Nutrition

Some Common Myths About Vegan Diets

For adherents, veganism is often less of a dietary choice and more of a complete lifestyle, and is one that’s often met by confusion, misconceptions and outright criticisms from those who don’t ascribe to the same systems. Myths and misapprehensions exist about veganism, with outlandish assertions ranging from curing deadly diseases to slow starvation coming from those on opposing ends of the spectrum. As with so many other things in life, the truth generally tends to lie somewhere in the middle. Here are some of the most common myths surrounding a meat-free diet and explanations to dispel them, for greater understanding of those who are considering a switch or just looking to broaden their horizons in relation to other dietary viewpoints. more→

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How Much Fat Should Vegans Consume?

Almonds, pecans, walnuts, and peanuts in jars

Excerpted from the book Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet* by Jack Norris, RD, and Virginia Messina, MPH, RD, by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright ©2011. Despite the popularity of vegan diets that eliminate all high-fat foods, there hasn’t been much research comparing very low-fat vegan diets to those that include some higher-fat plant foods. And there is reason to think that very low-fat vegan diets are not ideal. Eating diets that are too low in fat could be the reason that some people abandon vegan diets and return to eating meat.

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Do Vegans have a Weight-Loss Advantage?

Whole grain cooked cereal

From the book Vegan for Her: The Woman’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet* by Virginia Messina and JL Fields. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2013. Public health experts assess weight status using the body mass index (BMI), which measures body weight in relation to height. It doesn’t consider how much muscle or fat you have—just how much you weigh. It also doesn’t tell us anything about someone’s health since it measures only size. So BMI is not useful for individuals, but it’s used as a fast and inexpensive way to look for trends in populations.

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Fitness for Vegans

Eat and Run by Scott JurekContributed by William Santoro.Vegan fitness looks and sounds a lot like fitness for non-vegans. That’s just the point: Eating meat, dairy, fish or other animal protein is not necessary for building up muscle and achieving a high level of fitness and energy. Not convinced? There are dozens of famous vegan athletes to prove it, more and more ultra-class, notably Brendan Brazier*, Scott Jurek,* and Rich Roll*, whose achievements are heroic and inspiring by any standards. more→

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Gluten-free versus Wheat-free

Gluten-free bread

Excerpted from Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts,* copyright © 2012 by Colette Martin (reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment). Common wheat belongs to a genus of grasses known as Triticum. The genus itself is also sometimes referred to as wheat. Those who are allergic to wheat need to avoid all of the Triticum grains, including triticale, durum wheat, kamut, spelt, and einkorn. While these grains are sometimes suggested as alternatives to wheat in recipes, if you are allergic to wheat you must avoid them all. Any grain in the wheat or Triticum family must be labeled “wheat” on processed food packages. more→

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Soy and Your Health: Dispelling Myths and Citing Top Benefits

Soy products: soybeans, soy sauce, soy milk, tofu

Contributed by the The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Soy products have recently enjoyed increasing popularity. Soy products include soybeans (also called edamame) and any other items made from soybeans, including soymilk, tofu, tempeh, miso, and vegetarian meat and dairy substitutes like soy meats and soy cheeses. Like most other plant foods, the most healthful choices are those that are minimally processed so they retain all of their original nutrients. But because soy products are so widely consumed, some people have raised the question as to whether they are safe. Let’s take a look at what medical studies show:  more→

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Limiting sodium — a sensible and healthy practice

salt shaker

One teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 mg of sodium, which is more than the amount that anyone should have per day. We do need some sodium in order for nerve and muscle function, and to conserve the level of fluids in the body. But when there’s too much sodium intake, it can cause havoc in a number of ways.


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How the size of dinner plates affects portion control

colorful dinner plates

Believe it or not, the size and color of your plates have a lot to do with portion control. Most of us really do eat with our eyes, so to speak. If you’re given a large plate or bowl do you only fill half of it? Most of us would fill the entire thing, and once it’s in front of us, we feel compelled to to eat it all. If, on the other hand, you use a smaller plate or bowl, you’re likely to eat — and be satisfied with — that portion. more→

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