Five Vegan Drinks To Try This Winter

We’re a world of coffee lovers aren’t we? The coffee culture is strong and for many of us our day hasn’t started unless we’ve grabbed our favourite hot beverage from our local Starbucks. The caffeine kick is one that can’t always be denied and a morning coffee is a solid addition to many a morning routine.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the calorie content of a drink. We think of it as a liquid and therefore don’t always associate it with its devilish side effects. A hot chocolate from a coffee chain can have as many as 400 calories in it. Pretty shocking right? You might as well just chomp into a bar of chocolate.

And then there’s the extra cost.  In the long run, you could save yourself around £500 (about 750 American dollars) per year just by cutting your coffee shop habits. So how can you save calories, save cash, and still enjoy a delicious hot drink to start your day?

There are plenty of healthier alternatives that will not only cost you less but also save on calories, increase your health, and battle against the dreaded winter cold. So without further ado, here are the best vegan friendly drinks to give a try this winter:

Simple Ginger Tea

There are some amazing benefits from consuming ginger, including anti-inflammatory properties, nausea reduction, and increased circulation.

Add 2-3cm of fresh root ginger to a mug of warm water for added warmth, and be sure to drop in a stick of cinnamon for an extra kick! It’s a quick and easy festive drink that is low in calories.

Honey Lemon Warmer

This one is especially handy if you’re trying to recover from a sore throat or head off a winter cold. Honey has many amazing health-enhancing benefits. It’s great for soothing a sore throat while giving your immune system a boost. This is particularly handy at this time of the year when colds are spreading like wildfire.

You might be concerned about the sugar levels of honey, but don’t be too worried. These natural sugars won’t harm you in small doses. Add 1-2 teaspoons of organic honey (depending on your sweet tooth) to a mug of warm water, and add a few slices of fresh lemon for an added zing

A Nutty Treat

One of my personal favourites is a gorgeous nutty winter warmer! Simply heat a mug of almond milk and add a drizzle of date syrup for a gorgeous toffee-like taste. This drink comes closest to rivaling drinks from the coffee chains, and it’s low in fat too! If you do want to add a naughty twist (we all deserve a treat now and again after all) grate your favourite vegan chocolate to finish it off. Yum!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Okay. So Halloween may be over, but who can resist a pumpkin spice latte over winter time? It’s a definite favourite amongst the coffee lovers of the world. Why should vegans have to miss out? Simply add two tablespoons of pumpkin puree to your morning cup of coffee along with two tablespoons of almond (or coconut) milk, a drizzle of vanilla extract, and any fancy toppings you wish to include! My favourite is cinnamon, but you could also add vegan whipped cream or maple syrup.

Cranberry Cider

Combine cranberry juice (the proper stuff) with apple cider in a saucepan and heat, stir in 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar and add flavourings of your choice. Popular flavours include cinnamon or ginger for additional warmth and a slight kick, adjust the amount of flavouring to your taste. To make it even more festive, add some sliced orange and a Christmas themed mug!

Will you be cutting down on the coffee chain purchases this winter in favour of your own, healthier homemade recipes? I’d love to hear about more vegan drink recipes to try!

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Foods that Fight Cancer

Everyone has heard the phrase, “You are what you eat,” but did you know that you can combat and prevent cancer through healthy food choices? The number one thing to focus on when trying to create a cancer-fighting diet is to follow a diet that includes at least 80% raw, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Many pesticides are known carcinogens. The best way to lower your exposure to pesticides in your food is to buy organic. Raw produce is key in any cancer-fighting diet. Eating a variety of raw organic produce is the optimal way to access all the key nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, heal, and if need be to fight cancer. Here’s a short list of some of the top foods that are known to help fight cancer in the body.

Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables

Leafy greens are the basis for every great salad. They also contain high levels of important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. While iceberg lettuce may be the most widely used salad vegetable, it is almost completely empty of nutrition and it tastes very bland. Better choices that not only taste better but also are nutrient dense include spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, arugula, Swiss chard, and kale. These powerhouse vegetables are high in carotenoids, fiber, folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Carotenoids have been shown to slow the growth of certain types of cancer including breast, lung, stomach, and skin cancer. There are many other nutrients in leafy greens, and many of them act as antioxidants and help to remove free radicals from the body before they can do much harm. Leafy greens are vital to a healthy diet.

