Welcome back for the final week in our ‘Month of Plant-Based Eating’ program! Earth Balance® and Made Just Right™ have partnered with over 25 plant-based diet experts to share tips for “leaning into” a plant-based diet. Today, we have two experts lined up to share their knowledge with you.
Our first tip of the day comes from Brenda Davis. Brenda, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She has worked as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant and academic nutrition instructor.
Here’s Brenda’s tip:
Incorporate at least 1 ounce of nuts and one ounce of seeds into your daily diet.
People often look at nuts much the way they do potato chips: as high fat snack foods that clog our arteries and make us fat. Nothing could be further from the truth! Nuts and seeds are brimming with trace minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and plant sterols and phytochemicals. Many hold high positions on antioxidant score charts, leaving even revered foods such as blueberries in their dust. Nuts have been associated with stronger risk reduction for heart disease than any other food. Regular nut consumption (5 or more servings a week) decreases risk of heart disease by an estimated 35-50% compared to those who rarely eat nuts. In addition to their cardioprotective effects, nuts have been reported to provide protection against stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, dementia, advanced macular degeneration and gallstones.
The frequency of nut consumption has also been found to be inversely related to all causes of death in several population groups. While some people are concerned that nut consumption may contribute to problems of overweight and obesity, research suggests the exact opposite. Regular nut consumption is inversely associated with body mass index or body fatness.
While far less research has been conducted on seeds, their value in human nutrition may prove even more extraordinary than nuts. These concentrated foods are our most plentiful sources of essential fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, hempseeds, and sesame seeds are all rich in linoleic acid (omega-6). Flaxseeds, chia seeds, hempseeds, camelina seeds and canola seeds are all rich in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). About 12 percent to over 30 percent of calories in seeds comes from protein, compared to only about 4 to 15 percent of calories in nuts.
How do you best incorporate these foods? First, begin with fresh, unsalted raw products. Try soaking or soaking and dehydrating for maximum nutrition. Roasting nuts and seeds can result in acrylamide formation, so if you roast, keep the oven temperature low. Add nuts and seeds to breakfast cereal, smoothies, salads, patties, wraps, casseroles and desserts. Use them to make milks, creams, cheeses and yogurts. Rely on nuts and seeds as healthful, convenient snacks. Invest in good raw or plant-based recipe books for great recipe ideas.
More about Brenda Davis:
Brenda is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. In July 2007, she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. She is a co-author of seven books – best-sellers, Becoming Vegan, Becoming Vegetarian,The New Becoming Vegetarian and Defeating Diabetes, Dairy-free and Delicious and the newly released, Becoming Raw and Raw-food Revolution Diet. For more information, visit the following websites: www.brendadavisrd.com www.nutrispeak.com www.bookpubco.com
Our next tip comes from Tracy Perkins. Tracy is the powerhouse behind Strawberry Hedgehog, a company specializing in handmade eco-friendly bath & body products. Always made with love in small batches, without crazy harsh synthetics, artificial fragrance, dyes, or preservatives, all of Tracy’s products are always 100% cruelty free.
Here’s Tracy’s tip:
Make a habit of reading your labels. Getting accustomed to really seeing what is in your food will make you more aware and perhaps will weed out some of the products that aren’t as great for you (when the label is packed with unpronounceables you may tend to shy away!). It doesn’t take long for this to become second nature and adhering to your 100% plant based diet is that much easier!
The same applies for food as it does for body care, learning what the typical sneaky animal byproducts are in food (milk, eggs, lard, chicken/beef flavoring, or the harder to notice whey, lactic acid, gelatin, cochineal, etc.) and learning what they are in body care (lard, tallow/tallowate, gelatin, collagen, beeswax, goats milk, lactic acid, honey etc.) will clean up your routine, clear your conscious, benefit your body inside and out, and help the planet by not supporting cruelty based, air, water, and land polluting industries. If you aren’t sure about an ingredient, look it up! For cosmetics check the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database, if it is a food product a simple Google or Wikipedia search will probably do the trick!
Do you bother to read the labels of beauty & bath products before purchasing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments and we’ll choose one of you to be today’s Everyday Giveaway winner of FREE Earth Balance!