Diets for Weight Loss: Vegan vs Low Carb
Dietary choices have been quite the topic of conversation as of late. Eating is something we do day in and day out, a necessary means for survival. We’ve all heard the saying if you look better, you feel better, right? Now more than ever people are paying close attention to what they are consuming, and how it is affecting their bodies.Lets discuss Vegan vs Low Carb
With all of the processed food that is available, it is easy to get caught up in the grab n’ go lifestyle when it comes to food. However, over time it has come to fruition that mindless eating can lead to various dietary issues and of course, weight gain. One can practice conscious eating in many ways, whether it be avoiding overly processed foods, avoiding foods that contain animal products (veganism) or monitoring carbohydrate intake. So with all of the diets out there today, which is the best for keeping the number on the scale from going up?
What is veganism?(Vegan vs Low Carb)
Veganism is the practice of excluding all animal meat and byproducts from the diet altogether. Veganism has become quite popular in the 21st century. Extensive research has been published which reveals that increased meat consumption is a significant cause of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of premature death in the United States. Dietary research has also linked dairy consumption to increased inflammatory responses in the body, which can become detrimental over time.
Why has veganism become so popular?
Veganism has become increasingly popular in society today as people are becoming more food conscious in efforts to maintain a longer, healthier life. As long-term nutrition studies come to fruition, foodborne illness no longer ends at salmonella and food poisoning. People are looking for ways to help themselves feel better on a day to day basis, and many vegans attest to the fact that removing animal products from their diet and instead maintaining a plant-based diet has helped them do just that.
Does veganism help you lose weight?
Just like any diet, veganism is not a quick fix for someone looking to lose weight. Of course removing products high in fat and cholesterol such as cheese and red meat is good for your overall health, however, simply removing these products without replacing them with healthier alternatives won’t provide the weight loss results you may desire.
One of the most common mistakes people make when switching to veganism is failing to plan how they are going to change their diet. Veganism is a lot more than just having a veggie burger instead of a real cheeseburger, and people often fail at getting the correct nutrients they need to lose weight.
Plant-based diets can lead to weight loss if the correct dietary choices are implemented. It is important to supplement the diet with plenty of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and greens to ensure one is getting a sufficient amount of vitamins, nutrients, and proteins they need. Plant-based foods are often nutrient dense, which is the main reason a vegan diet coupled with exercise can lead to weight loss.
Will ditching carbs help me ditch some pounds?
As humans, we definitely need to include carbohydrates in our diet to merely survive. Carbohydrates are our bodies source of quick energy, as they can be quickly broken down and converted to our bodies form of energy (ATP). Did you ever get a burst of energy after eating a nice starchy meal, but then feel a “crash” not long after? That is because you’re body can quickly use the carbs as energy, but the body depletes this energy source very quick as well.
Carbohydrates that are consumed and then not used for energy are stored as fat, which is why most people associate cutting carbs with shedding fat. I’ll spare you the science lesson, but cutting carbohydrates entirely out of the diet can be extremely dangerous. If you are focused on losing weight, it is best to avoid the overconsumption of carbohydrates rather than expelling them altogether.
Also, the source of the carbohydrate intake is imperative to weight loss. Bleached carbs such as white pasta and white bread are often referred to as “empty carbs” because they are stripped of their nutrient-dense grains. This is why you may hear people switching to whole grain or whole wheat bread over white bread. Whole grain carbohydrate sources are rich in vitamins and nutrients, as they are not stripped during the bleaching process, which helps you feel fuller longer.
What is a good carbohydrate intake for weight loss?
When it comes to food intake, there is no one size fits all diet to guarantee weight loss. In terms of carbohydrate intake, the sweet spot lands right in the middle of the spectrum. Underconsumption of carbs in the diet can lead to a decline in cognitive function, as the brain feeds off of healthy fats that are stored in the body by carbohydrates. Overconsumption of carbs can lead to weight gain and fatigue.
A meta-analysis published by the Lancet Journal of Public Health showed that in over 400,000 participants, those who maintained low-carb and high-carb diets had an increased risk of weight gain and mortality than those who maintained a moderate carbohydrate intake.
If I am going to decrease my carb intake, what should I eat instead?
The same meta-analysis showed that participants who supplemented their diet with plant-based fats and proteins rather than fats and protein sources derived from animal products had a decreased risk of mortality and weight gain. Focusing on the consumption of whole foods which are dense in nutrients will definitely put you on the right path for weight loss.
Any other benefits of veganism?
Today, the increased amount and increased quality of vegan alternatives that are available make it even easier to ditch animal byproducts. Tofu and soy products that mimic the taste and texture of meat are making their way into more grocery stores. Non-dairy alternatives are making their claim to fame as well, such as coconut and almond milk, and nutritional yeast which has a cheese-like flavor.
Not only can veganism help you consume more nutrient-dense foods, but it also seems to help out the environment as well. In 2012, livestock that was bred for beef consumed 65 trillion gallons of water, and that is only beef. The meat and dairy industry also contributes about 65% of gas emissions that are harmful to the ozone, which contributes greatly to climate change
A Buyer’s Guide to Animal-Friendly Vegan Work Boots
You’ve set out to find the perfect pair of vegan work boots, but you have no idea where to start. Mainly because it’s almost impossible to find boots or any other type of clothing in this day and age and be 100% sure they weren’t made from animal sources.
You need to know how to find the pair of boots that meet all your needs. Comfort, style, practicality, and of course that they weren’t manufactured through the killing of a living being. You simply can’t accept such an idea!
In this guide, we’ll cover every aspect of the boot buying process: what to consider, what to look for and where to find it. We’ll also look at a few other factors that are worth keeping in mind such as comfort, style, and functionality. Being vegan doesn’t mean you should be uncomfortable in your kicks.
Ethical Considerations On Vegan Work Boots
You don’t have to be reminded that taking the life of a living being for the sole purpose of creating a consumer product is nothing if not unethical. It’s worth reminding ourselves why we put so much effort into being conscientious of the products we buy and especially the ones we wear.
After all, the materials we clothe our bodies with are statements about who we are. Not just what we like in style but what kind of a person we are. Taking a life to make a fancy pair of pants, a coat, or even a shoe probably makes your stomach turn. The motivation that makes such action acceptable in the fashion industry or anywhere for that matter is deplorable. It’s nothing other than killing for capitalism!
Let the Search Begin
The search for the perfect cruelty-free vegan work boot starts with being well informed. Let’s look at several factors to consider when you’re shopping for the perfect boot whether you’re a hard-working lady or a guy who just likes that work boot style. Or vice versa of course!
What to Look for When Shopping for Steel Toe Work Boots
What Makes a Boot Vegan?
As a vegan consumer what you look for are items that aren’t manufactured using animal products or any type of animal byproduct. As we begin to discuss the different components of a vegan boot keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily have to be made of leather or any type of animal skin to be from an animal source.
The rubber and other parts that might look completely synthetic may be chemically manufactured using animal byproducts.
Material Identification – Tags
Where to Find the Tag
The first place to look when your shopping is the product tag on the work boot itself. This tag provides information like the size, washing & cleaning instructions, where it was made, and what materials were used. This may be located in a few different places.
