Going Vegan

Many of the people I talk to about this issue often say “I’m just not there yet”, or “It’s so inconvenient to be vegan” and many other excuses to which I can totally relate!  So, I did a little research and found a great article posted at http://www.alive.com/4720a12a2.php and thought I would pass it on.  The information presented here rings very true for me, so I hope you can benefit from it in your life, as I have.  Enjoy!

Going Vegan

by author Shelley Sullivan, RHN

As a nutritionist, I see a red flag in my mind when my friends tell me they are thinking about “going vegan.” With meat, eggs, dairy, and the occasional hamburger no longer in their diets, vegans face challenges in meeting all of their nutritional needs.

While applauding their health-minded decision, I feel strongly obliged to put my well-intentioned friends on track to becoming successful, nutritionally balanced vegans.

Veganism excludes not only meat and fish but also animal products, including milk, eggs, and honey. True vegans also refrain from using animal products such as wool, leather, down, and silk. Being vegan is more than a diet–it’s a way of life.

usaMaking the Switch

Switching to a vegetable-based diet has many health benefits. According to the Dietitians of Canada, vegans consume lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol and consequently show lower rates of hypertension and adult-onset diabetes. The legumes, whole grains, veggies (especially those from the cabbage family), and fruits that are the basis of the diet are linked to the prevention of many types of cancer, including breast cancer.

However, we cannot remove animal- based sources of protein, calcium, fat, vitamins, and other minerals without replacing them with plant-based ones. Doing so could pose serious health risks. For example, some vegans who have low levels of the vitamin B12 (found most reliably in animal foods), may potentially increase their risk for stroke and heart disease.

Variety, the Other V Word

Balance starts with variety. Vegans need to eat different protein sources throughout the day to ensure they consume all nine essential amino acids (protein building blocks). These will combine in the body to make complete proteins like those found in animal foods.

Vegans also need to pay attention to the five nutrients found more readily in animal foods than in plant foods.

As a safety net, I recommend that all vegans take a multivitamin and mineral supplement, especially if they are not eating organic foods regularly. A multivitamin will ensure some absorption of valuable trace elements also important for general health.

The trickiest part of eating vegan is not to consume too many carbohydrates. Moderation makes sense.

Eating a varied vegan diet can increase energy levels, support a healthy immune system, protect the heart, and keep digestion and elimination systems in tiptop shape. Make the commitment to veganism and you will reap its health benefits. Just remember that balance is the key.


Five Essential Nutrients

According to nutritionist Cynthia Sass, RD, who works with the American Dietetic Association and eats vegan, the following five nutrients and their food sources should be closely monitored so vegans consume recommended daily allowances (RDAs) every day:

Iron: beans, soy milk, tofu, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, spinach, fortified cereals, dried fruits, and potatoes

RDA for women: 15 mg; for men: 10 mg

Protein: beans, peas, soy milk, soy protein powder, tofu, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, rice, potatoes, kale, carrots, and oatmeal

RDA for women: 50 g; for men: 63 g

Calcium: fortified soy milk, tofu, soy tempeh, dried figs, fortified orange juice, blackstrap molasses, collard greens, sesame seeds, beans, bok choy, almonds, and sesame tahini

RDA for men and women: 1,000 mg

Vitamin B12: fortified foods, including cereals, non-dairy milks, and veggie “meats”

RDA for men and women: 2 mcg

Vitamin D: fortified soy, rice and nut milks, vegetable oils, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes

RDA for women: 400 IU; for men: 200 IU

More Advice

  • Combine iron food sources with foods rich in vitamin C for better absorption (enjoy a spinach salad with orange juice).
  • Take a vitamin B12 supplement to maintain good digestion, steady nerves, and produce red blood cells.

Vegans who don’t get much sun exposure should supplement with vitamin D, which is produced in the body through the action of sunlight on skin.

Shelley Sullivan, RHN, is a registered holistic nutritionist in Brampton, Ontario, who helps family, friends, and clients make balanced and natural dietary choices to live healthier and more positive lives.

