Support – We all need a little help from time to time. Join the Plantalicious Community.

As some of you may know, I have always wanted to run.  Well, I say always, maybe that’s an overstatement.  When I was at school we had to do cross-country running in the wet and mud and that I hated.  My exercise then was my bike.  I rode miles on that thing.

In later years, having been so overweight, I did do exercise, but it was mainly on machines like cross-trainers etc.,  Running always seemed to elude me.  For some reason I was unable to “get” running and found it so hard to do for more than a few seconds.  Managing my breathing and my weight on my joints were all challenges.  About a year ago, I did start working on running with my trainer, and built up to doing about 12 minutes of staggering around the local park.

Recently, I found Couch to 5k, or Couch25K   It is a great resource from the NHS and teaches you to run, starting at the most basic level, (good for me).  How does it do it?  Well it is all thanks to Laura.  Laura is a lady who runs with you – sounds stupid – but she does – She is on a each downloadable podcast.  She acts as a coach and instructs and encourages you.  You can also download the app, the only difference is that the podcast has it’s own music – which I like and the app allows you to use your own.

 

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It is a 9 week plan and for the first few weeks you run 3 times a week doing intervals of walking and running with an initial warm up walk and a final cool down walk.

I really did not think that I would be able to do it, but with Laura’s support and help. the hardest thing was getting out of bed and pulling on my “running gear”.  The first 3 weeks went fine, then I had a very busy and tiring business trip to Scandinavia.  I did my week 4, run 1 run on the Monday morning, but that was it.  So a week later, I was panicked, would I be able to do it?  Should I start-over?  Should I give up?  (That little nagging voice at the back of my head said – “see, I told you, you would never do it”). I felt lost and very confused.

I found that there is a community on the site where you can share your concerns and your victories.  For me, it was my fears. Almost immediately on putting my note online, I got some messages of support and encouragement back.  These were from people who I did not know, but who were willing to support me.  Why did that matter?  Because they had been exactly where I was.  They had faced the same issues and fears.  I had a similar panic when moving to week 5, where I have to run for 3 x 5 mins for run1; then 2 x 8 minutes for run 2 and for 20 minutes (yes – non stop – not even for a soy latte at the Park Cafe) for run 3.  YIKES!!!  I posted my fears online and again, they came up trumps – “go do it Baz”.  “Take it easy Barry – you will do it” etc.,  I was so lucky and also got support from friends on Facebook too.

This got me thinking about support in general.  What do people need?  How do we provide support to one another?  A number of people who use this site have asked for advice, support, recipes etc.,  My site is specifically designed to provide support, through the shop with suggested books, ingredients, resources  etc.,  the articles, the twitter feed and last but by no means least, the community.  The Community was something that I was really keen to establish where people can sign up and share experiences and be honest about where they are and what they need.  I recently saw some posts on Facebook where someone had shared some very personal pain – being a relatively public forum and un-moderated some folks had been supportive but others had been so nasty that this person had decided to close their page.  A big shame as many others had benefited from her experience, knowledge and expertise.

So – Please sign up for the community.  Please share recipes, your experience and your challenges.  Please comment and share and help one-another as I know only too well how difficult it can be to change your health and diet.

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You can join other Plantalicious People – here

Please let me know what I and other members of the community can do for you to help you take control of your health and well-being.

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Protein – Our modern day obsession – “Where do you get your protein?”

It is funny and I should now be very rich.  Why – because when I tell people that I eat a plant-based diet, the first question I get is, “so where do you get your protein”?

 

As i say, I’d be very rich if I asked everyone who asks me that for £1.

 

Why do I find it funny?  Well for so many years of my life, I dieted.  I even lost 100lbs on LighterLife (which I put back on).  At no point did anyone ever say: “oh where will you get your fats from”, nor showed any concern for my often extremely bad food choices.  No-one ever questioned me when I was scoffing tons of unhealthy food down like a vacuum cleaner on steroids, despite having a history of heart disease in my family.

But now I eat a plant based diet, I get asked this a lot.

So here is an experiment with a sample of 1 – Ok, so not the most valid or scientific of experiments, but let me explain.  I have been eating a Plantalicious diet for over a year and have never experienced any of the symptoms of protein deficiency.

