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3 Steps to Choosing the Best Omega 3 Supplements

3 Steps to Choosing the Best Omega 3 Supplements

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for good health and are important structural components of the brain and the retina. Modern diets are very low in omega 3s relative to omega 6, and therefore omega 3 supplementation is beneficial to optimize the ratio of these fatty acids in the body. An increased omega 3 intake has been associated with several health benefits, including protection from heart disease and cancer, and prevention of age-related cognitive decline.

Which Omega 3 Supplements Are Best?

There are hundreds of different omega 3 supplements on the market, and with all the marketing and advertising campaigns, it is often hard for the consumer to make an informed choice. Choosing the right omega 3 supplements is crucial as low quality ones may be useless and even harmful to the body. You too, can make an informed choice. Just follow the 3 steps below:

Source

What is the source of the omega 3s in the supplement? Is it a terrestrial source (e.g. flaxseed) or a marine source (e.g. fish oil)? You should choice a marine sourced omega 3 supplement over a terrestrial sourced one. This is because terrestrial sourced omega 3 contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which the body needs to convert into EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) – it is EPA and DHA that bring about the health benefits associated with omega 3 intake, and not ALA. Unfortunately, conversion rates of ALA into EPA and DHA is very low. On the other hand, marine sourced omega 3 contain EPA and DHA directly.

Vegan/Vegetarian?

There are two types of marine source omega 3s – those obtained from fish and those obtained from algae. If you are vegan, vegetarian or allergic to fish protein, then algae based omega 3s are the obvious choice. In addition, some non-vegetarians prefer algae based supplements because they are more environmentally friendly. On the other hand, algae based omega 3s tend to be more expensive than fish oil based ones.

IFOS Certified

If you decide to choose a fish oil based omega 3 supplement, your priority should be choosing a supplement that is free from toxins and contaminants. This tends to be an issue with the cheaper brands. To make sure the fish oil you are purchasing it contaminant-free, you should choose one that is certified by the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS). For a product to be IFOS certified, it needs to pass very strict tests for purity and quality. In addition, IFOS certified products will make their certificate of analysis available online – this is the test results for purity and quality. If you want more specific recommendations on the best omega 3 supplements currently on the market, check out the Best Omega 3 Supplements Review page.…

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Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is an extremely important ingredient in vegan cooking. It is the foundation for soups, stews, pasta sauces, and more. A good stock is also crucial to a successful Thanksgiving dinner. I know I have already provided a recipe for vegetable stock on this blog, in my post on Wonton Soup. That is still an excellent recipe; it’s also a faster recipe with a much shorter ingredient list. But, this is Thanksgiving people. It only comes around once a year, and it’s worth the extra effort. This recipe comes from the cookbook Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, a book that has been sitting in my family home most of my life. Wells is a renowned chef, an American in Paris, and a dear friend of my idol Ina Garten. She is the go-to expert for approachable French food. Her recipe for Potager Stock results in a complex, light, exquisite vegetable broth. Just simmering this stock will make your house smell like Thanksgiving. It will also set up your soups, stuffings, and gravies for success.

4 leeks, only the white and light green part, chopped in 2″ pieces

4 carrots chopped in 2″ pieces

4 turnips halved and quartered

4 ribs celery chopped in 2″ pieces (I left the celery out of mine; it is one of the few vegetables I can’t abide)

4 onions halved and unpeeled

1 head of garlic halved and unpeeled

2 tomatoes halved and seeded

2 large bunches of parsley

1 large bunch of thyme (about 10 sprigs)

1 large bunch of rosemary (about 6 sprigs)

2 bay leaves

6 black peppercorns

4 quarts (16 cups) water

Place all the vegetables in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour and a half, uncovered. Strain the vegetables from the broth, squeezing as much liquid as you can out of the vegetables. Refrigerate or freeze the stock for later use.…

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Vegan Cornbread and Chili Pie

Vegan Cornbread and Chili Pie

One of the most important things you should know about me is my serious affection for pie. I love to talk about pie, I especially love to sing about pie, but mostly, I love to eat pie. I hold an equal opportunity devotion for all pie-like items regardless of shape, crust, or filling. So, to kick off what is sure to be the first of many pie-themed posts, I give you Cornbread Chili Pie.

