Food for Thought: Plant-based diets - Sulphur Southwest Daily News

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As some Americans are making strides in eating healthier, more individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits of a plant-based diet and are changing the way they think about food and how they eat.

In another era, they may have been called vegetarians, but today's plant-based diets come with a number of options:

Vegetarian diet: Omits the consumption of meat and sometimes dairy products, eggs, fish and seafood, depending upon the individual's own preference and personal beliefs.

Vegan diet: Takes the vegetarian diet a few steps further, cutting out all forms of meat, fish, seafood, eggs and dairy.

Raw foods diet: Concentrates on the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed and often organic foods that are either unheated or cooked to a temperature below 104 degrees. The belief is that foods cooked at higher temperature lose much of their nutritional value.

Health benefits of plant-based diets

- Healthier heart, reduced risk of certain cancers and chronic disease, glowing skin, a leaner body mass and increased energy.

- Since plant-based dieters generally eat more nuts, heart health is often increased. The "good" fats found in nuts help lower "bad" cholesterol levels.

- Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which is good for your heart and helps to flush toxins from the body, contributing to healthy skin. Plus, they are rich in vitamins C and E, two strong antioxidants.

-- ARA

Tip of the Week: Cut down on the salt

The best way to cut down on salt intake is to cook at home as often as possible because a dish at a restaurant can have thousands of milligrams of unnecessary sodium. If cooking every night is an unrealistic task, cook large batches on weekends and freeze until needed. You can also order takeout or buy a frozen meal and match it with equal parts fresh steamed vegetables. Split the dish and save half for the next night.


Easy recipe: Going Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2  ripe banana, peeled
  • 1/2  cup water
  • 1/2  cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender container in the order listed and secure lid. Blend, beginning at low speed and increasing to high, for 60 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. Yields 3 1/2  cups.

-- Vitamix

Did You Know?

In-season fall foods include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, squash, sweet potatoes, watercress and pumpkins. –

Food Quiz

Falafel is a deep-fried meat dish.

A. True

B. False


Answer is at bottom of column

Wise to the Word: Date

With a history stretching back over 5,000 years, this venerable fruit grows in thick clusters on the giant date palm, native to the Middle East. Most varieties range from 1 to 2 inches long and are oval in shape. All dates have a single, long, narrow seed. The skin is thin and papery, the flesh cloyingly sweet. When fresh, dates contain about 55 percent sugar. Fresh dates are available from late summer through mid-fall. Dried dates are available year-round.


Number to Know

590: A personal pan 6-inch cheese pizza is 590 calories.


The Dish On …

"A Year in the Village of Eternity: The Lifestyle of Longevity in Campodimele, Italy" by Tracey Lawson

In Campodimele, Italy, villagers lead extraordinarily long lives, enjoy low blood pressure and low cholesterol and stay active and healthy into old age. What is it about this place that makes it so easy to live well and long? Tracey Lawson goes immerses herself in the lifestyle and timeless eating habits of this vibrant place. The villagers are warm and welcoming, sharing the recipes handed down from generation to generation, and Lawson offers over one hundred of those same recipes here, from simply dressed salads to homemade sausages and fresh egg pasta.

-- Bloomsbury USA

From the Beer Nut's Blog: The 13th Hour from Sam Adams

The 13th Hour is sometimes called the Witching Hour. I don't know why, since the 13th hour of the day is actually 1 p.m. Anyhow, for Samuel Adams, the 13th Hour Stout is the name of the newest beer in the popular Barrel Room series. It is aged in oak barrels (hence, "Barrel Room"), but it tastes more like a Belgian ale than a true stout –– it's a little light on the palate and in the glass. But the bottle itself said the beer is a "dark Belgian-style ale with notes of spice, coffee, chocolate and oak. Taste-wise, it's pretty darn good.

To read more from the Beer Nut, visit

Food Quiz Answer

B. False. Falafels are nothing more than deep-fried ground chickpeas with blended spices.

GateHouse News Service

20 Sep, 2011

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