 

Here is an article that I found on the wonderful site – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/where-vegetarians-get-protein/ and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

 

First, my standard answer to the question, Where do you get your protein?:

You don’t need as much protein as most people think, and it’s easy to get what you do need from beans, nuts, seeds, grains, soy, and even greens.

So how much protein do you really need?

Not as much as people would have you believe. Somehow, everyone got the idea that we need exorbitant amounts of protein, way more than is even recommended. I know, it’s fun to blame government agencies and cry conspiracy, but if you actually look at the recommendations, they’re not that high at all.

For example, the U.S. recommended daily allowance of protein is .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (.36 grams per pound) for the general population.

Athletes need more than that, mostly due to greater tissue-repair needs. But how much more protein do we need as athletes?

Several sources I looked at cited a study which concluded that endurance athletes benefit most from 1.2 to 1.4 daily grams per kilogram of bodyweight, while strength athletes do best with 1.4 to 1.8 grams per kilogram. In pounds, that’s .54 to .63 grams per pound for endurance athletes, .63 to .81 grams per pound for strength athletes.

A simple example

Let’s take a typical No Meat Athlete reader and see what this means for her, let’s a say a 140-pound runner. We’ll split the daily protein range for endurance athletes in the middle and aim for .59 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight:

140 pounds * .59 grams/pound = 83 grams of protein per day

Keep in mind that’s for a 140-pound endurance athlete, so you’ll need to plug in your own weight and, if you do a strength sport, use a different protein figure.

But really, only 83 grams?

All of this protein fuss — the incessant inquisition about where we get protein — is over 83 grams per day, even after adjusting for being an athlete? (And if our 140-pound woman weren’t an athlete, she’d need only 50 grams to hit the RDA number!)

What the pros say

Before we move onto good vegan and vegetarian protein sources for getting this amount, let’s take a look at what some well-known and credentialed vegans say about protein.

  • In the documentary Forks Over Knives, China Study author Dr. T. Colin Campbell says that you need 8 to 10 percent of your calories to come from protein. (Keep in mind he’s not necessarily talking about athletes.)
  • Vegan Ironman Brendan Brazier, in his appearance on No Meat Athlete radio (which is coming back soon, by the way!), says he eats about 15 percent protein when training for short events, and close to 20 percent protein during periods of heavy training (several hours per day) for long endurance events.
  • Tim Ferriss writes in The 4-Hour Body that ultrarunner Scott Jurek gets 15 to 20 percent of his calories from protein.
  • Matt Ruscigno, in the post he wrote for No Meat Athlete about vegetarian protein, says he recommends that his athlete clients get 10 to 15 percent of their calories from protein.

Notice that everybody expresses things in percentages rather than grams. How does our 83 grams of protein, for a 140-pound female endurance athlete stack up in terms of percentage of total calories?

Well, the first thing to note is that a gram of protein contains four calories. (Yay for paying attention in health class!) So:

83 grams * 4 calories/gram = 332 calories of protein

We’ll need to divide this figure by total daily calories to get the percentage we’re after. I plugged my imaginary friend’s stats (5’3″, 140 lbs, female, very active) into this basal metabolic rate calculator to approximate her total daily calories at 2375. Drumroll, please …

322 calories of protein / 2375 total calories = 13.6% of calories from protein

Not far off from the 15 percent that most of our experts mentioned! Based on all of this, aiming to get 15 percent of your calories from protein seems like a pretty good rule of thumb.

(And by the way, I find using percentages to be a much easier way to evaluate a food’s protein content than grams. See a post I wrote about using protein percentages.)

Where do vegetarians get their protein?

There’s no shortage of lists of high-protein vegan foods floating around. As you might expect, they’re topped by soy products (tempeh is much higher in protein than tofu), seitan, and legumes.

