Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nutritional Labels

As health minded vegans, we should be reading labels. When you look at a nutritional label do you know what you are reading? Or is it so confusing you just avoid it all together?

Nutritional labels are standard across North America, which means once you learn how to read them, it won't take you much time or effort to continue.

Right under the title of Nutrition Facts is the serving size. Here is where you start. Is this how much you usually eat? Some cerels only have 3/4 cup for a serving, which is certainly not how much I, nor anyone in my family eats. Double it for sure. So read the rest of the label with that in mind. Sure it may say only 3 grams of fat per serving but if that is for only 5 potato chips, how much fat are you getting in a couple handfuls of 15 chips? Yup 9 grams!.

Next we have calories and then fat. Total fat is important, but so is saturated fat and trans fats. You want to avoid too much saturated fat, and any trans fat if possible. Cholesterol should be 0 if you are vegan.

Sodium is next. Keep this under 20% of the Daily Value.

Now we get to Carbohydrates. Don't get too confused here. Sugar plus starch plus fiber is the total carbs. Just basic math. We want high fiber at least 3 to 5 grams per serving is good. You will notice there is no daily percentage for sugar, because the government doesn't have a number for this one. Sugars on the label are not just added sugars, they are also God's natural sugars, so don't be alarmed if the product is otherwise healthy. We need about 300 to 350 grams of total carbs per day. Depending on age and activity.

Protein comes after carbs. This is pretty self-explanatory.

The next section are the vitamins. There are only a few that are usually listed here. Vitamin A, C, Calcium, and Iron are the basic ones. Remember the percentage is based on a 2000 calorie diet for the average adult, unless otherwise stated on the label.

So, that's a quick run down on nutritional labels. Be sure to bring your calculator the next time you go shopping.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Water - getting enough

Getting enough water is important for everyone, not just vegans. We seems to forget how important it really is.

Here is an excerpt from: Water Info Sheet. Click here to read the whole article.

Truly the most amazing molecule of life is water. Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen bound by polar covalent bond.

With a pH of 7, it is neither acidic or alkaline, but neutral. 1 Water freezes at 0°C, boils at 100°C, and weighs 1 kg for every liter. While we can go weeks without food, months without love, years without doctors, we can only go days without water. It is second only to the air we breathe. We are about 60 to 80% water, the brain is about 85% water.

A few things water does (not a complete list):
Aids red blood cells in collecting O2. 2
It is used in every cell, every body function, every muscle, and every joint. 3
Needed to make neurotransmitters - like serotonin. 4
Needed to make hormones - like melatonin. 5
Water helps with sleep. 6
Prevents toxin & waste build up. 7
Aids in weight loss by helping with appetite control (often we interpret thirst for hunger), prevents water retention, and decreases fat deposits themselves. 8
Increases the ability of the immune system - even helping reduce some cancers. 9
Needed for memory & brain function. 10
Needed to keep blood at proper viscosity which can help reduce risk of: stroke, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.11 (Women who drink 5+ glasses of water/day are 41% less likely to die from a heart attack. 12)

So, how much do you need? Well a good rule of thumb is about half your body weight in ounces. 22 For example: If you are 120lbs that is 60oz or just under 8 cups. If you are 200lbs that is 100oz or just over 12 cups, check with your doctor as needed. For those using metric - The formula is your weight in Kg x 34 = ml needed per day.

Get your water today!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Combining protein and starch.

Question on food combining. I know that fruits should be eaten by themselves because they digest so rapidly, but I recently read that your meals should be either protein meals or starch meals. Proteins digest in the acid stomach and starches digest in the alkaline intestine. Eating them together keeps them from digesting properly. Any thoughts?

Hi Catherine,

In regards to food combining, I think God packaged foods just right. For instance a potato is very high in starch, with 38 grams, but also has abundant amino acids making it a complete protein over 5 grams (it is the one food man can live on if they had nothing else). Beans are high in protein 20 gram in 1 cup, but also have plenty of starch, over 40 grams. I also believe in following the example of E. White. She would have cream on her greens (protein on starch), etc. Most of the vegetables and all grains have both starch and protein. That is the way God made it.

Starches begin their digestive process in the mouth. This is why cows and horses chew endlessly on their food, while a dog ‘wolfs’ it down. If the food is properly masticated (chewed thoroughly), our bodies are designed to handle the foods God created. The best way to be sure of good digestion is: chew very well, eat slowly, enjoy the food (yes, this is very important), don’t drink COLD liquids, don’t eat too much COLD food, and exercise lightly after eating.

We don’t always know why something works the way it does. True scientific testing always confirms Creation and God’s Plan for living. It is only the theories or summaries that we see as ‘non-scientists’ that conflict. God has infinite wisdom and sometimes people (especially non-Christians) come up with seemingly good ideas based on logic. I find when there are ideas that conflict, they are usually based on logic, and are not truly scientifically tested. It is a fact that proteins digest in the stomach with acids made by the body, and that grains digest with saliva and intestinal fluid, but to say that eating them together can cause problems is a conclusion or theory based on two facts. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the facts from the theory or conclusions. Logic is not always right, but sure sounds good. The best way to weed out the truth is to compare it to scripture and Spirit of Prophecy.

I guess this goes with all topics, not just doctrine or food.

Hope that helps,

Monday, February 9, 2009

Is coffee a diuretic?

There has been an article circulating on the internet from the Beverage Institute. Here are a few comments in regard to their statements that any beverage is as good as water, and that caffeine is not a diuretic.

1) The article does reiterate that caffeine is a diuretic in native individuals. In fact it states that caffeine is not detrimental to the hydration status of those who regularly consume them. The the body must "adapt" over 3 to 5 days to the caffeine. I had a doctor tell me, in person, to give my dehydrated son anything to hydrated him including pop. (Specially he said coke - interestingly the website "the Beverage Institute is owned by Coca-Cola.) My son has NEVER had caffeine, so this would have dehydrated him further. So you see my point is a bit personal. Because I am educated, I refused. What about others?

2) The article used various beverages in the study. Ie: there may be some link to sugar, aspartame, and other chemicals to poor hydration.

3) The individuals can have water retention and not necessarily proper hydration. IE: water can be stored, not used. Just because the urine output stabilized does not mean the water was utilized.

4) Dr. Grandjean stated she didn’t advise athletes to change their drinking habits because she was afraid they would not drink anything. Shouldn’t choices be based on knowledge? That is a kin to saying – don’t tell kids broccoli is better than M & M’s because they won’t get enough calories.

It is frustrating to me that we aim for the lowest possible in our health. We can have such abundant life, and yet we go for the minimum. How can I keep my bad habits and still survive. I am not interesting in survival. I want whole health.