Source: alive #286, August 2006


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Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic Products

1. Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies
Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals. Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live in a less toxic way.groceries

2. Reduce if Not Eliminate Off Farm Pollution
Industrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Pesticide drift affects non-farm communities with odorless and invisible poisons. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002.

3. Protect Future Generations
Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. In fact, our nation is now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on childrens’.  According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility.

4. Build Healthy Soil
Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency has taken a toll with a loss of top soil estimated at a cost of $40 billion per year in the U.S., according to David Pimental of Cornell University. Add to this an equally disturbing loss of micro nutrients and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Feeding the soil with organic matter instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients in produce, with higher levels of vitamins and minerals found in organic food, according to the 2005 study, “Elevating Antioxidant levels in food through organic farming and food processing,” Organic Center State of Science Review (1.05)

5. Taste Better and Truer Flavor

Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food. Let the organic feasting begin!

meal6. Assist Family Farmers of all Sizes
According to Organic Farming Research Foundation, as of 2006 there are approximately 10,000 certified organic producers in the U.S. compared to 2500 to 3,000 tracked in 1994. Measured against the two million farms estimated in the U.S. today, organic is still tiny. Family farms that are certified organic farms have a double economic benefit: they are profitable and they farm in harmony with their surrounding environment. Whether the farm is a 4-acre orchard or a 4,000-acre wheat farm, organic is a beneficial practice that is genuinely family-friendly.

7. Avoid Hasty and Poor Science in Your Food
Cloned food. GMOs and rBGH. Oh my! Interesting how swiftly these food technologies were rushed to market, when organic fought for 13 years to become federal law. Eleven years ago, genetically modified food was not part of our food supply; today an astounding 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMOs. Organic is the only de facto seal of reassurance against these and other modern, lab-produced additions to our food supply, and the only food term with built in inspections and federal regulatory teeth.

8. Eating with a Sense of Place
Whether it is local fruit, imported coffee or artisan cheese, organic can demonstrate a reverence for the land and its people. No matter the zip code, organic has proven to use less energy (on average, about 30 percent less), is beneficial to soil, water and local habitat, and is safer for the people who harvest our food. Eat more seasonably by supporting your local farmers market while also supporting a global organic economy year round. It will make your taste buds happy.

9. Promote Biodiversity
Visit an organic farm and you’ll notice something: a buzz of animal, bird and insect activity. These organic oases are thriving, diverse habitats. Native plants, birds and hawks return usually after the first season of organic practices; beneficial insects allow for a greater balance, and indigenous animals find these farms a safe haven. As best said by Aldo Leopold, “A good farm must be one where the native flora and fauna have lost acreage without losing their existence.” An organic farm is the equivalent of reforestation. Industrial farms are the equivalent of clear cutting of native habitat with a focus on high farm yields.

10. Celebrate the Culture of Agriculture
Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated. The simple act of saving one heirloom seed from extinction, for example, is an act of biological and cultural conservation. Organic is not necessarily the most efficient farming system in the short run. It is slower, harder, more complex and more labor-intensive. But for the sake of culture everywhere, from permaculture to human culture, organic should be celebrated at every table.crop

From www.organic.org courtesy of www.purelivingfood.com

Source: Alan Greene, MD (Organic Trade Association), Bob Scowcroft (Organic Farming Research Foundation),
Sylvia Tawse (Fresh Ideas Group)

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A Delicious Meal

Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Pasta Primavera

with Curry Marinated Spinach Greens

and Rosemary Onion Bread

Yummy Dinner

Who said eating nothing but raw vegetables is boring?

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What We Eat

Raw Food Guidelines

Now that you are beginning to see that making the switch to a raw foods diet is necessary for optimum wellness, you might be wondering just what you are supposed to do and how.  Here is a simple guideline of what to eat and how to prepare it, which should get you off to a great start.

