Omega 3

I heard that Omega 3 is hard for vegans to get yet is essential for general health, even more so for athletes because it helps increase endurance and lean body mass by improving fat metabolism. How do you deal with this?

It’s true that Omega 3 is essential for good health. In fact, along with omega 6, omega 3 is categorized as an essential fatty acid (EFA). Being labelled essential simply means that the body cannot manufacture it from other nutrients; it must be present in the diet for good health to be achieved.

Omega 6, on one hand, is very easy to obtain. You would have to eat a poor diet consistently to fall short of the body’s requirement for omega 6. It is found in most nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu and also, to a lesser degree, in many fruits, vegetables and grains. The only caution here is to be sure to consume the nuts and seeds in raw form; otherwise the fat will be altered by roasting, and, therefore, less usable by the body.

On the other hand, omega 3 is less plentiful, but equally important. The most common source of omega 3 is salmon. Obviously, this is of little help to vegans like you and me. Interesting to note is that salmon is not as good a source as it used to be. Farmed salmon have considerably less omega 3 than their wild counterparts. Omega 3 levels in wild salmon are also declining. The algae they eat, giving their meat a high omega 3 content, is declining in both quantity and quality due to less-than-ideal environmental conditions.

Brendan BrazierThe greatest plant source of omega 3 fatty acids is flaxseeds. In order for the body to digest and utilize the nutrients, the seeds must be ground into coarse flour. I personally use a coffee grinder. Once every two weeks I’ll grind about a pound, put it into a glass container, and store it in the fridge to protect the EFA’s from becoming rancid. If I don’t plan on using all the ground flax within two weeks, I’ll store it in the freezer to insure freshness.

Flaxseeds are also available pre-ground. If you buy them in this form, make sure they are in an airtight container or have been kept in the fridge or freezer. Also, be sure not to buy flax meal. Flax meal is little more than fiber, with all the EFA’s removed by pressing.

FOODS TO AVOID

FOODS TO AVOID:Meats, poultry, fish, eggs (both whites and yolks), and all dairy products (regular and non-fat), including milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, cream, sour cream, and butter.
Added oils, such as margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise, and cooking oils.

Fried foods, such as potato chips, french fries, onion rings, tempura, and donuts.

Avoid orange juice and all concentrated juices, they are little better than sugar water.
Avoid all foods that are GM, (genetically modified) as the health effects could be very detrimental to your health. GM corn has been shown to produce huge tumors in laboratory rats. This warning includes all GM foods including tofu.
Avoid trans fat products such as margarine. Trans fats are fats that are normally liquid at room temperature but become solid by combining them with hydrogen.(hydrogenated)
Avoid energy bars which contain excessive amounts of sugar and chemicals.
Avoid soft drinks and sodas which again have excessive amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners (aspertain etc).
One can of soda can have 220 calories alone.
Avoid canned soup as it is usually loaded with MSG and sodium, which is very unhealthy.

MEAL SUGGESTIONS

BREAKFAST—Often breakfast can be similar to the one you are accustomed to with a few simple modifications.

Hot cereals: oatmeal, cream of wheat, creamy rice cereal, grits, or Irish oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins and/or applesauce (no milk)
High-fiber cold cereals: wheat or oat bran cereals with non-fat soy or rice milk and berries, peaches, or bananas
Melons, such as cantaloupe and honeydew, or any other fruit
Whole grain toast topped with cinnamon or jam (no butter or margarine)
Bagels (no cream cheese) topped with apple butter or hummus
Oven-roasted “home fries” plain or smothered with roasted mushrooms, peppers, and onions

LUNCH—Whether you dine in or out at lunchtime, there are lots of healthy and delicious options to choose from. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Salads

Garden salad with lemon juice, fat-free dressing, or soy or teriyaki sauce
Legume-based salads: three-bean, chickpea, lentil, or black bean and corn salads
Grain-based salads: noodle, couscous, bulgur, or rice salads
Soups