Berries

Berries are a versatile powerhouse source of nutrition. While popular varieties include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries, and blackberries, less well-known varieties such as acai, bilberry, and elderberry are also great sources of cancer-fighting nutrients. These deeply colored fruits have high levels of antioxidants including anthocyanins and other flavonoids. These antioxidants work to remove free radicals from the body, making them important in fighting cancer. Berries also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help the body heal itself.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are probably one of the better-known types of food that fight cancer, but many people do not understand why. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which helps protect the body’s DNA from cancer-causing damage. Cooking tomatoes makes the lycopene more readily available to the body. Tomatoes are also high in alpha-tomatine, a phytonutrient that has been shown to hinder growth of cancer cells as well as kill fully formed cancer cells. Everyone should eat tomatoes, raw and cooked.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Some popular cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. These vegetables are high in sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. These phytonutrients help the body remove carcinogenic compounds before they damage the body’s DNA and they help repair damaged cells. The benefits of these compounds are accessed when the vegetables are chopped up and the glucosinolates are broken down by enzymes called myrosinase. These vegetables are also high in fiber.

Watermelon

Watermelons are a powerhouse source of important cancer-fighting nutrients. Higher than tomatoes in lycopene by 40%, they also have high levels of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, and citrulline. The lycopene in watermelon is readily bio-available. Watermelon’s antioxidants remove free radicals from the body and protect DNA from damage. It helps hydrate the body and is very alkaline, which can help detoxify the body and prevent cancer. Many nutritionists believe watermelon to be both a fruit and a vegetable.

Conclusion

We all have cancer cells in our bodies, every day, all the time. The state of our health determines whether we “get cancer.” Beating cancer is something we can do every time we eat, depending on what we eat. Most of us have had friends or family who have died of cancer, and all of us can think of better ways of passing away than being slowly consumed by abnormal cells.

Almost all produce kills cancer in some way. Raw, fresh, organic (ideally home grown) produce creates the healthiest gut flora, provides enzymes to reduce aging and repair injuries, and heals the body from the inside out. The most important aspect of any natural health protocol is diet. The first step to reversing diseases like cancer is to repair the gut.

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Hear No Evil, See No Evil – Chantix, Drug Advertising, and the FDA

In 1997, the FDA decided to relax the guidelines pertaining to televised pharmaceutical ads. In the following years, direct-to-consumer ads took off from a $12 million dollar business to a $4.1 billion dollar business by 2006. In 2011, it was estimated that 1 billion per year was being spent.

The amount of money spent is a boon to the television stations and one of the reasons mainstream news media often buries news that is unfavorable to pharmaceutical companies. They don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them.

Aside from obvious corruption, the naiveté of the American people regarding pharmaceutical companies is astounding. Although some reports of the pharmaceutical companies’ flagrant disregard for human lives are publicized and stories of them being fined billions of dollars for civil and criminal activities should concern us, somehow we don’t connect the dots. The same company that may have been fined billions for corruption regarding another drug also makes vaccines, but we are told vaccines are safe and, therefore, believe what we want to hear.

Even when whistleblowers come forward to reveal that their company falsified claims that their vaccine worked and even falsified lab work to back up their claims, and the government decides to prosecute, the majority of Americans still believes pharmaceutical companies to be benign – to be the good guys! And worse yet, Americans believe the FDA holds its citizens in a sacred trust – that the FDA looks out for us. This belief is so ingrained we can’t even read an insert or hear a frightening list of possible side effects to a drug and weigh the possible consequences. Somehow we hear only what we want to hear.

Chantix claims to be the number one best selling drug to stop smoking. This is the script to one of their television commercials.

Chantix Ad

Testimonial: My name is Louis and I quit smoking with Chantix. I tried to do it in the past and I wasn’t successful. Quitting smoking this time was different because I talked to my doctor, and I – I got a prescription for Chantix.

Narrative: Along with support, Chantix varenicline is proven to help people quit smoking.

