Mama Jess Loves Vegetarians! (and why you should too!)

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in blog

Mama Jess LOVES Vegetarians!! 

Our products are Vegan. Bean Good was developed with the vegetarian in mind. Extra protein – plant based – for their diet. At Mama Jess we love the healthy and conscious lifestyle that usually comes along with vegetarianism. I believe plant based nutrition is the way to go and that falls in line with our core values here at Mama Jess…INCREASE VEGETABLE CONSUMPTION IN AMERICA! Now you don’t have to do that by being Vegan alone, but dabbling in one of the many types of vegetarianism is a great start. The Flexitarian diet is a great way to sample or cleanse?! Onto my mini lesson on vegetarians and questions I often get asked…

 

What is a Vegetarian? A vegetarian can be defined as a person who eats plant food, avoiding animal products, fish, eggs, dairy and honey. Vegans are further defined as people who adhere to the vegetarian definition but additionally and consciously try to remove the use of products from animals like leather, feathers, wool, etc.

 

There are several types of vegetarians – see what type you might fall into:

Lacto-Vegetarian: plant based diet including dairy

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: plant based diet including dairy and eggs. This is the most common group.

Pesco-Vegetarian: plant based diet plus fish

Pollo-Vegetarian: plant based diet plus poultry (avoids red meat and pork)

Flexitarian: mainly plant based diet but occasionally makes exceptions

 

In 2010 Vegetarian Times found there were 7.3 million Americans that were vegans and 22.8 million Americans that follow a “Vegetarian Inclined” diet. Most people chose vegetarianism for these top 5 reasons;

1. Animal welfare

2. Want to improve health

3. Environmental concerns

4. Natural approach to wellness

5. Food safety concerns.

 

Many studies have concluded that Vegetarians have:

LOWER risk of obesity

LOWER risk of Hypertension

LOWER risk of Diabetes

LOWER risk of Coronary Artery Disease

 

These benefits are no doubt from eating plant based diets and eliminating animal fats, saturated fats and cholesterol but also increasing FIBER, FOLATE and ANTIOXIDANTS in their diet.

Do you remember Dr. Dean Ornish’s 1994 study where nutritional intervention could halt or reverse progress of prostate cancer by eating low-fat, plant based diet? He repeated a similar study again in 2008 with the same great results. Proving to me that diet and exercise can slow or prevent some cancers. That alone was enough evidence to eat for disease prevention. By the way, Dr. Ornish’s participants ate a vegan diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes), no meat, eggs or dairy.

 

 

A few common questions or myths about vegetarianism:

 

Can you get enough protein from plants?

YES! USDA recommends 0.36 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you take that calculation for an average 150 pound person, they would need 54 grams of protein per day. There is data out there that suggests the average meat-eating American consumes as much as 100-120 grams of protein a day and that may be too much. One of my favorite researchers and doctors, Dr. Furhman suggests we only need 20-35 grams of protein per day. Regardless of where you want your protein intake to fall (of course dependent on your weight and needs – for example, nursing mothers and athletes) plants can supply your protein demands.

 

Plants can supply all essential and non-essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). There are 20 different types of amino acids our bodies need for good health – our body can only make 11 of them. The remaining 9 aminos are referred to as essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.). Because we cannot make them, we must get them from our diet. This is how the outdated rules of labeling ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ proteins came about, but that labeling suggests some foods are better than others for your health. Animal meat is complete protein, but so is quinoa, soy products, buckwheat and hemp seeds! Other plants are only slightly incomplete (to use that old adage!), but as long as you eat a variety you will have complete protein sources. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the former ADA, American Dietetics Association) now states that plant sources alone can provide adequate amounts of essential and non-essential amino acids, assuming that dietary protein sources from plants are reasonably varied and that caloric intake is sufficient to meet energy needs. Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain essential and non-essential amino acids.

 

Can you get enough calcium from plant based diets?

YES! Great sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables, nuts, quinoa, kidney beans, whole grains, lentils, broccoli, kale, tofu.

 

What about Vitamin B12? 

True Vegans can have B12 deficiencies but if they are educated it’s no problem at all! B12 is needed for cell division, blood formation and preventing anemia. Neither plants or animals make it – only bacteria. However, animals consume it when they eat foods contaminated with the bacteria that generate B12, and hence are good sources for B12.  Some easy ways to add B12 to your diet: – nutritional yeast, fortified soymilk or almond milk (my favorite almond milk has 50% RDI), fortified cereal or supplements. Eggs, cheese, crab, fish, lobster, octopus, shellfish are all good sources for those including these items in their diet.

 

Hope this helped you venture closer to your vegetarian goals or just sampling the vegetarian lifestyle. We believe it’s a great choice for health and Mama Jess will continue to support our customers with our high quality, organic, nutritious, vegan products!

 

Off to eat more veggies,

Mama Jess