Tag Archives: diet

Your recipe for good health

By Edith Morgan
We are constantly bombarded with advice on what to eat, when to eat, what to avoid, which labels to read, where to buy, whose advice to heed, how to live longer, etc., etc., etc., everywhere we look.

It is confusing and nerve wracking.
So, here is my recipe, designed to make life decisions more simple:  “ALL THINGS IN MODERATION”!

We grossly underestimate the ability of our own system to deal with small quantities of just about anything: our miraculously designed digestive system can convert almost anything into food or waste, provided it comes into our system in small enough quantities  for us to handle. And we are well equipped to reject what we should not take in.

Our noses tell us pretty quickly when something smells as though we ought not to take it in. If it gets past our sense of smell, our tongue will also warn us off. And if something gets past the first sentinels, our esophagus will send back offending substances. If that fails, farther down the system, various acids and digestive juices  will dissolves offenders and send them out.
All these wondrous system parts can handle an amazing variety of things (It is said we must eat a ton of dirt in our lifetime – some of us do more than that!). But there is a limit: so this is not permission to gorge on all sorts of junk. It is merely an entreaty to STOP worrying, and use your head. 

We in America tend to overdo everything: we drink too much, we take too may pills, we OD on sugar, on diet sodas, on salty foods, on cured meats – on just about anything available and advertised. 

Every food in our diet is beneficial IN MODERATE QUANTITIES, but deadly in overdose. Even those substances that are vital to our survival, like salt, sugar, water, etc. are deadly poisons in large quantities. Two aspirins really do take away pain; the whole bottle of aspirins will probably kill you. Sugar makes everything taste  better (have you ever tried pure chocolate without it?). A glass of wine at supper or before bed is said to be beneficial, and a beer or two in the summer quenches thirst really well. But chugging it down by the bottle is destructive. 

An occasional doughnut, white toast, bagel, corn muffin, piece of cake, or other enjoyable treat will not do you in – actually, some of these things are “comfort foods” because they make you feel good, and when your heart and mind are at ease, your body will follow. 

So, if you are not an addictive personality, who is not in  control of your behavior, enjoy many things – all over the world, humans are eating all kinds of things we would never think of swallowing here; did you ever eat a fried grasshopper?  Or snake, or octopus, or snails? We humans are so well designed that we can survive on just about anything.

So, take this advice to heart: Have yourself a bit of chocolate, drink a glass of wine, and relax. Your body is well designed to handle it all. Just remember – MODERATION!

Huskies don’t overeat, but Jett really likes this new brand of dog food: Chubby Husky! – R.T.

Worried about holiday weight gain? Go vegan!

By Heather Moore

‘Tis the season when people really pack on the pounds. So it’s a good thing that researchers at the University of South Carolina (USC) have just announced the most effective way to lose weight.

After comparing five common diets, the researchers concluded that people who stick to vegan foods tend to lose more weight than people who eat animal-based foods. This isn’t a holiday surprise to me — I’ve lost about 30 excess pounds since I started eating healthy (and tasty) vegan foods — but it certainly makes me merry. It’s always helpful when scientific research reaffirms the benefits of a plant-based diet.

The researchers placed overweight volunteer dieters into five groups —omnivores, semi-vegetarians, pesco-vegetarians, vegetarians and vegans. Those in the omnivorous group were permitted to eat whatever they wanted. Those in the semi-vegetarian group were instructed to eat some meat, and those in the pesco-vegetarian group were allowed to eat fish but no other meat. The vegetarian group was instructed to refrain from eating meat but could eat eggs and dairy products, and the vegan group was told to eat only plant-based foods. None of the groups was asked to count calories, and everyone was given access to support groups, educational information and recipes.

By the end of the six-month study, the people in the vegan group had lost an average of 16.5 pounds each, more than those in any other group.

This is probably because vegan foods tend to be low in calories and saturated fat. In fact, the folks in the vegan group reportedly did reduce their fat and saturated-fat intake more than the people in the pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian and omnivore groups did. Research shows that vegans generally have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than both vegetarians and meat-eaters and that the average vegan is 18 percent leaner than his or her meat-eating counterpart.

Many vegan foods are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which help boost your metabolism so you can burn more calories. The lead author of the USC study revealed that the study’s vegan diet was high in carbohydrates and that the results of the study should help convince “carb-phobic” people that they can enjoy pasta, rice and other grains and still lose weight.

However, if they’re also chowing down on cheeseburgers or even turkey slices, fish filets, Greek yogurt or grilled chicken, their weight will reflect this. Chicken flesh, for example, is 23 percent fat, even when the skin and dark meat are removed and a fat-free cooking method is used. More than half of the calories in a 3.5-ounce serving of chicken come from fat—almost as many as in a same-sized portion of broiled lean flank steak. Even so-called “low-fat” dairy products are relatively full of fat and cholesterol compared to most plant foods.

We should all try to make healthier choices. Obesity is a growing problem, and scientists suspect that the obesity rates in many U.S. states are even higher than we thought. A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that obesity’s global economic impact is $2 trillion a year. We need to get our girth under control.

So this year, when you’re standing in front of the food table at the office holiday party, or when you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, remember that while Santa’s belly is supposed to shake like a bowl full of jelly, our bellies are not. We can stay slim during the holidays and beyond by being smart about what we eat and choosing vegan.

Try vegan, and you won’t be left high and dry

By Ingrid E. Newkirk

When news hit that Detroit was cutting off water to thousands of residents who were behind in paying their bills, the critics, not surprisingly, came out in full force. What might surprise you is that some of those throwing stones were aiming not at city officials but at PETA—after one of our members hit upon a way to help both struggling families and animals. Thanks to our donor, PETA is able to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroit residents who agree to go vegan for one month.

Of course, PETA is not one to shy away from controversy, but there’s nothing controversial about this offer—or there shouldn’t be. Eating healthy plant-based foods saves money, both now and in the long-term; saves precious resources, including water; and saves animals. It’s a win-win-win situation.

Let’s clear up one oft-repeated misconception right off the bat: No one has to shop at specialty stores or buy exotic foods in order to go vegan. A lot of the foods that most of us eat every day are already vegan, and they’re low-cost. Do you have beans, rice and a bag of frozen veggies in your kitchen? Toss in some spices, seasoning or sauce and you have the makings of a filling, affordable dinner. What is more budget-friendly than pasta with marinara sauce or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Potatoes, couscous, grains such as barley and millet, and legumes such as chickpeas and lentils are certainly cheaper than the processed junk that many Americans live on, and they’re a lot better for us, too.

Even the conservativeWall Street Journal agrees that now is “a good time to be a vegan.” In a recent blog post, the paper noted that while meat prices were up more than 9 percent in June from a year ago, the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables rose only 3 percent during the same time period.

And as Ellen Jaffe Jones, the author ofEat Vegan on $4 a Day, has noted, “[A] 4 ounce serving of beans is 7 times cheaper than the cheapest form of 30% fat hamburger meat. … [B]eef tenderloin is 37 times more expensive than an equal serving of beans.”

Eating vegan saves us money over the long term as well by reducing the risk of developing obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and other costly health conditions that meat and dairy consumers are prone to developing. The last thing that someone with financial trouble needs is to have to cope with medical bills from meat-related diseases. Preventing debilitating food-related diseases now is far less expensive than treating them later.

And as for water, vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources: It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.

Leslie Turner, one of the Detroiters who have gladly accepted PETA’s offer, says she’s happy to try vegan foods and hopeful that going vegan will pay off in another respect as well: “If I eliminate dairy and animal products I may be able to come off my blood pressure medicine,” she says.

With PETA’s offer, everyone wins. Not only will 10 Detroit families get a clean slate with the water department, they’ll also be introduced to a healthy, plant-based diet that will save them money—and quite possibly extend their lives—in the long run. But anyone—whether you live in Detroit or not—is welcome to visit PETA’s website and order a free vegan starter kit packed with tasty recipes that will spare animals the horrors of factory farms, transport trucks and slaughterhouses, which is PETA’s core mission.

Everyone who’s ready to stop breast cancer, raise your forks!

By Michelle Kretzer

Researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute just released the findings of their new study that confirms, once again, a link between high cholesterol and breast cancer. In human breast cancer tissue cells, the researchers observed that a byproduct of cholesterol fuels both the growth and spread of breast tumors. Scientists say the research suggests that women may be able to reduce their risk of breast cancer by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs or eating a healthy, low-cholesterol diet.

Personally, I would rather increase my intake of colorful meals than colorful medicines. Fruits and vegetables have zero cholesterol, which is just one reason why you’ll find scores of them on any list of “cancer-fighting foods.” Whole grains and beans are cholesterol-free, too. In fact, no plant foods contain cholesterol.

But meat, eggs and dairy products all pack a cholesterol punch. A single egg has 212 milligrams, 3.5 ounces of shrimp has 194 and 3.5 ounces of chicken liver delivers a whopping 631 milligrams. And cholesterol isn’t the only thing that’s troubling about animal products, as far as the risk of breast cancer is concerned. Those foods are also full of saturated fat, excess protein, hormones and other harmful substances that can raise a person’s risk for breast cancer. According to Dr. Jane Plant, a British scientist, cancer survivor and author of The No-Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program, “Undoubtedly, the best anti-cancer diet would be to go completely vegan.”

I lost the person I was closest to—my grandmother—to breast cancer when she was just 64 years old, and other women in my family have had the disease as well. So reducing my breast cancer risk is of major importance to me. Cutting animal products out of my diet seems like one way that I can easily slash my risk, without any of the side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

I stopped eating meat 12 years ago, and although I also cut dairy products out of my diet three years ago, I wish I’d done so sooner. I’ve discovered that there are lots of fringe benefits to eating a healthy vegan diet. I don’t have to struggle so much to maintain my desired weight, my skin looks clearer and I have more energy. I’ve also learned that when you stop making your meals reliant on meat, you start incorporating a much wider variety of foods and you open yourself up to a whole new world of flavors. And I enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that no animals suffered and died just so that I could enjoy a fleeting taste of their flesh.

Going vegan is one of the best decisions that I have ever made, and I hope others will join me in taking this important step for their own health.

Fight cancer with food

By Jonny Imerman

This week is Men’s Health Week — a good time for men of all ages to kick-start healthy habits. In my 20s, I survived two bouts of testicular cancer. Since that time, I’ve helped create a one-on-one cancer support organization, Imerman Angels, that connects someone fighting cancer with a person who’s been in the same shoes and survived. It gives me so much joy to give back. However, for years my own body didn’t feel its best. Last year, I went vegan, and I’ve never felt better.

I’m not here to lecture. I ate meat and dairy products for years, so who am I to judge? We cancer survivors should never judge regardless; we’re happy just to be here still. But I hope that by hearing about my experience, you’ll feel a little more empowered to take your health into your own hands.

One of the turning points that helped me decide to go vegan was listening to leukemia researcher Dr. Rosane Oliveira—herself a vegan—from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign speak about how dietary changes can help people lead healthier lives. I learned that research has linked the standard American diet—full of cholesterol and saturated fats—with serious illnesses, including cancer, while vegetarians have been shown to have a much lower cancer risk.

Animal proteins and saturated fats found in meat promote the growth of cancer cells and increase our risk for certain types of cancer. Cornell professor T. Colin Campbell’s China Study concluded that proteins from animal foods are the most cancer-causing substances ingested by humans. The study also found that casein, the primary protein in cow’s milk, “turns on” the growth of cancer cells. A link has even been discovered between dairy products and testicular cancer, which makes me even more confident in my decision to dump dairy.

Vegan foods, in contrast, help fight cancer. A study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer found that a diet rich in plant foods can slow or even halt the progression of the disease. Dark, leafy veggies like spinach and kale and fruits like blueberries are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants, and beans, whole grains, and other fiber-rich foods help rid your body of excess hormones that can contribute to cancer growth.

Vegan eating has other benefits, too. Following my treatment, I felt so tired and beaten down—my immune system was rattled. Now, even though I regularly meet and shake the hands of many people, I haven’t been sick once (and for people with cancer, an immune system boost can make all the difference). I feel great, I’m strong in the gym and my energy levels are high.

I also love animals, and it feels good knowing that the food I’m eating doesn’t contribute to their suffering. Another turning point for me was watching the video that Sir Paul McCartney narrated for PETA, “Glass Walls,” which includes undercover video footage showing how animals are slaughtered, suffering and in pain. There seems to be a great synergy between cancer survivors, who value their lives and health so highly because they are lucky to be alive, and people who choose to eat compassionate and healthy vegan foods.

You don’t have to take my word for it about the advantages of eating vegan, though. Try it for yourself. Healthy vegan foods provide all the nutrients that we need, so there’s nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

Boobs – but not Terry Toombs’ boobs

editor’s note: got this yesterday! 

Dear InCity Times,

I wanted to give you an update on our attempt to display a pro-vegan billboard in Worcester in light of the state’s doctor shortage. The ad—which features a sexy nurse and the message, “Doctors Are Scarce, but Prevention Is Easy: Go Vegan”—is now up! But instead of a billboard, we’ve …. displayed our ad on a “wallscape” on the side of a building located at 47 Pleasant St.

“Nobody enjoys waiting up to four months to see a doctor, but if the people of Worcester decided to kick the meat habit, the doctor shortage could very well become a doctor surplus, because improved patient health means fewer doctor appointments,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “The fact is that the best thing that anyone can do for animals, the environment, and themselves is to go vegan.”

The consumption of animal-derived foods has been linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Heart specialist Dr. Dean Ornish has demonstrated that following a naturally low-fat, vegan diet can often reverse the effects of heart disease in people who used to eat meat and dairy products. In fact, former President Bill Clinton—who underwent coronary bypass surgery in 2004—has shed more than 20 unwanted pounds on his new heart-healthy diet, which he describes as “pretty much” vegan. Clinton talks about the benefits of a plant-based, zero-cholesterol meal in a two-minute Yahoo! interview.


A proven method of “girth control”

By Chris Holbein

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that Americans are losing the battle of the bulge. Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, and obesity rates among children have tripled in the past 30 years. The problem is so alarming that earlier this year, a nonprofit group called Mission: Readiness, fronted by senior retired military leaders, issued a report titled “Too Fat to Fight,” which concluded that 27 percent of all young adults “are too fat to serve in the military.”

So it’s heartening to see that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new dietary guidelines take aim at the obesity epidemic in part by recommending a shift toward a plant-based diet. Going vegetarian (or better yet, vegan) is a proven way to lose weight—and keep it off—as well as to improve your overall health. Continue reading A proven method of “girth control”

In a fog? It could be the fish

By Paula Moore

If your hair is thinning and you can’t remember where you left the car keys, last night’s fish fillets just might be to blame. According to a new study released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), over a seven-year period, scientists found mercury in every single fish they tested from streams across the country.

This study should put to rest once and for all the old fish story that fish is a “health food.”

From 1998 to 2005, USGS scientists tested more than a thousand fish collected from nearly 300 streams nationwide. All the fish were contaminated with mercury, and more than a quarter of them—27 percent—had mercury levels that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limits for the average fish-eater. Numerous other studies have also found worrisome levels of mercury and other contaminants in farmed fish and lake and ocean fish, including tuna and swordfish. Continue reading In a fog? It could be the fish

Don’t get squeezed on your next flight!

By Chris Holbein

If the thought of trying to squeeze into last year’s swimsuit isn’t incentive enough to slim down before your summer vacation, here’s another reason to drop those unwanted pounds: Airline passengers with “extra baggage” may have to pay more.

This spring, United Airlines announced that passengers who cannot fit into a single seat will be required to pay an additional fare. A handful of other carriers, including Southwest Airlines, have similar policies. So much for the “friendly skies.”

But there is a simple way for frequent flyers to lose weight and avoid paying extra airfare: Stop being a “frequent eater” of meat. Studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters are and that consuming animal products can make you pile on unhealthy weight. Continue reading Don’t get squeezed on your next flight!