Seeking Jess

Is Veganism The Secret To Longevity?

When it comes to the term “healthy diet”, I feel like every single person is having their own opinion about that. That’s why it is difficult to generalise this term and say that a specific diet, such as for example the vegan diet, is the healthiest.

If you have been vegan for a while now, like me, you also know that you can eat only junk food and still be vegan. So, is a vegan diet still the healthiest? I don’t think so.

I personally believe that it is up to everyone to understand what is healthiest for them and make sure that we have an understanding about how our body works.

I personally find it super interesting to have a look at how our diet has evolved. When we do so, we can see that our diet has changed a lot. If we go a little further, we can also see that diets differs from region to region.

There is one specific region that has caught not only my attention, but also the attention of many others. Why? Because these people are known to have lived a long life, some of them becoming 100 years or older.

What place am I speaking about?

It is Okinawa.

Okinawa is located in the south of Japan.

The most interesting part is that we might be able to see a link between nutrition and why these people have lived there for so long. There are 50 people to 100,000 people in Okinawa that are 100 years or older. When compared to Germany it is only 17 to 100,000 people. In year 2000 women could live up to 86 years and men to 78 years.

When we look at the typical western diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer or coronary heart diseases, the numbers are very low. These people are also known to work out a lot and be very active. Of course, one argument could be that these people are just very lucky to have good genes. But another thing we could do is to have a look at their diet.

So how does the diet of the people in Okinawa look like?

  1. It is mostly plant-based. A big part of their diet is made out of sweet potatoes.
  2. They eat only until they are 80% full, which means that they don’t overeat.
  3. They see food as a medicine. They are conscious about what type of food they put into their bodies.
  4. Their sugar and fat intake is very low.
  5. Their protein intake is very low. Most of the protein comes from soy products, such as tofu or miso soups.
  6. They eat a lot of vitamin C, vitamin E, folate and vitamin B6.
  7. They get vitamin D through sunlight exposure.
  8. Their drinking water is very rich in calcium.
  9. They consume a lot of potassium, while their sodium intake is low.
  10. Their consumption of saturated fat is very low.
  11. They consume a lot of complex carbohydrates (low glycemic index).
  12. They consume a lot of herbs & spices.
  13. Meat is consumed only once a month.
  14. Alcohol consumption is very limited.
  15. Fish consumption is eaten but not regularly.

So generally we can say that the food that the people of Okinawa eat is very low in energy but very high in their nutritional value. Vegetables have very low calories, of which you can eat a lot of while getting in a lot of amazing nutrients. And because of their calorie restriction they live by, the older generation is not overweight and lives longer.

Unfortunately these are all facts that have been measured before the 1960s. Now, a lot of things have changed not only in Japan but in the world in general. People are now starting to gain weight in Okinawa and people do not live as long anymore. They do not move that much and they now consume a lot of meat, fish, white rice and bread.

As mentioned before, their longevity might have been due to their genes. But when we take a closer look on how the diet has shifted and what is currently happening over there, we might be able to see a correlation between diet and longevity.

Now it is up to you to decide what you want to believe.

With love,

Jess x

Vegan Facts

Cow’s Milk vs. Plant Milk (Nutrients, Environment, Animals)

Cow’s Milk vs. Plant Milk

What are the differences of cow’s milk vs. plant milk? As plant milk is starting to become more popular all over the world, the demand of cow’s milk is decreasing. People are slowly starting to understand that cow’s milk might not be the best for health, the environment and the animals.

Dairy products can be associated with some health problems. Milk is high in cholesterol and saturated fat, of which both have the possibility to increase the risk of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. Also, dairy products contain hormones, pesticides and puss.

At the same time consumers might be afraid that by cutting out dairy, they might be missing some important nutrients such as calcium and vitamin b2. Let’s have a look at these nutrients in cow’s milk vs. plant milk.

Nutrients

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, which is important for calcium balance, bone metabolism and the immune system.

