Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Why I'm Going Vegan for Earth Day




Earth Day is an annual, global event, and this year on April 22nd we're celebrating the Golden Anniversary of this occasion. Over a billion people participate each year, and we hope many more join in this time.





It's a virtual event, so you can play it safe and shelter at home as you review ways to reduce global warming.

My tip is to make a commitment to reuse, recycle, reduce, and repair, remake, refuse, remember, respect, and restore to live more sustainably. 

A special way I pledge to honor the earth is to reduce my carbon footprint even more than I have in the past. As part of my plan, I've already spoken to my grandson Noah to guest blog for me. I am thrilled and delighted he happily agreed. 


Here's his post now.



Why I’m Going Vegan for Earth Day




Thanks so much for taking the time to read my guest blog. My name is Noah White and I am one of Nancy’s very lucky grandchildren. 





In 2018, I graduated from Duke University with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy and I am now living in Oakland, CA where I am studying Sustainable Solutions at Presidio Graduate School.


While I’ll be going especially vegan for this upcoming Earth Day, it’s actually not the first time I’ve eaten on a strict vegan diet. 

In 2012, when I was training as a competitive runner, I read Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness. Scott, a highly accomplished runner, explained how he made a transition to a vegan diet that improved his overall health and well-being.  

My stint at veganism only lasted for a month in 2012. I've transitioned to a more plant focused eating plan since then.
           
When asked, I tell people that I am a “flexitarian.” Why? Because there’s simply no denying the environmental impact that raising animals for livestock has on the environment and as such, I feel obligated to minimize my consumption of animal products. 

However, realistically, I love going out for Pizza with friends or eating a roast chicken prepared by a loved one, so I stay flexible.
            
What kind of environmental impacts am I referring to? Well, lots actually. According to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. Yes. You read that right. If you went vegan, you would conserve more carbon emissions than if you gave up motorized transport entirely.

Greenhouse gas emissions aside, the land use impacts are hard to believe.
In fact, thirty percent of the earth’s entire land surface—a massive 70% of all agricultural land—is used for rearing farmed animals. 

Think of it this way. A third or 33% of the world’s lands suitable for growing crops and directly feeding humans, is used to produce feed for farmed animals and raise livestock.


Our overcrowded and infection-susceptible cities might just be a lot more resilient if we weren’t using so much land for livestock.

With this massive impact in mind, I won’t use any animal products on Earth Day.  And while this impact may be disheartening, I find it comforting to think that consuming less meat and animal products has such a large impact in helping the environment!

So, what will I be cooking? Well, breakfast will be sweet and rich in the form of hazelnut pancakes, using oat milk and hazelnut flour for an added twist. 


I plan on spending Earth Day isolated, in the sunshine, surrounded by greenery, breathing in lots of fresh air. 


However, when I stop for lunch, I’ll probably enjoy one of my go-to snacks. It's a hummus, cucumber, and avocado wrap; so simple, yet so delish. And while I normally enjoy cheese on this wrap, I’ll either forgo it or use some vegan cheese slices. 



At the end of the day, I’ll probably sit down to watch an episode of Planet Earth, with David Attenborough’s silky-smooth voice describing the marvelous natural splendor of our planet. 

For dinner I’ll be chowing down vegan Primavera sauce on homemade noodles I make with my newest favorite culinary device, a pasta maker. 


Happy Earth Day! And remember, a bit fewer animal products can really have a large positive impact for our global community.


πŸ‘Œ
Please comment below and share on social media with a link back to this post. I appreciate your comments and read every one.

In what ways can you treat the environment better this year?

Are you willing to eat more plant-based meals? What ideas do you have for accomplishing that?

From all reports the COVID-19 Pandemic has keep most of us home. It's reduced air pollution, by cutting down the usage of fossil fuel motorized vehicles. 

Can you image how healthy the planet, people, and animals would be, if we ate more plants and less animal products? After all, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. 


Stay Safe, Be Well, and Go Vegan for Earth Day!

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Boost Immunity with Plant-based Foods for Wellness




It's especially important to eat for wellness to boost our immune system and prevent catching colds, the flu, or even COVID-19 virus. 

Kitchen table wisdom and savvy nutritionists tell us to enhance health by eating at least 5-9 servings of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, and a portion of nuts and seeds each day. 


Science confirms that eating whole food plant-based is an effective way to increase the quality of nutrients in our diet. 

This post shows you how to be more mindful of what you're selecting to eat to maintain your stamina and ward off illness. 

Learn how to update ideas about good nutrition so you'll be better prepared to feed your hunger as well as prevent and reduce the severity of illness, if you should contract one.

A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois backs this up. It shows those who eat foods high in fiber improve digestive system regularity, and strengthen the immune system.

An additional study published online by the NIH indicates that foods containing zinc boosts immunity by functioning as an anti-oxidant. Zinc has a role in the prevention of free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes. Plant-based sources of zinc are provided below.


Tips to Boost Immunity and Wellness

Eat the rainbow, especially since a variety of dark green, purple, blue, red, orange, and red assures you get adequate amounts of whole food plant-based protein, whole food plant-based carbohydrates, and whole food sources of fat including avocado, nuts and nut butter, and seeds. 

