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Archive for January, 2013

Does a Plant-Based Diet Leave Your Body Deserted of Nutrients?

Myths, Misunderstandings & Miscommunications

The words “vegan,” “macrobiotic” and even “vegetarian” can sometimes carry a negative connotation such as diets lacking in real sustenance, deprived of nutrition and dispossessed of any real value. However, these fears are generated more from the concerns of a misled public and not from the decisions of well-educated individuals serious about health.

Continuously faced with questions like “But where do you get your protein from,” vegetarians and vegans alike can experience frustration.  The dominating confusion surrounding protein and its function in our diet is extremely common, despite the fact that these amino acids can be found and eaten almost ubiquitously (most amply in lentils, beans and quinoa.)  In fact, many researchers posit that too much protein is actually harmful for your body, a rarely discussed perspective in Western culture.

American society is slowly making strides toward understanding, accepting and accommodating plant-based diets, but there’s still a lot of hubbub around the vegan/macro grub. While many of us are informed and passionate about dietary nutrition, it never hurts to regroup and ground ourselves with up to date research.   Simply following a plant-based diet does not necessarily mean that you are eating healthy. The challenges of finding nutrient-rich food options may lead us to rely more heavily on carbs or processed foods to sustain and fill us.  Other times we may unknowingly eat foods which are normally healthy, yet were unfortunately grown, harvested or produced in an unwholesome manner. As Lily McCann pens in KwikMed.org’s article ‘Avoiding Common Vegetarian and Vegan Dietary Deficiencies’:

“In essence, all vitamins and minerals necessary for the human body to be healthy and vibrant can be found from natural, non-animal sources; however certain nutrients are more difficult to source due to the production methods of modern food.

The best way to avoid encountering dietary deficiencies when eating a vegetarian or vegan diet is to consume an abundant amount of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts. Eating a balanced and varied diet consisting of foods which are naturally abundant in vitamins and minerals will give your body a high level of nutrition.”


1

The Dirt on Dietary Deficiencies

Are you absolutely positive you’re not nutritionally deficient? Thanks to KwikMed.org, here’s a brief rundown on commonly lacking, yet highly necessary nutrients in plant-based diets and all food regimens –

  • Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most common deficiencies that can occur from eating a vegan or vegetarian diet. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in rich, non-depleted soil, and consequently it is absorbed into the food chain when animals eat the grass etc.

The best way to avoid a vitamin B12 deficiency is by taking whole food supplements that have been tested for safety and efficacy.

  • Zinc

Zinc is a vital mineral for the immune system, neurological system, and skin. A Zinc deficiency is linked to numerous health conditions as the immune system is not able to function correctly and consequently cannot fight off infection as it should.

Zinc can be found in a whole host of natural plant based foods, and adapting your diet to include many more of these foods will certainly assist in raising zinc levels. Nuts, whole grains, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, swiss chard, beans, tahini and tofu all contain high amounts of zinc.

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids

There is often a large amount of confusion surrounding omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, a considerable number of people, vegetarian or not, are deficient in these vital nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids play a key role in the nervous system, fighting infection and inflammation. They also help to lower blood pressure, treat depression, and prevent heart disease.

Flax seeds are considered to be one of the best sources of omega 3 in a vegetarian diet, containing many other fantastic health benefits as well. Walnuts are another great source of omega 3 fatty acids that can be added into your diet to keep omega 3’s at a healthy level.

  • Iron

Iron is essential for a healthy body as it is an integral part of hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen around the body. Vegetarians and vegans need to be especially careful to ensure that they are consuming an iron rich diet. As well as monitoring iron intake, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin C in the diet, as this aids the body to absorb and use iron effectively.

There are an abundance of plant-based sources of iron, including lentils, tofu, potatoes, beans, spinach, kale, quinoa, green beans, oats and many other plant-based sources.

  • Calcium

There are an abundance of excellent plant-based sources of calcium available, though many people are simply not eating enough of them on a regular basis to ensure an adequate calcium intake.

Some of the calcium rich plant-based food sources include soybeans, broccoli, bok choy, grains, rice milk, tahini, beans, almonds, okra, mustard greens, and tempeh to name just a few.

Taste of Health Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to travel and stay healthy while pampering AND educating yourself with current events and trends in the vegan world. On our holistic cruise you will have the opportunity to eat divine meals, make new friends and engage with some of the most celebrated personalities of the Vegan Industry.  2013 will mark the 10 year Anniversary of the Holistic Holiday @ Sea and there will be lots of socials, great classes, amazing Caribbean ports and even a few surprises. Learning a new way of living has never been so much fun, so easy and so tasty!