This recipe was inspired by Christina Pirello’s Black Soybean Stuffed Cornbread, from her book Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Whole Foods But Were Afraid to Ask. Christina’s story is a true vegan miracle, and a testament to the benefits of eating well. At age 26, she was diagnosed with leukemia, and given little hope for recovery. After she met her now husband, Robert Pirello, he introduced her to a vegan diet based on greens, beans, and vegetables. After just fourteen months, her cancer was gone, and she has spent the last 27 years living, and teaching the lessons she learned.

The chili recipe is my own, cobbled together from whatever sounds good to me that day, so feel free to make changes. The cornbread is adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking.

Chili:2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil1 onion diced1 carrot diced1 red bell pepper diced1 ear corn, kernels cut off the cob1 garlic clove mincedA� teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper1 teaspoon chili powder1 teaspoon ground cumin2 cans black beans drained and rinsed1 can diced tomatoes1 can vegetable stock (I recommend Swanson’s; many other brands are inedible)Salt and Pepper to taste

Cornbread1A� cups non-dairy milk1A� tablespoons distilled white vinegar1 cup cornmeal1 cup whole wheat pastry flour3 tablespoons granulated sugarA� teaspoon salt1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon baking soda2 tablespoons canola oilOptional: A� to 1 cup corn kernels or green chilies, or 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add the onions, carrots, bell pepper, and corn kernels. Saut?� until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and the spices to the pot and saut?� for one minute. Add the beans, tomatoes (with liquid) and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook on the stove for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

While the chili is simmering, prepare the cornbread. Preheat the oven to 375 A?. Pour the milk and vinegar into a small bowl, and whisk to combine. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the oil and the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, and whisk until blended. Add any optional ingredients at this time.

Pour half of the cornbread batter into a greased 9″ pie dish, brownie pan, casserole dish, etc. Spoon 3 to 4 cups of the chili over the cornbread. Pour the rest of the batter over the top of the chili. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Ladle extra chili over individual pieces of pie and enjoy immediately!

For extra enjoyment, here are my favorite songs about pie:”The Pie Song” – Andie MacDowell, from the movie Michael”Baby Don’t You Cry (The Pie Song)” – Quincy Coleman”The Worst Pies in London” – from Sweeney Todd…

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To Be Vegetarian Doesn’t Mean To Be Healthy

To Be Vegetarian Doesn’t Mean To Be Healthy

What happens when somebody decides to change their diet to a vegetarian, vegan or even a raw food diet? This is a really good question. It actually depends very much on the individual. If the person has been on a typical SAD diet (Standard American Diet of high (trans) fat, high sugar (soda), high animal protein, high starch, minimal or non-existent fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and natural fats) then it is highly probable that in transitioning, he will bring along these bad nutritional habits and seek the same type of diet but simply without the animal products.

He will most likely choose processed fake meat alternatives in place of the animal products such as vegetarian/vegan sausages, burgers, fake meat slices, tofu, tempeh, etc. He will continue the high starch, high fat and minimal fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and natural fats.

Will this person feel better on this diet? Yes, but very minimally. Why? Because he is still eating a high processed, high fat diet. Regardless of whether the fat comes from animal sources or vegetarian/vegan sources, it’s still processed fat.

A vegetarian diet may only consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips, fried foods, and very little fresh produce.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are extremely high in vitamins, minerals and yes, even calcium and protein!

Although most fruits are high in calories and sugar, it is natural and not a processed sugar which is harmful to the body, especially in high quantities as in the SAD diet. Fruits have the highest percentage of vitamins per calorie of any class of foods, are mostly alkalizing, and help control our sugar cravings and appetite by sending an instant message to the brain that our blood sugar levels are rising.

Fresh vegetables have the highest percentage of minerals of any class of foods, are high in protein (green leafy vegetables such as kale are 50% protein) calcium and fiber. They are also low in calories making them perfect for those who need to control their weight.

Natural fats such as avocado, olive, nuts and seeds contain good fats which help lower cholesterol and move fatty deposits out of the clogged arteries back into the blood stream and out of the body through elimination. Nuts and seeds are also a rich source of protein as well as other nutrients such as omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. For ease of digestion and increased nutrition, nuts and seeds should be soaked to release the enzyme inhibitors naturally occurring in them.

Moderation and balance is the key to any successful diet. Meat alternatives are great in place of animal products, particularly for those who are transitioning to a vegetarian/vegan diet, yet they should not be the major part of the new diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be eaten the most. Nuts and seeds should be eaten but in moderation given that they do contain fat, although it is a good fat. Grains, especially whole grains and seeds such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet are extremely nutritious and provide lots of energy and protein. Processed grains, on the other hand, provide very little nutritional content. Starches should also be eaten but in moderation.

The other very important factor for a healthy diet is water. Since our body is 60-70% water, we need to drink lots of water to keep our body healthy and functioning at optimum levels. If you are wondering how much water to drink, half the body weight in water is a good estimate. Fresh fruits and vegetables are extremely high in water, making them perfect choices for hydration, nutrients and health.

So, next time you sit down to eat your meal, have a look at what is on your plate and whether it is helping you to improve your health and well-being.…

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History of Vegetarianism in the UK and The Vegetarian Society

History of Vegetarianism in the UK and The Vegetarian Society

While there have been people who have abstained from eating meat for various different ethical, moral and religious reasons throughout history it was only in the early 1800’s that vegetarianism started to take off in the UK, in fact the word Vegetarian was only invented in the 1847.

One of the main groups that were responsible for starting the vegetarian movement and founding the Vegetarian Society in the UK were the followers of the Reverend William Cowherd, also known as the Cowherdites. In 1807 Reverend Cowherd, the founder of the Bible Christian Church in Salford, Manchester, preached abstinence from eating meat to his congregation. He supported a vegetarian diet as he said that it was more healthy and he thought that meat eating was unnatural and was likely to make people more aggressive. He is reputed to have said that “..If God had meant us to eat meat, then it would have come to us in edible form “as is the ripened fruit”.

William Cowherd died in 1816 but important members of his church carried on his work and would become leaders of The Vegetarian Society. Perhaps the most influential of these early leaders was Joseph Brotherton, who was a follower and later a preacher in the church, he used his position to actively improve workers conditions and campaign for reforms. Among his achievements were becoming Salford’s first MP and being re-elected five times as well as building schools, establishing of a fund to support victims of the Peterloo Massacre, campaigning against the death penalty and slavery and for free education. Joseph Brotherton’s wife Martha also published Vegetable Cookery the first vegetarian cookery book.

The second group that was responsible for the creation of the Vegetarian Society was the Concordists who were founded by the merchant and philosopher James Pierrepoint Greaves. He set up a community at Richmond in Surrey in 1838. They were associated with a successful group in the US led by William A Alcott, the grandfather of the author Louisa May Alcott, who wrote A Vegetable Diet Defended. The Concordium were very active promoting vegetarianism by publishing journals such as The Healthian and The New Age. Though health was part of the reason for their vegetarianism, their main reason was asceticism (living as simple and morally accountable a life as possible).

By 1847 there was a general call for a society dedicated to vegetarianism to be set up and by September the same year at a vegetarian hospital called Northwood Villa in Kent the Vegetarian Society was born. Joseph Brotherton presided over the historic meeting at Ramsgate which led to the formation of The Vegetarian Society with 150 members immediately enrolled. Within two years the journal The Vegetarian Messenger was launched, with almost 5,000 copies circulated each month. Throughout the 1850s, meetings were held in many major cities and towns including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and Liverpool. The vegetarian movement spread to many parts of the country and local branches sprang up from Colchester to Worcester and Paisley.…

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The Vegan Diet – Get Rid Of Unwanted Pounds By Following This Advice Now

The Vegan Diet – Get Rid Of Unwanted Pounds By Following This Advice Now

The healthiest diet you can find, is the one that would not only make you lose some extra pounds, but one that can actually make those pounds disappear forever and give you some extra benefits such as more energy, vitality and a longer life.

And let me tell you that a vegan diet can bring all those benefits into your life. The vegan diet is the best way to get rid of some extra pounds and best of all, you can see results instantly. Vegans tend to lose a few pounds the first two weeks they are on the diet, because by cutting out meat and dairy, they are also cutting out the “bad” fats such as cholesterol and saturated fats. Also because they increase the amount of vegetables and fruits, they also increase the amount of fiber into their bodies. The good thing about a diet rich in fiber, is that it would start cleaning your digestive system giving you a better bowel movement.

So my advice if you are interested in the vegan diet as a mean to lose weight is the following:

Start slowly cutting out any meat in your diet and replace them with rich protein plant foods. So for example if you eat meat or chicken 5 times over the week, start by making it a goal to have meat only 4 times a week, then three times a week until you have completely taking meat out of your diet. In this way you will give time for your body to start adopting this new diet and it starts getting into a habit.

Also make sure you do some exercise. The type of food you eat is very important for losing weight but so does a good amount of exercise everyday. Now I’m not telling you to be training for a marathon but try exercising at least 10 to 15 min a day. You will see the results faster.

With a vegan diet, you should just put all your effort at the beginning and then start collecting the benefits. See this diet as a long-term investment but let me assure you that you are going to see results the first week you put this into practice.…

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Superfoods For Breakfast

Superfoods For Breakfast

Every morning you have a new opportunity to start your day on the right track. Making not just healthy breakfast choices, but superfood choices at this first, most important meal of the day is like leaping onto a springboard toward your weight loss and disease prevention goals.

First things first, get up and have a large glass of water. You lose plenty of water during sleep through breathing and your skin, so every thirsty cell in your body will be grateful.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (varying with age and gender). It’s a no-brainer to get one or two servings in at breakfast to begin your vitamin- and fiber-packed day of eating. Here are two powerful yet simple breakfast ideas that are unprocessed and do not come from a box with a large ingredient list on the side.

Banana a la Almond Butter

Put 2 tablespoons of almond butter in a small bowl. (If oil has settled at the top of the jar, pour the entire contents into a shallower container and mix.) Either dip your banana bite-by-bite into the almond butter, or have better table manners by cutting the banana into slices or lengthwise and spreading almond butter on top. Wash down each bite with soymilk. Check it out – you’ve already consumed servings from three food groups.

Don’t let their calorie and fat content fool you. Almonds are outrageously healthy. They are full of protein and fiber. Vitamin E, magnesium, and other powerful nutrients build a strong heart and protect against diseases such as diabetes. Monounsaturated fats are very helpful for weight loss.

Asian Pear, Dates, and Hemp “Salad”

Mix together one chopped Asian pear (peeled or unpeeled, depending on skin toughness), two chopped dates (pit removed), and 3-4 tablespoons raw, shelled hemp seeds. The dates provide delicious sweetness. You can substitute any type of fruit for the Asian pear. Again, wash down with soymilk.

Raw, shelled hemp seeds are a nutritional superstar and are now being carried by regular grocery stores. They are a complete protein and offer all the essential fatty acids and other nutrients needed for a healthy weight, tons of energy, and prevention from nasty diseases. They are worth the purchase, as you will easily integrate them into your regular cooking and eating.

As you head out for the remainder of your day, make sure you have your superfood snack and lunch packed with you. And perhaps your superfood supper is simmering in the slow cooker, awaiting your arrival home. Again, stay away from anything with lengthy ingredient lists and stay as close as you can to foods in their natural state. Enjoy your day!…