Move Over Meat – Vegetables are taking center stage on your plate

(NewsUSA) – Historically, American dinner plates have featured meat as its mainstay/star, with vegetables as tepid, secondary supporting players. Now, the balance of power on the plate is shifting as fresh, homegrown vegetables take center stage. Recent “food trend” studies show that more people are making vegetables the main course of their meals. Although the interest in healthy eating extends to all age groups, millennials seem to be driving this healthful food trend. Data from the NPD Group suggests that people younger than 40 are eating 52 percent more fresh vegetables compared with young adults 10 years ago, and that preference is likely to continue as they age. In support of this trend, professional chefs, bloggers, restaurants and home cooks are embracing the flavors of a vast variety of vegetables, from common to exotic. Episodes of the popular “Iron Chef” television show feature vegetable-centric meals and a recent article in New York magazine noted, “Simply put, the once-meat-obsessed populace is realizing that vegetables actually taste good. Especially when fresh, in season, and carefully prepared.”You’ll see that many restaurants now offer vegetable-based entrees that have inspired home cooks to explore the healthy and delicious potential of making fresh vegetables a main course. Some reasons driving the shift in popularity of vegetables over meat include:

Selective Focus Photography of Red FruitVine-Ripened, great taste. Homegrown vegetables have a home field advantage when it comes to flavor because they stay on the vine to fully ripen and are harvested just before eating. Store bought veggies are often harvested before they’re fully ripe, so they don’t spoil on the journey to the store. Once picked from the vine, sugars begin to turn to starch-and that homegrown sweetness dissipates.

Good health. Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you, but research backs it up. In a study of over 130,000 in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine, consumption of plant protein is associated with longer life compared with animal protein consumption.

Landscape Photography of FactoryGood stewardship. Eating more vegetables and less meat can have a positive effect on the environment. Data from the University of Oxford, England, suggests that eating more vegetables could have a greater impact on reducing one’s carbon footprint than giving up a car!

As vegetables grow in popularity and push meat from the center of the plate, more people are interested not only in eating more vegetables, but eating locally grown vegetables – hey, what’s more local than growing your own veggies at home? Growing vegetables at home is convenient, satisfying, a money-saver in the produce aisle, and they’ll taste better, too! Fortunately for the home gardener, professional growers make it easy to grow nutritious and delicious vegetables at home. Bonnie Plants, for example, is a greenhouse grower offering more than 250 varieties of vegetable, herb, and fruit plants, ranging from traditional favorites to new and different choices. Some easy-to-grow options for your veggie main course include hearty tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini.

Bonnie Plants operates more than 70 greenhouse facilities in 48 states and trucks fresh plants from greenhouses to retailers near you, so they’re ready for planting upon purchase, and you’ll harvest six weeks sooner than if you grow from seed. Plus, the plants are grown a truck-ride away from the retailers that sell them. Don’t worry if you have little outdoor space, patio-ready caged varieties and combo pots are available as great options for small spaces.

Curious home gardeners interested in healthy eating can enjoy experimenting with vegetables to replace meat. For a new take on burgers, try substituting squash. Veggie burgers, like their meat-based counterparts, can be made in advance, frozen in patties, and pulled out for easy reheating as a healthy burger choice on a busy night. Try putting a new spin on salad, substituting Swiss chard for a fresh, peppy taste in lieu of such standbys as lettuce, spinach, and arugula.

Time to season your homegrown veggies? Bonnie Plants also offers herb plants, making fresh seasoning only a snip away with a quick trip to your garden plot or pot.

Visit bonnieplants.com for more information on varieties along with planting tips, tending, troubleshooting, harvesting, and a plethora of delicious recipes to try!

Curry Tofu and Potatoes

As a West Indian, I grew up using curry in a lot of foods. One of my favorites was in a soup-like dish with stew chicken, onions, and potatoes. Now that I’m vegan, I like to use a plant-based version of the dish using tofu. The taste is just as good as I remember it!
Check out my recipe below and tell me how it came out!

Stuff:

Steps:

  1. Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the cubed tofu and cook until golden-brown and crisp on at least 3-4 sides. Set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining ½ tbsp of coconut oil. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the onion starts to become transparent.
  4. Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin and paprika. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add vegetable stock. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add coconut milk, pan-fried tofu, and quartered potatoes. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  7. Taste, thin with water if needed, and adjust seasoning.

6 Reasons Why Beauty Sleep Is Important

Sleep is one of the most important factors for maintaining a youthful appearance. As you sleep, your body repairs itself, rebuilding your skin for a more youthful appearance.

The key is to sleep for at least 7-9 hours every night. Everybody is familiar with the term “beauty sleep,” but do you really know what it means?

