Have you been scratching your head about whether to eat soy or whether organic produce is worth the price? Are you concerned about our environment? Do you want to know how to make a delectable rice bowl (or where to go if you want someone to make it for you)?! You’ll find information on these topics and more in this final edition for 2016. I had a great time writing it…hope you enjoy!
Soy has to be one of the most controversial plants. Based on media reports, it is difficult to know whether or not it is good for us. Soy has a long history of use in Asia and within vegetarian populations throughout the world and has been extensively researched. Research shows it is indeed a healthy option. Consider this:
- Traditional soy foods are generally the most healthful choices. They fall into two categories: fermented (e.g. tempeh and miso) and unfermented (e.g. tofu, soymilk and edamame soybeans).
- Non-traditional soy foods (e.g. veggie meats and protein powders) are more processed and generally lower in fibre and may contain added fat, sugar and salt, so read the labels and be sure to avoid any containing trans fats.
- Regular soy consumption may provide a variety of health benefits, including lower risk of coronary heart disease, reduction in hot flashes, protection against some forms of cancer (ovarian, multiple myeloma and breast), and possible protection against osteoporosis. In addition, compared with animal protein, soy protein may protect kidney function.
- Soybeans are high in protein and B-vitamins, and a good sources of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and copper.
- To maintain the low insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels associated with a plant-based diet, eat no more than 3-5 servings of soy foods a day, as high IGF-1 levels have been associated with increased cancer risk.
Check out more about soy here.
Benefits of Dietary Change on Health and the Environment
I heard on CBC radio last week that according to a study out of Oxford University, a global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion (US).
“What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the global environment,” says Dr. Marco Springmann, who led the study published earlier this year. The researchers state that imbalanced diets, such as diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red and processed meat, are responsible for the greatest health burden globally and in most regions. At the same time the food system is also responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions (of which up to 80% are associated with livestock production), and therefore a major driver of climate change.
Love Wild Live Free
Thanks to Margaret for telling me about Love Wild Live Free, a Toronto-based site about vegan living with lots of recipes and “resources for everything in your daily life from natural beauty, to sustainable fashion, healthy living and everything in between.” From this site I just learned about Alltruist, a Montreal-based Ethical Designer Boutique that ships across North America! The collection looks gorgeous…time for some shopping!
What’s the Deal – Should We Eat Organic?
Buy organic when you can, but never let a concern about nutrients or pesticides deter you from eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible, states Michael Greger, MD, in his book How Not to Die.
- Organic produce does not seem to have significantly more vitamins and minerals
- Based on its elevated antioxidant levels, organic produce may be considered 20-40% healthier, the equivalent of adding 1-2 servings worth to a 5-day regimen.
- Given organic produce may be 40% more expensive, we could instead just buy and eat more of conventional produce.
- Conventional produce appears to have twice the levels of cadmium (likely from phosphate fertilizers)
- The huge benefit we receive from eating conventional fruits and vegetables far outweighs any small risk associated with pesticide use in conventional produce.
Click here for a list of the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” to help guide you about which produce has the most and least pesticide residue.
Original Buddha Rice Bowl
My sweet sister Marie gave me the Made with Love cookbook as a gift. The authors have two fantastic vegan businesses: Lettuce Love Cafe and Kelly’s Bake Shoppe – both rated among the top five spots to eat in Burlington! Try them out if you can. Many of you know how much I adore rice bowls. This one from Made with Love is quicker to make than some, but equally delicious.
For two servings
1 sweet potato, thickly sliced
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and thickly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling vegetables
3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (I like Lundberg)
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp diced red onion
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomotoes, very finely sliced
4 slices avocados
4 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Preheat the grill to medium-high. Brush the sweet potato and red pepper slices with olive oil. Grill for 10-15 minutes until tender and browned, turning the vegetables midway through cooking. (I usually broil or bake these in the oven instead of grilling). Set aside.
- Divide the cooked rice between two bowls and drizzle each portion with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp tamari. Sprinkle each bowl with 1/2 tsp dried basil.
- Arrange the grilled vegetables, red onion and tomatoes on the rice.
- Top with avocado slices, sunflower seeds, cilantro and 6 almonds per bowl.