Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oral Health And Plant-Based Diets

We all know that eating a plant-based diet abundant in fruits and vegetables does wonders for our health. The reduction in the three most talked about diseases in these regards are obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. All of them can be prevented or reversed just by adopting healthy eating habits but there's another great benefit to eating wholesome, healthy foods―superb oral health!

Following a diet of whole, plant-based foods has been shown to reduce bad breath, prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, and even reduce the risk of oral related cancers. A closer look at each one reveals why this is so.

Beating Back Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is caused mainly by the formation and release of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) during bacterial breakdown of proteins [1]. Eighty to ninety percent of halitosis cases originate in the mouth due to the abundance of food particles left behind after eating. Bacteria, located within the oral cavity, then have a field day with feasting on these food particles. This is especially the case in individuals suffering from gingivitis and periodontal disease as these bacteria can be found hiding beneath diseased gum lines. However, the main stomping ground for these bacteria is on the back third of the top surface of the tongue. In fact, four times as many bacteria are found there than in any other part of the mouth [2].

The other 10%-20% of bad breath cases originate from sources such as infections, medication, kidney failure, liver failure, and pancreatic disease amongst other things. The putrefaction of food in the lower digestive tract is also a likely culprit in these cases. Sulfur containing gases from certain foods like garlic and onions can be absorbed into the bloodstream and make their way to the lungs where they are then exhaled through the mouth producing a foul odor. This odor can last up to three days after consuming such foods.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plant-Based Diets for Seniors

"Old age isn't for sissies," one adage attempts to advise humorously. Despite the saying’s levity, it hits a little too close to the truth. The term "elderly" is the last life-stage known and listed in the human life cycle before death. Many aspects of an elderly person's life are designed to prolong it.
Frequent visits to doctors are scheduled for preventative care, a higher-than-average number of prescriptions are ingested to treat the common diseases that accompany old age and even potential problems are anticipated with measures such as a personal medical alert system or the installation of bathroom grab bars.

Special diets are often included in such life-extending efforts. Elderly individuals may forego added salt to help treat high blood pressure or eliminate candy from their diets to help with high blood sugar levels. More and more, physicians and nutrition experts are also advocating plant-based diets for seniors.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

A recent study by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association underscores some of the benefits of a plant-based diet. Study participants who followed a vegetarian diet had better overall nutritional profiles than meat eaters, and their diets included more essential vitamins and nutrients than the non-vegetarians' diets. Vegetarians also ate healthier foods and had lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Vegan desserts are notoriously tricky because of the substitutions you need to make for traditional dessert recipes to work. It can be difficult to come up with a dessert without eggs, milk, cream or other dairy products, especially if you aren't vegan but are cooking for people who are. Many people who are vegan are also health-conscious and prefer to keep their sugar intake low. Cooking a tasty but healthy dessert can seem difficult but isn't.

When you need something simple, delicious, healthy and vegan, chocolate peanut butter banana bites are a great option. Frozen bananas actually have a consistency and flavor similar to ice cream, but are much healthier. As an added bonus, desserts that only require microwaves and don't need any actual cooking or baking are always a great option when you're low on time.

For this recipe, you only need a few ingredients:

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut shavings

For supplies, you'll need:

  • 1-quart microwave-safe glass bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Fork

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How To Make Meditation A Habit

by guest blogger Brandon Mercury
Meditation is a wonderful practice to help the body and the mind relax and re-center. Those who participate in daily meditation find that their minds are clearer and their muscles more relaxed. The benefits of meditation are many, including reduced mental clutter that often occupies our minds in a world of stress. Daily meditation has physical, spiritual and emotional benefits that help us to live happy, productive lives.
Meditation is a process used to bring clarity to the mind.  Regular everyday stimuli are unhealthy for us if we don't learn how to silence the noise from time to time. By using meditation to concentrate and clear your mind of distractions, you will find yourself being more focused and productive.
It’s important to experience daily meditation, but how do you get in the habit of meditation every day? You know there are important benefits to your health, but making the time for meditation isn’t always easy. Make meditation a part of your life with these tips.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vegan Shopping Tips

One of the main fears busy moms have about adopting a vegan diet is that it will be too time-consuming and too expensive. However, as many Americans have turned toward healthy lifestyles, Vegan and organic foods have become widely available at local grocery stores. Because these are high-quality foods, they do tend to be pricier, but utilizing a grocery coupon for produce or organic products can help cut costs.

Where to Shop for Vegan Foods

Knowing where to shop can help you save a bundle on healthy, vegan food for your family. Here are a few places to consider shopping:
·         Bulk food stores - Bulk food stores, such as Costco, are a great place to stock up on staples such as whole grains and rice. If you're squeamish about digging in those bins after everyone else (I am!), note that many bulk stores have prepackaged containers of various sizes available, instead of the loose items.
·         Organic food stores – Healthy stores, like Whole Food Market, are a one-stop shopping paradise for vegans; however, they do tend to be more expensive than standard grocery stores.
·         Farmers' Markets - Stock up on fresh produce from the farm fruits and vegetables in season at your local farmers' market.
·         Online shopping - Online vegan stores are popping up frequently. Some of these are great sources for hard-to-find items. Even is getting into the food staple business, with attractive prices and free shipping for orders over $25.