KALE YEAH!

Dark, leafy greens contain rich nutrients that are vital for optimal health.

They are perfect foods for many reasons. A part of the credit is owed to the chlorophyll they contain. Chlorophyll is a green pigment that’s instrumental in the photosynthesis process. The profound similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll helps explain why our bodies assimilate and absorb these leafy green vegetables so easily and help make our bodies healthy!

Let’s explore 5 key benefits:

  1. Detoxifying Nature

Environmental pollutants such as toxic metals, stress, bad diet choices and many other factors can quickly affect health by adding toxicity to the body. These leafy greens bind with toxic metals in your body to minimize absorption and help combat the negative effects of toxins.

One study noted dark, leafy greens to be effective at stimulating liver detoxifying enzymes and may protect against other carcinogens (1).

  1. Antioxidant Properties

Leafy greens, like wheatgrass and kale, are often called ‘superfoods’ due to their nutritional and potent antioxidant properties. They protect cells from damage by neutralizing free radicals (2). As cells are protected by eating more leafy greens, your body will be able to perform at higher efficiency.

  1. Immune Support

You’ve probably heard the old adage, ‘you are what you eat’. While not 100% true, what goes into your body can drastically affect your body as a whole. An interesting study reveals “that green vegetables — from bok choy to broccoli — are the source of a chemical signal that is important to a fully functioning immune system” (3). Dark, leafy greens fight off free radicals, helping to keep your immune system strong. Try Amazing Grass Immunity Tangerine Green Superfood if you’d like to find a quick and convenient way to get more greens and immune support.

  1. Energy and Alertness

These magic leafy greens contain essential vitamins and nutrients needed for cardiovascular, muscular, and neural health, keeping your cells rejuvenated and energized as well as quickening your mind. Greens supply healthy and sustainable energy levels, supporting your body consistently throughout the day, unlike synthetic energy supplements and drinks that will provide a boost at a time, followed by a crash. Consume these leafy green foods or take a dietary supplement for best effect.

  1. Anti-Aging Benefits

Dark, leafy greens possess a broad range of benefits, including keeping you looking younger! The effects that these foods have on cell reproduction and growth are incredible; they keep your skin, organs and bodily systems functioning at optimal levels. These green foods are readily available at your farmers markets and health grocery stores.

You can also take greens in supplement form through Amazing Grass’ green superfoods, which provide over 5 servings of fruits and veggies per serving!

  1. Dingley KH, Ubick EA, Chiarappa-Zucca ML, Nowell S, Abel S, Ebeler SE Mitchell AE, Burns SA, Steinberg FM, Clifford AJ. Nutr Cancer. 2003 Sept. 29, 2014. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com
  2. Zhang YL, Guan L, Zhou PH, Mao LJ “The protective effect of chlorophyllin against oxidative damage and its mechanism”. Zhonghua Nei Ke Za Zhi. 2012 Jun.
  3. Veldhoen, Marc, Li, Ying, Withers, David R., Roberts, Natalie A., Gallagher, Alec. “Cell”, 13 October, 2011. October 2, 2014 Cell Press, sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013121509.htm

Vegan Myths & Misconceptions

Those choosing to partake in a plant-based diet do so for a multitude of reasons. Some are looking to improve their lifestyles through their diet. Others want to decrease their impact on the environment or they have ethical concerns with eating animals or products derived from them. Whatever your reasons may be for choosing or investigating this path, we realize that there are questions surrounding a plant-based diet and we’d like to explore these topics with you.

Myth 1 “How will I get my Protein?”

A common concern among many would-be vegans and vegetarians, this is a great question. As discussed more in-depth in Day 3’s article, there are alternative, complete protein sources that are in-line with a plant-based diet plan. Instead of including meat, which tends to be high in protein, a plant-based diet can include these three categories to ensure ample protein intake and absorption: Seeds and Nuts, Legumes, & Grains.

Myth 2 “I won’t get enough nutrients on a vegan diet!”

When adopting a plant-based diet, it is important to learn how to increase your intake and absorption of certain nutrients that are often over-looked in a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets tend to be rich in antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fats. Diets that include meat, by contrast, tend to contain more protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B-12. Knowing that these are possible nutrients that you may be lacking on a plant-based diet, here are a few ways to make sure you get these nutrients:

  • Protein: See Myth 1 above.
  • Iron: you should make sure to consume more plant iron from dark, leafy greens. Also, avoid absorption inhibitors such as tea and coffee which will oppose the effects of absorbing iron from plant sources.
  • Zinc: Eat soybeans, cashews and sunflower seeds, each rich in zinc.
  • Calcium: Eat tofu, beans and almonds as well as other calcium-fortified foods.
  • Vitamin B12: Take this as a supplement vitamin, or from foods that are fortified with Vitamin B12, such as some breakfast cereals and soy products (1).

Myth 3 “I can’t afford it!”

This myth may have held up a little viability a few years ago, but there are many affordable options for a plant-based diet today. Local grocery stores and farmers markets are supplying whole foods and produce at an affordable price. As more organic produce and foods become available, prices will continue to be accessible, making this myth busted! 

Myth 4 “I’ll get too hungry!”

If you feel that a plant-based diet will keep you hungry for more, you are not alone. The problem is the caloric intake you are used to in a non-plant based diet is higher, leaving you feeling hungry after a meal. Be sure to get whole grains, nuts and heart healthy fats and you will overcome the feelings of hunger.

 

  1. Carolyn, Author of Vegetarian Voice. “Five Nutrients Vegetarian Diets Lack”. October 2, 2014. vegetarianvoice.com/vegetarian-nutrition/7/five-nutrients-vegetarian-diets-lack/

There’s More Out There than Meat

As you tell your friends and family about this challenge, you will likely hear, if you haven’t already, “But, where do you get your protein?”! This is a common question for vegetarians and vegans, and YES, it is important to get an adequate amount of protein in every diet. Adopting a plant-based diet, you will have to find your protein from a variety of sources. Today we will explore the following three sources of plant-based proteins: 1. Seeds and Nuts, 2. Legumes and 3. Grains.

Now you’ll be well equipped to answer your friend’s questions!

  1. Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and Nuts are an excellent source of protein, as well as healthy oils like omega 3s, B Vitamins and other essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. The protein content varies among the different groups, yet there are many combinations of the two sources as well as other complete protein sources. Almonds and Cashews, interestingly enough, are actually seeds but most people think of them as nuts (1). An important thing to note with regards to proteins is obtaining the essential amino acids, which make up a complete protein. Seeds and nuts like Hemp, Flax, Cashews, Pistachios, Pumpkin and Squash contain all the essential amino acids to provide a complete protein source for your diet (2).

  1. Legumes

Legumes are defined as a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils. These are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available, containing a good source of protein (3). Peanuts, which are actually defined as legumes, are great examples of legumes that are high in protein. Beans, lentils and peas are also good sources of protein. Lentils offer over 17 grams of protein per cup (4). It’s important to have a variety of legumes as they each offer individual benefits and have unique nutritional profiles.

  1. Grains

Whole grains are a great source of protein, especially quinoa, the queen of whole grains when it comes to protein. Just one cup of cooked quinoa packs and delivers 18 grams of protein (5). Additional sources of whole grain proteins include whole grain bread, brown rice and barley.

 

These are the 3 main categories to get your proteins while implementing a plant-based diet. Another category to note, although not an abundant source of protein, is green leafy vegetables. 1 cup of kale provides 2.5 grams of protein. You can always supplement greens through Amazing Grass powders and nutritional bars, providing greens as well as protein in many or our product offerings.

 

  1. LaBarbera, Maggie. “List of Seeds and Nuts from the Protein Group”. 12 May 2012. October 6, 2014 nourishinteractive.com/healthy-living
  2. Frazier, Matt. “Vegetarian Protein Foods”. October 6, 2014. http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegetarian-protein/
  3. The Mayo Clinic Staff. “Beans and Other Legumes: Cooking Tips”. October 7, 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/legumes/art-20044278
  4. Goff, Corinne, Demand Media. “Which Legumes Are Protein?” October 6, 2014. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/legumes-protein-4800.html
  5. Hackett, Jolinda. “How to Get Protein on a Vegetarian Diet”. October 7, 2014. http://vegetarian.about.com/od/healthnutrition/tp/protein.htm

ALKA-WHAT?

When we talk about eating alkaline, we are referring to eating foods that help your body function at its best! Food plays a large part in how we feel, which a lot of us may not realize.

Necessary for optimal body function and maintaining health, ideal blood pH is between 7.35 – 7.4 (1). Major organs, namely the heart, depend on an alkaline environment for optimal function (3).

Maintaining a healthy pH offers benefits that you won’t be able to see but will certainly feel. As you incorporate more alkalizing plant foods, don’t be surprised if you feel more energetic and alert! Alkalizing plant foods work with your body and can digest quicker than some acidic, processed options.

 

What are the benefits of eating alkaline foods?

The Western diet has evolved to depend on more acidic foods for sustenance, forcing the body to now work harder to maintain a healthy pH level. Instead of using energy to fuel brain power and physical activity, pH balance is prioritized, which can result in fatigue, a weakened immune system and a reduction in bone mass over time (2).