My personal favorite vegan foods for protein, in rough, descending order of how often I eat them, are:

  • Lentils (red are my favorites), 18 grams of protein per cup
  • Chickpeas, 12 grams/cup
  • Tempeh (locally made in Asheville!), 41 grams per cup
  • Black beans, 15 grams per cup
  • Nuts and nut butters (I eat a good mix, usually without peanuts), varied
  • Tofu, 11 grams per 4 ounces
  • Quinoa, 9 grams per cup
  • Other legumes, varied
  • Grains, varied

These protein content numbers come from the Vegetarian Resource Group’s excellent article on vegetarian protein.

I also add a protein supplement to my smoothie each morning, which gets me about 20 grams to start the day, before you consider the protein from flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and almond butter that I also throw in there. I like the Vega Sport protein blend of hemp, rice, and pea, but often to save money I use this one, which also includes protein from chia seeds. (These links are both affiliate links, meaning No Meat Athlete earns a small commission if you use them to buy anything).

Don’t ignore amino acids!

All protein is not created equally. Protein is made up of amino acids, and there are certain ones, called “essential,” which your body cannot produce on its own and must get through food.

As long as you’re eating a wide variety of whole foods — a good practice to follow for many reasons — you’re probably getting a nice mix of amino acids. One, though, that’s particularly tough for vegetarians to get, is lysine, as explained in this article on protein from Vegan Health.

Only a few vegan foods contain lysine in large amounts, but fortunately, they’re staples in many of our diets: tempeh, tofu, and legumes. If you don’t eat beans or soy, because of allergies or some other reason, you’ll need to pay special attention to lysine, and it might be worth considering an amino acid supplement.

See an old No Meat Athlete article for a breakdown of which foods contain which amino acids.

My easy way to get enough protein every day

As it turns out, I weigh around 140 pounds, so the 83 grams of protein mentioned above is right about what I aim for. (I’m fairly certain I’m not female, but sex only entered the conversation when we were estimating total calories.)

So how do I get my 83 grams of protein per day?

My approach to getting enough protein is very simple:

Make sure you include a decent protein source, even if just a little bit, in every meal or snack.

Mainly, this just keeps you mindful and prevents you from slipping into junk-food-vegan, carbohydrate-only mode. It’s as easy as adding nuts or beans to your salad, protein powder to your smoothiealmond butter on your bagel, or beans to your pasta dish (actually not an inauthentic thing to do in Italy). For snacks, eat a handful of nuts, spread some sunflower butter on your apple, make roasted chickpeas, dip a pita in some hummus … all of these add just a little bit of protein, but if you eat two or three snacks a day, it adds up.

So the next time someone asks …

You won’t have to tell them it’s complicated, or argue to no avail that broccoli would be a good protein source if only you could eat five pounds of it in a sitting. Instead, you can just explain that we don’t need all that much protein, and it’s easy to get what we do need from a half dozen, common foods, eaten just a little bit at a time throughout the day.

No big deal.

– See more at: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/where-vegetarians-get-protein/#sthash.pmyeIT4h.dpuf

 

Drat – now I have published this, I doubt that I shall be able to ask for a £, although I bet people still ask!

 

What do you think?  Do you have concerns about your protein intake?

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Have you visited the Plantalicious Shop? It is open all hours! Come on in and take a look…

Do you love shopping?

I do!  I’m always up for a bit of retail therapy.

One of the things when I first started eating Plantalicious was that I did not have a lot of resources.  Recipes, books that explained the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle etc., Over the weeks, and months I have discovered lots of great resources: DVD’s, books, cookery books as well as ingredients and equipment.  Very often friends and followers would ask me for advice on this and that or what book to buy as a gift, or what blender I use.

So…I created the Plantalicious Shop – It contains many of the books and resources that I have used as well as links to more unusual ingredients that you may not be able to get on your high street.  My shop only stocks and sells things that I have either used and want to share with you or things that I recommend.  In fact, I think I own all of the items listed.  I also provide some information too to help you in your choices and to explain why I use the item.  The shop sells the items via an “Amazon Affiliate” relationship so your items are sent from Amazon and I get a small percentage which goes towards running Plantalicious and you pay the same as if you had bought the items on Amazon directly. The transaction is safe and secure just as any Amazon purchase.

