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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

9 Realistic Ways to Eat Fewer Processed Foods



While processed foods can have a place in a healthy diet if consumed in moderation, many make up a dangerously large part of our diet.

In general, processed foods are anything that has been changed from their original state, whether through cooking, freezing, canning, drying, or packaging. Conversely, whole foods are those that come closer to this original state, such as fresh vegetables or unrefined whole grain products. Frozen, canned or dried products – such as frozen or canned vegetables and dried beans – are considered “minimally processed” and still retain a good portion of their nutrients, as do milk, whole-grain bread, etc.

Many processed foods – especially those that are highly processed such as packaged snacks, frozen foods, and sugary beverages – have negative consequences for both the environment and our health. Such products are usually shipped in plastic packaging that eventually ends up in landfills and waterways. When a food is processed it also loses a lot of nutrients, which wastes that energy and results in a less nutritious product. Take corn for example: Fresh corn on the cob is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and nutrients. When the corn is processed further from its original form – such as canned, frozen and packaged, or made into highly processed foods like chips and corn flakes – it loses many of these vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Processed foods also typically contain more salt, sugar, and saturated fat than whole foods, as well as additives and preservatives to extend their shelf life and preserve flavor.

Eating less processed foods is of course a privilege; Access to fresh food is often limited by location, cost, and other factors, and marginalized communities tend to have limited access to whole foods.

If you are able to change your eating habits, here are some realistic ways to cut down on processed foods in your daily life.

1. Replace refined grains with whole grains

Refined grain products – like white pasta, rice, and bread – are stripped of most of their vitamins and minerals during processing, leaving behind a far less nutritious product.

However, whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and proteins, keep you full longer and have been shown to lower the risk of various conditions such as stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Try replacing refined grains in your diet with whole grains by replacing white rice with brown and buying whole wheat pasta, bread, and tortillas.

2. Drink more water


Sugary drinks are usually very high in calories, but they provide very few nutrients. Soft drinks like soda, sports drinks, soda, and powdered drinks are also often supplied in single-use bottles and contribute to the huge amounts of plastic waste that the United States creates every day.

Sometimes you crave a sports drink or can of soda (we all do), but shaking the daily habit is a relatively easy way to cut down on highly processed items in your diet. Fill jugs of water with fruits and herbs – maybe try new creative combinations – to enjoy all day in place of soda or sugary juice, or invest in a soda water maker for a packet-free carbonated drink.

3. Take smaller shopping trips

If you go to the grocery store frequently, try to only buy what you need every few days (or even every day). This way, you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables without worrying about spoilage or worrying about your next visit to the store.

Purchasing just a few items at a time also saves money; You won’t be tempted to stock up on things that you may not really need.

If you can’t make frequent purchases, buy frozen vegetables to keep handy, or save money and plastic by freezing your own: broccoli, spinach, fruit, or your favorite vegetable combination for easy toss in the pan.

4. Make your own (healthier) snacks and staples

granola bar


You don’t have to go without all the foods you love! Replace processed foods with homemade kitchen utensils and your favorite snacks.

Try making your own vegetable chips, crackers, popcorn, granola bars, and trail mix. They’re healthier, more nutritious, and free of preservatives. Pack snacks in reusable Ziploc bags or Tupperware so that you can take them with you on the go as easily as store-bought alternatives.

Take stock of your kitchen and the staples you always have with you – like nut butters, flavored yogurt, ice cream, and salad dressing – and try to make some of your own. Or, if you’re short on time (or don’t particularly enjoy spending time in the kitchen), replace the processed option with an unprocessed one. Try swapping out sugary breakfast cereals for oatmeal or flavored yogurt for plain fruit.

5. Add more fresh foods to your meals

To keep highly processed foods off your plate, fill it up with vegetables.

For extra nutrients, add simple fruits and vegetables to meals: spinach in eggs or breakfast potatoes, bulky vegetables in casseroles or taco stuffing (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), and sliced ​​fruits in oat oats. These fresh foods take up more space in your meal and replace refined grains or other less healthy ingredients.

Greens such as kale, pak choi, Swiss chard or spinach can be prepared as a simple side dish (or wither in the main course, like a pasta sauce). Have these frozen vegetables ready for easy toss in the pot.