Testimonial: It was important to me that Chantix was a non-nicotine pill. The fact that it reduced the urge to smoke helped me… get that confidence I could do it.

Narrative: Some people had changes in behavior, thinking, or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping CHANTIX. If you notice any of these, stop Chantix and call your doctor right away.

Tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse while taking CHANTIX.

Don’t take CHANTIX if you’ve had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. If you develop these, stop Chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems or if you develop new or worse symptoms. Get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.

Use caution when driving or operating machinery. Common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping, and unusual dreams.

Testimonial: I’m very proud. I love myself as a non-smoker.

Narrative: Ask your doctor if Chantix is right for you.

So What Did You Hear?

Did you hear anything other than the fact that this drug may help smokers quit? Did you dismiss the warnings, thinking they only happen to the other guy?

Let’s break this down. The entire ad from start to finish is 242 words of which 58%, 141 words, are exclusively used for the warning. We were warned that this drug may cause the following:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in thinking
  • Changes in mood
  • Hostility
  • Agitation
  • Depressed mood
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicidal actions
  • Exacerbation of mental illness

All of the above can happen when you are using the drug and after you quit using it!

It also has a vague warning related to blood vessel problems, heart attacks and stroke.

It might be dangerous to operate machinery.

Allergic reactions have occurred including skin reactions, some of which can be fatal.

And then it tells you the common side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unusual Dreams

None of these side effects or warnings would be listed if trial subjects had not experienced them. We aren’t told how many went through trials. We are not told what percentage experienced these side effects. We have no idea if this drug is safe for us. All we do know for sure is that the risk ratio of how many may sue the company compared to profits from sales is favorable enough for this drug to be on the market.

So what is a good margin? How many people can die? How many might be killed by the person taking the drug? You see, even though they took up more than half of the commercial with warnings, they still didn’t cover everything! And compared to their website warning, they also watered it down a bit.

Chantix Website Warning

On the Chantix website, the warning section, titled the “Important Safety Information and Indication,” is 474 words long. It includes more warnings: drug interactions, seizures, intensified effects of alcohol, blackout episodes (amnesia), and more. The web warning also stresses the “hostility and agitation” by mentioning it twice along with stating the words “aggression and anger.” So along with many health warnings, including death, consumers may turn hostile and aggressive.

Does this mean they may abuse their spouses, children, neighbors or strangers before killing themselves? Is this a fairly clear warning that this drug may be the catalyst for a mass shooter event?

The consumer who wants to pop a pill to quit smoking probably doesn’t hear this. On the website, the only symptoms with a percentage is nausea – 30%. This alone may cause a consumer to think twice. But other warnings, life threatening and life altering warnings with no percentages will be dismissed.

It is time we look at these drugs critically and demand full information. Most of all, it is time we opened our eyes to the truth.

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Post Halloween Sugar Blues

So you took your little ones out for a night of door-to-door begging and came home with a load of candy. Once your little darlings were tucked into bed you sorted through the hoard, convincing yourself that your only goal was to toss out the worst of it, the crap candy no one should ever feed a child. But let’s face it, you were also picking out the miniature candy bars and eating them yourself, knowing you only have a year or two at the most before the jig is up and your kids will know exactly how many pieces of candy they scored.

Now that Halloween is over, how do you feel? Are your sinuses aching? How about your gums? Any old injuries reminding you that you are getting on in the years? Any joint pain? Any signs of a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection anywhere in your body?

When we deal with aches and pains or a sudden illness after a holiday, we are quick to blame either stress or the weather. The truth is, it’s probably the sugar.

Sugar does two things: it devastates the immune system for 2-3 days and it feeds Candida (and other fungi), bad bacteria, and viruses. If you’ve been eating well and correcting the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria and yeast in your gut, you just undid a lot of hard work because your bad bacteria and yeast were just given a feast. All through your body where you have scar tissue or a tendency for chronic infection, you have a little more yeast than you want to have. These guys just enjoyed a feast and exploded exponentially. That’s why your old sports injury hurts or your sinuses have flared up again.

So what do you do now? Eat right!

