Plant-based, vegetarian, meatless, vegetarian advice, vegan., Semi-vegetarian, Flexitarian, heart health

Eating for Health and Happiness

It’s no secret that the United States ranks 37th in health outcomes. The high sugar low nutrient  Standard American Diet (ironically abbreviated as SAD) is a major contributing factor to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Eating should be enjoyable. The foods we consume should appeal to our senses, and make us feel energized and ready to face the day. Our diets should nurture our immune system, and overall well being. Eating well is a form of self-respect. 

   Many remain under the impression that eating  well means sitting down to a plate of boiled carrots, plain rice, and an unseasoned block of tofu; they believe they’ll have to force down sandwiches on bread that tastes like cardboard, cut out entire groups of macronutrients, and be deprived of flavor at every turn. This is untrue. There are many options that are nutritious without sacrificing flavor, or asking you to avoid fat, carbs, or proteins. 

Today I’m featuring overviews of healthier ways of eating. Changes  can be made without sacrificing flavor or richness. Better  ways of eating can be worked into your diet recipe by recipe, day by day.

Semi-Vegetarian

Semi-vegetarian, sometimes referred to as flexitarian, is a way of eating that involves lessening ones intake of animals to the inclusion of more fruits and vegetables. Meatless Mondays took off a while back. Through this movement many have adopted the semi-vegetarian diet, lessening their consumption of animal products and increasing the number of heart healthy meals they serve.

Is it healthy?

It’s common knowledge eating  more fruits and vegetables while decreasing animal intake is a healthier choice. A large scale study has shown a semi- vegetarian diet to decrease the chance of death by stroke or heart disease.*

Vegetarian

The title “Vegetarian” denotes a person who doesn’t  consume  chickens, cows,  fish or any other animal. Vegetarians may however, consume dairy products and cheese. Such vegetarians are known as ovo-lacto vegetarians.

Is it healthy?

Vegetarians tend to consume more fruits and vegetables therefore increasing their intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  That said, one can be vegetarian but eat ice cream for breakfast on a daily basis which obviously  wouldn’t be a heart healthy choice.  According to the American Heart Association, many studies have shown the vegetarian diet to be helpful in the avoidance of obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer.

Vegan

Vegans are another breed entirely. In addition to not eating animals, vegans also avoid dairy, eggs, and all animal by-products including honey. Vegans  don’t wear leather or fur. Their commitment to animal rights extends to their personal care items. Vegans only use products that are free of animal by products, and  never tested on animals (look for the leaping bunny).

Is it healthy?
The nutritional aspect of veganism is entirely dependent on the individual. Oreos are vegan, but still chemical laden and filled with hydrogenated fats. There are vegans who eat well, and those who’s compassion and care for animals doesn’t  carry over to their concern for their own well-being. A few concerns about veganism are lack of  protein and vitamin B12. Both are easily corrected. We need around .35 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Vegans may accomplish this with tofu, seeds, beans, legumes, nuts,  nut butters, and whole grain items. Vitamin B12 may be supplemented or made available to vegans through fortified cereals or plant milks.

Plant-Based

Plant-based eating means eating only plants or minimally processed plant foods. Those who are plant-based keep processed foods to a minimum or omit them completely. The diet of a plant-based person is filled with vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, nut butters,  and plant milks.

Is it healthy?

A plant- based diet is essentially vegetarianism in its optimal form, a natural whole foods diet. The fact that plant-based means eating mostly whole foods and keeping processed foods to a minimum makes this way of eating inherently higher in fiber, nutrients, and lower in preservatives, chemicals, and inflammatory ingredients like sugar and soybean oil. Many plant based folks avoid oils. The fats in their desserts and dressings exist in the form of nuts,seeds, or avocados either whole or blended into a cream consistency. The sweetness in their baked goods and pies comes from pureed dates. The plant-based diet contains less empty calories because each ingredient has nutritional value beyond caloric intake.

Plant foods can be prepared and seasoned in a variety of ways. If you’re looking for better health in the form of weight loss,  lower cholesterol or blood pressure, and increased vitality, fruits and vegetables seem to hold the key.