Next, let’s examine exactly what information we want to find on the tag.
Symbols that give you Material Information
The key to the tag, once you find it, is to identify what materials were used to make the boot. There are four standard symbols to look for.
As you look into a particular boot from any retailer, you have to ask the question, “What is the synthetic sole really synthesized from?”
Some of the most common animal sources of boot and shoe leather according to PETA are “cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals such as alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even dogs and cats, who are slaughtered for their meat and skin in China, which exports their skins around the world.” You may also encounter wool and down as well.
And synthetic shoe soles might be partially manufactured from animal byproducts. The “rubber” may contain stearic acid or byproducts from the animal hide that when mixed with synthetic ingredients create a rubber-like material that’s used for shoe and boot soles.
Non-animal sources for shoe materials come from a variety of different sources. A short list would contain cotton and other textiles, synthetics like plastics, foam, and rubber. All of these are materials you want to keep your eye out for when you’re avoiding animal-based products. Just as an aside, the synthetics and rubber composites are made mainly out of petrochemical sources that originate from fossil fuels.
Men and Women’s Work Boots and What’s Important
Safety and Practicality
There was a time when men’s boots were all made for practicality and women’s shoes, in general, were engineered for aesthetics…not comfort! Luckily today consumers and shoe manufacturers alike have come to grips with what’s important!
When you look for a good work boot, the first thing on your mind should be safety. After all, you plan on “getting the job done.” Hopefully, the job ends with a pat on the back and not a trip to the ER to have a toe reattached!
Steel toe boots are as common as sneakers these days. That’s in large part due to government regulations meant to ensure that boot manufacturers are producing boots that will actually protect your feet from injury.
Standard features on work boots today include the traditional steel toe, metatarsal guards, non-puncture and non-slip soles. You can be assured that any manufacturer selling a boot today will comply with government regulations. Most likely if a company is selling vegan targeted boots or shoes, they are at the top of the list from a safety perspective.
If you take just a general survey of the vegan clothing and shoe industry, you’ll see that style is paramount. There are countless retailers, especially online, that offer fantastic quality boots that are safety compliant and attractive at the same time! The days when women had to settle for men’s work boots are over. Today there are complete steel toe boot lines just for women!
There are options in every traditional color, style, and application just as you’d find in a regular boot company. You’ll be surprised that there are some much nicer options for boots in some of the smaller online retailers. There’s an artful and stylish edge that a smaller company can provide that you just won’t find in a big retailer.
Resources to Help Find Vegan-Friendly Shoes and Other Products
Online – Ecommerce
There are more online retailers than you can count today. A simple google search will provide several, from more prominent general retailers to smaller upstart niche shoe companies and specialty stores. There’s literally a boot for every age, style, job, and flavor in the market in the age of digital commerce. To try and list them here would be an injustice!
Offline – Brick and Mortar Boot Stores
Your other option is to look for a local retail shop. You can find everything in your geographic area by doing a local google search or consulting a print business directory. The upside to a local business is that you’ll be able to try on the shoes and know that they’re both comfortable and agreeable with your sensibilities.
Things to look for on websites
Something to look for when you’re visiting an online or physical store location is whether or not they are vocal about their veganism and their support for it. Some bigger retailers offer vegan boots in addition to all the usual selection but opting for a totally vegan store would be preferable. Try to support stores that offer 100% vegan products.
Also, be on the lookout for certifications that let you know the store is selling products that are certified vegan. There are a few different organizations that offer certifications for vegan products and services. However, remember a certification is not a government-sanctioned guarantee.
If you’re still not entirely convinced that a boot company or retailer is genuinely vegan, you can reach out to them and ask questions about their manufacturing process and where materials are sourced. Any sincere vegan will be glad to engage in a conversation to reassure you that their footwear is vegan.
With these considerations in mind, you should be on the right track to purchasing a new pair of vegan work boots. Your happiness won’t be so much about the boots you decide to buy, it’ll be about the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t contribute in any way to the harm or death of another living being. That’s worth any price tag!
When you think of diet the first words that most likely come to mind are restriction, calorie counting, and bland foods.
This can most likely be attributed to the fact that one of the most popular approaches to weight loss is caloric restriction often taking the form of What a 1200 Calorie a Day Plant Based Diet Looks Like
This diet plan has become somewhat infamous within the weight loss community and for a good reason.
Although calorie restriction has been shown to be an effective approach to weight loss, it’s extremely important to always focus on the quality of the food over quantity and never consume any less than 1200 calories per day for safety and health reasons.
Still committed to attempting a 1200 calorie per day diet but hesitant about the restrictive nature of this sort of meal plan? What if I told you that your new diet plan doesn’t have to be boring and restrictive to be effective?
One of the major criticisms of 1200 calorie diet plans is that when you significantly decrease your intake of calories, you risk decreasing essential nutrients.
This is a fair criticism as the less food you are able to consume the less opportunity you will have to meet your daily nutrient requirements.
For this reason, it is important to use your daily allowance of calories wisely and choose highly nutritious foods to fill up your daily meal plans.
This is where the vegan aspect comes into play. The vegan diet consists of plant-based products that often offer a much higher nutrient to calorie ratio making it an ideal candidate for those looking to limit their calories in order to lose weight.
While there are many delicious plant-based alternatives to traditional animal products, such as vegan mac n cheese, vegan sausage, vegan chicken nuggets, you name it, these products are often highly processed and contain higher calorie counts than plant-based whole foods.
It is often best to shy away from vegan junk food as it doesn’t contain as many nutrients and will rack up your calorie count very quickly.
By simply switching out heavily processed vegan alternatives for plant-based whole food alternatives, you’ll see not only that your intake of major nutrients will increase, but your portion sizes will increase as well.
Now enough with the small talk, let’s get to the meat and potatoes, or in this case, the fruits and veggies.
Here is an example of what a day in the life of a vegan, 1200 calorie based, diet looks like.
What a 1200 Calorie a Day Plant Based Diet Looks Like In Breakfast
Smoothie bowls provide a great alternative to traditional cereal meals because they can pack in a ton of micronutrients into a quick meal to get your day started off right.
Let’s start off by highlighting the nutritional benefits that are contained in this first meal.
The strawberries will provide you with a ton of vitamin C as well as fiber. In addition to making your smoothie bowl extra creamy and delicious, the banana will also contribute to your daily needs of fiber and potassium.
Blending the spirulina powder into this concoction is an easy way to contribute to your daily iron requirements as well.
Vitamin B12 is a major concern that I hear time and time again when the topic of vegan diets come up in conversation. Luckily, adding unsweetened coconut milk that is fortified with vitamin B12 is enough to cover your daily requirements of B12.
When you top off this breakfast bowl off with chia seeds, you are reaping the benefits of vitamin K as well as your omega-3s! Don’t care for the consistency of chia seeds? Try flax seeds instead. The possibilities are endless!
There is plenty of room for creativity in the preparation of your own smoothie bowls so don’t feel obligated to stick to the fruits that are listed below. This is an extremely flexible recipe, and any sort of combination of fruit will be delicious!
To prepare this simple smoothie bowl just blend one frozen banana, one frozen cup of strawberries, and one teaspoon of spirulina powder, with one cup of unsweetened fortified coconut milk.
Pour into a bowl and add half a cup of fresh blueberries or raspberries, and a dash of unsweetened coconut flakes. Top it off with a spoon full of chia seeds and enjoy the most important meal of the day!
What a 1200 Calorie a Day Plant Based Diet Looks Like At Lunch
When your midday lunch break finally comes around, you’ll be glad that you packed a meal that is not only low calorie but delicious and filling as well!
Open-faced sandwiches are a great way to enjoy the satisfaction of a yummy sandwich.
A simple calorie hack is to skip the second piece of bread and eat the sandwich open faced. Skipping the second piece of bread allows for extra calories where it counts. Um did someone say avocado?
Coat 2 teaspoons of hummus on to each of the two toasted (if preferred) pieces of Dave’s Killer whole grains bread.
I prefer Dave’s Bread because it contains almost half of your daily requirement of fiber which makes you feel full and satisfied. Any whole wheat bread of your choosing will suffice, however.
Thinly slice ¼ of an avocado and spread evenly between the two slices of bread. Add three slices of tomato to each piece of toast.
Top it off with a little salt, pepper, and even a little hot sauce if you’re feeling extra spicy!
If the sounds of these tasty sandwiches haven’t got you sold yet, a breakdown of the nutrients included in this meal should assure you that you are getting the most bang out of your caloric buck.
The two slices of bread as noted before will provide you with a substantial portion of your daily fiber needs, but will also provide you with iron, manganese, and vitamin B1.
The hummus will provide you with some protein, fiber and iron, which will help you feel full without weighing you down. No one likes having to push through that tired, heavy feeling for the rest of the workday.
The avocado contains a variety of B vitamins, as well as folate and the tomato slices contain vitamins A and C. With all these nutrients, who could resist a guilt-free sandwich like this?
Dinner: Spinach Quinoa Salad
Arguably, the best way to sum up your day is to reward yourself with a big beautiful salad. This meal is light yet filling and is a perfect way to prepare your body for an overnight fast while you sleep.
This is a super easy spinach toss salad that will be a simple meal to throw together after a long day at work. Don’t care for some of the veggies in this salad? Let your creativity take charge and add your favorites!
Just simply throw 4 cups of raw spinach into a bowl, add half a cup of cooked quinoa, five slices of cucumber, ¼ of a cup of cooked edamame beans, ¼ of a cup of black beans, ¼ of a cup of chopped broccoli, and three teaspoons of chopped walnuts.
Mix it all up in a bowl sprinkle with lemon juice and balsamic vinaigrette to taste, and you’ve got dinner!
I’ll sum up this final meal by highlighting the nutritional benefits of this tasty salad. For starters, your body will thank you for the generous amount of vitamin A, folate, and vitamin C from the spinach.
The protein and folate in the edamame beans are an added bonus. The levels of vitamin C and vitamin A in the broccoli are great, and it adds a nice texture to the salad.
Meanwhile, the walnuts add not only a little crunch to the salad but also that pesky omega-3s which can be tricky at times to squeeze into the typical American diet.
All in all, this salad is a great way to end the night on good terms, with a full belly and a healthy body.
With such a huge variety of food, you wouldn’t think that this meal plan consists of only around 1200 calories at first glance.
With just a little bit of effort, creativity, and adjustment, you can succeed in your diet and achieve your weight goals. This can be done without sacrificing the necessary nutrients that your body needs.
You don’t need to deprive yourself of exciting and delicious food in order to reach your weight goals.
While 1200 calories per day tend to be the buzz number in the weight loss community, it is important to keep in mind that prioritizing whole foods is much more important than any number.
Food should be something that you enjoy. Always listen to your body and do what feels right.
If you’re a foodie, you might know about the ongoing debate about beans and where exactly they belong in the food pyramid. You may have your own personal opinion on where you categorize beans in your diet, based on the type of diet you have chosen for yourself.So we need to know what food group do beans belong to? If this debacle is one you have previously not heard of, the following article will lay out all of the facts regarding why many people cannot decide how to accurately categorize beans. Are they a legume, fruit, vegetable, source of protein? Aren’t legumes technically fruits? What is the definition of a vegetable?
What Food Group do Beans Belong to? Let’s debunk
In order to decide where beans fall in the realm of the food groups, let us first define each of them so that we can most accurately decide where beans belong. We often associate vegetables with savory, and fruits with sweet, but what exactly are legumes? Most of us know beans, peas, and nuts are often referred to as legumes, but where does this category come from?
What Food Group do Beans Belong to? (Legumes)
The name legume refers to the species of plant in which beans (as well as nuts, peas, etc.) come from. The Leguminosae family is a family of flowering plants, whose seeds are produced inside of a pod. These seeds are actually the beans, peas, nuts, etc. that humans have incorporated into their diet. Legumes are the seeds of the plants of the Leguminosae family.
Legumes can be uniquely identified due to their structure. Have you ever heard the saying “two peas in a pod?” Have you ever tried to use an old-fashioned nutcracker at an Aunt’s house before, only to throw away the walnut inside? Those are prime examples of legumes existing in their pods. Legumes are also considered to be “nutritionally unique.” They are often categorized as a vegetable, but why? And is this claim legitimate?
Before we decide if beans can double as legumes and vegetables, we need to debunk what makes a vegetable a vegetable. Meriam-Webster defines the vegetable as a plant that is grown for its edible parts which is usually eaten as part of a meal. The edible portion of a vegetable is usually a root, stem, or leaf of a plant as opposed to its ovary. Now that we know the definition and specification of what makes a legume a legume, it seems as though it would be acceptable to also categorize a bean as a vegetable as well as a legume. A bean stalk is a plant that may be grown for its edible parts, along with pea and nut plants as well.
Legumes vs vegetables vs.. fruits?
Although the most common topic of discussion is whether beans belong to the vegetable group or not, there is also speculation regarding if beans can be considered fruits.
The definition of a fruit is similar to that of a vegetable. Like vegetables, fruit is also the edible part of a plant, however it must contains seeds as the edible part of the plant must also be the reproductive body of the plant. This technical definition gets pushed aside in our minds as we tend to categorize vegetables as savory items used in lunch or dinner meals and fruits as sweeter treats that can be enjoyed on their own or found in a dessert or smoothie.
When we think of food this way, there’s no way we could consider a bean a fruit. I wouldn’t want to have bean pie or bean shortcake for dessert, would you?! However when we think back to the true definition of a legume, the debate makes sense. A legume is the seed of a plant of the Leguminosae family. So now we are left to decide, if fruits are the edible part of a plant that contains seeds, could a bean itself be considered a fruit if it is the seed?
It seems as though the argument to place beans in the vegetable category is a legitimate one. If we think of vegetables as an overarching category and legumes are a sub-category, this makes sense. It seems as though classifying beans as a fruit may be a bit of stretch, as they themselves do not contain the reproductive seed of the flowering plant but rather are the reproductive seed. The answer to this debacle seems to come down to technical definitions, and others may find that based on other evidence, they do believe beans can be classified as fruits.
The definition of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other different types of food just merely scratches the surface of how chefs, nutritionists, and botanists categorize food in their own unique way. Chefs and nutritionists tend to distinguish what foods go into the major food groups based on what nutritional value they have.
How do we categorize our food?
The major food groups in which we categorize our foods in America are loosely based on the three major macronutrient groups which are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats (lipids). For example, animal-based products (meats) are considered good sources of protein, while vegetables are known to contain starchy carbohydrates.
Our bodies need all of the macronutrients to survive. The goal of many is to determine what diet allows their body functions at an optimal level correct. This comes down to incorporating the right proportions of the macronutrients one needs into their everyday diet. In order to put together a sustainable and healthy diet, it is essential to know what foods are sources of what macronutrients, and what sources are healthier than others.
There are tons of misconceptions out there about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through our dietary choices. If someone who was trying to lose weight, and did not do their research, if they’ve heard that vegetables are high in carbs their instinct may be to avoid them. However, vegetables are a source of healthy carbs which contribute to our cognitive function. Someone else may have the impression that meat is the only substantial source for protein in the diet, which many vegetarians and vegans will tell you is not the case.
Are beans a good source of protein?
With plant-based diets becoming increasingly popular in society today, legumes have been gaining the recognition they deserve for how much protein they contain in such a small serving. Beans, in particular, are noted to be one of the best plant-based protein alternatives, as they provide a good amount of protein and are also low in fat content.
The NIH claims that the average adult should maintain a diet in which 10-35% of their calorie intake is from a source of protein. For somebody who is vegan or vegetarian, or even just trying to reduce their animal product intake, getting enough protein in a day should always be in the back of the mind.
Incorporating animal products the diet is the most common way people obtain their daily protein intake. One ounce of red meat, skinless poultry, or fish typically contains about 6-7 grams of protein. To put this into perspective, the bean equivalent of this protein concentration is about a fourth of a cup. One ounce of these animal products is also just about equivalent in protein concentration to 1 egg, a one-half cup of nuts, or 2 tablespoons of hummus. Other than the egg, these all come from legumes!
Beans and other legumes are one of the most popular plant-based alternatives for a protein source. The typical serving size for legumes is a one-half cup, and soybeans come in first (by far) in terms of the amount of protein per serving. Soybeans, such as edamame, contain about 34 grams of protein per serving. Other beans such as lentils and cannellini beans offer around 10 grams of protein per serving, which is still high for such a small serving size.
Likely, the second most common question vegans are asked (after “Where do you get your protein?”) Is “Well, where do you get your calcium??”
This question isn’t without merit. Calcium is a vital mineral that all humans need to grow and remain healthy. Most of us have grown up with dairy ads touting the mighty role of calcium supplements in dairy products and how important this is to grow up big and strong.
In fact, it is the most abundant mineral found in the human body. The problem is, when we do not intake enough calcium, the body takes what it’s lacking from our bones.
Over an extended period, this can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis.
In fact, despite their high dairy consumption, an estimated 44 million people over 50 are at risk for osteoporosis and low bone mass in the United States.
Dairy consumption comes with the risk factors of contributing to high protein intake, which plays a role in contributing to obesity, as well as consuming the effects of antibiotics often given to the farm animals from which they came.
The good news is that there are many plant based foods that contain calcium.
Some of the best options for vegans include bok choy, tofu, broccoli, and almonds. Many other foods, like juices and plant based milk, are fortified with calcium.
Unfortunately, the calcium found in plant foods isn’t often as bioavailable, which means it is harder for the body to absorb.
If you are already incorporating tofu, fortified almond milk, and bok choy into your diet, but still find yourself falling short of the RDA for calcium, you may want to consider taking calcium supplements.
As always, consult with a doctor or nutritionist before taking a supplement. Taking too much of a vitamin or supplement can be just as harmful as not having enough.
Amount of Calcium
Calcium levels build up in the body. Unlike some water-soluble vitamins where the excess will simply exit the body as waste, any excess you take in through supplements stays in the body.
Taking too much calcium can lead to unpleasant, and sometimes even dangerous, side effects.
When considering which supplement to buy, think about how much calcium you’re getting from food sources. If you’re drinking lots of almond milk and eating fortified foods like cereals and bread, you probably don’t need a supplement that provides 100% of your calcium requirement for the day.
If this is the case, you can either look for a product that has less calcium per pill or cut your pills into pieces, so you’re not consuming an excessive amount of the mineral.
However, if you get little calcium from food sources, or you have a health concern that inhibits absorption, a supplement that provides 1,000-1,200mg per serving could be a wise choice that helps you cover all your nutritional bases.
You’ll notice that there are relatively few supplements that contain only calcium without additional vitamins or minerals. Most commonly, calcium supplements also contain a dose of vitamin D.
This is because vitamin D is necessary to allow your body to absorb calcium. By having both nutrients in a single product, you don’t have to worry about being unable to absorb the calcium from your supplement because you aren’t getting enough vitamin D from your diet.
While you can get vitamin D through food and from sunlight, having both together in one tablet is convenient, worry-free, and a good choice for darker, cloudier months. Adults should aim for about 600 IUs of vitamin D per day, taking care not to exceed 4,000 UIs.
If you choose a calcium supplement with vitamin D that is not included in this list, you’ll want to be extra careful about the source of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is vegan, but if the product contains vitamin D3, there’s a good chance that it’s not vegan-friendly, as most d3 is derived from sheep’s wool.
Recommended Calcium Supplements
Below is a list our top picks for Calcium supplements:
Organic Plant Calcium by Garden of Life
These are a fan favorite because they are made out of whole plant foods, which is the most highly recommended way to get vitamins and minerals.
With calcium from organic algae and vitamin D3 from lichen, these supplements also come in small, easy-to-digest, and easy-to-swallow tablets. All of the ingredients are certified non-GMO, too.
This formula is vegan because it uses Vitamin D3 that is derived from lichen, which is vegan.
Most Vitamin D3 is made from lanolin (sheep) and labeled cholecalciferol, meaning that it is not vegan. Luckily you don’t have to worry about that with this one!
Cal-Mag Plus by DEVA
Another great option, these vitamins by Deva Vegan are Certified Vegan by the Vegan Society (Founded by Donald Watson).
This supplement contains Vitamin D2 which is the type of Vitamin D that is derived from plants. It contains large amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, magnesium, and zinc as well.
To increase the bioavailability of the calcium in this supplement, meaning your body absorbs it more efficiently, the supplement also contains horsetail herb silica extract, inulin, and L-lysine.
The supplement is non-GMO and is certified by the Vegan Society and tends to be easier on the stomach than many calcium supplements.
Rainbow Light Food-Based Calcium
A whole-food-based formula, Rainbow Light’s calcium supplement supplies 500mg of calcium, 250mg of magnesium, and 500 IUs of vitamin D into each one-tablet serving.
To further support bone density and health, this blend includes mineral rich stinging nettle, horsetail, and organic spirulina, which support bones, digestion, and nutrient absorption.
The tablets are free of gluten, wheat, milk, dairy, nuts, soy, eggs, fish, shellfish, yeast, and sugar, and they are gentle on the stomach.
The magnesium in this pill also appears to be potent, as many reviewers note they see a marked difference in getting to and staying asleep. Additionally, it is an excellent choice for those that suffer from joint pain.
Every other day it seems someone’s going vegan. Often it’s a size two celebrity with a personal chef on the payroll and a thigh gap the size of Texas. Or that neo-hippie friend of a friend on Facebook. You know, the one who ferments their own kombucha and wears hemp underpants. Not exactly relatable.We need to know Why Going Vegan Is Your Best Way to Weight Loss
That’s the myth anyway. The reality, thank goodness, is far different. A vegan or plant-based way of eating is one that works for any budget, with no flower-power attitude required. What’s more, it’s a fantastic solution for shedding unwanted pounds and inches. All it takes is a little know-how and the desire to lose weight and keep it off—safely and deliciously—for the rest of your life. Intrigued?
First Things First Why Going Vegan Is Your Best Way to Weight Loss
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before diving into the details of plant-based weight loss, there’s a little matter of verbiage to attend to. Are “vegan” and “plant-based” the same thing? And how does “vegetarian” fit into the picture?
What’s in a Name?Why Going Vegan Is Your Best Way to Weight Loss
It helps to step back and look at eating patterns in context. Currently, most people belong in the “omnivore” category. Omnivores eat whatever—meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, you name it—without concern for what food group it falls into.
“Vegetarians” make a point of not consuming the flesh of animals, meaning they won’t eat a steak or a chicken cutlet. But vegetarians will eat products derived from animals, such as eggs and dairy foods like cheese, butter, and milk.
Another group you may have heard of are “flexitarians” (aka “semi-vegetarians”). These are people who follow a vegetarian diet most of the time but stay flexible about it. Flexitarians don’t eat meat three times a day like a lot of omnivores do, but they will partake of an occasional serving of meat now and then.
Finally, there are “vegans” and “plant-based” eaters. These terms are commonly used interchangeably which makes a lot of sense. Vegans eat a 100% animal-free diet, avoiding animal flesh as well as eggs and dairy, which is precisely what plant-based eaters do. So why the two separate terms?
The Same but Different
It has to do with intention. Vegans eat only plants because it’s part of an overall philosophy that opposes animal exploitation in all forms, whether for food, clothing, entertainment, or anything else. That’s why vegans often say, “It’s not a diet.” And why you’re unlikely to see vegans do things like visiting a zoo, take a horse-carriage ride, or wear leather shoes, silk blouses, or wool sweaters.
A plant-based diet (PBD, for short) is a neutral term that simply describes what a person eats without implying anything about their reason for doing so. Medical professionals prefer the term “plant-based” rather than “vegan” because they care about what you’re eating and not so much about what fabric your clothes are made from. Think of PBD as a way to describe a vegan diet without all the baggage associated with veganism.
For our purposes, we’ll use both “vegan” and “plant-based,” with the understanding that our focus here is diet and weight loss, not ethics.
Regardless of the label, the cool thing is that vegan diets work. Like, really work. In fact, when it comes to getting control of your weight without sacrificing your health, a plant-powered approach out-performs every other diet by a mile.
What makes a vegan diet so effective? Interestingly enough, a huge part of the PBD appeal is what it doesn’t do.
Unlike the low-carb fad diets that are getting so much attention these days—Paleo and Keto, naming two—a vegan diet doesn’t make you sick in order to get you skinny.
But I know lots of people are eating that way, you may be thinking, and they’re doing great!
Are they? If you could look inside their bodies, what you’d see wouldn’t be a pretty picture. Instead, you’d find the same internal damage that has accompanied these sorts of diets for decades.
Same as It Ever Was
Despite the massive overhype, Keto and Paleo are really nothing new. They’re simply old, discredited diets that have been tweaked and rebranded with new names. Ever hear of the South Beach diet from the early 2000s? Or the Atkins diet from decades before that? Same schlock, different day.
Here’s the problem. No matter what they’re called, what all these diets share is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein (or in the case of Keto, high-fat) approach. They designate carbs as “evil.” While they tout meat in all its forms—whether from cows, chickens, and fish or from “exotics” like bison and alligator—as a wonder food that will slim you and trim you and make all your fitness dreams come true.
The trouble is, it’s all baloney. Literally.
Low-carb diets look like they work, in the short term especially, because increasing protein to unhealthy levels forces the body into a “flushing” mode.
Every time a person eats protein, particularly from meat and dairy, blood levels of uric acid and urea—the toxic by-products of protein metabolism—go through the roof. To eliminate these toxins, the body flushes them out through the kidneys. And voila! You’ve lost water weight. But it’s really just urine — no reason to get too excited.
To be fair, it’s not all about pee. Carbs are stored in the muscle cells as glycogen, and glycogen molecules hold onto water. When you stop eating carbs, you deplete your muscles of glycogen and therefore of water too. This also results in water weight loss. But it’s at the expense of dehydrating your muscles.
The detrimental side effects of all this fluid-flushing can’t be overstated. Along with all that water your body’s getting rid of, you’re also losing essential minerals, including calcium. Medical evidence shows that high intake of animal protein leaches calcium from the bones, which leads to osteoporosis. That’s a condition where the bones in your body become weak and brittle. In addition, all that calcium and other leached minerals tend to end up in your kidneys, where they can form painful kidney stones.
Carb Cutters Meet the Grim Reaper
But that’s not the worst part. Can someone “succeed” in losing significant weight on a high-protein, animal-based diet? Yes, but the price they pay may be their untimely death.
A new study of almost 25,000 American adults found that people with the lowest carb intake had a 51% increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease and a 35% increased risk of dying from cancer, compared to those who ate the most carbs. Whoa! If numbers like that don’t show what how important carbohydrates are, what does?
It’s not a just one study either. In fact, what makes this US finding so significant is how perfectly it aligns with other data. An earlier monumental study of more than 440,000 people around the globe garnered the exact same results. Carb eaters were shown to live longer lives than carb reducers. So don’t let anyone convince you that carbs are the enemy. The data just doesn’t bear it out.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose between a shorter life and a slimmer body. There’s one eating plan that promotes both health and weight loss. It’s affordable, easy, and it all revolves around the most abundant food group in the world: plants.
From a health perspective, plants are a wonder food. Now we’re not talking about a certain root vegetable that’s often thinly sliced, fried in oil, and sold in a bag. Or plants that have been processed and refined beyond all recognition. (We’re looking at you, white bread).
Though we might wish it were otherwise, plants best work their magic when they’re consumed “whole,” meaning in or close to their natural state. When this happens—when plants are allowed to be the star of every meal and not merely a sidekick— amazing changes result. In fact, it’s not an overstatement to say that, for optimum health and weight loss, nothing is more effective than a whole-food, plant-based diet.
