Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sex is the Ultimate Reason for Dudes to Practice a V Diet

This Article was originally posted in Care2 
5 Reasons I’d Still Be Vegan If I Were a Dude
Eat Drink Better April 16, 2014 6:01 pm


As the vegan movement grows, statistics say it resonates most strongly with women — at least so far. Of the 2.5 million or so Americans who identify themselves as part of Team Vegan, about 79% are female. Society sends some screwy messages about “acceptable” gender-based behaviour; in this case, those messages may be doing men a disservice. Vegan eating isn’t “a girl thing” — especially if you’re a fellow who values strength, health, environmentalism, and sex!

Real Men Don’t What?

We all absorb gender stereotyping from the world around us. Sometimes it’s overtly and obviously planted in our brains, by people within our social environment:

  • “Boys don’t play with dolls!”
  • “Pink is for girls!”
  • “Real men don’t (fill in the blank)!”

But often it’s far more subtle, based on norms and nonverbal cues that paint our social landscapes in subtle but pervasive ways. When we integrate these gender-specific cultural concepts into our behaviour without reflection, it limits personal choice and (sometimes) good, sound, reason-based decision making.

So step outside what you’ve been told about what “real men” do or don’t eat. Demand the right to define that for yourself! Then consider, reflect, and respond, based on your own values and best judgment rather than those choice-limiting gendered STTD’s (socially-transmitted thought dictums).

Men & Veganism: A Perfect Match! Because…

1. Sex

Yep: let’s be bold and start in the bedroom! Common diet-mediated health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure literally devastate sexual function among men.

Male sexual response depends on circulation, so anything that benefits heart health (vegan eating, for example!) confers similar positive effects downstream. Not only does coronary disease itself cause problems, by limiting blood flow to the (ahem) extremities; but many medications used to treat high blood pressure and cardiac problems also suppress male sexual response. So dietary changes that prevent or reduce heart disease can greatly impact your date-night vavavoom, in more than one way.

Men who suffer from diabetes experience a high rate of erectile dysfunction and other urological problems. By embracing a plant-based paradigm, men can reduce diabetes risk and in some cases actually reverse symptoms of the condition — which translates to a more robust love life! You’ll also increase your odds of having more vigorous years in which to enjoy it, as you grow older without romance-killing chronic health problems getting in your way.

Excess weight also puts gentlemen at higher risk for sexual dysfunction. Because of plant foods’ higher fiber and lower fat content, many herbivores find that maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight while eating vegan is easier than they expected, averting many obesity-related urological (and other) health problems before they start.

If you’re planning to start a family, there’s even better news: cutting animal products from your diet may make you more able to do so! Research has linked some meat products (especially those “manly” processed meats like ball-park ‘dogs) to male reproductive problems, in terms of both sperm quality and quantity.

What would you pay for a miracle pill that offered all these sexytime benefits?! Whatever that amount is, I bet it’s more than the cost of kale and lentils — and eating plants won’t raise your health insurance premiums, either.

If you’re still a single man, I’ll also tell you a nice little secret: because of the gender skew within the vegan community, vegan boys are very popular!


2. Health

Sex is great and all; but not dying is awesome too!

Study after study after study links animal product consumption to increased risk of early debility and premature mortality. On the other hand, research links plant-food consumption to reduced risk for the chronic diseases that disable or kill (or first one then the other) so many American adults.

Men are already at higher risk for heart disease and stroke than women; they already have shorter life expectancy than women. Why would you voluntarily take on extra risk? Why not instead take the reins of the risk factors that you CAN control? A healthy vegan diet isn’t a magic bullet, and it won’t make you immortal. But research suggests that your heart health will benefit, your stroke risk will decline, and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes will plummet.

Those disease clusters kill people, early and painfully! You can’t change ALL your risk factors, but this is one area where you can seize the wheel. Your family needs you to stick around a while! So why not do everything you can to oblige them, and opt out of some diet-mediated death risk?


3. Memory & Cognition

The potential benefits of plant-based eating extend beyond the walls of the bedroom or the cardiology clinic. If you want to keep your competitive edge in the workplace as you grow older, it just makes sense to take care of your brain. The Alzheimer’s Association offers this advice:

According to the most current research, a brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol.

Sounds familiar, right?

To a large degree, heart health is brain health. An omega-3 enriched vegan diet, in concert with physical exercise and regular engagement in mentally challenging activities, facilitates heart health and sets the stage for keeping your mind sharp as you age. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias pose complex questions, and don’t lend themselves to one-step solutions; but evidence suggests that diet can make a huge difference in either mediating or exacerbating your risk.

