Fear and Loathing in the Time of Coronavirus


OK, maybe not fear, but we certainly do loath what this virus is doing to our lives. It is something that we will just have to endure for a while. As I sit here, isolated like everyone else, I am struck with an interesting thought. The World Health Organization lists asthma as one of the chronic conditions (together with diabetes and heart disease) that make someone more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the COVID-19 disease. Well this certainly makes sense, the coronavirus attacks the respiratory system and if anything is making our respiratory system weaker then it follows contracting this virus or any other respiratory virus would make things worse.

So what to do? A 1985 Swedish study demonstrated that asthmatics who practice a vegan diet have a marked decrease in their need for medications. In addition they have fewer and less severe asthma attacks. No specific diet is a cure for asthma, but anything you can do to reduce the symptoms seems like a good thing.

If you have asthma and are worried about experiencing more severe outcomes from COVID-19 or any flu, you might want to consider adopting a vegan diet.

There is more you can do. Vitamin C and. Vitamin D are both helpful in combating COVID-19 as well as colds and flu. The best source of Vitamin C is fresh citrus fruits. During the flu season you should eat at least one orange a day. For Vitamin D you should take a good supplement. Just a couple of extra tips.

Stay safe.

Waquim Filsaime

Domino's gets it wrong, twice


There have been two news stories, in the last few weeks, about someone ordering a vegan pizza from Domino's and getting a meat based pizza instead. In both cases (one in England and one in Australia) the customer ate the pizza without realizing it until later. Here is what is so surprising about this story…Domino's has one of the best quality control systems in the fast food industry, they are exceptionally well managed and these occurrences seem far out of character for this brand.

But it can happen, in fact it did happen, twice on two different continents. The reason it can happen is that the Vegan ingredients look just like the meat based ingredients. They are probably stored right next to each other. These same meat-based and vegetable-based ingredients probably sit in small trays right next to each other on the "make" line (where the dough is rolled, sauce is added and ingredients sprinkled on before going into the oven). They are right next to each other…and humans can and do make mistakes. The only way to reduce human error is to buy your fast food from a restaurant that has no meat-based products whatsoever. A restaurant like we are trying to build.

A week scarcely goes by without reading about a meat-based fast food chain that is offering Vegan entrees. That is great, any progress is good, however why would anyone who has adopted a Herbivore lifestyle want to reward one of the largest enablers of factory farming? But that is not why you should avoid these meat-based chains, the reason to avoid them is because you don't know if you are going to get a plant-based meal or, by mistake, a meat-based meal. Remember, fast-food restaurants have very low pay scales and very high turnover. These things contribute to mistakes. Since a Vegan fast food restaurant has no meat or dairy within it's walls, it can't serve you a meat-based meal by mistake.

Waquim Filsaime

Chia Seeds, Another Great Protein Source

Another great source for protein in a plant-based diet is the powerful Chia Seed. In fact the word Chia is Mayan for strength. How's that for power? Now the amazing thing about this tiny seed is how little of it is needed to deliver a lot of nutrients to our bodies. The serving size is 2 tablespoons (one ounce). Here's what you get from that:

  • Fiber: 11 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams (but 5 of these are omega-3…wow!!)
  • Calcium: 18% of recommended daily allowance (RDA)
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA
This is impressive since one ounce is just 28 grams. These are pretty potent sources of vital nutrients. One ounce contains 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrates.

In addition to the vitamins and minerals, Chia Seeds are a great source of antioxidants. They are high in fiber and will absorb 10 - 12 times their weight in water, allowing you to feel full and suppress your appetite; so these are great if you need to lose a few pounds.

The best part is Chia Seeds are really easy to incorporate into your diet. You just need to add them, raw, to your existing food. They are a bit bland tasting so you can add them to cereal, vegetables or rice dishes, or even to a bowl of sliced fruit. You can soak them in juice or water and they will turn into a gel, or you can mix into porridge, pudding, smoothies or add them to baked goods. Easy right?

Waquim Filsaime

Getting Enough Protein

April, a friend of mine, posted a question (actually several questions) on facebook and I thought that more of you might have the same questions when considering a Vegetarian or Vegan diet. She was asking how to get protein into her diet without resorting to eggs or meat. This is a classic how do I start kind of question. Fear not it is easier than you can imagine.

While animals have been a source of protein for most of history, there are very good alternatives that provide the same protein and micro-nutrients without all the harmful things (like cholesterols, antibiotics, growth hormones and unhealthy fats) that are found in meat.

For example, legumes (beans) are a good source of protein especially when served with rice. Nuts and other grains are also good sources as is tofu. But my go-to source is quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). This amazing superfood is chocked full of the things that a human body needs to become and stay healthy.

A one cup serving of cooked Quinoa contains the following nutrients:

  • Protein: 8 grams (with all the essential Amino Acids)
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)
  • Magnesium: 30% of RDA
  • Phosphorus: 28% of RDA
  • Folate: 19% of RDA
  • Copper 18% of RDA
  • Iron: 15% of RDA
  • Zinc: 13% of RDA
This one cup of cooked Quinoa has 222 calories, 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. The best part is it contains some omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E.

Here's an interesting tidbit; NASA is considering quinoa as the crop to grow in outer space because of its high nutritional value and easy of growing it.

Now beyond these vitamins and minerals, Quinoa contains Quercetin and Kaempferol which are flavonoids (plant based antioxidants). Quinoa has more antioxidant content than even cranberries! It is also gluten-free so it is safe for folks who are gluten intolerant. It has a low Glycemic Index which will help with controlling blood sugar.

Quinoa is easy to prepare and can be added to salads or soups, or enjoyed as a side dish. Here's how to prepare:

  • Bring two cups of water to a boil
  • Add one cup of throughly rinsed Quinoa
  • Boil for 15 - 20 minutes
Simple, right? You will find that replacing some meat-based meals with this superfood will be an easy transition to a completely plant-based diet. Not everyone enjoys the taste of quinoa so you might want to add it to salads, mix some sauces with it, add it to some vegetable stock or eat it mixed with fruit. For those who do enjoy the nutty taste of quinoa, Bon Appetite.

Waquim Filsaime

24 May 2020
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