Posts tagged with "vegan"

Carolina Schneider, MS, RD in the Kitchen via Pitch Publicity NYC for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Top Supplements Vegans Need To Avoid Nutrition Gaps

Essential Supplements for First Time Vegans
By: Carolina Schneider, MS, RD, registered dietitian

Plant-based eating continues to grow in popularity, and for good reasons: It is beneficial for human health, more environmentally sustainable, and supportive of animal welfare. A well-balanced vegan diet – one that excludes all animal products – is associated with a lower risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Some of the more immediate benefits people experience when switching to a vegan diet include increased energy levels, improved digestion, reduced joint pain and menstrual cramps, and better skin appearance. 

Mind the Nutrition Gaps  

Switching to a fully vegan diet requires planning and intention, and should be done with the guidance of a health professional. If not done properly, a plant-based diet may result in nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to future health complications. With the rise in vegan food options at the grocery stores and restaurants, there has also been an increase in highly processed, “junk vegan foods” that contain little to no nutritional value. Micronutrients, which include vitamins and minerals, are essential for many body processes such as immune function, energy production, bone strength and heart health.

Although these nutrients are found in wholesome (non-processed) plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, some vitamins and minerals are less bioavailable – or more difficult for the body to absorb – when obtained from plant sources. Therefore, supplementation can be an effective and inexpensive way to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Here are the top supplements vegans should take to avoid nutrient gaps: 

Vitamin B12: for energy

Vitamin B12 is essential for energy production, nerve cell function, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell production. Vitamin B12 also plays a role in heart health as it regulates blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine – elevated homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and in more severe cases, can lead to neurological issues such as numbing of fingers and toes.

Considering that the main food sources of vitamin B12 are animal products such as meat, eggs, fish, and shellfish, supplementation is required. Although some plant-based foods such as cereals and nutritional yeast are fortified with vitamin B12, they are not reliable sources. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults, however, because the body absorbs only a small percentage of vitamin B12 from supplements, 500 mcg is recommended. Older adults should supplement with 1,000 mcg.

Aged Garlic Extract: for heart health

Aged Garlic Extract is a well-studied supplement that supports cardiovascular health. Considering that heart disease is the number-one killer in the United States, being proactive about cardiovascular health is important for everyone, regardless of their diet. The typical go-to supplement for heart health is fish oil, but since vegan diets don’t include fish, garlic supplements are your best bet! This is especially important for those with a family history of heart disease, or those consuming highly processed vegan foods such as ‘mock’ meats, frozen foods and salty snacks. These are high in saturated fats and sodium, both of which negatively impact heart health.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) has been shown to improve heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and clogged arteries. The proprietary aging process to make AGE increases garlic’s antioxidant power, removes its strong odor, and concentrates its benefits. In short, the AGE is far more potent than raw garlic. In fact, you would have to eat up to 28 garlic cloves to get these same benefits, which is not realistic nor recommended as it can cause digestive discomfort. Kyolic Vegan Aged Garlic Extract is ideal for vegans because this formula is free from animal ingredients or byproducts. Many supplements contain animal ingredients such as gelatin (from animal skin and bones) and beeswax to

encapsulate the nutrients, so it’s important for those following a plant-based diet to read the supplement labels carefully. The health benefits of Kyolic AGE have been supported by more than 900 published scientific papers. It is also easy to consume, odorless, and leaves no aftertaste. 

Calcium: for bones and teeth

Calcium is an essential mineral responsible for bones and teeth health. This is because calcium is a major component of bones, giving them strength and structure. It also plays an important role in muscle contraction, blood clotting and regulating normal heart rhythms and nerve function. Calcium is especially important for vegans as research has indicated plant-based eaters to have weaker bones and be at a higher risk for bone fractures. 

Plant-based sources of calcium include leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds and fortified plant milk. Although some of these foods — such as kale — are excellent sources of calcium, you would have to eat 10 cups of kale to meet daily calcium requirements. Additionally, because vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, those with low vitamin D levels may not retain the calcium from food.

The RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults and 1,200 mg for women age 50 and older and men age 71 and older. Because calcium is best absorbed when taken in small amounts, a 600mg calcium supplement is recommended twice per day. However, most calcium supplements are made from animal sources, so vegans should look for plant-based calcium, which is usually sourced from algae, such as red marine algae.

Vitamin D: for immune support

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports the immune system by enhancing the function of immune cells, which help the body fight disease and infection. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, both of which are critical for bone health. Finally, vitamin D plays a role in reducing inflammation and the risk of infection.

Plant-based foods such as fruit juices, plant milk and cereals can be fortified with vitamin D, but these are not reliable sources. For example, you would need to drink 6.5 cups of vitamin D-fortified plain milk each day to meet the minimum daily requirement. Non-food sources of vitamin D include sunlight, which the

body is able to convert into the active form of the vitamin. However, prolonged sun exposure is associated with an increased risk for skin cancer and therefore should be limited.

Vitamin D supplementation is a much more effective way to meet daily requirements when compared to foods and sunlight. In fact, it is estimated that about 40% of the U.S. population has a vitamin D deficiency. Most vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and easy to swallow because of their small size. Although the current guideline for vitamin D is 600 IU per day, a growing body of research suggests that 2,000 IU per day is beneficial for supporting the immune system.

Beyond Supplements

Those who are interested in transitioning to plant-based eating should do it with the guidance of a registered dietitian, to ensure the diet is balanced and meets all the nutritional requirements. Consuming a nutrient-dense vegan diet that includes a variety of foods is an excellent way to improve health markers and lower the risk for disease. However, supplementation can provide a baseline for those starting on their vegan journey, helping them avoid nutrient gaps and potential risks associated with a vitamin or mineral deficiency.


Carolina Schneider, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and founder of Hungry for Plants. She specializes in plant-based nutrition and has followed a whole-food, plant-based diet for her entire adult life. Her experience, combined with her passion and knowledge, equip her to help others better understand the nutritional benefits of food and how to incorporate them into their everyday lives. Originally from Brazil, Schneider is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish. She received degrees in journalism and public relations, which have given her the foundation to become an educator and influencer on the plant-based lifestyle. She frequently posts nutrition tips and recipes at “Carolina the Green RD” on Instagram. Schneider obtained her Master of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics, and is passionate about nutrition science and helping individuals improve health and wellbeing through food. 

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Eleven Unique Ways to Get Fit This Summer

Once the weather starts to warm up, everyone is eager to get back outside. The extra daylight is the perfect motivator to take a walk or swim down at the beach. However, that means trails and lakes can start to get pretty crowded. If you’re looking for a relaxing place to exercise, finding a different way to move your body this season might interest you.

Do you need some new ideas for outdoor activities? Here are eleven unique ways to start your fitness journey this summer!

The Importance of Fitness 

At all ages, getting outside and exercising is essential. Throughout your life, a good fitness routine will help lessen your chances of:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Mood and sleep disorders

Your body will start to reduce muscle mass around age 30. Aches and pains might also begin to be more noticeable by 50. Before this happens, forming a solid exercise routine will be beneficial. It can mitigate the impacts of muscle loss and strengthen your bones. If you need a new way to get fit, this summer is the perfect time to find new activities to keep you moving.

Fitness can also be a very social activity. Whether you get a group of friends to join or make new ones at a class, getting together to exercise can be motivational and connecting. You could take large group, small group or one-on-one lessons. Whichever you choose, having someone else there to help you may help you feel more confident.

Exercise is excellent for your mental health as well. Researchers found that physical activity could be an additional solution to depression. For those looking to see improvements along with medication, getting outside and moving may be great advice. However, if you want to decrease your prescription, always speak with your practitioner first. They will most likely want to see how exercise affects your mental health over a while before they make any changes to your treatment regimen.

Summer Exercise Tips

There are plenty of fun ways to be active inside and outside during summer. Here are some summer exercise ideas for those beginning exercise routines and fitness experts!

  1. Surfing

Surfing is a great way to see the ocean and get fit. Whether renting your first board or catching your 500th wave, surfing engages your body and encourages balance. It’s a full-body workout, giving you plenty of benefits. It may have a learning curve for those starting out, but let yourself take the time to experience it. Taking up a new practice could also positively affect your mental and physical health.

  1. Bicycling

There are multiple ways to bike, so you can choose based on your experience level and preference. You could take different paths or find a beautiful route through town. Maybe you’re interested in training for a race or marathon. There’s also mountain biking, which can provide you with some gorgeous views while performing high-intensity exercise. Along with protective gear, cycling is phenomenal for your health.

  1. Gardening 

Gardening can be a fantastic exercise and mindfulness practice. As you’re working with the soil, take note of how everything feels and the sounds around you. Feeling at peace with nature and yourself can center you and help you relax. Additionally, shoveling, planting and harvesting your garden’s products can be a perfect workout. Pay attention to how you’re lifting and how much. Doing so will prevent strain, so you can keep getting out to your garden.

  1. Practicing Yoga

Indoors or outdoors, all you need is a blanket to sit on. You could even forego that if the ground is comfortable enough. Some may prefer to practice in their home, where they can minimize extra noise. Others could find focusing outdoors helps them manage their busy lives more peacefully. However you practice, yoga is a wonderful experience for the body and mind. This summer, give it a try if you need a new way to increase your flexibility and muscle strength.

  1. Creating a Boot Camp With Friends

Maybe you’ve seen a boot camp in your local park or gym. While trying something new is always good, you may have been slightly intimidated by its intensity. Instead of abandoning the idea entirely, create one with some friends. Being surrounded by people you know can help you feel more relaxed. If you need something less harsh, you can customize your workouts to the group. Making your own boot camp could be a great physical and bonding activity.

  1. Jumping Rope

Bring things back to your childhood days with some jump rope. You could keep your workout to a regular jump rope routine, or find a more intensive video or written plan. If you want to truly throw it back, you and some friends could pick up double dutch again. While it might seem childish to you, jumping rope is an excellent cardio exercise that can also improve balance and bone health as you practice.

  1. Cleaning the House

A two-in-one chore — exercising and tidying your house. Could your spring cleaning use a summer refresh? See it as an opportunity to get in some physical activity. Vacuuming, dusting and washing can all be awesome workouts that involve your whole body. Find ways to make these jobs more complete, such as:

  • Switching arms so both get some activity
  • Taking time to stretch between tasks
  • Lightly jogging while moving about the house

Get your body and your house in shape by combining cleaning and exercise.

  1. Kayaking

Take your family, friends, or just yourself out to the lake and rent a kayak. Along with the lovely sights, you’ll quickly see how this could be your new favorite workout. Using the oars to steer and push yourself along the water requires a lot of work from your arms. In addition, turning your upper body to get the proper position will do plenty for your core. Try out boating along the water in a kayak this summer to get in some vigorous physical activity.

  1. Finding a Trail

It could be any kind of trail. You might choose to go hiking, running or walking on a path outside. Trails can be as relaxing or intense as you want. It may be nice to bring some friends or go by yourself to experience nature. You could even take your cat or dog on a leash to provide an arm workout. Remember to stay hydrated, and check in with your body and others — especially if you’re going alone.

  1. Playing a Sport

There are plenty of team and solo sports to choose from when beginning your exercise regimen. You can find soccer, basketball, softball or tennis teams depending on your experience. Different leagues will accommodate different levels of skill. If you’re looking for solo sports, you could pick up dancing, swimming or roller skating to get your physical activity in. This all depends on your comfort level, so decide if you’d prefer to play a sport with others or by yourself. Whatever you pick, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

  1. Going Rock Climbing

This is another fantastic indoor and outdoor activity. Going to your local rock-climbing wall is a terrific way to get started. Those helping you climb can give you tips on the best ways to get the most out of your climb. Once you’ve had a lot of practice, you could start learning how to climb out in the wilderness. This could blossom into a fulfilling group or even solo activity. If you’re looking for new ways to get outside, rock climbing might become your new passion.

How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

Cholesterol is discussed so frequently, and sometimes flippantly, it has become somewhat of a medical buzzword. To some, it may seem like a nonconsequential item and for others it is one of bigger deals floated across their plate. The reality is that cholesterol is worth both understanding and managing well in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Like with anything involving the world of science and medicine, there is always more than what meets the eye. For example, with cholesterol, there are actually good and bad kinds of it. A fact like this makes it immediately apparent that taking the time to educate oneself on the ins and outs of the fat within human blood is wise. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, put it best, “The human body is the most complex system ever created. The more we learn about it, the more appreciation we have about what a rich system it is.”

There are more than a few ways of lower said bad cholesterol naturally. In order to gain insight on these practices, we spoke with people who have experience doing so.

Dietary Changes

Chris Vaughn is the CEO of Emjay, a brand offering the delivery of marijuana products. He suggests making some adjustments to the types of food consumed regularly. 

“The long and short of it is the food digested by the stomach winds up in the bloodstream. Seeing as an overabundance of fat, or cholesterol, in the bloodstream poses a litany of issues, it stands to reason you should be filling your stomach with foods which will benefit your bloodstream. These are things such as beans, oatmeal and fruits. You should also be sure to remove food from your diet which adds saturated or trans fats as they’re the number one source of high cholesterol. It’s easier said than done but your body will thank you in the long run.”


Physical activity promotes healthier blood flow which high cholesterol is responsible for harming. Lifeforce is a business providing subscribers the ability to understand and improve their body like never before. Their Founder, Joel Jackson, advises being proactive about fighting off that high cholesterol.

“When we look at the science of cholesterol, there are two basic terms to understand, HDLs and LDLs, or high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins. Simply put, HDLs are healthy cholesterol while LDLs are not. One of the most direct ways of influencing the count of these two lipoproteins is exercise. The good news for everyone is that it doesn’t take much – even just a couple of hours each week will cause a noticeable rise in HDLs paired with a reduction of LDLs. When you think about everything else exercise can do for you on top of this, it would be foolish to make it part of your routine.”

Be Intentional and Patient

Greater Than specializes in hydration for pregnant women. Their Chief Marketing Officer, Bryan Alston, considers it necessary to approach any high-cholesterol with mindfulness.

“It’s incredibly important to realize that for any recognizable changes to take place in the body, time must pass. Along similar lines, no real change will take place if a person sits in complacency hoping their situation comes to pass. If you’re dealing with high cholesterol, these are the two important ideas to keep at the forefront of your mind as you work towards health – Intentionality and patience. It’s hard work to return and stabilize your cholesterol at doctor recommended levels. And, it doesn’t take place overnight. I’m certain these two realities will become frustrating at some point but I urge you to continually push through.”

Stop Smoking

Natalia Sadowski is the Director of Aesthetics of Nourishing Biologicals, a brand offering skincare products. She cautions others against the continued use of tobacco products. 

“Nobody said that getting healthier was going to be a walk in the park or even easy for that matter. The same can be said about giving up smoking. But, as most are well aware, both are beneficial to ourselves. This is especially true of smoking as it relates to high cholesterol. Nicotine in the body sends a rush to the heart, causing it to work harder while also slowing down the flow of blood throughout the rest of the body. Both of these things hinder your body’s ability to both process and eliminate good and bad cholesterol.” 

Take a Break

Running any system at one hundred percent capacity all the time will result in a decrease in productivity accompanied by a shorter life span. This is true of the body as well. Nue Life is a business providing mental health assistance paired with psychedelics. Their Co-Founder and CEO, Juan Pablo Cappello, proposes being cautious of this. 

“There are so many different causes of stress that if I sat here and named them all we may never leave. Regardless of who you are or what you do, you’ve experienced stress. Are you aware that higher levels of stress induce higher levels of cholesterol? That means it’s up to you to take a break and relieve some of that stress. If you don’t, you’ll only continue to compound both problems. High stress is one thing, high cholesterol is an entirely different beast.”

Focus on Weight Loss

Zizi specializes in an at-home kit to help lower cholesterol. Their Co-Founder, Reece Kresser, believes shedding any excess weight could be more impactful than one might imagine. 

“If we think about it logically, a person with a larger body mass will require more effort to move blood throughout their body as there’s more area that requires coverage. If that person can healthily focus on weight loss, they’ll see a significant difference in their cholesterol levels. Think of it this way, if said person is spending less energy on blood movement, they’ll have more energy to identify and dispose of any cholesterol. Overall, it’s a win across the board so go the extra mile here. Ideally, your body will be around for a long time and treating it right is how you ensure it’s ready for that.”

With only one body meant to live for 70 or so years, it is critical to get ahead of the health curve. Actress and musician Jennifer Hudson spoke to this, “Gaining control over your health and well-being is one of those times in your life that you get to be completely selfish and not feel bad about it. If you want to meet your goals, you have to make it about you. You have to make it work for you and you alone. Anything less is a setup for failure.”

Five Habits To Adopt For a Healthy Lifestyle

We all wish for good health and long life, but they come at a price. Many deteriorations of health are being recorded due to bad habits. Therefore, knowing your well-being is a priority to us, we have identified 5 basic habits you can adopt to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

  1. Exercise and weigh yourself daily

Truthfully, it’s a busy world and we can’t help but lose sight of little things like performing a 10 to 30 minutes exercise daily. However, as “playful” as it may look, daily exercise is one of the simple health habits worth adopting into your life as its benefits can’t be overemphasized. Majorly, exercising your body makes you detoxify yourself by sweating, helps you get fit, gives your body a good balance, corrects bad postures, and achieves weight loss. The great thing is that you can achieve all this without buying those large and costly regular gym equipment. You can go out for a run or use your body weight. 

Likewise, it is important to keep your weight from creeping up on you. For this, you can always set a weekly weight loss goal and examine yourself against it. It has been advised that in order to get accurate outcomes, you should weigh yourself at the same time every week. 

  1. Eat healthily and take enough water

Nothing kills more steadily like junk foods, hence, the habit of taking the appropriate diet daily is the beginning of a healthy lifestyle. It has been recommended that you should start your day with a healthy breakfast by taking something high in fiber and including protein to keep you full. It is believed that if you eat a good breakfast, it is a small healthy habit with a big impact. This is because it helps to eliminate ulcers, avoid headaches, and reduce your risk of diabetes. 

Furthermore, you can improve your healthy eating habit by introducing more creative food item combinations. You can incorporate more green and reddish lettuces to add more nutrients, flavor, and water to your diet. Not only that, we can’t overlook the importance of water to your health, therefore, drinking a lot of water early in the morning and throughout the day is mandatory. Taking enough water helps keep your temperature normal, lubricates your joints, and safeguards your spinal cord. 

  1. Reduce alcohol, Soda and resist smoking

For those who don’t know, moderation in everything is one of the basic principles to ensure a healthy lifestyle. There are about six reasons to take a break from alcohol, therefore, a reduction in the consumption of alcohol and soda can go a long way to keep you healthy. As it has been discovered, frequent intake of alcohol increases your desire for high-calorie foods and puts you at risk for weight gain. Although a reduction in the intake of alcohol and soda can’t be achieved easily, it requires some discipline and gradual adaptation. You can achieve this by taking carbonated water, unflavoured tea, coffee, or fruit-fused plain water in lieu of alcohol and soda. 

  1. Have fun and stay happy

It is generally believed that happy people have more healthy lives and live much longer. Any time you are elated and you laugh or smile, you basically relieve your body of the stress and bothersome thoughts. This consequently saves you from the ravaging high blood pressure and incidental ailments like stroke. Therefore, you can partake in games or sports you love in order to get some fun and excitement. For example, for sports and gambling enthusiasts, you can always make moderate stakes and enjoy the excitement at online betting sites. Watching your favorite sport is an ideal way to unwind. With the help of review sites, you can be certain that you are in good hands and can easily search for the finest welcome bonuses, comprehensive reviews, and how-to instructions written by professionals to help gamers play with ease.

  1. Get enough sleep daily

Being a workaholic and skipping your sleep is like working against yourself. Yes, you can skip your sleep to gather all the money but your health might deteriorate in return. Consequently, as it has been severally advised, you should at least get a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily to stay healthy. Getting enough sleep restores and rejuvenates your body after each day’s activities. 

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Three Natural Ways to Maintain Your Energy All Day

There may be days when you feel exhausted, even at the start of the day. While you think you’ve had enough sleep, you find it challenging to keep your eyes open. For many who can’t seem to stay awake, drinking coffee for a caffeine fix may seem to help somewhat. However, it is pretty common to experience fatigue, especially when work demands so much from you. You carry on throughout the day and can’t wait to get home and rest. When the day is finally over, there is a sense of relief, but you may still experience fatigue and weariness. 

While it is common to lack energy sometimes, you want to replenish your depleted energy and perform optimally at work or other daily activities. Luckily, there are natural ways to increase your energy levels when fatigue hits you, allowing you to stay focused and active throughout the day. Unless you have underlying health conditions that require medical intervention, you can try these methods to regain your energy. You can start by checking out where you can discover organic products that can potentially help increase your energy and boost productivity.

Here are some natural ways to stay energetic the whole day.

1.    Exercise

You reduce the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, and diabetes when you exercise regularly. Moreover, studies prove that exercise or other physical activities can boost your energy and keep your fatigue at bay. According to tests conducted, exercise has improved the energy levels of people who participated in the program. Exercise does not have to be a heavy workout. Taking walks, jogging, or even performing household chores that require moving around are physical activities that can boost your energy even more. 

2.    Sleep

Many people underestimate the impact of sleep on our overall health. Some push their sleeping hours to the limit trying to get work done or meet a deadline before retiring. Lack of sleep depletes your body of energy, making you lethargic and irritable. You cannot focus on work and may even experience headaches from not getting enough sleep. Experts recommend getting 7 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep to increase energy levels and stay healthy. Try setting a schedule for sleeping and waking, and remain consistent. Create a peaceful atmosphere inside your bedroom, remove gadgets and other distracting devices,  and get the rest you need.

3.    Water

Water is vital for your overall well-being. Keeping yourself well-hydrated keeps your organs healthy and impacts your mental state. If you are dehydrated, your brain does not function as it should, and your mood and energy levels are low. Therefore, it is best to make it a habit to drink water as frequently as possible, increasing the amount during physical activities or when living in an area with a warmer climate. 

These are just some natural ways you can try to replenish your lost energy. On a final note, try to manage your stress as it may also be causing exhaustion and lack of energy. While stress happens to everyone, it saps your energy and tires you out. So, after a long day, forget about work for a while and learn to relax.

Five Fun Ways to Make Your Breakfast More Exciting

Some people consider breakfast the most important meal of the day. Others believe it is the province of Sunday only. However, still others view it as a chore. Why? 

You’re not a machine meant to treat food as nothing but fuel. You’re a human being, fully endowed with the ability to savor fabulous flavors. Here are five fun ways to make your breakfast more exciting, whether you’re enjoying a leisurely Sunday brunch or a quick midweek meal. 

Switch Up Your Menu 

If you grab the same meal replacement bar every morning to devour in your car on the way to work, no wonder you don’t consider breakfast very exciting. There’s a time and place for such speedy snacks during crunch time and extended weekend hikes. However, variety is the spice of life, so consider mixing up your morning meal in one of these fun ways.  

1. Perfect Your Pancakes 

Pancakes are the ultimate breakfast food. There’s no need to stick with boring white flour. You can kick your protein intake up a notch using a chickpea alternative, skipping the rapid blood sugar spike and crash. 

Do you want another way to increase the overall protein content — and flavor? Get wild and crazy with nut butters in your batter. Peanut butter works wonders, and who doesn’t love Nutella? 

Nor do you have to stick to maple syrup as your sole topper, although you do well to use the 100% natural stuff if you prefer this sweet treat. Many commercial brands have questionable additives, but you can find brands containing only one ingredient — the sticky sap from the tree alone. Other options include jams, preserves and marmalades, fresh fruit and whipped cream, or chocolate or caramel toppings. 

2. Make an Omelet Bar

What’s the best part about going out to breakfast? If you said “the omelet bar,” you aren’t alone. Why not recreate the magic at home? It’s the perfect way to use up any leftover veggies from your weekday salads and dinners. 

Did you make steaks on the grill last night, accompanied by asparagus and sauteed mushrooms? If you have a bit of feta, your leftovers can transform into this delicious omelet that starts your day with plenty of protein and phytonutrients. If you ordered hoagies and only had half your ham sammy, add the rest of the meat and onions to your eggs and toast the leftover roll as a side. A dash more seasoning and olive oil elevate it to near focaccia status. 

3. Think Beyond the Pig

Are you a carnivore? If so, you might think of pork as the classic breakfast meat. However, a quick look through your grocer’s aisles shows you have plenty of options besides the pig — a decided perk, given inflation’s impact on meat prices. 

If you avoid red meat, you’ll find no turkey bacon and sausage shortage. Should you opt for an uncured version? It might be healthier to do so. The nitrates in cured meats help preserve them, but they also increase your colorectal cancer risk. 

Those who practice vegan lifestyles can rejoice more than ever. There are tons of cruelty-free alternatives on the market today, made using everything from heme to hemp. You can recreate that classic “out for breakfast” experience while sparing yourself unnecessary guilt and going the extra mile to preserve the planet’s resources.

Upgrade Your Beverage Selection 

Sometimes, it’s convenient to sip your breakfast. Other times, you want to add a nutrient boost to your day. The following smoothie recipes start your morning right as a meal in themselves or for slaking your thirst as you wash down your solids. 

1. Healthy Berry Smoothie 

This recipe is chock-full of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins. It’s an a.m. boost for your heart and neurological system. 

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries or any berry blend you prefer
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt if following a vegan diet)
  • ¼ cup orange juice 
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Monk fruit or stevia sweetener to taste

Add everything to a blender and combine at low speed. Turn up the dial and blend until smooth. 

2. Easy Green Smoothie 

Green drinks are rich in B-vitamins like folate, critical for expecting mamas. You also get your daily dose of kale without bitterness — the other ingredients blend it away. 

  • 1 cup frozen fruit (any kind — bananas, berries or a tropical blend)
  • 1 cup fresh greens, like spinach, kale and arugula 
  • ¾ cup coconut milk or an almond/coconut milk blend 
  • ½ tablespoon ground chia or flax seeds
  • 2 ice cubes
  • Monk fruit or stevia sweetener to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix at low speed. Increase the speed, blending until creamy. 

You can even elevate your morning cup of joe. How? If you have chronic aches and pains, add a touch of turmeric, ginger and black pepper to your coffee grounds. The turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties amplified by the piperine in the black pepper. 

Is controlling your blood sugar a bear you wrestle daily? Try adding cinnamon to your coffee grounds. Research studies show that this bark may help mitigate insulin resistance, improving your glucose levels. 

Of course, you might want the occasional mimosa when making a leisurely Sunday brunch version of breakfast. Go beyond mere champagne and orange juice. Make it more exciting by adding in some pineapple juice and a touch of grenadine for a blushing beverage pretty enough to serve at the Four Seasons. 

Dine Alfresco 

Warm weather has finally returned — or it will soon. Why not take advantage of more temperate climes to dust off your patio furniture set and dine alfresco? 

Doing so could even help up your social quotient if you’re still isolated due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Experts consider outdoor activities far safer than indoor ones, so why not consider having the gang for brunch as an alternative to a barbecue? You can practice social distancing and have guests mask up if they must venture indoors to use the facilities. 

Get Gadget-y 

Do you adore breakfast sandwiches? Why stick to the menu at the drive-thru? They might use sketchy ingredients, anyway. Instead, invest in a crafty sandwich maker that will have you designing gourmet handheld treats that your cubicle mates will drool over. 

Another groovy idea? A retro all-in-one breakfast station. These devices feature a toaster oven and coffee urn, topped by a griddle for frying your bacon and eggs. They’re the perfect countertop edition if you’re into tiny living — as in, no room for a stove. 

With the right gear, there’s no end to creative ways to make your breakfast more exciting. You can find bowls divided in half, one side for milk, the other for decidedly non-soggy cereal. Pancake pens let you create artistic shapes with your morning meal. 

Finally, are you wanting to eat the richest bagel? You can’t help but smile when slicing it with a miniature guillotine. Laughter increases your positive energy, releasing happy little neuropeptides — it’s highly recommended for starting your day off right.

Make It an Occasion

Too often, people consider breakfast a hassle. Make it more exciting by treating it like the occasion it is. After all, you woke up to the gift of another beautiful day on planet earth — make your morning meal a celebration. 

Why wait until your loved one’s birthday to delight them with breakfast in bed? If you get up before them on your day off, treat them. Hopefully, they’ll take the hint to return the favor, but either way, they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness. 

Do you typically skip the morning meal because you practice periodic fasting? There’s no rule saying that you can’t have eggs after 8 a.m. Why not serve up breakfast for dinner or spend a few hours on Saturday lingering over a leisurely late brunch in your PJs? 

Eight Smart Heart Health Tips

You can’t live without your heart. However, you might not pay too much attention to this organ’s health until trouble strikes. Fortunately, it’s not hard to take proactive steps to keep it pumping strong. 

Preserving your ticker can help you lead a longer, better quality of life. Here are eight smart heart tips that will maintain this precious organ so that you have more days on earth with those you love. 

1. Exercise 

Exercise is vital to a healthy heart. This rule holds even if you have an existing condition. According to a 2013 study of over 5,000 participants with vascular conditions, routine fitness reduced the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events by 21% in men, and 29% in women. 

The American Heart Association recommends getting 40 minutes of moderate exercise three to four days a week. This guideline is similar to the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends 150 to 300 minutes each week. 

What matters is elevating your heart rate. Many people think of going for a bike ride, walk or run to get their cardiovascular conditioning. However, you can also get the necessary work with the right weight workout — for instance, by performing compound movements or taking a weighted HIIT class. Even some vigorous yoga forms increase your heart rate. 

What if you have a chronic pain condition that makes movement problematic? Hop in the pool. The buoyancy of the water removes pressure from creaky knees and hips. Plus, you up your social quotient, further reducing your cardiovascular risks. Social isolation and loneliness increase women’s risk of heart disease by 13 to 27%. 

2. Reduce Your Red Meat Consumption

When you think of red meat and heart health, it’s probably the saturated fat content that raises your eyebrows. This stuff can increase your risk of coronary disease. However, some plant-based foods like coconut milk and oil also contain saturated fat and affect your cholesterol differently. 

One study investigated the effects of coconut oil, olive oil and butter on blood lipids. While coconut oil and butter increased LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, the result wasn’t nearly as marked in coconut oil. Additionally, coconut oil increased several positive biomarkers, including HDL or “good” cholesterol. Scientists cite the need for further research. 

Another study of over 1.4 million people indicated the following: 

  • Eating 50 grams or more of processed meats like bacon and ham increased your coronary heart disease risk by 18%. 
  • Eating 50 grams or more of unprocessed beef, lamb or pork increased coronary heart disease risk by 9%. 

Something there is in animal products that isn’t kind to your heart. Should you adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet if you run an elevated risk? Possibly, if your doctor recommends it. However, meat is a complete protein that provides several other health benefits, so reducing your intake to once or twice a week is kind for your ticker without leaving you deprived. 

3. Lay Off the Salt 

If you reach for the salt shaker before tasting your meal, please stop that habit if you care about your heart. According to the DASH diet study, reducing your salt intake by three grams a day positively affects your blood pressure. You get even better results by slashing 6 or 9 grams, doubling or tripling the benefits. 

What about salt substitutes? Many commercial products contain potassium, which can lower your blood pressure. However, doing so also creates problems, as this mineral likewise impacts heart health. If you opt for this route, check with your doctor and use moderation. Ultimately, you’re better off seasoning your food with herbs and spices instead of the shaker. 

4. Eat a Plant-Based, Whole Foods Diet 

You could technically live on chips and apple pie and call it a plant-based diet, but your heart wouldn’t thank you much. Besides the salt content, you’d miss out on valuable vitamins and minerals your body — including your cardiovascular system — needs. 

Besides, consumption of ultra-processed foods increases your Type 2 diabetes risk, which in turn harms heart health. Much of the one-two punch comes from foods laden with white flour. This stuff contains alloxan, a chemical byproduct released during the bleaching process. Scientists use it to induce diabetes in laboratory animals and when you combine that effect with the rapid blood sugar spike these foods cause, you have a recipe for disaster. 

To improve your heart health, stick to whole foods close to their natural form. Look at your plate as a clock and fill half of it with the fresh leafy greens and brightly colored stuff at every meal. 

5. Reduce Your Stress Levels 

Stress makes multiple body systems go haywire. Your neurotransmitters and hormones go all out of whack, making you feel worse. Cortisol, a hormone your body releases too much of under long-term pressure, can increase blood cholesterol, sugar, sugar and pressure. 

That’s not the only problem that too much stress can cause for your heart. It also involves your mind. Research from Australia suggests that chronic stress rewires your brain, prompting it to keep your blood pressure elevated. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and failure.  

6. Don’t Smoke 

If you still smoke, please take advantage of free resources to help you quit. This habit damages several organs, including your heart. 

Smoking increases plaque formation in arteries and veins. When blood vessels to the heart become blocked, it can lead to an attack. Smoking also thickens the blood, making it more likely to clot and impede vessels. 

7. Cut Back on Drinking 

Please disregard the advice to drink a glass of red wine daily for heart health. While one drink won’t hurt you, you’ll get the same antioxidant benefits from a non-alcohol glass of grape juice — and it may be the better choice for your heart. 

Even one drink elevates your blood pressure slightly. The effect quickly wears off once you stop drinking. However, ongoing overindulgence can lead to extremely high numbers that increase your risk of a heart attack or failure. If you do drink, please stick to no more than one or two per day, and if you don’t currently indulge, don’t start. 

8. Talk to Your Doctor

Your doctor is ultimately your best source of advice for keeping your heart healthy. They can help you calibrate your home blood pressure device so that you can keep tabs on your numbers at home. Additionally, they can recommend advanced testing like echocardiograms and stress tests to monitor you if they identify a problem. 

Your doctor is also your go-to resource if you take medications, drink herbal tea, or take supplements. While most interactions are safe, some can cause trouble — please write a list to check at your next appointment. For example, taking potassium with blood pressure medications can lead to trouble. 

Ten Nutrition Tips to Take Care of Your Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a tiny, pear-shaped organ located underneath the liver. It helps the liver by collecting bile and releasing it into the small intestine to aid digestion. Its size leaves it prone to inflammation and gallstones, and about 2,000 Americans die every year from gallbladder cancer.

You must do everything you can to keep this little organ happy and functional. Here are 10 nutrition tips to take care of your gallbladder and stay healthy!

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Water and other healthy fluids help the gallbladder release bile and prevent it from building up. Adult men and women have different recommended daily fluid totals:

  • Adult men: 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) per day
  • Adult women: 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) per day

Keep in mind that these numbers account for all fluids you consume throughout the day. That includes water, coffee, other beverages, and even liquids from food. Drinking eight glasses of water per day will help you reach the recommended total with little issue.

Stick to Healthy Fats

Understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats will do wonders for your gallbladder. Unsaturated fats primarily come from plant-based foods and are very good for you, while saturated fats are over processed and difficult to digest. Stick with foods high in unsaturated fats, such as these nutritious options:

  • Nuts – peanuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans
  • Seeds – pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Avocados
  • Corn
  • Fish

Unsaturated fat has two subcategories. Monounsaturated fats consist of one bond between fatty acids, while polyunsaturated fats have between two and six bonds. These fats have several amazing benefits for your gallbladder and body:

  • Improve blood cholesterol levels
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Stabilize heartbeat

Inflammation is one of the most common gallbladder ailments, so a healthy dose of unsaturated fats in your diet can help maintain its size and shape.

Choose Lean Alternatives

On the other hand, saturated fats should largely be avoided. Too many saturated fats raise cholesterol to unhealthy levels, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. The gallbladder has a hard time digesting them, which might lead to gallstones. You will find high amounts of saturated fat in these foods:

  • Fatty meat
  • Cheese
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Butter
  • Sweets
  • Processed foods
  • Coconut oil

Conveniently, most of these foods have better alternatives. You can buy lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products. Replace butter with one of the oils we mentioned earlier. Instead of having cookies and cakes, try a healthier snack like apples with peanut butter. Processed foods are becoming more difficult to avoid, but getting healthy requires creativity.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

This advice applies to everyone, but fruits and vegetables especially help the gallbladder because of their high vitamin C and E levels. Vitamin C boosts collagen production, strengthens blood vessels, and supports the immune system. It also acts as an antioxidant, keeping your digestive tract clean and eliminating toxins.

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that prevents inflammation throughout the body, including the digestive system. The gallbladder benefits from all of these functions. While all fruits and veggies have exceptional levels of vitamins C and E, a handful of power foods have higher levels of both vitamins:

  • Berries
  • Kiwis
  • Cantaloupe
  • Broccoli
  • Baked potatoes
  • Citrus fruits

On top of high vitamin content, fruits and vegetables contain lots of water and fiber, which fill you up and help move digestion along smoothly.

Eliminate Fried Foods

You should wholeheartedly avoid fried foods in your diet. They’re usually high in saturated fats before preparation, but frying them adds a new layer (literally) of unhealthiness with additional calories and salt. Excess saturated fats, calories, and salt can cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other complications.

We usually prepare fried foods in vegetable oil, which triggers more unhealthy fats when cooked and can cause inflammation. Do your gallbladder a favor and cut fried foods from your diet as much as you can.

Cook With Olive Oil

Instead of using vegetable oil, cook with olive oil instead. Olive oil has a solid amount of unsaturated fats, which helps your gallbladder empty, as we mentioned earlier.

You should make olive oil the staple cooking ingredient of your diet. It’s much healthier than these options:

  • Butter
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil

If you can’t get your hands on olive oil, avocado and coconut oil are good choices too.

Have a Bit of Alcohol With Dinner

Drinking a glass of wine or beer with your dinner can have some surprising health benefits. Studies show that alcohol increases HDL or “good” cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of gallstones and gallbladder cancer.

However, moderation is the key. Don’t make a habit of drinking every night. Twice a week is more than enough.

Don’t Skip Meals

Your gallbladder releases bile every time you eat, so it’s essential to maintain a consistent eating schedule to keep the gallbladder from filling up too much. When bile builds up, it raises cholesterol to unhealthy levels and causes inflammation, which can harden into gallstones. Inflammation and gallstones are two of the leading causes of gallbladder cancer.

Eating regularly throughout the day keeps the gallbladder active and stable. It also benefits the entire body, giving you timely nutrients and preventing any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Lose Weight Slowly

Consistent eating also encourages methodical weight loss, which is much better for your body than sudden weight loss. When your body drops a lot of pounds in a short timeframe, the gallbladder doesn’t release bile as efficiently and can accumulate excess fluids. Aim to lose a maximum of two pounds per week through diet and exercise. Your gallbladder and other digestive organs will thank you for it.

Consider Medical Treatments

When all else fails, you can turn to medical treatments. If you suspect your gallbladder has a serious condition, go to the hospital for an abdominal ultrasound and blood test. If they identify a large stone or infection, you will likely need a cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal surgery. Without the gallbladder, bile will simply pass from the liver directly into the small intestine.

