Tips, Ideas and Nutrition Information
for Healthful and Sustainable Living
With Amira Elgan
Take charge of your health -- and your life -- and find out what it really means to be healthy.
I will provide useful, practical and empowering information about health, nutrition and organic living that will put you in control of your own well-being.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet will give you the energy to live an active and productive lifestyle. Health is the foundation to a long and happy life.
Get healthy now!
Thinking of Adopting Vegetarianism?
An overwhelming body of research shows that vegetarian diets can provide all the nutrients necessary for the human health and even help people avoid catastrophic disease.
According to the American Dietetic Association, studies show a positive link between a vegetarian diet and a dramatically lower risk of obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and some cancers.
On the other hand, "bad" food, loaded with saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, refined sugars, hormones, pesticides, and other additives - aggravated by a sedentary lifestyle - cause or exacerbate most of the health problems in the United States and many other parts of the world.
The most immediately obvious consequence of high-fat, empty-calorie food is weight gain. Americans lead the world in the consumption of junk food and, not coincidentally obesity. Two thirds of Americans are overweight, and one third is clinically obese, according to recent studies.
Obesity may lead to chronic health problems and increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, difficulty breathing, diabetes, sleep apnea, gallstones, arthritis, certain cancers including breast, prostate and colon cancer.
There are other benefits to vegetarianism as well. Eating a vegetarian diet saves animals, reduces hunger in developing countries and contributes to the protection of wildly over-fished oceans. It's also more environmentally friendly (a leading motivation for deforestation is to create grazing lands for livestock). It also takes a lot of grains to feed livestock, for instance, an animal may need to consume 20 to 30 pounds of grains to produce 1 pound of meat. Being a vegetarian is also cheaper, even if you pay more for higher quality organic foods. Meat can be very expensive, as can meat-related illnesses.
If being vegetarian is not what you choose, then consider becoming a part-time vegetarian. Eating vegetarian meals as often as possible and reducing consumption of meats are a good start. If you must eat meat, buy organic lean meats and eat smaller portions less often.
There are several kinds of vegetarians. The most common are lacto-ovovegetarians who eat dairy and eggs in addition to plant foods, lactovegetarians who eat plant foods and dairy but no eggs, and the strictest vegetarians are called vegans.
A vegan eats only plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes-absolutely no animal meats, dairy or eggs. A well-balanced vegan diet, contrary to popular belief, provides complete nutrients. It's one hundred percent cholesterol free, helps prevent many diet related illnesses and it's the most effective diet for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
However, that's not to say that that a vegan diet guarantees good health. Some people choose a vegan diet strictly for ethical reasons, but are unconcerned or ignorant about health. A growing number of teenagers who eschew animal products for ethical reasons, rather than health reasons (called "french fry vegans"), fall into this category.
A well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can easily provide complete and adequate protein. By eating a variety of soybean products, which contain complete protein, and also by combining certain types of foods that contain complementing amino acids, vegetarians can get all the health benefits of meat, without the deadly diseases. For example, rice and beans make a complete protein, as do corn and beans, rice and peas, peanuts or peanut butter and whole wheat bread. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from flax seed. Also, many soy products such as organic tofu and organic soymilk are enriched with calcium and vitamin B12. I will discuss these topics in more depth on later issues. All my recipes offer complete protein.
Eating well-balanced vegetarian food, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, eliminating or reducing alcohol will naturally make you healthier. Living a healthy lifestyle will make you look and feel better. Yes, healthy living will give you a longer life, but more importantly a much higher quality life. You'll be happier and more energetic and you'll achieve and maintain a healthy weight more easily. The health benefits are literally priceless.
Copyright© By Amira Elgan. All Rights Reserved.
Amira Elgan is an experienced cook, who has created innovative, healthy recipes for more than 15 years. She teaches healthy cooking classes for Whole Foods Market’s Salud! Cooking & Lifestyle School and Sur La Table. Amira is a former top manager of some of the premier dining establishments in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Hollywood, including the Mondrian, Bonaventure and Beverly Wilshire hotels. She is a devout yoga practitioner and healthy organic living and fitness expert with first-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is the author and publisher of the Vegetarian Organic Life and is currently writing a vegetarian organic cookbook.
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