A few items that I would like to highlight are:

  • ReThink Food – I recently did a review of this wonderful book that empowers you to take control of your health destiny- see here
  • The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook – The Esselstyn’s are an amazing family.  Following on from the work of Dr Esselstyn his wife Ann Crile Esselstyn and daughter Jane have recently published this book.  The book answers the question of “how do i…Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease?” – the answer is simple, you cook and eat these Plantalicious recipes.
  • The Happy Pear Cookbook – The Flynn brothers cookbook from their wonderful shop and restaurant in Greystones in Ireland.  Not all the recipes are Plantalicious but their food is so good and they just make vegetables and fruit sing.  They also run a brilliant course – The Happy Heart to reduce cholesterol.  Buy the book and take the first step towards managing your health, reducing your cholesterol and enjoy delicious food at the same time.
  • If I had a £ for every time I am asked about blenders, I would be a wealthy man – This is the mother of all blenders – it is not cheap, but it is the best investment you will every make for your kitchen and your health – Its a Vitamix
  • Finally, the book that started me on this amazing journey to health – The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell – If you have not read it – now is the time.  It will change your life, as it did mine.

So next time you need some Plantalicious support or inspiration or are in the market for a blender, head over to the Plantalicious shop and bag yourself a bargain that is not only good for your wallet but also for your health.

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What fruit or vegetable do you dislike?

Is there a fruit or vegetable that you dislike?

What is it about that particular fruit or vegetable that you dislike?

Do you only like some things cooked or raw?

As a child I had a hatred of a number of foods, these included peas – I hated the texture; broad beans – the smell put me off; Brussels Sprouts – I would sit for hours doing battle with my parents finally agreeing to eat two before I could leave the table!

Nowadays there are few things that I do not like.  One of these is the humble Pear.

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Guess what?  Pears are in season just now and having not checked what was in my organic box this week, I got not one but four lots of pears.  Enough for a family of 6 or a small office.  The problem is that our family is just me and Mr G and i’m not lugging pears into my office in town.

The other thing that I get from my childhood is the belief that food should not be wasted.  Many of the meals that I ate as a child were made from leftovers.  The Sunday roast would provide a meal for the family as a roast, then maybe a casserole and maybe a soup or cold cuts.  Vegetables were turned into pies, or bubble and squeak.   So I was not prepared to waste them.  Mr G only likes pears when they are rock hard and these were ripe when delivered.  Hmmm.  What to do?

I came up with two recipes that worked for me.  I like pears in salads, so I made a salad –Pear & Pecan Salad Recipe I also love crumbles and anything ginger so I made a Pear and Ginger Crumble – Pear and Ginger Crumble Recipe

I have to say that based on that experience, I am not dreading more pears but actually quite looking forward to making another crumble or salad!

So, despite my strong dislike of pears, I managed to make two Plantalicious dishes both of which I liked and judging by the empty dishes, so did Mr G.

What vegetables and fruits do you dislike?  Leave me a message on here or on the community pages of the things that you dislike and why and if you want me to see if I can conjure up a recipe that you would like so you can rediscover your nemesis, just as I did.

 

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The A-Z of Plantalicious Ingredients – L Is for Lemon

The sour taste of lemons causes this fruit to get the reputation of being acidic. The truth is that, in the body at least, lemons are alkaline and can do a lot to help balance out an acidic body. So while the juice can work well as a cleaner in its acidic state outside of the body, inside it counter acts sugars (which actually create an acidic body state) and can even help to ward off certain types of cancer.

Whether your goal is to lose weight or to detox your system, lemons can be of assistance. They are great for everything from your brain to your bowel. Plus, lemons are versatile and work as a garnish, a dressing, a drink, a dessert, and more! What other health benefits make lemons an indispensable part of a plant based diet?

Some of the many health benefits derived from lemons include:

  • Lemons are great as part of a cleanse. They help the liver to get rid of solvents. Just a little bit of lemon water each morning can help break down uric acid and other toxins in the body.

