Telling you what you need to know.
A page of information, links, and articles on the benefits of a plant-based diet, including summaries of Omega 3 fats, protein, osteoporosis, and cholesterol; also, links to Vegetarian recipes, restaurants, and support groups.
Fish-oil VS Plant-oil Supplements, Which One's Better?
Plant-based sources of Omega 3 fats may always be better for you than fish-based sources. As all animal products break down into more acidic by-products than plant-based foods, and as cancers love high acid environments, from an Anti-Cancer perspective, fish oil supplements contain acid-creating elements, as well as containing cholesterol, and long-chain saturated fats.
Another problem with fish oil supplements is that they only target Omega-3 fats; in the plant world, this can be replaced by flax seeds which are mostly Omega-3 fats. Flax seeds are preferable to flax oil, since flax oil contains very few antioxidants and the oil can go rancid very quickly after pressing. You should also never cook with flax oil, but you can add freshly ground whole seeds to items you are baking. Since the unbroken seeds protect the oil, whole flax seeds will stay for a long time in a refrigerator. However, a superior supplement to fish oil or flax seeds is just eating a handful of hemp seeds.
Eating a handful of hemp seeds will not only give you a plant-based source of Omega-3 fats, but also a proper balance of Omega-3 to Omega 6 fats (about 1 part Omega-3 fats to 2 & 1/2 parts Omega-6 fats) which is better for you. Most doctors agree that you should consume somewhere between a 1:2 to a 1:3 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats for optimum health, while the average American diet is closer to 1:10 or 1:20, as Omega-6 fats are extremely common and Omega-3 fats are rare.
English walnuts and walnut oil (the kind sold commercially in the United States) also have the proper balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats (the same as hemp seeds, about 1 part Omega-3 to 2 & 1/2 parts Omega-6 fats). Chia seeds are another great source of Omega-3 fats in a 2:3 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats, and therefore help to balance out the Omega-6 fats that are common in most seeds, nuts, and grains.
Hemp seeds not only provide Omega 3 and 6 fats in a proper ratio, they also provide all the other essential fats your body needs (Omega 9, and "super" Omega fats); they also provide all essential amino acids (proteins). The company Nutiva has pioneered the sale of hempseeds in the United States, and while you can't buy directly from them, their website is worth seeing. Nutiva also makes coconut oil, or "coconut butter," which is high in, "good for you," medium-chain saturated fats, found in high quantities in palm and coconut oils.
Good oils to cook with include cold pressed olive oil for medium and high heat pan frying and salad dressings, and cold pressed coconut and palm oils for baking (350 degrees or less for coconut oil, and 425 degrees or less for palm oil). Walnut oil can also be used for low-temperature pan frying, or baking, or for salad dressings. In the past, they tested a batch of hydrogenated coconut and palm oils and concluded that coconut and palm oils were bad for us, unfortunately, it was the hydrogenation that was bad. Coconut and palm oils are good for you, and along with olive oil, they provide very little Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, which you should get from hemp seeds, or walnuts.
Shouldn't I Worry About Getting Enough Protein?
In An Anti-Cancer Diet, the subject of getting enough protein (or "essential amino acids") is ignored due to the inclusion of hempseeds as an all-in-one food source. But even without hempseeds, most people eating an entirely plant-based diet will get a healthy balance of proteins just from a varied diet of vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts.
Since animal-based foods provide complete proteins, for those who are eating an entirely plant-based diet it is useful to know that in addition to hemp seeds, the grains quinoa and amaranth are, "complete protein," sources, meaning they provide all of the, "essential amino acids," people cannot make and must consume in their diets.
While it is important to get a balance of essential amino acids, we may not need that much protein in our diets. The website Soy Stache points out that, "We do not have to restrict ourselves to nuts, seeds, and beans when thinking about protein. We certainly do not need to focus on animal products." This site has a giant list of, "Plant-based sources of protein vs. animal sources of protein, including ... their protein content (and) other nutrients." Two interesting facts from this chart:
1) The amount of usable energy (calories) in nuts or beans are at least double that of any meat, dairy, or eggs. A 100 gram, or 3.5 ounce serving of most nuts or beans gives you over 500 calories of good, useful fuel, while the same serving size of meat (or fish) gives you only 170 - 270 calories of usable energy, along with "bad" cholesterol, "long-chain" saturated fat, and no fiber.
2) The main chart on Soy Stache's website ends at 5 grams of protein per 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving, but adds human breast milk for comparison, at the end of the chart. Human breast milk has only 1% protein (about the same as carrots and bananas) and about 40 times less protein than meat.
Since human babies can grow perfectly healthy on just breast milk for over 2 years, it can be reasoned that we do not need much more than 1% protein in our adult diets. Even if 1% is too little protein for adults, and we should consume 2, 3, or even 5% (the entirely plant-based diet suggested in An Anti-Cancer Diet provides about 10% protein), we do know what happens when you eat too much protein for years on end...
