Healthy lunch ideas for work

We all know that eating out everyday can be expensive and is not always the most healthy choice. With a little prep time you can make a plant-based lunch that can be taken to work, put into the microwave and enjoyed. Of course just packing leftovers from the night before is always a good alternative but creating something fresh is a great way to achieve a balanced diet. As I come across recipes that would make a perfect healthy lunch, I will add them. You can always travel over to the recipe finder  section for more ideas.

Easy Rice & Beans

Quinoa Salad

Don’t forget the ‘easy’ stuff too:  

  • humus and carrots 
  • a pita wrap stuffed with your favorite veggies and salad dressing
  • leftover rice with some frozen vegetables – microwave at lunch   

Keep at your desk:

  • nuts – almonds, cashews
  • a bag or basket of apples
  • low-fat granola bars
  • whole grain crackers
  • peanut butter (natural/organic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Nutrition, Recipes

15 benefits of a vegetarian diet

There has never been a better time to consider incorporating more vegetarian foods into your diet. The benefits of a plant-based diet are numerous and to give you a little push, I have listed them (and links where appropriate) so you can do the research.

  1. Lower BMI – vegetarians and vegans carry less excess weight. Good for your heart.
  2. Lower concentration of cholesterol. Most plants contain no cholesterol and your body already manufactures all it needs.
  3. Vegetarian diets are based on cereals, legumes (beans), nuts, vegetables and fruits. I don’t have to tell you how expensive meat can be and a vegetarian diet can save money at the check-out. Buy in bulk whenever possible (dried beans etc.). You will never have to deal with messy spoilage and bacteria from meat products again!

  4. Your chances of developing colo-rectum, breast and prostate cancers are reduced. Countries that consume more of a plant-based diet record much lower incidences of these types of cancers. Switching to a vegetarian diet will offer some protection.

  5. Your risk of developing heart disease drops by almost 25%.
  6. Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced. In fact, you can potentially reverse diabetes naturally with a little research, learning and a move to plant-based eating.
  7. Vegetarian diets can be simple and easy to prepare. The key is to keep things simple and don’t travel the country or the internet for the most exotic recipes and spices. Consistency is key.
  8. Your energy levels will increase. Your body will spend less time digesting animal protein and as a result, your energy levels are increased.
  9. Less chemicals and hormones in your food and body. Hormones are not injected into plant products. If you source your food from local farmer’s markets, you can better ensure that chemicals were not used either.
  10. Lower blood pressure. Because a plant-based diet doesn’t contain as much sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, your hypertension can fade away. Just like mine did.
  11. Lower risk of bone loss which leads to osteoporosis. Studies have shown that vegetarians experience a lesser risk of osteoporosis. Dairy products can actually deplete your calcium.
  12. Reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Animal protein consumption causes your urine to be higher in pH. Swapping in vegetables will lower your urine pH which may lower the risk of stone formation.
  13. Your intake of fiber will increase. We all know that fiber is a good thing. It helps move waste products quickly through your system and aids in digestion. Over the longer term, your risk of developing cancer can be reduced as well.
  14. You will add years to your life. Studies have concluded that vegans and vegetarians live an average of six years longer than their meat-eating counterparts. We could all use the extra time.
  15. It’s a life centered on compassion. My mind rests easier knowing that animals have not suffered to supply my food. While I understand this isn’t as important for some, for me, it gives a peace of mind and a sense of added compassion.

 

 

1. reference material and here

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Health

You need to pay attention to your diet if you’re fifty something

Hopefully time has been good to you and you find yourself in excellent health. If not, there are a few changes you need to start making. Reversing heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol are all possible.  

healthy fifty something

 A great place to start learning is with: The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.

Fifty and beyond is a time when we really have to take a hard look at our habits and start making definitive changes before surgery and boat-loads of medication become our only options – all of which only treat the symptoms and not the root cause of illness. If we don’t make real changes, the symptoms will always come back.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill more than 36 million people each year and more than nine million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur before the age of 60. These are all things that we can prevent and the risk factors are tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.

Here are three things you can start doing today:

1. Eliminate milk from your diet – Dairy products are not good for you. The research tells us this over and over again. Believe me, I know it’s hard to let dairy go, but start small. There are many choices out there now for non-dairy milks. Hemp, soy, almond and rice just to name a few. You won’t even notice the difference in your recipes, and you will soon adjust to the taste when using them on your cereal or in your coffee.

2. Add more starch to your diet – Yes I said it. All of those diet gurus who told you to avoid carbohydrates were wrong, and they were trying to peddle their books and plans in order to make a profit – not for your health. Dr. John McDougall has been advocating a plant-based diet for more than twenty years. It works. I am living proof that adding starches or wholesome carbohydrates to your diet can help you lose weight and reduce your cholesterol.

3. Eliminate soda, commercial juices and other sugary drinks - Soda can actually dehydrate you and the sodium contained in it will make you more thirsty, not to mention the useless calories you don’t need. Instead, replace it with sparkling water or even club soda – but watch the sodium content (get low sodium if you can). The caffeine and phosphoric acids found in soda will cause the calcium to leach out of your bones as well. Commercially prepared juices are full of calories and added sugar. Instead, learn prepare your own juice from scratch. Don’t even get me started on energy drinks. They have sent people to the hospital and even worse.

Real change happens over a series of small steps everyday. It’s not a race to the finish – just like life.

 

 

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Posted in Health

Vegan Recipe: Potato corn chowder

vegan soups and stews

Vegan recipes make cows happy :)

Many leading vegan and vegetarian nutritionists and enlightened doctors will tell you that starches should be the basis of your plant-based diet. They fill you up and keep your diet on track. Despite the propaganda we have had shoved down our throats about starches, the evidence shows that you should be swallowing potatoes, corn, beans and rice to give your body the carbohydrates it needs for great health.

Try this recipe for potato corn chowder. It’s vegan. It’s delicious and it’s easy to make. I have created it in a PDF format so you can easily open in your iPad or similar tablet or even print it off to put in a binder of favorite recipes.

—-> potato corn chowder <—-

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Posted in Recipes

Variety is not the spice of life, consistency is.

We all want to live a long and healthy life right? The problem I find, is that if you read diet plans and foodie blogs, they try to convince you that you must eat an enormous variety of foods in order to lose weight, fight boredom and gain health. This is crap. From a nutrition stand point, you do have to incorporate enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals into your body but you can do this with a small amount of foods. The boredom argument and the quest to ‘foodie’ up everything drives me nuts. While I appreciate the creativity, for the rest of us who don’t have the time and money to search out the holy grail of spices and ingredients, it can be a little overwhelming and frustrating.

Keep it simple.

Dr. John McDougall advocates in his latest book, The Starch Solution, a plant-based diet centered on starches – potatoes, rice, corn and beans. He also recommends that if you enjoy something, you can eat it over and over again. Now this is obviously not to be taken to the extreme, but it makes sense. As I have said before, you have to read the literature and take away for yourself what makes sense – leave the rest behind. Only through trial and error, will you find what works best for your own body.

Maybe it’s my simplistic view or my tendencies towards minimalism, but I really try to choose meals and routines that make my life easier so my time is freed up for more creative pursuits. I previously published an article on making your own cereal, but from McDougall’s book, I have discovered an even easier vegan breakfast that I can eat everyday – and it’s making a difference! My digestive system rebelled a bit in the beginning (I won’t go into detail here) but I soon adjusted and now I feel full till at least lunch time and have more energy. As an added bonus, I have lost some more weight too.

Here is what I now make for myself everyday. It’s so simple you’re going to wonder why I even wrote a post about it but here goes:

Put into a sealable container, one cup of whole oats – not the processes pre-cooked stuff. I use Bob’s Red Mill products when I can. Now add to it, a cup and a half of your favorite non-dairy milk. I use vanilla soy milk. Throw in a few raisins, dried cranberries or any other dried fruit you like. Cover and put into the fridge overnight. In the morning, you will find the oats have soaked up all or most of the liquid. You can eat this straight away, or heat it up a bit in the microwave. If I forget to do this at night, I simply prep this in the morning and throw the container on the front seat of my car. When I get to work, I heat it up and eat breakfast at my desk.

best raw vegan breakfast

Simple is good

That’s it – so simple it’s silly.

Footnote: There are a lot of good reasons to eat your oats – http://www.eatmoreoats.com/health.html

 

 

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Posted in Health, Recipes

The key to changing behaviour – start small

I remember the exact moment when I lost my sense of immortality. I was sitting in my doctor’s office after experiencing my TIA and he was looking over my test results. His bedside manner sucked and he very nonchalantly told me that my cholesterol was off the charts and that I likely experienced a small piece of plaque that came loose and travelled to my brain, causing a mini-stroke.

I should have known better. My family history is fraught with heart attack, stroke and cancer. My grandmother had three strokes, open heart surgery and a major back operation all while I was young – she was also the most important person in my life growing up. I remember sitting there in the office, watching the doctor’s mouth moving and thinking, “I am 41 years old, this can’t be happening.”

For three months after having a TIA, your chances of having a full blown stroke increase by more than 40% and your chances remain just slightly lower for the next year. One day driving to work (my commute is very long) I was coming over the hill into the city and my vision started to blur a bit. This is it, this is the big one, I thought. I am going to have a stroke, lose control of this car and take out a bunch of people on the way. I managed to get to the side of the road, rubbed my eyes and burst into tears. I didn’t want to die. I was terrified and the fear I was experiencing was causing more stress, exactly what I didn’t need.

The little tomboy that used to jump fifteen feet out of the loft of our barn with a homemade parachute was gone. I was afraid, overwhelmed and sick. I threw my cigarettes and lighter out onto the highway and drove to work, I was going to make changes.

The solution should be simple right? Quit smoking, exercise, eat healthy and reduce your stress – no problem. By the end of the day I had purchased another pack of smokes and wanted to scuttle into my bed and wake up in about two years. Don’t get me up, I’ll crawl out when things get better. Then I tried to convince myself that all the medication my doctor had prescribed would save me. Baby aspirin, Crestor and Micardis Plus were my new buddies – they would protect me, save me. But grinding away in the back of my head I knew that if I didn’t fundamentally change the way I was living, I would succumb to this aging body of mine. After all, I had seen my Grandma take her medication and then justify how she could still do and eat what she wanted because the pills would protect her. We have all witnessed people have a major health crisis and then rely on the doctors and medical technology to keep them alive.

I believe that most of my health is directly related to what I put into my body. It’s why I have adopted a plant-based diet. You’re body is a vessel that reacts to the fuel it receives. Try putting diesel fuel into a gas vehicle – that engine won’t run. The rest is related to exercise, and while this is important, getting a handle on your diet is essential.

This takes us to the whole subject of change.

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” ― Libba Bray

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” ― Maya Angelou

Cleaning up your diet can be daunting. Let’s face it, food is an emotional thing for a lot of us. The whole foodie revolution has taught us that eating should become an ‘experience’. Experiences usually come with a lot of emotion. They are supposed to bring us happiness, new adventures and excitement – why else do we spend thousands of dollars on vacations?

Successful change happens in minuscule, gradual steps. Keep it modest. Here are three things to get you started:

  1. Start small – While following a meal plan is definitely the way to go –You eliminate surprises and it helps you stay on track until good habits are formed, it can be a bit daunting at first. As a start, try to brainstorm simple things that you can add, take away or replace in your diet. I started by taking one sugar away from my morning coffee. Then I replaced the milk (I never did use cream) with soy milk. The taste was weird at first, but I gradually got used to it, then I liked it, now I expect it. Commit to eating breakfast every day. I don’t care if it’s a piece of fruit, just shove it in there and get used to having food in your stomach in the morning. Then try taking the time to actually sit down before you barrel out the door for work and having a bowl of cereal. Have a small handful of almonds in the afternoon instead of a chocolate bar. Buy a bag and keep them at your desk or wherever your work station is.
  2. Write it down, keep a food diary – You will never know how far you’ve come unless you know where you have been. A food diary was easy for me. I never ate. I would go all day on coffee and cigarettes and then have a huge supper and snack too much in the evening as my body tried to make up for lost calories. The weekends used to be a free-for-all with too much alcohol and quick to prepare convenience foods as we were always on the go. While hotdogs are quick, they are not a friend to your system. If you record what you eat, you will have a better idea of where you can start making changes.
  3. Be kind to yourself – I’m not saying you shouldn’t make yourself accountable to change, but don’t beat yourself if you slip up either. When we take on a label (vegan, vegetarian etc.) it tends to come with a lot of rules. I once told one of my co-workers that I was ‘going vegan’ and then one day when we were all out for a team lunch, I found myself in a situation (poor planning on my part) where there were no vegan options on the menu and I was too shy to ask for something different. I decided to go with the flow and guess who was the first person to pipe up and say in front of the whole group, “Hey I thought you said you were a vegan now?” As I’ve said before, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing better for you and only you.

I hope this inspires you to start thinking about changes you can make. If you have tips that have worked for you, let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you – here’s to fueling your engine…

 

 

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Posted in Health

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