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  • Do you have a problem with kidney stones, gall stones, or other calcium buildup issues? Lemons break down calcium and can help to keep calcium deposits from forming within the body.
  • Lemons also can destroy many bacterial diseases such as typhoid and malaria. It’s one of the reasons that lemon is used in cleaning products (not just the lovely scent). It performs the same job in the body, helping the immune system to ward off deadly intruders.
  • We all know that carrots are good for vision, but lemons have positive eye effects too. Rutin is the lemon component that can improve eye disorders like diabetic retinopathy.
  • Lemons are full of antioxidants which fight free radicals in the body. In fact, there are 22 different cancer fighting agents found within lemons.
  • The digestive system gets help from lemons as well. Lemons can help to ward off constipation, thus keeping the colon cleaned out. Also, lemons are known for being able to kill certain intestinal parasites.
  • The vitamin C in lemons is not only an antioxidant and a liver cleanser, but it also helps to speed up metabolism. High vitamin C content is what makes lemons useful for weight loss diets.
  • Another little known fact is that lemons are high in potassium. This is a vital mineral for heart health. It helps keep the blood pressure lower by reducing stress. Potassium is also important in counteracting dehydration.

Are you a lemon fan?  What is your favourite way of consuming these wonderful little yellow nutritional powerhouses?

Note of caution – unless lemons are marked as “unwaxed” always wash them in warm water to remove the wax, as you would with any citrus fruit.

Tips:

  • To get the most juice out of them, pop in a microwave for 30-60 secs and then gently roll them on a chopping board or counter top.  Then pierce in the centre and gently squeeze to get some of the juice out, before cutting in half and juicing.
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice to soups etc it helps you cut down on salt
  • Fresh Lemon and Mint with ice is a wonderful refreshing and hydrating drink when its hot
  • Start your day with a glass of warm water and lemon juice to kick-start your body

 

 

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The A-Z of Plantalicious Ingredients – K Is for Kale

If you’ve spent any amount of time on a plant based diet or juicing, then you know that kale is a staple for providing the nutritional benefits to have energy on a day to day basis. Kale has all sorts of nicknames that hail it as everything from a vegetarian or vegan’s meat to the nutritional powerhouse of greens.
Whether you are trying to detox or lose weight, kale has what you need. It’s a great immune system booster. Making kale a regular part of your diet can even improve the condition of your skin, nails, and hair. What are the secrets that kale holds which make it the perfect plant for everything from fighting off disease to improving your vision?
Just some of the many benefits of kale include:
• An aid to digestion, kale contains 5 g of dietary fiber per serving. With no fat and only 36 calories per cup, kale is gentle on the digestive tract and will help keep a person regular.
• The letter K stands for kale on our A-Z list, and kale also stands for K, vitamin K that is. Whether you are concerned about clotting properly, fighting off the effects of Alzheimer’s, or want to protect yourself from certain forms of cancer, vitamin K has to be in your nutritional alphabet. Kale is a great source.
• Vitamin A also abounds in kale, giving a huge boost to your eyes, and helping to prevent optical disorders.
• Kale also contains both vitamin D and calcium. It’s a 1-2 punch for healthy teeth and bones, since the vitamin D improves calcium absorption. Plus, vitamin C provides additional benefits for the cartilage and joints.
• Kale gets the nickname beef, but that’s really not fair to the kale. Kale actually has more iron than red meat. Iron helps to fend off anemia, and it also plays a vital role in helping oxygen to get to all parts of the body.
• Omega-3 fatty acids make kale a great food for fighting inflammation. Omega-3 and omega-6 are also vital for the skin, making it appear vibrant by healing from the inside out. Hair and nails also need these fatty acids to thrive.
• Any sort of detox should include kale in some form. It contains both fiber and sulfur. It’s great for the liver and for the colon, detoxing the whole body instead of just one system.

Quick recipe tips, if you have some Kale in the fridge and happen to have made some hummus in your blender, scrape it out, but leave some residue. add some water, lemon juice or vinegar, (apple cider is my preference) and some garlic, salt and pepper, and whizz and you have a delicious creamy dressing for your kale salad).
Pop a few Kale leaves in your smoothie to “beef” it up a bit.

Love it or hate it? Share your thoughts and favourite Kale recipes in the community pages.

