Evidenced based research and articles on whole foods, plant based nutrition - from the leading respected physicians and researchers in the field.

Alcohol & Breast Cancer

Consuming 3 to 4 alcoholic drinks or more per week after a breast cancer diagnosis may increase risk of breast cancer recurrence, particularly among postmenopausal and overweight/obese women, yet the cardioprotective effects of alcohol on non-breast cancer death were suggested.

Read more: Alcohol & Breast Cancer

Cancer and Diet: What's the Connection?

       Harvard Medical School publishes a monthly "Harvard Men's Health Watch". In the October 2016 issue the connection between cancer and diet was explored. The following is a summary of their findings. 

Read more: Cancer and Diet: What's the Connection?

Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen

Follow this prescription for health and wellness. As Dr. Greger suggests, print and post the list on your refrigerator. Check often to see if you are adding his recommendations to your daily meal plans. The X's represent the number of servings you should aim to achieve on a daily basis!

DR. GREGER'S DAILY DOZEN

Beans                         XXX  

Berries                          X

Other Fruits                  XXX

Cruciferous Vegetables     X

Greens                          XX

Other Vegetables           XX

Flaxseeds                       X

Nuts and Seeds              X

Herbs and Spices           X

Whole Grains              XXX

Beverages               XXXXX

Exercise                       X

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids


Essential Fatty Acids

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5 1 0 0 W i s c o n s i n A v e., n. w., S u i t e 4 0 0 • W a s h i n g t o n, D C 2 0 0 1 6
p h o n e ( 2 0 2 ) 6 8 6 - 2 2 1 0 • F a x ( 2 0 2 ) 6 8 6 - 2 2 1 6 • p c r m @ p c r m . o r g • w w w . p c r m . o r g


Essential Fatty Acid Basics
The body can synthesize some of the fats it needs from the foods you eat. However, two essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the body and can be taken in the diet from plant foods. Their names—linolenic and linoleic acid—are not important. What is important is that these basic fats are used to build specialized fats called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.


Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important in the normal functioning of all tissues of the body. Deficiencies are responsible for a host of symptoms and disorders including abnormalities in the liver and kidney, changes in the blood, reduced growth rates, decreased immune function, depression, and skin changes, including dryness and scaliness. Adequate intake of the essential fatty acids results in numerous health benefits. Prevention of atherosclerosis, reduced incidence of heart disease and stroke, and relief from the symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis, menstrual pain, and joint pain have also been documented.


While supplements and added oils are not typically necessary in the vegetarian diet, good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fats should be included daily. It is important to take these two fats in the proper ratio as well. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3 fatty acids for use in the body, and therefore excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids can be a problem. The U.S. diet has become heavy in omega-6 fats and low in omega-3 fats, secondary to a reliance on processed foods and oils. It is necessary to balance this by eating a low-fat diet that is low in processed foods and with fat mainly coming from omega-3 fatty acids.


Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fats are found in leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, and vegetable oils (corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, sesame, sunflower). Other omega-6 fatty acids, such as gammalinolenic acid (GLA), can be found in more rare oils, including black currant, borage, evening primrose, and hemp oils. Most diets provide adequate amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids
It is important for vegetarians to include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids on a daily basis. Alpha-linolenic acid, a common omega-3 fatty acid, is found in many vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. The best source of alphalinolenic acid is flaxseeds or flaxseed oil. For those seeking to increase their intake of omega-3 fats, more concentrated sources can be found in oils such as canola (also known as rapeseed), soybean, walnut, and wheat germ. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in smaller quantities in nuts, seeds, and soy products, as well as beans, vegetables, and whole grains. Corn, safflower, sunflower, and cottonseed oils are generally low in omega-3s.


Flaxseeds for Omega-3s
Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds are particularly good choices to meet your needs for omega-3 fatty acids. One teaspoonful of flaxseed oil or a tablespoonful of ground flaxseed will supply the daily requirement of alpha-linolenic acid. To protect it from oxygen damage, flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed must be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. Use a little in dressings for salads or baked potatoes. Don't try to cook with this oil, however, as heat damages its omega-3s. For you to absorb what you need from flaxseeds, they must be ground. Simply put fresh flaxseeds in a spice or coffee grinder for a few seconds. Some people grind a cup every week or so and store it in the freezer. A spoonful can be added to a smoothie or sprinkled on breakfast cereal, a salad, or other dish.


Plant Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
• Ground flaxseed (flax meal)
• Walnuts
• Soybeans
• Mungo beans*


Omega-3 Content of Natural Oils
• Flaxseed 53-62%
• Linseed 53%
• Canola 11%
• Walnut 10%
• Wheat germ 7%
• Soybean 7%
*Mungo beans are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids.
They are sold in many Indian groceries and may be found
under the name "urid."

