Natural Health — Vegetarian

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Should Vegans be Adding Brain Boosters to their Diet? 19

vegan dietSuccess and intelligence are essential to getting ahead in the competitive business world today, and children and college students find those attributes to be very important when it comes to their academics, too. However, in order to retain your sharp-witted sense throughout the years, you need to find ways to boost your brain power. While many rely on prescriptive methods to get an edge on the overachievers, you’ll find natural methods such as nootropics to be more beneficial.

What are Nootropics? The term was coined back in the 1960s by Romanian chemist Corneliu E. Giurgea. In order to qualify as a nootropic, the drugs should be able to boost the body’s ability to learn, memorize and provide protection to the brain from injuries. It should also have no toxicity, stimulant or sedative effects. The natural substances in these drugs can also increase the brain’s neurotransmitter count, activate nerve growth and increase the supply of oxygen that reaches the brain. Natural nootropics can enhance the brain's abilities to function through essential vitamins, minerals and herbs. From B6, bacopa and amino acids to huperzia serrata, vinocetine and ginko biloba, you’ll find this natural substance improves brain health and cognitive aptitudes. Scientifically synthesized nootropics work similarly to their natural counterparts and include products such as racetums and noopept and piracetums. Nevertheless, individuals need to do their research before taking any chemical or synthetic nootropic.

The Many Benefits of Nootropics The long-term benefits of nootropics are plentiful, and they begin by helping to improve the brain’s abilities to function well beyond old age. From enhanced alertness and a rise in attention to sustained focus and improvements in memory, these substances can give an individual the smarts that they need to succeed and function throughout life. They are also essential to people as they age, especially seniors. Since the memory declines as a person ages, nootropics can aid in cognitive functioning and help alleviate symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The right nootropics can also elevate a person’s mood, energy and reduce stress and anxiety.

Adding Nootropics to a Vegan Diet Natural nootropics are easy to obtain when you follow a healthy diet. However, some may think that consuming “smart foods” aren’t a part of a vegan diet. Vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, spinach, blueberries, grapefruit, avocado’s, cherries, bananas and prunes are vegan-friendly and part of a brain boosting diet. Whole-grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats and barley are just as important. While vegans stay away from meat and fish, you'll find that nuts, seeds, beans and dark chocolate are just as satisfying and healthy for consumption. Creative ways to add the foods naturally can include green or fruit smoothies, sweet potato hash, curried quinoa and dark chocolate mousse for dessert. In addition to consuming a healthy diet, natural supplements can also be added to a vegan diet to help obtain the benefits of nootropics. Taken separately, ginkgo biloba, huperzine, bacopa monnieri, vinpocetine and lion’s mane can all help improve the functions of the brain. However, you can also stack the supplements safely when you combine them based on your own specific needs. There are also products on the market today that do this for you and include Alpha Brain, Focus Factor and BrainStack.

Brain Boosting Smoothie Juicing recipes give a boost to your cognitive function. To make optimal smoothies, you'll need to have a masticating juicer in your kitchen. These juicers are best for leafy green vegetables. The beets in the recipe below are rich in nitrates, making them a great cognitive enhancer. The berries are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, which are helpful in staving off cognitive decline as you age.

Brain Builder Smoothie Mix together one Beet, and two handfuls each of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the juicer. Strain the mixture if needed, and pour into a glass and enjoy. Nootropics can improve the body’s ability to concentrate, memorize and improve mental clarity. While synthetic varieties are just as safe as their natural counterparts, eating a healthy diet can be an added boon for vegans who are looking for creative ways to consume the many brain inspiring foods.

