What You Must Know About The Growing Vegan Movement

The introduction to veganism has been accidental for many people. Surprisingly for a majority of people, using the term ‘vegan’ loosely for ‘vegetarian’ had made this introduction happen.

What is Veganism?

Veganism is the practice of following a vegan diet that excludes animal meat and certain dairy and plant-based foods. A person who practices veganism is called a vegan.

Veganism is not just about following a vegan a diet, but it is a lifestyle change. Ever since its introduction in the year 1944 by Donald Watson, the movement has evolved from a mere dietary change to a lifestyle change in the year 2010. The Vegan Society was founded in England in 1944, and back then the term vegan meant ‘non-dairy vegetarian’. Post-1951, the society defined the term vegan as ‘the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.’

Although the vegan movement has been in existence since over a half century, it gained momentum in the year 2010 when environmentalists vowed to bring in a lifestyle change to save the planet from environmental disasters caused due to human negligence.

The path-breaking event occurred in the vegan movement when in 2010 The European Parliament defined the term vegan and asked the food industry to mark the food labels as vegan just like vegetarian and non-vegetarian labelling on the food packaging.

The movement isn’t restricted to any political boundary. Today, vegan movement is practiced in more than 100 countries across the world by people who are dedicated to the environmental cause and propagate sustainable living.

There are different vegan philosophies practiced by the vegans across the globe:

  • Ethical veganism:The vegans who follow a vegan diet are usually the followers of ethical veganism philosophy. This philosophy propagates changes in dietary habits. Ethical vegans do not consume any dairy products like milk, cheese, eggs including honey.
  • Environmental veganism:This philosophy emphasises the environmental impact created by the vegan movement. This philosophy focuses on adopting a completely vegan lifestyle than just dietary changes. Vegans who follow this philosophy avoid using products made by killing animals.
  • Plant-based veganism:Vegans who follow this philosophy live off on only plant-based foods produced from the ground.
  • Raw veganism:The followers of this philosophy do not consume food cooked above 48 degree Celsius. They believe that foods cooked above this temperature lose its essential nutrients and enzymes.

Difference between Vegetarian and Vegan

Vegetarian and vegan have been loosely used for each other by the ignorant section of the society. This inter-changeability of these terms dates back to the mid-2000s when the vegan movement was gaining momentum across the globe but with little to no awareness amongst the masses. Vegetarians have often argued about the difference between these two dietary choices and to their surprise, it is enormous!

Vegetarian is a person who excludes animal meat from their dietary choices. They go on to consume dairy products and eggs too at times whereas; a vegan completely abstains from these foods. A vegan is a person who consumes only plant-based foods and completely avoids dairy products as well.

What does a vegan diet comprise of?

The non-vegan people are often left baffled about what do the vegans consume. To their astonishment, the vegan diet offers a lavish spread of food choices which include:

  1. Soy:Soy is the staple food in the vegan diet. There is a massive variety of products made out of soy that the vegans can consume.
  2. Plant-based milk:The dairy milk is substituted with soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk and milk obtained from various grains like rice and oats.
  3. Grains, nuts, and seeds:Vegans can consume all kinds of grains, nuts and seeds. This provides them with a scope to experiment with their food.
  4. Fruits:Vegans can consume the entire production from the fruit families. 

Veganism and Nutrition Argument

For years the vegan movement has been affected by people who believed that vegan dietary foods could not replace the nutritious value of animal meat. There have been numerous researches across the globe to prove it otherwise. The vegan foods are enriched with essential nutrients like calcium, protein, iron, sodium along with the entire vitamins group including B complex and vitamin D.

Following a vegan diet during pregnancy has proven in better infant health compared to the kids born to the mothers who follow vegetarian or non-vegetarian diets during their pregnancy.

The environmental impact of our food choices and the dangerous climatic changes due to human negligence has paved the way for alternative lifestyles that promote and support sustainable living.

8 Myths You Always Believed About Milk (But You Should Not)

Milk has been an integral part of the dietary intake in the Indian culture and being the first thing that a baby consumes after birth – why shouldn’t it be? However, there are many myths surrounding the intake of milk. Some people believe it to be a complete meal to meet the daily nutrition requirement while some believe that milk alone isn’t sufficient or is bad for your health. Whom to believe?

Here, we have debunked some of the common myths surrounding milk intake:

Myth: Milk is the best source of calcium.

Fact: Milk is a rich source of calcium but it certainly isn’t the only sufficient. In order to meet the daily calcium requirement in kids and adults, you cannot simply rely on milk. You would need to add other calcium-rich sources of food to meet the optimum calcium requirement for each meal.

