What is The Healthiest Plant-Based Milk?

Photo Credit: Adobe. 

Vegan milk sales are on the rise while dairy stays stagnate, but which is the healthiest plant-based milk out there?

A study published in the PMC back in 2017 titled ‘How well do plant-based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk?’ assessed four types of plant-based milk: almond, coconut, soy, and rice milk. 

It found that rice and coconut milk ‘cannot act as an ideal alternative for cow’s milk because of limited nutrient diversity’. But, are options for those allergic to soy or nuts. 

‘Balanced nutrient profile’

The study also said almond milk has a ‘balanced nutrient profile’ but the’ nutrient density and the total number of calories are not as rich as that of cow’s milk’.

It, therefore, warns those consuming almond milk to make sure ‘various essential nutrients are available through other sources in the diet in appropriate quantities’. 

Soy was crowned the overall winner for being ‘very rich in proteins and fat’, as well as its health benefits which are ‘primarily attributed to the presence of isoflavones which are linked to exhibit anti-cancer properties’. 

Researchers’ only criticism of soy was its ‘beany’ flavor which it describes as a ‘major hurdle’ in encouraging consumers to ditch dairy. More recently, soy has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact, though it’s worth noting that almost 80 percent of the world’s soy is grown to feed livestock.

What plant-based milk do experts recommend?

In a recent video with Plant Based Science London, Dr. Greger states: “I encourage people to drink unsweetened soy milk, which is the healthiest milk out there. Of course, you don’t have to drink any milk at all… If you put it on Fruit Loops it doesn’t matter what kind of milk, it’s all bad. 

“But if you’re using that milk to moisten your oat groats in the morning, well then unsweetened soy is probably the best.”

by: Liam Gilliver

Access the full study here.

Soy information

Dr. Michael Greger

The Many Lives of Lentils

From left, a brightly spiced lentil loaf, a smoky lentil stew and a pasta with lentils and fennel. Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

At my house, dinner is not a three-course meal every night. More likely, it’s a main course and a green salad. Sometimes, it is a one-pot main course, though not always. (I find that even when cooking a simple meal, at least two pots and pans are often involved.) And, quite frequently, dinner is meatless.

While I consider myself a carnivore, my first love will always be vegetables. I’m quite happy to have a vegetarian meal several times a week.

In addition to fresh vegetables, whole grains and dried legumes are usually part of the picture. I’m a big fan of every type of bean, whether cannellini or garbanzo, with a cupboard full of them to choose from. Lately, it is lentils that most strike my fancy. Aside from being delicious, they have the advantage of being quick-cooking. It usually takes no more than 30 minutes to simmer a pot, so they are perfect for a relatively fast meal.

For most uses, any kind will work, but even among lentils, there are lots of types to choose from. If the meal is leaning in a Spanish direction, I might go with Pardina lentils, a small brown variety good for stews, soups or salads. For an Italianate dish, I like Castelluccio lentils from Umbria. When I want to veer toward Turkish flavors, I choose split red lentils. What follows are three lentil dinners I highly recommend. They are all vegetarian, and all have the advantage of tasting good, perhaps better, when prepared in advance. Lastly, each of these dishes can benefit from a drizzle of fruity extra-virgin olive oil as a final flourish, to make them that much more luscious.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Smoky Lentil Stew With Leeks and Potatoes

This rustic stew improves after a day in the fridge. At the very least, try to cook it an hour or two ahead of the meal, so the elements have time to meld. (You can also make it to eat over several days, or to freeze for later.) Any size green or brown lentil will work here, if you can’t get the small Spanish Pardina lentils (or French lentilles du Puy). But the smoky pimentón is vital: Along with extra-virgin olive oil, it provides real depth of flavor.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Spaghetti With Lentils, Tomato and Fennel

There are many versions of pasta with lentils, a multitude of which are thick and stewlike, more lentil than pasta. This one emphasizes the pasta. The saucy lentil topping is similar to a traditional Bolognese ragù. The addition of fennel — seeds, bulb and chopped green fronds — gives it a surprising brightness and zest. For even more flavor, put your saved-up Parmesan rinds to use in the sauce. (Meat eaters: Add a little chopped anchovy or Italian fennel sausage.)

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Red Lentil Loaf

You may have encountered the kind of vegetarian lentil loaf that masquerades as something else. With its brownish-grey color and a red ketchup glaze, it tries to emulate the homespun comfort of meatloaf. Most recipes call for Worcestershire and barbecue sauce to make it taste beefy. This delicate red lentil loaf is worlds away from that. It’s all about the undisguised flavor of the lentil: sweet and vegetal. The seasoning is a little bit Turkish, with lemon, cumin, cilantro, dill and yogurt. It is delicious served at room temperature or warm. The loaf is easier to cut if cooled, with slices heated through in the oven. Even better is to griddle the slices with a little oil in a nonstick or cast-iron pan until crisp and golden on both sides.

