New Year, New You Food Talks Plant-Based Challenge!

FoodTalksLogoI am thrilled to announce the very first online Food Talks Plant-Based Challenge! 

Kick off 2016 with a month-long plant-based challenge. Learn how to eat in a health-promoting, sustainable, and life-enhancing way with ease and grace. Over the course of 3 LIVE online classes in January, you will gain professional and group support, answers to your deepest nutrition and health questions, and health hacks that will last a lifetime.

Transform your health with this New Year, New You special Food Talks course…

Classes will be Sundays, January 17th, 24th, and 31st at 2pm PT/5pm ET.

PBD Food PlatePrices and Packages:

Basic $54
· 3 Saturday sessions
· Course manual
· Facebook support group (optional)
· 25% nutrition consulting for the month of January 2016

Bonus $90
· 3 Saturday sessions
· Course manual
· Facebook support group (optional)
· 50% nutrition consulting for the month of January 2016
· Weekly food journal review for the month of January 2016

Space is limited to keep groups small! Find out more information and sign up HERE and contact me HERE if you have questions.

The 6 Daily 3’s

Here is an ultra-simplified guide on how to prioritize your plate in order to ensure you are consuming all you need for adequate nutrition and optimal health:

6 Daily 3finalwebConsider how to fit in these foods and movement throughout the day for easy success on a daily basis…

Remember to take your vitamin B12 and to test for vitamin D and supplement, as necessary. And here is how to confirm you are diligent about finding your other notable nutrient needs.

6 Tips to Stay Healthy Through the Holidays

simplereminders.com-everyday-detox-withtext-displayresStill battling a post-Thanksgiving Tofurky trance? A mashed potato murk? A pumpkin pie high? Instead of waiting for January to climb back up on the healthy wagon and out of the food fog, why not start now? Mitigate the mayhem of the season and bump up the body love fest with these 6 simple tips:

  1. fitness-benefitsPersist with fitness. It is all too easy to let your routine slip to the sidelines with traveling, festivities, and busier schedules that are typical this time of year. But that is why it is even more important to stay the course and squeeze it in. However you can, make it happen. Turn social gatherings into bonding fit fests by going for a walk or taking an exercise class together, or doing yoga in the living room before a meal or first thing in the morning. Social support is superb in stick-to-it-ness. Try literally entering your workout onto your calendar weeks (or at least days) ahead of time to ensure it happens.
  2. Start with fruits or veggies at every meal. Since fruits and veggies both offer the fewest calories per gram than any other foods and are high in satiating fiber, these are the ideal items to preferentiate at every meal. Studies have found that starting your meal with a piece of fruit, salad, or soup decreases overall caloric intake at a meal.
  3. SR greens-medicine-heverPrioritize the daily 3’s:
    • 3 servings of leafy green vegetables (1 serving equals 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked and include options such as asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, dandelion greens, green beans, kale, any type of lettuce, sea vegetables, etc.)
    • 3 servings of legumes (1 serving equals 1/2 cup of any bean, lentil, pea, or soy foods)
    • 3 servings of fruits (1 serving equals 1 medium piece or 1 cup)
  4. Predict, plan, and prepare. Know where your next meal will be and make arrangements to have healthy options wherever that may be. Traveling? Here are some Healthy Travel Tips. Dining out? Here are my Top 5 Tips for Dining Out. Visiting friends or family? Ask to bring a wholesome dish or two for yourself and to share.
  5. Egg substitutionsOpt out instead of pushing portion control. Sometimes just saying “no” is so much easier. Otherwise, that first bite of hyperpalatable food stimulates the hormonal cascade that kicks in and seduces you into “just one more bite”…and “one last one”…and on and on down that rabbit hole.
  6. Discover and experiment with healthier indulgences. Swap date paste or pure maple syrup for sugar in recipes, try aquafaba instead of egg whites in meringue-like dishes or other egg substitutes in any type of recipe, and use fruit and vegetable purées instead of oil.

Most importantly, embrace this special time of year and savor the love that comes from taking care of yourself psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually as well as physically… Wishing you a very healthy, happy holiday season!

5 Reasons to Bypass the Turkey this Thanksgiving…and Everyday

Turkey size MJNearly 46 million turkeys are brutally raised and slaughtered just for Thanksgiving in the U.S. each year.

