June 1, 2009 – Evolving Appetites
Welcome to Evolving Appetites’ monthly newsletter. Short, informative and hopefully fun to read veggie bits. Let us know if we don’t deliver on this – we always love feedback from our readers. Contact info is at the bottom of the page.
In this issue:
- Veg health: Animal protein vs plant protein
- Veg heroes: Enlightened City of Ghent, Belgium
- Recipe(s) of the month: Oil-free dressings for those salad days of summer
- EVENTS update
Veg Health – Animal Protein vs Plant Protein
This month’s veg health topic is the result of a question from subscriber Bonnie, who asked: “Do meat eaters and plant eaters essentially get the same protein – protein from plants - though we get it first hand and they get it pre-chewed and pre-digested?”
I'm going to this answer based on research presented in “The China Study”, as well as information from PCRM.
Proteins are made up of different amino acids, 8 of them being "essential" - meaning our bodies can't produce them - we have to get them from food. Animal proteins are termed "complete" because they have all 8 essential amino acids, whereas plant proteins are referred to as "incomplete" because they don't have all 8 amino acids.
At first glance, it appears that animal protein is better because of the terminology used to describe them.
However, the fact is plant proteins are MUCH easier to digest, precisely because they are "incomplete". In order for your body to actually use the protein, it has to break it down into the amino acids, and then use them to build protein for muscles, cell repair, regeneration, etc. So if you eat animal protein, your body has to work much harder to break down these proteins. If you eat a VARIETY of plant proteins, your body will take whichever amino acids it needs, and do the building work as it goes. It's much easier for your body to do that. Also, animal protein makes your body acidic - which then leads to inflammation - which in turn is the root cause for many diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney disease, gallstones, heart disease, cancer, and many more. Plant protein doesn't have this issue.
So to sum it up, plant-protein is actually superior to animal protein, despite the unfortunate terminology.
As a follow up to last month’s piece on preventing and reversing diabetes, here are the charts of “Foods to Avoid” & “Foods to Include”, per PCRM
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Veg Heroes - Enlightened City of Ghent, Belgium
This month’s veg hero is a whole city, rather than an individual. Ghent, Belgium is the first city in the world to officially adopt a weekly vegetarian day as a means of reducing global warming and tackling obesity.
Once a week, city councilors and civil servants will opt for veggie fare. This move came as a result of the United Nation’s 2006 report titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” previously mentioned in this newsletter, which states that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all of transportation combined.
Public officials and politicians will be first to give up meat for a day. School children will follow with a meatless day per week starting this September.
To help other citizens adopt their own meatless day, the city is printing up 90,000 “veggie street maps” to help them find vegetarian eateries.
Now that’s what I call progressive – any North American cities up for the challenge? Meatless Mondays? Tofu Tuesdays? Flesh-free Fridays? The possibilities are endless!
Summer spells salads for me – lots of them. But if you load up your healthy looking salad with oil-laden commercial dressing, your arteries can still get clogged, and you’re not getting nearly the health benefits you think you maybe getting. So here are three dressings that use no oil, but I promise you won’t miss it. Measurements are approximate – adjust to your own tastes – as always, recipes are guidelines, not “carved-in-stone” commandments. All of these dressings will keep well in the fridge for 3 - 5 days. Enjoy!
Pretty pepper dressing:1 large red, orange or yellow pepper, seeded and cut (avoid green pepper in this recipe to keep it pretty)¼ small red onion1 clove fresh garlic1 lime, juiced¼ tsp salt (or more to taste)¼ tsp black pepper¼ tsp oregano or other herb of choice (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Creamy cucumber/dill dressing or dip1 pkg silken FIRM tofu (e.g. Mori-Nu 12 oz)2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar1/2 tsp organic sugar or sweetener of choice1 tsp salt (or more to taste)½ cup shredded English cucumber (squeeze out excess water)1 – 2 cloves garlic, crushed2 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
Blend first five ingredients in blender or food processor until completely smooth (that’s your basic tofu sour cream). Add the rest of the ingredients until well combined. Serve with crudités. Or can be thinned with water or soy milk to desired consistency and used as a salad dressing.
Orange Dijon¼ cup fresh orange juice (or 1 Tbsp frozen o.j. concentrate + 2 tbsp water for a more intense flavour)2 tbsp lemon juice2 tsp Dijon mustard (or stone ground Dijon)¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper½ tsp agave nectar or sweetener of choice¼ tsp salt (or more to taste)
Whisk all ingredients until smooth. This is great as a marinade for vegetables or over a spinach salad
Sunday, June 14 – TWO FREE cooking demos (1 raw, 1 cooked) – Windfall Ecology Festival12:00 noon – 1 pm Join Evolving Appetites to learn how to enjoy stove-less cuisine - FREE2 – 3 pm Join Nimisha representing the Toronto Vegetarian Association on “fun with tofu” - FREEFairylake Park, Newmarket - Please visit the Windfall Ecology Festival site for directions and details about other events over the weekend. July cooking class dates:Monday, July 13 – Forest Hill Loblaws Market – “Eating for the Earth” – planet-friendly fareWednesday, July 15 – Burnhamthorpe Loblaws Market – “Healthy Summer Picnics”Thursday, July 30 – Victoria Park Loblaws Market – “Eating for the Earth”All classes are $30 – further details in July issue next month
Next issue: July 6, 2009 [NOTE: July issue will be published a week later than usual]
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