26 January 2016

Fish: High in Protein, Omega 3, and Microplastic

There are many people who eat fish thinking it is healthy. It is true that fish is high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids. However, the fish we eat today is nothing like the fish our ancestors ate. If you eat fish, you are not only supplementing yourself with protein and omega 3 but also various industrial toxins such as cadmium, PCBs, and mercury.

The video below from Al Jazeera shows that fish also contains high concentrations of microplastics. How do these microplastics enter our oceans? Whenever we wash clothes, the synthetic fabrics in our t-shirts or other clothing leech microplastics into the water used to clean clothes. When the water is drained, it is released into the ocean where it accumulates into fish who swim in industrial toxins. If we eat fish, we eat microplastics as well as other industrial toxins.

How then do we get the benefits of fish (protein and omega 3) without any of the contaminants? Simply switch to plant-based protein, e.g. one bag of beans costs $1.70 and contains 100 grams of protein. Vegan protein powder such as pea protein is also very price competitive compared to dairy-based whey protein.

As for omega 3, I personally take a DHA and EPA supplement from Deva Nutrition that contains omega 3 fatty acid derived from algae grown on land under controlled conditions. As such, there is no industrial contamination. Deva Nutrition is a reputable business that is accredited and approved by the Vegan Society. If you cannot find this product at your local chemist, look at reputable online retailers such as Amazon or iHerb (iHerb has worldwide shipping).

If you'd like to be further educated about industrial pollutants in fish, watch the videos below:

Food sources of PCB chemical pollutants (NutritionFacts.org)
Flame Retardant Chemical Contamination (NutritionFacts.org)






23 January 2016

Meat Eater Won't Turn Vegan? Give Them Beans

In my earlier post What to Do When Someone Gives you a Non-Vegan Gift, I suggested that you should accept non-vegan gifts (e.g. non-vegan toothpaste) and then give it to a non-vegan as a gift.

The idea is that if I gave a non-vegan toothpaste to someone, because they are using your gift, they will delay purchase of non-vegan products, which means fewer non-vegan products are purchased.

The same idea applies for food. For example, suppose someone gave you chocolate as a gift. This often happens during, say, Easter. The chocolate is not dark chocolate and contains dairy milk, which means it is not vegan. What I do instead is I give this chocolate to someone I know is not vegan and is unlikely to convert to veganism. Tell them something like, "I got these for Easter. I am vegan, so I can't eat it. Do you want it?"

There are many benefits of giving away food. Firstly, the non-vegans will be grateful for the gift. They will have a positive reaction. If you are kind to someone, they are more likely to be kind back to you, which means they may research veganism and give it a try.

Furthermore, by giving them chocolate, this family will delay and therefore buy less animal product. If you give chocolate, this means they don't need to purchase as much food, which means they will be less likely to purchase animal food, which helps the vegan movement. For example, if I were a meat eater and someone gave me a whole day's worth of chocolate, I wouldn't need to buy meat for the day because I'd want to eat the chocolate before it goes off.

Of course, there are some problems with this technique. Firstly, the family receiving the gift may not delay or reduce purchase of animal products at all but instead will eat your gift in addition to the food they already eat and as a result they will get fatter.

This is a major problem. However, there is a way to fix it. I personally have now gotten into the habit of buying beans from the supermarket and giving it to meat eaters as gifts. Suppose I received a box of chocolate as a gift. If will then purchase about two kilograms of dry beans from the supermarket and give not only the beans to the meat eating family but I will also give the chocolate as well.

The reason why I like to buy beans is because beans are extremely cheap and healthy.

I personally purchase various McKenzie's beans and soup mixes from Coles supermarkets. The cheapest beans cost $1.70 per 500 gram bag. Each bag contains about 100 grams of protein. Given that the average person needs about 50 grams of protein per day, one bag (which is approximately one bowl) gives you double your protein requirements.

Another reason why beans are great is because they fill you up fast. If I gave chocolate to someone, they may eat the chocolate and still be hungry, so they will head off to buy junk animal food like KFC or McDonald's. However, after one bowl of beans, I am really full. Studies find that food high in fiber and protein tends to make people feel full and satisfied. Because beans will fill you up as well as beef will, I feel that eating beans will quickly end a meat eater's meat cravings. Both beans and beef are high in protein, but unlike beef, beans contain fiber.