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Top four foods for your heart

 Love Your Veggies, Love Your Heart!
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The latest South African health statistics show that about 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur daily in our country. The latest findings show that 6.3 million South Africans are living with high blood pressure, while we have one of the highest rates of hypertension worldwide. Heart failure is in the top 10 causes of death in South Africa but it is not all doom and gloom – a plant-based diet, free from cholesterol and saturated animals fats, has been shown to help prevent and even reverses heart disease.
We have carefully selected four delicious plant-based foods that are not only tasty but are good for your heart!
Top Four Foods for your Heart:
 1. Kale
201502-TT-1-IG-200x200What can kale not do?
In addition to boosting your immune system, counteracting the negative effects of smoking and preventing the common cold; kale reduces your chances of developing heart disease. Health-promoting phytonutrients in kale are extremely beneficial for heart health and the compound, glucoraphanin, found in the leafy green helps plaque from building in your arteries.
2. Soy
201502-TT-2-IG-200x200According to the American Heart Association; “There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits“. While several studies suggest that “soy may help reduce menopausal symptoms, and lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.”
3. Nuts
201502-TT-3-IG-200x200Studies have found that a single handful of nuts every day may cut your risk of having a heart attack by half. Evidence also suggests that nuts boost longevity. So nuts are the ultimate snack food; choose them over chips and a spoonful of peanut butter over sweets. Also while you are at it… try a brisk walk each day. Just 60 minutes of moderate exercise will help your immune system, help you sleep and give you more energy.
4. Whole Grains

201502-TT-4-IG-200x200Grain products range from pasta, bread, oatmeal and cereals (even Fry’s is made from a blend of grains!). Eating whole grains have a number of important health benefits. The dietary fibre from the whole grains, when forming part of a balanced diet, reduce blood cholesterol levels which promote a healthy heart.

Why not turn these top healthy foods for your heart into a delicious, protein-packed, salad? Our recipes are brimming with taste and make eating better easier! Head over to our salad recipe section now or let us know what your tops tips are for good heart health on Twitter!
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Vegan and vegetarian crossfit diet

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Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet goes hand-in-hand with a healthy and active lifestyle.  More sportsmen and women across the world are adopting it in order to compete at the top of their game.  Famous examples of vegetarian and vegan athletes include Carl Lewis, Brendan Brazier, Venus Williams, Peter Siddle and Patrik Baboumian (the World’s Strongest man!).  Crossfit is quickly becoming the most popular sport on the planet, we should know because three of the Fry’s Directors (Richard, Shaun and Hayley) are avid crossfit athletes.  We sat down with Richard Kelly to put together a meal plan that you can use as a vegetarian or vegan crossfitter.

Vegan Crossfit Meal Plan

Breakfast
1/4 cup dry oatmeal w/ blueberries and flaxseed oil
1 Fry’s Braai Sausage
Late Morning Snack
1 scoop Protein Powder (mixed in water)
1/4 cup ground pumpkin seeds
Lunch
1 cup pinto beans, 1/2 avocado, mixed greens, salsa, and a low carb tortilla
1 Apple
Mid Day Snack
mixed raw almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hummus and carrots
Preworkout
1 scoop rice/pea protein (mixed in water)
1/4 cup ground dried coconut and 5 grams glutamine
Postworkout
1 scoop Protein Powder (mixed in water)
1 banana and 1/2 cup strawberries, and a handful of spinach, kale, and collards, all blended in water
5 grams glutamine
Dinner
2 Fry’s Braai Sausages
1 cup broccoli florets / Quinoa Burgers with sundried tomatoes
2 cups salad
2 tbsp salad dressing (typically a tahini based dressing)

Need any more tips on how to become a meat-free athlete?  Ask Richard on Twitter now!

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Vegetarian winter dishes

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The mercury is steadily dropping in South Africa and the rain is keeping most of us indoors. To counter the cold we have put together some winter remedies which will warm your tummy right down to your toes. These homemade 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:

Vegan and Vegetarian Soups
Sweet Potato and Sesame Soup with Crispy Fry’s Polony
Lemon and Broccoli Soup
Sweet Potato, Ginger and Coconut Soup with Crispy Fry’s Polony
Lentil, Feta and Red Pepper Soup
Minestrone Soup with Vegan Sausage
Spicy Three Bean & Vegetable Soup

What are your favourite Winter Warmer recipes? Let us know on Twitter .

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Raising a vegetarian child

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“Mom, what’s for supper?”

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.

Iron

Leafy green vegetables are especially good sources of iron, and according to the Vegetarian Resources Group may even be better on a per calorie basis when compared to meat.  If your 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.

Omega-3

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.

Calcium

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.

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The Soy story, Fry’s tells it factually

The soya bean has been part of the human diet for thousands of years and the Ancient Chinese believed it to be one of the five sacred grains vital for life (alongside rice, wheat, barley and millet.) This high regard has been carried through time and has been supported by scientific investigation in more recent years. Soya is now recognized as a ‘functional food’ (meaning that it has health-promoting properties) and is one of an elite group of foods, to obtain approval by the U.S. FDA for a health claim. (The FDA currently recommends 25g of soya protein per day for adults to potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.) (1)

However, despite it being a longstanding natural source of nutrition and an established ‘functional food,’ there are elements of controversy regarding soya consumption.

The first point to establish in this debate is that different sources of soya may have different nutritional implications. Like the current carbohydrate controversy, (which ultimately boils down to carefully choosing high fibre, whole grains over refined, high sugar varieties), the type of soya consumed should also be closely examined. The widespread genetic modification of agricultural soya has been associated with negative health and environmental consequences, but this must not be confused with soya that has been naturally farmed.

There are many areas of health, where natural soya foods are recommended as a part of nutritional therapy. These include heart disease, menopause, hormone dependant cancers (breast, prostate and endometrial) and bone health.

What makes soya a healthy choice?

  • Soya is a high-quality ‘complete’ protein! Soya is particularly important in a vegan diet, as it is one of the few plant products which provides protein that is nutritionally equivalent to meat. The nutritional quality of protein foods varies according to the amino acid profile of each. (Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and although the body can make some amino acids, there are certain ‘essential amino acids’ which are required from dietary sources.) ‘Complete’ proteins are those which contain all of the essential amino acids. All animal proteins are considered complete whereas plant proteins are generally incomplete (containing some, but not all of the essential amino acids.) However, soya is one of the few plant exceptions, which is recognized as a complete protein! Looking even more closely at protein quality, the WHO and U.S. FDA established the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) as the official assay for evaluating protein quality. Proteins that after correcting for digestibility provide amino acids equal to or in excess of human requirements receive a PDCAAS score of 1.0. Soya has been successfully rated as such, meaning that it meets the protein needs of human adults, when consumed as a sole source of protein. (2)
  • Soya is cholesterol-free! Cholesterol is only found in animal products, thus although soya protein has been classed as a protein equivalent to meat, chicken and fish, it has the added benefit of providing a cholesterol-free alternative.
  • Soya is a good plant source of Iron! There are different chemical forms of iron, some of which have a greater absorption potential than others. Although the general assumption is that plant-based sources of iron have a lower bioavailability than iron obtained from animal proteins, recent research has shown that most of the iron contained within soya, is of the well-absorbed form, ferritin! (3)
  • Soya protein is a wise choice for sports nutrition! The importance of protein in the diet of athletes (for muscle development during training,) is well known. What remains misunderstood on this topic, is the actual amount and preferred sources of dietary protein recommended to achieve muscle building. Protein needs are dependent on the type of sport and the total energy intake of athletes and whole food sources are usually recommended above supplements. Excessive protein consumption can result in compromising of glucose levels, dehydration and kidney strain. (2) However, there is evidence that suggests soya protein puts less of a strain on the kidneys compared with intakes of animal protein. (4) Furthermore, high intakes of animal protein (which also contain fat), often result in a higher fat diet. This is not recommended for sportsmen and women due to the associated influence on body fat percentage. Soya can thus be embraced as a good protein source for athletes, being high in protein, but low in fat.
  • Soya contains isoflavones! Soya contains healthy phytochemicals (plant compounds) called isoflavones. There are various types of isoflavones, but two specifically (genistein and daidzein) have been studied closely and found to be very similar in structure to the hormone estrogen. These so-called ‘plant hormones’ are much weaker than true hormones, yet seem to have a positive influence on estrogen balancing in the body and have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Phytoestrogens found in soya foods are also able to act as antioxidants, carcinogen blockers and tumor suppressors and may exert a protective effect against hormone-related cancers by binding at estrogen receptor sites.Further studies suggest that plant-based estrogens may reduce the incidence of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) of menopause and lastly that they may protect women against osteoporosis by the action of genistein, which stimulates osteoblasts (bone-forming cells). (2)

    Are there side effects to soya?

    As long as you are choosing good quality soya, which has not been genetically modified, there is little reason to avoid it, with the obvious exception being soya allergy.

    As far as the food hormone hype is concerned, soya does not have any mistrustful mechanisms! Dietary estrogens are at least 1000 times weaker when compared to the strength of circulating estrogens in most mammals. (5)

    Commonly asked questions allude to various eccentric theories including the effect of plant estrogens on men. However, evaluation of the clinical evidence concludes that isoflavones do not have feminizing effects on men at intakes even higher than are typical in the diet of Asian males. (6) Further, results of a meta-analysis (which is a summary study of previous studies) show no effect of soya protein on the reproductive hormones in men. (7)

    There have also been propositions in the literature linking soya foods to gout. (All protein foods contain substances called purines, which yield uric acid as a by-product of metabolism, and could thus supposedly aggravate acid build-up and the symptoms of gout.) However, although soya (being a protein) does have a moderate purine content, it is much lower than that of many high purine animal proteins. It is also worth noting that improvements in the efficacy of gout medication have largely replaced the need for rigid dietary restriction of purines in recent times.

    What about supplements?

    There is a big difference between soya-based foods and soya supplements, which contain a much higher concentration of isoflavones. There is no scientific evidence to support the practice of mega-dosing with soya and like most other healthy nutritional elements, soya is recommended as part of a balanced diet, where preference is always given to food sources over supplements.

    Conclusions

    Clinical studies indicative of the health benefits associated with soya, have typically used between 50 and 100mg of soya-derived isoflavones. This is equivalent to 15-20g soya protein (3). Fry’s products generally contain 8-10g soya protein per serving, which is reflectively a perfectly moderate level in accordance with the current science for safe and regular consumption.
    Fry’s products incorporate a blend of vegetable proteins, including, but not limited soya. We’ve done our research and we believe in balance, moderation and variety.
    Adding to this, we strongly recommend choosing soya products that are GM-free! (which is the start of another story, altogether  ?)

    References:

    (1) Hasler CM. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Functional foods. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2004;104(5): 814-26.
    (2) Mahan LK and Escott-Stump S; Krause’s Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy; WB Saunders Company; 2000; pg58,548,275-6.
    (3) Messina, M; Insights gained from 20 years of soy research; The Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140(12) 2289S-2295S
    (4) Messina, M; A Brief Historical Overview of the Past Two Decades of Soy and Isoflavone Research; The Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140(12) 2289S-2295S
    (5) Setchell KD, Phytoestrogens: the biochemistry, physiology, and implication for human health of soy isoflavones; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1998;68(6)1333S-1346S.
    (6) Setchell KD; Fertil Steril. 2010 May 1;93(7):2095-104. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Apr 8.
    (7) Setchell KD; Fertil Steril. 2010 Aug;94(3):997-1007. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.038. Epub 2009 Jun 12.

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Diabetes update from Fry’s

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, a 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 carbohydrates, 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 that 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 skyrocketing! (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!

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How to calculate how much protein you need

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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

Sources:
American Heart Association. “High-Protein Diets“. Accessed: Sept 22, 2009.http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/High-Protein-Diets_UCM_305989_Article.jsp
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. “Protein“.  Accessed: Aug 20, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html
exercise.about.com. “Calculating Your Protein Need“. Accessed: Aug 20, 2013. http://exercise.about.com/cs/nutrition/a/protein_2.htm

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Top 10 vegetarian sources of protein

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 has put together this list of the top 10 vegan sources of protein.

Top Ten Vegetarian Sources of Protein

Source Protein/100g
1 Pumpkin Seeds 30g
2 Lentils 26g
3 Peanut Butter 24g
4 Almonds 21g
5 Fry’s Chunky Strips 19.9g
6 Tempeh 19g
7 Sesame Seeds 18g
8 Cashews 18g
9 Soybeans 17g
10 Fry’s Traditional Burger 15.8g

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!