How Your Diet is Slowly Killing You (And All of Us) Part 3

Hello!

So today is Sunday–I don’t know about you but growing up in my family that meant a big breakfast full of the typical staples like toast, pancakes or waffles, maybe some processed meat like sausage or bacon, and eggs. Now obviously everyone knows that pancakes or waffles can’t be considered a health food (although I make mean vegan pancake to boot)–they are full of processed flour and sugars. And bacon and sausage are full of fat and cholesterol that you can SEE oozing out of it as you cook it. Arguable, the only nutritious item at the table in this scenario is the toast. Make it whole wheat, throw some peanut butter or low-sugar jam on that and you’ve got a decent meal. But wait a minute—what about the eggs? Aren’t they a lean protein full of nutrients? The fact of the matter is that they are nowhere near considered safe and healthy to eat.

Did you know that eggs cannot be legally referred to in ads as “healthy” or “nutritious”? This is because of the high amount of fat and cholesterol each egg contains. The American Egg Board, a promotional marketing board appointed by the U.S. government, has a mission to increase demand for egg and egg products on behalf of U.S. egg producers. However, if an egg corporation wants to be able to use the funds provided by the American Egg Board, they are not allowed to lie. If an individual egg producer wants to advertise their product on their own with their own funds, they can say whatever they want. But the American Egg Board is so aggressive with their advertising that we don’t even notice these key words being left out. They have been successful at decreasing consumers’ concerns over eggs and heart health even without being able to call them healthy or nutritious. Check out the quick video below by NutritionFacts.org that explains why eggs are not healthy or safe.

The sheer amount of cholesterol in eggs is startling. They are the most concentrated source of cholesterol in the Standard American Diet (SAD). In fact, the Egg Nutrition Center (created by the American Egg Board in order to downplay the risks of the cholesterol found in eggs) has fought with the American Heart Association on whether one egg everyday can be included in the diet. The American Heart Association explains that 300mg of cholesterol is the daily limit. Yes, one egg does fit under that limit. HOWEVER, every other animal product must be eliminated for the day or you would exceed that limit. Even just having coffee with dairy creamer and a skinless turkey breast on the same day effectively doubles your cholesterol intake. Based on these guidelines, you also wouldn’t be able to have any baked goods with egg or dairy milk in it either because that would also increase your daily cholesterol above the limit.

The Harvard Nurses Health Study found that consuming one egg a day cut a woman’s life shorter equivalent to smoking 25,000 cigarettes (5 cigarettes a day for 15 years)! Even 3 eggs a week was associated with artery clogging plaque build up in the carotid arteries going to the brain according to this study published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis. This plaque build up is a strong predictor of stroke, heart attack, and death.

And if that isn’t enough, who wants to smell like dead fish? Yes, eggs are high in Choline, a compound that can make bodily secretions (breath, saliva, sweat, urine, and non-mentionables) smell like rotting fish and may increase the risk of heart disease due to conversion in the gut to trimethylamine found in this study from the Cleveland Clinic.

Tiptoe to Health Tip #3

Alright, so what can you do for that big Sunday breakfast instead? Well, you could make my awesome vegan pancakes (recipe to come!) OR what about some hearty oatmeal topped with some fresh fruit, cinnamon, and maple syrup?
hearty oatmeal

Oatmeal is so versatile and can be tailored to your tastes. And you get that good soluble fiber that’s known to improve heart health by reducing the bad cholesterol. It’s also full of vitamins and minerals, and is antioxidant rich.

Here’s a list of what I add to mine:

  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 Tsp Maple Syrup
  • A hand-full of fresh fruit

For more ideas you can check out this previous post on All the Oatmeals of My Kitchen.

Enjoy! xoxo

P.S. You can check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

How Your Diet Is Slowly Killing You (And All of Us) Part 2

Welcome back to the second installment of “How Your Diet Is Slowly Killing You (And All of Us).” Isn’t it exciting?! If you missed the first installment, you can check it out here.

First of all, I know there is a lot of conflicting information out there and it can be very overwhelming at times. That is why I urge you to check out NutritionFacts.org which is a non-profit organization that aims to unbiasedly deliver the latest in nutrition related research in an easy to understand science-based format. There are so many health myths and misleading information out there mostly from “research” funded by those industries whom benefit from it, so I urge you to take those with a grain of salt and not fall for their cherry-picked results.

Also, recognize these lovely diagrams below? Well, forget about it!

foodpyramid mypyramid myplate_magenta

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is full of members with conflicts of interest from the Sugar Association, McDonald’s Corp.’s Global Advisory Council on Healthy Lifestyles, Danon Institute, National Dairy Council, Mars Inc., National Dairy Board, Coca-Cola’s Beverages Institute for Health and Wellness, American Meat Institute, American Egg Board, etc.

See the issue here?

And to top it all off, here’s an excerpt from “Saving U.S. Dietary Advice From Conflicts of Interest” from the Food and Drug Law Journal:

“…[T]here is oddly no discussion at all of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper.”