The evidence for this, despite the meat and dairy industries’ constant propaganda, is overwhelming. Here is just a sampling of what a plant-powered diet has been proven to achieve:
Even if health is not your bag and your only concern is looking smoking hot in a swimsuit, plants are still your best solution.
The Skinny on Plants
Numbers don’t lie. Plant-based eaters have, by far, the lowest rate of obesity (just 1.9% in men and 1.8% in women) compared to any other group. These figures are even more impressive when compared to the rest of the population. According to the latest statistics from the CDC, a whopping 39.8% or about 93.3 million of US adults are obese. And those numbers are projected to increase 5% every year.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Study after study bears out the connection between plant-based diets and weight loss. Recently, a randomized control trial, which is the gold standard of scientific evidence, allocated overweight and obese adults to five different diets, from omnivore (eating the most animal foods) to vegan (eating no animal foods). The result? According to the authors, only the “vegan diets were associated with significantly higher levels of weight loss by the end of the study.”
You don’t have to have a PhD to understand that plants possess the power to make our bodies lean and healthy. The only question is how to harness that power: How does one start and stick to a plant-based diet? The answer is easier than you think.
But What Will I Eat?
If you’re accustomed to the Standard American Diet (aptly known as SAD), the prospect of going vegan is likely to induce fear. Troubling questions may plague your mind. Questions such as: Can I actually do this? Will I starve? And even the dreaded: Do I have to start liking green smoothies?
The answer is yes, no, and only if you want to.
It All Adds Up
Contrary to popular belief, a vegan diet is less about the handful of nasty foods you’re removing from your diet and more about the oodles of fantastic foods you’re adding.
Mindset is really important here. Think “restriction”, and you’ll feel restricted. Think “expansion”, and you’ll feel like every meal is a journey of excitement and discovery.
This is not to say change isn’t scary. It is.
Almost any change causes at least a little bit of stress, and drastic changes can trigger huge anxieties. But you are the lead explorer on this journey. You are in control of how much, and how quickly, you want the transition to plant-based eating to go. The pace you take needs to match the person you are.
Some of us are daredevils. We dive into the deep end and never look back. If this is your personality and you’re already an adventurous eater, go for it! Head to a well-stocked grocery store and fill your basket with as many unfamiliar vegetables, fruits, grains, mock meats, and other plant-based provisions you can find. Then buy a few top-rated vegan cookbooks (or get them from the library) and have at it!
On the other hand, if you’re a basic meat-and-potatoes person whose taste buds are pretty much in a state of virgin purity, you’ll want to take things slow. No forays into the deep end for you, at least not without your water wings. And for newbie vegans, that means learning the art of the swap.
In the plant-based world, “swap” means substituting a non-vegan food item with its vegan equivalent. Essentially, these swaps are your water wings. They support you while you’re learning a new skill, which in this case is converting to a PBD.
In ages past, swaps (like water wings) didn’t exist. A fledgling vegan would have to go from bacon to bean curd in one fell swoop. Not surprisingly, many didn’t make it.
Fortunately these days, there’s a vegan equivalent for just about any animal-based food out there. Condiments are a great place to start because they’re easy and unthreatening. Most condiments like ketchup, mustard, sriracha, and salsa are already vegan anyway. And for the ones that aren’t, like mayonnaise and salad dressing, vegan alternatives are readily available.
Ready for Something New
Here’s how to start. The next time you run out of mayo, simply purchase a vegan version instead of your old standby. It will probably taste similar, if not better. There’s no need to go to a specialty store to get it either. Mainstream brands, like Hellman’s, now make a vegan option, and Hampton Creek’s scrumptious Just Mayo is on the shelf in every Walmart nationwide.
Other easy-peasy swaps include veggie burgers for beef burgers, vegan cheese for dairy cheese, and plant milk for cow’s milk. In fact, there are so many choices when it comes to nondairy milk; you can have fun trying them all and seeing which you like best. Soy or almond? Rice or cashew? Oat or pea or flax?
For die-hard carnivores, meat-oriented swaps abound thanks to brands like Gardein, LightLife, Field Roast, Yves, Tofurky, and many others. These companies offer vegan versions of chicken tenders, frankfurters, meatballs, bacon, cold cuts, and even fish filets and crab cakes! And they’re conveniently found in the freezer and produce sections of almost every supermarket. (Be sure to shop around though, as prices tend to vary widely).
Now, are these swaps the über-healthy whole foods that will promote the quickest weight loss? No. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad. Any more than water wings are bad. Of course, you don’t want to get stuck wearing water wings forever, and neither do you want to rely on packaged, processed vegan foods for the rest of your life. But both serve a purpose, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of them when it’s useful.
There’s no reason to feel guilty eating them either.
While they’re not the superstars of plant-based cuisine, all these vegan swaps are almost certainly much healthier than the animal-derived foods they’re based on. Because they’re made from plants rather than animals, processed vegan foods will tend to have much less fat and cholesterol (which you don’t want) and much more fiber (which you do want). Plus they’ll have fewer calories than their meat counterparts. Pretty sweet, huh?
A Tale of Three Nuggets
For a case in point, let’s look at one of America’s favorite foods: the chicken nugget. Just four Tyson Chicken Nuggets gives you with a walloping 270 calories, 17 grams fat (4 saturated), 40 mg cholesterol, 0 fiber, and 14 grams protein. Can anyone say, Ugh?
McDonald’s chicken nuggets are only slightly better, with 180 calories, 11 grams fat (2 saturated), 30 mg cholesterol, a measly 1 gram of fiber, and 10 grams protein per four-piece serving.
But how about the vegan swap? An equivalent amount of Boca Chik’n Veggie Nuggets contains just 160 calories, 5 grams of fat (0 saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber, and 14 grams protein. In every case, you’re getting less of the bad stuff and the same or more of the good stuff. It’s win-win all around.
Making vegan swaps for your favorite omnivore foods keeps you from feeling deprived and gets your taste buds transitioning to more plant-centric fare. And because the faux meats are lower in fat and calories, you’re likely to see weight loss with this simple step alone.
That last bit is worth repeating. Even if all you do is substitute vegan versions for the foods you’re already eating, your calorie intake will drop and so will your weight. Of course, if you’re consuming boatloads of processed foods, this won’t be enough to make you a skinny Minnie, but it’s a helluva result with minimal effort.
The Next Steps
Since processed chow, whether plant- or animal-based, is nobody’s idea of healthy eating, at some point you’re going to need to expand into whole foods. Again, take your time. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all clothing, and there’s no single “right” way to transition to a vegan diet. You do you.
Start Where You Are
Who “you” are will provide you with helpful clues. Start with what you know and like. If the one green vegetable you enjoy is peas, then find as many ways to eat peas as possible. There’s pea soup, as everyone knows. But what about pea-and-potato curry? And did you know there’s a super-tasty spread whose main ingredient is puréed peas?
Or let’s say you hate anything green, but you’ll tolerate carrots. Start including them more often with your meals and vary the way they’re prepared. Whole roasted carrots, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, are elegant and delicious. Carrots with ginger make a yummy side dish. And for main courses, there’s “pulled carrot” barbecue and even savory carrot “hot dogs” that some vegans swear by.