Pregnancy and Lactation
In pregnancy and lactation, it is especially important to obtain adequate essential fatty acids from the diet. Recent research suggests that pregnant women may have incre ased needs for these fatty acids, as they are needed for fetal growth, brain development, learning, and behavior. Essential fatty acids are also important for the infant after birth for growth and proper development, as well as the normal functioning of all tissues of the body. Infants receive essential fatty acids through breast milk, so it is important that the mother's diet contain a good supply of omega-3s. Pregnant women and lactating mothers may also opt to take a DHA supplement (DHA, or ocosahexaenoic acid, is a form of omega-3 fatty acids). A DHA supplement based on cultured microalgae, under the trademark Neuromins, is available in m any natural food stores.


Fish for Essential Fatty Acids?
Some people may have heard that fish are good sources of essential fatty acids. However, the high amounts of fat and cholesterol and the lack of fiber make fish a poor choice. Fish are also often high in mercury and other environmental toxins that have no place in an optimal diet. Fish oils have been popularized as an aid against everything from heart problems to arthritis. The bad news about fish oils is that omega-3s in fish oils are highly unstable molecules that tend to decompose and, in the process, unleash dangerous free radicals. Research has shown that omega-3s are found in a more stable form in vegetables, fruits, and beans. Whether you are interested in promoting cardiovascular health, ensuring the proper growth and development of your child, or relieving pain, a vegetarian diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes can help you achieve adequate intake of the essential fatty acids.


References
1. Groff JL, Gropper SS, Hunt SM. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. West
Publishing Company, New York, 1995.
2. Linscheer WG, Vergroesen AJ. Lipids. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. Shils
ME, Olson JA, Shike M, eds. Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia, 1994.
3. Barnard N. Foods That Fight Pain. Harmony Books, New York, 1998.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: new data. Harv Ment Helath Lett 2003
Jun;19(12):7.
5. Hunter JE. n-3 Fatty acids from vegetable oils. Am J Clin Nutr 1990;51:809-14.
6. Mantzioris E, James MJ, Gibson RA, Cleland LG. Dietary substitution with an alphalinolenic
acid-rich vegetable oil increases eicosapentaenoic acid concentrations in
tissues. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:1304-9.

 

Glorious Grains

 

GLORIOUS GRAINS  

(Cornerstone of the Human Diet)

 

History of Whole Grains

For thousands of years grains have been the cornerstone of the human diet. Early civilizations believed that grains were so important that each particular grain was said to be a gift from the gods. Grains were found in the tombs of Egyptian pyramids.

Myths and legends throughout different global cultures sang of the importance of grains. The god, Demeter, gave wheat to the Greeks; in Egypt, the god, Ra, gave his people grains; the Aztecs gave thanks to their corn goddess with amaranth grain products.

Read more: Glorious Grains

Ingredient Substitution

Ingredient Substitutions


REPLACING EGGS

 

Most plant based newbies are surprised to learn that cooking and baking can easily be accomplished without eggs. Yes, those little yellow-eyed globs of cholesterol create heavenly baked goods and confections. When we bake, it’s the egg that binds, creates cohesiveness and gives oomph to a recipe. What shall we do without them? Try the following and be pleasantly surprised. Your arteries will shout, “Thank you!”

Ground Flaxseeds:

1 T flaxseeds plus 3 T water. Grind the seeds in coffee grinder or buy ground flaxseeds. (Store in refrigerator or freezer as they are highly perishable.) When beaten with warm water, the flaxseeds become gel-like. Flaxseeds work best and very well in pancakes and whole grain items. Flax give us all important omega-3 fatty acids. Just 2 T/day of ground flax provides the necessary omega-3.


¼ Cup Silken Tofu:

Use Extra firm silken tofu; blended = 1 egg. Beat in blender till creamy. Mix wet ingredients into tofu to get it to blend just right. Works best in dense cakes & brownies. (If recipe calls for 3 eggs, use only 2 tofu eggs.) In cookie recipes, may make cookies more cake-like and fluffy, so add 1 tsp starch (arrowroot or cornstarch) to recipe. Not too terrific in pancakes! 

Ener-G Egg Replacer:

Is a combination of potato and tapioca starch, leavening agents and other ingredients; it is gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat free. For use, follow the directions on package.

     1 ½ T Ener-G + 2 T very warm water mixed well = 1 egg. Works best in cookies or things that are supposed to be a little crispy. Resembles egg whites when beaten. Can be purchased at Whole Foods or other natural food markets. Ener-G Egg Replacer (can be purchased at health food store):

Bananas:
½ banana mashed very well = 1 egg. This works wonders as an egg replacer in baking. They hold air bubbles well, make recipes nice and moist, and give added flavor. Works best in quick breads, muffins, cakes, pancakes. Make sure you use ripe bananas that are just starting to turn brown.

