Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary

January 7, 2019 by  
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Could 2019 be the year of the vegan ? This past week, people all over the world promised to make lifestyle changes with various new year’s resolutions. And, this January, more people than ever have pledged to go meat-free— for at least a month. A movement known as Veganuary started five years ago, and each year the number of participants committing to a plant-based diet during the first month of the year has more than doubled. This year, more than 250,000 people in 193 countries have signed up to make January a month without animal products. According to Rich Hardy, the head of campaigns at Veganuary, on Sunday alone over 14,000 people pledged to go vegan this month, which is a rate of one person every six seconds. “In 2018 there hasn’t been a week that has gone by without veganism hitting the headlines, whether it is a magazine editor being fired or Waitrose launching a new range of products,” Hardy said. “Vegan products are getting a lot better, and it is becoming a lot more convenient to have a tasty plant-based diet .” Related: Is a flexitarian diet right for you? Hardy believes that warnings from scientists about the environmental impact of meat have persuaded many people to consider veganism. This past May, the researchers who conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date on the subject declared that the single biggest thing an individual could do for the environment is to avoid meat and dairy products. Joseph Poore of Oxford University, the lead researcher on the project, says that reducing your impact on the planet is not just about greenhouse gases, and switching to a vegan diet is more impactful than buying an electric car or cutting down on travel. Some people believe that 2018 was the year that veganism moved into the mainstream, and Hardy says that Veganuary aims to be fun and inclusive. He says that even if those who made the pledge fall off the wagon, they should just pick themselves up and remember why they signed the pledge in the first place. Via The Guardian Images via jill11

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Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary

Is a flexitarian diet right for you?

December 21, 2018 by  
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Going vegan or vegetarian might be a good choice for your health  — as well as the environment — but not everyone wants to take the extreme measure of cutting meat and other animal products completely out of their diet. So, over the past five years, many who want to live a healthy life and/or do their part in the fight against climate change have opted for the flexitarian diet. What is flexitarianism? Flexitarianism doesn’t go as far as veganism or vegetarianism, but it does include some of the same principals. Basically, a flexitarian is someone who has a flexible plant -based diet, which means that meat and other animal products are not a part of their regular diet, but they do eat them occasionally. Usually, people who identify as flexitarians adopt the lifestyle for health reasons or to lessen their environmental impact —or both. Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner created the Flexitarian Diet to help people get the benefits of eating like vegetarians while still being able to enjoy meat and other animal products in moderation. There are no specific rules in the flexitarian lifestyle—no calorie counting or tracking of macronutrients— and the focus is on what you can eat instead of what you can’t, which makes it all the more appealing to many people. However, there are a few basic principles that Blatner based the diet on: eat mostly plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains), get your protein from plants instead of animals, eat natural foods instead of processed foods, limit refined sugar and sweets, and occasionally incorporate meat and animal products. Overall, the goal is less meat, more plants. Related: Look out meat industry— flexitarianism is on the rise What are the health benefits? There are many health benefits when you eat flexitarian. Because most plant-based foods have fewer calories and higher fiber content, this diet can help you lose weight. Eating mostly fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains can also lead to an increased life expectancy compared to people who regularly eat meat. Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet can lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and the reap the same benefits. On the flip side, there have also been studies that indicate eating red meat can lead to an increase of cancer . A flexible eating pattern also tends to lead to a lower body mass index (BMI), a lower risk of breast cancer, and lower blood glucose levels compared to people who eat meat regularly. What are the risks and drawbacks? Because vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, you can run the risk of a deficiency when you switch to flexitarianism. So, you might need a B12 supplement. When you reduce or cut out meat from your diet, you might also have lower stores of minerals that are best absorbed from animal foods, like zinc and iron. However, you can remedy this by eating plenty of nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. If you aren’t eating fatty fish, you might not be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, which means you need to up your intake of things like walnuts and flaxseeds. There is also a myth about vegetarianism or flexitarianism that you won’t get enough protein without eating meat. This simply isn’t true. In fact, most people who eat a standard diet eat way more protein than they need to. Plus, you can get the protein you need by eating soy products, rice and beans, and even a peanut butter sandwich. In order to avoid nutritional deficiencies, it is a good idea to carefully plan your meals to make sure you include enough whole foods— and the right amount of meat and animal products— so you are getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals. Related: A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat How to get started Starting the flexitarian lifestyle isn’t as simple as eating less meat and magically becoming healthier. Theoretically, you could eat a pop tart for breakfast, chili cheese fries for lunch, and a veggie burger with chips and a soda for dinner, and that would follow the vegetarian or flexitarian “rules”. But, there would be zero health benefits. It’s not just about eating less meat, but also making smart food choices overall. So, in addition to reducing meat consumption, you are also adding nutrient-rich foods to your daily diet, while keeping the processed foods to a minimum. Instead of trying to drastically change overnight, it is better to take steps towards the flexitarian lifestyle. Start by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store ( avoid the aisles ) during your next shopping trip, and load up on fresh produce and nuts. Then, try cut your meat-eating down to two to three days a week. No matter how small the change, it will be a step in the right direction. And, the best part is, you don’t have to say no to your mom’s famous meatloaf at your next family dinner. Via EcoWatch , Healthline Images via Shutterstock

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Asheville, North Carolina proclaims 7-Day Vegan Challenge

June 5, 2018 by  
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Asheville, North Carolina has announced a week-long vegan challenge. The City of Asheville 7-Day Vegan Challenge invites residents and businesses to eat plant-based foods between June 4 and 10 “to promote good health, animal justice, social justice, environmental justice, and climate justice,” according to a proclamation signed by mayor Esther Manheimer. The city of Asheville describes the effort as the “first ever ‘city-proclaimed’ vegan challenge in the US.” A no-kill animal rescue organization, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue , is spearheading the movement to try out vegan living for a week in Asheville. They’ve made it easier for people to test out veganism by working with Mission Health Weight Management to create a guide with a seven-day meal plan , grocery store shopping list, and tips for going vegan. Sample meals include dishes like a Quinoa Green Goddess Bowl, Carrot Cake Overnight Oats, or Veggie Fajitas. Related: Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is presenting the Asheville VeganFest on June 8 to 10, so the seven-day vegan challenge leads up to the festival. The event’s theme is “to bring awareness to the impacts of global animal agriculture on mass species extinction , climate change , and human health,” according to the challenge’s website, and speakers will discuss “how the transition to the vegan diet is the single most effective change we can make as individuals to help mitigate these crises.” The rescue shelter hopes other cities get involved, too — they’re offering a 7-Day Challenge Start-up Kit including a sample press release, marketing plan, and proclamation; a custom challenge website they’ve created; a guide to securing partnerships and sponsorship; and access to a training webinar. If your city is interested, you can find out more on the 7-Day Vegan Challenge website . + City of Asheville 7-Day Vegan Challenge + City of Asheville Proclamation Images via Depositphotos

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Asheville, North Carolina proclaims 7-Day Vegan Challenge

New SubCAS technology enables scientists to better study deep-sea ecosystems

June 5, 2018 by  
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Scientists at the California Academy of Sciences have created a new device that can capture and transport deep-sea  creatures to the  ocean ‘s surface without harming them, allowing scientists to better study the deep sea and potentially discover new species. The Submersible Chamber for Ascending Specimens, or SubCAS, works by first capturing wildlife within a small collecting jar. Once the SubCAS and its diver have ascended to approximately 200 feet below the surface, the jar is then moved into a larger chamber, which is sealed after an air bubble is also inserted. This air bubble expands as the pressure drops, which keeps the pressure within the jar at a constant level consistent with that experienced in the deep-sea creatures’ habitats. Until recently, technological challenges limited our knowledge of the mesophotic, or “middle light,” zone. The mesophotic ecosystems begin to exist roughly at the depth beyond which traditional diving technology ceased to effectively protect divers. On the other hand, this zone is also too shallow to justify the use of technology typically used for deep sea exploration. In the past decade, diving technology has improved, and with it our understanding of this unique part of the ocean. Related: Researchers discover a completely new ocean zone swimming with new species “When we started doing these deep dives, seeing whole ecosystems nobody’s ever seen… I wanted to bring those to the public floor,” Senior Director of the California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium and co-inventor of the SubCAS Bart Shepherd told Earther . The team has successfully brought 89 percent of captured mesophotic animals to the surface, while 143 of these creatures have been transported from locations all over the world to the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco , where many of them are on display in the Twilight Zone: Deep Reefs Revealed exhibit. “We’re showing a million-plus people a year these things nobody else will have the opportunity to see, and [using] that as a way to have a [conversation] about coral reef decline,” said Shepherd. The team is currently gearing up for a 2019 mesophotic expedition in the Indian Ocean. “There’s really nobody that’s done deep exploration diving on reefs in the Indian Ocean,” said Shepard. “We think we’re gonna find a ton of new species.” Via Earther Images via California Academy of Sciences

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New SubCAS technology enables scientists to better study deep-sea ecosystems

Can Yak and Reindeer Milk Nourish a Growing World?

November 27, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock With the world’s population projected to hit 9.6 billion by 2050, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has released a report that recommends the development of “non-traditional” dairy sources to provide valuable nutrition to some of the most vulnerable communities. So what classifies as a non-traditional dairy source? According to the FAO, protein-rich milk can be sourced from llamas, alpaca, donkeys, yaks, camels, moose and reindeer. Read the rest of Can Yak and Reindeer Milk Nourish a Growing World? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alpaca , camel , Dairy , dairy farming , donkey , farming , Food Agency , Global Health , livestock , malnutrition , milk , milk production , moose , nutrition , population growth , reindeer , Reindeer Milk , UN , UNFAO , United Nations , veganism , yak        

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