You can also try gallbladder medications to dissolve stones or fight infections. However, it may take months or years for the treatment to run its course. A cholecystectomy or diet change are the best bets for your long-term health.

Help Out Your Gallbladder

Although humans can technically survive without the gallbladder, it lightens the liver’s workload and assists in digestion by releasing bile at the right times. You can make the gallbladder’s job easier through a well-balanced diet that includes unsaturated fats, vitamins, plenty of fluids, and consistent eating. You can even throw a glass of wine into the mix.

Just remember: a proper diet only works to its full potential along with an active lifestyle. Get up and get moving!

The Next Generation of Plant-Based Is Here

By: Abbot’s Butcher

Whether you call it plant-based or vegan, the trend of not eating animals has radically evolved over the decades. From the granola-crunching hippies of the nineties who got hooked on Diet for a New America to the angry vegans of the 2000s flaunting “I’m Not a Nugget” tees, the plant-based lifestyle hasn’t always been the cool thing to do. But just like Britney, plant-based is back, and it’s got massive public and celebrity support. Why? Simply put, vegan food is better. It’s better for the environment, definitely better for the animals, and arguably better for your health. And these days, it actually tastes better thanks to the culinary innovation of plant-based entrepreneurs. One of these companies is forging a new trend in the industry—beyond the Impossible and Beyond products commandeering seemingly every fast-food chain and independent brewery menu. Abbot’s Butcher is the next generation of plant-based meat, and here’s why you should get on board. 

We really need to eat more sustainably

Most people don’t think about suffocating greenhouse gases, manure pollution, or the massive land requirements for raising livestock when they bite into a spicy birria taco. It’s a bit of a killjoy to connect the dots between what we eat and the impact it has on our environment, but the reality is, it really does. An Oxford University study cites that eating vegan is the single most impactful way an individual can reduce their environmental impact. So yes, your seemingly insignificant decision to have sausage on your pizza or grilled chicken on your salad does add up. 

How? Over fourteen percent of the global total greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture. In the US, 25 percent of the nation’s total agricultural emissions come from enteric fermentation—aka cow burps and farts. Speaking of, the nearly 94 million cows in the US create a ton of waste—literally. The waste from a 2,500 herd of cattle is equivalent to the waste of a city the size of Minneapolis. And all that waste sits in what the industry calls manure lagoons—giant vats of open excrement so uncontrollable that the USDA grants a limited amount of seepage into the surrounding earth and waterways. 

Sorry if this ruined your taco experience. The good news: plant-based meat sidesteps the massive contributions to greenhouse gases and the repulsive manure lagoons. And Abbot’s Butcher makes Ground “Beef,” “Chorizo,” and Chopped Chick’n, so you can still enjoy that taco or meaty salad. Win. 

Is plant-based meat healthier?

The short answer is yes—no matter what brand you’re eating, plant-based meat is free of harmful cholesterol, natural and artificial hormones, and cancer-causing inflammatory compounds (remember, red and processed meats are considered Group 2A and Group 1 carcinogens—yikes). Beyond these basic health attributes, there’s a massive range in health benefits (or detriments) across the variety of brands. 

The first iterations of plant-based meats—like Gardein and Lightlife—were largely soy and wheat-based. We’re not bashing soy, but more so the use of soy protein isolate. It’s essentially soy that’s been chemically treated to isolate the protein of soybeans. Plus, because over 90 percent of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified, you’re likely eating soy that’s been chemically treated and grown with pesticides. That’s just not something we like to think about when chomping down on a vegan chicken nugget. 

After 2010, the second wave of plant-based meat emerged. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods swept up loyal fans by collaborating with fast-food chains, celebrity chefs, professional athletes, and full-on celebrities. The addictive Impossible Whopper and surprisingly spot-on Beyond Orange Chicken at Panda Express redefined what plant-based could be, but then we looked at the ingredients. Canola oil, natural flavors, methylcellulose—what even is that? It’s a laxative, but some companies are now listing it a “plant fiber” to not scare consumers. The second wave of vegan meat may taste great, but it’s at the expense of engineered ingredients with questionable health consequences. 

Abbot’s Butcher is the next generation of plant-based meat, bridging the gap between taste and nutrition. It’s free from soy, gluten, natural and artificial flavors, and multi-syllable ingredients. And so far, it’s the only one that can make these claims. The brand uses thoughtfully sourced pea protein to build 15-18 grams of protein in each of its foods. The rest is a mix of spices, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil—that’s it. Abbot’s Butcher’s Ground “Beef,” “Chorizo,” and Chick’n are made with clean, Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients, meaning you won’t regret your dinner the morning after (raise your hand if you’ve had stomach issues after eating a Beyond or Impossible Burger. Yep, been there). 

Plant-based meat finally tastes good

Adjusting our lifestyle to benefit the environment and our health hasn’t always been easy or convenient. If you want to eat whole, plant-based foods, there’s a lot of cooking and meal prep involved, and we’re not all for that. The second generation of plant-based meat ushered in convenience and improved the taste and texture of its vegan predecessors, but it sacrificed quality ingredients to do so. The reality is, few are willing to give up the foods they love for the sake of their health or the environment. Tacos are just too good. The solution? Make better plant-based meat. And Abbot’s Butcher has done just that. The texture is spot-on, and the flavor is so satisfying. When you can eat the “Chorizo” by the spoonful, you’ve picked a winner. 

The future of food is definitely trending plant-based, but it’s no longer enough to just make a burger or nugget that tastes good. It has to make you feel good, too, and Abbot’s Butcher is doing just that. 

Find Abbot’s Butcher at a retailer or restaurant near you. 

Plant-based recipes inside of 360 MAGAZINE.