Cow’s milk does contain vitamin D, but the amount is usually very small.

Plant milk only contains vitamin D, if it has been fortified. Generally, it is safer to rely on enough sunlight during summer days and vitamin D supplements in order to get an adequate amount of vitamin D. 

Calcium

As everyone knows, calcium is important for strong bones and teeth.

Calcium is generally lower in plant milks, but many companies fortify their plant milks with it.

Great plant sources of calcium are: kale, broccoli, pak choi, wild herbs, dried fruit, nuts, almonds, seeds and pseudo-grains (like amaranth) and some legumes (like tofu, soya beans, lupin, black beans, white beans, red beans).

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Yes, cow’s milk does contain vitamin B2, but so do kale, mushrooms, asparagus, almonds, nutritional yeast, avocado and wild rice

In comparison: cow’s milk has 180µg per 100g, kale 182µg per 100g, mushrooms 389µg per 100g and broccoli 177µg per 100g.

Whole grains and legumes can also be a good source of vitamin B2.

Iron

Iron is known to be a critical nutrient in the vegan diet, but also for women in general. Iron is an important component of red blood cells, which carry oxygen from your lungs to your whole body.

I personally think it’s super cool that there is more iron in plant milk than there is in cow’s milk. In comparison there is about 60µg in 100g of cow’s milk while there can be around 570µg in 100g of soy milk.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is needed for brain function, nerve tissue health and the production of red blood cells.

Conventional plant milks are sometimes fortified with vitamin B12, though it is not the best source of vitamin B12. It is always recommended to supplement vitamin B12.

In addition to that, many people have a lactose intolerance, which can lead to diarrhoea, bloating and severe stomach cramps.

Environment

Many think that soy products are responsible for deforestation. Most soybeans, which are used for soy milk, usually come from France, Italy, Canada and West Europe.

98% of all soy that is being grown worldwide is used for animal food. Only 2% is being used for products, which we consume (most producers put the place of production on their packaging).

Soy beans that are used for animal food usually come from Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and the US, where rainforests are being destroyed for this reason.

Two research groups from Sweden have analysed the life cycle of soy and oat milk vs. cow’s milk. 

This is what they have found out:

When it comes to land consumption, soy milk and oat milk use 39% and 21% respectively, compared to cow’s milk with 100%. Both plant milks also create less greenhouse gases (cow’s milk: 100%, soy milk: 24%, oat milk: 31%).

UNESCO-IHE analysed the water usage of soy milk and burgers as well as cow’s milk and beef burgers. The results are crazy! While it takes 158 litres of water to get a 150g soy burger, it takes 2350 litres (!!!!!) of water to get get a 150g beef burger. It takes 296 litres of water to get 1 litre of soy milk, while for 1 litre of cow’s milk, it takes 1050 litres of water. 

Animals

Not only does it seem that the consumption of plant milk has a lot of benefits for our health and the environment, but it seems like it has a lot of benefits for the animals, too.

A cow, just like any other mammal (including us humans) produces milk only when pregnant. A dairy cow needs to constantly produce milk. For this reason cows are being forcibly inseminated every year. After the cow gives birth to her baby, both, mother and calf are being separated within hours or minutes, which is very traumatic for both parts. The cow will be inseminated again, six to eight weeks after giving birth.

While female cows all face the same destiny and become a dairy cow, male calves are being sold to fattening farms, where they spend a few weeks gaining weight, until they are being sent to slaughter.

A life span of a cow is between 18 and 22 years. In the dairy and slaughter industry most of these animals die way before. A dairy cow, when no longer able to produce milk, will be slaughtered at the age of 4.5 to 6 years.

Nowadays there are so many choices and brands. More and more stores offer soy, oat, almond, cashew, hazelnut, coconut, rice, hemp and macadamia milk.

I personally love coconut and oat milk. Which is your favourite plant milk?