Time for Salads

If you think a salad means lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, think again. A real salad, a healthy salad, an amazing salad, is a feast of raw, fresh, organic veggies. This salad filled with 10-12 veggies (or more) will not only be the most nutrient rich meal you can eat, it is also exactly what your gut needs to regain balance.

Raw vegetables are prebiotic. They (and their roughage) feed and house healthy bacteria in your gut and help them to multiply. This healthy bacteria keeps bad bacteria and fungi in check.

See the first link below for suggested ingredients for the perfect salad.

Supplements

If you’ve sent Candida into mass production through your sugar consumption diet is key but supplements can help. A good probiotic and a great supplement to kill Candida will hurry up the process.

Another Consideration

Now that you are understanding how much havoc sugar wreaks on your system, why are you feeding it to your children? Eliminate processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup from their diet. Both were already horrible for everyone’s health, but now they are worse – both are usually genetically modified. (GM sugar beets and corn). It’s time we step up and make new traditions for our families that do not include unhealthy food. Check out Gluten, Candida, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Autoimmune Diseases for more information on gut health and disease.

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The Vegan Diet: Why It Is a Big Deal

Recent studies show that more and more people in the U.S. are choosing to reduce or give up meat in their diet because of the growing body of evidence linking meat consumption to obesity, digestive problems, heart disease, some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and early death.

What is the problem with meat? Most people eat conventional factory farmed meat, which may have risks due to the presence of chemicals or diseases.  On top of that, most people eat way too much of it. Americans consume 60 percent more meat that Europeans and 4 times more than other developed countries. One study found that meat-eaters are 27 percent more likely to die early and 20 percent more likely to die of cancer.

Out of an estimated 16 million vegetarians, (5 percent of the population) about 8 million people are vegan. So, when people give up meat, they either switch to a vegetarian diet (no meat but the diet includes eggs and dairy) or the new trend, which is vegan (no meat, or dairy, or animal-derived products).

Like the featured image? Check out the collard green wraps recipe here.

Why Do People Eat Vegan?

There are usually 3 reasons why people choose a vegan diet:

  • to protest the exploitation/cruelty of animals by the agricultural industry
  • to reduce the environmental costs of agriculture
  • to improve their overall health and live a healthier life

To Protect Animals

Many people choose a vegan lifestyle because they are against the exploitation of animals by the agriculture industry. Vegans believe animals should not be used against their will and made to suffer and die as resources for human needs.

Vegans believe animals are sentient beings with rights not unlike humans. Vegans are against animal testing, large animal breeding factories, and poultry, cattle, and dairy operations where animals are often kept in less than ideal conditions. There are reports of animal cruelty in many livestock operations. Ten billion animals are slaughtered every year for human consumption in the U.S.

Protect the Environment

Vegans are against the environmental costs of livestock agriculture, including the use of large amounts of land and water, use of chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers, topsoil erosion, and pollution. According to the EPA, chemical and animal waste runoff pollutes more than 173,000 miles of rivers and streams annually and is the nation’s leading cause of impaired water quality. Nearly 20% of worldwide pollution is attributed to the meat industry.

Resource use is a concern to vegans. It is estimated that it takes 40 calories of fossil-fuel energy to create every 1 calorie of feed-lot beef in the U.S., but it only takes 2.2 calories of energy to create plant proteins.

In addition, 70% of the grain produced in the U.S. is used to feed animals raised for slaughter. Livestock animals consume five times as much grain as is eaten by the population.  According to a Cornell University professor of ecology, David Pimentel, if that same amount were used to feed people directly, nearly 800 million people could be fed globally.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California have concluded that consumption of meat and dairy should be drastically reduced in order to cut the environmental footprint (use of resources). They rated vegetarians and vegans as requiring 30 percent fewer resources.

To Improve Overall Health

Statistics show that most Americans eat an overabundance of foods that are high in fat, sugar, and the added chemicals contained in processed foods.  The vegan diet is designed to eliminate many of the health risks associated with meat consumption, (such as higher risk of disease) and increase consumption of healthy raw foods like vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits. Vegans (and vegetarians) are known to have lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower body/mass indexes (less fat), and lower rates for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. So, the vegan diet, when combined with a healthy exercise lifestyle, especially for those who actively work out or compete in athletic events,  produces healthier people.

Why is Vegan Better?

A vegan diet can be healthier than a conventional diet for many reasons.  Vegan foods include whole grains, a variety of vegetables, fruits, and beans, that are rich in essential vitamins, contain lots of needed fiber, are low in fat, and contain no cholesterol. Calcium is derived from eating vegetables like broccoli, kale, collard greens, tofu, fortified juices, and nut milks (soymilk, almond milk, etc.). Iron is obtained from eating things like chickpeas, spinach, pinto beans, and soy products.  Vitamin B12 (which does not occur naturally in plants) can be supplemented in pill form or in products that are fortified with it. Most fruits and vegetables contain essential ingredients like carbohydrates, vitamins, folate, minerals like magnesium and potassium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (carotenoids, anthocyanins) which help prevent disease.

Some people believe they cannot eat vegan because they won’t get enough protein, but vegans get protein from many sources. For example, green vegetables like kale, broccoli, seaweed, peas, and spinach are good sources of protein and so are various kinds of beans like lima, black, pinto, edamame, and lentils. Grains are another way to get protein and these include brown rice, whole wheat bread, pasta, quinoa, and bulgar. Nuts such as peanuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, and walnuts are protein rich. Vegans also eat lots of berries, (strawberries, blueberries, etc.) because they contain antioxidants and phytochemicals.

The Problems with Meat, Dairy, and Fish

Meat

The standard American diet is usually centered around red meat. But when red meat is  consumed in excess quantities, it can cause a person to have higher than normal levels of cholesterol and saturated fats. Diets rich in animal fats are associated with higher risks for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, and several types of cancer.  Red meat also contains carnitine, which causes hardening of the arteries, and studies show that increased carnitine is associated with increased  cardiovascular disease. A meat diet may cause an excess of iron, which studies show can increase your chances for Alzheimer’s disease and colorectal cancer. Most of the processed meat (lunchmeat) is unhealthy because it contains carcinogenic compounds.

The FDA reports that foods high in protein such as meat, poultry, and seafood can cause outbreaks of foodborne illnesses like E.coli and salmonella. Additives are used in the meat industry to enhance the color and appearance of meat, like pink slime and meat glue, which have questionable health benefits.

The EPA estimates that 95% of pesticide residue in the American diet comes from meat, fish, and dairy products.

People on a meat diet have shorter lives and more disability later in life, according to author Michael F. Roizen, M.D., author of “The Real Age Diet”. He says animal products clog your arteries, give you less energy, slow down your immune system, and increase the rates of cognitive and sexual dysfunction.

Dairy

Recent studies are showing that as many as 75 % of the world’s adult population may be lactose intolerant, which can cause a number of health problems. Milk products like cheese and yogurt have been heavily promoted as part of a healthy diet in the U.S. for many years, and only recently has evidence been coming out to the contrary. High intake of dairy products can raise an individual’s cholesterol levels which can lead to obesity, digestive problems, and heart disease. The problem comes from the combination of animal products derived from unhealthy animals and a diet high in refined sugar.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. of the Institute for Medical Functional Medicine, dairy consumption has not been proven to increase athletic performance. It does not protect bone strength and may even reduce it. And he says dairy products can increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 50%.

Dairy animals are often given supplemental steroids, growth hormones, and antibiotics, all of which may pose health hazards to humans. There has been concern over whether these additives can cause cancer in humans, but the scientific evidence is inconclusive.

Fish

Fish, although high in protein, can contain varying amounts of carcinogens like PCBs and DDT and also heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium. These contaminants are linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological deficits.

Conclusion

With all the growing evidence pointing to the health hazards associated with a meat-centered diet, it is no wonder that more people are adopting a vegan (and vegetarian) diet. The benefits are obvious for anyone who wants to live a longer and healthier life. And, with the number of people eating vegan, it is not surprising that an increasing number of restaurants catering to vegetarians and vegans, and there are also numerous meat and dairy substitutes now available to consumers.

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