1. What to Eat

Pasta Marinara with 'Meatballs', Garlic 'Toast' and a Side Salad

Pasta Marinara with 'Meatballs', Garlic 'Toast' and a Side Salad

Unprocessed, preferably organic, whole foods such as:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts (always soak to germinate first)
  • Seeds (always soak to germinate first)
  • Beans (sprouted)
  • Grains (sprouted)
  • Legumes (sprouted)
  • Dried fruit
  • Seaweed
  • Unprocessed organic or natural foods (Larabars, Glaser Farms Foods, etc)
  • Freshly juiced fruit and vegetables
  • Purified water
  • Young coconut milk and nut milks

2. Food Preparation Techniques

Specific cooking techniques make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet, including:

  • Sprouting seeds, grains, and beans
  • Juicing fruit and vegetables
  • Soaking nuts and dried fruit
  • Blending
  • Dehydrating food

3. Equipment

  • A dehydrator, a piece of equipment that blows air through food at a temperature of 116 degrees or less.
  • A good-quality juicer for juicing fruit and vegetables
  • A blender or food processor, or both for different purposes
  • Large glass containers to soak and sprout seeds, grains, and beans
  • Mason jars for storing sprouts and other food
  • A good knife and cutting board

That’s the gist of it.  Email me if you have any questions; otherwise, wait for my next post for more tidbits about the raw food lifestyle!


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How do I switch to a Raw Foods Diet?

Many people wonder the same thing and feel as if they cannot make the switch.  Here is my advice across the board.  Give yourself time.

Gorgeous Green Smoothie.  Get used to the color... it's tasty, I swear!

Gorgeous Green Smoothie. Get used to the color... it's tasty, I swear!

Start out by just eating MORE vegan foods, some cooked and some raw.  For example, smoothies are raw (even frozen is ok) and you can make them taste great since they are sweet.  Just add some leafy greens and get tons of nutrition that way.  Replace a meal a day, or just have it as a snack.  Then be sure to eat a salad every day.  With the salad, I always recommend some dehydrated crackers or nut/seed crumble and perhaps a raw pate or dressing.  This makes the salad more ‘exciting’ for those of us who still love regular SAD (Standard American Diet) foods!  There are tons of recipes online, just google ‘raw food recipes’ and thousands of websites will come up.

To challenge yourself to make new food choices, commit to at least ONE new recipe each week.  You can do that, right?  Your aversion to veggies will subside as long as you eat them fresh and I always recommend home-made sauces and marinades for that ‘cooked’ flavor.  As you begin to eat more fresh, whole, organic foods, you will find you actually begin to crave them.  Finally, be sure to include nice raw treats like ‘pudding’ made from avocadoes and cacao powder (chocolate, yum!) or fruit and dates, or raw ‘ice cream’ made from just blended frozen bananas and fruit or nuts(or raw chocolate)!  The food is really delicious, you will see.

Cashew 'Cheesecake' with Raspberry Coulis

Also, don’t come down too hard on yourself if you ‘slip up’ and eat some SAD food or junk food.  Just continue to eat as much raw food as you can.  And whenever possible, if you keep it vegan when you are eating cooked food, and try to eat fresh, not fried foods, you will start to really feel great, not to mention guilt-free!  And of course, with any lifestyle or dietary regime, you want to drink plenty of water and get some cardiovascular exercise every day.   Good luck, and don’t forget there is a huge community of raw foodies online if you feel you need some support.  To your health!

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So… What Exactly is Raw or Living Food?

Raw Foods Definedoranges

The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed.

Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and “life force” of food.

Typically, at least 75% of the diet must be living or raw to be defined as such.

Health Benefits

Proponents of the raw food diet believe it has numerous health benefits, including:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved skin appearance
  • Better digestion
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced risk of heart disease

The raw food diet contains fewer trans fats and saturated fat than the typical Western diet, also called the SAD (Standard American Diet). It is also low in sodium and high in potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber and health-promoting plant chemicals called phytochemicals. These properties are associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For example, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of a raw food diet lowered plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.

Stay tuned for more facts and information on this life-changing subject!


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All About Raw

Welcome to Pure Living Food!Rainbow of food

My name is Lisa and I am here to help promote the raw food revolution to the world. For many reasons, which I will be sharing through this blog, living on raw vegan foods is a lifestyle which the world MUST adopt.  It is better for our health, and the health of the planet and all of the animals living here as well!  I hope I can help you get as excited about making this crucial change as I am.

I truly LOVE eating raw vegan foods and I know that you can too.

Here’s to your health!

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