The trick is to pick what you already like, plant-wise, and expand upon it. In terms of mindset, focus on eating more, not less. That’s how weight loss on a plant-based diet works. When you fill yourself up on a garden of goodness (in the form of vegetables, beans, whole grains, and fruits), you have less room on your plate and in your belly for the foods that lead to weight gain.
Easing Out of Your Comfort Zone
Once you’ve fully explored the foods you already know and enjoy, you’re ready to venture into more exotic territory. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with vegan-friendly restaurants or delis, eating out can be super helpful at this stage. Have your server explain dishes in detail, so you’ll understand what they’re supposed to taste like, and then order something you’ve never tried before. This way you’ll develop your palate and be inspired to go beyond your old, familiar choices.
Grocery stores can be helpful too. Many “fancier” supermarkets, such as Whole Foods, have extensive vegan-friendly hot bars and counters with an array of prepared foods you can sample before you buy. When you find a dish you like, try to recreate it in your kitchen. In time you’ll have a batch of go-to vegan recipes you can whip up to satisfy whatever you’re craving.
For a sneak peek into what a healthy, weight-reducing plant-based diet looks like, here’s a sample of dishes that are easy to prepare, delicious, and appropriate for those considering making the leap to vegan eating:
Strength in Numbers
Your plant-based journey is yours. But it doesn’t mean you have to experience it by yourself. If you have friends, who are already vegan, lucky you! Use them. They’re probably falling all over themselves to advise and encourage you.
Don’t know any vegans? That’s okay too. You’re not doomed to struggle all alone. There are scores of online support groups for plant-based eaters ready to answer your questions, and probably local groups too. Unless you live hundreds of miles from any city, it’s a safe bet that there’s a vegan organization in your area. Such groups hold regular gatherings like vegan potlucks and other fun get-togethers. (You haven’t lived until you’ve been to a vegan game night). Groups like this are open to everyone, and they’re a wonderful resource for vegan newbies and pros alike.
No Need to Overdo It
Of course, it’s a balancing act. In your excitement, it’s easy to try to do everything at once. The next thing you know your Pinterest board is overflowing with vegan recipes, your bookshelf is sagging with The China Study and Veganomicon, and your movie queue is backed up with Forks Over Knives, What the Health, and Earthlings.
You don’t want to access so much information that it overwhelms you. Or hear from so many different points of use that it makes you question what you’re doing. Trust your own body and how it reacts to the changes you’re making. Many people, when they first go vegan, report feeling lighter, fresher, and mentally clearer. If this turns out to be your experience, be happy for yourself! If not, don’t be discouraged. Everybody—and every body—is different.
No matter how they started, though, the majority of plant-based eaters agree on one thing: They wish they’d gone vegan sooner. Whether your path is direct or indirect, whether your pace is speedy or slow, never forget that a plant-based diet is, without a doubt, the best way to lose and control your weight.
Ready to give it a go? If so, you are about to bestow an amazing gift to yourself, your health, and your overall well-being. Enjoy!
Mom always told you to eat your fruits and vegetables, but unless your mom happens to be a botanist, she probably never bothered to explain which was which. It’s not one of those things that have to be explained. It’s just something you pick up as you go along, like “water is wet,” “rocks are heavy” and “Keith Richards is immortal.”
Is Jalapenos Fruit or Vegetable – The Scientific Take
If you ask a scientist, they’ll tell you that not only are jalapenos fruits, so are all peppers. The reason for this is that botanists don’t study plants in your kitchen. They study them in nature, where they live. The scientific definition of “fruit” or “vegetable” has nothing to do with how you eat them, and everything to do with what part of the plant they are.
Jalapenos Fruit or Vegetable– The Culinary Take
On the other hand, a chef will tell you that a jalapeno is a vegetable. This is because the culinary definition of fruits and vegetables has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with how you’re using a particular food in the kitchen. In this terminology, a fruit is sweet, and a vegetable is savory, bitter or spicy. Peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants are all examples of culinary vegetables that are also scientifically considered fruits.
Interestingly, the US Government agrees with this definition. It might not be wise to hire a high-priced lawyer to sue a grocery chain for stocking tomatoes in the fruit aisle, but there is a precedent. Way back in 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a case, Nix. v. Hedden that tomatoes could be taxed as a vegetable because this was the usual, everyday meaning of the term.
Jalapenos – Fruit or Vegetable?
Are jalapenos a fruit or a vegetable? It depends who you’re talking to. If you’re talking to a scientist, they’re fruits. If you’re talking to a chef or a lawyer, they’re vegetables. If you’re still waiting for a consensus, they’re both. So next time you talk to your mom, tell her you ate a jalapeno; it’s a fruit and a vegetable.
The latest cooking craze in America is here – ghee, a zero-carb cooking fat with a rich, nutty flavor. If you follow food-related topics on social media, you’ve probably seen a lot of people using it.Is Ghee Vegan for real. Ghee has been particularly popular with people on ketogenic diets. It’s also been popular in the paleo community, since it’s similar to butter but is lactose-free. Some have even claimed it’s vegan, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there that needs to be cleared up. Here’s the skinny on everyone’s new favorite fat.
What is Ghee?Is Ghee Vegan
Ghee has been around since about 5,000 years ago when Hindu priests started using it in religious ceremonies. From there, it spread to Egypt and Ethiopia, which have their own regional variations. With the growth of global trade, it’s become a staple in kitchens around the world.
Traditional ghee is made by boiling milk, then adding some yogurt and letting the mixture sit overnight to ferment. The next day, the mixture is boiled again until all the water and milk solids are gone. This process of fermenting, then boiling the mixture is what gives ghee its distinct, nutty flavor. Modern, mass-produced ghee (the kind you’re likely to find in the grocery store) skips the fermentation process, instead of changing the boiling temperature at different stages to roast the ghee, mimicking the nuttiness of traditional ghee while cutting down production time.
What Nutrients Are Found in Ghee?(Is Ghee Vegan Or Not)
According to nutritionix.com, ghee has 115 fat calories, and zero calories from carbs or protein. It’s also a good source of Vitamin A. Like butter, ghee is high in artery-clogging saturated fat, so it should be eaten sparingly.
So, is it Vegan?
No, ghee is not vegan. Vegans do not eat any animals or anything that comes from an animal. A common source of confusion is that all the milk is boiled out of ghee, but the remaining fat is still milk fat – derived from a cow.
A good vegan substitute will depend on cooking temperature. If you’re making something like a frosting or other spread that requires low cooking temperature or no cooking at all, your best bet is to choose a non-dairy butter like Earth Balance or Miyoko’s. These kinds of butter contain no animal products and are therefore okay to eat on a vegan diet. If you’re cooking at higher temperatures, olive oil is an excellent choice for more savory dishes, and coconut oil is optimal for baking.
Why Eat Ghee?
