“He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything”
– Arabian Proverb –
The world’s leading medical specialists are more and more saying how having a predominantly vegetarian diet has the potential of reducing a string of heart problems, fights cancer, helps induce fat loss, and generally improve your health and wellness…
Vegetarianism, Taking The World By Storm
Globally, vegetarianism is on the rise, no longer exclusive to parts of Asia and the Indian subcontinent. This ‘green’ revolution has taken place subtly over decades and continues to gather momentum, its pace quickening into the 21st century.
Today the growth of vegetarianism is a matter of choice, primarily a decision based on health. Health researchers have long advocated a reduction in the consumption of meat with many going so far as to recommend a complete cessation of meat. It is widely accepted that there are a host of health benefits associated with meat reduction.
Among these benefits are a reduction in cholesterol levels and consequently heart disease, reduction in blood pressure levels and reduced risk of cancer and diabetes. While these are just some of the more published benefits there are many others.
The definitive answer to optimal nourishment is the consumption of a variety of produce from the three main food groups i.e. fruit and vegetables, legumes, pulses and seeds and dairy. Each of these food groups and its components has a unique combination of nutrients that work together effectively in providing the mechanism for the smooth operation of the body.
The assortment of vegetables available at the markets of Malaysia to the bazaars of Turkey and beyond is bewildering. These vegetables present themselves with descriptive expression in hues of green, red, yellow and an unrelenting riot of colors.
The rich colors and textures of vegetables nourish and protect the human body from not only common diseases and illnesses, but are a defense against infection, as they bolster our immune system and fortify our body’s defenses.
Packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, they combine to offer us nature’s miracle anti-oxidant, far more potent than any single medication and completely without side effects.
Save The Vegetable, Save The World: The Environmental Benefits Of Crops
In terms of sustainability, the amount of land that we need to clear to grow vegetables is so much less than what is required to raise cattle.
Whereas a field of crops could feed a small village, the same field used to graze cattle could maybe only feed a fraction of that. Furthermore, you have to consider the potential food that is wasted as you have to grow feed for the cattle to eat.
Did you know the total amount of grain that is consumed just to raise animals for food is enough to feed the less fortunate of this world?
In addition, you don’t have as big a carbon footprint when you choose not to contribute to the resource depletion that is caused through the slaughtering of animals for food. It is becoming increasingly popular to choose to become a vegetarian because people object to the harsh treatment of animals that are slaughtered for food.
“A 400-page United Nations report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that cattle farming is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases. The production of cattle to feed and clothe humans stresses ecosystems around the world, and is assessed to be one of the top three environmental problems in the world on a local to global scale.” – [Wikipedia]
How Eating Vegetables Can Help You Live Longer
It has been documented that people who eat an entirely vegetarian diet, or for those who eat more vegetables have been shown to live an average of 10 – 15 years longer than those who do otherwise.
Additionally, the National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one third of all cancer deaths may be diet-related.
Vegetables have been shown to:
- Reduce the chance of heart disease
- Reduce the chance of getting cancer
- Help people with diabetes
I feel we really need to take care of our bodies’ right from the beginning. Your body is like your home, the house that you live in.
If you build your house with good cement, bricks and mortar, it will stand strong for a long time. Similarly, whatever we put in our bodies, our bodies will become. All the health gurus are singing by the same tune, in that you need to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables.
Some ingredients that have been shown to fight cancer:
- Tea (green and black)
- And the list goes on and on…
Thumbs Up To Your Karma
When you choose to eat a vegetarian diet, you choose life – as nothing needs to die for you to get your meal. The amount of cattle that is slaughtered every month is astounding; at 4.12 billion pounds in the month of July!
In the bigger scheme of things, we’re only on this Earth for a short time and during this time. What do you want to be remembered by?
One Day May Be All You Need To Change Your Life
The question that is asked of me the most often is:
“Is vegetarian food hard to prepare and how do I start implementing it into my life?”
My answer is always the same in that vegetarian food is not difficult to prepare. It takes less time than meat dishes as meat requires more time to cook through and consequently, you can have a full meal ready in less than 5 minutes!
And for those who need some help in implementing more vegetables in your diet, try the following 1 day meal plan. It’s easy to follow, yet wonderful for your body:
• 1 glass of fresh juice. Any type will do, but try and add some vegetables such as celery or cucumbers blended in with your fruit juice as well.
• 1 bowl of cereal. Add berries or nuts into your cereal to give it a healthy kick. Use multigrain cereal for added goodness.
• 1 serving of papaya or banana
• 1 small bowl of fruits. A small bowl of apple cubes or pears before your lunch would be ideal
• 1 serving of salad with your normal meal. If you like eating pasta for lunch, try a wholegrain pasta with a side of salad. Reduce the serving size of the pasta to accommodate the added vegetables.
• Try the simple recipe below from my cook book Vegemania!
Zesty Peppers & Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are the most widely consumed legumes in the world.
- 1 can garbanzo beans/ chickpeas
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
- 1 medium red and green bell pepper/ capsicum each cut into small pieces
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- Juice of one lemon, or to taste
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Chill the serving plates to keep your salad crisp longer
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the beans, celery, peppers and onion
- In a separate bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the bean and pepper mixture
- Stir to combine and chill to serve
- Optional garnishes: tomato-, cucumber.- and lemon wedges
Preparation time: less than 10 minutes!
The New Era of Wellness
In this new millennium, the key words must be wellness and healthy ageing. The population all over the world is ageing and more and more people are celebrating their hundredth birthday. However, studies have shown that not all these people are ageing well.
The populations with the highest expectancy and longevity are those found in the Mediterranean and Okinawa, Japan.
What is their secret? In the Okinawa study, it showed that it was the rich diet of fruits and vegetables that helped promote longevity. Research shows that people with diets rich in fruits and vegetables live longer and suffer less from chronic disease and disability.
“Thy food is thy medicine and thy medicine is thy food”
It’s not that hard for you to take that first step in eating a better, vegetable and fruit filled diet.
With these baby steps, you can truly make a profound change not only in your life, but in your closest loved ones.
I’ve always said to my family and friends, ‘your fate is on your plate’. It really is as simple as that, but you have to make the conscious decision for change…