Case in point:

2011-02-23-arlo-janis

But I digress, today I want to address dairy. Every day we’re sold that we need the calcium in milk for strong bones, however, the acidity of milk lowers our pH levels to the point where our bones actually leach calcium as a buffer to bring our pH levels back up. So in reality, our bones are weaker from consuming milk. This is why we have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world even though we have one of the highest rates of dairy consumption. In additional to this health concern, dairy has been linked to acne, diabetes, heart disease, bovine leukemia virus (a growing concern in today’s milk supply), and various cancers including prostate, ovarian, and breast cancer. I won’t get in to all of these today, but feel free to do your own research now that I’ve given you the tools to do so.

Today, I just want to highlight one of the biggest and scariest risks associated with dairy consumption: CANCERS.

First up, let’s look at the study “Milk Intake in Early Life and Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer” from the American Journal of Epidemiology. This study concluded that drinking milk every day in adolescence was found to increase the risk of prostate cancer by 320%. Additionally, when dairy was introduced in to a population that previously did not consume it, such as in the study “The Experience of Japan as a Clue to the Etiology of Testicular and Prostatic Cancer”, as the consumption of dairy consumption rose by 20 times, so did the rate of prostate cancer. That’s a pretty high correlation.

In looking at the findings from the study “Milk Stimulates Growth of Prostate Cancer Cells in Culture” from the journal of Nutrition and Cancer, dairy milk increases cancer growth by 30% while almond milk decreases cancer growth by 30%. That is incredible! The alkaline nature of almond milk creates an environment that stifles the growth of cancer cells.

Additionally, dairy is full of hormones–the naturally occurring hormones of a pregnant mammal. This includes very high levels of estrogen, which has been classified by the National Institute of Health to be a carcinogen. This is because of the way it breaks down in the cell and releases free radicals. And unfortunately digestion does not destroy the estrogen in milk. Blood levels of estrogen are increased after the consumption of dairy. These increased levels of estrogen have been linked to an increase in breast cancer and ovarian cancer as found in the study “Milk and lactose intakes and ovarian cancer risk in the Swedish Mammography Cohort” from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and “Indicators of lifetime estrogen exposure: effect on breast cancer incidence and interaction with raloxifine therapy in the multiple outcomes of raloxifine evaluation study participants” from the Journal of Clinical Oncology. That was a mouthful!

Basically, there is no need to consume dairy for calcium when you can get calcium from an abundance of plant-based sources including leafy greens, legumes, fruits, whole wheat bread, fortified cereals, tofu, broccoli, and almonds. This is not an exhaustive list even, so why are we even bothering with dairy?

Tiptoe to Health Tip #2

I am back again with another easy tip to help transition to a healthier lifestyle. This should be an obvious one after the discussion today, but skip the dairy milk! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again–there is a substitute for everything meat and dairy! Switch to almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk, etc. Find your fave!

plant_milk_cartons_september_2010

I cook and bake with unsweetened almond milk so don’t forget to use it in place of dairy milk in your favorite recipes! It’s a one-to-one ratio, so there’s no need to measure a different amount than what the recipe calls for. Easy as pie (see what I did there?).

Fun Fact: Did you know we are the only species that drinks another species milk after weaning? There is absolutely NO need to drink milk from another species.

cows-milk-for-baby-cows

Look for Part 3 coming soon! xoxo

How Your Diet is Slowly Killing You (And All of Us) Part 1

Have you watched Forks Over Knives yet? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Why hold yourself back from attaining the utmost health? Why not thrive instead of get by? Trust me, you won’t regret it.

I want to discuss why the Standard American Diet (SAD) is slowly killing you. But first, let’s define it. SAD is a diet high in meat, dairy, fat, sugar, and refined and processed junk food. Now, some of those are no-brainers in regards to being unhealthy for you. Most people know that processed meats are bad for us, but what about lean meats like poultry and fish? Both chicken and fish have high levels of cancer-causing chemicals like dioxin, arsenic, and mercury. Not only that, but meat is meat and all of it is full of artery clogging cholesterol and saturated fat. The body produces all of the cholesterol it needs, so you should not be consuming dietary cholesterol, which only comes from animal products. Dietary cholesterol plays a huge role in obesity, Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up), heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Basically, it’s the root of all evil. I’ll get more in depth on cholesterol in a later post, but for now, check out this lovely diagram below of your arteries clogging from consuming dietary cholesterol. My heart hurts just looking at it.

atherosclerosis

Next up, do you ever get achy joints and muscles? Consuming meat is linked to the inflammation. After only one meal of animal products one’s bloodstream becomes flooded with bacterial toxins known as endotoxins. The endotoxins come from the bacteria found in animal products. The bacteria can be cooked but the endotoxins will not be destroyed. Even our bodies enzyme digestion can’t destroy them. This predisposes you to the development of atherosclerosis and insulin resistance. And animal fat helps increase the absorption of endotoxins into the bloodstream.