Sources –

http://www.kwikmed.org/avoiding-common-vegetarian-vegan-deficiencies/

 

 

Wonderful Ways to Work-out During the Winter!

Now that the chilly season is in full swing we become more apt to stay inside, enjoy our hot meals and warm beverages, lounge in our snuggliest of blankets and allow ourselves to accidentally pack on the pounds. Now, there’s nothing wrong with keeping cozy, but we’re not grizzlies with a penchant for hibernating. It’s certainly worth your while to not let the winter-time blues get the best of you. We’re here to help promote some healthy, and FUN, exercises to keep you in shape. Cue the corny “Rocky IV” training montage!

Jogging:

Running or jogging is a perfect way to let your energy loose while staying warm. Whether you’re pumping-it through the snowy forest, down a trail, around the neighborhood or on a treadmill, this full-body exercise is an ideal way to shed the calories from all of those yummy winter-wonderland sweets.

Cross Country Skiing:

What could be more fun than gliding across snowy dunes on a sunny day? Improve your cardiovascular system in a way you may have never tried before, and if this is the case, be sure to start off slow. Give yourself time to enjoy the landscape and feel the weight slide right off of that gorgeous plant-eating body of yours!

Yoga:

Don’t let your flexibility and dedication go to waste! There are many, many forms of yoga that are impeccable for any time of year, but especially during the winter when your joints and muscles have a tendency to lockup. Whether you attend a local yoga studio, practice to a DVD at home or follow your own tried n’ true routine, yoga will keep your limbs warm and limber, not to mention set your body to balance and your mind at ease.

snowshoeing

Snowshoeing:

Strap on a pair of snowshoes, because you’re in for a fantastic treat-of-an-exercise! Hiking in the snow ideally targets your leg muscles, but this workout inevitably triggers your whole body to kick in gear. It’s important, however, that you pick your trails carefully and purchase comfortably, appropriately fitting snowshoes so as not to form sores or irritation. Just like jogging and skiing, this activity allows you to savor the sites while testing mind-over-matter. Endurance is the word, so stay tough and hang in there – This workout could be just what the doctor ordered!

Ice Skating:

An absolute classic winter activity, you can revel in this exercise at any age, not to mention the whole family can get in on the fun! Like snowshoeing, you’ll want to make sure you own a pair of well-fitting skates. If you’re lucky enough to have a lake or natural setting to skate nearby, make the most of it! If not, seek out a local rink and glide into a good time. A roller-skating rink can do the trick just as well.

Helpful Tips –

  • It’s good practice to schedule your workouts:

“Until you’ve mastered cold-weather fitness, start your workout at half your usual warm-weather distance; if you normally run four miles, start with two. Warm up indoors for five minutes before heading out. Running in place or jumping rope makes it less likely you’ll strain a muscle… Even if you thrive on early-morning workouts, on extremely cold days consider exercising later in the day, when temps are highest.”

  • Don’t ignore signs of sickness, and don’t allow yourself to get cold:

“Don’t ignore the warning signs that you may be cold. Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation. If you suspect frostbite, get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area. Avoid open spaces and paths near water to reduce exposure to biting winds, and get out of damp clothes as soon as possible, even if you cannot shower immediately, and change into dry clothes… Wear sunscreen, especially if you exercise near snow, which reflects sunlight. Even though the sun isn’t beating down on you with heat, it can still cause sunburn… Wear fewer, thinner layers of clothing you can peel off, rather than one single, heavy layer; cool down gradually after your workout by taking off a layer at a time. Choose breathable fabrics to avoid sweat build-up that makes you feel colder. A good choice for a breathable, wind-repellent fabric includes Gore-Tex.”

 If you’re unable to enjoy any of these outdoor winter activities, it’s also always great to join a gym and to have a workout buddy to keep yourselves mutually motivated and regular. Be sure to consistently get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, cook-up a wide variety of veggies and stay warm until the Spring shines through.

Taste of Health Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to travel and stay healthy while pampering AND educating yourself with current events and trends in the vegan world. On our holistic cruise you will have the opportunity to eat divine meals, make new friends engage with some of the most celebrated personalities of the Vegan Industry. 2013 will mark the 10 year Anniversary of the Holistic Holiday @ Sea and there will be lots of socials, great classes, amazing Caribbean ports and even a few surprises. Learning a new way of living has never been so much fun, so easy and so tasty!

Sources –

http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/946579/10-fitness-tips-for-winter-workouts

http://healthyvoyager.com/simple-winter-workout-ideas/

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Recipes to Warm Up Your Winter!

