Healthy Living

Ten Tips for Staying Healthy in the New Year

Care of Evolving Appetites Instead of focusing on one healthy food this month, we thought we’d start the new year off by providing you with Nimisha Raja’s top ten tips for a healthier you in the new year. 1. Get the junk out! Eliminate refined flours, sugars and oils. This is the single most important step you can take towards improving your health. 2. Drink LOTS of water – very important to stay hydrated to flush out toxins and keep your cells, muscles and organs functioning well. Most North Americans are chronically dehydrated. Caffeinated beverages don’t count – they’re a diuretic – which means they have the opposite effect. 3. Get some moderate exercise EVERYDAY – even a 30-minute brisk walk per day counts. 4. Eat your greens! Raw, dark, leafy greens have powerful anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. (See the recipe below to help you get sufficient quantities into your daily routine.) 5. Turn the TV off! Go for a walk, play with your kids, do a puzzle, read a book, or do something else that relaxes you. 6. Make fresh fruits and vegetables a large part of your daily meals. Salads,… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Healthy Living

Vegetarian Nutrition

Vegetarians can rest assured. Plant-based foods are loaded with nutrients including ample protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Vegans require a reliable source of vitamin B12. Whether you eat a vegetarian or non-vegetarian diet, the key to health is simple. Include a wide variety of different foods in your diet – no one food source is nutritionally complete by itself. Vegetarians choose foods from grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits. Whole unrefined foods are best. Eggs and dairy are optional. On a plant-based diet, you will have the distinct advantage of obtaining nutrients from sources high in fibre, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. For a print version open //VegNutriton.pdf// (250 Kb) Protein It was once thought that foods had to be combined within a single meal to provide complete protein. The latest research indicates that an assortment of plant foods eaten over the course of a day can provide all of the essential amino acids you need. This is the postion of the Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association. Most people can easily meet their protein needs by eating a variety of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables on a… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living Nutrition

TVA offers Mayor recipe for healthy weight-loss

The Toronto Vegetarian Association delivers plant-based care package to Mayor Ford and Councillor Doug Ford TORONTO:  In response to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s public resolution to lose weight in 2012, the Toronto Vegetarian Association has delivered a care package for achieving healthy weight-loss and invited the mayor to participate in Meatless Mondays. “Eating less meat is a great way to achieve healthy weight-loss and reduce the risk of common health problems like heart disease and type-2 diabetes,” according to David Alexander, Executive Director of the Toronto Vegetarian Association. “Meatless Mondays offers a healthy, easy and delicious opportunity for better health outcomes and a smaller eco-footprint.” The care package includes vegetarian recipes, cookbooks, a directory of local restaurants, as well as dinner for two at Vegetarian Haven restaurant, a healthy 15-minute walk from City Hall. Also included is the documentary Forks Over Knives, which inspired CBC television host George Stroumboulopoulos to rethink his diet and embrace plant-based eating in 2011. Dr. Neal Barnard, author of a dozen books including 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, says that plant-based foods help people to control their appetite, enhance their metabolism, and protect against heart disease, high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes. Dr. Barnard’s diet plan replaces… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living Media Releases News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Resource Centre

Canada Food Guide increases veg compatibility

A few weeks ago, Health Canada launched a new version of Canada’s Food Guide. It’s been 15 years since the guide was last updated. There are several changes of interest to vegetarians. The guide still uses a rainbow design, but fruits and vegetables now take the place of grains on the outer band. The veggie and grain bands are now wider than the milk and meat bands. The Milk group has been renamed “Milk and Alternatives“ and includes fortified soymilk. The “Meat and Alternatives“ group now emphasizes the vegetarian options instead of meats. The first recommendation is to eat “meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often.” While there have been some advances for vegetarians, the guide is far from perfect. Milk and Meat continue to be two of the four categories, and the only vegan milk alternative mentioned is soymilk. They recommend eating fish, but provide a footnote warning about limiting exposure to mercury. Presumably the fish promotion is to wean meat eaters away from land animals, and to provide a source of Omega-3. Unfortunately, there is no mention of vegetarian sources of omega-3. The guide also does little to address concerns about obesity and… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living Resource Centre

How plant foods boost your immune system

Unfortunately, our air, water, soil and much of our food is full of chemicals that can cause health problems ranging from asthma to cancer. The good news, however, is that a natural chemical removal system is built into our basic biochemistry. It is powerful enough to eliminate thousands of different chemicals. It just needs to be turned on. This chemical rejection process is based on enzymes that can take the most dangerous chemicals and, in an instant, render them harmless. These enzymes arrest toxins and send them away, so they can, in fact, save your life but they need to be woken up to do their thing. This involves a two-phase process. In Phase I, an enzyme in the liver cell grabs hold of the toxic molecule and attaches oxygen to it. In Phase II, a second enzyme hooks the culprit molecule onto a large carrier molecule that drags it away. These are then sent out of your body in your urine or feces. As this process unfolds however, there is one very dangerous point. When a toxic chemical has had oxygen attached by the Phase I enzyme, it can be even more dangerous than when it entered your body. Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living Resource Centre

Vegetarian energy foods for kids & athletes

Vegetarian energy foods for growing kids, active teens, and those with fast-paced metabolisms Book store shelves are stocked with “Eat more, weigh less” nutrition books, but little is written on healthy ways to increase your caloric intake. Enter vegetarian energy foods; vegetarian diets, particularly vegan diets, tend to have low calorie intakes because of their low fat and high fibre contents. There are many cases where “high octane” foods are required to accommodate high energy demands. Those engaged in physical sports have increased energy needs ranging from 2000 to 6000 calories per day. Others such as pregnant women may easily meet their energy needs but may not necessarily meet nutrient requirements unless some attention is given to nutrient-dense foods. Even children, with limited stomach capacities have high nutrient requirements. Big breakfasts granola-type cereal with soy milk, dates, figs, and other dried or fresh fruit. banana soy milk smoothies with tahini or almond, cashew or sunflower butter added nut butter, such as almond or cashew, with banana on whole grain toast and juice pancakes with sliced fruit, walnuts, non-hydrogenated margarine and maple syrup whole grain muffins with tahini & honey spread, banana and juice Lay it on for lunch hummus in… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg Healthy Living Nutrition Resource Centre Vegan & Vegetarian Cooking Tips

Cow’s Milk & Lactose Intolerance

Cow’s milk and other dairy products are included in many vegetarian diets. Dairy is a source of calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and other nutrients. It has been a part of many cultures for centuries, especially in Northern Europe. For religious Hindus, milk is considered sacred. Yet the majority of the world’s population does not have a history of dairy consumption. These people often have problems digesting it. With the advent of modern mechanized dairy production, milk may not be as pure as it once was. For a print version open Cowsmilk.pdf (100Kb) What follows is an in depth overview of some of the potential problems associated with dairy, and a look at the alternatives. Sections below: Lactose Intolerance Milk fat Allergies Osteoporosis Iron deficiency in infants Ovarian cancer Diabetes in children Women and dairy Stress, antibiotics, mastitis, and pus Non-dairy calcium sources Soy milk as a healthy alternative Is drinking milk natural? Human beings are the only species (other than house cats) to consume milk past childhood. We are also the only species to consume the milk of another species. Yet, at… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living Resource Centre

Vegetarian Position Paper

Going Vegetarian? Dietitians Of Canada & The American Dietetic Association officially agree that veg diets are nutritious. In a joint statement, published in the June 2003 issue of Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, DC and ADA say: It is the position of Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. See also: Canada Food Guide increases veg compatibility, Vegetarian Nutrition Facts Highlights • A vegetarian diet has numerous health benefits such as lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. • Approximately 4% of Canadian adults and 2.5% of adults in the United States follow vegetarian diets and interest is on the rise. Slightly less than 1% of those polled were vegans. But 20 to 25% of adults in the United States report that they eat four or more meatless meals weekly or “usually or sometimes maintain a vegetarian diet.” • Interest in vegetarianism appears to be increasing, with many restaurants and college… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living

Arthritis: Relief through a vegetarian diet

Written by Lara Greguric The symptoms began a few years ago. One morning, I awoke and was unable to move my hands. They were swollen shut into fists and attempting to wiggle my fingers was extremely painful. Over the next couple of weeks, the symptoms spread into other joints. My wrists, my shoulders, my knees and the joints in my feet became stiff, swollen, and tender. After a few weeks of suffering, I finally realized that this was not normal and went to see my family doctor. He referred me to a rheumatologist. At the ripe old age of 21, I was diagnosed with arthritis. I was in shock upon hearing this diagnosis. I kept thinking “why me?” Arthritis was something that 85-year-old grandmothers get, not healthy, fit young adults. Unfortunately, that belief is a myth. Arthritis is a blanket term for a disease that encompasses over 100 different conditions ranging from mild forms of tendinitis and bursitis to the crippling rheumatoid arthritis. As a disease, arthritis does not discriminate. It can inflict young children still in diapers, individuals in the prime of their lives, as well as the elderly. The condition is marked by an inflammation of the… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living Resource Centre

Dairy-free calcium sources

Written by Bonnie Kumer, R.D. and Nicole Hambleton    No bones about it, vegetarians can maintain healthy calcium stores on a dairy-free diet. Eating a calcium-rich, vegan diet just takes a little knowledge about calcium requirements, an understanding of calcium absorption, avoidance of calcium thieves and a bit of menu planning. How much calcium do we really need? The amount of calcium recommended as the RNI (Required Nutritional Intake): Women 1000 mg/day Women 50+ 1200-1500 mg/day Men 1000 mg/day These requirements take into account the negative effects of protein and sodium on calcium balance. Calcium absorption levels of plant foods Deep green vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Chinese and green cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, etc.) 50-70% Milk 32% Almonds 21% Beans 17% Spinach, cooked 5% Studies have shown that the calcium in kale, bok choy, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables as well as tofu (set with calcium sulfate or calcium chloride) is absorbed at a rate equal to or greater than milk. The role of protein Animal protein (beef, poultry, fish, and egg) causes calcium to be excreted in the urine. A person following a diet that does not include animal protein may have lowered calcium needs. For example,… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg Healthy Living Nutrition Resource Centre