This is why those on a plant-based diet can recover from a tough workout faster—no endotoxins causing excess inflammation! I’m still often surprised by this fact. After a tough workout I expect to be VERY sore the next day and even the following day, but I only feel a little soreness and it doesn’t inhibit me like it used to (you know, that feeling of sore quads after leg day and how stairs and the toilet are your enemy?!).

leg-day

Lastly, I want to introduce a easy recommendation to move towards this healthy lifestyle in every post which I’ll compile later in it’s own category for easy referral. Since sometimes it can be a slow progression, let’s call it tiptoeing to health. See my first tip below!

Tiptoe to Health #1

shiny-red-apples

My favorite saying is “no one ever became overweight from eating too much fruit.” I know it’s a lot to take in so if you can make one change, it would be to have fruit for breakfast. All fruit. Have a few bananas. Have apples, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, or oranges. Whichever fruit you fancy. And don’t be afraid to eat several pieces of fruit. Get full. Get energized. Did you know eating one apple gives you more energy in the morning than a cup of coffee? And no crash later! Why? Because when you consume whole fruit with all that fiber, it breaks down slowly and is absorbed over time so there’s no sugar high or crash.

If you’re interested in learning more about this diet, the science behind it, and the success stories of those who have switched to it, I recommend checking out the articles on www.ForksOverKnives.com. I’ve read all of them.

I’ll be following up with Part 2 of How Your Diet Is Slowly Killing You next week. xoxo

My New Lifestyle

Hey Everyone!

I just finished drinking a delicious smoothie and snacking on some Triscuits with hummus (so yummy and energizing!) and was inspired to write up a post. I am sure you all have been on the edge of your seats for a couple weeks waiting for my next post so I apologize for the delay 😉 I was really hoping to get something up sooner after my return to blogging post here, but alas, life happens. I am interested in eventually making YouTube videos to share quick snippets of this new path I am on with you while having a more personal medium to share in but I couldn’t wait to just blab on here about what I’ve been up to. YouTube may take the back-burner because I like not wearing makeup or pants and I don’t want to scare anyone.

nopants

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have transitioned to this new lifestyle which has literally changed my life for the better. I don’t like using labels because there is a stigma associated with just about everything now (why is life so controversial?) but basically, I have switched to a lifestyle studied, proven, and recommended to be the healthiest diet by organizations such as Kaiser Permanente (the largest U.S. managed care organization), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It is referred to as the whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet. It consists of eating mainly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and tubers, while minimizing or eliminating meats (including poultry and fish), eggs, dairy, and highly refined foods like bleached flours, refined sugars, and oil.

You may be thinking that it sounds restricting, but in fact, it doesn’t feel that way at all! This comes from a shift in mind-set from “I can’t have that” to “I don’t want that.”

To understand what I mean by this, I recommend watching the documentary Fork Over Knives. It is available to watch on Netflix. The trailer is below. Watch it right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.

*Shivers* Doesn’t that just give you the chills?! It is life-changing and life-saving!

My medicine

And good news–it is incredibly easy to make the transition. There alternatives for everything meat and dairy. Check out the options at your local grocery store. Make the switch t0 non-dairy milk. My personal favorite is almond milk but you can also try soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, cashew milk–the list goes on. They are fortified with calcium and vitamin A and D for strong bones! Also, contrary to popular belief, all fruits and vegetables have protein in them, which I know is a major concern in our society today (even though Americans eat twice as much protein than they need) but if you eat a well balanced plant-based diet, you can easily attain more than enough protein. If you are concerned about your protein intake, there’s also tempeh, seitan, and tofu that you can add to your meals. And don’t forget that nuts and beans are packed with protein!

The chains have fallen off and I no longer feel bound by food. I never have guilt when eating, I am never counting calories and I never feel deprived. I feel satiated, I eat whatever I want, I think clearer, I have so much more energy, I recover faster after workouts, I get all the vitamins and minerals I need (minus B12 which I’ll get into in another post), and all while easily losing weight! I was very sedentary during my switch to this new lifestyle due to endless hours of studying I had to do for a certification I needed for work. Literally, didn’t try to lose weight and yet I dropped 5 lbs! I feel fueled, energized, refreshed, excited, happy, and healthy!

This blog was previously dedicated to my journey to be fit but the blog posts were all about limitations and counting calories. They are the perfect example for what not to do. Funny thing–I had a previous post also titled “My New Lifestyle” which focused on limiting calories. YIKES. Going forward I plan to post about my new lifestyle and share the benefits of eating WFPB, how to get started, and what my journey has been like so far after almost 8 months on it. I am also going to be sharing some of my favorites recipes so far, what I shop for, and how I prepare meals. Woohoo!

I want to share this because I truly care about you all and want us to make these steps towards a healthy lifestyle together! xoxo