Here are 5 reasons to bypass the turkey this Thanksgiving…and everyday:

1. Bred for both size and speed of growth, turkeys more than doubled in size since 1929 from an average of 13 pounds to an average of 29 pounds, and show no signs of stopping. If the trend continues, we could see an average turkey size of 40 pounds by 2020.
—>WIRED’s Give Thanks? Science Supersized Your Turkey Dinner
—>Mother Jones’ Look How Much Bigger Thanksgiving Turkeys Are Today Than in the 1930s
Thanksgiving before and after2. Turkeys are raised under “egregious insanitary conditions” as they are crammed into tiny spaces indoors, where ammonia and other noxious chemicals levels build up in the air due to manure and overcrowding. They are debeaked without anesthesia to avoid them hurting one another, sickened due to the bleak conditions, and there are many undercover videos documenting horrific abuse.
—>Mother Jones’ Butterball Goes “Humane” for Thanksgiving. Really? 
—>Free from Harm’s 12 Reasons You May Never Want To Eat Turkey Again

Turkeys thankful for vegans3. “Turkeys are sensitive, social individuals, and in conditions where they are permitted to thrive, they are seen for the complex, adaptive, and intelligent animals that they are.”
—>Woodstock Farm Sanctuary’s Turkeys
—>Nature’s My Life as a Turkey Q&A

4. Because of the bird flu crisis this year, prices of turkey have jumped up to 20% higher.
—>USA TODAY’s Bird flu means your Thanksgiving turkey will cost more this year

5. There are literally thousands of creative, decadent, delicious recipes available online, in restaurants, and in cookbooks everywhere that do not include animal products…
—>My Facebook recipe roundup
—>AOL’s 10 vegan dishes that will completely change the game this Thanksgiving
—>BuzzFeed Food’s 27 Vegan Thanksgiving Dishes That Will Make Meat Eaters Drool

Bless the tofu

30 (More) Reasons to Go Vegan

Happy World Vegan Month!World Vegan Month

Here are 30 (more) reasons to try Veganism, one for each day in November:

  1. VS TrendsVeganism continues exploding on its trajectory towards being considered mainstream.
  2. You are what your bacteria eat and vegans tend to have more health-promoting, disease-fighting microbiota profiles in our guts.
  3. Athletes and bodybuilders continue to take it to the next level by eating plants. Just this past year, Mr. Universe went vegan to optimize his recovery and train hardervegan ultramarathoner, Scott Jurek, broke the Appalachian trail thru-hike record, and NFL defensive lineman, David Carter, went vegan to feel better and ended up getting leaner, stronger, and faster!
  4. An entire English soccer team recently went vegan!
  5. Vegan options are being offered at more and more quick serve restaurants to meet consumer demand. Recently, for example, White Castle introduced a vegan slider, Taco Bell’s new vegetarian-certified menu contains 26 vegan ingredient items, and Wendy’s rolled out a black bean burger.
  6. Eat more veggies WHOThe World Health Organization (WHO) made an official declaration that processed meat (and likely red meat) promote cancer. This substantiates many years of research and the American Institute for Cancer Research’s stance that no amount of processed meat is safe. (WHO Q&A here.)
  7. Healthcare practitioners are recognizing the vast health benefits of a vegan diet. The Plantrician Project‘s International Plant-Based Nutrition Conference has doubled in size each year of its first three years. This past year, 600 physicians, dietitians, and nurses attended from all over the world, each integrating plant-based nutrition into their practices.
  8. Rouxbe 240x400_02There is now an exquisite online professional plant-based culinary school that continues to sell out its certification programs due to its growing popularity.
  9. A trade group of plant-based food companies is being formed, spearheaded by food lawyer Michele R. Simon, in order to solidify a representative voice like the meat, dairy, and egg industries have for decades.
  10. The current president of the American College of Cardiology – Dr. Kim Williams – is himself a vegan! Since 2003! He stated recently in his talk at the Plantrician conference that “we need to think about prevention and not just treatment with respect to cardiovascular disease.”
  11. The vegan food marketplace is on fire! Shelf space is expanding with vegan alternatives. Plant-based milks sales rose to $2 billion in 2013, up a whopping 30% since 2011! Thirty-six percent of U.S. consumers prefer plant-based options.
  12. Bizarro mad-cowAn unintended consequence of line speed (keeping up with production speed in slaughterhouses) is the risk for horrific illnesses across the supply chain from workers to the plate.
  13. The iron found in plants (non-heme) offers a healthy dose of iron without stimulating free radical formation and promoting chronic disease, as in animal-based (heme) iron.
  14. The documentary film Cowspiracy documents the fact that livestock production is the number one cause of climate change and the most resource intensive, polluting industry on our planet…currently forcing us towards a possible sixth – and first human-induced – mass extinction!
  15. Here are just five of the key studies showing an association between the consumption of meat and cancer.
  16. Dating vegans can be beneficial for many reasons, such as these.
  17. Blue ZonesThe longest lived societies around the world (those with the most centenarians) – known as the Blue Zones – eat a plant-based diet.
  18. A plant-based diet buffed up with plant sterols, viscous fibers, soy foods, and nuts (the “Portfolio Diet”) has been shown to lower cholesterol AS WELL AS statins do and lower blood pressure as well as medications do! This indicates the billions of dollars that can be saved in healthcare costs by simply swapping out pharmaceuticals for plant foods…
  19. PCRM chicken_infographicA side effect of people eating less red meat is an increase in consumption of white meat. Eating birds does not provide a health advantage since they also contain similar doses of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, hormones, steroids, contaminants including feces, toxic chemicals, superbugs, and carcinogens, and is associated with weight gain. Additionally, eating chickens is “a leading cause of death” and suffering worldwide.
  20. There are now a plethora of plant milks and other delicious dairy and meat substitutes, and now even eerily realistic vegan eggs so that any recipe, craving, and palate can be easily satisfied. And there is still an abundance of creative whole food culinary substitutes that can be used.
  21. An extensive two year-long scientific literature review led the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to state that: “A dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet.”
  22. 500 Kcals Plants vs. AnimalsYou can get all of your nutrients from plants (except for vitamin B12)…but packaged better with health-promoting, disease-fighting phytochemicals and fiber. Here is my video series answering nutrient questions.
  23. At least 70 billion (!) land animals are slaughtered every year for their flesh and byproducts. They suffer horrific, torturous existences and deaths because of the large, unsustainable consumer demand.
  24. VS Fiber DeficiencyFiber is so fabulous and one of the most important nutrient categories for optimal health. Fiber is found exclusively in plants.
  25. Eating on a budget is effortless on a vegan diet. A recent study showed skipping meat doesn’t just add years to your life, it keeps (hundreds of) dollars in your wallet.
  26. A vegan diet is a recipe for ending world hunger.
  27. Vegan Benefits High-Functioning DaydreamerAnimal protein induces a profound workload on the kidneys, unlike plant protein, which is crucial since at least one in ten American adults suffer from chronic kidney disease.
  28. A plant-based diet is the only affordable and effective solution to the healthcare crisis.
  29. The Vegiterranean Diet is even healthier than the Mediterranean diet, considered the “gold standard” in the research.
  30. There are now thousands (or perhaps even millions) of delicious vegan recipes that are easily accessible in cookbooks, on Pinterestblogsclasses, and even delivered to your door that range from simple and quick to gourmet and intricate.

 
What is your favorite reason for being vegan? Please share below…

 

You are What Your Bacteria Eat!

broccoli-walnut-mushroomYou are what you eat…but, perhaps more so, you are what your bacteria eat!

One of the pioneering and leading fields of study currently is that of the microbiota (our body’s bacterial profile) and how it plays an enormous role in our health and immune function via many different mechanisms.

“The human microbiota consists of the 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut…” so we literally have more bacterial cells as we do our own human cells!

Your gut microbiome is unique to you based on how you were born, geography, age, diet, etc. and influences your health in many ways. The fantastic part is that you can alter your bacterial profile with your diet and lifestyle, optimizing how your bacteria work for you.

Of course, plant eaters seem to have healthier microbiotas, which likely plays a role in the positive health outcomes. Plant-based diets feed the healthy bacteria and are anti-inflammatory. Animal foods are inflammatory.

