Monday, October 31, 2011

Why I don't donate to cancer research...

I never donate money to cancer research at the grocery store. Yes, I initially feel guilty about it. But to me it would be like throwing money away. This country can cure and prevent most cases of cancer (and other diseases) out there today. There is no special "pill", no special treatment that we have to isolate from the rare trees of the Amazon jungle.

Why are we so overweight in America? Why do we have some of the highest rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases? Around every corner I see a fitness club, healthy food store, sporting club retailer. When I turn on the TV I see commercials for breast cancer fundraisers or yogurt sellers marketing to women in the guise of prevention of breast cancer. These all seem contradictory. Shouldn't we be healthy is we are exercising and eating healthy low-fat yogurt with our lean turkey burgers? The bottom line is that our capitalist society needs us to remain ignorant of the scientific research and just blindly consuming what they want us to consume. And what we eat in this country is killing us. What we eat actually causes our disease! Of course, if we all figured this out then what would the meat, dairy, egg, supplement, vitamin, etc. companies do? What would the big pharmaceutical companies do if people suddenly stopped needing their blood pressure medicines, their diabetes testing strips, their cancer treatments?

What would happen if people suddenly decided to follow the recommendations of scientific research that shows a link between animal protein consumption and the progression of cancer and other diseases and reduce or eliminate meat, dairy and eggs in their diet? Well, obviously people would be better off. But what about the economy? What about the dairy, egg, and meat industries? They are as bad as cigarette companies, spreading their agenda to the littlest consumers, hooking our kids as early as possible and telling them that milk has calcium and builds strong bones- drink milk! A human should drink the milk from a cow? How does that even make sense? If I asked anyone to drink some of my (human) milk they would look at me like I needed a trip to the looney bin! But hey, gimme a big glass of that delicious juice from the teat of a cow- that is way more acceptable!

In his book, The China Study, T. Colin Campbell goes into the corruption of scientific research by bought scientists and big company interest groups. These people masquerade as experts in nutrition and position themselves as the main source of dietary guideline makers in this country. What damage is this doing to our country? It is killing us at an alarming rate. It is positioning our children to be just as confused as we have been about what we should be eating so they will die from the same diseases at young ages. It is happening already. The problem is that the solution is so simple that nobody can sell anything or make money from it so they need to hide it at all costs and instead sell you what they call "healthy" food: milk, eggs, yogurt, processed "low-fat" foods, "lean" turkey meat, etc. The problem is that these are all derived from animal protein and all bad for you.

So, what is the solution? How can you save yourself, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren from a legacy of disease, misinformation, confusion? How can we save this country from rising health care costs (hospitals really don't want anything to change either- they make money when people are in the hospital!)? How can we have the best quality of life for the longest time possible?

The Solution (according to T. Colin Campbell and the numerous researchers and scientists that he sites in his book) are these two [easy] strategies:

1. Eliminate (or severely limit) animal food in the diet (meat, eggs, dairy)
2. Eat a plant-based diet: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, sprouts, etc.

and I will add also...
3. Eliminate or limit processed foods and sugary foods
4. Exercise !

We don't need to raise astronomical amounts of money for cancer research...a "cure" has been found in the way of prevention through diet. If you avoid animal protein and eat a plant-based diet you should be able to maintain a healthy body that is free of disease (cancers, heart disease, diabetes, etc.)

Don't be confused by all the misinformation out there. The answer and solution is simple- spread the word and save lives.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Little Vegetarians

I can't remember what a pre-veggie lunch would be...somewhat "healthy" but no doubt it included animal protein in some form or another...but today ...

Kendall's lunch: applesauce, garbanzo beans, tofu, and brown rice in curry sauce, 2 large stalks steamed broccolli, avocado pieces, organic puffs

Kaylee's Lunch: broccolli (she didn't eat much), avocado pieces, orzo pasta mixed with black beans and broccolli and veggie broth (she LOVED this, so did Kendall)

I am going to go ahead and say that this was a super healthy lunch. I feel so good about giving my family this nutritious food that is going to nourish their bodies.

I had my usual sandwich (I am addicted. I would rather have this than any burger out there, seriously! ) and an apple.

I did make eggs this morning but scrambeled them with mushrooms, potatoes, and spinach for a healthier version.

Tonight: pasta with "meat" sauce, bread, salad with olive oil vinaigrette. I am excited to try the vegan meat crumbles although after the vegan cheese I am hesitant. At least we have a delicious warm loaf of bread and salad!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Verdict on last night's pizzas and a revelation about lunch

So last night I used pre-made crust which was nice but the crusts were mini-pizza size (8" diameter) so I had to assemble all 5 and cook seperately. It would have been much easier to cook One. Big. Pizza. Anyhoo...people liked them. The vegan cheese was gross. I think next time I will do a small sprinkle of real cheese or maybe no cheese at all. Overall it was a nice fast pizza. I layered spinach, mushrooms, and red peppers over red sauce. Kaylee loved sucking on the sauced crust.

