Just as there are foods I operate much better without, there are certain foods that when added to my diet, make a noticeable difference in, for example, energy levels, digestive health or recovery times after exercise. Eliminating unnecessary or damaging foods can be hard sometimes, but adding in extra nourishing foods is easy. The more of the good stuff you add in, the more of the bad stuff it will drown out because there simply wont be any room left for it! My main goal eating-wise is to make my diet as colourful as possible and I find this approach supports my body best. So in addition to the large amounts of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and legumes I eat, here are a few of my favourites that I really notice a difference with.
I've survived on a whole spectrum of diets from omnivore to vegan and all the "shades" in between. Now, I've settled on a combination of foods that serve my body best for strength, energy, digestive happiness and long term health. I feel satisfied I've experimented and given all those other eating habits their fair chance. By this I mean, I've spent a minimum of months to years (not just a week or weekend ;)) eating any particular way, to find out what works best for me. I'm convinced that most people do not know how good they are really supposed to feel physically from their food. Now that I have found a way of eating that suits me, I understand how energized and sustained after eating you should feel, rather than like you need to lie on the couch for 2 hours afterwards. Here are the top foods (in no particular order) that I benefit physically from the most, by either eliminating or drastically cutting back on.
A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health reviewed the eating habits of 65,226 people representative of the English population between 2001 and 2013. They found that eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruit and vegetable with the most benefit.
2 major studies published this month highlighting the detrimental health effects of consuming animal protein vs plant protein
The meat and dairy industries are two of my biggest bugbears as far as ill-informed, persistent marketing to the public in order to stay the centre of people's plates in the developed world. So I was happy to see two major studies be published in journals as well as major news sites in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and NZ that highlight the truth about what animal protein does to the body. Here are the summaries of these two studies. These studies draw the same conclusions as decades of previous studies which haven't had the same public exposure - that plant protein is far superior for long term health. The authors of third study in the same journal found that a high protein diet is as bad for your health as smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
Vegetarian diets support a healthy blood pressure, according to a review published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers identified 39 studies which analyzed the dietary choices and blood pressures of adults. Vegetarian diets were associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures, compared with omnivorous diets. This review is consistent with other studies and stresses the significance of a dietary approach to preventing and reducing the risk for hypertension.
JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 24, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.14547
Yoko Yokoyama, PhD, MPH1,2,3; Kunihiro Nishimura, MD, PhD, MPH4,5; Neal D. Barnard, MD3,6; Misa Takegami, RN, PhD, MPH1,7; Makoto Watanabe, MD, PhD8; Akira Sekikawa, MD, PhD9; Tomonori Okamura, MD, PhD10; Yoshihiro Miyamoto, MD, PhD1,8
HERE ARE 8 WAYS TO NATURALLY LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
A long time ago in my pre-healthy life, I didn't eat avocado's much. I didn't really know what to do with them. Now, I use avocado pretty much every day. They are super versatile. They make amazing raw vegan "cheesecakes" and are great for making smoothies extra creamy. This is one of the more simple ways to use an avocado but still, so tasty and surprisingly filling (I couldn't finish my whole avocado!). Check out the nutrients contained within these little gems below.
Consumption of meat and other animal products is strongly linked to several types of cancer, according to an article published in the journal Nutrients. The author analyzed data on 21 different cancers in 157 countries and found that certain factors, especially diet, were associated with risk for developing specific cancers. Specifically, the association between animal product consumption and cancer was as strong as that linking tobacco and cancer. Possible mechanisms for risk include animal products' promotion of growth and high iron and fat content. The author notes that while detection and treatment are important, animal product consumption has been recognized as a cancer risk for more than a century and needs to be addressed in order to prevent the deadly disease. Consumption of animal products correlated with cancer incidence with a lag time of 15–25 years.
Grant W. A multicountry ecological study of cancer incidence rates in 2008 with respect to various risk-modifying factors. Nutrients. 2014;6:163-189.
Do you know what the grand-daddy of bad-for-you food colorings? Red. The red food color you get in that little bottle is usually made up of Red 40 and Red 3. Independent research studies have shown that Red 40 (and its nasty counterpart Yellow 5) might cause ADHD, migraines, hives, and asthma in folks with reactions. And Red 3? It’s been recognized as a known carcinogen by the FDA (but is still allowed if levels are under a certain amount). I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any amount of a carcinogen in my holiday treats. Furthermore, research shows kids can have a hyperactive reaction to food colourings - eek!
Food manufacturers have done a great job of creating many foods that are easy to eat, inexpensive, and rich in sugar, fat, and salt so that they taste good. Starches, fats, and sweets are the least expensive foods in the diet, so it’s easy to see why we lean toward ‘brown/beige’ foods. They fill us up for very little monetary cost, but there are significant health costs to a diet that is so high in refined carbohydrates and devoid of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that are so abundant in plant foods. Plant products are sources for phytochemicals of which there are thousands.
Counting colors instead of calories may be an easier fix for not only weight control but overall wellness.
Forbes recently named its top ten food trends of 2013 and high-end vegan fare topped their list.
Vegan diets are linked to a lower overall cancer rate, according to a new study published December 2012 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Consumption of red and processed meat products is associated with increased risk of death, according to a new review published by the American Journal of Epidemiology. So what is included in "red and processed" meat?
This is a nice light salad with a bit of a kick to it. It's fast to make and the shiitake mushrooms are crazy good for you too. Studies have found antitumor, cholesterol-lowering, and virus-inhibiting effects in compounds in shiitaki mushrooms....more about their beneficial properties below.
Have you ever tried eating just a massive bowl of green leafy vegetables for lunch or dinner? It's SO SO filling! And contains SO many more nutrients than the steak wrapped in bacon with a side or sausages and mashed potatoes that you may otherwise have for dinner. Try it, you may be surprised!
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, "But where do you get your protein?" I might have enough money to buy a lifetime supply of tofu.
Did you know that broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) is considered a legit way to reduce your risk of cancer? Yep, even the Amercian Cancer Society endorse eating lots of these veggies, particularly broccoli, to lower your chance of certain cancers and increase certain detoxing enzymes. Have a read:
http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/broccoli. This is a BIGalad by the way. So you may like to halve the ingredients if your not feeding an entire family.
A low-fat, high-carbohydrate vegetarian diet lowers cholesterol, blood sugars, and weight, according to a study published in the October issue of Environmental Microbiology Reports. Six obese participants with type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension followed a plant-based, high-fiber diet (about 42 grams per day) for one month. Patients experienced weight loss, lower cholesterol, better blood sugar control, and improved gut flora. Bacteria associated with immunity and anti-inflammation increased while bacteria most associated with conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel conditions decreased. http://www.pcrm.org/health/medNews/vegetarian-diet-lowers-cholesterol-weight-blood
For the full study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24115628
A plant-based diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a new study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers followed 91,779 current and retired California teachers for 14 years. Those who had a predominantly plant-based diet had a 15 percent reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who did not include abundant fruits and vegetables in their diets. The data showed a 34 percent decrease in the risk for a particular type of breast cancer, called estrogen and progesterone receptor negative, for those following a predominantly plant-based diet. In addition, researchers found that a diet including abundant fish and wine increased by 29 percent the risk of a different type of breast cancer, called estrogen and progesterone receptor positive. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/10/09/ajcn.113.061184.short?rss=1
Clean, plant based recipes for EVERYONE :) And some research thrown in for good measure.