How Do You Get Omega 3 As A Vegan?

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So, you’ve probably heard of omegas 3 & 6, and that you need them to be healthy.

You actually need a pretty even amount of both these beauties:

Omega 6 is inflammatory – which sounds bad, but it helps clot the blood soooo….useful if you have a wound you need healing for example. Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and an anti-coagulant, so it thins the blood. They compete with each other for the same enzymes in the body, and too much omega 6 can inhibit omega 3 – hence the need for an equal-ish amount of each.

MANY people’s ratios are way skewed however, sometimes by as much as 30:1 (i.e. too much omega 6 to too little omega 3). You need to know that this is NOT a vegan problem, this is a universal problem.

As a plant-based superstar (or plant-based superstar wannabe!) you’re most likely getting plenty of Omega 6 through veg, fruit, grains, nuts and seeds, so it’s really omega 3 we want to make sure we get enough of, to balance out the ol’ 6.

It’s sometimes easy to get too much omega 6 through added oils; like safflower, sunflower, cottonseed or corn oil; so ideally stay away from these or use VERY sparingly.

We need omega 3 for basic cell function. And according to PCRM, adequate intake of omega 3 can mean a reduced chance of strokes and heart disease; reduction of menstrual pain and joint pain, relief from ulcerative colitis symptoms, and there is evidence to show it can also mean reduced breast cancer risk.

A deficiency of this nutrient can lead to health consequences that include kidney and liver abnormalities, dry skin or decreased immune function.

Omega 3 comes in three forms.

The main one is ALA (alpha linolenic acid) and this is the only ESSENTIAL omega 3, so this is the one you want to make sure you are getting.

Your body cleverly converts the ALA into the two other forms of omega 3; EFA and DHA.

We’ve all been sold the bill o’ goods that the best sources of EFA and DHA are fish and fish oils, but this is not true. The best sources are our own bodies! Yay for our bodies!

In any case, the fish themselves do not make EFA and DHA in their bodies; they obtain it from the algae and seaweed they consume.

Even though EFA and DHA are not essential nutrients – there is no RDA (recommended daily amount) prescribed for them – it’s possible you may need to up your levels if you are pregnant or elderly. But – you can do like the fish and eat sea vegetables (fancy phrase for seaweed; try nori or wakame for example), or take supplements made from algae. Aim for 250mg of DHA/day. You’ll also be avoiding the yucky contaminants found in fish this way!

So, how to get the main dude, the ALA?

Oh Em Gee this is soooo easy.

ALA can be found pretty abundantly in plant sources. Flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, black beans, red kidney beans, winter squash and edamame are all great sources.

One easy way – the way that I do it in fact – is to have two tablespoons of ground flax seeds on my oatmeal most mornings. There are a gazillion other great reasons for having flax seeds, but ALA is one of the main ones.

You could have two or three meals a week (stews or soups or casseroles or chillis) with red kidney beans or black beans in; and grab three or four walnut halves a few times a week.

But is it HARDER for vegans than for omnivores to get adequate omega 3?

What? You haven’t already surmised the answer to this question?

Though plants contain little fat, they contain enough to help the conversion process in our bodies of ALA to EFA and DHA. The ingestion of higher fat levels (like those found in a meat and dairy rich diet) make this process more difficult. SO, to have great levels of these three forms of omega 3; an overall low fat whole foods, plant-based diet is optimal.

Well…but of course 😉

 

Sources used: PCRM, Dr Michael Greger

 

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Statins Or A Whole Food Vegan Diet To Lower Cholesterol?

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In case you haven’t heard of statins, they are a drug used to bring down LDL (bad) cholesterol in people whose levels are too high.

Statins are the most prescribed drug in the UK, and the second most prescribed drug (after anti-depressants) in the US.

Pharmaceutical companies make billions a year from sales of statin drugs.

Over the years I’ve witnessed many people who reach a certain age and BAYUM! They are all of a sudden put on statins at their next doctors visit.

If you didn’t know better it would be easy to think it was a rite of passage, or just ‘something that happens as you get older.’

It seems that many otherwise healthy patients are being given statins as a preventative approach when they get to a certain age, and if it’s also assumed from their current (meat and dairy heavy) lifestyle that they may end up with high cholesterol.

When you really get informed about the causes of high cholesterol you realise this is crazy. And who wants to take drugs if they don’t have to?

Statins are not without side effects either. According to the Mayo Heath Clinic (the first and largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world) these include muscle pain and damage, liver damage, digestive problems, rashes and increased blood sugar (not cool if you are diabetic!). The long term use of statins is also associated with more than double the risk of both types of breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma.

It seems that statins are massively over-prescribed.

Fun fact: There is NO cholesterol in plant foods. It is ONLY IN ANIMAL FOODS.

Every mammal generates cholesterol in their own body. It is manufactured in the liver, and is necessary for the production of hormones and cell membranes.  An ideal range for a healthy human is below 150mg/dl.

That’s all we need – our own cholesterol.

Of course, when we eat animal products, we take in the cholesterol from the animal too, and our levels rise. Nothing complicated to understand here. The more animal products we eat, the more our cholesterol levels rise.

Of course, we also have good (HDL) cholesterol, which helps keep bad cholesterol levels down.

Dr Neal Barnard, in his book ‘The Power of Your Plate: A Plan for Better Living Eating Well for Better Health’ says we can think of good cholesterol as a dumper truck. It exists to carry bad cholesterol out of the body. Therefore, if you eat lots of animal products, it’s best for you if you have decent levels of good cholesterol to take the crap out!

Vegans and plant-based eaters may have lower levels of good cholesterol – because they don’t need it. They are not ingesting any excess (bad) cholesterol so nothing needs to be gotten rid of.

I must also state here that it’s actually a little more complicated than the party line we’ve been led to believe, that is :  High cholesterol = high risk of heart disease.

Dr T Colin Campbell reports that it’s actually the protein in animal products which is far more significant and has more of a degenerative effect on humans when ingested,

Dietary cholesterol may help to clog arteries but this condition accounts for only a small fraction (~10%) of coronary heart disease events.[1] Far too much attention has been given to cholesterol as if it is a major cause of disease. Such focus diverts attention away from the much more reliable evidence showing that a diet rich in animal protein, which represents multiple risk factors, is the main dietary cause of heart disease….

This suggests strongly that with regard to heart disease the focus has purposely been put on cholesterol being the baddie, in order to sell cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Based on the latest research, Dr John Mcdougall (who, alongside practicing conventional medicine, has, for 22 years, successfully treated a huge amount of patients with a plant-based diet) now prescribes statins to those who have high cholesterol and have previously been through heart surgery, or have a family history of heart disease and strokes. He will ALSO prescribe a whole food, plant-based diet, as the optimal way of combating high cholesterol.

In those with high cholesterol but NO previous heart disease or history of heart disease in their family;  a whole food, plant-based diet is all that is prescribed, it being the most natural and effective way to bring cholesterol down to normal levels.

There seems to be no reason at all to prescribe statins as a prevention measure to a healthy person without high cholesterol. The BEST preventative measure in this scenario is absolutely a whole food, plant-based diet.

I’ll leave the last words to Dr John Mcdougall. He says:

To answer the question, “Who Should Take Cholesterol-lowering Statins? Everyone or No One?” My response is slightly more complex than all or none. The decisions made primarily depend upon what a person chooses to eat. Eat meat, dairy products, eggs, and other unhealthy foods and you may benefit from taking statins (a little). Eat a starch-based McDougall Diet [this is a whole food, plant-based diet] and any benefits from statins for an otherwise healthy person vanish, and all that is left are side effects and costs.   

Lack of profit is the primary reason for lack of acceptance of this simple, safe approach. Consider that the most popular brand name statin, Crestor, purchased at a discount pharmacy like Costco or CVS, costs about $6 a day. Comparatively, a starch-based diet costs $3 a day for all of the food (2500 calories).

 

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Is Eating Meat Manly? Not So Much It Turns Out

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In my social media feeds in the last few days, a male acquaintance of mine visiting New York has been posting pics of all the huge t-bone, rib-eye, left haunch, right flank, whateverthehelltheyrecalled pieces of dead cow he’s been chowing down on in the New York dead cow restaurants.

Aside from remarking that the portion sizes in these places are RIDICK, and not being able to believe that someone would just keep visiting steak houses in New York when it is a HUGE COSMOPOLITAN METROPOLIS for corns sake and there are a wealth of restaurants from myriad ethnicities and what a shame to not try any of these; there was something else that struck me.

What struck me was the vibe of the comments these pics received from his male friends.

‘Is that all?’ (a photo of the hugest steak you’ve ever seen)

‘Get rid of the salad, you lightweight’ (said steak had approximately two leaves of arugula on top)

‘I hope that’s your starter?’

‘I’d polish that off in five minutes!’

You get the gist.

It would seem that it’s still perceived in some quarters as being ‘manly’ and ‘tough’ to snarf meat. Especially steak. It’s funny how images of chicken or fish don’t get the same reaction. Are they perceived as being girls’ meats?

Firstly, let’s all just try and live up to being good humans rather than striving to be whatever the hell the constructs of ‘manly’ or ‘womanly’ are meant to mean.

This tired old trope of ‘manly’ meaning a strong, buff and ripped, unemotional, meat-chomping, highly sexual, princess-rescuing, world-saving male human needs to be blasted into obsolescence.

And is it really red meat that will help men fight dragons and slay demons with their pinkies, before finishing the day by giving a harem of swooning damsels a good seeing-to?

PLEASE NOTE – I’m absolutely NOT mocking men here, just the dumb gender constructs that some of society clearly still wants them to live by. These are just as harmful to men as those pertaining to women are to women.

But what does meat really do for men? From his book ‘The World Peace Diet,’ I’ll let Dr Will Tuttle explain:

Castrating millions of young male animals has another consequence for human males as well, for by eating the flesh and secretions of these castrated animals, men often gradually lose their sexual ability. Saturated animal fat and cholesterol residues inexorably clog the veins and arteries of their sexual organ and eventually not enough blood can get through to maintain an erection. On top of this humiliating and poetic consequence of macho brutality, eating animal foods has been positively linked with prostate cancer and with lowered sperm counts. Eating cruelty and death may fit a man into the culturally accepted model of tough masculinity, but this absurdity is revealed in his limp, impotent organ.

Er, yep – he went there!

And the embarrassing problem Dr Tuttle refers to here is actually an indicator for a much bigger problem – the killer that is heart disease. The science on that is here.

If that wasn’t enough, animal proteins are nothing but harmful to male fertility.

It turns out that steak really isn’t so dude-ly after all.

How do healthy vegan men compare to meat-eating men in this regard?

Vegan men have significantly higher testosterone levels than meat eaters, as this study shows as reported in the British Journal of Cancer (2000).

And of course, just as animal proteins with their saturated fats are not conducive to fertility, we can reasonably expect it to be the case that a vegan male eating a varied whole food plant-based diet would be more fertile.

It kind of follows that those invested in the concept of meat as ‘manly’ also seem to think meat makes men strong and gives them optimal stamina and endurance. They might want to check out these guys:

The world’s strongest man, Patrick Baboumian, is vegan

The world’s fastest ultra-distance runner, Scott Jurek, is vegan

Plenty of other male athletes, sportsmen and male bodybuilders are all achieving their best performances on a plant-based diet. Check out Brendan Brazier, Rich Roll, Frank Medrano and Tim Shieff, to name a few!

Susan Levin M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., a board certified specialist in sports dietetics and director of nutrition education at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says:

A vegan diet is the perfect combination [for athletes]…It brings you healthy complex carbohydrate, healthy protein, and the vitamins and minerals you need, but avoids the saturated fat and cholesterol that interfere with health and athletic performance.

 

Conclusion

Let’s just stop projecting silly constructs like ‘manly’ onto any food, or indeed anything or anyone.

BUT, we can quite safely conclude that it’s actually a diet devoid of steak and indeed all animal foods, and one FULL of whole, plant-based foods that helps keep a man healthy, sexual, fertile, strong and at his optimal fitness level.

 

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The Paleo Diet. SIIIGGHHH. Alright, Let’s ‘Ave It.

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‘…but I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit.’ 

-William Shakespeare (via Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Twelfth Night)

 

I’ve mocked the referred to the Paleo diet in a couple of previous posts, so I thought I should probably just devote an entire post to it already and be done!

Just in case you don’t know (but I’m sure you do,), the Paleo diet – which has now been around for a few years – is the latest in a long line (Atkins, Zone, South Beach) of low-carb, high-animal protein diets; yet this time the premise is that it’s good to eat like Paleolithic peoples, who were hunter gatherers that ate lots and lots of meat, fish, some nuts and seeds, and some non-carby, watery veg and fruit. According to the inventors of the diet, they ate no grains, beans or legumes either. The benefits of eating this way, supposedly, are increased health and easy weight maintenance.

The only silver lining is that it also prescribes eliminating dairy and processed foods.

These guys (1, 2, 3,) have made all the scientific points against Paleo in much greater detail than I have space for, so if you are seriously considering trying Paleo, or just need info to convince a friend or loved one NOT to try it, please, PLEASE take time and go click one of these links.

But, in a nutshell (ok, a bloody HUGE nutshell), these are the reasons why eating like Captain Caveman (I adored him, by the way!) does not make sense:

 

  • There is NO EVIDENCE that Paleothithic people ate this way!!!
  •  This diet is heavy on the meat. All meat contains cholesterol and saturated fat, which contribute greatly to heart disease. See this study; published in the British Medical Journal in 2012, that concludes that low-carb, high-protein diets (such as Paleo) are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. As we know,, there is also overwhelming scientific evidence that meat consumption puts you at risk for lots of other chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. Some people initially feel great on a Paleo diet because it excludes dairy, refined starches and processed food. This does not mean a Paleo diet is good. It means the person’s previous diet was extra crappy. In the long term, to consume meat, and at the levels prescribed by the Paleo diet, as mentioned above can be seriously detrimental to health.
  •  It is way too resource intensive. If everyone ate meat like cave people supposedly did according to the creators of the Paleo diet books, there wouldn’t be enough land on the planet to accommodate this. And the more meat you eat, the more you are contributing to all forms of environmental damage, including climate change, topsoil loss, air and water pollution.
  • No beans and no whole grains? Are you kidding? Beans are full of necessary fibre, and are a good source of protein and iron. They lower cholesterol and help eliminate excess hormones. Whole grains provide us with the perfect fuel. They also contain fibre, vital vitamins and minerals, and help the body secrete waste and metabolise protein. To miss out on these two incredible food groups is utter crazypantedness (the correct medical term).
  • You are probably a caring, compassionate person who would like to live in alignment with your values of not participating in or contributing to cruel practises. Some Paleo types hunt animals, believing they are emulating their Paleolithic ancestors. Hunting when there is no need nutrient-wise for us to do so IS unnecessary and cruel. But even if they don’t hunt – the amount of meat they eat? Well that’s just a whole lot of needless slaughter.
  • The Paleos that hunt feel this is a more authentic, primal way of eating. However, after hunting, they probably go back to their air-conditioned or heated house, put the meat in the fridge, check their social media accounts, and watch Top Gear or some dudely sport on the TV (yes, I’m stereotyping. Totally wrong but I can’t resist it). Anyway, my point is; waaaay to be selective with all the primalness and authenticity.
  • Paleolithic peoples probably did lots of other stuff too. Why would you pick ONE thing you THINK they did (except they didn’t), and use it as a gold standard in one area of your life?
  • EVEN IF it were found to be true that Paleolithic peoples had eaten a shit tonne of meat – why are we looking at the past? We know now that we don’t need meat to thrive and that in fact it’s extremely problematic for our health, the environment, and all beings. Shouldn’t we be aiming to PROgress, not REgress?

It’s pretty easy to see why Paleo caught on. In the face of rising awareness of vegetarian and veganism, when meat consumption in the ‘west’ has significantly dropped as we become aware of the health and environmental harm it causes; this diet validates and justifies the continued consumption of meat. It gives those that are so emotionally invested in meat a pretext for continuing to eat it (sure, you have to clean your diet up a bit – but you can still eat meat – yay!)

What next – the Bronze Age diet? The Ancient Egyptian diet? The Restoration diet?

 

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The Healing Power Of A Plant-Based Diet, Part 1 – Diabetes and Heart Disease

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“…The idea that whole foods, plant-based diets can protect against and even treat a wide variety of chronic diseases can no longer be denied…now there are hundreds of detailed, comprehensive, well-done research studies that point in the same direction….” T. Colin Campbell, The China Study

 

So, exactly what diseases can a vegan diet heal, reverse, or improve?

We need to be really specific about how we define ‘vegan and ‘plant-based’ here. As we discussed in last week’s post, a junk-food vegan diet is not an optimal healing diet, so, for the rest of this post, when I say ‘vegan’ or ‘plant-based,’ please know that I mean a whole-foods vegan diet – the diet I mostly coach on my programs. As well as no animal products this also means no refined carbohydrates and no processed crap; just good old veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, beans, whole grains, seeds, and minimal oil.

There are not many diseases that a plant-based diet won’t have a beneficial effect on. In my experience and studies, it is ALWAYS a good idea. As there are so many other elements at play (such as how active a person is, their emotional state, how toxic their environment is/has been, and even their spiritual state (apol’s for the ‘woo’) there are no guarantees that a plant-based diet will cure terminal cancer. However, fuelling your body with clean, whole, nutritious food while you are ill can only have a positive impact, even if it just extends the timescale of a terminal prognosis, or eases digestion and regulates metabolism and weight, thereby making life more comfortable.

If you are not already plant-based then always get the ok from your medical practitioner before changing your diet to treat, or help treat (along with conventional medicine) your illness. This diet can have positive effects very quickly.  If you have a chronic disease and are on specific medications, you may need to reduce them, as regular doses may start to be too much. This is why it is important to do this with the knowledge (and supervision with regard to any medication) of a doctor.

Also:  Prevention prevention prevention! Don’t wait till you’re good and crook to change your ways. The animals and the planet need you to go vegan asap, so jump right in! You can think of your ‘reward’ as getting the best protection there is from most illness. What better upside could there be?

Anyhow, let’s kick this off with a couple of biggies:

 

Diabetes Type 2

Firstly, this disease is easily PREVENTED with a plant-based diet.

Secondly, there is a small possiblity that you have genes that make you more susceptible to diabetes than others, BUT, on a whole-foods plant-based diet, these genes need never play out.

If you already have diabetes type 2? The good news is it can be reversed with a plant-based diet. You can become symptom and medication free. Seeing as how I’m not a doctor, I’m gonna let someone that is, talk and explain the specifics:

If you want Dr Barnard’s book on reversing diabetes, you can find it here.

This disease is unnecessary, it is a lifestyle disease – no-one has to get it. There is no need to suffer.

Some doctors know about this way of reversing diabetes, some don’t (most doctors don’t know much at all about nutrition, it simply doesn’t play a big part in their training). Some doctors may have read about reversing diabetes with a whole food vegan diet, but don’t believe their patients will agree to trying it. However, doctors that have given their patients the option of following a plant-based diet to reverse their diabetes have proved this wrong; most people are only too glad to help themselves.

A little info on diabetes type 1 (I focussed on type 2 here as it is more prolific). Diabetes type 1 can likely be prevented with a plant-based diet if you are vegan from birth, as there is very strong evidence to suggest it is caused by too high a consumption of dairy in childhood. Though a diabetes type 1 patient will always have to take some level of insulin, the amount can often be greatly reduced, and all the usual diabetes type 1 complications can be minimised by adopting a plant-based diet.

 

Heart disease

It has been known for at least the last thirty years, that a whole food plant-based diet prevents and reverses heart disease. Another lifestyle disease just like diabetes, it has been described by Dr Caldwell B Esselstyn (the author of ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease’) as a ‘toothless paper tiger’ i.e. a disease that need not happen.

