New research suggests that purple potatoes are a healthy food which are packed with antioxidants. According to this article, they can also help lower blood pressure. Purple potatoes taste great in roasted vegetable recipes and are a nice alternative to regular potatoes which are the most consumed vegetable in the U.S. Purple potatoes aren't found in all grocery stores, but are usually available in natural grocery stores and farmer's markets. My favorite variety is the Peruvian purple potato which has a nice flavor, especially when roasted. Other purple foods such as eggplant, blueberries, and blackberries also contain antioxidants. So if you want to add a healthy ingredient to your cooking, try purple!
Most sodium doesn't come from your salt shaker! Sodium is used in so many prepared foods which, when consumed frequently, results in exceeding the daily sodium allowance recommended by dietitians for maintaining good health. Even when food doesn't taste salty, it still may contain large amounts of sodium.
The CDC recently published a report on the top 10 foods that contain the highest levels of sodium. The results are discussed in this article from the AP.
Bread is now the number one contributor to sodium in our diets based on the level of sodium per serving and the number of servings eaten on an average day by people in the study.This is not surprising. Packaged bread from supermarkets contain too much salt. Further, artisan breads from specialty stores or farmer's markets may also contain high levels of sodium. This includes bagels as well. Interestingly, some brands of potato chips and other snack foods we commonly associate with high salt levels were lower on the list than bread products.
So, try reducing the amount of bread eaten during the day. For example, if you have a sandwich, take the top slice off and eat it "open-faced". Same thing if you are making a veggie burger or soy dog. Based on the recommendations of many nutritionists, doing so can help improve long term health and also reduce your caloric intake. Make an honest effort to read labels on breads before you buy.
The empowering effect of vegan diets is proclaimed earnestly in this brilliant article by James McWilliams in the Atlantic. Evidence includes having tremendous vitality among vegans at more senior ages, conquering chronic illness, appearing much younger than one's age, and the ability to change and impact giant food companies which can lead to less damage to the environment.
All of this is possible by eating a wide range of veggies, fruit, and whole grains during the day which will supply the full amount of nutrition the body needs. The author starts the article with a long list of the vegetables and fruit he ate the day he wrote it. It's the most important message to consider - there is so much great food to eat and it doesn't have to include meat. Once you adopt a vegan diet, it's amazing how many different foods you'll start including in your meals which leads to more enjoyment, nutrients, energy, and the transformation to a more powerful life!
I'm continuing on a low salt, low sodium campaign in my blog. This is a very comprehensive article about sodium and health. It illuminates an interesting correlation - sodium and potassium. Potassium may balance, to some degree, the bad effects of high sodium intake. Also, according to the article, the human body only needs 220 mg of salt per day, but the average American intake is around 3400 mg, mostly from processed and packaged foods. It urges everyone to reduce sodium levels in our daily diets. Good advice!
One way I enjoy eating vegetables is to give them robust seasoning with flavorful spices. The right seasoning takes any meal from good to memorable. There are many ways to season a meal and it can be done without adding salt. Also, spices have many health benefits. This article lists some great spices and details their healthy benefits.
Loma Linda University School of Public Health has produced a nice document about the vegetarian diet. It includes the vegetarian food pyramid, food groups with dietary purpose, and vegetarian FAQs. It delivers a wide range of very useful information for those wanting to learn more about the vegetarian diet. You can download the PDF here.
A vegan diet provides many health benefits. For example, vegan meals have zero cholesterol since cholesterol is a component of animal products. Vegan meals also provide proper nutrition when a variety of vegetables, fruit, and grains are eaten. This is a great article which summarizes the positive health effects of a vegan diet along with nutrition tips and recommendations. It also provides quotes from registered nutritionists from the American Dietetic Association.
Make Simple Vegan Meals