The 2nd Biggest Myth About Vegan Diets

If the most common question I get from non-vegans is “where do you get your protein?” Then the second most most common question is “what do you eat?”

Most people assume that our options are limited and so few. Especially if you say you follow a plant-based diet. Beyond fruit and veggies they can’t see it. Consequently, they can’t envision themselves adopting this lifestyle because it appears boring. Nobody wants to eat the same thing all the time, including me. After all, variety is the spice of life. That’s especially true with our food.

vegan meal

Though I tend to eat a lot of the same things all the time, I still love trying new things. I often take my favorite foods and put a different spin on them to keep things interesting. For example, I’m always looking for new ways to experiment with Kale. I like to sautee it in olive oil, garlic and onions. I also like to use it as a base for salads. Instead of plain lettuce, I will use Kale or even mix it with my favorite lettuce – romaine. Another use for kale is to bake it in the oven, add olive oil and nutritional yeast to make kale chips. You can add it to your favorite smoothie. Or even marinate it in liquid aminos, olive oil, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes to make a refreshing salad.

You see how simple it is to take one veggie and get so many meals out of it? There are so many more fruit and veggies for which you can do the exact same thing. So, if you’re on the brink of adopting a vegan lifestyle, don’t let a perceived lack of options deter you from fully committing. There are so many options.

Here are some tricks I use to add variety to my diet.

  1. Keep an open mind when it comes to fruit and veggies. Be willing to try (almost) anything once. Just because there are a few veggies that you don’t like, doesn’t mean you don’t like ANY veggies. I found this out about squash. I used to think I didn’t like squash. I eventually realized I just don’t like traditional squash. I had to try other varieties. It turns out I love butternut squash and acorn squash. Unlike the regular squash, they have more sweetness to it. I don’t like traditional or zucchini squash because they don’t have enough flavor for me. They taste too bland.

  1. Cook your veggies differently. That’s what I do with Kale. Broccoli is another veggie that offers variety. If you don’t like to steam it, sautee it or roast it in the oven. For the really bold and adventurous – eat it raw. Chop it up in small pieces and toss it in your salad. It’s a great source of fiber and will leave you feeling full.

  1. Explore new ways to add flavor without depleting the nutritional value. So, instead of taking a healthy vegetable and frying it or sauteeing it in a lot of oil, do something else. I’ve learned to start the sautee with oil, and then add a little water. As much as I enjoy eating broccoli, I don’t always like it steamed. So, to add flavor to it, I steam it in vegetable broth and squirt it with fresh lemon juice. It gives it so much flavor without adding salt or anything else to it.

  1. Get recipes from Instagram and Pinterest. I love following other vegans on Instagram. I’ve learned simple recipes that I otherwise would not have tried. I love eating pancakes on Sunday mornings, but I can never get vegan pancakes in restaurants. After spending time on Instagram, I have learned some amazing, delicious recipes for pancakes. Anytime I feel like I’m out of new ideas for recipes, Instagram inspires me. There are just as many options on Pinterest. Try both and see what works for you.

So, if you really want to try the vegan lifestyle don’t be discouraged by a misguided perception that there isn’t enough variety. I’ve shared some great tips with you that have worked for me. I’ve been a vegan for more than five years and I still get excited by all the options I have. I learn something new every day.

Now I want to leave you with a question: What’s hindering you from adopting a vegan lifestyle or at least incorporating more plant based foods into your diet? Leave your comment on my blog. I can’t wait to hear your response. Until next time…

8 Superfoods to Prevent Breast Cancer

Superfood

As you know it’s national breast cancer awareness month. Every year this time I feel obligated to devote space in my blog to this important issue. First of all because I’m a woman. Unfortunately, one in eight women will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. Secondly, several people I know and love have been directly affected by breast cancer. In some way, we’ve all been either directly or indirectly affected by it.

It is estimated that each year more than 220,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die. This is one of the most disheartening statistics for me because research indicates that many women don’t have to die. Despite the large amount of women diagnosed every year, more women are surviving.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990. This is partially attributed to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

Another factor that impacts breast cancer diagnoses is prevention. There are are several simple recommendations to help prevent breast cancer, including nutrition.

So, I want to share with you 8 Super Foods to Prevent Breast Cancer:

  1. Tomatoes – Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can prevent the development of breast cancer by stopping cancer cell growth. A study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates that a diet rich in tomatoes may help protect postmenopausal women from breast cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, lycopene also stops tumor growth by interfering with abnormal cell growth. To enjoy the benefits, you can eat cooked, concentrated or processed tomatoes. However, the best option is to drink a half glass of tomato juice daily.

  1. Garlic -Studies have found that the sulfur compounds, flavones and flavonols present in garlic help in preventing breast cancer. To get the most benefits, peel and chop the garlic cloves and let them sit for about 15 minutes before cooking. You can also crush and swallow a piece of garlic every morning to increase your chance of living a cancer-free life. However, people on blood thinners and certain other medications should talk with their doctor before taking garlic supplements.

  1. Flaxseed – flaxseed and flaxseed oil are among the few sources of the essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which forms a protective shield against cancer cells responsible for breast cancer.

  1. Spinach  - spinach contains the antioxidant lutein that plays a key role in guarding against breast cancer along with mouth, esophagus and stomach cancer.

  1. Broccoli –broccoli contains cancer-fighting compounds known as indole-3-carbinol that help alter estrogen metabolism and suppress breast tumor cell growth. Eating one-half cup of broccoli daily can help protect against breast cancer. Raw broccoli supplies more health benefits than cooked broccoli.

  1. Blueberries —  blueberries are power-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can aid in breast cancer prevention. The phytochemicals present in blueberries work together to prevent the growth and spread of various forms of breast cancer.To reap the most benefits from blueberries, eat them fresh instead of the packaged versions.

  1. Pomegranate – pomegranate contains natural compounds like urolithin B that suppress estrogen prevent the growth of hormone-responsive breast cancer tumors. Plus, it is packed with polyphenols like ellagic acid with antioxidant properties that reduce the effect of estrogen in promoting the growth of breast cancer.

  1. Walnuts – Walnuts contain many helpful nutrients which help your body fight inflammation and actually slow down the growth of breast cancer tumors. Marshall University researchers suggest that eating about two ounces of walnuts a day may help change the activity of multiple genes that contribute to breast cancer, thereby reducing the risk of breast cancer.

So, these are just a few simple foods you can incorporate into your diet to reduce your chances of getting breast cancer. If you are a regular follower of my blog, then you know I’m a huge advocate for using food as medicine. Hippocrates – the father of western medicine – said it best - “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

Reference Links:

http://www.top10homeremedies.com/superfoods/10-superfoods-that-prevent-breast-cancer.html

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/