Vegetable-based soups: potato-leek, carrot-ginger, mixed vegetable, or mushroom-barley.
Legume-based soups: black bean, vegetarian chili, spinach lentil, minestrone, or split pea.
Instant or prepared soups (as long as they are low-fat and free of animal products).
Sandwiches/Wraps

CLT: cucumber, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with Dijon mustard
Hummus sandwich tucked into whole wheat pita with grated carrots, sprouts, and cucumbers
Sandwich made with fat-free meat alternatives such as barbeque seitan or veggie pepperoni slices with your favorite sandwich veggies
Black bean dip, peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla
Italian eggplant sub: baked eggplant slices, pizza sauce, and mushrooms on a multi-grain sub roll
Black bean and sweet potato burrito with corn and tomatoes

DINNER—Emphasize vegetables and grains in all your meals. The evening meal is a good place to try new items. You might start with a bean, rice or other grain, or potato dish and add a couple of vegetables.

Starches:

Grains: Use generous amounts of grains.
pasta
brown rice
boxed rice dishes (e.g., pilaf, curried rice, etc.)
couscous
Potatoes: Enjoy them baked or mashed and topped with steamed vegetables, salsa, ketchup, Dijon mustard, black pepper, or black beans.
Breads: Whole-grain is preferred. Avoid sweet breads that contain oil, eggs, or milk.
Vegetables:
Try any vegetables you like.

Greens (broccoli, spinach, kale, Swiss chard) topped with lemon
Carrots
Corn (note: corn is technically a grain, but works as a vegetable)
Legumes:

Pinto beans, vegetarian refried beans, baked beans, black beans, garbanzos, kidney beans
Main Dishes:

Pasta marinara: Choose commercial brands that are free of cheese and are low in fat.
Beans and rice: Try black beans with salsa, vegetarian baked beans, or fat-free refried beans.
Soft tacos: Prepare this dish with whole-wheat flour tortilla, beans, lettuce, tomato, and salsa.
Chili: Vegetarian boxed versions are fine.
Veggie lasagna: Made with low-fat tofu to replace the ricotta, layered with grilled veggies.
Rice pilaf, Spanish rice, or packaged rice dinners: Try packaged rice dishes and omit butter.
Steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables: This meal can be seasoned with soy sauce. Be sure to use a non-stick pan.
Fat-free vegetarian burgers: Make your own lentil burgers or try soy-based commercial brands.
Fajitas: Lightly sauté sliced bell peppers, onions, and eggplant in a non-stick pan, with fajita seasonings.

Desserts:

Fresh fruit
Fat-free chocolate or fruit sorbet
Popsicles
Baked apples
SNACKS

Bagels (plain or flavored; no cheese, butter, or margarine)
Fruit, carrots, or celery sticks
Vegetarian soup cups (split pea, lentil, etc.)
Toast with jam (no butter or margarine)
Baked tortilla chips with salsa or bean dip

GENERAL TIPS

TRYING NEW FOODS AND NEW TASTES:

Explore new recipes, new books, new products.
Fat-free meat substitutes can ease the transition.
Be strict with yourself. This is easier than teasing yourself with small amounts of the foods you are trying to leave behind.
Focus on the short term. Three weeks is a short time.
Frozen vegetables are fine.
Canned beans and vegetables are okay for convenience.
If you have trouble finding recipes you like, explore our recipe database or try a healthy, vegan cookbook.
CUTTING THE FAT:

Use a non-stick pan.
“Sauté” vegetables in water or vegetable broth.
Steam vegetables.
When you can’t avoid oil, use a cooking spray instead of poured oils.
Use non-fat, non-dairy coffee creamers.
Read package labels to check grams of fat per serving. It is best to choose products that have less than 2 grams of fat per serving.

Dining Out: Look for ethnic restaurants, especially Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and Italian, as they normally have many vegetarian dishes.
Japanese: vegetable sushi
Chinese: lots of rice with smaller amounts of vegetable dish; request oil-free and sauce on the side
Mexican: bean burrito, hold the cheese, sour cream, and guacamole; Spanish rice. Ask the waiter to bring out warm corn tortillas to dip in the salsa and to take away the fried chips.
Italian: pasta e fagioli (soup); pasta marinara. Ask that oil be kept at an absolute minimum.
Thai: vegetarian selections with lots of rice; avoid coconut milk
Indian: rice dishes or breads (beware of curries—very fatty)
Middle Eastern: couscous; baba ganouj and hummus with lots of pita bread
American: vegetable plate; salad bar; baked potato; baked beans; spaghetti; fruit plate. For salads, ask for no dressing, or try lemon or lime juice or soy or teriyaki sauce. Ask that fatty toppings, such as cheese, bacon, eggs, olives, and avocados, be left off.

Random Food Notes:

Random Notes:

A low fat, no cholesterol diet is a healthy alternative to high fat and high cholesterol foods.

Concentrate on broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, turnips, and leafy greens, potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley and lentils.

Remember all meats are high  in cholesterol and fat which are non essential and should be avoided. All animal foods are rich sources of fat. Beef derives between 60 and 80 percent of its calories from fat; pork, between 80 and 95 percent; chicken, between 30 and 50 percent; and fish, between five and 60 percent. Avoid eating processed meats, such as ham and bacon, altogether.

The problem with fat and cholesterol is that we need so little of both. The body produces all the cholesterol it needs. As for fat, all plant foods contain adequate amounts of fats and only plants make the essential fatty acids that promote good health.Plants do not contain cholesterol.

To understand why this diet is the most powerful form of medicine, you must start with the recognition that plant foods are the most abundant sources of nutrition on earth.

Nutrients are, essentially, the raw materials your body needs to function properly and to grow. In general, there are two types of nutrients – the ones your body can make, and the ones it can derive only from your food. The latter are called “essential” nutrients, for the simple fact that your diet must provide them for you to sustain your health.

There are 13 essential vitamins. Eleven are made in abundance by plants. The two that are not produced by plants are vitamins D and B12.B12 and D supplements are a good idea.

Remember animal foods have little nutritional value.

Only plants contain powerful substances called phytochemicals, which scientists are now discovering protect us from cancer, heart disease, and an array of other serious illnesses.

Plants are also the primary source of all minerals in the diet. In fact, all minerals are derived originally from the earth and make their way into the food supply via plants. The only reason animal foods contain any minerals at all is because the animals eat plants, or they eat animals that eat plants.

Plants are also the only sources of fiber, which binds in your intestines with fat, cholesterol, environmental pollutants, and disease-causing hormones and eliminates these dangers from the body. Fiber also decreases intestinal transit time and promotes healthy bowel elimination. As I will show below, fiber is one of the key substances that protect us from cancer, especially from cancers of the large intestine and breast.

Second, all plant foods contain “complete proteins,” meaning that they contain all the “essential” amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. This means that you will get all the protein – as well as all the amino acids – you need on a diet composed exclusively of plant foods.

The truth is, Americans consume six-to-10 times as much protein as they need. That excess protein overworks the liver and kidneys, causing both these organs to become enlarged and injured. Excess protein consumption causes the kidneys to pull large quantities of calcium from the body, causing bones to weaken and kidney stones to form.

What the world needs now is carbohydrates – and lots of them

Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy. They alone provide energy for red blood cells, and certain cells of the kidneys, and the preferred fuel for the central nervous system, including the brain.

Humans were designed by nature to crave carbohydrates – or, to put the matter in more practical terms, to crave sweet-tasting foods. Because of the sweet-tasting taste buds are on the tip of our tongues we are designed to seek starches, vegetables and fruits – which supply us with both energy and maximum nutrition. In fact, carbohydrates, with their unique combination of sweet-flavor, energy, and nutrition, regulate our hunger drive. Unless you eat enough carbohydrate foods, you will remain hungry and looking for food.

There are no carbohydrates in red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or eggs. Most dairy products are deficient in carbohydrates. Cheese, for example, contains only two percent carbohydrate. This is one important reason people who eat a diet rich in animal foods are never satisfied and become compulsive overeaters.

Unprocessed plant foods, such as brown rice, potatoes, squash, broccoli, and apples – just to name a few – are loaded with carbohydrates. In fact, they provide an abundance of complex carbohydrates, which are long chains of sugars that are harmoniously mixed with other plant materials. These long chains must be broken down inside your intestine before they can be used as fuel. The process of digesting these complex sugars is slow and methodical, providing a steady stream of fuel pumped into your bloodstream as long-lasting energy.

The only way to regain your health is to stop consuming meat, dairy, eggs, processed food and start eating foods that are rich in all the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber your body requires. But only by eating plant foods can you ensure that your body will get all the nutrition it needs.

 

 

Are Eggs Good For You

Are Eggs Healthy?

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Egg whites are. Egg yolks are not. Though eggs are packed with protein and nutrients, eggyolks are also packed with cholesterol, which can harm our hearts. Comment” The egg white is pure animal protein and should also be avoided.” 

To help unscramble the truth, let’s talk a bit more about cholesterol.

When we hear the word “cholesterol,” it usually refers to one of two things. There is dietary cholesterol, which is the cholesterol we eat. Egg yolks have the most dietary cholesterol of any food. With just one yolk, we’re swallowing about 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol. That’s the amount the American Heart Association recommends most of us not exceed for the entire day. For optimal prevention against heart disease, the Pritikin Eating Plan recommends no more than 100 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day.

Counsels Dr. Kenney: “If you eliminate three egg yolks a day, you will likely lower your blood cholesterol at least 15%, on average, and improve the overall health of your arteries.”

Blood, or serum, cholesterol is the amount of cholesterol in our blood. About 85% of the cholesterol in our blood comes from our liver. And here’s a really important point: Our liver manufactures all the cholesterol our bodies need.

About 15% of the cholesterol in our blood comes from the food we eat – yes, dietary cholesterol. Consistently, research has found that the more dietarycholesterol we eat, the higher our blood cholesterol levels rise, and the greater our risk of heart disease. That’s why it’s so important to keep a lid on the amount of cholesterol we eat.

Saturated and Trans Fats

Now, it’s certainly true that dietary cholesterol is not the only thing that raises blood cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats are spectacularly good at ratcheting up blood cholesterol levels. We get saturated and trans fat from foods like red meat, cheese, and butter, as well as from processed foods, everything from margarine to frozen entrees, that contain ingredients like coconut oil, palm oil, and partially hydrogenated oils.

Let’s get back to dietary cholesterol. For decades, scientific research has demonstrated that rising intake of egg yolks, rich in dietary cholesterol, contributes to rising blood cholesterol levels.

Here is just a sampling of that research…

Just One Extra Egg a Day

As early as 1984, in a well-designed clinical study published in the leading medical journal The Lancet1, researchers from Harvard Medical School studied the effects of adding just one extra-large egg a day to the regular diets of young, healthy men and women. All of them were lacto-vegetarians (vegetarians who also ate dairy products).

Are Egg Yokes Healthy?

That one daily jumbo egg increased the subjects’ dietary cholesterol intake on average from 97 to 418 milligrams per day. After three weeks – just three weeks – blood cholesterol levels among the men and women had also shot up. Levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol rose on average 12%. “Ingestion of egg seems selectively to raise cholesterol and protein in LDL particles in the plasma of free-living normal people,” lead author Frank M. Sacks, MD, and colleagues concluded.