For lunch today I ended up eating a veggies sammich (my favorite one) and gave Kaylee a piece of spelt bread with hummus to munch on. Well, then Kendall wanted Kendall ended up with pieces of bread, hummus, and then I gave her some spinach and broccolli to dip as well. Along with grapes I will say that this was probably the healthiest lunch she's eaten in a long time! It's just amazing how kids eat what you give them. If you assume they won't eat it (which I have done lots of times) then of course they won't because they don't have the opportunity! If Kendall (or Kaylee) sees me eating something, even a salad, they automatically want some. Remember this!

And this was such an *easy* lunch! Pieces of bread and veggies with hummus dip! Tonight I am going to experiment with some jarred Tikka Misala sauce I got. It has cream in it but oh well. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brownies again!

Last night we had the asian noodle tofu dish again and I used stir fried frozen veggies which cut down on the cooking time. I didn't use nearly enough veggies! I am slowly realizing that we need to up our veggie intake. I am going to start doing more salads with dinner. Maybe I can premake them ahead of time (naptime) so they are ready to go for dinner.

I have been toying with the idea of what foods to include/not include and have decided that we will do eggs and cheese on occasion. I will strive for a very small amount of animal protein per day but I am not going to stress about it. That would be counter-productive, wouldn't it?

I also made the black bean brownies again last night for playgroup today and used 1/2 cup of applesauce instead of eggs. OMGSOGOOD!! Next time I make the recipe I will play around with reducing the oil and increasing to 3/4 cup applesauce and 1 cup beans. I think the recipe should hold up fine. (As long as you slather with a can of frosting, ha!)

I have been telling people about the book where I can...I have mom reading it and dad is interested. I really can't recommend it highly enough.It is just hard to talk about without feeling "preachy". Luckily I am used to putting my foot in my mouth (verbal diarrhea), so it's not too big of a problem for me.

Tonight we will have veggie pizzas (sun dried tomatoes, eggplant, sauteed potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and vegan mozzerella cheese.) I can't wait! This meal should be quick because I bought pre-made crusts.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reflecting on the first week as a (pseudo) vegetarian

I am absolutely committed 100% to this lifestyle for our family. I am completely convinced that it is the way to live to have the best quality of life possible. In the past week there have been good things and bad things...

Good things:

  • I tried out a bunch of new recipes with a lot of success...
  • We ate way healthier
  • Kendall ate more veggies than ever before
  • Chris actually loved the food
  • My energy levels have been great

Bad things:
  • ....
  • Hmmmm...
  • chicken fried steak (so basically no saturated fat, cholesterol, extra calories, increased risk of cancer progression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.)
So yeah, the "bad" things are really good things. Makes it an easy choice. I look forward to trying even more wonderful recipes next week and figuring out what to pack for Brandon's lunch...while pb&j is technically vegan, I would like him to have more variety! I think the best way is to let him get involved in picking out things at the grocery store that fit into our new diet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 5

Today I made mac and cheese with veggies for lunch. Soon I will try and phase out traditional mac and cheese but for now we are still eating modest amounts of dairy.

Anyhow, I had made about a cup of steamed veggies. I gave Kendall about 1/4 cup and used the rest in Kaylee's lunch puree. Kendall finished all of her veggies (organic corn, beans, and carrots) and actually asked for more! And of course, I had already used all that I made for Kaylee's food and didn't have any more veggies! Such a great problem for a parent!

For dinner I made noodles with stir fried tofu, I added red peppers and mushrooms and used Mr. Toshida's teriyaki sauce. Everyone ate it up, including Brandon. Amazing. We had the black bean brownies for dessert, yum! I need to find a good vegan brownie recipe. Although the only dairy product in it was 1 egg and the 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips.

I also made the easy masoor dal recipe which turned out alright. I am saving it for tomorrow and will serve it over jasmine rice. I followed the directions from the 2nd reviewer of the recipe and added 1 onion and 2 small chopped tomatoes.

Book Review: The China Study

Wow. Where to even begin? This book is a must-read for EVERYONE. Well, vegans can skip it because they are already preventing everything from heart disease, cancer, alzheimer's, MS, etc. by eliminating animal protein and eating a plant based diet.

This is the basic idea of the book: eating a diet high in animal protein is linked to the progression of many diseases: called "diseases of affluence" in the book. For example, many studies have been done showing that mice fed a diet of 20% animal protein developed more cancer than mice fed a 15% diet...the mice that were fed 5% animal protein had very little cancer. Amazing.

Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases....all preventable with a plant based diet.

Now there is no doubt that we as Americans are the fattest and unhealthiest people in the world. This is linked to our diet, which is linked to disease. It seems like people either don't want to believe that their diet is causing their health problems or they are so confused by all of the contradictory "scientific" information out there. In the book, T. Colin Campbell goes into great detail about how the big food industry works to try and confuse the public and keep us ignorant to the true health effects of eating their food. The dairy industry, meat industry, egg industry...they find ways to spin or hide the truth. The scariest part is that the dairy industry has almost all of our kids drinking milk by the time they first step foot in school and teaches them that milk is healthy for them! Never have I been so happy that a dairy allergy in childhood kept me from growing up drinking milk! (We drink soy, rice, or almond milk here and have for years based on my belief that milk from a cow doesn't make sense for humans to drink.)

There has been a lot in the news lately about the breast cancer "3-Day Walk for the Cure," and every time I see a commercial for it I think to myself, if all these women went home and changed their diet and their family's diet to a plant-based diet that they would be preventing cancer of all kinds. Too bad the drug companies don't really want you to prevent a disease- then they can't sell you a cure. See, surgery, pills, operations, etc. make companies money. Yes, hospitals are companies! Campbell explains everything in his book.

I read the book and approximately 1/4 way in he had me convinced that I needed to change my family's diet. I was unwittingly having them eat their way towards higher chances for so many diseases simply by feeding them foods that I *thought* were healthy!

Lean turkey meat
sandwich cold cuts

Prior to reading this book the list above would have looked like a list full of foods affording great sources of protein that I would feed my family on any given day (AAAHHHH!). It's protein all right: animal protein! The kind that increases risk for disease. As Cambell says in the book, there is nothing found in meat that is not found in plants but without any cholesterol or saturated fat! Nothing. And with plants you are getting extra vitamins, nutrients, fiber...the list goes on.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is simply life-changing. For the better! As Dr. Dean Ornish says on the cover of the book, "This is one of the most important books about nutrition ever written-reading it may save your life."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Article: "The Rise of the Power Vegan"

I loved this article about some powerful people that also happen to be vegan.

Steve Jobs, Steve Wynn, Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Russell Simmons...

My Family Is Becoming Vegetarian!

The Fam includes:These tall people. (Unfortunately, I am the one in the green not the black! I couldn't figure out how to edit her out! Haha!)
This medium guy.
The littles.

Wow. Major lifestyle change here...and not just for me. I am bringing the kids and the hubs along for the ride. We are all [slowly] becoming vegetarian. My plan is to start as lacto-ovo vegetarians and slowly work towards near-exclusively vegan. I don't think jumping straight in from bacon-wrapped meatloaf (yes, I did make that last week!) to full vegan would be easy. We are doing this for health reasons mainly, so I am not ruling out an occasional steak or sushi dinner.

Why are we doing this? I read a life-changing book called, "The China Study," by T. Collin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. I cannot recommend it enough. I won't review it yet here on the blog because I haven't finished it yet but I will say that one day into reading it I had decided that we must become vegetarian and lower our consumption of animal protein. Now, I am not an alarmist or prone to diet fads- I am a science teacher and used to looking at the world from the scientific point of view, so this is definitely not a phase. What I read in this book blew my mind. Like I said, more on that later.

So far I have actually really been enjoying my new lifestyle. I have been making new recipes, such as tofu fried rice with stir-fried veggies, baked falafel with homemade yogurt sauce, black bean brownies(!!), and later today I will be making butternut squash risotto. I have also discovered my all-time favorite sandwich EVER: avocado-hummus-sundried tomato-sprout-cheddar-spinach. OMG, it couldn't be more healthy or more delicious (well, it could be more healthy without the cheese, but BABY STEPS!!). I want to eat it Every. Single. Day.

The biggest surprise has been how much Kendall LOVES this new food. She gobbles up my veggie sandwiches, falafels, tofu veggie rice...she has never eaten this many vegetables. Today I put avocado, tomato, and spinach in her quesadilla. I lowered the amount of cheese as well. She loved it.

Chris is also on board which blows my mind. I have been telling him what I have been reading in the book and he is being supportive of this change for our family. He has liked everything I made so far as well. What a relief. If Chris didn't see the light it would make this whole process so much harder!

Prior to this diet we ate quite a bit of meat, eggs, and dairy. Typical dinners would include meat as would sandwiches for lunch. Not only that but I had been following a high-protein diet to try and get back into shape after my last baby. I had been drinking protein shakes made with whey protein (from milk) every day!!! I had also been eating and serving my family lots of animal protein. I thought I was eating healthy by cooking lean turkey instead of ground meat. When I think of how I have been feeding my family and myself it scares me. It is time to get on the right track for health.