Is Fast Food Healthier When It’s Plant-Based?

As a nutrition journalist, I find the whole trend a little baffling. The number of Americans who follow a vegetarian diet hasn’t changed much in recent decades. In fact, adult vegetarians in the U.S. dropped from 6 percent of the population to 5 percent between 1999 and 2019, according to a Gallup poll.

Is Fast Food Healthier When It’s Plant-Based? — https://www.outsideonline.com/2420371/is-plant-based-fast-food-healthier?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Spoiler Alert – the answer is no. The entire article is still worth reading despite me giving you the answer to the question.

Fast food is fast food whether it’s “plant-based” or contains animal products. There will always be lots of salt and saturated fat for your dining pleasure. It might be time to take another look at my list of foods I No Longer Eat just to see how much fast food is on that list.

Five Simple Guidelines for Good Vegan Nutrition

1. Eat at least three servings per day of beans, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, veggie meats, peanuts or peanut butter.

2. Consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens and dark orange vegetables plus good sources of vitamin C like peppers, citrus fruit, and strawberries.

3. Get most of your fat from healthy sources, like nuts and nut butters, avocados, seeds, and moderate amounts of oils. Be sure to eat a good source of the essential omega-3 fat ALA found in flaxseed, hempseed, canola oil, and walnuts.

4. Eat three cups of calcium-rich foods every day including fortified plant milks, fortified juices, tofu made with calcium sulfate, and cooked kale, collards, bok choy, or turnip greens (double the amount of greens if you eat raw greens instead of cooked).

5. Don’t shun supplements. All vegans need vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified foods. Most also need a supplement of vitamin D, at least during the winter months. You may wish to consider vegan DHA and EPA supplements. If you don’t regularly use iodized salt, it’s prudent to take an iodine supplement. Vegan.com maintains a supplements page that provides current and helpful information for all these nutrients.

Vegan Nutrition Guide, by Virginia Messina MPH, RD — https://www.vegan.com/nutrition/

These guidelines are very good ones to follow even if you’re not vegan. Here’s the link to Messina’s website https://www.theveganrd.com/.

25 Vegan Soup Recipes – the First Mess

The Digital Devil told me I had dipped below 173 and I’m resisting the urge to overthink this. I can’t explain this bizarre behavior. It’s just part of my makeup, a tiny piece of me that tends to repeat over and over and over again. If the number goes up I’ll try to figure out why. If the number goes down my mind does the same thing. Why? Why is my weight going down? Is this merely a random fluctuation or can I pinpoint a reason for my successful weight loss/maintenance? As I wandered the internet I found a website post that had the answer I had been searching for.

Soup. I’ve eating more soup.

Laura Wright is a vegan cookbook author and blogger based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Canada. Her most recent post is 25 Vegan Soup Recipes and can be accessed at https://thefirstmess.com/. To be clear I haven’t tried any of these recipes yet but I needed a reminder to do so. Thus this post and link.

It’s like a giant Sticky Note that says “Hey, try these recipes. Also don’t forget you already bought her cookbook and it’s sitting on your eCookbook shelf.”

I actually forgot I bought Laura’s cookbook.

Guacamole – Asian Inspired

Xmas 2020

Guttenberg New Jersey is a tiny town on the Hudson River. Guttenberg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guttenberg,_New_Jersey) was where I first tasted Guacamole. I was in my early 20’s and a restaurant on the river named The Lighthouse was reported to have the best Fettuccine Alfredo in the state. So if a restaurant had the best fettuccine I had to go. The night I went the crowd was out the door and everyone was shuffled into the bar so that the business could sell more alcohol while you waited patiently for a table that was probably empty the entire time you were waiting. As I made my way to the bar atop the counter sat a large bowl filled with green stuff.

“What the hell is that?”

The bartender gave me a look like what planet do you live on and said,

“Guacamole.”

“What the hell is Guacamole?”

Realizing I was a true Yankee who lacked any sense of cultural awareness outside of the NY-NJ area his tone softened.

“Avocado dip. You eat it with chips.”

Next to the bowl of green stuff was a bowl of chips. I still didn’t know what Guacamole was because I didn’t know what an avocado was. My educational enhancement options at the time were limited in the pre-Internet, pre-cellphone days and the bartender left to serve someone else who was more likely to spend more money on alcohol. I wasn’t getting enough information to discern what the green stuff actually was. I remember grabbing what I thought was a potato chip, took a dip, and ate Guacamole for the very first time in my life. Funny to think back on this because I recall nothing about the Guacamole. All I remember was the chip.