Myth: There’s no limit to the quantity of milk consumption

Fact: Infants and toddlers meet their basic nutrient requirement from milk as it is the only thing that they consume until they start weaning. But after the age of 4, 2-2.5 cups of milk a day is more than sufficient. Excess consumption of milk can be dysenteric in some cases.

Myth: Milk is difficult to digest and causes bloating

Fact: This is not entirely wrong. People who are intolerant to lactose can find it difficult to digest milk. Indigestion further leads to bloating and other digestive issues. Lactose intolerance can set in at any age. Some people can be intolerant to lactose since their beginning years and in some cases, it is developed at a later age.

Myth: Raw milk is nutritious than boiled milk

Fact: No, it is not. Boiling doesn’t take away the nutrients from the milk. In fact, it is better to boil the milk obtained from a local milkman as it can be contaminated. Boiling, in this case, helps in killing the harmful bacteria present in the raw milk.

Myth: Milk is a meal in itself

Fact: Milk is rich in nutrients, but it cannot replace a meal. Milk can be consumed along with a meal. A glass of milk won’t be as filling as a complete meal. It will leave you hungry causing hunger pangs in a short period of time. The body needs other nutrients and minerals to meet its requirements and all of them are not found in milk. Don’t substitute a meal with milk or it can cause nutrition deficiency in the body in the long run.

Myth: Starting the day with a glass of milk is the best thing

Fact: Consuming milk the first thing in the morning can be troublesome for people who suffer from gastric and other digestive issues. Drinking milk on an empty stomach can have an acidic reaction in some people. Accompany your breakfast with a glass of milk.

Myth: Drinking milk gives strong bones

Fact: This myth is based upon the myth that milk is the best source of calcium which is not the case. Milk has rich calcium content but only consuming milk without any other calcium-rich foods won’t give you stronger bones.

Myth: Homogenization and pasteurization destroy the nutrients in milk

Fact: Contrary to the belief that homogenization is a chemical process, it is, in fact, a mechanical process. It has absolutely no effect on the nutrient content of the milk. The process of pasteurization is just for killing germs and not nutrients in the milk.

Myth: Dairy cows are not treated well

Fact: Not always. There are organic milk brands where cows are treated well, are fed good fodder, and they live in open, clean farms.

So is milk healthy or unhealthy?

Milk is the healthiest way to meet the daily nutrient requirements in a human body. Milk is the only thing consumed by a child until it starts weaning. The health benefits of consuming milk are aplenty. The purpose of debunking these milk myths is to educate our readers and to prevent them from falling for these common myths about milk consumption.

A1 or A2 Milk – Which Is Right For You?

People choosing to live a healthy life have paved the way for healthier living habits. These habits comprise of adopting healthy lifestyle changes like eating healthier foods and indulging in physical activities to name a few. Organic farming has taken the world by storm and dairy industry isn’t far behind. The arguments about organic milk vs. the industrial milk are rife today. And when there’s a mention of organic milk – you cannot miss mentioning A1 and A2 milk. The arguments are in favour of A2 milk but what is it that makes it a better option than A1 milk?

What is Organic Milk?

Organic milk is obtained from cows that are fed with organic fodder and aren’t given antibiotics and growth hormones. These cows are strictly watched to avoid any stray grazing over inorganic or adulterated pastures. The cows that fall sick and need to be treated with antibiotics are then removed from the organic production utility. Organic milk, thus, is obtained from cows that are bred and raised in 100% natural living conditions without any kind of intervention either through consumption of adulterated fodder or medical treatments.

What is A1 and A2 Milk?

Milk, as known, is a great source of calcium and protein. The easiest and healthiest way to introduce calcium and protein in the regular diet is through consumption of milk. Milk is made up of a variety of proteins and casein is the largest group of proteins present in the milk. Casein makes up to 80% of the total protein content in the milk.

A1 and A2 are the two types of beta-casein that make up the large chunk of casein proteins found in milk. Regular milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein. The bifurcation of organic milk into A1 and A2 is done on the basis of the breed of the cow. A1 beta-casein is found in the breeds Holstein, British Shorthorn, Friesian and Ayrshire. Whereas, the A2 beta-casein is found in the breeds Jersey, Limousin, Guernsey, and Charolais. 

Why is A2 milk better than A1 milk?

The entire A1 and A2 debate is based on some studies that show the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk and production of Beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is one of the major reasons behind it.

BCM-7 is produced during the digestion process after consumption of A1 milk. Studies by a select group of researchers, across the globe, suggest that production of BCM-7 in the human body can have adverse effects. Though everyone is not affected by consumption of A1 beta-casein but studies show that a growing number of people are falling prey to the harmful effects of secretion of BCM-7.