Which of the aforementioned appeals to you? Will you make changes to your diet? For which reasons?

Sources:

http://m.newsroom.heart.org/news/semi-veggie-diet-effectively-lowers-heart-disease-stroke-risk

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Vegetarian-Diets_UCM_306032_Article.jsp#mainContent

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DIY, Homemade, Skincare, Simple, Natural, Fun, Uncategorized

Peaches and Cream: Three Masks for a Magnificent Complexion

Dry skin? Dull skin? Breakouts? Whatever the issue there’s often an antidote in the kitchen.  Experience has taught me that better skin comes from the inside out; dietary changes have helped my skin drastically over the years (stay tuned for a post on this).  However, it’s also important to care for our skin topically. This is where my favorite homemade masks come in.

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Many ingredients others seem to use without consequence have caused me to experience eczema, dryness, and serious breakouts. These ingredients include detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate, coconut oil, tea tree oil, preservatives, and the list goes on! Given the fact that these three  masks have been so good to my super sensitive skin,  I feel confident just about anyone will benefit from using them without fear of a bad reaction. That said, I do recommended a patch test.

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This brush from Everyday Minerals is perfect for applying facial masks.

Each of the masks are yogurt based. Why? Yogurt is very moisturizing without being greasy or oily. Yogurt  also contains lactic acid which aids in the exfoliation of dead skin cells, revealing a brighter, fresher, and clearer complexion. I recommend drier complexions use a full fat yogurt for extra moisture. I prefer greek yogurt because it’s extra thick and stays put during the treatment.

Here are a few tips before we get started:

1.To avoid masks getting into your hair wear a headband around your hairline.

2.  Masks should be applied after cleansing  to clean skin  that’s free of makeup or other products. You may apply the mask with your fingers, but I recommend a brush; it’s less messy and feels better going on.

3. I recommend using a mask once per week.

4. Unless showering immediately afterward, be sure to thoroughly remove your mask with a wet washcloth or sponge.

5. The measurements below are enough for one use. These recipes may be doubled or tripled for use  on elbows, knees, or anywhere my skin could use some extra TLC.

Here they are, my favorite homemade masks:

*Moisturizing Mask*
1 tbs. Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
1.tsp.Honey
1 tbs.Avocado

This is a great mask for mature skin, or a complexion that’s going through a dry spell. The yogurt dissolves dead skin cells, the honey attracts moisture, and the avocado is incredibly moisturizing.  To prepare this  mask mix pureed or smashed avocado with the yogurt and honey, and apply the mixture to clean skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

*Tropical  Brightening  Mask*
1 tbs. Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbs. Pineapple

Who doesn’t love pineapples? When we visited Hawaii, I found myself eating pineapples nearly every day of our trip, often in the form of  Dole Whip!

I’ve always loved the way eating  fresh pineapple made my lips feel, extra soft and smooth. This is where I first got the idea to make a pineapple  mask.  Why does this smoothing action happen? Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that dissolves dead skin! Bromelain, when taken internally is anti-inflammatory, and excellent for our joints, so be sure to eat the leftover pineapple when making this recipe.

This  mask is brightening because of the  dual exfoliating action the pineapple enzymes alongside the yogurt’s lactic acid. To prepare this mask crush or puree the pineapple and mix it with the yogurt. Apply the mixture to clean skin, and leave it on for 15 minutes, rinse thoroughly.

*Breakout Banishing Mask*
1 tbs. Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbs. Lemon Juice

This mask is my favorite home  breakout treatment. I love that I can prepare it right in the kitchen. Lemon’s astringent action makes this mask  ideal for oily complexions and those who suffer from breakouts. If your skin tends to be drier, use whole milk yogurt for extra moisture. Both the lemon and the yogurt are exfoliating. This mask makes an amazing overnight spot treatment for pimples. I dab some over the affected area, cover it with a small band-aid and usually by morning the pimple has improved dramatically. To use this mask simply mix the yogurt and lemon juice, apply the mixture to clean skin, leave it on for 15 minutes, and rinse thoroughly.

Making these masks brings back memories of home facials with my sister,and our cousins.  I hope you’ll try these and enjoy the same complexion enhancing  results I have.