The Plant Rx

Your resource for a plant-based diet

Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Need a resource for unbiased Nutrition Information?

Posted by Jenn on January 16, 2013


Harvard School of Public Health

Where do you get your nutrition information?

What resources do you trust? How do you know they are the best?

“You may have heard that ‘knowledge is power,’ or that information, the raw material of knowledge, is power. But the truth is that only some information is power: reliable and accurate information”.  Information to the contrary, is not merely careless, it can be dangerous and destructive especially when it comes to your health.

Today we have the luxury of having vast amounts of information right at our fingertips.  Just type in a few words and away you go.  You can find information on just about anything you can think of and nutrition information is no exception.  The question becomes how do you decipher which information is credible and best and which is not.

After all, with different factions pontificating one diet over another, special interests doing what they do best and with new clinical studies contradicting the very information we once thought was gospel on a seemingly regular basis  – how do you know what or who to trust?

The 3 attributes I consider most valuable when evaluating these information sources are:

  • Bias – What is this particular groups, organization, entity, web site or person’s motivation? Is it to inform, persuade, sell, and/or change an attitude or belief? What do they have to gain or lose?
  • Reputation and Credibility – What is this particular group, organization, entity, web site or person’s mission, values and goals? Is there a governing body that ensures these are met?  How long has this particular group, organization, entity, site  been in existence?
  • Transparency -Does this particular group, organization, entity,web site or person’s have evidence to back up their claims and is it readily accessible? And if so, what are the sources of this information? What are their credentials (see bullet #2) And do they have a bias (see bullet #1)?

The Harvard School of Public Health’s: Nutrition Source

meets the afore-mentioned criteria in innumerable ways.  Furthermore, it is expertly maintained, easy to navigate and always up to date on the most recent research and public health information. But, don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself and let me know what you think! I would love to hear your feedback.

SOURCES:

Harris, Robert. “Evaluating Internet Research Sources,” [ http://www.sccu.edu/faculty/R_Harris/evalu8it.htm ] (March, 1999) @ http://education.illinois.edu/wp/credibility/index.html.

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The Pleasure Trap: You know what you should do, so why is it so hard to do it? – YumUniverse™ | YumUniverse™

Posted by Jenn on August 24, 2011


The Pleasure Trap: You know what you should do, so why is it so hard to do it? – YumUniverse™ | YumUniverse™.

GREAT article by Heather Crosby at YumUniverse.  Very powerful.  A must read in my opinion!

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Press Release: Doctors Sue USDA, HHS for Ignoring Healthy Alternative to MyPyramid

Posted by Jenn on January 10, 2011


This news release is from PCRM.org 

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Petition Says Agencies Failing to Offer Americans Nutritionally Sound Guideline

WASHINGTON—A nonprofit physicians organization is suing two federal agencies for ignoring a healthier alternative to the confusing MyPyramid nutritional diagram, despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.  

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violated federal law by failing to respond to a PCRM petition offering a simple, plant-based alternative, the Power Plate, to MyPyramid.

“We are asking the government to protect the average American, not special agribusiness interests,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “MyPyramid is confusing, and it recommends meat and dairy products despite overwhelming evidence that these foods are unnecessary and unhealthy. Research shows the Power Plate is a better choice, and it’s simple enough that a child could follow it.”

Since the first Food Pyramid was introduced nearly two decades ago, obesity and diabetes have become commonplace. About 27 percent of young adults are now too overweight to qualify for military service, and an estimated one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.

To address the worsening epidemics of obesity and diet-related diseases, the lawsuit says that USDA and HHS should exercise their joint authority under the National Nutrition Monitoring & Related Research Act to withdraw the MyPyramid diagram and adopt the Power Plate food diagram and dietary guidelines.

The colorful, user-friendly Power Plate graphic is based on current nutrition research showing that plant-based foods are the most nutrient-dense and help prevent chronic diseases. The graphic depicts a plate divided into four new food groups: fruits, grains, legumes, and vegetables. There are no confusing portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the Power Plate simply asks people to eat a variety of all four food groups each day. A website, ThePowerPlate.org, offers more information on plant-based diets.

For a copy of PCRM’s legal complaint or to schedule an interview with Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., contact Vaishali Honawar at 202-527-7339 orvhonawar@pcrm.org.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

URL:  http://www.pcrm.org/news/doctors_sue_usda_hhs_ignoring_healthy_alternative_mypyramid_110106.html

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Protein in a Plant-based Diet: Is combining necessary?

Posted by Jenn on December 20, 2010


Diversity in dry common beans

Image via Wikipedia

It is very easy for a plant-based diet to meet the recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein combining is not necessary; it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout the day.

Some Americans are obsessed with protein. Vegans are bombarded with questions about where they get their protein. Athletes used to eat thick steaks before competition because they thought it would improve their performance. Protein supplements are sold at health food stores. This concern about protein is misplaced. Although protein is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it. In reality, we need small amounts of protein. Only one calorie out of every ten we take in needs to come from protein 1. Athletes do not need much more protein than the general public 2. Protein supplements are expensive, unnecessary, and even harmful for some people.

How much protein do we need? The RDA recommends that we take in 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram that we weigh (or about 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh) 1. This recommendation includes a generous safety factor for most people. When we make a few adjustments to account for some plant proteins being digested somewhat differently from animal proteins and for the amino acid mix in some plant proteins, we arrive at a level of 1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight (0.45 grams of protein per pound that we weigh). Since vegans eat a variety of plant protein sources, somewhere between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per kilogram would be a protein recommendation for vegans. If we do a few calculations we see that the protein recommendation for vegans amounts to close to 10% of calories coming from protein. [For example, a 79 kg vegan male aged 25 to 50 years could have an estimated calorie requirement of 2900 calories per day. His protein needs might be as high as 79 kg x 1 gram/kg = 79 grams of protein. 79 grams of protein x 4 calories/gram of protein = 316 calories from protein per day. 316 calories from protein divided by 2900 calories = 10.1% of calories from protein.] If we look at what vegans are eating, we find that between 10-12% of calories come from protein 3. This contrasts with the protein intake of non-vegetarians, which is close to 14-18% of calories.

So, in the United States it appears that vegan diets are commonly lower in protein than standard American diets. Remember, though, with protein, more (than the RDA) is not necessarily better. There do not appear to be health advantages to consuming a high protein diet. Diets that are high in protein may even increase the risk of osteoporosis 4 and kidney disease 5.

Table 1: Sample Menus Showing How Easy It Is To Meet Protein Needs
Protein (grams)
Breakfast: 1 cup Oatmeal 6
1 cup Soymilk 7
1 Bagel 9

Lunch: 2 slices Whole Wheat Bread 5
1 cup Vegetarian Baked Beans 12

Dinner: 5 oz firm Tofu 11
1 cup cooked Broccoli 4
1 cup cooked Brown Rice 5
2 Tbsp Almonds 4

Snack: 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter 8
6 Crackers 2
TOTAL 73 grams
 

Protein Recommendation for Male Vegan [based on 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight for 70 kilogram (154 pound) male]

56-70 grams
Breakfast: 2 slices Whole Wheat Toast 5
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter 8

Lunch: 6 oz. Soy Yogurt 6
2 Tbsp Almonds 4
1 Baked Potato 4

Dinner: 1 cup cooked Lentils 18
1 cup cooked Bulgur 6

Snack: 1 cup Soymilk 7
TOTAL 58 grams
 

Protein Recommendation for Female Vegan [based on 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight for 57.5 kilogram (126 pound) female]

46-58 grams
*Additional food should be added to these menus to provide adequate calories and to meet requirements for nutrients besides protein.

Table 2 shows the amount of protein in various vegan foods and also the number of grams of protein per 100 calories. To meet protein recommendations, the typical adult male vegan needs only 2.5 to 2.9 grams of protein per 100 calories and the typical adult female vegan needs only 2.1 to 2.4 grams of protein per 100 calories. These recommendations can be easily met from vegan sources.

Table 2: Protein Content of Selected Vegan Foods
FOOD AMOUNT PROTEIN(gm) PROTEIN(gm/100 cal)
Tempeh 1 cup 41 9.3
Seitan 3 ounces 31 22.1
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 29 9.6
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 18 7.8
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.7
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 13 6.4
Veggie burger 1 patty 13 13.0
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 12 4.2
Veggie baked beans 1 cup 12 5.0
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 12 5.7
Black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup 11 6.2
Tofu, firm 4 ounces 11 11.7
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 10 5.7
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 9 3.5
Tofu, regular 4 ounces 9 10.6
Bagel 1 med.
(3 oz)
9 3.9
Peas, cooked 1 cup 9 6.4
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked 1/2 cup 8 8.4
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp 8 4.3
Veggie dog 1 link 8 13.3
Spaghetti, cooked 1 cup 8 3.7
Almonds 1/4 cup 8 3.7
Soy milk, commercial, plain 1 cup 7 7.0
Soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces 6 4.0
Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 6 3.7
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6 3.3
Whole wheat bread 2 slices 5 3.9
Cashews 1/4 cup 5 2.7
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 5 2.4
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 5 2.1
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 5 13.0
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 4 6.8
Potato 1 med.
(6 oz)
4 2.7
Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and manufacturers’ information. 

The recommendation for protein for adult males vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day (see text). Read the rest of this entry »

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American Dietetic Association:Adopting a Plant-Based Diet (handout)

Posted by Jenn on December 17, 2010


Soybeans grow throughout Asia and North and So...

Image via Wikipedia

Cancer experts agree that eating a variety of colorful fruit and vegetables, grains, and legumes (dried peas and beans) aids in the fight against cancer. By making simple diet and lifestyle changes, you may reduce your risk for cancer recurrence as well as your risk for other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes mellitus.

A plant-based diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. These foods are good sources of protein, carbohydrates, fat,vitamins, and minerals. They are also naturally lower in calories than foods made from animals. Colorful plant foods are also good sources of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are naturally present in plant foods, and they can help to protect our body’s cells from damage by cancer-causing agents. They also help support overall health. Eating a plant-based diet does not mean that you have to become a vegetarian; it just means that you should try to select most of your foods from plant sources.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends these guidelines for adopting a plant-based diet using their New American Plate*:

◆Plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans should cover two thirds or more of the plate. Fish, poultry, meat, or low-fat dairy foods should cover no more than one third of the plate.

◆Include substantial portions of one or more vegetables or fruits on your plate—not just grain products like pasta or whole-grain bread.

◆Eat five or more servings every day of a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits.

◆Eat more than seven servings a day of a variety of grains (breads, cereals, pasta, and rice), legumes, and tubers (potatoes and sweet potatoes).

◆Choose minimally processed foods and limit consumption of refined sugar. Read the rest of this entry »

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