Scary Dairy Industry + ‘Cruelty Free’ Cinnamon Roll Super Milk! [Vegan, Sugar Free]

Got Milk? 

These guys sure do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj324R9R_NQ&feature=youtu.be (Warning. Some explicit content!) 

While you’re there, check this one out too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZcUrWAK-8Q (Sorry!)

Don’t like what you see, do ya? After all, you’ve been brainwashed by the dairy industry’s propaganda to believe that the main source of calcium is by consuming milk (and milk products) and by drinking the recommended glass of it a day (or 3 according to the USDA), you’ll grow up to have strong, healthy bones.

So yes, you do need cow’s milk to be healthy – if you’re a baby calf! :/

The meat industry has been under some major scrutiny (and for good reasons) for their colossal factory farm system and practices of raising cattle in immoral confinement, yet the animals in the dairy industry are arguably just as guilty. In their haste to sell you their products, the dairy industry has created an obsession over the importance of dairy products (also known as liquid meat) which in reality does more harm to the body and our planet than good.

There has been extensive scientific studies on the many harmful cumulative effects of consuming AND producing dairy – whether organic or not. In actuality, there is no reason for us to consume cow’s milk—and there are a host of important reasons to avoid it. Here are some that I’ve gathered for you to help you pass up that glass of cow’s milk:

1) Less dairy equals better bones. Countries with the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Asia and Africa) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

2) Calcium may (or does) raise cancer risk. Some studies have proved that with higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products can potentially increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Dairy product consumption increases levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) in the bloodstream. IGF-1 is a potent stimulus for cancer cell growth. High IGF-1 levels are linked to increased risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer. Nowadays, milking cows are given antibiotics and most are also injected with a genetically engineered form of bovine growth hormone (rBGH). A man-made or synthetic hormone used to artificially increase milk production, rBGH also increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink it.

3) Not everyone can stomach dairy. Approximately 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance. You may not show the common symptoms, but try taking it out of your diet and see what happens! 😉

4) Adding dairy foods to your diet would only supply more calories, fat, animal protein, cholesterol, sodium, microbes, and chemical contamination—ingredients that may contribute to even more health problems and trigger inflammation such as allergies, sinus problems, diabetes, chronic constipation, asthma, autism, skin issues such as eczema and irritable bowel syndrome.

5)  Amy Lanou Ph.D., nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states, “The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost nonexistent.

6) Milk is a very strong earth pollutant: it is about 400 times more polluting than untreated sewage. To put it another way, 1,000 gallons of milk has the same polluting potential as the untreated sewage from a town of 7,000 people.

7) So yes, dairy farms and factories pollute the earth and also accountable for the huge amounts of CO2 emissions, land degradation, water consumption and water contamination. They also contribute to the slaughter of more than 250,000 dairy cows per year.

8) ALL cow’s milk (regular and ‘organic’) has 59 active hormones, scores of allergens, fat and cholesterol that either occur within the milk naturally as the cow develops it OR it has synthetically been injected into them. Most cow’s milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels) and up to 52 powerful antibiotics. Milk also contains blood, pus (about 750 million pus cells allowed by the FDA), feces, bacteria, viruses and traces of anything (both toxic and non) the cow eats too. Yes, while some raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization — but these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential health risks overall.

9) The amount of money the government spends to promote the dairy industry is roughly 550 million just in America alone! Each marketing buck spent boosts sales by an average of $8, for an annual total of an extra $4.6 billion in government-backed sales of meat, dairy, and eggs. If that wasn’t enough, the U.S. government also spends on average more than $30 billion in subsidies for animal products such as dairy, and only a fraction of a fraction of that much on fruits and vegetables. That’s just sad. In addition, some of the “experts” who have helped create the recommended food pyramid actually work for the dairy industry, which makes the US Department of agriculture’s recommendations reflect industry interests (aka money), not science or the public’s best interests.

10) The life of a Western cow ain’t a pleasant one. While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are often taken away from their mothers when they are as young as 1 day old to be chained in tiny stalls for three to 18 weeks. Male calves, who cannot be raised to themselves become dairy cows, are slaughtered early on in life for veal. The dairy industry is the backbone of the veal industry – without it, the routine slaughter of calves could not continue. Just like veal calves, dairy cows who cannot produce milk due to exhaustion or disease are of no use to the dairy industry. Instead of “wasting resources” (feeding, sheltering), these cows are transported to factory farm feeding facilities to be fattened up, then slaughtered for meat.