Now that we’ve passed the New Year we are well into the winter season. Depending on your location, it can be mighty frosty outside. Even if it’s not, we’d like to offer you some deliciously tasty vegan winter recipes that are guaranteed to satisfy your stomach and put a smile on your frigid face! Not to mention a hearty fall harvest offers up some of the most flavorsome veggies of the year. With the changing of the seasons, our taste buds eavesdrop on our body’s biological conversations and start begging for the specific seasonal fare. We’d like to help ease the tension and placate that persistent pining with the following recipes!

Produce and Palatable Portions

After some digging around, we came up with the following list of savory n’ sweet suggestions for your winter fare. Happy cooking!

1. Butternut squash
If you’re looking to scratch together some awesomely savory soups or stews, tryout this quick recipe! –

Coat 1 cup cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon melted Earth Balance buttery spread, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a couple dashes of salt; roast for 30 minutes at 350F.

2. Winter greens
Kale and collards, chicory and chard… These are a few of our favorite things! The author of this recipe had a bag of mixed baby greens leftover from their local farmer’s market Thanksgiving-run and decided to flash sautée them. –

In a hot skillet with 2 tablespoons canola oil sauté 2 tablespoons diced onion, 1 clove garlic smashed (fish it out later), 2 cups mixed greens, 1 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 cup white wine. Sauté for 4-7 minutes on medium high heat.

3. Potatoes


There’s nothing like fine red potatoes. Perfect for soups, as well as for breakfast fare, this recipe is dynamite! –

Place 2 large potatoes, chopped, in a hot skillet with 1/4 cup canola oil, cover and reduce to medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup diced onion, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, mix well, cover and cook for 3 -5 minutes. Remove cover and finish cooking until potatoes are crispy. Salt to taste.

For more on these delectable vegan recipes, as well as a slew of others, click here.

4. Tofu and Vegetable Soup with Cellophane Noodles
A perfect way to warm your bones and calm your soul, you’ll love the way the aroma from this recipe will fill your home. Or perhaps your snuggly cabin! –

Soak mushrooms in 10 cups boiling-hot water in a bowl, keeping them submerged with a small plate and turning mushrooms over occasionally, until softened and cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from caps back into bowl and reserve liquid, then cut out and reserve stems from mushrooms. Quarter caps.

Transfer mushroom liquid and stems into a 5-quart large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Trim cilantro sprigs from stems and reserve sprigs for garnish. Add stems to pot with remaining stock ingredients. Gently boil, covered, for 30 minutes, then drain through a fine mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl, pressing down hard on solids. Discard solids and return broth to pot (you should have 8 cups broth).

Make soup:
Meanwhile, soak noodles in cold water to cover until softened, about 5 minutes, then drain in colander and transfer to a bowl. Coarsely cut into 3-inch lengths with scissors.

Stir in soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, and salt to broth and season with salt to taste. Add mushroom caps and bring to a simmer.

Rinse and drain tofu, then cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Add cabbage and tofu to broth and simmer 10 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Add noodles and peas and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately.  Mmmm, can you smell that savory fragrance yet? Read more here!

5. Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
Not only is broccoli wholly healthy for you in a wide variety of ways, its unique flavor is easily adaptable to fit a range of yummy recipes. These instructions recommend blanching it to remove any bitterness and blending in some garlic and olive oil. –

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add broccoli rabe. Cook 5 minutes until just tender, then drain well in a colander.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and toss with garlic until heated through, 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
More information concerning directions can be found here !

6. Hot Cereal with Quinoa, Oats and Flax

So, we’ve covered some piquant options, now it’s time for a sweet treat! A flavorful blend, this recipe makes for a delightfully warm way to start your morning! –

Place the quinoa in a small saucepan with 1½ cups of water. Bring to a boil and cover. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the center of each quinoa seed is almost translucent. Stir in the oats, flax, dates, ginger, cloves and salt. Cook 5 to 10 minutes more, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the oats are cooked through. Stir in the brown sugar and nuts, serve immediately.

Find out more here !

Taste of Health Holistic Holiday at Sea is more than a great vegan travel experience, it’s an opportunity to travel and stay healthy while pampering AND educating yourself with current events and trends in the vegan world. On our holistic cruise you will have the opportunity to eat divine meals, make new friends engage with some of the most celebrated personalities of the Vegan Industry. 2013 will mark the 10 year Anniversary of the Holistic Holiday @ Sea and there will be lots of socials, great classes, amazing Caribbean ports and even a few surprises. Learning a new way of living has never been so much fun, so easy and so tasty!

Sources –

http://main.kitchendaily.com/winter-recipes/vegan/

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/12/15/3-easy-winter-vegan-vegetable-recipes%E2%80%A6

 

 

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