Cognitive decline decimates a person’s ability to work, meet family obligations, maintain relationships, and enjoy recreational pursuits. Like erectile dysfunction, early stroke, or diabetic amputations: why go there if you can opt out (at least to some degree) by just changing how you eat?!


4. Environmentalism

When it comes to sustainability, women aren’t the only ones with a vested interest in not trashing the place! With the exception of a handful of cosmonauts, we’re all stuck on this planet together to an equal degree; so there’s no need for a gender gap when it comes to embracing veganism for environmental reasons.

Animal agriculture tears the place right up for men and women alike, with grim consequences for both daughters and sons; if you’re a fellow who recycles, bikes to work, and turns off lights in empty rooms… why turn off your environmental ethics at mealtime?

5. Character

It takes strength and confidence to choose your own path, rather than going where you’re pushed. Our culture tends to glamorize and sanction violence, especially among men. But socially sanctioned optional violence is still optional violence: there’s a strength of character that comes from calling it by its name, and choosing compassion instead. Choosing to walk where your conscience dictates, even when doing the right thing means not doing the easy thing, makes for a well-lived life — no matter whether you sit or stand in the restroom.

Gentlemen Welcome!

Habit can be a powerful force, especially when it’s reinforced by pervasive cultural narratives about how men and women “should” behave.

But masculinity doesn’t depend on bacon! And veganism offers some tremendous benefits — with a hefty side-order of life satisfaction — regardless of gender. So there’s just no good reason for that (sexy healthy smart sustainable compassionate) door to be marked ‘Ladies Only.’ Don’t be scared, guys: come on in!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Turmeric, The Superfood of Superfoods

Spice that whitens your teeth, fights dandruff and wards off cancer 

By Mother Nature Network ( | Healthy LivingMon, 14 Apr, 2014 11:17 AM EDT



One of the most fetching culinary spices, turmeric has an intense golden hue. The major ingredient in Indian curries, turmeric is the component responsible for curry's dizzying color; it's also commonly used to imbue mustard with its radiant glow.

We're commonly reminded to eat colorful plant foods because their pigments, which are associated with antioxidants - the wonder nutrients that experts believe protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals and that also have important anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric's intense color makes it a front-runner in this group of foods; curcumin, a compound found only in turmeric, appears to be the magic ingredient.

A cousin of ginger, this rhizome has a long history of use in herbal remedies, particularly in China, India and Indonesia. Many current studies are looking into turmeric to treat a whole host of health problems, and turmeric has ample other uses as well, as evidenced in the following applications.

Also see: 10 home remedies that really work

1. Brighten your pearly whites. Former Miss USA Susie Castillo swears by her recipe for homemade toothpaste, which includes turmeric powder. Although turmeric is known for its staining prowess, it is commonly (if not counter-intuitively) used to whiten teeth - presumably it's not in contact with the enamel long enough to change the color. Here's how to make your own version, and you can also sprinkle some on your commercial or other homemade toothpaste and brush as usual.

2. Customize foundation. Ashy makeup makes a bad match for luminous skin. Actor Thandie Newton tackles the problem by adding turmeric to tinted moisturizer to achieve a perfect glow that matches her skin tone. And in fact, women in India often use turmeric in face creams and body scrubs to boost the glow factor; sprinkle in a bit at a time until you have the proper tone.

3. Spice up your soap. If you make homemade soap, adding several teaspoons of turmeric to it will not only dial up its color, but will boost its skin-friendly benefits as well.

4. Save your scalp. Many swear by a combination of olive oil and turmeric to deter dandruff and to improve the overall condition of the scalp. Make a mix of turmeric and the oil of your choice (jojoba or coconut oil would be nice), massage into your scalp and leave on for 15 minutes, then shampoo and style as usual.

Also see: 5 simple, cost-saving ways to use coconut oil in your beauty routine

5. Embellish temporary tattoos. Use turmeric to create golden Mehndi, the temporary tattoos made with henna, or to add a pretty second color to an extant henna tattoo.

6. Diminish sprain strain. A traditional homeopathic sprain treatment involves making a paste using one part salt and two parts turmeric and enough water to make it spreadable. Apply to the affected joint and wrap in an old cloth that you don't mind staining. Leave on for 20 minutes to an hour, once a day. (Don't do this on body parts that can be seen; you don't want a temporary yellow tinge!) Also of note: the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking turmeric to help reduce sprain swelling and makes the effect of bromelain (an anti-inflammatory derived from pineapple enzymes) stronger. Take 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) each of turmeric and bromelain, three times a day between meals.