6. Read labels

Woman shopping for groceries in the supermarket and reading the nutrition label on a packet of cheese?

d3sign / Moment / Getty Images

Of course, we all still buy packaged, long-life products in the supermarket. Be sure to read the labels on whatever you pull off the shelf and compare the ingredients of the products before deciding which product to add to your cart.

A good rule of thumb is to look at the first three ingredients on the label as they will tell you what the bulk of the product is made up of. The 3S – salt, sodium, and saturated fat – are a pretty good indication that the product is highly processed and not very healthy, whatever their kinky names may be. Hydrogenated oils (also called trans fats) and refined grains are usually red flags too. Be sure to check the serving size too; Daily readings and calories may seem low, but the serving size could be deceptively small.

7. Be careful with advertisements

When checking these labels, look for false or misleading information on the packaging.

When it comes to cereals, don’t be fooled by phrases like “multigrain” or “made with whole grains”; Two grains (potentially refined grains) are still considered “multi” and very few whole grains can be mixed in. “Low-fat,” “low-carb,” and “low-calorie” foods can still be very highly processed and contain other unhealthy ingredients (like sugar) to compensate. “Gluten-free” and “organic” also do not necessarily mean that the product is healthy (organic sugar is still sugar).

If the first three ingredients don’t have whole foods, they are likely very small amounts.

8. Meal preparation

Containers for the preparation of meals


Cooking and eating at home is a great way to avoid processed foods – but preparing three meals a day isn’t always realistic, and fast food or ready-made meals can be tempting if you’re short on time.

Prepare staples in advance that can be mixed and matched for meals during the week, such as brown rice, roasted vegetables, homemade pasta sauces, and fruit salad.

If you prefer frozen dinners on busy evenings, freeze entire meals to treat them like the ones you could buy at the grocery store. Wrap meals in microwave-safe Tupperware to save on dishes too. You can enjoy much healthier, minimally processed meals without having to cook every day.

9. Just put in

Don’t make big changes to your diet all at once. If you consume a significant amount of processed foods during the week, try changing aspects of your diet gradually rather than staying completely cold. Start by replacing your sugary cereal with oatmeal a few days a week before making it a daily habit, or tackle your snacking tendencies before moving on to dinner. Making these changes all at once is difficult and can be a recipe for discouragement.

Diet and health are different for everyone; Don’t compare your eating habits and desires with those around you. Listen to your body and what it needs – sometimes white pasta or fries – and develop habits that suit you.

Linnea graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelor of English and Environmental Studies and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Most recently, Linnea worked at Hunger Free America and interned at WHYY in Philadelphia, Saratoga Living Magazine and the Sierra Club in Washington, DC.

Linnea loves to hike and spend time outdoors, reading, practicing her German and doing volunteer work on farms and gardens as well as environmental justice efforts in her community. In addition to journalism, she is also an essayist and author of creative non-fiction books.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Expert’s nutrition tips for runners



Running is a very popular sport, thanks to its simplicity and many health and fitness benefits. It’s versatile and inexpensive, requires very little equipment, and it’s an excellent way to strengthen your cardiovascular health.

Nutrition plays an important part in optimum running performance. pexels

With the competitive nature of the sport, runners continuously challenge themselves and each other to improve. In addition to training, proper fuel for the body is vital for peak sports performance.

Noted medical and nutrition specialist Dr. Korakod Panich provided the five best nutrients for optimal running performance.

Nutrition is important for runners because it plays a vital role in overall health and can also support performance. A balanced diet for healthy runners should include these five key nutrients:

1. Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates—which can be found in food such as fruits, dairy products, and starches such as rice, bread, and pasta—are the most important source of energy for the body.

For runners, a small meal, taken an hour before running, consisting of carbohydrates and a bit of protein can provide the energy needed to run effectively. A smoothie made with milk and fruit, or some yogurt topped with berries, provides the nutrients needed and is easily digested before a workout.

Consuming the right amount of carbohydrates before exercising can help you maximize your workout.

2. Protein
Protein—found in meat, milk, eggs, and soy—helps repair and rebuild tissues and muscles that could be affected during physical activities. With the proper amount of protein and adequate sleep, muscles repair, rebuild, and become stronger.

Soy is a good protein source as it is one of the few complete plant-based proteins containing all of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Runners should consume a combination of carbs and protein 30 to 45 minutes after exercising.

Carb to protein ratio should be 2-3:1, with 20 grams of high-quality protein after a workout and between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrate. A sandwich on whole-grain bread with a piece of fruit or a high-protein recovery shake would fill the bill.

Fat serves as an essential energy source. It is often used as fuel, particularly during moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for an extended period, such as a moderate jog lasting at least 30 minutes or so. The body will utilize more fat than carbohydrate for fuel in an attempt to conserve carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles.

Choose beneficial fats—such as those found in olive oil, avocado, and nuts—and avoid saturated fats¬¬that can raise the risk of heart disease. This means staying away from fatty red meats, and ultra-processed foods, such as fast food or bakery items.

4. Vitamins and minerals
There are different kinds of vitamins and minerals that help maintain the balance in body system functions; fruits and vegetables are the best sources to obtain them. During exercise, the body excretes waste in the form of sweat, which also removes important minerals from the body. If you opt to exercise for more than one hour, energy and mineral drinks are highly recommended to replace lost fluids and minerals.

The human body is made up of 70 percent water, which is why staying hydrated is crucial. Water helps deliver nutrients to the cells and plays a significant role in eliminating waste. Runners need to maintain body water balance before, during, and after workouts because water provides nourishment that the body needs for almost every single function. It also helps limit changes in body temperature.

Make sure not to lose more than two percent of your body weight in fluids during exercise, as it can reduce your strength and affect performance. If you exercise regularly, check your weight before and after a workout to keep track of water loss and be sure to replace those losses. For every pound of weight lost during exercise, replace with 2-3 cups of fluid (or 1 liter of fluid for every kilogram lost during exercise).

Nutrition and running style

Aside from understanding the importance of nutrients, it is also essential for new runners to learn the proper way to run. Running not just makes our bodies stronger; it also helps burn calories and fat, depending on the goal.

If you have little time and would like to burn calories and fat, you can do interval training, which alternates short work intervals (80-90 percent of maximum heart rate for 30-60 seconds) with rest periods (50 percent of maximum heart rate for 1-2 minutes). This helps improve circulation and enable the heart to pump blood and make it healthier while strengthening the muscles.

If your main aim is to burn fat, and you have some time, you can run slowly to raise your heart rate to 40-60 percent of your maximum, for at least 45-60 minutes.

Korakod Panich is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Weekly Spotlight: Make the Perfect Spring Vegan Pasta Salad!



Pasta salad is a wonderful spring meal, plus it’s a wonderful plant-based meal that can easily be veganized! It’s a meal that you can add any veggie that you want to, making it super versatile for this time of year. When spring produces like arugula, garlic and some herbs are hitting their peak season, you might have extra veggies on hand or are looking for a way to clear out some veggies from your fridge. Pasta salad is also easy to whip up, and you can either do a simple dressing or a more involved creamy dressing to top it.

Depending on your time and how you want to enjoy your pasta salad, this guide splits pasta salad recipes depending on their sauce base. The simple oil and garlic type dressings are lighter in flavor, allowing whatever you hand (veggies or herbs) to stand out in your final pasta salad. However, if you’re looking for a creamier and more hands-on homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered too! These are topped with a dressing that uses a base of tahini, tofu, or even hemp seeds to create a delicious creamy dressing. The last group focuses on taking a traditional pasta salad adding a twist, like a clever flavor or mixing up the base grain!

We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster app — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!

Are you ready to have a week full of delicious, high-protein, whole-food vegan food that leaves you nourished and content? Let’s get started!

This week, we’re bringing delicious pasta salad recipes that are fully vegan and plant-based!

Pasta Salads that Use a Mayo, Sour Cream, or Simple Oil Dressing:

Vegan Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

Source: Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

These quick pasta salads are great to throw together for the week! Their light dressing makes it excellent to eat on its own to get a variety of simple flavors and enjoy the fresher crunch of the veggies in these dishes.

Pasta Salads that Use a Tofu, Tahini, Homemade, or Cashew Based Dressing

Vegan Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

Source: Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

These creamy pasta salads are excellent to enjoy on their own, or if you’re looking to add even more veggies, you could enjoy these over a base of greens for an extra crunch of texture! There are so many ways to make a creamy pasta salad with vegan ingredients; you could use cashews, tofu, tahini, or even hemp hearts to get a creamy sauce.

Pasta Salads that Are a Twist on a Classic Dish:

Vegan Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Source: Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Cacio e Pepe as a pasta salad? Using orzo instead of pasta? There are so many ways to change up the flavors and inspiration you use for your pasta salads. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy a new way of eating pasta salad, this is your list right here!

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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, good health other more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster app which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental other health benefits of a plant based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Food Therapist Debunks Myths About Veganism



Veganism is a lifestyle that is based on the ideology that humans should not exploit animals or the environment for their needs. Vegans refrain from utilizing any kind of animal products for food, clothing, or work, among other things, and they do not differentiate between any species as they consider all animals equal. Simply put, veganism is the practice of avoiding the use of any animal products—particularly in our diet—including meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Myths about veganism

Additionally, there are countless myths, misconceptions, and assumptions about being vegan from all corners. We got Nidhi Nahata—Founder, Justbe Resto Cafe, Bangalore, and food therapist—to debunk a few common floating speculations.

1. Milk has a lot of calcium

Credit: iStock

There is an existing misconception that only cow milk contains calcium. So, what is the optimal source of calcium? Like plenty of other nutrients, calcium is readily available in a variety of plant-based foods that are better absorbed by the body than dairy. Think broccoli, cabbage, kale, almonds, chia, beans, pulses, leafy vegetables, and more. Therefore, even if you are not vegan, having a wide range of calcium sources in your diet can be a healthier option.

2. Animal protein is more important than plant protein

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Incidentally, the animals that are consumed for so-called protein are fed on a plant based diet, which basically means that we are consuming the same and/or processed protein through dead tissues or extracted produce from an animal. For those on the lookout for plant-based protein sources, there are plenty of options like soya, lentils, pulses, broccoli, seaweed, peas, spinach, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, peanuts, cashews, almonds , pistachios, walnuts, oats, and seitan tofu.

3. Vegans have B12 deficiency

Vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians—all could have deficiency because of vitamin B12, which is a bacteria found in nature. The sources of vitamin B12 are commonly questioned in reference to being vegan, since the most common source is assumed to be animals and animal products. But the reality is that vegans can achieve the intake needed through reliable sources, such as supplements or fortified foods.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Vitamin B12 is produced by certain microorganisms and is processed while consuming cobalt from a plant base. However, our modern day agriculture prevents these nutrients to be transferred into our bodies through either sources-–animals or plants. Therefore, vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians need to normally be given cobalt or B12 supplements to attain suitable levels regardless of their dietary preference.

4. Vegan lifestyle is very expensive

food item
Credit: iStock

The limited accessibility to vegan food and alternatives is one of the biggest restrictive misconnects prevalent in our society. The reality is that, similar to any diet, plant-based eating is only expensive if there are a lot of quick-to-eat processed foods, readymade meal preps, and products from vegan-specific brands. There are plenty of vegan foods and ingredients that are affordable in India, especially if the diet is centered around cheaper foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, beans, and several others. Good planning can make vegan diet more affordable than the ones that include animal products.

5. Pregnant women need milk and dairy

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

“You cannot be vegan when pregnant” is a common misconception for soon-to-be vegan parents. The basic fact is that pregnancy is a challenge for the body, no matter what diet you are on and usually requires additional nutrients. It is advised to be closer to iron and vitamin B12, which can be attained on a vegan diet as well. The tradition of milk being one of the most integral components of our diet has been prevalent for decades. We need to be mindful and bring logical reasoning in choosing food for soon-to-be parents as well as children.

6. Soy increases the chances of breast cancer

  7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

There is no convincing evidence that eating soy-based food increases the risk of breast cancer in humans. This misunderstanding, however, might arise from earlier studies conducted on rodents. Scientists of this study showed that when these animals received large amounts of soy-compounds called flavones, they showed likelihood to develop breast cancer.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

A study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, in February 2020, searched associations between soy intake and breast cancer risk by following 52,795 cancer-free women in the US for an average of 7.9 years. In the results, they found no substantial association between soy intake and breast cancer, but they did identify a link between dairy (milk) and breast cancer.

Soy as an ingredient is loaded with fiber and is a good source of protein, omega 3, and antioxidants. Research also suggests that soy has a good amount of protein which is well absorbed by the body, and the best way to consume it is in bean form, tofu, tempeh, and other such forms.

7. Veganism is a cult

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Being compassionate and conscious can never be a cult. Veganism is a lifestyle that utilizes an ideology to bring people closer to their instincts. This means bringing us closer to eating what nature has designed and grown for us, rather than exploiting animals and other sentient beings.

Lead Image Credit: Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam Dhar, Instagram

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