When the bartender came back hoping I would finally order an beverage I asked,

“What the hell kind of chip is that?”

“Corn.”

And with an attitude of this guy is asking too many questions and wasting my time he went off to serve someone else. Thus ends the story of my first encounter with Guacamole and CORN chips. I wouldn’t have any more such encounters until I moved to Texas and tried Mexican (actually Tex-Mex) food. But this is another story altogether.

BTW I love Guacamole now and I know what a corn chip is.

Asian Inspired Guacamole

  • 3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled
  • 1/2 large lime fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons medium red onion, minced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Scoop the avocado into a small mixing bowl.
  2. Squeeze most (but not all) of the lime juice over the fruit.
  3. With a fork or a spoon mash the avocado but leave some small chunks (for chunkiness).
  4. Fold in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Sample for seasoning and adjust to your taste.
  6. Serve with CORN chips.

Tips

I take a paper towel and gently drain the tomatoes before adding to the fruit. The paper towel will absorb excess juice, pulp, and seeds. This dip is basically the kid version and is very mild. The adult version can be bold. I usually add several dashes of hot sauce. Fresh garlic and jalapeño peppers will also give a nice kick. Remember the most but not all part of the lime juice? If you’re not serving immediately, squeeze some lime juice over the top of the dip (don’t mix in) and stick it in the fridge. This will help delay oxidation. No one likes brown Guacamole.

An Avocado a Day Keeps Your Gut Happy

Avocadoes May Lower LDL

This Guacamole is Daughter-in-law Approved.

Tiny Human Avocado Smash

Random Thoughts Xmas Eve Day 2020

Thurs 12/24

“Keep a diary or journal. Record your reflections on your life experience in a journal. You will find this simple practice to be invaluable in your quest for wisdom.”

Warren G. Bennis 1925-2014

Wednesday 26 January 2005

I downloaded this application last night from the Treepad website. Someone on the planet took the time to create a tiny word processor in the Treepad file format. S(he) uploaded it to the site and the app is free. It can be used to document just about anything you want to track by date.

I’m going to use this app for tracking food consumption, exercise, and any other random thoughts that enter my mind. I will also use this space to capture notes on my progress towards my goals.

It is also a good space to write. Just write.

I started keeping a journal 15 years ago. Bennis was brilliant and 100% correct in saying keeping a journal is invaluable in your quest for wisdom. I don’t feel I’m wise enough yet so I keep writing. Most of what I’ve written will never be read by anyone other than me. And for some strange reason that bothered me. When I started a blog I was troubled by sharing my most intimate thoughts online. As the years have passed I’ve begun sharing more online. I came to the realization that if I only help one person through sharing my life experiences it’s worth it. Even if that help is merely my One Rotisserie Chicken, 50 Meals – #3 Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe.

This morning I did the Old Person Hour at the grocery store. Not exactly the best time to do your grocery shopping because there were a lot of empty spots on the shelves and restocking had just started. It was hard to tell which items were unavailable due to hoarding. Still managed to get everything I had on my list except fresh cilantro, a specific brand of tortilla chips and canned green chilies. The lack of chilies is a hoarding thing but no tortilla chips is a restocking issue. Trust me on this.

I must have stood in front of a neatly stacked tower of light beer for at least five minutes. Before me was a new offering from a major brewery, low carb, low calories (probably tasteless too). At this very moment I realized my fat jeans were feeling kind of loose and baggy. I didn’t buy any beer. The holidays are hard enough for those of us struggling with our weight. I ate three cookies yesterday! So for the rest of this holiday season beer stays on the Don’t Have It in the House List.

Losing weight is hard. Keeping the weight off is harder. Remember not to get too high nor too low. Make the The 90% Solution your strategy. I’m probably around 60/40 now but always strive to do better. Which reminds me, I should work on my book today.

HOW MANY BLACKS, LATINOS, AND ASIANS ARE VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN IN THE USA? – Updated 12.26.20

Asian
6% Vegetarians (not including vegans)
6% Vegetarians (including vegans)
<1% Vegans
59% Eats vegetarian meals including vegan sometimes or always when eating out
23% Eats vegans meals sometimes or always when eating out
Most important when making food choices: taste (55%); cost (40%); personal health (36%)


Total
3% Vegetarians (not including vegans)
6% Vegetarians (including vegans)
3% Vegans
54% Eats vegetarian meals including vegan sometimes or always when eating out
24% Eats vegan meals sometimes or always when eating out

HOW MANY BLACKS, LATINOS, AND ASIANS ARE VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN IN THE USA?https://www.vrg.org/blog/2020/12/17/how-many-blacks-latinos-and-asians-are-vegan-and-vegetarian/

The Vegetarian Resource Group national Harris Poll. See: https://www.vrg.org/blog/2020/08/07/how-many-adults-in-the-u-s-are-vegan-how-many-adults-eat-vegetarian-when-eating-out-asks-the-vegetarian-resource-group-in-a-national-poll/

See the full article for survey results on other ethnic groups. Sorry. Asian guy just interested in other Asian’s dietary habits.

Updated 12.26.20 for Political Affiliation

Fifty-six percent of Democrats, 53% of Republicans, and 54% of Independents always or sometimes eat vegetarian meals. With the seeming great divide in the country by political leanings, perhaps we’re really much more alike than different when it comes to food. So maybe here is some common ground. The type of location you live in may have a little more of an impact, with 28% of urban dwellers being more likely to say they sometimes or always consume vegan meals when eating out, compared to only 20% of rural individuals. Yet there is not as much difference as people might expect.

HOW MANY ADULTS IN THE U.S. ARE VEGAN? HOW MANY ADULTS EAT VEGETARIAN WHEN EATING OUT? — https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2020issue4/2020_issue4_poll_results.php

An Avocado a Day Keeps Your Gut Happy

The researchers found that people who ate avocado every day as part of a meal had a greater abundance of gut microbes that break down fiber and produce metabolites that support gut health. They also had greater microbial diversity compared to people who did not receive the avocado meals in the study.

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “An avocado a day keeps your gut microbes happy, study shows.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201215175758.htm (accessed December 16, 2020).

Journal Reference

Sharon V Thompson, Melisa A Bailey, Andrew M Taylor, Jennifer L Kaczmarek, Annemarie R Mysonhimer, Caitlyn G Edwards, Ginger E Reeser, Nicholas A Burd, Naiman A Khan, Hannah D Holscher. Avocado Consumption Alters Gastrointestinal Bacteria Abundance and Microbial Metabolite Concentrations among Adults with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa219

Funding for the research was provided by the Hass Avocado Board and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Meanwhile in Stillwater Oklahoma

Stillwater, OK is home to Oklahoma State University, about 46,000 residents, and exactly one vegan company: the Beet Box food truck. While vegan options can be found all over the country, it’s true that some areas want for plant-based eats more than others. Randon Moore and Gwnyeth Yvonne were two vegan college students who decided to fill this gap in Stillwater, and their efforts resulted in the city’s number one food truck (that just happens to be vegan).

https://vegnews.com/2020/12/this-oklahoma-vegan-food-truck-is-revolutionizing-midwestern-comfort-food — This Oklahoma Vegan Food Truck Is Revolutionizing Midwestern Comfort Food

When the virus slows down a bit it might be time to take a road trip to Stillwater for some Shrimpless Tacos.

Don’t forget the traveling music.

Eat More Dried Fruit

The researchers found that people who ate dried fruit were generally healthier than those who did not, and on days when people ate dried fruit they consumed greater amounts of some key nutrients than on days when they skipped. However, they also found that people consumed more total calories on days when they ate dried fruit.

Previous research has found that poor diet contributes to nearly half of deaths from cardiovascular disease in the U.S., with a lack of fruit being a major factor. According to the researchers, fruits provide an abundance of nutrients, including fiber, potassium and several heart-healthy bioactives.

Penn State. “Eating dried fruit may be linked with better diet quality and health markers.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201124150849.htm (accessed November 30, 2020).

Journal Reference:

Valerie K. Sullivan, Muzi Na, David N. Proctor, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Kristina S. Petersen. Consumption of Dried Fruits Is Associated with Greater Intakes of Underconsumed Nutrients, Higher Total Energy Intakes, and Better Diet Quality in US Adults: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2016.. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2020.08.085