Fake Meat - The Emperor’s New Clothes?

Are we being conned into believing that fake meat is good for us? Did you start the New Year with Veganuary, believing that it was the healthy option?

With new vegan brands popping up all the time and all the supermarkets now offering a vegan range, it should be cause for celebration – but the big question remains: are their ranges any better for our health or are they just a cynical marketing ploy?

While offering ready made vegan food will make it easier and more tempting to become vegan, and the new dirty vegan food trend means you don’t have to give up those burgers, pizzas and sausage rolls you love; are we creating more health problems with a high carbohydrate-dominated diet?

Not only are most of these foods processed, stripping many of the original nutrients out, they often consist of refined wheat and gluten.  Also, the benefits and risks of genetically modified soya protein are still a controversial subject.

We know that processed meat is bad for us and can cause cancer, but all processed food consumed in large amounts can be bad for us. The more food we cook from scratch the better.

Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Burger

Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Burger

I think the main three reasons for becoming vegan are:

  1. Ethical and moral

  2. The welfare of animals and environmental concerns, health

  3. The belief that a vegan diet is naturally healthier for the body.

However, the current trend has all the hallmarks of a fad diet and the usual culprits have jumped on the bandwagon, including many celebrities we admire; it is the new salvation diet that we can try and will often discard after the novelty has worn off.  

Veganism can be a healthy lifestyle that is kind to animals and the environment, but vegans must not underestimate the need to eat enough sources of natural protein and the quantity they need to eat to replace certain proteins, good fats, iron, B12, and vitamin D that is abundant in animal sources because  supplements are not as easily absorbed by the body as whole food.

Jackfruit, the latest trendy meat alternative that has a shredded meaty texture and is sold as high in protein, cannot compete with a like sized portion of chicken with 3 grams of protein to 20 grams in chicken. With a jackfruit pizza, for example, although it has nutritional benefits, it is loaded with quick-acting carbs from the fruit and refined carbs in the pizza without the balance of protein you would get from cheese or meat. Many fast food outlets offering vegan food use Seitan, a protein made from wheat gluten, which is an issue for many people. 

Vegan alternatives are expensive too; a classic case is the infamous cauliflower steak, for instance, where a restaurant charged the same as they charged for a quality beefsteak, although the cost was less than a quarter of the price! 

At the end of the day the solution is the same. The tried and tested diet of cooking from scratch as much as possible, getting a healthy balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, good fats, vitamins, and minerals whether you are a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan – a healthy diet is all about variety and balance.

Ways to De-Stress Your Day

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Thank you very much to Slim, Fit & Healthy for featuring my advice in an article about reducing stress in the day!

‘We can be tempted to eat fats, refined carbs and sugary foods when it is cold outside and we are feeling sluggish. This not only creates weight gain, but reaching for these foods will only make us crash after the initial energy rush, creating a vicious cycle’

To read the rest of the article, go here!

Comfort Eating During the Winter

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We can be tempted to eat fats, refined carbs and sugary foods when it is cold outside and we are feeling sluggish.

This not only creates weight gain, but reaching for these foods will only make us crash after the initial energy rush, creating a vicious cycle.

Eat more high GI foods such as complex carbohydrates to keep you feeling sated for longer. Healthy fats such as oily fish, nuts and seeds, will improve your mood and brain function.

The Vitamin-D Deficiency Crisis

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Our Vitamin-D levels are lower than ever before due to our increased use of sun protection and can decrease even more in the winter when there is less sunlight.

Vitamin-D is crucial for bone and skin health and can help stop diabetes developing as it aids the function of the pancreas, which controls blood sugar.

Links have also been found between Vitamin-D deficiency and heart disease and cancer. An oral spray of Vitamin-D3 is an easily absorbable supplement.

Good Mood Foods No. 5 - Fermented Foods

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Fermented Foods contain high levels of probiotics, which top up the healthy bacteria that naturally live in our intestine.

They are known for aiding in digestion, boosting the immune system and cleaning the gut. They’re a key contributor to the health of the gut-brain axis and have a calming effect on the body, specifically helping with aggression.

Fermented foods containing probiotics include: kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and live yoghurt.

Good Mood Foods No. 3 - Salmon

Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which is a proven mood booster.

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Omega-3 plays a vital part of our body’s cell manufacturing, making our hair shiny and skin plump and glowing.

If you cannot afford fresh salmon, tinned salmon is a great alternative as well as tinned mackerel and sardines. Sardines have the added benefit of high levels of calcium due to their edible bones.

An Asian-Style Diet Can Help Menopausal Women

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Plant or phytoestrogens, typically found in an Asian diet, may help keep your hormones in balance by mimicking the oestrogen hormone.

A high intake of phytoestrogens is thought to explain why hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms rarely occur in populations consuming a predominantly plant-based diet.

You can increase your intake of phytoestrogens by eating more: organic soy milk and soya flour, linseeds, tofu, tempeh and miso, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb and green beans.