According to a study published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2012, following are some of the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk:

  1. Delayed psychomotor development in infants

The BCM-7 has been found to travel to the brain through the bloodstream in infants which hampers their motor development skills thereby delaying the process.

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The human body is not acquainted with digestion of BCM-7. This can add to weak gut thereby resulting in IBS in some individuals.

  1. Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is often found in kids. Researches show that kids who consume A1 milk while growing up are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

  1. Coronary Heart Disease

A1 milk has higher fat content than A2 milk. The accumulation of fat in the human body can lead to risk of developing certain heart diseases.

  1. The occurrence of Autism or Schizophrenia in extreme cases

Studies have shown that higher levels of BCM-7 are associated with the ability to perform and plan. The high levels meddle with the brain thereby causing mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

  1. Lactose intolerance

Lactose (sugar) intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar consumed by the body completely. Though A1 and A2 milk have the same levels of lactose, studies have found that a number of people find it difficult to digest A1 milk compared to A2 milk. There are numerous researches being conducted on this across the globe. Doctors suggest that A2 milk is the best substitute for lactose intolerant people as A2 beta-casein is easier to digest which makes it a healthier option compared to A1 milk.

It is well established and well-accepted fact that A1 and A2 milk differ in their compositions. However, in India especially, the bigger problem is the way the cows are managed, and the milk is procured – there are a lot of adulterations that happen in the whole process. When the animals are kept in a clean environment, allowed to graze in open farm, soak in the sunlight, and fed only organic fodder, the quality of milk is certainly better.

 

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Protein is one of the most essential nutrients required by your body. The human body breaks down the protein into enzymes and amino acids. The cells present in the human body get cytoskeleton from protein, which is used to build up new skeleton muscle.

The moment people hit the gym, they shift to high protein consumption. But little do people realize that as much as protein is important for gaining muscle or losing weight, the quantity of protein consumed by your body plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Excess of anything is harmful and protein is no different. There are different school of thoughts about what should be the ideal protein consumption for a human body.

As per the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) the ideal protein consumption is 0.8g per kilogram of the body weight. This is further bifurcated upon the gender:

  • 46g per day for the average woman
  • 56g per day for the average man

Factors To Consider For Protein Intake

Everybody needs protein. It is one of the essential nutrients required by the body to function properly. Each one of us consumes protein in our daily diet through the regular food. Why’s there a whole market for protein supplements then – you may ask. Let’s read on to find out the answer to your whys.

One needs to take into consideration various factors while deciding the protein intake. Each body is different than the other and so are the body’s nutritional requirements.

Here are some factors to consider while deciding the amount of protein to include in your daily diet:

  1. Gender

An average man consumes around 2,600 calories per day, and a woman consumes around 1,700 calories per day. According to nutritionists, an average healthy man should consume around 3000 calories per day and a woman should consume around 2000 calories. The percentage of protein in the total calorie intake should be between 10-30%. The latter only when you are on a high protein diet and are having an active lifestyle.

  1. Workout and other physical activity

People who are into strength building, heavy workouts and sports need higher amounts of protein to build muscle and stamina. If you have a lower rate of physical activity in your routine, then the amount of protein consumed from the regular diet is enough for your body to maintain the nutritional balance.

  1. Food Habits

Vegetarian food is comparatively lower on protein contents. Vegetarian people who are into bodybuilding, athletics or sports would need to supplement their diet with protein. Animal meat has a high percentage of proteinform of powders hence non-vegetarians can do without supplements. To meet the exceeding protein requirements, the non-vegetarians can increase the animal meat in their diet.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

There’s no gym or gym instructor who doesn’t press their clients to give in to protein shakes. You would see every gym selling some sort of protein supplements in the form of powders etc. Don’t fall for the trap that you can’t build muscle or lose weight without going on a high protein diet which is largely dependent upon the protein supplement they are selling.

There’s no denying that one does need protein supplements to build muscle, but not everyone is training to be a bodybuilder or a weightlifter. Before jumping onto the bandwagon, you need to understand your goals and body needs.

Going on a high protein diet often means neglecting or completely eliminating carbohydrates from the diet. Carbohydrates are as important as protein for the body. The body derives its energy from the carbohydrates and when you deprive your body of carbs, you start feeling lethargic and low on energy all the time. One needs to maintain a balance between the protein and carbohydrate intake in their diet.

Excess intake of protein can result in weight gain. The body consumes the protein it requires and stores the excess amount in the form of fats. This results in weight gain. Until and unless you are looking to gain weight or doing high-impact exercise, excess intake of protein can have adverse effects on your workout goals.