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Book Review – Rethink Food, by Shushana Castle and Amy-Lee Goodman

So many people trivialise diet and the link between what we eat and our health.  Friends, colleagues, personal trainers, that chap down the pub even Dr’s and specialists deny that there is a link between our well-being and what we stuff down our throats every day to feed ourselves.

 

Well, now there is a book that helps you fight back with the assistance of over 100 Doctors – real qualified Dr’s not quacks or people with an axe to grind, plus a bunch of elite althletes and 8 world renowned nutritionists. This small global army provide evidence based arguements for how a plant-based diet can not only prevent but reverse a range of chronic diseases.

 

The book uses a format whereby each one of contributors provides an article or small chapter on their personal perspective.  Some reviewers do not like this format as it does lead to some repetition, but in my opinion, they are missing the point as the repetition is there to drive home the message of the book that a plant-based way of eating not only deals with the symptoms of many chronic diseases but actually the causes.  This is something that traditional medicine fails to do every day for many millions of people while the pharmaceutical industry’s profits grow in proportion to the obesity epidemic that we are seeing in so many developed countries around the world.

 

The material in this book debunks many of the myths around nutrition and health as well as the down right lies and falsehoods that have been propagated by the meat and dairy industry over the years.  Think about – “Milk for strong bones” or should that be “Milk for osteoporosis”; “Meat the ultimate and only protein source” or should that be “we need much less protein and can get all we need from a plant-based diet”.

 

Critics will say that the book does not provide any counter arguements to it’s viewpoint.  Again, I think that is the point of this book.  There is so much conflicting and confusing information about the link between the food we eat and our health.  This book brings together so many who have come to their conclusions through scientific research as well as personal experience to present a cohesive and compelling collection of evidence that is (almost) impossible to refute.  I’m not suggesting for a moment that scientific research should stop and that we are at some kind of nutritional nirvana but this book proves for once and for all that there is a growing and significant body of evidence of the positive effects of adopting a plant-based diet.

 

I started reading it with a casual attitude and found that I could not put it down as expert after expert laid out their perspective and personal experience before me.  It is written in a most approachable style and language such that you do not need any kind of specialist knowledge to understand what is being said.  In fact it is suitable for anyone.

 

I have one small niggle that the Kindle version does have a somewhat confusing layout, which needs improving and can be a little confusing at first as some paragraphs are broken around others.  I have encountered this in other kindle books so it is not unique to Rethink Food, but if it were addressed it would make it a easier to read and improve the flow.

 

This book is one that I shall buy and give as gifts to anyone who is either interested in or sceptical about the efficacy of plant-based nutrition and how it can help to improve human health, prevent and reverse many chronic diseases faced by society today.

I urge you to read this and to buy it for those you love and care about as this book proves for once and for all that a small change in your diet at any age can have a significantly positive effect on your health and well-being.

 

By the way – and surprise, surprise, you can buy this book in the Plantalicious Shop for the same price as on Amazon.  Click here…http://www.plantalicious.com/shop/

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Press Release – New, medically backed US drive for whole-food, plant-based nutrition hits the UK

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JULY 2014

New, medically backed US drive for whole-food, plant-based nutrition hits the UK

– Plantalicious launches with free recipes and introductory e-guide

 

The latest – and most nutritionally sound – health revolution from the US has now arrived in the UK. As delegates sign up for the second annual Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference in California*, the UK’s first officialwhole-food, plant-based lifestyle website launches to educate and inspire Britons on the benefits of this new, medically endorsed way of eating and living.

 

Aimed at anyone keen to improve their health destiny, Plantalicious (www.plantalicious.com) serves up: a wealth of tasty recipes for breakfasts, lunches and dinners as well as snacks, drinks and desserts; informative articles and motivational blogs; how-to videos; a shop of recommended books and other products; and an online community chat forum.

 

The site’s menu is comprised exclusively of wholly non-processed, plant-based foods with no added oils or fats but with plenty of flavours and textures to satisfy even the hardiest carnivores – they’re all Plantalicious. A new food product range, based on these recipes, is due to be launched soon.

 

To celebrate the new website everyone who signs up to the free Plantalicious weeklyemail newsletter will also receive a complimentary “3 Day Platalicious Challenge” e-book, giving a step-by-step introduction to Plantalicious living.

