Veganz is an all vegan supermarket chain in Germany which has become popular and profitable. Founded by Jan Bredack in Berlin, the company now plans to expand to the U.S. by opening its first store in Portland in 2016 per this article. You can take a video tour of their Berlin store through this previous blog post. The grocery store is a great concept and with the rise of the natural foods market and vegan growth trend in the U.S., the opening will be awaited earnestly by many!
The results of a recent clinical trial suggest that compounds in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli (and kale) prod cells to get rid of certain air pollutants. The intriguing randomized control trial of about 300 Chinese adults found that consuming a beverage made with broccoli sprouts every day for three months led to high rates of excretion (in urine) of two harmful chemicals: benzene and acrolein. Source
This article from NPR discusses a research study where participants were given half a cup of a beverage containing broccoli sprouts and explains that it helped remove a higher percentage of harmful toxins from the body. This is another example where adding cruciferous vegetables to your diet may have a positive health impact!
But, my diet has never been an issue. I've been part of over ten serious Himalayan climbing expeditions, and I've never had any problems being a vegan, even on this last attempt to climb Everest. Source
The writer of this article from the Huffington Post explains that his vegan diet doesn't slow down his mountain climbing efforts. In fact, it gives him the extra boost to make it to the top and summit. Putting the body under extreme operating conditions will expose any weak links in fitness, concentration, and diet. If the author, who regularly puts his body to the test on the highest summits subsisting only on plant-based food, can thrive, then those of us who dwell at the lower altitudes without much duress, should benefit from this diet as well. My highest peak climbed was around 13,000 feet and my body operated efficiently all the way. I believe that my diet, as the author argues, was a major advantage!
With my latest trip to Elbrus, I proved to be the strongest climber on the team, enduring a summit under extreme conditions of cold weather, strong winds, and a full-blown whiteout. I was able to adjust to all of these severe conditions while eating healthy vegan food such as raw vegetables and fruits, buckwheat, rice porridges, wheat breads, and dried fruits and nuts. Source
To celebrate Buddha Parinirvana, a month long Buddhist celebration, the entire nation of Bhutan, located in the Himalayas, goes vegetarian according to this article.
People visit Buddhist temples, light incense sticks and observe a pious way of life in keeping with Buddhist principles of simple living. Many elders begin their day by circumambulating the nearest temple to their homes and chanting hymns. Source
Even though Bhutan's cuisine typically consists of pork, mutton, yak, and chicken, everyone adopts the vegetarian lifestyle for the festival. It also coincides with the visit of the Indian Prime Minister who is vegetarian.
It's nice to see an entire nation switch to a plant-based diet for a month! It will be a time when everyone benefits!
It takes practice to change your diet, especially if the new diet is vegan. It's fairly hard to make the switch overnight. Instead a gradual transition may improve one's chances for making a plant-based diet stick. One way to ease your way into the vegan way of eating is to complement your current diet with a few habits at which vegans excel to become more familiar with the new eating patterns.
This article from Everyday Health offers six ways to do this which are all very good. They include general habits like adding more veggies to your meals to specific ones like eating more fermented foods. If you try these habits and enjoy them, you are one step closer to being able to appreciate a plant-based lifestyle!
Professor Hetherington said: "For parents who wish to encourage healthy eating in their children, our research offers some valuable guidance.
When I was an infant, I was fed vegetable soups constantly. I had a variety of allergies to many food ingredients, so vegetables were a food group that was safest for me to eat. Beet borscht, cabbage soup, tomato soup, and generic vegetable soups were typical meals for me during the day and probably even in the middle of the night.
I ate them with great enjoyment and without resistance. This research from the University of Leeds in the UK suggests that by doing this, children are more likely to enjoy vegetables, even without adding ingredients to enhance the flavor (such as salad dressing). Further, older children who were not exposed early on, showed more resistance when trying new vegetables.
Today I am a happy and healthy vegan and cannot but help notice that my diet as a child probably influenced and predisposed me to appreciate vegetables later on in a very positive way!
Dried fruit has provided sustenance for civilizations since ancient times. They have the same nutrients as fresh fruit, but with the water removed. The sugar concentration is higher because of it, so guidelines recommend eating smaller quantities. They are great for snacks or for travel mixes. I usually put dried cranberries in salads or in guacamole. Over time, I've come to rely on these five, so I call them the 'Pantheon of Dried Fruit'! Selecting dried fruit in its most pure form, without added sugars or color preserving agents (such as sulfur dioxide), is the best option if available.
