Hello friends

It gives me such pleasure to gather up what I find to be interesting, exciting and compelling information and send it along to you for consideration and inspiration.  I would love your feedback on these newsletters…just hit reply and let me know if there are any topics you’d like me to cover and any suggestions you may have about the format or frequency.  Do you prefer more scientific evidence and fewer practical tips, or vice versa?  I am all ears!  In the meantime, please read on…

One of my healthcare heroes…

I am not aware of many healthcare professionals in Canada who are actively promoting a whole food plant based diet.  However, after Bracebridge cardiologist Dr. Shane Williams stumbled across The China Study a few years ago and as a result transitioned to a whole food plant based diet, he then started recommending it to his patients.  Amazing health improvements ensued.  I was fortunate to attend a few of the group talks that he gives to his patients and their families.  He’s very passionate about how this diet has the potential to prevent, treat and even reverse disease.  Last November he organised his inaugural 10-day Plant Based Health Immersion Summit in the Dominican Republic with 45 attendees and guest speakers Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn among others.  Looks like he’s planning another immersion program this fall.  If you or someone you know is interested, check out his site.

22-Days Nutrition

Veganism goes glam…Beyonce and Jay-Z are advocates of a plant based diet!  Check out 22-Days Nutrition for a glimpse of what will hopefully lead to progress in this exciting movement toward a healthier future for all.  The Plant Based 101 page has some interesting info.

Got Milked?

I listened with interest to CBC Radio’s The Current interview of Got Milked? author Alissa Hamilton.  The MACLEAN’S book review with added perspectives on the milk controversy is here.  Hamilton argues that making milk a food group gives Canadians the impression that drinking milk is essential to good health, when the scientific evidence demonstrates that it is not.  While Health Canada stated during the CBC interview that the dairy industry does not influence Canada’s Food Guide, it should be noted that it has admitted to being swayed by food industry lobbyists in the past and that four of the 12 members on the Food Guide Advisory Committee that created our current guide were from the food industry…an obvious conflict of interest.

So let’s see how vegans ensure sufficient calcium intake…

Michael Greger, MD’s calcium recommendation is “to get least 600 mg daily via calcium-­rich plant foods – preferably low-­oxalate dark green leafy vegetables, which includes all greens except spinach, chard, and beet greens (all very healthy foods, but not good calcium sources due to their oxalate content).”  Also, remember to shake your soy milk carton before drinking because the calcium settles.

Brenda Davis, RD suggests selecting a variety of calcium-rich foods throughout the day, including 6-8 servings of foods containing approximately 120-150 mg of calcium each.  An additional 100-300 mg of calcium will generally be provided by other plant foods containing smaller amounts of calcium.

Plant Calcium Sources (1 serving = 120-150 mg calcium)
½ cup fortified soymilk or other fortified non-dairy milk
½ cup fortified juice
¼ cup calcium set tofu
¼ cup almonds
3 Tbsp almond butter
1 cup cooked/2 cups raw calcium-rich greens (kale, broccoli, collards, bok choy)
1 cup high calcium beans (soy, white, navy, Great Northern or black turtle)
5 figs

Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes

I experimented a while back with Vega One, a meal replacement shake. It never grew on me, so didn’t continue with it, but if I want to give shakes another go, I will look to this Health Ambition article to guide me. We agree that ideally we’ll get all our nutrients through unprocessed foods. But if we can’t, for whatever reason, these shakes are worthy of consideration.

Pasta with Walnuts, Lentils and Red Peppers

This recipe is from Oh She Glows.  We love that it’s quick, healthy and tasty.  Can’t beat that!

Makes 1 large serving or 2 small servings

Ingredients

  • 1 serving (3oz) whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, dry toasted
  • 1/2 cup + 1-2 tbsp medium heat salsa
  • 1.5-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast*
  • 1-1.5 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (or some fresh if on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup cooked lentils

Instructions

1.Cook 1 serving of pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, lightly toast chopped walnuts in a small pot over medium heat.  This will take only a few minutes – be careful not to burn.

2. After toasting the walnuts, add in the rest of the ingredients (except for the spinach), to taste. Stir well and heat on medium-low for another 7-8 minutes.

3. Place spinach in a colander and rinse. When pasta is cooked, remove from heat and pour onto the colander (with the spinach in it) and rinse lightly. Drain and then add the spinach and pasta into the pot. Now pour the sauce into the pasta and spinach and stir well. Season to taste and adjust flavours if necessary.

*Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes in vegan dishes. Look for Bob’s Red Mill brand in major grocery store chains, bulk barn and health food stores.