Hello out there in Blog-Reader Land!
I hope everyone has had some lovely holiday time this winter, complete with lots of delicious/nutritious food and some great walks outside. I enjoyed a little California sun and many a hill-climb through my brother's neighborhood in the Bay Area. And it sure felt good to spend 3 hours in the kitchen on Christmas Day, preparing delights such as The Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf, Red Cabbage Salad with Curried Seitan, and some straight-up roasted vegetables.
I'm super excited that this little blog has been getting more and more popular and want to say thank you to all of you who read along. I couldn't do it without you! If you haven't yet, make sure you subscribe (to the right ----->) so you don't miss any posts in 2016, as I am hoping to have some great adventures to update you about. Also, you can follow along on Instagram, and Facebook. Then, if you're still in the holiday mood, you could even share this website with a friend! That would be the greatest of gifts (to me, and possible them too :) ). Again - thank you, readers!
Lastly, to continue with this shameless self-promotion.... Some of you may know that a few months ago I passed the Registered Dietitian exam, allowing me to make a living out of doing what I do best... talking about food! And as such, I launched my own nutrition business called Nourishing Journey Nutrition (sounds familiar, huh?). I've also teamed up with a new company called League which connects clients with health professionals. They've got a special offer going on right now that will give you $50 off your first nutrition appointment using the coupon code GOSEATTLE. You can use this code and book my services from anywhere in the country, as long as you're cool with a little Skype or FaceTime chatting. You just have to sign up with League (totally free!) and make your appointment.
So if anyone out there is having some holiday food-choice remorse and/or looking to start fresh in 2016, now is a great time to have a chat with your friendly, Nourishing Journey Dietitian (me!). Unfortunately, this offer ends on December 31st (whoops, I should have told you sooner. Sorry!), so if you're interested, sign up now!
Thanks again, and stay tuned for more exciting news in 2016!
Veggie scramble, roasted potatoes and toast, anyone? This new plant-based egg is a game changer. I recently found it on the shelves of Vegan Haven in Seattle, but it’s hitting the market hard and branching out to grocery stores near you! (You can even find it on Amazon.com if it's not in your local grocery store.) The VeganEgg is made by a company named Follow Your Heart, with ingredients mostly of algae with a touch of nutritional yeast. It comes in the form of a yellow powder with instructions to scoop two tablespoons into a bowl, add half a cup of cold water, whisk and scramble. It takes a little longer to scramble than your standard chicken egg, but the benefits are worth the wait. Plus, you can use it almost any way you would use an egg - such as baking. So far I have enjoyed it in sandwich form, veggie scramble, French toast, chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and cornmeal pancakes!
In other news, a plant-based mayonnaise replacement called Just Mayo is on shelves and approved after a long legal battle with the Egg Board and Hellman’s Mayonnaise company. Hampton Creek, the company behind Just Mayo, was accused of ‘misleading labeling’ due to the implications of 'mayonnaise', technically defined, containing eggs. After some label changing which included making the words “egg free” larger, and the picture of an egg with a pea shoot sprouting from it smaller, the FDA ruled against the egg board and Hellman’s defensive tactics and approved the new labeling of the product. It’s a great cholesterol and saturated fat-free replacement for your standard mayonnaise. You can find this product being used at Seven Eleven convenience stores and sold at Walmart, the Dollar Store, Fred Meyer and more!
Diabetes is everywhere. Here in the United States, 9.3% of the population has diabetes. That's 29.1 million of us. Every year, 1.4 million Americans becomes a newly diagnosed diabetic. If you don't have diabetes, you probably know someone who does. It's a huge problem and can lead to complications such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, loss of feet and limbs, blindness and kidney disease (1).
Luckily, word is starting to spread about the benefits of eating plants to combat this chronic disease. Many a doctor has said, if a plant-based diet came in pill form, it would be the miracle cure and everyone would want one. Drug companies would make billions off of it. Lose weight, improve blood sugar control, decrease risk of cancer and heart disease, clear up your skin, and run farther with absolutely no negative side effects. Sounds perfect.