Soy Yogurt:
¼ cp soy yogurt = 1 egg. This works a lot like beaten tofu, making recipes moist and tasty. Works best in breads, muffins and cakes.


Applesauce

3T = 1 egg.


Chia Seeds:

Are a lot like flaxseeds, but they even have a more 'gel'-like texture, and they have no added taste. You do not have to grind chia seeds to obtain their healthy lignans. Mix 1 T chia seeds with 1/4 cup warm water; allow it to sit a few minutes to gel. Walla, a wonderful egg replacer.


Cornstarch:

2 T can be added to dry ingredients to replace one egg when making heavier cakes, like quick breads and pound cake.

 

REPLACING MILK


Give up the cows! Instead try using low fat soy, rice, oat, hemp or almond milks. These non-dairy milks are now fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium. See which suits your fancy. If a recipe calls for buttermilk, add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to your milk substitute, and let it sit for a couple minutes, and walla, you have the perfect buttermilk without the fat and cholesterol. If you can’t find low fat soy, mix soy milk and water in half and half proportions to reduce fat content. Also, non-dairy milks come in plain and vanilla flavors. Often, I use the vanilla flavored milks in desserts, pancakes and smoothies. Read "The China Study" by Professor T. Colin Campbell to learn why no one after the age of two requires dairy. It is toxic, plain and simple! 

 

REPLACING BUTTER

 

For butter lovers, this is a tough one. However, butter is so much easier to give up when you understand its high saturated fat content, and dastardly contribution to heart disease. But remember, each of the following contains fat, too, so go easy when you spread or avoid altogether!

Instead try the following non-dairy butter substitutes:

Earth Balance vegan non-dairy margarine

Smart Balance makes a vegan spread (not in all super markets)

Nut butters (made from almonds, cashews, soy or other nuts)

 

REPLACING OILS

There are varying opinions about using oil. Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and Dr. Michael Klaper strongly recommend avoiding oils altogether. Macrobiotic chefs allow use of certain oils. The best of the worst are extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil and canola oil. 

Personally, I cook without oil, using only the barest spritzes when absolutely necessary. Sautéing can be done using water, wine, veggie broth, Braggs liquid aminos or coconut aminos. Veggies sauté just as well without the oil and taste better, too. Your arteries will thank you. Note: There is NO nutritional value in oils – just fat!! In 1 tablespoon you have a whopping 120 calories, 9 grams of which are fat. And you know where the fat goes, don’t you?

 

 REPLACING WHITE FLOUR 

Colorful unrefined flours should replace the refined, white flours most often used in the western diet. Many non-wheat flours can be combined in recipes for those who are gluten intolerant.

Spelt – makes recipes heavier; good used in baking bread and overall baking. Increase baking powder.
Corn
Millet – dry and coarse.
Potato
Kamut – good for bread and baking; best if used half and half with other flours.
Soy – has strong flavor
Chickpea – also strong flavor.
Barley – for pancakes and cookies.
Buckwheat – great in pancakes but use half and half with other flours.
Oat – for breads and cookies.
Brown rice flour
Whole Wheat & Whole Wheat Pastry Flour - good old standbys. Great for baking!

  

REPLACING CHEESE

 

When I morphed to a plant based lifestyle, cheese was the hardest delicacy to delete from my eating repertoire. I loved my cheeses – Brie, Manchego, Provolone, Gouda, Havarti, and, even, Low Fat Laughing Cow.

I’m happy to say that I found gold in creating some of my own using cashews, agar and tofu. Good news is that over the past fifteen years a wide variety of plant based cheeses are now available in whole foods, organic, and natural food stores. It seems that every few months another manufacturer brings a new non-dairy cheese to market. Heidi Ho, Chao, Follow Your Heart, Kite Hill, Tree Nut Cheese, and Daiya are names you'll find on grocery shelves. Jo Stepaniak's "Uncheese Cookbook" presents a wealth of recipes for easily making your own uncheese. Many of these cheeses melt well and can be used in any recipe that calls for cheese.

 

REPLACING SUGAR 

Listed below are alternatives to typical white sugar. And stay clear of Splenda and Aspartame- not good for you! According to Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. & Ph.D., (NutritionFacts.org) the jury is still out on Stevia. More research is needed to assess if this substitute is Ok, bad or indifferent. Will keep you informed.

VIP: When using liquid sweetener, cut back a wee bit on other liquids in the recipe. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Maple syrup
Agave nectar
Honey

Organic Cane sugar
Sucanat
Date sugar 
Barley malt

Date sugar
Molasses
Fruit juice concentrates
Brown Rice Syrup
Stevia – available in health food stores; a little goes a long way. 

 

 

 

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