Resource: By David Tanis

You’re Cleaning Mushrooms Wrong

This is a public service announcement, and it won’t take long. If you’ve been reading Heated this month, you may have noticed that we’ve been talking a lot about meat alternatives — such as high-tech burgers that “bleed” like beef but are made mostly of plants (that sort of thing), and this mushroom-nut burger. Well, before any of this stuff existed, people who wanted something “meaty” without eating meat ate mushrooms. For better or worse, the default “oh, so you don’t eat any meat?” dish served to vegetarians at restaurants and parties was a portobello “burger” or some analogous concoction where the mushrooms masquerade as meat.

Whether you cook mushrooms constantly, infrequently, or somewhere in between, there’s a decent chance you’re cleaning them wrong.

There’s this myth that you should never ever wash mushrooms because they’ll absorb too much water. Instead, what we’ve been taught to do is daintily wipe the dirt off with a damp cloth or paper towel.

This is maddeningly slow and a huge waste of time. To clean mushrooms, you should rinse them under running water. Yes, mushrooms are porous, and if you leave them sitting in a bowl of water they will soak it up like a sponge. But a quick blast of running water to wipe the dirt off will not make them any worse for wear, and will save you a lot of time and frustration in the kitchen.

If cleaning mushrooms is less frustrating, maybe we’ll cook more mushrooms. If we cook more mushrooms, maybe we’ll eat less meat. If we eat less meat, maybe (definitely) we’ll be healthier and so will the earth. PSA over.

By: Mark Bittman

Plant-based Ground Beef

Here’s a great alternative to ground beef. Let me introduce you to Beyond Beef. A Plant-based version of real beef. All the ingredients are made from plants. It’s also soy-free and gluten-free. As you can see, it’s Non-GMO Project Verified, which basically means this product was not made with any genetically modified organisms. The ingredients are pure, just as Mother Nature intended them to be.

Take a look at the ingredients below. There are no meat byproducts, soy, or artificial preservatives.

INGREDIENTS:

Water, Pea Protein Isolate*, Expeller-pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruite Powder, Beet Juice Extract (For Color).

All plants ingredients! Where can you buy this and many other plant-based foods? Whole Foods Market! Plus, it’s just in time for the July 4th holiday. Get your grills out and grill up some plant-based burgers or make the family a nice meatless meatball and spaghetti dinner. They won’t know the difference.

Be safe and healthy, and have a Happy 4th of July.

Recipe: Quinoa Toubbouleh – Salad

Quick, Simple, Fresh, and Healthy!

Adding quinoa to your green salad adds so much vital nutrients. Quinoa (pronounced “keenwah”) is one of few plant-based foods that is a source of complete protein that contains 9 essential amino acids. Our bodies can’t produce it, so this quality is especially important for vegans and vegetarians. Quinoa is gluten-free, high in iron, magnesium, B and E vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Quinoa is also very high in fiber and has a low glycemic index. Low glycemic foods are slowly digested and absorbed. They produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. This is especially important for diabetics because quinoa doesn’t hit their blood stream quickly like white rice. I usually make a medium size pot, and use it throughout the week to create all kinds of salads. It saves me a lot of time in the kitchen. Here a recent recipe to enjoy. This serves for two people.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 2 big radishes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 pear
  • 2 cups of arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa under cook water. Place quinoa in a pot with 1.75 cups of water. Place lid on top and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low for 15 minutes. Let quinoa cook before making the salad. This is why I usually do a big batch once a week.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the rest of the salad by cutting up the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Dressing: Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, minced garlic, and chopping parsley.
  4. Once quinoa is cooled, add all the vegetable ingredients together. Pour the dressing all over and stir to coat well. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy.

There’s no wrong or right ingredient with making a quinoa salad. You can easily add whatever vegetable, fruit, even legumes, nuts and leafy greens you like. The idea here is to simplify your life with quick options for a more healthier plant-based diet.

Strong Bones Or Osteoporosis – Well Being Journal

In “Strong Bones or Osteoporosis” you will learn about the herbs, teas, and other nutrients that will reverse osteoporosis, keep your bones strong, and give you all the absorbable calcium you need—no matter your age! You might think you need lots of calcium or wonder about the best kind! In the first of this series by Earl Staelin you will learn about that and how hormones and light play a role, and why people who consume the highest amounts of calcium experience higher rates of osteoporosis and fractures than those who consume lower amounts.

Resource: Strong Bones Or Osteoporosis – Well Being Journal
— Read on www.wellbeingjournal.com/strong-bones-or-osteoporosis/

New Study: Don’t Take Calcium Supplements! 


Calcium supplements have been linked to heart attacks according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal last year. Researchers found a 24-27% increased risk of heart attacks for those who took 500 mg of elemental calcium a day. Americans consume an enormous amount of calcium already from cow’s milk and its products per person than most populations in the world.  There are many women who were told by their physicians to take calcium supplements for stronger bones.  We have the highest rates of heart disease and osteoporosis (bone disease) now.  Another study highlights the issues American women aged fifty and older face from consuming calcium from dairy and supplements. These women have one of the highest rates of hip fractures in the world. For example, in countries such as India, Japan, and Peru where average daily calcium intake is as low as 300 milligrams per day (less than a third of the U.S. recommendation for adults, ages 19 to 50), the incidence of bone fractures is quite low.  Shouldn’t it be the opposite?  “Drink milk for calcium and strong bones”, they say.  But why are we still suffering from bone lose, fractures, and now calcium supplements linked to heart attacks?  

