Finally, a label that means nutritionally sound vegan food: Certified Plantricious.
|Certified Plantricious label|
Confusion abounds about vegan food, and marketers are having a field day. Many, many vegan foods are not healthy. Start with things like vegan mozarella that is made from canola oil, and it goes downhill from there... marketers confuse a sociological term "vegan," for a nutrition label and peddle any amount of garbage. Canola oil is not suitable for human consumption on the best of days. Most people think "vegan" is only defined in the negative, as an absence of animal products, but that is no way to approach nutrition.
The only serious research base in plant-based nutrition is the work of T. Colin Campbell, beginning with the China Study, and now continuing in his Center for Nutrition Studies. It is the foundation for all serious work in plant-based nutrition, including the work of Esselstyn, PCRM (Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine, and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
Plantricious will be rating both restaurants and foods, and looking to create some order, by providing consumers with one label that actually means something. Follow Plantricious on Pinterest for the latest.
General GuidanceFirst, you need to understand how simple the plant-based nutritional paradigm really is. It is defined on Nutritionstudies as the Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet Guide, and it can be summed up simply as Whole-Foods, Plant-Based without added SOS (Sugar, Oil, or Salt). That's it #WFPB without added SOS.
Second, you also need to get some clue about the economic (and environmental) significance, meaning that with a plant-based diet you consume on average 14x fewer resources than someone on a Standard American Diet (SAD).
Third, you need to understand that the plant-based diet can prevent 7 of 10 of the leading causes of death in the Western world, and it is therefore the only realistic solution to the healthcare crisis, as I have argued in a recent article on the CVS/Aetna merger.
The upshot is that the plant-based nutritional paradigm is the key to a sustainable world, and the solution for our healthcare crisis and our environmental crisis all in one. Plus, you will feel better to boot!
KISS: 80/10/10, carbs/protein/oilsIn general terms, you end up getting 80% of calories from complex carbohydrates, 10% from (plant-based) protein, and 10% from naturally occurring oil - never added oil. You want to watch it on the oily fruit such as avocado, nuts, or coconut. Serious heart patients, according to Esselstyn should even cut those out, but a normal person can have a little bit, like a handful of walnuts, or a quarter of an avocado in a day. It is easy to go over 10% because many plants naturally contain oil.
No more need for most supplements or pills. Take a B12 every other day, and you should be fine.
Bad Diet AdviceMost diet books and videos and the like live off of confusion. The tell tale signs are when they promote single ingredients. It makes no sense to not look at the total diet and figure out if one ingredient or another makes a difference. If you are on a healthy #WFPB-SOS diet, there is NO need for supplements, except for some B12.
Just one example of such consumer confusion was a good looking PDF document that was sent to me the other day, titled African American Vegan Starter Guide. It remains focused on protein, as if that were an issue and also uses added oils and fried foods, all of which are a no-no, for both heart disease and diabetes, as well as many other health problems, of which the book correctly represents that the African American population is particularly vulnerable, yet they don't make an effort to provide nutritionally sound advice. Unfortunately, this type of consumer confusion is more the rule than the exception.
All dietary advice that remains concerned with protein is suspicious. These folks are stuck in the old wives tales that it is somehow hard to get our protein, whereas the truth is that we tend to get too much protein, not too little. The first step is no animal protein whatsoever. Animal protein is proven to stimulate cancer growth. We need plant protein ideally for about 10% of our caloric intake, not much more. Again, it is very easy to overshoot the target.
Another tell-tale sign is using added oil. Vegetable oil is made from plants, but we do not need the added oil in our diet, for oily food directly affects your arteries, preventing them from flexibly expanding and contracting with physical activity for 3-6 hours after an oily meal. Oil simply paralyzes your arteries and while Extra Virgin Olive Oil may seem to taste better than motor oil, its nutritional value is about the same. Avoid!