More People Are Embracing Vegan Diets

Vegan diets are considered by some to be extreme, a strict way of eating that exists on the radical fringes of vegetarianism.

But today, a growing number of people are giving vegan diets a second look, and nutritionists now believe that a well-thought-out vegan eating plan could be the most healthy way to live for most people.

“Properly planned vegan diets are healthy, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of many diseases,” said Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian and nutrition educator in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Vegan diets are plant-based and exclude all animal products, even items like milk, cheese and eggs that are allowed in some forms of vegetarian diets.

Veganism drew added attention in 2011 from a pair of U.S. notables. Former President Bill Clinton — long famous for McDonald’s runs and barbeque lunches — announced in August that he had converted to a vegan diet. And domestic doyenne Martha Stewart dedicated an hour-long episode of her TV show in March to the vegan lifestyle.

Research has found that people who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle enjoy a number of health benefits, Sheth said. These include:

  • Lower cholesterol levels.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • A healthier body mass index.
  • Decreased risk for heart disease.
  • Decreased risk for cancer.
  • Better control and prevention of diabetes.


What’s for Lunch?

Home-cooked Japanese Lunch


  • Brown Rice Sushi with Pickled Black Daikon and Konbu
  • Fried Thick Egg Roll
  • Stir-fried Bell Pepper and Shiitake with Seasoned Soy Sauce
  • Simmered Pumpkin
  • Miso Soup with White Hens of the Wood Mushroom

MyPlate for Older Adults

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Nutrition scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University are introducing today the MyPlate for Older Adults which corresponds with MyPlate, the federal government’s new food group symbol. MyPlate for Older Adults calls attention to the unique nutritional and physical activity needs associated with advancing years.

“Although calorie needs decline with age due to a slow-down in metabolism and physical activity, nutritional requirements remain the same or in some cases increase,” explains Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, senior scientist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA. “MyPlate for Older Adults provides examples of foods that contain high levels of vitamins and minerals per serving and are consistent with the federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend limiting foods high in trans and saturated fats, salt and added sugars, and emphasize whole grains. MyPlate for Older Adults is intended to be a guide for healthy, older adults who are living independently and looking for examples of good food choices and physical activities.”

The following foods, fluids and physical activities are represented on My Plate for Older Adults:

  • Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.
  • Deep-colored fruit such as berries and peaches.
  • Whole, enriched and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread.
  • Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk.
  • Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs.
  • Liquid vegetable oils, soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat, and spices to replace salt.
  • Fluids such as water and fat-free milk.
  • Physical activity such as walking, resistance training and light cleaning.


Noodle with Beef and Hoisin Sauce


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic , minced
3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 sweet red or green pepper, sliced
1 cup beef stock
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
dash hot pepper sauce
1 pkg (450 g) precooked Chinese noodles
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups bean sprouts
2 stalks green onions, chopped


  1. In wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat; brown beef and garlic, breaking up meat with spoon, about 5 minutes. Spoon off any fat. Add mushrooms and carrots; cook over medium-high heat for 7 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid is evaporated.
  2. Add red pepper, stock, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and hot pepper sauce; bring to boil.
  3. Meanwhile, gently loosen noodles under warm water; drain and add to pan. Whisk cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water; stir into pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until thickened. Top with bean sprouts and green onions. Serve hot with steamed broccoli.


Instead of beef, use lean ground pork, turkey or chicken.

Source: Canadian Living