Egg Whites vs Whole Eggs

In another study2, a carefully controlled clinical trial published in 2006, researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil fed three egg whites daily to one group of healthy young men, and three whole eggs daily to another group of men, also young and healthy. The study lasted 15 days. Except for the egg variations, all the men were eating the exact same thing. Their meals, prepared daily by the university, were heart-healthy-style – fairly low in fat and high in a variety of whole foods like fruits, green vegetables, beans, chicken, and fish.

Among the men in the group eating three egg whites daily, total intake of dietary cholesterol averaged only 174 milligrams per day. Among the men eating three whole eggs a day (egg whites plus egg yolks) daily dietary cholesterol intake averaged a whopping 804 milligrams.

More Eggs, Higher LDL

Along with increased dietary cholesterol, the egg yolk eaters ended up with increased blood cholesterol. Their LDL bad cholesterol, after 15 days of eating whole eggs, was about 30% higher compared to the egg white eaters. “A high-cholesterol diet clearly enhances LDL levels,” wrote the authors. At the end of the study, the egg white eaters had average LDL levels of 86. The LDL levels of the whole egg eaters was 120.

Chylomicrons

There was more troubling news. The scientists found that in addition to raising LDL cholesterol, the three-whole-eggs-a-day diet hindered the body’s ability to clear out artery-clogging chylomicron remnants. Chylomicrons are particles, like LDL, that transport triglycerides and other fats to various cells throughout the body. Chylomicronsalso absorb the dietary cholesterol we eat. Once chylomicrons start “unloading” their cargo, they become chylomicron remnants, which are taken up by the liver and discarded from the body. But if these chylomicrons remnants are stuffed with dietary cholesterol and fats, they tend to “hang around” in our bodies longer, taking up residence in our artery walls, just as LDL cholesterol does, where they can wreak havoc.

And sure enough, the Brazilian study found that eating three egg yolks daily “increased the residence time of chylomicron remnants, which may have undesirable effects related to the development of coronary artery disease,” the scientists wrote.

Fouling Up HDL

“The cholesterol from these chylomicron remnants can also be passed to HDL particles, and that’s potentially a big problem,” points out Dr. Jay Kenney, Nutrition Research Specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center. “It can contribute to the conversion of HDL from ‘good’ to ‘bad’ cholesterol, from being anti-inflammatory to pro-inflammatory. And no longer is HDL doing its job of transporting cholesterol out of the artery walls and back to the liver for disposal.”

“Unfortunately,” continues Dr. Kenney, “many physicians don’t pay attention to chylomicrons, and ignore their role in promoting coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis. That’s troubling, especially since doctors’ key strategy for fighting heart disease – prescribing statins – does little to reduce the formation of chylomicrons or the amount of chylomicron remnants burrowing into the artery wall and damaging arteries.”

The good news is that an optimal heart-health food and fitness plan like the Pritikin Program does appear to reduce chylomicron activity, “which may help explain why lifestyle programs like Pritikin can reverse atherosclerosis better than statins,” notes Dr. Kenney.

New Research

The most recent study3 documenting the dangers of egg yolks was published this month by scientists at the Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Centre in Ontario, Canada. The researchers looked at more than 1,200 people, average age 61, who already had artery disease, asking them about their daily diets and any other cardiovascular risk factors they might have, including smoking. Then, using carotid ultrasound imaging, the researchers found that those people who ate the most whole eggs had the most plaque-ridden arteries.

The scientists also noted that the people who had eaten the most eggs over the years had even more plaque build-up than those with the highest cholesterol levels or body weights.

The egg industry must have been concerned about consumer reaction to this new study because immediately after its online publication, doctors affiliated with the industry shot out press statements criticizing the study, pointing out, for example, that the subjects with the higher egg intakes also tended to be heavy smokers.

“Nice spin,” smiles Dr. Kenney, “but these press statements failed to mention that the Canadian scientists had in fact looked for a statistically significant correlation between egg yolk consumption and smoking history. They found none.”