Research reveals that when people sleep well and take good care of themselves, they tend to be younger-looking, happier and more alert.

Here are some of the major reasons why beauty sleep is so vital for your health:

  • Fewer Wrinkles – Getting a good amount of sleep doesn’t just keep your body in sync and your mind refresh, but it also helps you develop fewer wrinkles. As you sleep, the skin makes new collagen which is responsible for preventing sagging.
  • Get a Glowing Complexion – Your body boosts the flow of blood to the skin as you sleep. This means that you wake up to healthier skin. Your complexion can start to look drab when you skimp on sleep.
  • Cure Dark Circles – Dark circles is one of the biggest obstacles in achieving a youthful appearance. If you use foundation and concealer, you can hide your dark circles temporarily, however, there is a permanent fix to your issue. You should always opt for a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night to combat dark circles. This is the best way to get rid of dark circles and retain your skin’s health.
  • Reduce Swelling and Inflammation – After a restless night, undereye puffiness is not something you’re just imagining. You may notice excess fluid known as edema and enhanced inflammation in your body and some swelling. Your body gets time to decrease the inflammation when you have enough sleep. Cortisol which is a stress hormone is also produced more when there is a lack of sleep. People who have underlying skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and acne should be more careful about their sleep habits as they can make the irritation and inflammation worse.
  • Decrease the Process of AgingHiding one’s age is a thing that all of us have done at one point in time or the other. But can your skin hide your age, too? The lines of the face are sufficient proof to reveal the age. You should get enough sleep in order to lower the process of aging and make your skin look glowing. Failing to get enough sleep can lead to small breakdowns every day and it cannot be reversed overnight. That is why beauty sleep is essential.
  • Managing Weight – Sleep also helps with weight management. Sleep makes you feel less hungry. In fact, your body burns fat when you are in deep sleep or in slow wave sleep. Those who sleep for 7 hours and more, every night, have much fewer chances of gaining weight than those who snooze for 5 or fewer hours.

Having a sound sleep each night is essential. If you are not able to sleep well at night you should consult with a reputable sleep apnea doctor without delay so that any underlying ailment can be detected and treated.

Nava Atlas: The Vegan Atlas

Recently, I interviewed with Nava Atlas founder of the website The Vegan Atlas. Nava has authored several vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, including Plant Power and Wild About Greens. In 1996, she started one of the first vegetarian food sites on the web, VegKitchen, which went vegan in 2010. Her recipes have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and VegNews. Listen as we discuss women’s roles in plant-based movements and how social justice plays a part in veganism.

Note: Due to sound issues, the beginning of this interview may sound muffled. We corrected this as best as we could. Sound quality in the rest of the interview is in tact.

Happy Listening!

Music Credit: Please Listen Carefully by Jahzzar

Books by Nava Atlas:

Plant Power by Nava Atlas Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas

Read more about Nava here.

The Vegan Atlas

Are you a vegan small business? Find out how you can interview here.

The Growing Popularity Of CBD Oil

By: Camila Villagonzalo

In an era where veganism thrives, and holistic health remedies are found everywhere – it’s no surprise cannabis alternatives are growing in popularity as well.

The use of cannabis has exploded into mainstream media over the past decade, courtesy of the many health benefits derived from the plant. The bulk of these health benefits stem from a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, CBD.

CBD or cannabidiol can help treat a range of medical issues – from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to HIV/AIDS and sleeplessness.*

According to WebMD, CBD is extracted from the flowers and buds of hemp plants, and therefore does not produce intoxication or get you “high.” Could this be the reason why cannabis alternatives have earned a favorable reputation in modern medicine?

Today we seek to establish just how THC set the stage for the meteoric rise in the use of its counterpart, CBD, and why the use of CBD oil is growing in popularity.

Did Medical Cannabis Pave the Way?

In the not-too-distant past, cannabis was illegal in most Western countries, and any use was met with stiff penalties, fines, and in some cases imprisonment.

According to Rolling Stone, roughly 40,000 inmates of state and federal prisons have been convicted on a charge involving marijuana possession and are still serving time.

Until the 1970s, scientists struggled to find solutions to emerging diseases within the confines of the prohibited drug laws.

However, in recent times the government has loosened its stance on the matter and allowed for universal access to the non-psychoactive compound extract for medical purposes. Furthermore, cannabis is now available and federally regulated for recreational use in several states.

There’s no denying that cannabis research has provided the groundwork for the development of CBD oil – which is now legal and widely available. CBD is a compound extracted from the hemp plant with negligible THC content allowing users to avoid any psychoactive side effects.

Perhaps the ease of access to information – smartphones and social media – has rapidly advanced the cause in terms of legalizing marijuana. Or maybe the government grew tired of the illegal, and tax-free manufacture and sale of cannabis products.

Either way, the persistence in marijuana use and research – for both medicinal and recreational purposes – seems to be paying off big time.

Health Benefits of Cannabis

Numerous studies and comprehensive experiments have found cannabis to be helpful in treating various illnesses. According to CBDvapepenguide.com, CBD oil can help, prevent and treat several cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, PTSD, and even HIV. This has likely contributed to the widespread acceptance of its use.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, cannabis products won’t pave the way for detrimental secondary illnesses, nor do they put you at risk for harmful side effects, making them some of the best medicines available today.

Although there is inconclusive yet substantial research showing CBD oil to hold great promise in curing almost any illness, sourcing quality CBD still proves to be a challenge.

Hydroponic Growing: A Solution for Quality CBD oil

According to Entrepreneur, CBD oil from hemp plants is often preferable over marijuana because of its low THC levels. Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in most parts of the U.S., while cannabis-derived (higher THC content) oils tote the line of legality.

California is one of the largest producers of cannabis and hemp plants do to the vast amount of land, and fairly temperate environment.

However, harsh summers prove problematic as the region tends to experience frequent wildfires. Plants grown outdoors are often tainted with soot and smoke, and then sold to consumers – posing incredible health risk.

Another problem is the current regulatory process. Many licensed growers actually fail tests on the biological and chemical contaminants in their products after wildfires – often detrimental to the business. This leads growers to avoid the process altogether, and resort to black market cannabis production.

Sketchy sourcing does more harm than good when it comes to medical cannabis, but this fear that licensed growers share can be alleviated with hydroponic growing.

A solution for growing quality cannabis would be to apply Hydroponic gardening techniques, paving the way for fresh produce year-round and accessibility to the plant in smaller, urban environments.

This is because hydroponic gardening doesn’t require the use of soil, only light, temperature control, nutrients, and water.

To overcome any legal threats in the cannabis industry, hydroponic growing addresses the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, and extracting by avoiding negative environmental influences during the growth process. This makes for cleaner, safer plants with minimal risk to growers and consumers – further fanning the flames of CBD exposure, profitability, and popularity.

A Breakdown of the Growing Popularity of Cannabis Products

To highlight just how the landscape is shifting, look just across the border. Canada recently legalized recreational marijuana and it’s now completely mainstream.

Today, medical cannabis is legal across 30 states and approved for recreational use in 9 states. It won’t be long before the rest of the country follows suit with a considerable amount of legislation in the pipeline, and countless organizations rallying behind the push for universal legality.

Legality has hindered CBD oil use in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region, and Europe but there has been an increase in the production of cannabis products nonetheless.

In the US, where some of these restrictions have been lifted, CBD annual product sales have risen to a staggering $591 million over the last four years. This is nearly a 500% increase.

The reasoning behind these figures:

i)  The internet

Internet use has skyrocketed over the past twenty years and e-commerce has become the standard means for consumption across the West. With an increase in digital purchasing, CBD oil has become a convenient and accessible alternative to cannabis.

According to a study by the Brightfield Group in 2017, only 40% of sales are made in-person, while the lion’s share take place online. They’ve estimated that the hemp-CBD market could hit $22 billion by 2022.

ii)  CBD oil is considered a nutritional supplement

Generally, cannabis-derived CBD is the primary target of restrictive legislation, while hemp-derived CBD is loosely regulated. As a result, foreign and domestic markets have greater access to these products.

Thanks to continued market acceptance and bullish marketing efforts, experts believe the CBD industry will experience a compounding growth of 50% over the next couple years. The future is certainly bright for CBD, and the popularity train is only getting faster.

* Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.

 

Camila Villagonzalo
Blogger & Brand Marketer

 

 

Vegan Business: The Vegg – Harold Bollaci

Back in January, I sat down with one of the owners of the Vegg, Harold Bollaci, to talk about his product. The Vegg is a vegan egg replacement product that can be used in cookies, cupcakes, and even for breakfast as scrambled eggs. Later in the interview, we discuss the issue of purity in vegan foods, bias in grocery store product placement, and the importance of being open-minded towards new vegans and curious omnivores.

* Please note, this is a direct transcription from a recorded interview, and is thus written in a vernacular rather than formal style. Sentence structure resembles human speech patterns rather than strict grammatical style.


Eat Bright Living: What can you tell me about the Vegg? What made you start the business?

Harold: So, what can I tell you about our company? I’m not the creator. I purchased the company the Vegg with a few partners about two years ago. We’re obviously all vegan and we saw enormous potential in the product. We’ve all used the product. We met with the owner and he expressed a willingness to sell and we thought, “Gee, why don’t we? Why don’t we try this out?”

Eat Bright Living: Sounds pretty cool.

Harold: And why did I start? Well as you know, there is an incredible untapped market for vegan products in this country and around the world. Not only should people not be eating eggs…you don’t have to be vegan to love our product…so it’s great if people are vegan, but you don’t have to be. It’s a heart health issue. It’s a shelf life issue it’s an economic issue. There are so many reasons why we see value in our egg substitutes.powerScramble_03

Eat Bright Living: Can you tell me just a little about your personal story? A little bit about your journey to veganism and why you started and the reasons behind that?

Harold: I’m going to be 44 this week.

Eat Bright Living: Oh wow, well, happy birthday in advance.

Harold: I was born without an esophagus which is kind of rare. So, I’ve always struggled with diet and nutrition, and the ability to digest certain foods and eat certain foods. My doctors put part of my colon in my chest–that’s what makes up my esophagus now. So, for all my life I always had difficulty eating swallowing. A lot of times I would aspirate my food. I still sometimes aspirate my food because it doesn’t get down far enough. I had bleeding ulcers where I lost two-thirds of my blood in my late 20’s. On the advice of doctors, I just started cutting out a lot of foods, and animal products were one of them. I found that the plant-based diet was better for my overall health. I haven’t had any problems since, so I’m pretty happy about it. When you explore the benefits of veganism, first of all to animals and animal cruelty, the earth, in addition to the nutritional and lifestyle benefits that we get…it’s not hard.

Eat Bright Living: That’s another good thing that I like about the Vegg, because, you know, I became vegan eight years ago. When I first started there were maybe two brands in the store and not a lot of variety, and with certain things, you miss that. It’s kind of hard to replace. Before I found these egg replacements, for baking, people would say use applesauce. Or use different things that didn’t really have the same flavor or taste so I felt like I was missing out on a lot still. Then I found brands like yours and that kind of filled in the gap and made it a lot easier, I think.

Harold: I agree. There’s been a lot of progress in the past 10 years. One of the challenges that we face as a company and as a brand is that American palates are so accustomed to horrible processed food. The challenge is getting people to change their palate and recognize that this is a very healthy product and the taste might not be just like a cracked egg, but the cracked egg is bad for you. Yeah, it takes a little while and it takes an open mind. I don’t think it’s hard to do, and I really think it’s about education, and it’s about shelf placement.

Eat Bright Living: Any long-term goals for the Vegg?

Harold: I would like our products to be next to eggs in a grocery store. Yeah, I’d like to make the vegan aisle, but I’d also like people who are looking at eggs to say, “Oh wow, I can try this too and it’s better for me?” You know, but I don’t own grocery stores. We’re in about 50 stores nationwide. They’re mostly small stores and one or two big chains. I love pushing online sales. I love getting orders in, but I do know that probably 80% of all online orders go through Amazon, which is fine if that’s a way to get these products into consumers’ hands. Of course, we like people to come to our store. We offer online specials and free shipping, but you know I’m just as good at selling through Amazon. And of course, I’d rather consumers be buying in a store, but it’s hard to get on store shelves.

Eat Bright Living: I know you answered a lot of questions and to kind of wrap things up, what advice would you give to people who are just starting out becoming vegan? Or people who maybe want to start a vegan business or offer a product to the community?

Harold: My advice is always to be patient, be thoughtful, be inquisitive, and don’t be overly judgmental or critical. Everybody’s ideas and palates are different. Don’t be an extremist. Be accepting of a variety of vegan lifestyles and products. Veganism is a personal and individual journey, so having an open mind and a patient mind and a thoughtful mind is the best way to get there. It’s about us individually. We can all be passionate advocates for the ideology and the lifestyle, but when it comes to ourselves we have to do what’s best for us.

Eat Bright Living: Something that I’ve noticed lately is a lot of the new products for vegans share similarities with more traditional meat and dairy products. I noticed within some groups there’s a lot of suspicion towards it, an attitude like, “Well, why would you want that anyway?” So I think that’s kind of like the judgmental side that you were talking about because people are at different stages of their journey. Some may want something that reminds them of what they used to eat. And some people may be like, “Well, I don’t need that. I don’t need a replacement.” It’s just about meeting people where they are and being open-minded about things.

Harold: I couldn’t agree with you more and I think that’s with everything in life. There’s always somebody who’s going to say that a vegan product isn’t pure enough. Yeah, if I can get someone to give up eggs five days a week and use my product, I’m okay with it. Anything that people are doing personally to make themselves better and healthier is okay.

Listen to the full interview here:

 

Visit the Vegg online at www.thevegg.com.

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