So why is it our biggest killer? Because most people are brainwashed into thinking that our standard diet rich in animal products is healthy, when in fact it is the cause of most chronic disease. Most doctors will just come out with ambiguous suggestions like ‘eat everything in moderation’ or ‘eat lots of veg and fruit and low fat proteins.’ Advice like this is not helpful. Who can define moderation? According to Dr Esselstyn, ‘moderation kills.’ And the second piece of advice is useless as it ignores the fact that protein is in vegetables too – it makes it sound as if protein is ONLY in meat and dairy, and it does not even touch on whole grains versus refined grains.

As with diabetes, there are doctors who do have this information, but are loathe to suggest it to their patients:

‘Why don’t more cardiologists employ this simple and successfully proven method? The stock answer is “My patients won’t follow such a diet.” That is indeed hard to accept when entire cultures without heart disease have preferred this way of eating for centuries and thousands of heart patients have accepted this technique. A more honest answer would be there is much less financial reward for the caregiver. The hope is that insurance carriers will appreciate this less expensive and more reliable approach and reward lifestyle counselling which will accelerate momentum and acceptance. Dr. Esselstyn now treats invasive cardiologists who seek his counsel when they have the disease. Viewing a broader landscape for the health of America is imperative.’   – Dr Caldwell Esselstyn

As for the how and why a standard diet causes heart disease and how a plant-based diet reverses it – take it away Doc:

The fact that these diseases can be reversed is incredible, but I can’t stress enough – prevention is key.

If you suffer from either of these diseases, or are interested in avoiding them – go plant-based now. If you need any help – I can guide you through the transition, and make it easy and fun. You know where I am!

 

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I Want To Go Vegan, But What’s In It For Me?

As you know, the word ‘vegan’ ultimately defines a lifestyle not complicit in the violence, cruelty and killing of non-human animals.

For lots of people, this is ample reason to be vegan. To know that no-one is suffering for you is benefit enough.

If you DID want any more reasons to go vegan, I GET IT – honestly.

After all, everyone else eats animal products, it’s so normalised in this culture. Every other commercial outlet on the High/Main Street is a kebab shop, a fast food joint, a fried chicken place.

Celebrities are posing with milk moustaches and doing yoghurt commercials.

Every lummox on the planet seems to be prattling on about their love for baaayycuuhhn (when did the whole bacon reinvention start? It was old man’s food when I was growing up). Now, apparently, if you don’t guzzle bacon, you are not living life to the fullest.

Every other ad is for burgers, butter, ice cream. Where are the ads for broccoli? For walnuts? For beetroot?

On top of this, lots of energy and money is being spent trying to make meat cool.  More and more ‘gourmet’ burger (WTF?) places are opening every day. I even see this in my own neighbourhood. A ‘restaurant’ called ‘Chicken Shop,’ owned by a well-known private members club group, has just launched near my house. It has chickens on a spit, and the menu is chicken, chicken or chicken, with either chips or corn. Lots of painfully ‘cool’ types are flocking there. For chicken. And corn.

Seriously, no-one could blame you for thinking that vegan is too ‘different,’ too ‘against the grain.’

I truly get that this is not (yet) a vegan world and that you need as much motivation as possible to help you go vegan. What are the benefits? What will help you tolerate all the above shizzoula?

Well, I’ll tell you of some of them, but there are many others that you will discover for yourself too.

Health

By avoiding animal products (and eating whole foods, of course), you have reduced your risk for heart disease and lots of cancers significantly, in fact some doctors in the field would say you are at almost zero risk of heart disease, eating this way.

You have also side- stepped diabetes, (or will be able to improve it, if you have it already), and are at lower risk for Alzheimer’s. There are a whole host of conditions that can be prevented or improved with a whole foods vegan diet, including asthma, and multiple sclerosis.

Skin/Appearance

A whole-foods plant-based diet will have you glowing, radiant, and oozing sparkle. Your skin and body will be the best they’ve ever been – and if you’re exercising, sleeping and relaxing enough too – well, baby, you’ve never looked so good.

Is this a superficial incentive? Perhaps. But don’t forget; the more you look after yourself and ensure that you feel great and confident and happy, the better you can help and look after other people; the more present you will be when you spend time with them, and the more joyful your interactions will be.

