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Love plants, love yourself

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by Wilma Tarr, Plant-Based Cook, Nature Lover

Living in a world where our priorities are unbalanced we often neglect our health and especially our diet. There are so many factors at play, not least the role of stress, eating junk food, careless substance use and chasing the skinny ideal. We use unhealthy shortcuts and chemically-laden products to clear up bad skin and add shine to our hair, we medicate symptoms and we simply ignore the tell-tale signs that reveal the truth about our health! We eat food that advertisers tell us are ‘healthy’ without questioning their motives.

This lifestyle leads to health problems and frustration over the general condition of our bodies, taking us down a dangerous path of illness and destruction.

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True health means feeling energetic, balanced and vibrant on the inside, while seeing the positive external changes as well.  Following a balanced plant-based diet, exercising, spending time in nature, getting adequate sleep and staying hydrated are all extremely beneficial for overall health and well-being.  In addition to good nutrition and dramatically reducing your risk of a broad spectrum of diseases (including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes), following a plant-based diet also provides many physical benefits. You will truly enjoy the immense health benefits and see positive external changes as well.

 

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A balanced plant-based diet provides all the nutrients your body needs, ensuring that your nails, hair and skin always look their best. Because of the high water content of a plant-based diet, it will supply your body with constant fluids, keeping your skin hydrated, smooth and healthy.

Whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans contain antioxidants and phytonutrients from real, whole, plant-based foods which are anti-inflammatory and filled with fibre. The mixture of proteins from grains, legumes, Fry’s, vegetables, nuts and seeds (nutritional powerhouses), provide a complement of amino acids and antioxidants. These have been shown to promote hair growth, healthy hair and skin.

This diet is not only rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients essential for health, wellness and beauty, but it is also alkalising, delicious and a powerful medicine that we all have access to every time we eat.

If you have a hard time eating greens, include them in smoothies and juices that the whole family will enjoy. Fresh juices like carrot, celery, apple and cucumber will deliver hydration and skin-nourishing vitamins and minerals. Include avocados and bananas in your smoothies for extra benefits and a supply of healthy fats for glowing skin. Variety keeps things interesting and there are infinite and oh so many delicious recipes and ideas available!

You will find that by adopting this lifestyle and making smarter, educated choices, you can eat delicious meals that are healthy and nutrient-dense, providing everything you need to feel healthy and look your best.

Wilma is a nature lover, plant-based cook, keen photographer and mother of two teenage boys. She has always loved expressing herself in a creative way not just through cooking but also through styling, writing and photography. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to find our more about Living a Vegan Life in South Africa.

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Power up with plant proteins

by Nicola Walters, RD (SA) – Nutritional Solutions

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The word protein may immediately bring to mind thoughts of sizzling steak and chicken sosaties on a good old South African braai. Yet, if combined correctly, plant sources such as soy, tofu, legumes and other grains can also provide all of the essential amino acids required in a healthy diet.

Often, we think of protein as a single nutrient. In fact, proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids, of which, unique sequences and arrangements make up the different proteins that are found in foods. The amino acids are classified into groups of essentiality based on the body’s ability or produce them. Nine of the twenty different amino acids are considered essential because the body cannot make them, and as such they must be provided by the diet.

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Quinoa and Soybeans contain all 9 essential amino acids and as such can be considered complete proteins. Similarly, if legumes are combined with grains or legumes combined with seeds, the combination can also provide all 9 essential amino acids. Therefore, a plant based diet can supply complete protein to the diet. It is important to focus not just on the protein content of foods consumed, but also on the nutrients packaged with the protein. Legumes, grains and seeds also supply optimal fibre, vitamins and minerals to the diet. Vitamins and Minerals support essential metabolic functions in the body and fibre plays a key role in the maintenance of a healthy gut. Plant protein sources also contribute higher levels of poly- and mono-unsaturated fats to the diet than do many animal sources of protein. As a result, including plant sources of protein in the diet can have a significant impact on health conditions such cardiovascular health and diabetes. Studies have even indicated that increasing fibre, whole grains and legumes in the diet can contribute to more optimal weight management and overall health.

Nutritional Solutions, is a registered dietetic practice with all its dietitians registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa and Association for Dietetics in South Africa.