Bottom Line:

Counsels Dr. Kenney: “If you eliminate three egg yolks a day, which is about 600 milligrams of dietary cholesterol, you will likely lower your blood cholesterol at least 15%, on average, and improve the overall health of your arteries. That’s very good news for your heart.”

Do enjoy egg whites. Breakfast at the Pritikin Longevity Center includes a big, beautiful egg-white-omelet bar full of fresh, colorful additions like salsa, green onions, nonfat ricotta cheese, and roasted red peppers.

But steer clear of egg yolks most of the time, if not all. What the egg industry describes as “nature’s perfect food” is not perfect for your arteries.

What is perfect is a lifestyle program like Pritikin that substantially limits saturated and trans fats as well as dietary cholesterol, and promotes an eating plan full of whole, fiber-rich foods, plus daily exercise.

Atkins “Nightmare” Diet

Atkins “Nightmare” Diet

When Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution was first published, the President of the American College of Nutrition said, “Of all the bizarre diets that have been proposed in the last 50 years, this is the most dangerous to the public if followed for any length of time.”[1]

When the chief health officer for the State of Maryland,[2] was asked “What’s wrong with the Atkins Diet?” He replied “What’s wrong with… taking an overdose of sleeping pills? You are placing your body in jeopardy.” He continued “Although you can lose weight on these nutritionally unsound diets, you do so at the risk of your health and even your life.”[3]

The Chair of Harvard’s nutrition department went on record before a 1973 U.S. Senate Select Committee investigating fad diets: “The Atkins Diet is nonsense… Any book that recommends unlimited amounts of meat, butter, and eggs, as this one does, in my opinion is dangerous. The author who makes the suggestion is guilty of malpractice.”[4]

The Chair of the American Medical Association’s Council on Food and Nutrition testified before the Senate Subcommittee as to why the AMA felt they had to formally publish an official condemnation of the Atkins Diet: “A careful scientific appraisal was carried out by several council and staff members, aided by outside consultants. It became apparent that the [Atkins] diet as recommended poses a serious threat to health.”[5]

The warnings from medical authorities continue to this day. “People need to wake up to the reality,” former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop writes, that the Atkins Diet is “unhealthy and can be dangerous.”[6]

The world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals,[7] calls the Atkins Diet “a nightmare of a diet.”[8] The official spokesperson of the American Dietetic Association elaborated: “The Atkins Diet and its ilk–any eating regimen that encourages gorging on bacon, cream and butter while shunning apples, all in the name of weight loss–are a dietitian’s nightmare.”[9] The ADA has been warning Americans about the potential hazards of the Atkins Diet for almost 30 years now.[10] Atkins dismissed such criticism as “dietician talk”.[11] “My English sheepdog,” Atkins once said, “will figure out nutrition before the dieticians do.”[12]

The problem for Atkins (and his sheepdog), though, is that the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific body in the United States, agrees with the AMA and the ADA in opposing the Atkins Diet.[13] So does the American Cancer Society;[14] and the American Heart Association;[15] and the Cleveland Clinic;[16] and Johns Hopkins;[17] and the American Kidney Fund;[18] and the American College of Sports Medicine;[19] and the National Institutes of Health.[20]

In fact there does not seem to be a single major governmental or nonprofit medical, nutrition, or science-based organization in the world that supports the Atkins Diet.[21] As a 2004 medical journal review concluded, the Atkins Diet “runs counter to all the current evidence-based dietary recommendations.”[22]

A 2003 review of Atkins “theories” in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded: “When properly evaluated, the theories and arguments of popular low carbohydrate diet books… rely on poorly controlled, non-peer-reviewed studies, anecdotes and non-science rhetoric. This review illustrates the complexity of nutrition misinformation perpetrated by some popular press diet books. A closer look at the science behind the claims made for [these books] reveals nothing more than a modern twist on an antique food fad.”[23]