Author: Holly Chavez

Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/58040028@N03/14744299860/

How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving 3

Gratitude is a dish best served daily but as for the rest of Thanksgiving fare, it is a great thing that the holiday only comes once a year or we would all be obese. Baked goods, fried foods, sugar and fat. We gather around and eat until our pants pop. Would you like time with your family yet long for something a little less stressful on your body? Here are a few recent articles that offer some tips to for a Healthy Thanksgiving. Here are some tips from Glamour.com: “Nuts: They’re your friend, says Martica. Limit yourself to one serving (about a small palmful) before the big meal, and she points to research that says you’ll eat less food later. Green veggies: They sound healthy, but creamed spinach or a rich green bean casserole? Not so much. Instead, think outside of the box when it comes to green veggies. Focus on simple preparations and maybe even do something unexpected. “One year I brought sauteed artichokes and kale to Thanksgiving,” says Martica. Turkey: “It’s really healthy,” she says, noting our favorite fall bird’s nutritional rap: low in saturated fat and cholesterol and a good source of folic acid. So don’t be afraid to enjoy some. But keep serving sizes in mind. “One serving of turkey is the size of a deck of cards. And save 50-60 calories by choosing white meat without skin.” Gravy: Use Martica’s logic for salad when it comes to gravy. “Think of gravy like you would salad dressing,” she says. “Do you need to slather every lettuce leaf with creamy dressing, or can you make due with a tablespoon and just spread it around?” Cranberry sauce: Time to get culinary, says Martica. “Store-bought, canned kinds of cranberry sauce,” says Martica, “often have lots of calories and corn syrup.” Better bet? “Make it from scratch with less sugar and add fruit juice instead.” Her favorite technique is to reduce the cranberries down over the stove with a little sugar and fruit juice such as pomegranate or orange juice. Mashed potatoes: They have a bad reputation, says Martica, but they shouldn’t! “Potatoes are high in vitamin C and high in fiber.” But, instead of loading up on cream and butter when you make them, mash them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper instead, and you’ll have a much healthier dish of spuds. Eggnog: Yes, it’s pretty rich, says Martica. “But it also has a lot of nutrients, like protein and calcium.” So don’t deprive yourself of your (and my!) favorite holiday treat. Just have a half cup, says Martica, which will save you 200 calories. Then, cut with a little skim milk. “It’s always best to dilute it a bit.” Pie: Put simply, choose apple or pumpkin. Apologies to pecan pie, but it’s a dieter’s death trap, says Martica. And, skip the whipped cream and ice cream. Pie is delicious without the trimmings!” More tips come from ShelbyStar.com: Stuffing. Prepare stuffing with whole grain bread. Cook the stuffing separate from the turkey. If you add the turkey drippings, be sure to skim off the fat. You save fat calories and provide whole grain goodness. Mashed Potatoes. Using chicken broth instead of butter will lighten up the texture of mashed potatoes and make them fluffier. Using broth instead of butter eliminates most of the fat from a mashed potato dish. For a creamier texture, add a little low-fat or fat-free half and half or buttermilk. Vegetable Tray. Add some new vegetables to those boring celery and carrot sticks by including jicama, snow peas, grape tomatoes, scallions, mushrooms, orange and yellow pepper strips and other varieties of produce. Serve with a balsamic vinegar-based dressing instead of a mayonnaise-based dip.” My advice: Skip baked desserts and fried foods and don’t overeat on the rest. Or if you are vegetarian like me, consider volunteering at your local soup kitchen or food bank and skipping the feast altogether. Image Source: Glamour.com  

