Former President Bill Clinton has learned something about heart disease: a fatty animal-based diet can clog arteries, and in 2004 he had quadruple-heart bypass surgery. He began eating healthier, but then in 2010 he had another fatty blockage resulting in a stent. What he did after that stent is somewhat drastic – he moved to a vegan diet and lost another 25 pounds.
A vegan diet contains NO animal products at all. So where would you get your protein?
- Soy products such as tofu, tempeh and veggie burgers
- Nuts and nut butters
- Legumes such as pinto, kidney, black and Great Northern beans
With a vegan diet, it’s especially important to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients. A few to keep an eye on…
- Iron – nuts, beans, legumes, dried fruit, dark leafy greens and baked potatoes
- Calcium – dark leafy greens, bok choy and calcium-fortified drinks like soy milk or oj
- Omega-3 fatty acids – flaxseed and walnuts
- Vitamin B12 – fortified soy foods and nutritional yeast
Why join the 1% of Americans who are vegan? This eating approach may reduce your risk for heart disease and certain cancers (prostate and gastrointestinal). And with the usual weight loss that comes with a vegan diet, many folks with type 2 diabetes find improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Not sold on going vegan?? That’s okay. Even serving a few meatless meals each week is a great start toward healthier eating:
- A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with veggie soup is a favorite lunch.
- Grilled veggie burger on multi-grain bun with spinach leaves, tomato slices and roasted bell peppers.
And you will find some tasty recipes at www.vegetariantimes.com.