The Plant Rx

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The REAL cause of Antibiotic Resistance: Overuse of Antibiotics among Animals in Factory Farms!

Posted by Jenn on September 23, 2011


The major cause for the rise in antibiotic-resistant pathogens is clear: the overuse of antibiotics among animals on factory farms. Here’s how it works. Livestock producers place animals in overcrowded, unsanitary living conditions to maximize their output and profits. Then, to prevent the inevitable spread of disease from such conditions and to spur faster growth in the animals, they routinely add antibioticsto feed.In 2009, 80 percent of antibiotics administered in the United States were given to animals; of that, 70 percent was administered to healthy animals through routine feeding.

Widespread use of antibiotics gives rise to resistant bacteria. Through contact with farm workers and contaminated waste runoff, resistant bacteria can spread to humans and other animals. For more information, you can read The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s new report on the subject.

The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act is an important step toward protecting humans from antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Please tell your members of Congress to reform our agricultural policy and co-sponsor this important and urgent legislation today.

The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 965/S. 1211) is a sensible, bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at protecting human health by limiting the misuse of antibiotic drugs. Injudicious use of antibiotics, which is standard on factory farms, breeds bacteria that are resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics. When these resistant bacteria spread to the human population, our precious, once lifesaving antibiotics are useless. Please tell your members of Congress to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms today.

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Can a plant-based diet be unhealthy?

Posted by Jenn on February 10, 2011


Telling you that almost everything you do in life can be performed in either a good way or a bad way or can be done well or not well probably isn’t earth shattering news to you. .  Of course there are many variations in between but you get the idea.  The same is true with diets. Like any diet out there, plant-based diets can be complete, healthy and balanced or incomplete, unhealthy and unbalanced. Thus, merely consuming a diet free of meat and dairy products does not necessarily guarantee good health.  Now, before you stop reading in disgust, hear me out.

Don’t get the wrong idea , choosing not to eat animals or animal products is a great thing and does in and of itself confer health benefits.  That being said, not all products free of meat and dairy are created equal.  Let’s use soy & soy products to illustrate.  As a whole food soy beans are an excellent, high quality, complete source of plant-based protein and fiber. So are unprocessed soy products such as soymilk and tamari.  Furthermore, they are low in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.  A true super food!   Then there are processed soy foods.  Processed soy foods have become very common and are very appealing especially to the new vegan looking to shift the protein sources in their diet.  While they still may retain some of the beneficial properties of unprocessed whole soy they also have a much less desirable side.  They tend to be high in sodium, fat, sugar, and often have artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Although exceptions do exist, calling these foods “healthy” would be more than a slight exaggeration.

Another example would be eating refined (“white”) grains rather than their whole grain counterparts such as white rice, bread and pasta.  While, it is true that these are not animal-based products, which is good, compared to their whole wheat and brown counterparts they have less fiber, less protein and a higher glycemic index.

The whole grains haven’t had their bran and germ removed by milling, making them good sources of fiber — the part of plant-based foods that your body doesn’t digest. Among many health benefits, high-fiber foods also tend to make you feel full longer.

Refined grains, such as white rice or white flour, have both the bran and germ removed from the grain. Although vitamins and minerals are added back into refined grains after the milling process, they still don’t have as many nutrients as whole grains do, and they don’t provide as much fiber naturally. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Protein Conundrum: the REAL truth about Protein

Posted by Jenn on February 7, 2011


Out of all the conflicting information that is bestowed upon the American public in regards to nutrition, the one seemingly straight forward and universally agreed upon tenet is the importance of protein.  The general consensus is that in order to maintain a healthy weight and be healthy in general, it is vital to consume enough lean protein (which in America typically equates to white meat and fish) and limit intake of carbohydrates. It is commonplace to hear people say,”I really need to eat more protein”.  Whereas it would be almost shocking to hear someone say,”I really need to eat more carbs”. One might go so far as to say American’s are obsessed with protein.

It is for this reason that protein is frequently at the top of the list of concerned family members and skeptical friends and why those who eat a plant-based diet are bombarded by questions about where they get their protein.  In fact, people not familiar with plant-based nutrition often assume that it is terribly hard to get enough protein by consuming a diet free of meat and dairy products. In the same vein, most carnivores are not aware of how much protein they are consuming on a daily basis and that they are likely consuming far too much which can be detrimental over time.

So, what is the real truth? Below, I will address and answer the common questions I am asked regarding protein consumption and a plant-based diet.


  • Where do people who consume a plant-based diet get their protein? Do plant-based protein sources provide enough protein to be healthy?