There’s tons of research to support the benefits of this way of eating. Take, for example, this study just released at the beginning of the month. This is a meta-analysis, meaning researchers sifted through thousands of research articles to see if they could identify an overall trend. In this case, they widdled down the articles to 13 that met their criteria. After some complicated statistical analysis, they found that replacing meat with plant-protein (like soy, legumes and nuts) improved blood sugar control in people with diabetes (2). The parameters measured were hemoglobin A1C values (an average blood sugar of 2-3 months), fasting glucose and insulin levels. To reap the benefits, which researchers determined to be ‘moderate’, study participants replaced at least 35% of their total protein intake with plant protein. Imagine what would happen if you replaced at least 50% of your protein intake with plants, or even all of it!
These results are in line with other studies, such as the Adventist Health Study, in which vegetarian/vegan diets are associated with a lower risk for diabetes as well as all-cause mortality (3,4). In a study of 92,000 women and 40,000 men, replacing just one serving of animal protein for plant protein was associated with a 10-21% reduced risk for type 2 diabetes (5). On the flip side, evidence shows that diets high in animal protein (especially red meat) are associated with an increased occurrence of diabetes (5,6).
Why is this true? Well, there’s the fat that comes alongside animal protein and interferes with the job of insulin, making it so sugar can’t even get into your cells. But this article suggests some other mechanisms. For example, high iron stores are associated with diabetes. The iron from animals (heme-iron) is particularly easy for humans to absorb. This isn’t always a good thing, as iron can be a pro-oxidant (the opposite of antioxidant) in our bodies. As a pro-oxidant, it causes damage to our tissues. In the case of diabetes, iron can harm the cells of our pancreas where insulin is made (8,9). Iron from plant-sources is much safer, as our body will only take what it needs and not risk overloading. In addition to iron, the researchers suggest the amino acid profile in plant proteins to be protective, and the level of sodium and nitrites found in meats to be especially harmful (2).
So, if you're looking to improve your blood sugar, prevent blood sugar problems (or cholesterol problems or inflammation problems or weight problems!), try eating some plant protein! Start with a bean burger, or sprinkle some 'tofu feta' atop your pizza with a side of walnut, spinach and apple salad. To learn even more about eating plants, talk to a dietitian (me!).
1. American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/.
2. Viguiliouk E, Stewart SE, Jayalath VH, et al. Effect of replacing animal protein with plant protein on glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients. 2015;7:9804-9824.
3. Tonstad, S.; Butler, T.; Yan, R.; Fraser, G.E. Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2diabetes. Diabetes Care 2009, 32, 791–796.
4. Tonstad, S.; Stewart, K.; Oda, K.; Batech, M.; Herring, R.P.; Fraser, G.E. Vegetarian diets and incidence of diabetes in the Adventist Health Study-2. NMCD 2013, 23, 292–299.
5. Malik, V.S.L.; Tobias, D.K.; Pan, A.; Hu, F.B. Dietary protein intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in U.S. men and women. Diabetes 2015, 64, A424.
6. Aune, D.; Ursin, G.; Veierod, M.B. Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Diabetologia 2009, 52, 2277–2287.
7. Pan, A.; Sun, Q.; Bernstein, A.M.; Schulze, M.B.; Manson, J.E.;Willett,W.C.; Hu, F.B. Red meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2011, 94, 1088–1096.
8. Puntarulo, S. Iron, oxidative stress and human health. Mol. Asp. Med. 2005, 26, 299–312.
9. Rajpathak, S.N.; Crandall, J.P.; Wylie-Rosett, J.; Kabat, G.C.; Rohan, T.E.; Hu, F.B. The role of iron in type 2 diabetes in humans. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 2009, 1790, 671–681.
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