Besides the fact that it’s delicious, ghee is a good butter substitute for people who are either lactose intolerant or abstain from lactose, like people on a paleo diet. Since it has zero carbs, it’s also perfect for people on a ketogenic diet. You can put it in your bulletproof coffee, and it will add a note of flavor while eliminating the handful of carbs found in regular butter. As for our vegan readers, we don’t have any good news about ghee but stick with the substitutes mentioned above, and your recipe will come out just fine.
It may seem like a simple task to decipher whether a banana is ripe or not, but it is more complicated than meets the eye. At the different stages of the banana’s lifespan, it will have different health benefits and nutrient concentration, so it’s a good thing to know.
People prefer a banana in different forms. There are many scales showing bananas in different stages of ripeness and the opinions on which banana is best differ strongly and almost evenly.
The means in which people use bananas vary as well. Some only use it for cooking while others may eat an entire banana along with their cereal or toast at breakfast.
No matter the stage you are consuming the banana, there are always plentiful nutrients you receive.
When is a Banana Ripe OR How To Tell When a Banana is Ripe
The best stage to consume a banana may depend on what you would like to get from it, but the matter of when it is ripe is concrete. This ripeness occurs when a banana begins to show signs of dark discoloration. Yes, when the brown spots start to coat it, and most households throw it in the trash.
The appearance of a banana is the best method of telling its ripeness. When the outside of the banana begins to blacken it is showing signs of ripening. Even when a banana is all encased in a dark skin it is over-ripened but edible.
When bananas are young, they start as a green color that lightens to yellow. There are some that prefer a green banana, but others who argue it has very bitter and raw properties.
Banana’s have a great taste for the entirety of their shelf life. If a consumer prefers a light banana taste, an unripe young banana will be a proper selection. It is stiffer and has more bitter of a taste the younger it is.
As a banana ages it becomes sweeter, and most prefer this banana taste. The banana can easily become a mushy consistency if left to over-ripen.
Health Benefits and points on How To Tell When A Banana Is Ripe
Everyone knows bananas are a healthy snack, but why? Bananas are chock full of nutrients such as fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and B6. Throughout the ripening process, the concentration of these nutrients remains constant. However, as the banana ripens, there is a chemical change happening.
Over time the starches are transformed into sugar compounds like glucose and fructose. Therefore, the taste of the banana is sweetened over the ripening process. When a banana is left to ripen, it can actually become easier for the average person to digest because your body does less work.
That does not mean a banana with less time to ripen is healthier because your own body will transform the starches to sugars on their own, so the calorie count remains the same. The only added benefit of a green banana is that it still might contain a more resistant starch compound which is favorable for bacteria in your stomach that are beneficial to your digestive process.
When it comes to ripe bananas, one may assume they are the better of the two to consume. That can depend on the one digesting the fruit. When bananas are very ripe, they become denser in sugar concentration. This could be an unfavorable situation for a diabetic or someone closely watching their sugar intake.
Just because you must watch your sugar amount for the day does not mean you cannot enjoy a ripe banana, it just must be in moderation or be simple moderately ripe. For those who can’t have too much sugar, the relatively low sugar content makes it a great occasional healthy sweet treat.
When cooking with bananas, a ripe banana is usually preferred. This is because when a banana begins to ripen it becomes sweeter, and the starches are broken down into sugar. This mushy texture is also easier to deal with. Some very fun things to make with bananas are:
Quick History of the Banana
There are different types of bananas all over the world, and they all have different tastes, sizes, and even colors. The United States was first gifted with the banana as an imported product in the 1870s.
Though they are commonplace now, they were originally marketed as a rare and exotic fruit at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The fruit nearly fell off at first but Chiquita used their exotic origin to allow bananas to maintain enough popularity until Americans of the age learned how to peel and eat them correctly.
Almost unsurprisingly, there were protests of the banana at first which involved shaming women for publicly eating the phallic fruit. Fliers were disturbed throughout fruit markets to convince consumers that proper ladies only eat bananas with a knife and fork to maintain an appropriate etiquette.
Many do not know that the modern Cavendish Banana is not the same banana originally introduced to the US in the late 19th century. At that time the popular banana was a Gros Michel which was nearly wiped out by a fungus, referred to as Panama Disease, which the Cavendish Banana is resistant to. Everyone is familiar with the classic slipping on a banana peel gag, but most are unaware that this comes from actual events.
The Gros Michel banana actually had a more slippery peel than today’s Cavendish, and when it grew in popularity as a street food, many consumers simply threw the peel on the ground. The city of Chicago actually had to make it illegal to throw banana peels on the ground in an attempt to prevent growing instances of slips and broken bones.
The Bottom Line
Bananas are a healthy choice no matter what stage you consume them. It is never a bad decision to eat one or add it as a healthy snack to your diet. It may depend upon the person when the best time for them to eat it is, but the concept of it ripening does not mean it increases in nutritional value.
If you want to catch a banana at its sweetest is it best to wait for it to discolor or in other words-ripen.
Chili Soup is one of those foods that seems to come in a million varieties. It can be thick or runny, meaty or vegetarian. It can be full of beans – or have none at all. You can top it off with cheese or sour cream – or not. And of course, there’s the perennial debate: is chili a soup or a stew?
What is Chili Soup, Exactly?
Before we go any further, let’s see if we can find a definition of chili everyone agrees on. For this, we turned to the International Chili Society’s official chili contest rules (you can find them here if you’d like to read them in full). The ICS recognizes four different categories of chili:
Traditional Red Chili consists of any combination of meat cooked with red chili peppers or red chili powder and any mix of vegetables with the exception of beans.
Homestyle Chili is similar but can be cooked with any color chili pepper or powder and must also contain beans.
Chili Verde is similar to Traditional Red Chili but is to be cooked with green chili peppers or powder instead of red.
Veggie Chili is any combination of vegetables cooked with any kind of chili peppers or powder and may or may not contain beans or pasta.
If we’re going to define chili soup in a way that encompasses all these categories, our definition would be something like this: Chili is any combination of meat, beans or vegetables cooked with chili peppers or powder.
Is Chili Soup– The Argument
Webster’s defines soup as “a liquid food especially with a meat, fish, or vegetable stock as a base and often containing pieces of solid food.” We can expand on this with a few more common sense additions: soup contains a blend of ingredients, is served in a bowl, and is often served either as a side or with bread. Soup is also eaten with a spoon, and you can drink it from a cup.
By this definition, chili and soup share many things in common. They both contain a blend of various ingredients. They’re both generally served in a bowl. Both of them can be either a main dish or a side and are often served with bread to absorb the juices.
One thing they don’t have in common is a meat or vegetable stock base. And while you can certainly eat chili with a spoon, we don’t recommend drinking it from a cup unless you have a burning desire to change your shirt.
Chili is a Stew – The Counter-Argument
On the other hand, Webster’s defines stew as “fish or meat usually with vegetables prepared by stewing.” While chili comes closer to the mark here, this definition requires fish or meat, which would leave veggie chili out in the cold.
Is Chili a Soup or a Stew? – The Final Take
Chili has some aspects of both soup and stew. If we had to choose one or the other, chili is closer to a stew than it is to soup, but thankfully, life is not so black and white. Chili may not fit any pre-defined category, but it’s delicious just the way it is.