The United States Department of Agricultural (USDA) actively promotes dairy products — it administers the National Milk Processor Board that gave us the ubiquitous “Got milk?” media campaign.   I don’t know not one person who doesn’t know that stupid slogan. Really!! Get this! Did you know that consuming animal products also decreases bone health and causes excess metabolic acid load in the body? (I’ll link the studies for these below.)  Animal products causes our bodies to be more acidic. A more acidic body leads to diseases/toxicity/inflammation.  Now according to The China Study, the body does not like this acidic environment, so in turn, our bodies fight it. In order for the body to neutralize the acid, the body secretes calcium from our bones, and then calcium loss weakens the bones, thus causing the greater risk for fractures. There’s no win-win situation here. The higher the consumption of animal products, including dairy and meat, may lead to an acid overload and weakened bones.  

I DO NOT recommend taking calcium supplements or eating dairy for calcium.  However, I do believe consuming a whole food plant-based diet is the best option.  A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.  Foods like green leafy vegetables, including spring greens, cabbage, watercress, kale, broccoli and parsley are excellent sources of natural calcium.  Then there’s oranges, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods are also filled with vital vitamins and minerals our bodies depend on for healthy bones, teeth and strong muscles. The plant-based diet is healthier and better for our bodies to digest and absorb nutrients.  To learn more about adapting a whole food plant-based diet visit Nutrition Studies website.  


Resources:

Study: The effect of dietary sulfur-containing amino acids on calcium excretion.

Study: The dietary protein, Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), skeletal health axis.

Study: Estimation of net endogenous noncarbonic acid production in humans from diet potassium and protein contents.

Must Reads: Getting Clarity About Calcium, The 4 Keys to Strong Bones

Website to visit:  Vegan Society


Will Reducing Meat in your Diet Help the Climate?

“YES, beef especially.

Agriculture of all types produces greenhouse gases that warm the planet, but meat production is especially harmful – and beef is the most environmentally damaging form of meat. Some methods of cattle production demand a lot of land, contributing to destruction of forests; the trees are typically burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other methods require huge amounts of water and fertilizer to grow food for the cows.

The cows themselves produce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes short-term warming. Meat consumption is rising worldwide as the population grows, and as economic development makes people richer and better able to afford meat.

This is worrisome: Studies have found that if the whole world were to start eating beef at the rate Americans eat it, produced by the methods typically used in the United States, that alone might erase any chance of staying below an internationally agreed-upon limit on global warming. Pork production creates somewhat lower emissions than beef production, and chicken is lower still. So reducing your meat consumption, or switching from beef and pork to chicken in your diet, are both moves in the right direction. Of course, as with any kind of behavioral change meant to benefit the climate, this will only make a difference if lots of other people do it, too, reducing the overall demand for meat products.”

This writing is an excerpt from Justin Gillis’s New York Times article titled, Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change, November 28, 2015.  I coheartedly believe a diet that’s rich in organic whole food plant-base (WFPB) or vegan is the healthiest way of eating and not only for our bodies but, for the planet too.

To learn more about global warming and greenhouse gases please visit the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) website; and also, please check out their Take Action site for awesome ways to advocate for clean sustainable living for the planet.  Thinking of adapting a WFPB diet, check out Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s site for the scientific researches behind this diet and why this way of eating prevents and cures diseases. It’s that powerful people! Spread the word and eat your greens😋

Dr. Campbell’s recommendations for Dietary Guidelines

 

Submitted to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on April 30, 2015.

In 1980, the first report by the Dietary Guidelines (DG) Advisory Committee was authored by two friends of mine, the late Harvard School of Public Health Professor Mark Hegsted PhD (representing the McGovern Committee and the USDA) and Allan Forbes MD, formerly FDA Chief of Nutrition. I have remained keenly interested in the 5-year reports ever since.

Unfortunately, I have gradually lost much of my early enthusiasm for this advisory committee. During the past 35 years, I have seen little if any progress toward a better understanding of diet, nutrition and health. This is regrettable because these reports serve as guidelines for health education, government school lunch, WIC (women, infants and children), and other important public programs. I do not see how this report is any more progressive or insightful than its predecessors. Previous reports have included new words and phrases which unfortunately did not lead to any real change.  Click here to continue reading original article. 

An Easy Plant-Based Salad

 

Salads are one of the most easiest and most satisfying ways to get your fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.  In this particular salad, I have shredded green leaf lettuce, watercress, yellow bell pepper, one organge, one apple, and a three bean salad with fresh celantro and curly leaf parsley minced and garnished.  For the dressing, I squeeze a half of lemon for a little more zing.   The fresh bean salad adds protein and fiber to whole me longer through my busy day. 

What do you put in your salads?