Osteoporosis Linked To Excess Protein Consumption
John Robbins has been warning about the health hazards of eating too much protein for over 20 years now; he is the author of the classic Vegan book, Diet for a New America, and has written other books, including a book and website called The Food Revolution, and his latest book and website called Healthy at 100. I cannot think of someone who has put in more years educating people about the negative effects of eating meat, dairy, and eggs... both on our bodies, and on our environment. In Diet for a New America, Robbins revealed a study originally comissioned by the, "milk board," in the 1970's that showed that drinking extra milk actually lowered calcium in your blood. Of course, the milk board sat on the study, and went ahead with their advertising campaign about, "milk builds strong bones," even though they knew this was the opposite of the truth.
Apparently, calcium and protein are carried by the same part of your blood, and calcium gets tossed for protein. In other words, eat too much protein, and you urinate out all your calcium; then at night, your body taps the calcium reserves in your bones. Given 20 to 40 years of this constant removal of calcium, and 50% of your total bone mass is gone, which they call, "osteoporosis."
What About Cholesterol, Shouldn't I Worry About That?
Other than the 1 - 3% of caucasians who carry a recessive gene that interferes with cholesterol production, all adults make all the cholesterol we need out of foods with no cholesterol. The whole concept of cholesterol seems to be misunderstood by most people... to make it simple, eating any cholesterol is bad for you. Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by your body to line your cell walls, and to line your arteries and veins; eating any animal product puts excess cholesterol into your blood stream, where it forms thick layers on the walls, constricting the flow of blood and causing high blood pressure, angina, and other cardiovascular problems.
Since meat, fish, dairy, and eggs are the only sources of cholesterol, eating animal products turns out to be nothing but abuse to your body. If you want to lower your cholesterol, you don't have to know anything about your ratio of LDL to HDL, just stop eating meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, and your cholesterol numbers should drop to within healthy ranges.
The whole discussion of, "good," and, "bad," cholesterol, "genetic pre-dispositions," and, "your ratio of LDL to HDL," is based on the false assumption that eating animal products is normal, or okay. You can forget all of that, if you just eat a plant-based (Vegan) diet.
What has the most cholesterol? The chart on Soy Stache shows that meat from cows, pigs, birds, and fish has from 50 mg. to 100 mg. of cholesterol per 100 gram serving (100 grams = 3.5 ounces), and cow and goat milk has 20 - 30 mg. of cholesterol per serving. Eggs have the most cholesterol, with a range of 174 to 430 mg. per egg (430 mg. is the USDA number). Depending on the source, this means that eating just 1 or 2 eggs exceeds the 300 mg. maximum for cholesterol (for an entire day).
The recommended diets given on nutrition labels for 2,000 calories (women) and 2,500 calories (men) show different levels of every item except cholesterol and salt, both are shown as maximum amounts. Both cholesterol and salt, in excess, can lead to high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular and heart disease.
The website Fat free kitchen lists cholesterol numbers for many different types of cheese, the key is that "fat free" versions of cream cheese and cottage cheese have almost no cholesterol in them. Like many sites, this one states that, "As the body makes its own cholesterol, it is not necessary to take dietary cholesterol."
In addition, there is the issue of IGF-1 in all dairy products and its link to prostate and breast cancers (see the Cancer Fighting Links page); so from an anticancer perspective, all dairy products, including fat free dairy products should be avoided.
Dark Chocolate Raises Good Cholesterol (HDL)
Dark chocolate and coco powder have antioxidants and polyphenols, and raise the levels of HDL, "good cholesterol" believed to remove excess cholesterol from veins and arteries.
Not surprisingly, a Finnish study concluded that "white chocolate" had, "an undesirable effect," the same holds true for milk chocolate; due to their milk content, milk chocolate and white chocolate are to be avoided as the milk solids more than cancel the good effects of the chocolate.
It is the coco solids that have been identified as the active ingredient that lowers cholesterol, so bake with coco powder, and eat dark chocolate with a high percentage of coco solids as a part of a plant-based diet rich in soy foods. The following are a few of the last 12 years worth of studies into cholesterol and chocolate. The evidence:
1) "Chocolate May Help Fight 'Bad' Cholesterol: Wine chemist discovers sweet news." San Francisco Chronicle (Friday, September 20, 1996) Written by David Periman, Chronicle Science Editor. Read more here.
2) "Cocoa And Dark Chocolate Show Positive Effects On Ldls – But Don't Shun Veggies." ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2001) — University Park, Pa. -- "A Penn State-led study has found that a diet high in flavonoid-rich cocoa powder and dark chocolate had favorable effects on LDL ("bad" cholesterol) when compared with a diet that limited or excluded other flavonoid sources such as tea, coffee, wine, onions, apples, beans, soybeans, and orange and grape juices." Read the article.
3) "Chocolate Bar Shown To Lower Cholesterol." ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2008) "The results of a University of Illinois study have demonstrated an effective way to lower cholesterol levels -- by eating chocolate bars." Read more.