 

Plantalicious Ltd is founded by Londoner Barry Honeycombe, who studied with American expert T Colin Campbell, professor at Cornell University’s Center for Nutrition Studies and author of the bestseller The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health.

 

Honeycombe, a self-confessed lifelong foodie, developed the Plantalicious regime after years of yo-yo dieting. He insists that Plantaliciousness is not just-another-diet: “Diets are boring; I know, I’ve done pretty much all of them. I read the books cover to cover and bought the t-shirts – bigger and bigger t-shirts as each diet ultimately failed to reduce my weight or improve my health.”

 

With Plantalicious, Honeycombe says, you don’t need to be “on” or “off”, or worry about being “good” or “bad”. He presents recipes that can be easily followed and incorporated into anyone’s day-to-day routine, and he advises newcomers to start by committing to small changes only. “Just try some of these new Plantalicious foods and ideas and then notice how your body reacts,” says Honeycombe. “You’ll soon be rewarded with increased levels of energy and better sleep. And who couldn’t have more of both of those?”

 

Why now? Facts and figures

 

Medical experts on both sides of the Atlantic are recognising the increasing urgency of changing our toxic modern diets of over-processed, highly saturated fatty foods – and averting the diseases and expensive healthcare consequences that they reap.

 

A new University College London research report, which created a media storm when it was released recently, concluded that the UK government’s long-standing “five-a-day” recommendation for fruit and vegetables is now insufficient. An increase to seven or more portions a day could reduce risks of dying from cancer or heart disease by 42%, says the report’s authors.**

 

Other sobering statistics that highlight the seriousness of this growing health crisis include:

 

In the UK –

  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer
  • Currently, 6% of UK adults are registered with diabetes and another, estimated 850,000 are diabetic but have yet to be diagnosed
  • The NHS spends 10% of its budget on diabetes and diabetes-related consequences, including kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputation
  • By 2050, the National Obesity Forum projects that more than half of all UK adults will be obese

 

In the US –

  • 70% of Americans are overweight or obese
  • Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years, with one in three American children now overweight or obese
  • 100 million Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • The rate of Type 2 diabetes increased by 22% among US adults from 1999 to 2008
  • The share of the US economy devoted to healthcare has increased from 7.2% in 1970 to 18% of GDP today
  • Currently, only 6% of daily caloric intake in the Standard American Diet derives from plant-based foods

 

Notes to editors:

 

*The second annual International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference – attended by registered dieticians, health practitioners and physicians from all medical specialties – takes place in San Diego, California, 17-20 September 2014. Registration has now opened. See www.pbnhc.com for more information.

 

**The UCL findings are based on data gathered over eight years from more than 65,000 men and women who took part in the Health Survey for England.

 

**** Plantalicious founder Barry Honeycombe is available for interviews, guested article and blog contributions. ***

 

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The A-Z of Plantalicious Ingredients – J Is for Jerusalem Artichoke

Have you seen them?  These nobbly little bundles of delicious nutyness?  Jerusalem Artichokes are only around for a short season in the UK, but if you can get them, buy them.  They are so delicious and worth the effort needed to prepare them.

You may know Jerusalem artichokes by their alternate or US name, Sunchokes. Don’t confuse these with the artichokes that are prevalent in Italian cuisine. Jerusalem artichokes are a root vegetable and look like a cross between a potato and ginger root.

Also, don’t let the misnomer fool you. Jerusalem artichokes aren’t imported from Israel. In fact, they aren’t imported at all. This starchy vegetable is native to the UK as well as North America. Sunchokes have a delicious earthy and nutty flavor similar to jicama (a European root veggie).

So why should Jerusalem artichokes be in your a-z plant vocabulary? It’s a great way to get the carbs that you need without the fat and cholesterol. And the starch isn’t the only carb in Jerusalem artichokes. There is plenty of dietary fiber too.

