Monday, February 20, 2012

Milk Does(n't) the Body Good!

We are told that cows milk is mother natures most perfect food. I couldn’t agree more. It is the most perfect food… for a new born calf. Personally, I think there is no excuse for drinking any sort of dairy milk. Like humans cows do not lactate naturally, people!

However, four recent studies suggest other reasons to avoid dairy besides for animal welfare reasons. 

Back in 2007 this study helped to show that adding cows milk to black tea blocks the human digestive system from absorbing the benefits of the tea. Most teas are very high in antioxidants and vitamins, essentially you’re drinking the goodness of dark leafy greens! However, so complete was the negative effect that when adding cows milk to black tea it completely blunted any benefits of drinking the tea. Perhaps you should learn to like your tea the way you like your men! Or something to that affect.

A year later, a study found when blackberry juice is prepared with defatted milk that there was no increase of ellagic acid absorbed into the blood. Ellagic acid is an antioxidant found to be chemoprotective and also has the ability to reduce blood pressure and as well as to reverse artery wall thickness. Absorption of ellagic acid plasma greatly increased when the blackberry juice was made with water instead.

Then two big studies came out in 2009 that helped to show two things: one that berries are powerful antioxidants with multiple health benefits including helping to reverse brain-function decline due to age; and two that consuming berries with dairy nearly blocks all of the healthy properties of eating the berries. For instance adding fresh strawberries to cereal is always a great idea; however, when you are using cows milk in your cereal, you will block any benefits of eating the strawberries. 

While these four studies all involve relatively small sample sizes, they do suggest that consuming dairy milk may defeat the purpose of consuming other healthy foods with them and force use to wonder what   other negative affects of consuming dairy there are. Perhaps there is a reason why other species do not naturally consume milk past infancy or from a different species. Besides blocking antioxidants from being absorbed into your bloodstream, cows milk is fatty and has high levels of cholesterol. Both are related to heart disease, which is currently America’s greatest killer. While I am not a registered dietitian, I would advise leaving cows milk for the calfs and choosing a more compassionate and healthful alternative such as unsweetened almond milk or sunflower milk! 


Sunday, February 12, 2012


I’m sure that you’ve all heard about the newest craze related to nutrition. Foodies have been raving about Chia seeds for quite some time now. I even know a runner who travels around with a little tube of chia in her bag for moments when she feels like she needs a little pick-me-up. But why? What is the big fuss over such a little seed?

Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run, compared a tablespoon of chia to a “smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone.” I only eat one of those three so it’s a good thing that chia is around.

The chia seed, while a new rave in the US, played an important nutritional role in the diets of Aztec and Mayan warriors. Often called the “running food” it was used for long distance travel and for nourishment before and after battle.

Today we now know that chia seeds are a complete protein, the highest vegetable source of omega 3 fatty acids, and filled with calcium and magnesium as well as dietary fiber! Truly, a wondrous food.

But how should we use these little guys? Unlike sesame or flax seeds, chia seeds have a digestible outer shell, which means they don’t need to be blended before eaten. As such, they can be sprinkled on top of salads, tossed in marinara sauce or thrown over a bowl of lentils. So powerful are these little guys that one heaping tablespoon a day meets nearly the entire daily need of Omega 3s! That said, I present here a great and simple little desert or a powerful breakfast. Simply put, here is Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding. 

3/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
Tiny dash salt
1 large banana- ripe
1 cup blueberries

To begin, put the almond milk (or any non-dairy milk in the blender (next weeks post will discuss why this dish should never be made with dairy milk)) with the banana and ¾ cup of the blueberries. Blend until smooth and dark blue.

While that is being blended, add the chia seeds to a large mixing bowl or container. Once milk is done being blended, simply pour it on top of the seeds.

 Now all you need to do is stir once every 5 minutes for the next twenty minutes or so. Similar to flax seeds, the chia will absorb the liquid and obtain a gelatinous texture. The mixture should be done after about twenty minutes of soaking and mixing. The mixture should be now be thick and ready to eat. I prefer it refrigerated and often add the other ¼ cup of fresh blueberries to the top.

Bon Appetite

The best part is, if you don’t like the pudding, you can also use your left over seeds for an elegant plant!

sneak peak: next weeks post is going to be four studies done over the past few years that have shown that the human body's ability to absorb antioxidants becomes compromised when ingested with dairy! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Compassion is SEXY

One of my favorite places to get food, the Cinnamon Snail (the first organic vegan food truck)  has just announced that they are having a valentines day menu! Preorders only! Be sure to check them out on facebook for the menu and details on how to order.

Hello all,

Perhaps the silliest holiday of the calendar year is only 11 days away. And while I would be happy with a bountiful bouquet of broccoli, chances are you’re not dating me or even buying me a gift. So assuming you’re dating someone who enjoys the occasional sweet, there is still a chance to give them a gift that shows you care… for more than just them. As Paul McCarthney claims, "going veg can save the world."And since Valentines day is the holiday of love, it is important to remember that compassion is sexy.

So perhaps instead of purchasing environmentally harmful and ultimately wasteful flowers for your romantic partner, and rather than giving them something that causes countless pain and suffering for thousands of animals (not to mention clogged arteries to your partner) choose compassion by gifting a vegan treat and show exactly how sexy you are by showing how much you care!

Looking for some vegan V-day ideas? Check out some of these things.

(Gone Pie!)   

Gone Pie – Bob Dylan lovers everywhere should unite behind this mostly organic, local and gluten free but always vegan bakery! (check out Abby Beans blog for all sorts of positive reviews! Both of us love their goods as well as the owner Barbara- who is a true artist! (Local to NYC but does orders via the web))

Sweet & Sara – Now available in most Whole Foods and also via the web, marshmallow sweets have never tasted better! (Also see Abby’s blog about Sweet and Sara. Sara is also from NYC and is a total vegan rock star!)

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – This is a NYC gem in the heart of the East Village. Come here and try their handcrafted, all natural vegan ice cream. (Seriously amazing stuff made by an amazing staff!) 

(Sweet & Sara)

In truth, this list can go on indefinitely. And not just for those in the NYC area. Find something local and give it a try. I personally give two thumbs up to: Princeton, New Jersey’s The Bent Spoon; Washington DC’s Sticky Fingers; Atlanta, Georgia's Dulce Bakery; and Toronto, Canada’s Bunners. Chances are you and your special someone(s) (who am I to limit you to one special friend!) will be more than pleasantly surprised. And you’ll be helping animals as well as the environment!

Cheers and stay well,
see you out there!