to know since making your body stronger at a cellular level means that your whole biological system will function more efficiently.
It also give some cooking tips which aid the absorption of the nutrients from these vegetables into the body. So if you can find a way to enjoy broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, you'll be building a strong defense for a healthy body.
According to this very informative article in the China Daily USA about the increase in vegetarian restaurants in China, vegetarian cooking has had a very long history there dating back to 700 B.C. The cooking style spread as Buddhism and Taoism became more popular. At the turn of the century, there were "about 700 vegetarian restaurants in Beijing alone." There was a decline when China went through wars and revolution during the first half of the century, but now, vegetarian restaurants are on the rise. It's great to see that the vegetarian culture is making a resurgence in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai since it will have large impact throughout the country.
From the time I started watching TV, it became apparent that natural looking, healthy skin was a key attribute to beauty and a youthful appearance. Cosmetic companies placed frequent ads on facial cream and cosmetics that would rejuvenate your skin and make you look younger. The target market was mostly women, but even now, men are searching for ways to keep their skin healthy. Many spas are seeing an increase in male customers and the number of brands offering facial creams and elixirs is proliferating.
Many factors influence skin health, brightness, and tone. Regardless of how many brands have discovered the perfect solution for youthful skin, there is still no better treatment, in my opinion, than drinking lots of water and eating fruits and vegetables. A recent study in the UK drew the same conclusion. This article discusses the research which found that a vegetarian diet can improve skin health quickly. People who ate a large quantity of plant-based ingredients were even rated more attractive than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables.
Although a study like this is very subjective, hopefully it will encourage people to add more vegetables to the weekly menu and eat fruit when snacking. If this happens, then we might see many more people out there with bright shiny complexions!
Make Simple Vegan Meals