Almost every food contains protein, so it’s nearly impossible not to get enough if you’re consuming an adequate amount of calories.  Protein is found in ALL plant foods including vegetables (yes, vegetables!), grains, legumes (such as beans and lentils), soy foods, seeds and nuts. As long as your diet contains a variety of grains, legumes and vegetables protein needs are easily met.

Protein Comparison Chart

  • Is there a difference between Plant-based protein sources and Animal-based ones? I heard animal sources provide better (quality) protein, is this true?

Protein is an essential nutrient which when ingested is broken down into it’s building blocks which are called amino acids. There are 20 amino acids used by our bodies to build the various proteins our body needs.  Of these 20 our body is capable of making 11 of them on its on.  Nine of them cannot be made by the body and therefore must be obtained through our diet. Because our bodies cannot make these 9 amino acids they are termed “essential” amino acids meaning it is essential to get these through our diets.

In the past, food sources that contained all of the essential amino acids were called “high quality” or “complete” proteins.  Animal proteins contain this complete complement of essential amino acids and therefore are termed “high quality”. This is where the notion of protein from animal sources having better quality protein over that of plant sources originated. This is not true, however.  The truth is all plant proteins have some of every essential amino acid.  The difference is that some plant protein sources have this full complement of amino acids in abundance (soybeans, quinoa, spinach) like animal sources do whereas as some have all of these essential amino acids but the amounts of one or two of these amino acids may be low. For example, grains are lower in lysine and legumes are lower in methionine than those protein sources designated as “high quality”.  This is where the idea of combining or complementing of proteins came from for vegetarians and vegans.

  • Do I need to combine proteins or monitor my consumption?

In an effort to make sure that all vegetarians and vegans were getting enough of all the amino acids, in the early 1970’s in her book Diet for a Small PlanetFrances Moore Lappe popularized this idea of combining plant proteins at each meal in order to get a “complete” protein.  For example, mixing beans and grains to get enough Lysine and Methionine at each meal. This practice has since been refuted as unnecessary since it is now well-known that our livers store the various amino acids and it’s not critical to combine different protein sources at each meal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Success Story of the Week: Anastasia

Posted by Jenn on February 5, 2011


My name is Anastasia I. D. Brown, also known as The Veganbetic.  Here’s my story: In 2007, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes three days after my forty-fifth birthday.  I like to say the warranty ran out. Of course, I knew a little about the disease because I have high blood pressure and hereditary high cholesterol, and for years I’d heard my doctors say that I was heading for trouble because of my lifestyle. I didn’t listen, natch.  I’ve never liked being told what to do.  Who does?

So, all of a sudden (or so it seemed to me), I had this disease, and—hey, presto!—playtime was over. I was a champion eater in my past.  One pound of pasta…I could eat that for dinner with no difficulty.  A pint of Ben and Jerry’s for dessert was easy. And I loved eating like that.  I absolutely adored it. And it was now kaput.

The first thing I learned about managing diabetes is that doing so is a discipline. Anyone here like discipline? Anyone? Bueller? Naaah, didn’t think so. The second thing I learned about diabetes is that the road to managing diabetes through discipline is the same as the road to hell: it’s paved with good intentions. So I bought the books, joined the websites, got my little medical tag to wear around my neck.  But soon I’d backslide, get rebellious, neglect to take my meds, and would fling myself back into the food orgy.  Then the guilt would smack me in the head, I’d resolve to take better care of myself, and for a few months, I’d be the model diabetic patient.  But then the cycle would start-up again.

Here’s the funny thing:  I am a Zen Buddhist.  No, that’s not intrinsically funny—wait; yeah, it is.  Anyway, my particular Zen Buddhist gig consists of pretty much one thing.  It’s called shikantaza, and basically what it means is to Just.  Freakin’.  Sit. And it’s boring.  Unless you do shikantaza, you have no idea just how horrifically boring it really is.  And it’s uncomfortable, you itch, you have to go to the can, your nose runs, and it just all around sucks at times.  Shikantaza makes doing your taxes look entertaining (I was going to write that it makes going to the Department of Motor Vehicles look entertaining, but then I remembered that visiting the DMV is actually a total scream). But if I could sit for a half hour a day and sometimes longer as part of a discipline which really seems to have no point at all whatsoever (that’s right!  No point, kids!), then why the hell couldn’t I take better care of myself as part of a discipline that has some defined goals—things like heading off lovely little issues such as neuropathy, limb amputation, renal failure, and more?

That’s when I realized that diabetes management is not just a discipline, just as shikantaza is not just a discipline.  It’s a practice.  What’s more, it’s a practice that takes practice.  You have to—as RuPaul says—work it, beeotch.

**** So, for the last three and a half years, I’ve been practicing.  And I’ve been getting better at this diabetes thing. About a year ago, I got me some H1N1 and was very sick.  I hadn’t been taking particularly good care of myself at the time, and swine flu made my Type II go to the outer limits.  Diabetics, prepare to faint: my HbA1c was 14.

Yes.  14!

After two months’ recovery (and because I was too sick to eat everything I could get my hands on), my HbA1c dropped to 12.  My poor doctor was almost in hysterics.  I promised him I’d take care of myself. It was about this time that I went to my local Borders and bought a book called Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program For Reversing Diabetes.  Dr. Barnard advocates a vegan diet in this program.  I read the book and was inspired.  And to inspire a wiseass cynic like me takes a lot. I had toyed with vegetarianism and veganism in my past, switching between both from time to time, but always returning to an omnivorous diet.  I had also been a natural foods chef for a number of years, so I was always preparing food for people who didn’t eat meat or any kind of animal products.  To me, going permanently vegan would also take discipline and be a discipline…but, first, it would be a practice that took practice. Read the rest of this entry »

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YumUniverse.com ‘s Interview of yours truly…

Posted by Jenn on January 25, 2011


http://www.yumuniverse.com/2011/01/21/the-plant-rx-plant-based-health-study-interview-with-dr-jenna-taylor/

Visit Heather Crosby’s YumUniverse to read the full interview (Link Above).


The Plant Rx Plant-Based Health Study: Interview with Dr. Jenna Taylor – By: Heather Crosby of YumUniverse.


If you do one thing for yourself and your health today, please take 10 minutes to read the following interview with Dr. Jenna Taylor, founder of The Plant Rx.

Jenna is an inspiring woman who is currently conducting a very important 60-day plant-based diet study, in which participants (StephanieNikkiVanessaMegan,John and Jax and Amber) will be changing their diets from either a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) or a Vegetarian Diet, to a Plant-based (Vegan) diet for 60 days. Dr. Taylor and her team will be measuring the participants changes in health, both quantitatively and qualitatively—and in an effort to be as transparent as possible, all test results will be published at ThePlantRx.com.

Dr. Taylor’s perspectives not only as a physician, but as a vegan, are invaluable, and I am looking forward to sharing more of her progress and efforts to share the benefits of a plant-based diet with YU.

One of the most important things she said during our interview is that “[physicians] have been subjected to the same programming as you and I were and just like lots of other people out there, they still believe it. That being said, this is why it is imperative for people to be in charge of their own health. Ask questions, read, research, etc. No one is going to care more about you, than you do.”

Amen, sister.

– – –
YU: So, you have had some pretty significant personal results from adopting a plant-based diet. Tell us a little more about that.

Dr. T: I have and I didn’t expect any of them. Everything about transitioning toThe Plant Rx has been a positive, pleasant surprise. I was in very good health from a medical perspective, but I had no idea the harm that I was potentially causing my body.

You see, we practice what I call “reactionary” medicine in the United States. We don’t go to the doctor unless something is wrong. The problem with this approach is that many of us feel just fine until our mid-thirties, early forties or even longer. We don’t see what is happening on the inside of our bodies and our health system isn’t set up help us look at those things before that. In my case, the only “real” health issue I struggled with that I was aware of was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I didn’t think that it had anything to do with my diet as I had kept food logs and couldn’t identify any “trigger” foods so to speak. I would have episodes about once a month and the pain would be so terribly excruciating that I would literally pass out because my body could not tolerate it. Since adopting The Plant Rx diet I have not had one episode. Further, my cholesterol numbers got significantly better, I felt better—more energy, better sleep and I lost some weight too.

YU: What health goals do you have set for the future? Any issues you are dealing with now that you feel confident will go away eventually?
Dr. T: I feel great right now. I am rarely sick and the only issue I need to find a solution to is my poor posture while typing on my laptop! I plan on taking care of myself the way that I think we should practice medicine, preventatively. We need more of a focus on overall wellness in addition to The Plant Rx. This includes things like regular exercise, meditation and strong interpersonal relationships.

YU: How do you personally stay on track? Share some favorite tips (ie: travel, busy schedules, budget, dining out).
Dr. T: Planning ahead. The one thing that I wish I would have known when I transitioned was to always plan ahead because you will inevitably find yourself in a situation with little to no options for eating. For me, this means always keeping snacks with me. I make sure I have stuff at work and even a few things in the car. L.A. traffic is not kind to a hungry vegan at times!

At home, I cook on the weekends. I’m single, so cooking every night doesn’t make sense and I’m usually too tired by the time I get home from work and just want something, anything, as long as it’s immediate. Thus, I cook on the weekends and make enough to have left overs for my lunch that week and I freeze some of it so I can easily have something for times when I’m away for the weekend and don’t have the time to cook. Also, while I would prefer to have fresh organic fruits and veggies in the house, that isn’t really feasible all the time so I do buy a lot of frozen fruits and vegetables. Dining out can be a challenge, but I live by the “be creative” rule. I look at it this way, the worst case scenario is that the restaurant folks think I am difficult and weird when ordering, maybe my friends even will too, but that’s ok because I’m not going to get heart disease. I can live with that trade-off!

YU: What are your favorite plant-based meals?
Dr. T: For my Plant Rx I make super yummy pasta fagliole, chili and lentil loaf. My all-time favorite Plant Rx is a wheatberry curry casserole. The recipe as written should have chicken in it but I leave out the chicken and add more veggies.

YU: Are you eating any new foods now that you didn’t before (ie: quinoa, superfoods)?
Dr. T: Yes! I had never eaten quinoa or pomegranates, which are two of my favorites now. I also found out about this stuff called liquid aminos from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book. I love it and use it in a bunch of different things.

Click here to read the rest of the article at: YumUniverse.com

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Plant Based Diet With Whole Foods: 5 Strategies

Posted by Jenn on December 21, 2010


Grocery Store Green Bell Peppers

Image via Wikipedia

Journalist and UC Berkeley professor Michal Pollan has made a name for himself in recent years with books and articles about food, such as his award-winning “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” In trying to make sense of how complicated and artificial our foods have become, he famously advised, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With a few simple strategies, you can turn his miniature manifesto into your personal nutrition plan by eating a plant-based diet with whole foods.

    Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the simplest parts of your plant-based food strategy. Whether you go for organic or conventional produce, eat an array of colors so that you get a variety of nutrients: yellow squash, purple eggplants, red apples, green kale and so on. To keep your menus interesting, vary your cooking methods. You can eat your fruits and vegetables raw, of course. But to mix things up, try grilling fruit slices by brushing them with canola oil, placing them in a grill pan on low heat for five minutes and sprinkling them with cinnamon. Turn your vegetables into a main dish by grilling them as kebabs: Brush veggies such as cherry tomatoes, zucchini slices and red onions with Italian dressing, place them on skewers and grill over medium heat for five to 10 minutes.
  2. Whole Grains

  3. Whole grains are grains that haven’t been refined through a manufacturing process–they’re better sources of fiber, potassium and other nutrients than refined grains because the bran and germ remain intact. You can find whole-grain versions of all kinds of foods, including bread, rice and pasta. Look at the package carefully to identify a whole grain. Don’t just look for the word “whole” on the label; also read the ingredients to be sure that whole grains appear among the first items on the list. Look for whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat, buckwheat, millet and wild rice and avoid the word “refined.”
  4. Nutrition Needs

  5. If you’ve decided to go vegetarian, it’s important to understand the nutritional effect of various foods you’ve removed from your diet. A vegan eating plan, for example, eliminates foods with vitamin B-12, and some vegetarian diets are low in calcium, iron and zinc. You can get the right nutrients, though, if you eat a variety of foods. You can get protein from soy products, legumes and nuts. You can get calcium and iron from dark, leafy green vegetables such as spinach. You can get vitamin B-12 from fortified soy products or by taking a supplement. You can get zinc from whole grains and nuts.
  6. Navigate the Grocery Store

  7. One of the keys to eating a plant based diet with whole foods is stocking your pantry and refrigerator each week so that you have what you need to make healthy meals. If you know throughout the week that your ingredients are waiting for you at home, you’ll be less likely to pick up food from a restaurant on your way home from work. To do this, develop the habit of navigating the grocery store wisely. This usually means avoiding the middle of store, where pre-packaged, artificial foods often line the shelves. Stick mostly to the perimeters, where you’ll find fresh produce. Walk down the aisles with a purpose–many whole grain foods are situated in the section with rice and other baking items, but avoid the refined foods you find there.
  8. Plan Ahead for Snacks

  9. One of the most challenging aspects of eating a plant based, whole-foods diet is that it’s simply much easier not to be healthy. So many convenience foods are available that can seem tempting when you’re hungry, and fast food restaurants seem to line every street. So it’s crucial that you plan ahead if you want to make healthy choices consistently. Always take an apple with you, or a small plastic zipper bag of cashews or almonds. Alternately, keep healthy bars with you, such as Lara Bars–these are made exclusively with nuts, spices and dried fruits. Having these on hand for when you’re suddenly starving will help you ward off convenient but unhealthy temptations.

(Source: ehow.com; By S.B. Plunkett)

Read more: Plant Based Diet With Whole Foods | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/way_5571813_plant-based-diet-whole-foods.html#ixzz18iHx8qIh

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