7. Help tame swimmer's ear. Natural remedy aficionados recommend using warmed garlic oil to help push the water out of ears affected by swimming; adding turmeric to the mix is said to help as well. See home remedies for swimmer's ear for more.

8. Soothe a sick stomach. Turmeric has long used to quell bellies that aren't behaving properly. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 500 mg of turmeric four times daily to treat an upset stomach.

9. Ease achy arthritis. For osteoarthritis, NIH recommends 500 mg twice daily of a specific turmeric extract (like Meriva, Indena); 500 mg four times daily of a non-commercial product has also been used. For rheumatoid arthritis, they note that 500mg twice daily of a specific formulation of curcumin (like BCM-95, Arjuna Natural Extracts, India) can be used.

Also see: Natural remedies for arthritis

10. Love your liver. According to early experimental research at the Medical University Graz in Austria, the curcumin in turmeric may delay liver damage that can eventually lead to cirrhosis.

11. Inhibit skin cancer. Turmeric seems to hold much promise for skin treatments, as well as possibly inhibiting certain forms of cancer. Among other studies, researchers at the University of Texas note that curcumin inhibits the growth of melanoma and may also impede the spread of breast cancer to the lungs.

12. Battle other forms of cancer. The American Cancer Society says that laboratory studies have shown that curcumin interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread. Researchers have reported that curcumin can kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes and also slows the growth of the surviving cells. Human studies of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment are in the early stages.

13. Minimize Alzheimer's symptoms. A clinical trial using curcumin extract published in the Journal of Neurochemistry found a 30 percent decrease in the size of Alzheimer's-associated brain plaque in treated mice - in only one week.

Also see: 12 health benefits of apple cider vinegar

14. Make longevity tea. Dr. Andrew Weil notes that people in Okinawa, the Japanese island nation with the world's longest average life span, drink turmeric tea daily. To make your own, boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric, allow to simmer for 10 minutes, strain, and add ginger and/or honey to taste.

15. Use as dye for spicy tie-dyed tees. Yes, turmeric stains fabric … which means that it's an awesome fabric dye. Add three tablespoons of turmeric to a pot of boiling water, let it simmer for a while, and your dye bath is ready. (See more at this photo tutorial.)

16. Make marigold-colored play dough. Homemade play dough is as much fun to make as it is to play with once it's made. And coloring it is especially fun. This recipe instructs on how to make it from scratch, and also how to turn it into a rainbow of colors using, among other natural ingredients, turmeric. (Bonus tip: You can scent homemade play dough with vanilla or peppermint extract.)

17. Naturally dye Easter eggs. There's something magical about mashing up natural dyestuffs in bowls and watching hard-boiled eggs transform into the jewel-like colors found in nature rather than in the lab. Beet juice, onion skin, blueberries, and of course, turmeric all do a bang-up job of the task. Get the how-to here: Eco Easter eggs.

Also see: Use baking soda for easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs

18. Make meat safer. Kansas State University researchers discovered that adding turmeric to meat can reduce the levels of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) by up to 40 percent. HCAs form on chicken and meat when cooked over high heat, like in grilling. Consumption of HCAs is linked to higher rates of cancer.

19. Enliven bland food. While Frito-Lay may rely on Yellow 6 and Red 40 to enhance its preternaturally vivid snacks like Cheetos and Nacho Cheese Doritos, you can skip the nasty artificial colors and add a dash of turmeric to brighten up otherwise insipid-looking food. Whimsical cooks and moms alike can benefit from adding it to eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, cauliflower, or anywhere else a bit of vibrancy is desired.

20. Blend your own curry powder. If there's one thing turmeric is famous for, it's the starring role in Indian curry. (There comes a point in every young Western cook's life when they realize that curry isn't one single spice, but a blend of many.) Making your own curry blend is simple and tastes remarkably bright and fresh; and you can customize it to reflect your personal taste. A good place to start is here.

21. Make delicious dishes. No "uses for turmeric" article would be complete without reminding the reader of all the wonderful food that can be made with turmeric, even if it may not be the most surprising use on the list. Therefore, see: 5 dishes infused with curry.

22. And last but not least, bake a cake! Turmeric cake? Indeed. This Lebanese dessert is not too sweet and has an odd little earthy kick to it compliments of the turmeric. Find a basic recipe here and a vegan recipe here.

Note: Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form, but use with caution and consult with your doctor first. It's strong stuff. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is unsafe during pregnancy, can make gallbladder problems worse, can make stomach problems such as GERD (or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) worse, and can slow blood clotting and might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery.