Tag Archives: veganism

Do you or someone you love suffer from heart disease? You can eat your way to health!


Recently CNN’s Sanjay Gupta did a documentary called Last Heart Attack.  In it, he investigates how diet can prevent, reverse damage from, and even protect against heart disease.  Among Gupta’s guests is former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who recently lost a significant amount of weight from a change to a more plant-based diet.   To watch the entire documentary, click here.

Several important, and perhaps surprising points presented in the documentary are:

  • According to some research, you can actually become ‘heart attack proof’ as a result of a plant-based (or vegan) diet.
  • Since eating is the reason we are suffering from high cholesterol, heart disease and heart attacks, eating could and should be a solution.
  • “Your genes are not your fate.”  No matter how much ‘risk’ you have, you are not bound to your genes.  Your diet makes a difference!
  • 1 heart attack happens every 30 seconds in the United States.
  • Even doctors who do see the benefits of an entirely plant-based (or vegan) diet may not recommend it to patients. (They think it’s too hard and people won’t do it).
  • Some people who appear healthy can have a heart attack with no warning symptoms.
  • New technology, coronary calcium scans, can help detect the presence of plaque early.
  • Heart attacks are the biggest killer of men and women in the United States and are “COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE”.
  • Your cholesterol number is not necessarily what is important.  What is important is the size of the ‘bad’ cholesterol particles (small is bad!).
  • “Stents, drugs, and bypasses are not the cure – because they do not treat the CAUSE of the illness.”
  • A lot of women don’t experience classic symptoms of heart attacks.
  • Certain cultures around the world have no incidence of heart disease.  NONE! (Could diet be the reason?)
  • Research shows that the more people changed their diet or lifestyle, the more they improved – in DIRECT PROPORTION.
  • Plant-based (or vegan) diets can not only prevent heart disease but actually REVERSE it.
  • Plaque starts building in childhood!

We decided to share this documentary with you because the realization of how much of an impact diet has on our health is almost revolutionary.  What is now a number one killer is entirely preventable.  Changing your diet may seem difficult, but it can be done with support, resources, and faith in yourself.  

We want to offer you a bit of that support and resources so that you can make those small steps toward a healthier diet.  Although there was not much discussion about the TASTE of the plant-based (or vegan) foods making up these healthier diets in the documentary, as vegans, we can assure you that THEY TASTE DELICIOUS!  Not only the recipes on our blog, but many cookbooks, other blogs, and internet resources (please see our resource page for some), provide an abundance of ideas for creating delectable and nutritious meals.

As Dr. Dean Ornish says in the video, once you start to make the change, you “reframe the reason for making these changes from ‘fear of dying’ to joy of living.  And joy is what’s sustainable!”

So be joyful!!!

Alf Hana!!!

Related articles

Advertisements

30-Day Vegan Challenge: A Complete Tool for the Curious


Dear readers,

We know many of you are not vegan.  Maybe you are interested in trying out plant-based recipes every now and then, you may practice abstention from animal products during a religious fast, or you may be trying to eat healthier foods.  Do you think you could try a vegan diet for 30 days?

Our dear friend, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, has just released her new book, the 30-Day Vegan Challenge.  
After so many years of being vegan, using available materials to help support a plant-based diet, I can say I have never seen a more comprehensive book for people interested in making the transition.  The 30-Day Vegan Challenge covers every aspect of the vegan experience.  Any question you may have is addressed here.  (If you have ever thought you couldn’t be vegan because you’d miss cheese, there’s a chapter for you!)

Not only does Colleen cover these issues, she also provides essential information about nutrition (reviewed by dietitians), menus for the entire 30-Days, and recipes that are tried and true.  We know because we’ve been using these recipes for years now!!!

Colleen starts out by encouraging you to do a bit of preparation – get a buddy (this is important!), take some measurements (some of the changes you will experience can be measured!), and take a 3-Day food diary before you start (to see what you really normally eat).  Then, each of the 30-Days has a chapter full of specific, detailed, researched information about an issue surrounding veganism.  Some of these include: Eating healthfully and affordably (Day 2), Eating out and speaking up (Day 8), Discovering that there is life after cheese (Day 12), Putting to rest the great protein myth (Day 15), Celebrating the holidays (Day 25), Achieving and sustaining weight loss (Day 28)…..

Colleen ends with the menus, full of favorite recipes from her cookbooks and ideas for easy, simple meals.

This book is now available electronically – yes even in Egypt.  You can purchase it through Amazon and read it on a Kindle reader (either on your computer, your iPhone, iPad, etc.).  For more about this, read this post. (***Not all publishers allow their books to be downloaded in Egypt, but the 30-Day Vegan Challenge is available, so click away!)

If you are interested in checking out other works by Colleen we would suggest her podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought (it’s free!!! and can be downloaded to your computer or any other mobile device).  Of course, you might also find her other books useful:

Looking for vegetarian and vegan goodies in Egypt? Try Health Harvest.


We are always happy to find places to buy vegetarian and vegan goodies in Egypt. Don’t misunderstand:  You can find vegetarian and vegan goodies at ANY shop!!! If you make the focus of your diet whole foods it won’t be hard for you to find treasures in every grocery shop, small market and even vegetable vendor.  😉

However, there are certain ingredients that are just not readily available.  While we may not use them often and they may not be absolutely necessary for our survival, some of these ingredients make it possible for us to have compassionate versions of familiar treats,  add nutrition and flavor to our soups and dishes or just try new things.

We discovered a new shop in Egypt, Health Harvest, that carries some of these rare ingredients!  – Okay, it’s not new – it’s been here for about six years or so, but it’s new to us!!!!  With three locations across Egypt, Health Harvest carries a number of products you might be interested in.  Among the items we found are:

These seeds will be great on salads!!!

Sunflower Seeds

Miso adds wonderful flavor to soups and sauces.  It’s basically fermented soy beans.  We have not found miso anywhere else in Egypt.

Miso

Agar agar flakes are made from sea plants.  You can also buy them in powder form (we did not see them at Health Harvest, though).  They serve as a vegetarian gelatin and are wonderful for making puddings or CHEESE (recipe coming soon)!!

Agar agar flakes

We don’t really buy mixes usually.  We love to cook everything from scratch because it’s cheaper and we can be absolutely certain what ingredients are included in the mix.  However, we found a number of gluten-free mixes available and decided to try them out.  They have a variety including:

There were MANY kinds of beans available for sale – even black soy beans!!!  But we bought these little lima beans.  Aren’t they cute?  They’ll be really tasty in a minestrone (recipe here!).

There are even some safer, compassionate beauty products on sale including this deodorant that is free from aluminum!!!

If you are interested in visiting Health Harvest here’s their contact information:

  • 00237483851- Mohadessen
  • 0126007879- Nasr City
  • 002035231001 ext: 1085- Alexandria
  • General Manager-0020145253777
  • healthharvest[at]hotmail.com
  • Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Health-Harvest/173199636066856?sk=info
  • Their website: http://kushicenter.com/index.php
Do you know of other shops specializing in specific vegetarian or vegan products?  Tell us about them!!!
Alf Hana!!!

Why vegan? For the environment


We’ve been sharing lots of vegan recipes, resources and information over these last few months. Recently, we’ve been asked more and more about why we are vegan. As we wrote in Why Vegan?: For your health, there are many reasons to become vegan. In fact, it is probably not just one reason that causes someone to move toward veganism. For more about the health impacts of veganism, read our first article in this series.

Our topic for today is veganism and its impact on the environment.

When you stop eating meat, you save tons of water, reduce carbon emissions, and reduce soil erosion. The business of raising animals and making them ready for consumption uses a tremendous amount of energy and creates even more waste. Here are a couple of statistics about your diet and the environment.

Water
National Geographic interactive tool: helps identify and compare how your diet impacts water consumption. You can scan through different products and find out how much water is needed to produce each.