Colorful fruits and veggies help heal us. Read How to Create Flavorful Filling User Friendly Vegan Salads for recipe ideas.




Health promoting foods contain many different nutrients and fiber, and work together to fuel your body.  Vitamin pills don't have that same mix.

When you amp up fresh fruits and vegetables in meals, you are being proactive. Produce contains naturally occurring digestion enzymes, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are especially important during stressful times for boosting the immune system. 

Key Ingredients 

that Strengthen Immunity




Vitamin A 

A 2018 study published online by the NIH illustrates the role of Vitamin A in the immune system. Results show Vitamin A helps promote and regulate both the innate immune system and adaptive immunity. This substance provides an enhanced defense against multiple infectious diseases.

As increasing evidence appears with time, Vitamin A will likely play a more critical role in modern therapeutics. 

Your body can produce vitamin A from carotenoids found in plants. These carotenoids include beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. 

Plant foods rich in these substances are sweet potato, winter squash, cooked kale, turnip greens, carrots, mango, cantaloupe, and pink or red grapefruit.


For additional tips read Why We Need to Eat Orange and Yellow Fruit and Veggies Daily


Vitamin C and E

Fruits and vegetables especially rich in Vitamin C and E are those that contain flavonoids. It's found in the soft white skin of citrus fruits including grapefruit, oranges, lemons, tangerines, and limes. 


Citrus fruits have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, increase saliva production, and boost your immune system.   

Vitamin C is also in the skin and close to the skin in many other fruits. My advice is to buy organic and eat the skin as well as the flesh of fruits. Don't eat conventionally grown apples, grapes, blueberries, tomatoes, pears, and nectarines as all contain pesticides. Eat organic ones instead.

Other sources of vitamin C include red peppers, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and mangoes. 

Vitamins C and E contain antioxidants to help destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. 

Certain nuts and seeds are good sources of Vitamin E. They include sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts. 

You'll get a good amount of vitamin E from beet greens, broccoli, avocado, spinach, and Swiss chard as well.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that boosts immunity and functions as an anti-oxidant, stabilizes membranes, and has a role in the prevention of free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes.

Whole grains are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals including zinc. Just ½ cup of cooked steel-cut oats has 6 percent of the daily value for zinc. The same amount of cooked brown rice has 4 percent, and a slice of whole wheat bread contains 3 percent. 

Chickpeas, soy products, beans, and lentils all contain substantial amounts of zinc. Here's an awesome recipe for Chickpea Salad that's healthy and delicious.

Beans and legumes are excellent sources of protein, and protein plays an important role in building cells, including those of your immune system.

In fact, lentils have the second highest level of antioxidants (behind black beans) among all tested legumes and offer significant levels of proteinironzinc, and folate

Heating, sprouting, soaking or fermenting plant sources of zinc like legumes can increase this mineral’s 
bioavailability. For more about vegan sources of  zinc read this 

Cruciferous Vegetables


Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, red and green cabbagearugula, radish, and Cres contain sulforaphane, an amazing liver-enzyme detox-boosting compound not found in appreciable amounts in other vegetables. 

Another benefit of a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables is they contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a common phytochemical. 

Epidemiological and dietary studies suggest eating indole-rich cruciferous veggies increases the capacity for the human body to detoxify and inhibit carcinogens that cause prostate cancer. 

Cruciferous vegetables are a good source of vitamin A, C, and E. These powerful veggies support the work of antioxidants and fiber.

Mushrooms


Mushrooms come in many colors, shapes, and sizes but most are high in selenium and B vitamins, including riboflavin and niacin. 

Mushrooms also contain selenium, an antioxidant that helps lessen oxidative stress, reduces inflammation and enhances immunity. 

Many mushrooms contain Vitamin B6 to support important biochemical reactions in the immune system. 

Do you know how to include more mushrooms in your eating plan? Read Hearty Healthy Vegan Mushroom Roundup.


Ginger


Ginger possesses antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as adding a spicy kick to many recipes.

It has earned a reputation for curing motion sickness, diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion. It helps calm colic, irritable bowel, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, colds, and flu.

Ginger helps stimulate your appetite. If you need to settle your stomach and nourish your mind, body, and spirit, this spice may be just the thing for you. Brew a cup of ginger tea as you read tips and recipes for using ginger.


Cocoa/Dark Chocolate


Cocoa, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, can be made into a delicious drink that’s packed with flavonoids. Just use one teaspoon or cocoa powder and I packet of stevia (a plant based sweetener that’s healthier than refined sugar) and away you go.

Dark chocolate (at least 70%) has been shown to boost heart health, seems to play a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and helps keep your coronary arteries healthy.

Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, can elevate mood, is tasty, and so good for your health. πŸ’“


Watch for upcoming posts with information and research about additional vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, spices, and herbs that are powerful immune boosters as well.  

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates


Before you go, please comment. 

How many of these foods do you eat on a regular basis?

What new things are you willing to try to help your immune system perform at its peak? 

Please re-share on social media with a link back to this post. 

Your support and kind words mean the world to me. πŸ’“



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