Food

Thinking of Eating More Plant-Based Meals?

Here are our top tips for healthy plant-based eating

here's been a lot of talk these days about eating more plant-based foods. What's good for the environment is good for you, right? Well, the answer lies in the ingredients list. Not all plant-based foods are equal and some are definitely more unhealthy for you than others. This is especially the case for plant-based processed foods. These include things like frozen veggie burgers (yes, the Impossible Burger included), or chicken-less chicken nuggets, or vegan pizza. So what's the key to healthy plant-based eating? There isn't one golden rule to follow, but we've rounded up some good tips to help you avoid plant-based processed foods below!

Here's what you can do…


So you can steer clear unhealthy ingredients like these...

  • High salt content: Just like most processed foods, plant-based frozen meals are also very high in salt.
  • Tertiary butylhydroquinone (a.k.a. TBHQ). TBHQ is a lab-made preservative that helps processed foods retain its flavor (1). For instance, making sure your smoky-fire roasted veggie burger tastes smoky. Unfortunately, animal studies have shown that TBHQ can cause cancer in animals, which is why the FDA limits the amount of TBHQ allowed in products (1). A safer and naturally occurring preservative alternative used by some food manufacturers is vitamin E (2).
  • Artificial food coloring. Artificial food colorings are ones like Red #3 and Yellow #6. High doses of artificial food coloring have been linked to a higher risk of cancer (3).
  • Emulsifiers. If you've ever looked on an ingredients list and saw ingredients like soy lecithin or mono and di-glycerides, these are emulsifiers. They help keep ingredients in a product mixed together and not separate, particularly if a product is made up of solids and liquids (3). However, animal studies have shown that emulsifiers can alter the microbiome of mice, cause inflammation and also increase the risk of obesity and other metabolic disorders (4).

When it comes to plant-based foods, the bottom line is that they are not perfect. Even if a product is plant-based, it doesn't automatically mean that it's healthy or safe, or even as nutritious as its meat counterpart. The best thing to do is use your best judgement (and this handy dandy article) when your plant-based craving strikes.

References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814609003148
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jsfa.7835
  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/processed-foods/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25731162

With fall approaching fast and back-to-school right around the corner, it means that long summer nights and making s'mores might be replaced with long study nights and a need for some brain-fueling, healthy snacks. Even though the convenience of goldfish and fruit gushers might be calling your name at the grocery store, these snacks are full of unhealthy refined sugar and might even potentially contain small amounts of phthalates due to packaging (1). Instead, try making your own snacks at home! It's healthier, extremely easy and better for the planet. Think about all the snack packaging that you toss away each year - I know for me, even though I try to recycle, sometimes I'm not sure if something can be recycled and it all ends up going into the trash. It's definitely more sustainable to make your own snacks in bulk and pack them in reusable (and healthier!) alternatives to grab to-go. The recipes that we've rounded up for you are low in refined-sugar, high in whole-grains, and full of healthy fats that will keep your stomach full and your brain juices flowing. Bonus, you can personalize each of them to taste exactly how you want and making them can be a fun activity with your kids or friends.

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Food

Label Education: Dairy

clearing up the difference between grass fed, organic, and California milk

Whether you are just picking up a gallon of milk to pour on your morning cereal or selecting the perfect cheese for your weekend dinner party, knowing what those different labels on your dairy products means can help you make the best choice. And not just on products that come from cows, we looked at the popular milk alternatives and vegan products too. So, no matter what you're grabbing from dairy aisle, we've got you covered.

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