It’s beginning to feel like the plants are taking over. Meatless burgers at fast food restaurants. What’s next? Plant-based beverages, of course. Tufts does a good job of explaining how it is not a totally one-for-one substitution.
Enjoy plant-based beverages; but be aware most are not equivalent to milk.
The market for plant-based alternatives to dairy products continues to grow, as lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, veganism, environmental concerns, and other factors lead Americans to look for alternatives to dairy. So where do these beverages fit into a healthy dietary pattern?
How They are Made: To understand the nutrient profiles of plant-based beverages, one first needs to know how they are made. The raw materials (nuts, grains, legumes, or seeds) are soaked in water and ground (or ground and then soaked). The resulting slurry is strained to remove solids, and then any flavorings, sweeteners, and desired nutrients can be added. Thickening agents (such as locust bean gum, carrageenan, or xanthan gum), and stabilizers to keep the mixtures from separating, are often required. The products undergo heat treatment that kills any microorganisms, and they are packaged for market.
This process results in a beverage with a nutrient profile significantly different from the original plant food. Continue reading
One of the most helpful facts I ever learned about sugars and reading ingredients notices is that there are four grams of sugar in a teaspoon. So, when you read 20 grams of sugar, you can visualize five teaspoons full.
When I was a reporter on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, one of the markets I covered was the Shell Egg Futures market. In that capacity I spoke with egg industry people regularly and found myself eating eggs regularly. Being posted on the exchange floor, it was often handy for me to bring a couple of hard boiled eggs to have for lunch as I couldn’t really leave the Exchange during trading hours. I confess to being a big fan of the incredible edible egg.
Eggs and dairy products are excellent protein sources. Eggs were off the menu for many years for people with elevated cholesterol levels because of their high cholesterol content. However, the latest research has determined that dietary cholesterol (cholesterol from food) doesn’t actually raise blood cholesterol levels for most people, although the saturated fat found in most high-cholesterol foods might. Other research has shown that egg consumption is not significantly associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease or type 2 diabetes. Continue reading
Among the dietary patterns specifically recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is the Mediterranean-style diet, which has been linked to reduced risks of heart disease and cognitive decline.
A healthy Mediterranean-style diet includes many of the same key ingredients found in MyPlate for Older Adults. The chief difference between a Mediterranean-style diet and other healthy-eating plans is the emphasis on unsaturated fats found in plant foods, especially monounsaturated fat in the form of olive oil. All healthy diets recommend limiting foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats and full-fat dairy, minimizing added sugar, and avoiding processed foods.
Eating More Like a Mediterranean
To move your diet in a Mediterranean-style direction, try these suggestions:
1 Eat plenty of vegetables.
Try a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, or eat salads, garlicky greens, fragrant soups and stews, or oven-roasted medleys.
2 Change the way you think about meat.
If you eat meat, have smaller amounts – small strips of sirloin in a vegetable saute, for example – or substitute skinless chicken breast or fish for red meat in a few meals each week. Continue reading