Good evening, lovelies! It is Tuesday and that means it is Biggest Loser night! Who else is excited with me? It is also All Saint’s Day, so my friend Kristen and I made sure to attend mass this morning before class to celebrate. It was a nice break from the usual routine.
It was back to normal on the breakfast front over here! I rolled with the standard cereal, fruit, and pumpkin spice coffee. The cereal was Nature’s Path Flax Multibran Flakes, a new-to-me breakfast find. It was delicious and held me over for a good three hours!
When my class ended, I was starving and lunch was calling my name.
I made a salad with the usual suspects and topped it with half Annie’s Papaya Poppyseed Vinaigrette and half Annie’s Gingerly Vinaigrette and nutritional yeast. Along with my salad, I enjoyed the best of both worlds by spreading one slice of Ezekiel bread with pumpkin butter and one slice with roasted garlic hummus.
After kickboxing, I was greeted by quite possibly the greatest combination known to man: Matty and thai food! Matty came up to visit me tonight, after driving all the way to Rice Barn, our favorite thai restaurant, to pick us up some dinner. He ordered southern noodles and I ordered my usual, mushroom lettuce wraps.
I kid you not when I tell you these are the best wraps I have ever had. They come with layer after layer of rice paper and Boston lettuce and are accompanied by sprouts, carrot, cucumber, rice noodles, and the most delicious grilled shitake mushrooms on the planet. The wraps are served with a mouth-watering thai vinaigrette. I want more just thinking about it. Thanks, blog.
Why We Can’t Give Up Dairy
Before I begin this discussion, I want to let you know that, if you consume dairy products, I have no intention of offending you in any way. As always, do what is best for you and check with your doctor before making any changes. With that said, happy reading!
If you’re a fellow vegan or have friends that are vegan, you’re no stranger to the standard questions that vegans receive. Do “How do you get your protein?” or “Aren’t you hungry all the time?” ring a bell? Perhaps the most common question that I receive goes something like this: “How did you give up dairy?! I love my cheese!”
To be honest, giving up dairy wasn’t that big of a feat for me. On my journey to veganism, I was not a big milk-drinker or cheese-eater. I definitely had my fair share of ice cream, though! It wasn’t uncommon for me to down an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s at least once a week. <*Shudders*>
After receiving this question on several occasions, I began to research its origin. There had to be some connection between all of those people who couldn’t seem to give up their precious dairy! After much research, I stumbled upon many studies suggesting that dairy had addictive properties.
Dairy contains a protein called casein. Once casein crosses the blood brain barrier, it turns into casomorphin, which has shown to have an opiod effect. Casein ignites certain receptors in your nervous system and GI tract, much like the drug morphine does, which transmits an addictive response. Fascinating stuff, right?
Another reason I would advise people to stray from dairy, specifically cow’s milk, is its production of mucus. Dairy is mucus-forming, which can contribute to sinus issues. The mucus also creates a thick layer over your GI tract, inhibiting absorption of nutrients. This seems counterproductive because we are constantly told that dairy is the greatest source of calcium. In reality, roughly 20 – 40% is absorbed. In addition, most milk is fortified with vitamin D, which enhances calcium absorption. So, it isn’t necessarily milk that we’re concerned about. Rather, pairing calcium and vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption.
So, what to do? How do we get our calcium? Believe it or not, I obtain more calcium from current plant-based lifestyle in comparison to my non-vegan days. Our daily intake of calcium should be roughly 1,000 mg. Here is a list of foods rich in calcium along with a sample meal plan:
- Kale: 1 cup = 179 mg
- Collard greens: 1 cup = 357 mg
- Broccoli: 1 cup = 100 mg
- Soybeans: 1 cup = 175 mg
- Tahini: 2 Tbsp. = 129 mg
- Almonds: 1/4 cup = 89 mg
- Fortified almond/rice/hemp milks: 1 cup = 200-300 mg
- Tofu: 1/2 cup = 200 mg
- Black strap molasses: 2 Tbsp. = 400 mg
- Chia seeds: 2 oz. = 600 mg!!!
- Hemp seeds: 3.4 oz. = 140 mg
Moral of the story: It is possible to thrive on a plant-based diet and obtain adequate calcium levels!