Healthy Vegetarian Diet 1

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Image by robpurdie via Flickr"]vegetarianism: the higher taste[/caption] by Myron Huett If you follow a vegetarian diet, you'll enjoy the benefits of a very healthy eating plan. To be truly healthy, however, a vegetarian diet must combine balance, moderation and variety. It's essential that you also include all of the essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Vegetarians are loosely categorized as people who avoid eating all types of meat including pork, beef, chicken, cold cuts and fish. Vegetarians can be further classified into the types of foods that they will or will not eat. For example, lacto-ovo vegetarians will avoid eating animal flesh, yet they will eat most dairy products and eggs. Vegans, on the other hand, adhere to strict diets that do not include foods that have any traces of animal origin. The challenge that many vegetarians face is in getting the proper amount of protein in their diets. The average meat-happy American consumes more protein than they actually need on a daily basis. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can easily meet their protein requirements with a diet rich in dairy products. Vegans can obtain protein through soy products, seeds and nuts. You probably already know that beans are also excellent source of protein. Just one cup of cooked beans can contain the same amount of protein as two ounces of meat. Protein-rich beans include split peas and chick peas, red and green lentils, soy beans and others. Kidney beans make a great meat replacement in chili. Refried beans are a delicious staple for many Mexican dishes. Nuts can also be a good protein source, but they're also high in fat and should be eaten moderately. Vegetarians must be aware of diminished levels of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Meat is the primary source of vitamin B12 in the average North American diet, so vegans should regularly consume soy products or take vitamin B12 supplements to meet the necessarily daily requirements. It's easy to get calcium if you are able to consume milk and other dairy products, but vegans don't have this option. Vegan-friendly options are calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice. Some vegetables like leafy greens, beans and broccoli are also high in calcium. Simple food groups make up the vegetarian diet, so it's important to control the intake of calcium and vitamins. A healthy vegetarian diet, supplemented by additional nutrients, is ideal for maintaining overall wellness. If you take control of what you eat today, you'll enjoy good health for many years to come. Author Myron Huett loves writing for some of today's best web sites, on health information and health diet fitness themes. Don't reprint the same version as everyone else. Get your own unique content vegetarian article here. Buy the Book: Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family Visit A Much Better Health Store Browse through our Organic Bath, Body & Beauty Store Dr. Weil’s My Optimum Health Plan: Your mind & body wellness center. Get your free health assessment now!
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7 Reasons Humans Should Eat Raw 2

[caption id="attachment_7364" align="alignleft" width="300"]via Patrick Feller on Flickr via Patrick Feller on Flickr[/caption] by Scott Jackson When you ask anybody "what are the healthiest foods in the world?" they will answer -"fresh fruits and vegetables". Then ask them how much they eat and most will say "not many or none". The majority of Americans are eating the standard American diet (S.A.D.). The sad diet includes way too many processed and junk foods. Fast foods, processed foods, candies, imitation foods as well as fatty meats are the predominate table fare for most Americans. It is no wonder that health related issues are on the rise in America. Even with the government recommending 5 - 8 servings of fruit and vegetables daily, many people get their vegetables from the lettuce, onions and pickles on the top of a slab of meat. Not the best way to get your vegetables and certainly not enough. So why not eat more fruits and vegetables? If you look at nature and see who are the closest to us in body type (gorillas, chimps, bondos) and study what they eat you will get a better idea of what we were intended to consume. These large animals consume a raw vegan diet. They primarily consume fruits, leaves, stems, shoots and other raw plant matter. They have digestive systems that are similar to ours. They have the same teeth structure. They have hands very similar to ours. Hands that are designed to pick fruit and grab other plant matter. Man and these large apes are all fruigavores. Fruigavors eat mainly fruit and vegetables. So here are some reasons we were designed to eat raw vegan food: 1. No other creature on earth except man cooks its food before it is eaten. 2. Every creature in nature has a food that is designed for it and is eaten in its raw natural state. 3. Our digestive system is much longer that a carnivore's and is designed to digest fruits and vegetables, not meat. 4. We are not designed to hunt and kill prey. We do not have claws, canine teeth that can kill, eye sight for seeing in the dark, superb hearing or other physical traits that carnivores have. 5. Our sense of smell is not as good as a carnivore and we can't use it to track or hunt with. 6. When a carnivore smells prey it salivates and natural hunting instincts kick in. We are usually repulsed by the natural smell of other animals. (Ever smell a barnyard and think how delicious it smells?) 7. Think of how you react to the smell of fresh fruit. Smells goods and can make your mouth water. These are just a few of the many reasons why we were designed to eat a raw vegan diet. Simply by adding more fruits and vegetables, like Mother Nature intended, you should see some improvement in your health. About the Author: Scott Jackson weighed 298 pounds at the beginning of 2006 and lost an amazing 100 pounds in less than six months on a raw food diet. Scott is now a raw lifestyle coach and chef. He is the author of "Raw-licious Healthy and Delicious Recipes". If you are interested in adding more raw foods in your diet go to http://www.rawweightloss.com and Scott will give you a free copy of "Raw-licious Healthy and Delicious recipes".  
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How Do You Define Processed Food? 23