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have the same or similar results with the same dietary habits. Nutrients are essential for a healthy body but overconsumption of anything can have adverse effects on the body. Working out is just the tip of the iceberg. It won’t bear fruits without a healthy and adequate nutrient supply to the body.

 

Did You Also Believe These Myths About Organic Food?

Like everything else on the Internet, there are a lot of mixed feelings and opinions that people seem to have when it comes to organic food. While the benefits of choosing organic are crystal clear, it’s possible to stumble upon misconstrued information which may be false or manipulated. Such misinformation paints organic food in a negative light. In this blog, we do not wish to convince you that organic food is the best and the negatives you read about it are all lies, rather, all we wish to do is present you with the facts, the unadulterated truth, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Myth #1. “Organic food does not always translate to healthy food”

If you buy a packet of organic urad daland decide to make deep-fried tikkisout of the batter, then it’s obviously not going to do much for you, nutrition wise. The high temperatures will destroy most of the nutrient value, the oil will be laden with saturated fat, and you will lose out on the health benefits. If you take the same urad dal and make a dosawith just a dash of oil on the pan, then you’ll have yourself a healthy meal! One of the biggest myths about organic food is that it’s not automatically healthy, but that’s more because of the way the food is treated, it has more to do with cooking than the food itself. So the health factor is really dependent on how you choose to make your food.

Myth #2: “Pesticides are only harmful to pests, not humans”

If you think that these chemicals are only effective on four-legged pests, think again. A study by the US Library of Medicine stated that pesticide residues have also been detected in human breast milk samples, which raise serious questions and concerns about prenatal exposure and the effects on children. People who work closely with pesticides have recorded suffering from respiratory issues, and also those also affect their reproductive and endocrine systems. High accidental exposures may even result in death.

Myth #3: “Organic food is simply unaffordable”

Of course, organic food can be affordable if you know where to find them. Try your local farmer’s markets, sustainability drives and online superstores to find genuine, organic foods. And if the price point is a marginally higher than generic brands, understand that you are paying for the assurance and safety of a certification. It’s far from easy to get certified by the USDA, but if a brand is certified, then you can rest assured that you’re consuming safe, hygienic ingredients.

Myth #4: “Natural and organic mean the same thing”

This is by far the biggest myth. Understand that what makes a brand organic is not the nature of food, but rather the processes of production, sourcing, and manufacturing. For example, doorstep delivered milk can be called “natural” because using that word requires no certification. But calling a brand organic without the certification can have serious consequences as well as legal ramifications. The certification is all about the processes, have the key ingredients been sustainably sourced? Are the cows healthy? Do they have space to roam? Are they grass-fed? Is the grass they are fed with chemical-free? Getting certified requires providing documented evidence for questions like this and more.

Myth #5: “Organic food is not sustainable”

A study conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which spanned over 9 years, stated that organic farming is better for the soil matter than conventional, no-till farming. To put things in perspective, just one teaspoon of compost rich organic soil can host over 600 million to 1 billion good bacteria from 15,000 different species. Compare that with chemically-treated soil, where one teaspoon can house barely 100 good bacteria. This is the most pragmatic way to understand the benefits of organic farming on the environment.

Myth #6. “Organic food is tasteless”

This is a common myth that mostly surfaces to organic newcomers. Let’s take an example of milk. If you find that your new brand of organic milk isn’t as rich as your previous milk, it’s because organic is as close to the real thing as it gets. Traditional cartons of milk use emulsifiers and thickening agents to make milk seem creamier and richer, but all of this takes an immense toll on the digestive system. Most people cannot handle such high levels of lactose, which is why organic milk reserves the best natural ingredients and preserves their nutrition through scientific processes.

#Myth #7. “Organic is just a buzzword”

By buying into this myth, you are not only denying yourself the opportunity to be healthier and make wiser health choices, but you are also robbing local, Indian farmers the opportunity to preserve their heritage and make an honest livelihood. India has always been an agriculturally rich nation, but after colonization, farmers were forced to stop the cultivation of indigenous local crops and replace them with cash crops. Now, our farmers are finally getting the support they need to grow local grains like red rice, millets and more. By buying an organic brand, you choose to shop local, to support local farmers and the community. By choosing organic, you are not helping a greedy corporate CEO to buy a fifth holiday home in France, rather, you are helping a local farmer to put food on the table and feed the family. So who would you rather support?

These are the facts about organic food, and we hope that this article has helped you better understand not just the benefits of organic food, but also the impact of organic farming on a holistic scale. Not only is it the best option for your health, but it’s also something that creates jobs and lessens the load on the environment. Remember, when you shop local or organic, you are not just benefitting yourself and your family, but you’re also benefiting the community and the planet as a whole!