Here are some more nutritional benefits of Jerusalem artichokes:

  • This root veggie fights constipation by helping the gut to hang onto moisture. Staying regular cleans toxins from the gut area and may help to prevent certain types of cancer.
  • Anti-oxidant vitamins abound in Jerusalem artichokes. Vitamins A, C, and E are all antioxidants making this a cancer fighting vegetable. Antioxidants also help reduce inflammation and can reduce the length of time that the common cold lasts.
  • Potassium is a vital mineral for helping the body not to dehydrate as well as for maintaining good heart health. Jerusalem artichokes get you 9% of the potassium that you need in a day with every 100 gram serving.
  • Iron is a mineral that is vital to the circulatory system. It helps in the production of red blood cells and guards against anemia which can cause fatigue and muscle weakness. A serving of sunchokes gets more than 2/5 of what you need in a day. No other tuber or root can match up to that.
  • Other vitamins and minerals in this vegetable include vitamin B, electrolytes, and copper.
  • They can also help you to boost the protein in your diet with 3 grams of protein per serving.
  • Prebiotics help to feed your body’s natural probiotics and keep them healthy. Sunchokes are filled with inulin, a prebiotic which may help your body’s probiotics to thrive, thus benefiting digestion. Don’t confuse inulin for insulin. Jerusalem artichokes do not reduce blood sugar. They may not raise it as much as other carbs, however, because inulin doesn’t metabolize like other carbohydrates. It’s actually an effective sweetener (saccharin) for diabetics.

So now you know how good they are for you, what do you want to do with them?

The first thing is to wash them, just ensure that you get rid of all the dirt.  There is no need to peel them – Life is too short!

Always cook them in acidulated water (just add a few drops of lemon juice) as otherwise they will discolour.

You can use them to make a really silky and delicious nutty soup – it’s the sort of thing that is so good, you could serve it to guests.

You can also just steam them, mash/purée them or roast them.

Let me know if you find them and how you cook them.

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The A-Z of Plantalicious Ingredients – I Is for Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is sort of the black sheep of the lettuce family. It’s one of those most ignored foods, so often taken for granted and stuffed in a bun with a burger to make it “look healthy”.  As a child, it was a staple in our house, along with tomatoes and cucumber for a “British Salad”.  So why does it get honorable mention in our A-Z list? Do we just not have anything else that starts with the letter I?

Actually, iceberg lettuce has plenty of nutrients. It just doesn’t have quite as many as some other forms of lettuce. The fact is though that iceberg lettuce is tasty, and it has a delightful crunch that can be just what you need when you are craving an unhealthy snack.

Take this as an example of the benefits of eating iceberg lettuce. Just 2 cups of iceberg lettuce on a daily basis can help you to get about a third of the vitamin K that you need each day. This vitamin is important for clotting and for bone health, and that’s just one of the benefits of this type of lettuce that gets a bad rap.

Check out these facts about the nutritional benefits of iceberg lettuce:

  • It’s a low calorie food. An entire cup of iceberg lettuce only has 11 calories.
  • It may be able to help keep you regular thanks to a high dietary fiber content.
  • Iceberg lettuce contains minerals such as magnesium (also good for the digestive tract), potassium (excellent for hydration and for your heart), manganese, calcium (important for teeth and bones), and phosphorus.
  • High iron levels help your body to produce red blood cells. That makes iceberg lettuce a nice pick me up in the morning.
  • It’s also good in the evening. Iceberg lettuce helps to relax the body, especially the eyes. Some have used iceberg lettuce as a natural cure to insomnia.
  • A serving of iceberg lettuce will get you 9% of the vitamin A that you need for the day, 4% of your vitamin C needs, and provides as much as 2% of other vital vitamins like B6 and thiamine.
  • Pregnant women can benefit particularly from iceberg lettuce because it contains folate. This along with vitamin A are important in preventing eye problems which can accompany pregnancy.

So given this, don’t leave it on the shelf.  Pick one up, chop it up, add some other veggies, a few nuts or seeds, some avocado and a splosh of balsamic vinegar for a delicious and healthy, filling and fibre full Plantalicious salad!

Another idea is to use the natural shape of the leaves as serving cups – just load them with some finely chopped veggies, maybe some chinese vegetables with water chestnuts and a drop of tamari or soy sauce – YUM – Plantalicious canapes!

 

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