Wayne and I returned last night from a week long vegan Caribbean cruise where the leaders of the whole food plant based movement gave lectures to further inspire and educate us. My favourites among them: Drs. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neil Barnard and Michael Greger. We also enjoyed cooking demos, pilates and fitness classes, meditation classes…all the while feasting on unprocessed vegan fare. At the end of the day, I could not resist the allure of a Mai Tai while relaxing in the sunshine on the ship’s deck. It was a really great trip.
What’s the deal with eggs?
I was really surprised to read the following in an article about eggs in a recent issue of TIME Magazine: “There’s finally consensus that, yes, your favourite breakfast food really is good for you.”
It seems almost impossible for the average citizen to really know whether eggs are part of a healthy diet. As always, I look to unbiased research-based evidence. Turns out it would be wise to avoid eggs. Here is Michael Greger’s summary of the research data:
Despite the powerful egg industry’s best efforts to put a “healthy” spin on egg consumption, eggs contain high levels of cholesterol and may contain carcinogenic retroviruses, heterocyclic amines, toxic pollutants (such as arsenic, perfluorochemicals like PCB, phthalates, flame retardant chemicals, dioxins), and Salmonella. Consuming just one egg per day may significantly shorten our lifespans, increase the levels of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1, and increase our risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and some types of cancer (such as pancreatic, breast, and prostrate).
Eating a meatless, egg-less, plant-based diet may improve mood, lower the risk of cataracts, neurological diseases, food poisoning, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even help reverse rheumatoid arthritis. This may be due in part to the arachidonic acid, cholesterol, sulfuric acid, choline, methionine, and sex hormones in eggs and the relative lack of antioxidant phytonutrients.*
He also noted during one of his lectures that the USDA prohibits egg corporations from promoting eggs as “safe”, “healthy” or “nutritious”.
The great news is that we can still bake delicious treats without eggs (or cow’s milk or butter). I haven’t yet tried my hand at vegan baking, but my peeps Ollie, Kate and Emma have made really tasty vegan muffins, cakes and pies. Check out the tips on the Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet.
*For hyperlinks to Dr. Greger’s references click here.
The Pleasure Trap
Why is it so hard for humans to make the right choices? This is the question that psychologist Douglas Lisle, PhD., addresses in his book The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness. I heard Doug speak in upstate New York and loved his insightful and intriguing message.
Salt Sugar Fat
So do you favour the savoury snacks like chips and fries, or the sweet stuff like chocolate bars? It seems like we lean one way or the other when it comes to indulging our cravings. I was fascinated by a lecture given by Salt Sugar Fat book author (and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter) Michael Moss. His book explains why we find it so difficult to avoid the high salt, high fat and high sugar processed foods. The processed food giants have designed some of our favourite foods to hook us (much like an addictive drug) by taking our neurological circuitry to a “bliss point”.
Our taste buds do have a high capacity to readjust to foods lower in salt, fat and sugar so that over time we will not miss the big flavour hits in candy, pop and ice cream we may love right now. We’ll be able to taste and enjoy the natural and often more subtle flavours in unprocessed foods. Give it a try starting with the cookie recipe below!
Banana Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon vanilla
¾ cup natural chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cups old fashioned oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
½ cup non-dairy chocolate chips or raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Mix bananas, vanilla, peanut butter and maple syrup into a creamy consistency in a large bowl
In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder and salt
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until they are well combined -the batter should be slightly sticky
Fold in the chocolate chips or raisins
Place rounded, heaping tablespoon-sized balls of the batter onto an ungreased baking sheet
Bake for 15-18 minutes
These are really delicious warm out of the oven!