processed foodby Eric Thorn A by-no-means-exhaustive search on the internet regarding "processed food" turns up some very divergent and controversial information and opinions on the subject. One camp eschews any kind of processed food; the other touts the safety and convenience of it. What is processed food? Wikipedia describes "processed food" as any food that is changed from its natural, raw state. Did you peel your banana before you ate it? Cut your apple into slices? Stir-fry your dinner vegetables? Scramble your egg? You just processed your food by that definition. Following are common food processing techniques listed in the Wikipedia entry: * "Removal of unwanted outer layers, such as potato peeling or the skinning of peaches * Chopping or slicing, of which examples include potato chips, diced carrot, or candied peel. * Mincing and macerating * Liquefaction, such as to produce fruit juice * Emulsification * Cooking, such as boiling, broiling, frying, steaming or grilling * Mixing * Addition of gas such as air entrainment for bread or gasification of soft drinks * Proofing * Spray drying" Under that broad of a definition, nearly every food we eat is processed. However, most of us tend to define processed food in a much narrower sense. For us, "processed food" is food which has been chemically altered through additives such as flavors, flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, etc., or which has been manufactured through combination or other methods. Generally speaking, if the ingredients aren't "natural", then we consider it to be processed. If you want to make yourself totally paranoid about your food (and that's not too hard to do), there is plenty of information out there spelling out all the horrors that await you from eating processed food: the cancers and diseases you will get from the dioxins and thousands of other toxic chemicals; the shorter life span you will have; the damage you personally are inflicting upon our planet through your consumption of processed food, etc. There is no shortage of Chicken Littles running around squawking about the sky falling. And, to some extent, they're right. The chemicals in our food and our environment are certainly not doing us any favors. But are things really as bad as they make them out to be? The truth is, processing has made the world's food supply much safer to eat, and has made the storage of food a much healthier and more viable option. Processing kills pathogens, and extends the shelf life of food. Were there to be a food shortage or even a famine, shelf items are going to keep you alive a lot longer than raw food, which will be rotten within a few days. Processing had made it possible to transport food to famine-stricken areas, thus helping to relieve suffering worldwide. Processing even increases the bioavailability of some nutrients, such as lycopene, found in tomatoes. Despite these benefits, a diet exclusive in processed foods will almost certainly lead to disease. Our bodies are designed to eat natural, raw foods; there's no doubt about that. Raw foods contain beneficial enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed through processing. Just because a pill contains the "nutrients" of a whole shopping list of vegetables doesn't mean our bodies get the same benefit as eating the vegetables themselves. Nutrients, enzymes, and other components of the foods we eat work synergistically. We really don't know how well they work when they're isolated from each other, or when we ingest synthetic versions. Twinkie DeconstructedWe should eat as many raw foods as we can daily. Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to our meals and snacks is an easy way to accomplish this. However, a totally vegan diet is just not feasible for most people. Time and resources are often strong opponents to good health. Additionally, there is not enough raw food for everybody to suddenly adopt veganism, nor would everybody want to. We must each find the proper balance that works for us. Eliminating all processed food is probably not going to happen for most of us. But we can make better food choices and supplement our diets with missing components. We can opt for the apple over the apple juice. We can choose a baked potato or salad over french fries. We can choose whole-grain bread over the white fluff that is passed off as bread. We can take the time to read food labels. Chances are, if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't be eating it. We can choose processed foods with a very short list of ingredients; the longer the list, the more processing involved, and the more nutrition lost. Our bodies are amazing organisms, capable of extraordinary things. They are designed to filter out toxins at an astounding rate. They have a highly sophisticated defense system. They have an amazing ability to recover from serious damage. The key lies in providing our bodies with the necessary building blocks to accomplish what they were designed to do-to keep us alive! About the Author: Eric Thorn, a successful businessman, highly recommends the all natural Zija Moringa Beverage, 100% organic with vitamins, minerals & essential amino acids. Learn more about Zija visit http://www.zijapower.com. Buy the book: Twinkie Deconstructed [affiliate link] Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/75468125@N00/2291289407/