The ripple out effect of YOU feeling good is immense. When you feel lethargic, depressed, achy, insecure, or worse, then you cannot be much help, or bring much joy to anyone.

Other Silly, Limiting Constructs Become Clear – And Evaporate

Another benefit is that when you realise how ridiculous the ‘certain animals are food but others are pets,’ paradigm is (and all the rest we have around how we perceive animals as ‘other’), you begin to see lots of other things clearly, and all other ridiculous paradigms crumble.

Just as you’ve realised what humans do so they can justify eating certain beings; you recognise all the other silly human constructs that abound.

You see all the boxes, compartments and pigeon holes that lots of people need in order to feel secure, or a part of something – and you don’t need them any more. This is one of the most liberating things I found, and probably my absolute favourite extra benefit!

Environment

Do you have children? Grandchildren? Just know some good kids?

After you’ve gone do you want them to live on a clean planet, full of natural wonders, with fresh air and clean water?  Well, being vegan is the best thing you can do for the planet. The livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transport combined, and is the prime cause of air and water pollution, deforestation, drought, and wildlife habitat destruction.

You CANNOT proclaim to be an environmentalist and eat meat. That would be silly. Like being a pacifist and a gun manufacturer. Or like being a nun and a porn star (!?).

World Hunger

Feeding grain to animals, to then feed the animals to humans is hardly energy or resource efficient.

Can we really justify this with so many people starving? When we know that if we all ate plant-based there would be enough food to go around, and then some? Knowing that you are not contributing to world hunger, while it may not directly benefit you, has to make you feel lighter, I’ll bet.

———————————————————–

You will discover lots of other incredible benefits for yourself, lots of them interlinked. As Dr T. Colin Campbell says in his life-saving book, The China Study:  “Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.”

Trust me; the personal benefits of being vegan vastly outweigh being the odd one out who doesn’t eat baaaayyycuuuhnn, or not fitting in at ‘Gourmet Burger.’

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Don’t Let Your Valentines Day Be A Flop (Yes, THAT Kind Of Flop!)

Go into any card shop right now, and all you’ll see are red cards with big ol’ hearts on them with schmaltzy messages inside. Except for the obscene ones. Is it me or are Valentines cards getting more vulgar every year? ‘Happy Valentine’s Day Sugar Tits’ anyone? I’m not even kidding. I stared at this card in disbelief. Any kid could see it.  Can you see the kid going home to his mum and saying ‘can I watch TV sugar tits?’  Or a little girl seeing the card and thinking that this is something she should aspire to being called one day? I have a point, right? I’m not just losing my sense of humour?

I was going to take the opportunity to write about heart health for V D (haha), and then thought it’s probably more interesting to use the occasion to write about sex. But, I just realised I can combine heart health AND sex.

How?

BECAUSE….heart disease and erectile dysfunction are basically the same disease.

Cholesterol, which is ONLY found in animal products; and saturated fat, which is mostly found in animal products (the only other source is coconut oil), are the main culprits behind erectile dysfunction. Why? Because they are responsible for blocked arteries, whether those arteries are to the heart or the penis. Blood flow is blood flow, and if blood can’t get to the heart because of blockages, heart disease ensues. If it can’t get down below because of blockages, bedroom problems ensue (yes, that is the correct medical term).

Therefore, the more animal products you eat, the more likely you are to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Don’t think you’re exempt from problems just for being female either. Women also need blood flow to their nether regions (I know! I really need to start being ok with using the correct terms) in just the same way men do, and if that doesn’t happen because not enough blood can get where it needs to go, then you’re not having the best time in the sack either.

These doctors tell it like it is.

Then there’s the energy factor. Plant-based foods deliver the best quality energy, especially complex carbohydrates (whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat products, oats, quinoa etc). This page from PCRM talks about the best food for athletes needing endurance and stamina – not bad advice to follow if you want optimal ‘boudoir’ performance.

Bottom line, the more whole food and plant-based you are, the better sex you’ll have. The myth of the meat-devouring male sex god is so dead it’s dust.

Happy Valentine’s Day! And remember, more plants = more fun!

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