Prebiotics are fuel for the friendly flora and are highlighted in this infographic via Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in this article on 7 foods to supercharge your gut bacteria…

PCRM infographic-gut-bacteria

Feed your good bacteria plenty of fiber (found only in plants) in order to promote a happy, healthy microbiota, which will then reward you with optimal health…

Resources:
—>NutritionFacts.org’s Prebiotics: Tending Our Inner Garden and Microbiome: The Inside Story
—>National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Defining the Human Microbiome 
—>PCRM’s Gut Flora, Diet, and Health
—>ABC15 Arizona’s 5 ways to get more fiber into your diet
—>6 Ways To Strengthen Immunity
—>Greatist’s The 16 Most Surprising High-Fiber Foods 

Going Vegan

Happy World Vegan Month!

Here are three of the infinite reasons to consider a vegan lifestyle and three ways to make your journey healthy, wholesome, and fulfilling…

Links:
My favorite resources
30 Reasons to Go Vegan
How to Make Plant-Based Super Simple
Facebook
Twitter

 

How to Enjoy Food More

Notice how everything sounds more and more delicious the hungrier you are? A crisp sweet apple, a crunchy rib of celery, a soft, warm plain baked potato…items you may not crave on a regular basis, but with hunger, your true palate emerges.

If you have ever fasted, or detoxified with a “cleanse,” or been on any weight loss diet, you likely have experienced an increased interest and desire (sometimes rather dramatic) for all things food-related. When I used to diet, I would read cookbooks and nutrition books and talk to my friends and family about recipes obsessively. I literally could not move my mind away from eating.

On the flip side, when you eat hyperpalatable foods or are in the midst of a large feast (as what commonly occurs on Thanksgiving), food tastes progressively less and less enjoyable. It’s as though your taste buds numb out. An alert that your body is no longer interested in receiving any further deposits.

simplereminders.com-eat-less-chineseproverb-withtext-displayresHere is how to maximize these natural tendencies for optimal health and easy weight management:

  • Allow yourself to get physically hungry before eating. You will know you are hungry when simple foods like an apple or raw celery sound exquisite.
  • Stop eating when you are comfortable and satisfied. You will know this by your body feeling satisfied and food will stop tasting as good as it did at the beginning.
  • Detox off of hyperpalatable foods (highly processed foods rich in sugars, fats, salt, and artificial additives) if you are still consuming them on a regular basis or if you crave them.

Resources:
Dr. Neal Barnard on Chocolate, Cheese, Meat, and Sugar — Physically Addictive via VegSource.com​
Adding Mindfulness To Your Day
The New York Times​’ Mindful Eating as Food for Thought
Zen Habits​’ The Two Okinawan Diet Rules

Books that elaborate on these principles:
The Vegiterranean Diet
The Blue Zones​
Breaking the Food Seduction
Salt, Sugar, Fat
The Pleasure Trap

*Image via SimpleReminders.com​

Three Things To Know About Vitamin B12

You can get all of your essential nutrients* on a thoughtful plant-based diet…except for vitamin B12.

*Vitamin D is a nutrient our bodies were designed to attain via the sun. Though it is a common deficiency worldwide, this is not an issue exclusive to vegans.

Here are Three Things To Know About Vitamin B12….in collaboration with Vegan Street

VS 3 things to know about vitamin b12-D

Vitamin B12 is produced by microorganisms found in the soil and in the guts of animals, which is how they end up in their flesh. Because in modern society we sterilize our produce and do not tend to get our water from natural untainted sources like streams and creeks, we need to be mindful on a vegan diet to supplement with this crucial nutrient.

Blood tests for levels of B12 may not be reliable since your body can store B12 for approximately three to five years and other variables that may skew results. If you do not have an incoming source of B12 as a vegan, you will become deficient at some point…as approximately half of vegans have been found to be. Oftentimes, B12 deficiency doesn’t show up until it is too late and there is already irreversible neurological damage.

Fortified foods and B12 analogues found in fermented foods, sea vegetables, and algae are unreliable at best, harmful at worst because they may block the absorption of active B12.

The simplest, most cost-effective, safest, and most reliable way to avoid deficiency is to supplement. Adults need approximately 2,500 micrograms per week of cyanocobalamin.

Here is a chart of recommended dosing across the lifespan via Vegan Outreach. 

Taking B12 as a supplement is a small price to pay for the vast benefits to your health, the planet, and to minimize the suffering of animals that occurs as a result of being vegan.

Resources: