The mercury is steadily dropping in South Africa and the rain is keeping most of us in doors. To counter the cold we have put together some winter remedies which will warm your tummy right down to your toes. These home-made recipes of vegan and vegetarian soups are packed full of delicious vegetables and won’t disappoint.
So stoke the fire, pick up your blanket and see out the storm with these tasty soups:
Following a well-balanced plant-based diet is not only healthy but evidence suggests that it may help prevent or even reverse some diseases. Furthermore, both the Australian and American Governments have publicly recognised the benefits of plant-based diets.
If your children refuse to eat meat because they struggle with texture or you are raising your kids vegetarian, it is possible for them to receive all their nutrients with a well-balanced diet. Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, chairman of the American Academy of Paediatrics’ committee on nutrition, has stated that “Vegetarianism can be conducive to a healthy lifestyle, but you have to balance out what you omit”.
Tips to raise your child vegetarian: Protein
The main concern with a vegetarian diet is that your child will not receive enough protein. Meat is a complete protein as it contains all 8 essential proteins, plant-based proteins such as soya are able to provide the same quality of protein in your child’s diet. Examples of soya based protein include tofu and Fry’s. For more information about the health benefits of soya, click here.
Leafy green vegetables are especially good sources of iron, and according to the Vegetarian Resources Group may even be better on a per calorie bases when compared to meat. If you child is vegetarian, your paediatrician may want to test for any iron deficiency but a diet filled with these non-animal iron sources will ensure this does not happen.
Fish is the main source of omega-3 fatty acids but there are plenty of other ways to get this essential nutrient in your child’s diet without the meat. Sources include flaxseeds (put it in anything you cook or bake), beans, leafy greens, hummus and winter squash. For information on vegetarian sources of omega-3 click here.
If your child is eating a vegan diet, it is important to ensure that they are getting enough calcium in their diet. Include foods fortified with calcium: 100% fruit juice, soya milk, tofu, and breakfast cereals.
Have any other questions? Tammy Fry has raised both her children to happy and healthy on a vegetarian diet, ask her now! For the top 10 vegetarian lunchbox ideas for your child click here.
A teaspoon of sugar. . . A drop in the ocean or a dangerous liaison?
Sugar, once the only supposed causative culprit of high blood sugar, is actually now accepted as a lesser evil than various other sweetened and even unsweetened foods.
Caryn Davies, registered dietician shares some perspective on the sugar saga. Diabetes management is no longer solely focused on restricting all dietary items that contain sugar, but is rather centered on an understanding and avoidance of the foods which can dramatically raise blood sugar. Surprisingly, ‘sweetness’ is not necessarily an accurate predictor.
Of course, a teaspoon of sugar will increase one’s blood sugar, but more dramatic effects are interestingly noted after the consumption of highly refined carbohydrate foods, such as a slice of white or brown bread, a cup of certain breakfast cereals or fruit juice and even one rice cake. The ability of foods to affect our blood sugar after eating has been qualified and quantified in the context of the Glycemic Index (GI) and the Glycemic Load (GL), which give us insight into the type and amount of carbohydrates that should be consumed for optimal blood sugar control.
The best food choices for diabetics include carbohydrates that have been minimally processed (low GI carbohydrates), as these will result in a more gradual rise in blood sugar after eating, than the highly processed, more refined alternatives (high GI carbohydrates). Unlike carbohydrates, protein and fat do not exert an immediate rise in blood sugar and the effect of eating carbohydrates in conjunction with a small amount of healthy fat or lean protein is beneficial to overall glycemic control, as is the presence of fibre.
Many foods do contain a combination of carbohydrate, protein and fat, but some contain disproportionate amounts of fat, which is especially unhealthy for diabetics, as a high fat intake has the ability to reduce the efficiency of insulin, (the hormone which controls rising blood sugar). Thus, the key to effective diabetes management is to eat mixed and carefully balanced meals and to choose combination foods which are high in fibre and low in total and saturated fat.
Food shopping can get decidedly overwhelming as the topic of health can be interpreted and marketed in many different ways. Furthermore, food labeling is not always easy to decipher or even available.
The road to becoming consumer savvy starts with familiarizing oneself with common low GI foods and the concept of portion control. Well renowned low GI foods include unrefined starches, such as brown rice and oat bran; high protein grains such as quinoa, most legumes (beans, chickpeas & lentils), raw nuts and fruit & vegetable varieties that are eaten with the skin on. Whole foods, eaten as close to their natural form as possible, are the ultimate benchmark. Second to this, is portion control, because even a low GI carbohydrate consumed in large quantities could send blood sugar sky rocketing! (Potentially more than some high GI foods consumed in very small quantities.)
This brings us back to sugar –the currently considered vice of the modern diet! Perspective from the Glycemic Index, yields it somewhat acceptable in moderation. However, issues arise when portion control (the Glycemic Load) is ignored. Although a teaspoon of sugar in an afternoon cup of tea, may be relatively slight in effect, 4 cups of heavily sugared caffeine in a day paints another picture altogether. This coupled with the added sugar that is found in most cereals, convenience snack foods, sweetened dairy products and the diversity of drinks stocking the supermarket shelves these days, suddenly collaborate as a lifestyle risk factor for sugar addiction, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity! (All of which can be exacerbated by an excess of sugar in the diet.)
These statistically increasing conditions of lifestyle, despite being manageable, are to a large extent preventable! All it takes is a little bit of consumer savvy! Choose high fibre carbohydrates (> 6g fibre per 100g,) products that are low in fat (<3 g per 100g,) and practice portion control! (Add extra salad for satiety!) These simple principles, although used as the base of diabetes management, are not only useful for diabetics, but for anyone seeking good health, weight control and sustained energy!
South Africans eat up to 81 grams of protein a day while Americans and the British eat over 100 grams a day. While according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention the recommended daily average for protein is between 46 and 56 grams. But how much do you really need?
How to Calculate Your Protein Needs:
1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg
2. Determine your protein number; Mildly Active = 0.8, Regularly Active = 1.5, Heavily Active = 1.8
3. Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm.
Use a lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8). Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.
Example: 140lb female who is mildly active:
140 lbs/2.2 = 63kg
63kg x 0.5 = 51 gm protein/day
Are you wondering how to get enough protein as a vegetarian or vegan? Or are you looking for plant-based sources of protein? The team at Fry’s have put together this list of the top 10 vegan sources of protein.
Top Ten Vegetarian Sources of Protein
Fry’s Chunky Strips
Fry’s Traditional Burger
Proteins are the building blocks for life. When consumed they are broken down in the body into amino acids which promote cell growth and repair. You don’t have to eat meat and dairy to get what you need for your dietary intake. So the next time you are asked “But where do you get your protein from?” you will have all the answers!