And finally, this article sums it up (From Bellaonline).
"Chocolate and Cholesterol" by Deborah Markus
A friend of mine was telling me the other day that her father is having trouble with his cholesterol levels. Though he is otherwise fit, with a healthy lifestyle, he needs to take medication to address the problem.
"I wish you could give him some good news on the chocolate front," she said jokingly. "That would really cheer him up."
I seemed to remember that there was good chocolate news when it came to managing cholesterol, and promised my friend I'd do the research. It turns out that several studies confirm the idea that cocoa powder and dark chocolate can have a beneficial effect on LDL, or "bad," cholesterol."
Science Daily summarizes a Penn State-led study in which ten men and thirteen women participated. The researchers compared the results of consuming a diet rich in flavonoids (plant-based antioxidants) with a diet sadly lacking in them. Specifically, the diet high in flavonoids contained, among other things, daily doses of cocoa powder and dark chocolate. This study concluded that such intakes of chocolate products could be helpful in both reducing LDL cholesterol and raising levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol.
Another study, undertaken in Finland, tested the effects of white and dark chocolate on cholesterol levels. White chocolate had an undesirable effect, dark chocolate a good one, and dark chocolate enriched with cocoa polyphenols (antioxidants) was best of all.
The most recent study, reported by WebMD, studied twenty-five Japanese men. The subjects were in good general health, with either normal or only mildly high cholesterol levels. One group of men was given a sweet cocoa beverage to drink every day for twelve weeks. The other had a similarly sweet beverage without any cocoa in it. (...) Again, cocoa came through. The group that consumed it had a 24% increase in HDL levels (compared to a 5% increase in the control group).
All of the researchers in all of the studies stressed that their results did not give carte blanche to chocolate lovers. As always, a balanced diet is important. Drinking a cup of cocoa each morning doesn't mean that you can eat whatever you want the rest of the day. Loading your plate with lots of vegetables at least two meals out of three is probably the biggest single favor you can do for your health.
But if you're going to have a treat -- well, so far dark chocolate keeps getting the nod from researchers all over the world.
Unfortunately, if you're a milk chocolate lover, the news isn't so good. Either resign yourself to the fact that your favorite treat is only good for your morale and make sure that the rest of your diet is extra healthy, or try to make the switch to a dark with a good high cocoa content."
Vegetarian Recipes And InformationAdapting family recipes to make them meat-free is encouraged in An Anti-Cancer Diet, but for anyone looking for vegetarian recipes, the following is a list of websites with Vegetarian and Vegan recipes, and nutritional information. This is not a complete list, just a useful one with links to thousands of recipes.
1) Eggs: Robs the offspring's life from its parents.
2) Honey: Robs the food of bees.
3) Milk: Robs the food of the offspring, food from their mother.
1) "Those animals have been our parents."
2) "All kinds of animal meats mix together even with dogs."
3) "The impure smells of animals are not good for eating."
4) "Dogs usually bark at meat-eater."
5) "Meat-eaters have no mercy."
6) "Meat-eaters do not have a good reputation."
7) "All incantations cannot function out."
8) "It causes many animals to be killed."
9) "God and good ghosts do not like meat-eaters."
10) "Bad smells come from their mouths."
11) "Meat-eaters have bad dreams."
12) "Tigers follow their bad smell and kill them."
13) "Meat-eaters have no limitation of gluttony."
14) "Meat-eating cuts the renunciation of the practitioner."
15) "Meat-eaters may sometimes eat one's own children of past lives."
Vitamin B3 deficiency: insomnia, nervousness, irritability, confusion, apprehensiveness, depression, hallucinations.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: difficulty in concentration and remembering, stupor, severe agitation, manic or paranoid behavior.
Vitamin C deficiency: schizophrenia.
However, one must remember that this is the opinion of Western Science. In actuality, the Law of Cause and Effect as followed by Buddhists dictates a person's life according to his mental state. The mind is always the Chief. Food is only one factor of the exterior result. Therefore, all roots of mental diseases can be found in one's own mind. Likewise, through one's mind, they may be cured. Thus, we cannot predict health solely through the quality or quantity of diet, but almost always the answer lies in the manner of diet: the mental state of the person so afflicted. When one understands that his mind is basically the ruler of the state of his being, then he may select foods that aid him along the lines he has chosen. (...)
[Note: He seems to imply that vitamin B-12 is common in vegetables; the evidence supports the opposite, and people eating a strict plant-based diet should take B-12 supplements. Due to the fact that vitamin B-12 is stored in the liver, most people only need to take supplements once or twice a week, unless your doctor tested you and found that you were very low in B-12). -Robert]
(To see the complete list, click here, and scroll down to, "The Mahayana Diet.")
[End of the Plant-Based Diets page, including summaries of Omega-3 fats, protein, osteoporosis, and cholesterol, as well as links to Vegetarian recipes, restaurants, and support groups; more links will be added as they come to my attention.]