I hope everyone’s been enjoying the summer! What a great time to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet. Wayne and I started our 3-month trial of this plant based diet in the month of August and I recall eating a ton of fresh local corn, cantaloupe and watermelon. Check out what your farmers’ market has to offer. Tomatoes are in, so how about making a big batch of gazpacho? Or munch on great big salads or grill a pile of veggies on the BBQ. Bon appetit…
Fish: part of a healthy diet or not?
We often choose to eat fish because it seems to be a healthy alternative to other types of meat: it’s lean, it contains healthy fats (omega-3s) as well as a good amount of protein. You may already know that in addition to containing saturated fat and cholesterol, dioxins in fish is a concern. But how much of a concern is it? Here’s some information from the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Dioxins are found throughout the world in the environment and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals.
- Once dioxins enter the body, they last a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. Their half-life in the body is estimated to be 7 to 11 years.
- More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish. Very low levels are found in plants, water and air.
- Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.
Fish by far has the highest concentration, followed by eggs then cheese. Factory farmed fish have significantly more dioxins than wild fish. Everyone agrees that the omega-3s found in fish are healthy but choosing fish as our source of omega-3s would lead most of us to exceed the safety limits of dioxin and dioxin-like substances like PCBs. Click here
for the sources of this information and extra details.
Omega -3 Fatty Acids
The very best plant sources of omega-3s are flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, hempseeds, hempseed oil, canola oil, walnuts and green leafy vegetables. Flaxseeds are by far the richest common source of omega-3s at 57%. One teaspoon of flaxseed oil or one and a half tablespoons of ground flaxseed, plus your usual intake of vegetables, walnuts and other foods provides plenty of omega-3 fatty acids for most people.
It’s best to eat ground flaxseeds. Ideally we’ll buy whole flaxseeds then grind them (use a spice or coffee grinder) because pre-ground seeds have a short shelf life (6-16 weeks). Store in an opaque and airtight container in the fridge. Some ways to incorporate flax are:
- Sprinkled on morning hot or cold cereal
- Baked in muffins (ground flaxseed mixed with water is a good egg substitute), cookies or bread
- Added to a smoothie
- In Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette (I buy single applesauce servings for this)
Supplementing is something to consider. Instead of fish oil, take 250 mg microalgae based DHA daily.
Is Marshall Texas Going Vegan?
I can’t believe I am only hearing about Marshall Texas now! Marshall is a small city near the Louisiana border where the mayor and his wife went vegan and are bringing the community along with significant success. Mayor Smith was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and so switched to a whole food plant based diet. Scans later showed that the cancerous growth had disappeared. They’ve just wrapped up the city’s third annual Healthfest. Through Get Healthy Marshall
, they’ve organized monthly plant-based potlucks. The group also offers healthy-eating tours of a local supermarket. The popularity of plant-based eating has also influenced local restaurants to add vegan dishes to their menus. Check out the website for a dose of inspiration.
Amazing vegan chocolate anyone? Thanks to Sandy for introducing me to Camino, a Canadian brand of fair trade and organic food products, most of which are vegan. Every purchase of a Camino product contributes to building vibrant sustainable communities both abroad and in Canada. And these chocolate bars taste creamy
! For research purposes I just tried the coconut and mint versions…yum. The chocolate chips are perfect for the Glo Bars
we adore (which include chia seeds, another great source of omega-3s). Check which stores near you sell these great products and of course remember to savour in small quantities as a treat.
Jude’s Summer Salad
It’s the perfect time of year for this fresh easy dish. Judith gave me the recipe years ago at a girls’ weekend. I eat it as a salad but it can be served with nachos instead.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 ears of corn cooked and taken off cob
1 can of black bean, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chopped and seeded tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 chopped avocado (optional)
salt and pepper
Mix liquid ingredients together. Mix non-liquid ingredients together. Combine everything and serve.