Just one for you to consider:
1 pound of beef (or about ½ a kilogram) requires 1,799 gallons (6,810 liters) of water while 1 pound of soybeans (or about ½ a kilogram) requires 216 gallons (818 liters) of water

Melanie Joy, PhD, has also written about the negative effects of a diet based on animals on the Earth’s water.  She writes “Animal agriculture is likely the world’s largest source of water pollution.  The main sources of the pollution are from antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, animal wastes, sediments from eroded pastures, and fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops.”

Carbon emissions
The business of raising animals for food has been found to produce more carbon emissions that all the world’s forms of transportation added together (according to a 2006 report by the United Nations).  Also, another report from the University of Chicago has startling information to share.  Because it takes 7 kilograms of feed to raise 1 kilogram of beef, and the methane released by the animals through their bodily gases, the meat-eater, on average, is responsible for the release of 1.5 more tonnes of carbon a year than a vegan.  Put another way, many sources place the methane produced by cattle and their physical waste can have a polluting effect equal to that of 33 million cars!!!

Erosion

Erosion: courtesy of Soil Science

Erosion is the process by which the fertile soil, and the nutrients therein, are worn away.  Erosion is especially damaging to the Earth.  According to several studies, the process of growing animals for food is responsible for 55 percent of all the erosion now occurring in the United States.  If we would stop growing animals for food, we could greatly reduce the amount of erosion of fertile topsoil.

Choosing more plant-based options in your diet will help you make less of an impact on the Earth.

But the reasons to include more plant-based foods in your diet don’t end here.  Keep an eye out for more posts about reasons to try a more plant-based diet.

Source:
Joy, M. (2010). Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows. San Francisco: Conari Press.

5 Easy to find, Nutritious, Quick, Vegan Snacks in Cairo, Egypt


How’s that for a post title?!  This post was actually inspired by a recent post on One green planet about vegan snacks that are available on the market.  But, unfortunately, none of them can be found in Egypt!!!  So, we humbly present the first in a series of posts about vegan snacks that you can find in Egypt.

Later we’ll write about snacks that you can make at home, but for now, these are snacks available in shops or from street vendors.  We have tried to choose snacks that are as close to their whole state, retaining as much of their nutrition as possible.

1.  SEEDS (or ‘lib’)

Brown Egyptian seeds (watermelon seeds)

These beautiful babies can be found in almost any nut vendor’s shop in Cairo.  Egyptians love to eat them by cracking the shell open with their teeth and pulling the seed itself out with their tongue.  It’s kind of a complicated technique and you might have to be a real Egyptian to eat them properly 🙂 .   There are two common varieties : larger white seeds (what my research says are pumpkin seeds), and smaller brown seeds (which are watermelon seeds).  Both are easy to find, relatively inexpensive, fun to eat, and full of nutrients.

White Egyptian seeds (pumpkin seeds)

For the watermelon seeds, 1 cup of seeds will give you a whopping 602 calories – so go SLOW!!!!  But, it also provides 31 g of protein, 44 % of your daily recommended intake of iron, and is a good source of phosphorous, zinc, manganese, and magnesium!

As for the pumpkin seeds, they are only 285 calories for a whole cup.  With 12 g of protein, a cup of these cuties provides 12 % of your daily intake of iron, and a good helping of magnesium and zinc.

For the record, I love the white ones most – I guess because they’re larger and easier to manipulate!!!  But, if you’re in the mood for a challenge, try the brown ones!!!  Oh, and if you’re watching your weight, just take no more than two tablespoons because these are high in fat! [images from http://www.taw9eel.com/]

2.  Termis

Termis, also known as lupin or lupin beans, is another type of seed very common in Egypt.  You can buy them in their dried state in any small grocery.  Find the already-prepared version (soaked, cooked, seasoned with salt, lemon, red pepper!!!) in larger markets.  It is especially popular in the spring during the Sham El Nessim holiday, but you can find the prepared version year-round.   Eat the yellow lupin seed with the skin, if you like, but I like to bite about half-way down and remove the skin before I eat it.

And here’s the nutritional info on the yellow lupin:

Yellow lupin seeds

1 cup will provide you will only 193 calories and – hold on to your hats! – 26 grams of protein!!!  That’s right, folks – here’s a high protein, low-calorie food you can snack on without a guilty conscience!  But wait, you also get 5 g of fiber and 8% of your daily recommended intake of calcium from these plump yellow cuties.  In fact, our source for this nutrient information, nutritiondata.com lists them as being a good snack if you want to lose weight!  So dig in!!! [image from el-baraka.net]

3. Dried Figs

A favorite especially around Ramadan, these nutritious and naturally sweet goodies are also easy to find.  In small groceries or larger supermarkets, they are commonly sold in 250 gram packets or in air-tight circular packages.  Their very sweet taste will satisfy even the most troublesome sweet tooth – while you get some nutritional value!  Eat them right out of the bag – or soak them in some water for a softer treat!

As for their nutritional punch, here’s the low-down:

For 1 cup, you get 371 calories, 15 g of fiber (!), and 5 g of protein.  Not to mention 24% of your daily recommended intake of calcium and 17 % of your need for iron!!! [image from all-creatures.org]

4.  Grilled Corn on the Cob (especially in the summer!)

Can you smell it?  Yes, the man with the cart on the corner has a grill and is smoking up some corn!!!  MMMMMMM!!!  Usually grilled in its husk, it can obtain a smoky taste, but if you like corn, you’ll love this!

This snack is quite nutritious, with one large ear providing 123 calories, 4 g of fiber, and 5 grams of protein!  With 16% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C covered, you’ll be protecting yourself from illness with just one ear!  It’s also a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorous.  [image from wikitravel.org]

5.  And now, the best for last: Dried dates stuffed with nuts

We actually already wrote about this in a post during the Vegan MoFo last November. You can find these in most small groceries and larger supermarkets.  In fact, you can even find them organic!  Try Isis Sekem.  I love these little jewels. They are the perfect combination of sweet and savory.  You can find many variations – including dates stuffed with almonds, peanuts, and I have even seen cashews!

Our dried dates with peanuts are not too bad on the nutritional scale.  For one ounce (about 28 grams) – which I’m thinking would be around 3 of these babies – you get about 140 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and about 4 % of your daily need for calcium.  Not bad!

What other vegan snacks do you readily find in Cairo?  Please share!

Alf Hana!!!

“ChocoNutins” (Chocolate Covered Peanuts and Raisins)


Here’s a sweet surprise for you!  Chocolate covered peanuts and raisins also known as:  “ChocoNutins” 🙂
Makes 16 surprises!
Ingredients:
1 ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
½ tablespoon vegan butter (or vegetable ‘ghee’) (optional)
½ cup peanuts
½ cup raisins
Instructions:
1.  Melt the chocolate chips and the butter or ghee, if using, in a double-boiler.  (You can also use a microwave, if you like).

2.  While the chips are melting, prepare a cookie sheet by placing wax paper on it.
3.  Remove from the heat and add the peanuts and raisins.
4.  Using your tablespoon, dip the mix onto the cookie sheet in small mounds.
5.  Freeze for at least one hour.  (The longer, the better!)
Store in the fridge.
Enjoy!!!
Serving Suggestions or Variations:
  • Use other kinds of dried fruits (dates, figs, apricots)
  • Use other kinds of nuts (pistachios, cashews, almonds)
  • Leave out the vegan butter for less fat.  (The main reason we add it is to help the chocolate be smoother.)
  • Add rice crispies for a crunchy surprise!

Nutritional Information: (1 of 16 ChocoNutins)
118 Calories; 7 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 15 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Fiber; 2 g Protein

What other things do you like to eat covered in chocolate?  

Alf Hana!!!

Tuesday Teaser #7: Cornbread


It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time to share another recipe we’ve tried and loved!

If you heat spicy soups this bread is the perfect accompaniment!  Actually, we like to have this bread any time!  I especially like to add the optional whole kernels.  They add such a flare to the texture.

It’s not hard to make this bread and both coarse or fine polenta (cornmeal) will work fine!  Find the recipe here (you’ll have to scroll down – it’s not the first one on the list).  And trust us – this cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, is THE best plant-based dessert cookbooks we have ever tried!

It pairs wonderfully with our chili….

Do you like sweet breads?  What’s your favorite flavor?

Alf Hana!!!