Dried Mango Slices - source of a vast array of vitamins and minerals - mangos are called the 'King of Fruits' in some parts of the world
Figs - source of dietary fiber, potassium, B6, and manganese (Source)
Dates - more potassium than oranges, bananas, and spinach, large amounts of fiber, and a source of copper (Source)
Dried Cranberries - source of many anti-inflammatory compounds - note: dried cranberries are usually sweetened and may not have the same antioxidant potency as the fresh fruit (Source)
Dried Apricots - source of carotenoids, potassium, fiber - the orange color is maintained through sulfur dioxide - ones without the color preservative are much darker in color
Note: Benefits of these dried fruits was sourced from the web.
You might think a vegetarian lifestyle would be hard on your wallet. But by keeping it simple and being a little creative, you may actually be able to save. Whether it's for moral, religious, or health concerns, here are five reasons vegetarian living can be financially savvy.
When the financial community sees long term value in a stock it usually climbs. After all, no one wants to miss a good opportunity. Now investors see going vegan as a way to boost their personal rate of return. This article, written by Motley Fool, a popular investing website, and published on NASDAQ.com, makes a cogent and compelling five point business case for the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.
2. You can prevent additional medical bills
Switching to a plant-based diet does save money and makes good business sense in the short term and long term. Unlike some stocks which take off before you have a chance to buy them, it's never too late to invest in yourself and realize amazing, life-long gains!
The availability of freshwater is an important resource for agriculture. In fact, a study in 2000 by the USGS showed that 34% of U.S. water use went for crop irrigation (Source). This was second only to usage for thermoelectric power at 48% (which is also a major claim on the water supply to produce only 20% of the nation's electrical energy!). A portion of irrigated crops produce feed for livestock. In fact, in 1997, researchers estimated that 800 million people could be fed by grain grown for livestock in the U.S. so it is a significant amount.
As demand for animal-based food increases especially as population grows, the strain on this finite resource will intensify. A report by the University of Twente in the Netherlands which focuses on water engineering and management calculated the volume of water expended to produce a given amount of food in tons and to generate nutritional energy measured in calories. As the charts below illustrate, beef requires a much higher expenditure of water to produce than all other food items with vegetables requiring a proportionately much smaller amount. As a protein source, pulses (lentils) also used less water per calorie delivered than meat sources (Chart 2).
The steady flow of water from lakes, rivers, groundwater, and reservoirs into farmlands is a crucial component for food production, especially in arid states which have large agricultural enterprises. Keeping our crops growing in the future may depend on ability to adapt to consuming less water intensive foods so that we always have an abundant freshwater supply.
Quality food access for many Americans is not a guarantee. In impoverished communities, barriers to obtaining healthy food include location, income, time, mobility, and motivation. The concept of 'food deserts' was coined some time ago in reference to the serious limitations within a community to obtain any type of food, let alone healthy food. As we start to understand the valuable role of plant-based diets on health, the dilemma of poor nutrition from restricted food access in our communities and among school children becomes more frustrating since it predisposes individuals to chronic illness before they even know it.
The video below of Clint Smith, a D.C. school teacher who witnesses the complications first hand, graphically describes the grim problems we must unquestionably overcome. I watched him recite this poem, Place Matters, on stage and found it to be very moving. He explains the plight his students encounter daily due to inadequate food access and the tragic consequences. He insists we replace "pollution with solution" and that his students, who are struggling to survive, are "warriors" and like "roses growing from concrete".
There are efforts to solve this problem. One inspiring program in the city of Detroit is called 'Keep Growing Detroit' which aims to create food sovereignty within the city by developing a network of urban gardens to reduce barriers to healthy food access for deprived residents.
WE FOSTER DIRECT RELATIONSHIPS TO FOOD. In a vegetable garden, the act of planting, tending and harvesting gives gardeners a direct relationship to his or her food. This is a city where many residents must buy food at gas stations or convenience stores with bulletproof windows in monitored transactions. Against this backdrop it is revolutionary and empowering to put one’s hands in soil and control one’s food source.
The organization does a number of wonderful things to develop community, networking, and empowerment within the city so that residents have a best opportunity to eat healthy and promote well-being.
In addition, the USDA has expanded the SNAP program to allow purchases at farmers markets which is an excellent use of this resource for the recipients. This aids programs like Keep Growing Detroit since they are making farmers markets more accessible to people who have SNAP resources to purchase the fresh produce.
Access to fresh vegetables and fruit does increase usage within households as studies have shown. The more we can aid the efforts to improve access to these natural products, the more we'll help struggling people within our local communities who desperately need it.
Make Simple Vegan Meals