With love,

Jess x

Sources:
ProVeg (2018). Treatment of cows in the dairy industry.
Ecodemy (2019). Pflanzenmilch – der Siegeszug einer Milch, die eigentlich gar nicht so heißen darf
Vegan Facts

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Veganism

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Veganism

A vegan is someone who does not consume any animal products, such as meat, dairy, fish, eggs, leather or fur. Veganism is also seen as the stricter form of vegetarianism, as it is more of a lifestyle with the goal to avoid animal cruelty in every possible way.

I personally have been vegan since December 2017. I also feel like you can never learn enough about veganism and it’s impact it can have on us, the animals and the environment.

That’s why I have put a list together of 10 vegan facts you might have not known about:

 

#1 Veganism was “created” in 1944

The first time the word “Vegan” was introduced was in 1944. Donald Watson and his 5 other vegetarian friends had a meeting to discuss the importance of vegetarian diets and lifestyles. Since all of them were already following a non-dairy vegetarian diet  they felt like they needed to find a new word, which would give this new movement a better meaning. By using the first 3 words of “vegetarian”, they created the word “vegan”. Donald Watson called it “the beginning and an end of vegetarian”.

Read more: source

 

#2 If everyone went vegan, we could save 8 million human lives by 2050

According to a Oxford Martin School Study done in 2015, by the sole action of cutting out red meat of a diet and adding an increased intake of fruit and vegetables, up to 8 million human lives could be saved by 2050. In addition to that, a total calorie intake reduction would lead to a lower number of obese people and therefore less related deaths caused by inadequate nutrition.

Read more: source 

 

#3 Every year around 90,000 male dairy calves are being shot right after birth.

Male calves are of no use for the dairy industry and they are not good enough for beef production. That is why around 90,000 calves are being shot in the head soon after birth. Male calves are being seen as a waste product, as there is no use for them on the market.

Read more: source

 

#4 A free-range egg has nothing to do with a happy chick running around outdoors

Legally, it is a allowed for a free-range egg farmer to keep 16,000 birds in one building. So in other words: there are 9 birds per square metre of space. There are also no rules about how often the birds have to go outside. This means that most birds never get to see the sunlight.

Read more: source

 

#5 Every year 1 trillion to 2.8 trillion fish are killed every year.

These fish, that are being killed, are either for direct consumption from aqua-farms or caught in the wild to feed the farmed fish we then eat. 1 trillion to 2.8 trillion fish is about 143-400x the amount of the entire human population.

Read more: source

 

#6 Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers and Magnum all offer vegan ice cream.

Ben & Jerry’s now offers 11 vegan flavours, such as Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Chunky Monkey. Also, Magnum has just launched two vegan ice cream flavours!

No more need for us to consume the dairy version, which is in any way super bad for us. I mean it is 2019, why are we still consuming dairy?

Read more: source

 

#7 Meat substitutes grew by 451% in Europe from 2014 to February 2018.

In addition to that legumes like beans, lentils or soybeans also increased by 39%, which shows that people are becoming more and more aware of the types of foods they put into their bodies. Amazing, right?

Read more: source

 

#8 Cutting meat and dairy reduces the land use by 76% and halves the greenhouse gases that are caused by food production.

Out diet can have the biggest impact on either saving the planet or destroying it. Shifting from an animal based to a plant based diet is the future and the right way to go.

Why?

Animal farming takes up 83% of the world’s agricultural land, but provides only 18% of our calories.

Read more: source

 

#9 Vegans have a lower body mass index and lower cholesterol levels.

A study who has compared the health of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans has shown that vegans have the lowest BMI and the lowest levels of cholesterol.

Read more: source

 

#10 Germany is the global leader at vegan product development.

In the last 5 years vegan food launches have more than doubled. In the meantime Germany accounted for 15% of global vegan introductions (between July 2017 and June 2018).

Read more: source

 

What surprised you the most?

 

With love,
Jess

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