One of the best methods to battle practices you don’t support is to vote with your dollars. Or as I’d like to say, “Vote with your fork!” Opting out from dairy altogether is definitely an ideal option and it’s a lot easier than you think. Nowadays, you can almost always find milk alternatives in your grocery aisle. You can choose from a number of delicious non dairy alternatives such as almond milk, hemp milk, organic soy milk and rice milk. Or – make your own! Be your own almond milk man. Don’t eat meat but can’t live without cheese or butter? Try making your own homemade cheese made from nuts like cashews and almonds. Rather than slathering your food with salty butter, try going for organic virgin coconut oil!

What about calcium and the benefits of milk we’re told are good for us? While calcium is a necessary nutrient, we can easily get enough of it from plant based foods. The most healthful sources of this vitamin can be obtained from eating green leafy vegetables and legumes, beans, seaweed and nuts. You don’t need to rely on dairy for healthy bones either. If you want strong, healthy bones, getting plenty of exercise and vitamin D (about 2000 IU or more depending) daily is key. Remember, dairy is not vital for good health nor is it sustainable.

Go dairy free and see what it can potentially and positively do for you. Trade in that glass of chocolate milk you crave in the morning and instead opt for a delicious vegan cinnamon roll protein milk beverage that’s nutrient dense, immune boosting and cruelty free. And then if someone throws a “Got milk?” at you (whether in a paid advertisement or from someone who wants it for breakfast) smile and let them know that you know better!

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What you’ll need:

1.5 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (homemade or an organic brand of your choice – always unsweetened!)

6-10 ice cubes

1 pouch of vegan protein powder unsweetened vanilla flavour (Brown rice or pea protein works best!)

1 tsp of organic cinnamon powder

1 tbsp of ground flax

1 tsp of chia seeds

Optional: pinch of stevia to taste (my protein powder usually contains some so I usually leave this out)

Another great option: raw cacao nibs, a pinch of vanilla bean powder

Add all ingredients to your Magic Bullet or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with more cinnamon if desired. Enjoy! x

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO EAT BAD POPCORN! (So make your own + reasons why!)

Who wants to share a big bowl of popcorn with me?

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One of my favourite snacks of ALL TIME is popcorn! Alright, alright. I admit – I’m a little bit obsessed. Alright, alright – I can be ADDICTED. While I try to maintain a “in between” carb diet (this means I don’t deprive myself of carbs on a low carb diet but stick to eating only complex and low GI carbs as much as possible), popcorn has a special place in my stomach….er, I mean heart. For me, it’s a simple yet filling snack and can be relatively nutritious. Whole grain, high in fiber and anti oxidants and low in calories, it can be an ideal healthy snack option.

But not all popcorn is made healthy! Unfortunately, consuming microwave popcorn and movie theatre popcorn (sorry folks!) definitely don’t fall under the healthy snack status which we all believed them to be. Believe it or not, conventional highly processed non organic popcorn is considered to be one of the most contaminated foods with harsh pesticides and chemicals.

Corn kernels and butter aren’t the only ingredients in microwave popcorn! Ever wonder why “natural and artificial flavors” are listed on the package as so called ingredients? Because companies don’t want to tell you what chemicals they’re actually using. It’s been said that the when the bags lining (teflon coating particularly) goes through cooking process in the microwave, it causes an unwanted harmful chemical to form called perfluorooctanoic (aka PFOA). This has been identified to likely be a type of carcinogen which has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, infertility and thyroid problems, and other potential health risks. And it’s not even a real ingredient!

Another issue is that it contains an artificially added chemical called diacetyl. Diacetyl is used to enhance the butter flavorings most commonly found in microwave popcorn bags. Apparently, factory workers that worked in manufacturing this product became ill from with scarring of the lungs that the condition was named ‘popcorn lung’. So inhaling a bag of popped popcorn means inhaling this additive. Plus, the labels in popcorn don’t generally include all of the many other chemicals (including diacetyl) that go into the flavorings. So the combination of the microwave (which I’ve ditched now for almost 6 years) and the chemicals in the bags, these alone make it a surprising health risk to be concerned about and definitely worth ditching.

Now what about those big bags of warm, aromatic popcorn that you can’t avoid at the movie theaters? You simply can’t watch a movie without it, right? While popcorn may seem like the snack that may be the only thing that’s not bad for you, well…..hold your butter! The calories specifically in movie theater popcorn have extremely high calorie counts. A large bag from AMC, without butter, comes at a whopping 1030 calories plus 41 grams of unnecessary trans fat! However, don’t forget, most people get butter on their popcorn, and that strange greasy liquid that vaguely tastes like butter actually contains non hydrogenated soybean oil that’s been artificially colored and flavored. Regardless if you ask for no butter, the popcorn is still coated with an artificial buttery flavoring that gives it that vibrant yellow color and heavily cooked in unhealthy trans fat like canola oil and salt. So all of the excess fat could add up and have detrimental effects on your waistline and more importantly – your health!

But it doesn’t just stop there!

To my surprise, some movie theaters apparently buy pre-popped popcorn which are warmed up under heat light lamps as a tactic to cut down equipment costs and time. This increases the theater’s productivity and in turn make more profit. Pre popcorn is also typically made in trans fat oils and flavored and colored with artificial ingredients, often containing MSG. It’s also worth questioning the unknown amount of time the popcorn have been stored for which could only mean that preservatives and additives have been added to increase shelf life.

So what’s a person to munch on while watching the latest flick? How does one avoid the “popcorn mist” and manage temptation?

Smuggle your own. 

The key to healthy and better popcorn is popping it yourself. I pretty much think this is the key to everything, really. It’s super easy to make and you’ll find just as delicious. Since corn is one of the most commonly genetically modified foods in the market with a wealth of health concerns, it’s best to always choose 100% whole organic popcorn kernels. Organic popping corn will be free of pesticides, additives and toxic residues commonly found in conventionally grown corn.

So with that, the more nourishing way to make your own is by air popping it in a really cool popcorn maker or using a stove top oven. What’s the best cooking oil to make it with? Organic extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil of course! And just like the popcorn, you’ll want to make your own toppings. Season it with cracked black pepper, raw extra virgin olive oil drizzle, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, a little bit of turmeric, Himalayan salt, nutritional yeast and my absolute favorite – chili powder.

Happy healthy snacking! x

Do you understand gluten?

Is gluten free just a trend? 

The answer: yes and no. (Warning: this is a very sensitive topic for most people!)

I do eat gluten free. But I’m far from trendy. And no I am not a celiac. So what gives?

First off, let me tell you what gluten is: it’s a sticky protein composite found in many grains including wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats, kamut, semolina, farina and bulgur. Gluten is the protein found in many grains including wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats. You ever wonder what gives the elasticity to dough when you’re baking? Well that’s good ol’ gluten for ya. Gluten can also be found in many beauty products, meat products, processed foods, everyday cosmetics and even veggie burgers! Weird, right?

If you have celiac’s disease even a tiny amount of gluten is harmful. It damages the surface of your small intestine resulting in poor absorption of nutrients (protein, fat, vitamins and minerals) which are necessary for your overall good health. Some researches have shown gluten to be a toxin compound which damages the intestines and makes it leaky. They believe that a leaky gut is one of the biggest liability factors for conditions such as diabetes, obesity and autoimmune disease. Hence some reasons why it doesn’t hurt for me to avoid gluten.

There are people who might consider a gluten free diet to be healthy or “great for weight loss.” But that’s not always the case. You can be on a gluten free diet and not lose any weight. It really all depends on how you do gluten free. Even though a product might be labeled free of it, it does not always mean that it’s healthy. There are a ton of unhealthy products on the shelf labeled gluten free that are just as bad as the non gluten versions. This is the importance of reading the ingredients and not just the front of the package. Get smart about reading those important labels!

The problem these days is that a lot of people follow the “gluten free” diet and a) don’t know what it is yet tell you it’s bad for you and b) you can classify it like any other commercialized diet like paleo, weight watchers, macro, etc. I would be inclined to point out that you can’t just do gluten free and eat loads amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates. Just because it’s removed from the diet, does not mean you should ignore everything else that may be bad for you. It should be a lifestyle change with the intent to eliminate other things like it that are more importantly detrimental to the general health: high fructose syrup, trans fat, sugar, wheat, simple carbs, added preservatives, toxins, processed foods, artificial flavours, GMO (soy and corn), dairy, and meat.

Now you don’t need to have full blown celiac to have unfavorable reactions to gluten. You could have a gluten sensitivity and not even know it. There are unwelcoming symptoms similar to celiac disease which include bloating, stomach pain, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, runny stools and even joint pains. We live in a world where westernized breads, sandwiches, pastas, pizzas, baked goods are all so accessible yet we wonder why sometimes it’s hard for us to lose weight or why we have certain health conditions and problems. Don’t you think it’s crazy that the bulk of North American meals mainly consists of wheat/bread products (which contain gluten btw!)

Though gluten sensitivities are common these days, there are is no apparent definition of gluten sensitivity. The only way to know if it affects you is by eliminating gluten from your diet and see how your body progresses or if symptoms leave. Symptoms can include: acne, skin infections, low energy, bloating, fatigue, stool inconsistency, interrupted digestion, etc. You might be surprised that cutting bread out of your life will do you good! And it’s probably not just the gluten but the consumption of heavy wheat and simple carbs you’re digesting that might also be affecting you. You may have other food sensitivities that you probably don’t know about! Listen to your body. 

It really isn’t just for celiacs or gluten intolerants! When properly done, it can be (good) for you too. Here are some health factors on going gluten free: reduces acne, manages eczema, brightens complexions, regulates anemia, reduces bloating, absorb nutrients effectively, helps to regulate bowl movements, regulates hormones, regulates weight, regulates blood sugar, manages acid reflux and can help to reduce other food sensitivities! 

For me, going gluten free means cutting out excess carbs out of my diet (breads, cereals, wheat/corn pastas, muffins, crackers, pitas, etc) and eating whole grain foods such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth and brown rice! Don’t fret – I still enjoy bread and cakes in moderation but in a healthier way by using grain free ingredients like almond flour and coconut flour instead of wheat. (You probably already know this from previous post recipes.) In a future blog post, I will discuss the importance of a wheat free belly and why I believe everyone should have it!

I’m not a health nutritionist or a food expert but I speak only from my own experiences. At the end of the day, the single most important thing you can do is aim for a healthy, nutritionally balanced, whole foods diet – the key to optimal health!

High Protein Plant Based Pasta – Say No More!

#WHATHEALTHYMODELSEAT

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Happily strolling through Fiesta Farms, my favourite grocery store in Toronto, I came across Explore Asian Organic Mung Bean Fettuccini. I’ve been meaning to cut down on eating brown rice pasta and wanting to make my own using fresh vegetables but don’t have a handy dandy spiralizer to do so. 

I have to say, that this is the best gluten free pasta I’ve ever had! Not only is it a plant based protein, it oozes all sorts of health benefits and nutrients that kicks brown rice pasta and quinoa’s butts! I’m actually still in shock as to how much protein there is with so little carb and calorie content. I grew up eating mung beans in stews and rice dishes but never would’ve I imagined eating it in the shape of a pasta noodle. image

The taste is very similar to brown rice pasta. The texture is a tender al dente (if made right) and nutritionally, it’s in your favour. For those with multiple food sensitivities or those that lead a healthy lifestyle, this pasta is an excellent carb alternative. A serving of 50 grams (about 1/4 of the package) contains 23 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, 2 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs and only 160 calories. The same number of serving of quinoa has about half of those stats. Brown rice pasta has similar numbers to quinoa too. Mung beans are low in cholesterol, high in soluble fibers and have a low glycemic index. Excellent for those on a low carb diet as well! 

It’s gluten free, wheat free, grain free, sodium free and there’s no added starch like many other gluten free pastas contain. In fact, there’s only two ingredients listed: organic mung beans and water. That’s it!  

I was super excited to have it for lunch today. I lightly tossed it with a quick homemade pasta sauce (crushed roma tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil) and served it with some fresh greens (sprouted broccoli, arugula, spinach, lettuce and sprouted sunflowers) for added munch! Besides, you can never have too much vegetables! 😉 Definitely going to have these regularly in my pantry! Which reminds me – I gotta go and stock up! 

Cracker Head

#WHATHEALTHYMODELSEAT 

Cape Town’s best gluten free crackers.

One of my favourite go to health stores in Seapoint, Cape Town called “Health Matters” carried these scrumptious flaxseed crackers that I couldn’t get enough of. The shelves of Cape Town’s grocery stores had limited products that were healthy, gluten free, no sugar added and/or vegan so when I found these bad boys, I was in heaven! R’Vive Health’s Flaxseed Crackers come in 2 flavours (tomato or courgette) and contain the simplest ingredients: garlic, onion, himalayan salt, flaxseeds, herbs and extra virgin olive oil. They are slowly dehydrated to preserve the ingredients goodness and nutrients. I enjoy them on their own as an on the go snack, but they’re great paired with organic hummus or fresh guacamole. Best of all, they are free of preservatives, additives, gluten, wheat, dairy, added sugar, GMO and make a great alternative to soda crackers. However, make sure you have a toothpick (or two) handy. Your chompers will have a mouth full of flax after consumption!

Flaxseeds are low in carbs and digestive friendly and considered to be one of the healthiest and most nutritional foods you can have. These powerful tiny seeds are high in fiber, anti oxidants and rich in omega fatty acids. Perfect to add to your everyday diet! 

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