Eating alkaline foods allows the body to spend less time maintaining its ideal pH and more time on other important tasks. Organ, immune and digestive functions are made easier, allowing you to feel balanced and energized!

 

How do I eat alkaline?

Eating alkaline foods is simple since there is a variety when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens such as wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, kale and spinach are great options! Most vegetables, including sea vegetables, are alkaline and will support the body in doing its job better.

Increasing your body’s immunity and energy levels is easy and delicious! Fruits, such as pineapples, tangerines, watermelon, pears and cherries are also alkaline and provide exceptional nutrition to support overall health and wellness (4).

Many organizations have created food charts to make choosing alkaline foods easy. Check out alkaline fruits and vegetables that you may have already been eating or options to add into your diet. You’ll also be happy to know that Amazing Grass products contain plenty of alkaline ingredients to support you on your journey to increased health

 

Secret Ingredient Recipe Challenge: Congratulations, you’ve found a Secret Challenge. Here’s a chance to participate with us on Social media for a chance to win prizes!

Amazing Grass Recipe Challenge

  • Create a recipe using an Amazing Grass® Product. It could be a smoothie recipe or a meal!
  • Share a photo with us over Social Media Outlets on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
  • Use the hashtag #VtoxChef
  • Post must be made public so we can see it!

If you share a recipe with us, you will be entered to win an Amazing Grass Bar Sampler Box of our 4 new flavor bars! The drawing will be random selection over a 4 month period. (January 1, 2015-April 31, 2015) 5 winners will be selected so check back regularly with us online to see if you won! Good luck and thanks for sharing with us! We can’t wait to see the recipes you come up with!

 

  1. Schwalfenberg, Gerry K. “The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195546/
  2. Kim, Doctor Ben. “How to Build and Maintain Healthy Bones.” Natural Health Solutions. Ben Kim. 02 Oct. 2014.http://drbenkim.com/prevent-osteoporosis.html
  3. The Wolfe Clinic. “Acidosis and Food Combining.” Web. 02 Oct. 2014. http://www.thewolfeclinic.com/index.php/information-and-tools/dr-wolfe-article-archive/177-acidosis-and-food-combining
  4. Ryan, Briana. “Alkaline Food Chart by Degree.” Greenopedia. Web. 03 Oct. 2014. http://greenopedia.com/article/alkaline-food-chart-degree

Living Well, Feeling Great

Many of you have already been adopting a plant-based diet or a partial plant-based diet. To the ‘green’ horn new-comer, you may be wondering ‘WHY?’ and ‘I’m sure gonna miss eating pizza for lunch this week!’ Rest assured that you’re taking a great step towards better health! There are some excellent advantages to eating plant-based. You will feel healthier, more energized throughout the day and you’ll have a more beneficial impact on the environment.

Reduced Health Risks

A large study from the University of Oxford reveals that vegetarian diets reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease by nearly one-third (1)! The same study showed that of the 45,000 participants being tracked over a 10 year period, 34% of them that were vegetarian showed low risk for heart disease as well as lower body mass index, being less likely to suffer from diabetes. Research has indicated that some other benefits of a plant based-diet for your health include a reduced risk of food-borne illness, less severe menopause symptoms, and even longer lifespans than meat-eaters.

Increased Energy

A British Journal of Health Psychology study indicated that a higher intake of produce resulted in higher energy, calmness and greater feelings of happiness not only for the current day, but following into the next day (2). The most recent data shows that 75% of Americans fall short of the minimum recommended five daily servings of produce.

Eco-Friendly Living

Removing animal products from your diet will reduce your eco-footprint. Livestock farming is responsible for almost 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions from human-related activities. According to the Vegetarian Society, by adopting a plant-based diet you are doing your part to help reduce nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide in the environment (3).

As you adopt this diet and continue to put your health first, you will see which foods and diet plans work best for you. It is important to be aware of what you eat and make sure you are getting complete nutrients your body needs. Be sure to read the other Veg-ducational Articles supplied in the V-Tox Challenge to learn more about the nutrients your body needs!

 

  1. Drummond, Katie. “What a Meat-Free diet can do for you”. January 2013. October 8, 2014. http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/vegetarianism-reduces-heart-risk
  2. Sass, Cynthia. “5 Reasons to Celebrate World Vegetarian Day”. October 1, 2013. October 8, 2014. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/reasons-vegetarian-diet/story?id=20473782#5
  3. Vegetarian Society. “Reduce Your Carbon Footprint”. October 8, 2014. http://www.vegsoc.org/reducecarbon

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