Sara’s Blog

Modified Atkins: The Ketogenic Diet for Adults with Epilepsy

What is the modified Atkins diet?

The modified Atkins diet (often abbreviated in the literature as “MAD”) is a change to the traditional “classic” ketogenic diet to make it less restrictive. Along with the MCT (medium chain triglyceride) diet and LGIT (low glycemic index treatment), it is one of three “alternative diets” used to treat patients with epilepsy.

Its history goes back to the early 2000s.  Some families who had used the ketogenic diet for many years eventually stopped weighing and measuring foods. They had noticed that ketones still remained high and seizures stayed under control. It was first formally studied in children and adults who had never tried the ketogenic diet at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2002. This diet is now over 14 years old with greater than 500 patients published to date.  Studies show it is very similar to the classic ketogenic diet in efficacy.

Breakfast

The modified Atkins diet allows for the unlimited intake of fats and proteins. Allowed breakfast foods include high-fat meats such as bacon, sausage, and ham, along with eggs and cheese. You can add small amounts of low-carb vegetables to eggs for omelets. Low-carb breads may be allowed in small amounts, keeping total carbohydrate intake within prescribed levels. You can use butter liberally. Pancakes can be made from soy or almond flour, which are not made from grains. But stay away from fruit juice as it has large amounts of carbohydrates.

Lunch and Dinner

Eat as much as you’d like of meats, regardless of fat, for lunch and dinner. Mix tuna or chicken salad with mayonnaise, a high-fat, low-carb food. Add low-carb vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, onions, spinach, cabbage, string beans, spaghetti squash, and Brussels sprouts. Limit fruits to the allowed carbohydrate count, meaning very little fruit. An average apple, for example, contains 21 g of carbohydrate.

Snack Foods and Desserts

Snack foods often contain a lot of carbohydrates, making this a challenge. An option is low-carb flavored gelatin,  real whipped cream made with artificial sugar, or a handful of nuts. It is key to stay within the carb limits. You can also make muffins and other snacks by using almond flour, made from ground almonds and artificial sweeteners. An interesting change includes pork rinds also supply fat without carbs and make a crunchy substitute for chips.

How is it different from the Ketogenic Diet?

Although the foods are very similar, there are key differences between the modified Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet.

  • There is no fluid or calorie restriction or limitation.
  • Fats are strongly encouraged, though not weighed and measured. Most patients will consume plenty of dairy and oils.
  • One of the biggest differences is that there are no restrictions on proteins. Typically 35% of calories on this diet come from protein.
  • Foods are not weighed and measured, but carbohydrate counts are monitored.
  • It is started outside of the hospital without a fast before starting the diet.
  • Lastly, foods can be eaten more freely in restaurants and outside the home, and families (and neurologists!) can do it as well.

Who will it help?

It seems to help similar numbers of patients as the ketogenic diet. It works for men and women equally and is being used actively in adolescents and adults. Like the ketogenic diet, it is mostly used for patients with daily seizures who have not fully responded to medications.

What Does it Include?

  • Lots of high-fat foods such as bacon, eggs, mayonnaise, butter, meats, heavy whipping cream, and oils.
  • Certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, avocados, olives, and cheeses.
  • Fluids help avoid side effects, such as Fruit2O, diet soda, and other flavored waters are favorites of many patients.
  • Carbohydrates are limited and directly controlled but the patient (or parents).
  • Compared to a patient on the classic ketogenic diet, the biggest differences include more food and more proteins.
  • The diet can be supplemented with ketogenic products (e.g. formulas, shakes, baking mixes, and pre-made breads).

Where to Start

  • Talk first with your neurologist and dietitian about the benefits of this decision.
  • Once you decide, lab work is usually obtained, and ketone strips are prescribed.
  • Carbohydrates are limited (15-20 grams per day) and the foods change overnight (making it hard to transition).
  • Medications are usually left unchanged (and most patients on the modified Atkins diet are also on some medications). If medications are in liquid forms, they are usually changed to tablets to decrease carbohydrates.

Does It Work?

In studies so far, yes. About half had a 50% reduction in seizures after 6 months. Many were able to reduce medications. About a third of the patients halved the frequency of seizures by three months. Side effects linked with the diet, such as a rise in cholesterol or triglycerides, were mild. A third of the patients dropped out by the third month, unable to comply with the restrictions.

Can Adults Do It?

  • Absolutely, adults with epilepsy are one of the fastest growing groups of patients starting diets today.  Ask your neurologist to help (or refer you to an adult epilepsy diet center).
  • Outcomes are largely similar to children, with similar side effects.
  • Most adults remain on medications, probably a higher percentage than children on dietary therapy.
  • Speak to your neurologist first if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver or kidney disease, a history of kidney stones, nutritional deficiencies, or are considering getting pregnant.

Are There Any Side Effects?

  • Potential weight loss.
  • Increased cholesterol levels are possible.
  • There is a possible feeling of nausea or illness at the start.
  • For all these reasons, the modified Atkins diet should only be done with physician supervision because of all potential issues.

How Is The Patient Monitored Over Time?

  • A dietitian should track weight and height periodically, as well as calorie intake. Dietitian involvement seems to help keep the patient on it.
  • Blood and urine monitoring every 3 months is also recommended, and checking urine ketones once or twice a week while on the diet.

Can the diet ever be stopped?

The diet can be stopped if a patient is seizure-free for a long period of time, and with the approval of a doctor. However, with adults, there are issues like driving and other dangers that make it best to keep the possibility of seizures controlled.

 

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Tips for the Ketogenic Diet

Why the ketogenic diet works is still unknown, and is difficult to follow, relying almost solely on fat and protein for calories. It provides a number of benefits, from weight loss in some to seizure control in others. Doctors typically recommend it only for children when it comes to epilepsy, while parents can strictly monitor their eating habits. The ketogenic diet is almost never prescribed to adults, who generally make their own food choices and often have difficulty complying with the diet’s strict guidelines.

Wild-grown or plant-fed meat and seafood

These are the best to gain from when working on starting to benefit from the ketogenic diet, especially as there are no secondary carbohydrates or grains from the food that is loaded into the bins where many animals are held. There are a number of organic plants and other sources that can grow cows, chickens, fish, and other animals that are able to help provide the purest proteins and fats for your ketogenic diet.

Get your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables: most including berries – and organic is the best option

It is important to remember not to add any form of simple carbohydrates or sugars to your daily intake. There are plenty of tasty items that may provide a little bit of sweet to your meals without worrying about the sugars that lead to the build-up of fat in the body. With the ability to lower your carb intake to about 5% of your daily diet, there is much more to benefit in your body’s burning fat for energy rather than the sugars you are taking in. It also has the ability to add some energy and focus to your brain, with the nutrients and natural fats that you will be taking in regularly.

Vegetables are of the greatest source of nutrients since they have the fewest carbohydrates, and again, organic is considered to be the best option

Fresh vegetables are the greatest part of the ketogenic diet and need to be taken in every single day. We all grew up hearing from our parents that we need to eat our vegetables every day in order to get our vitamins, but as we get older it is easier to make the decision not to follow through on the lessons we were taught as children. However, this is one of the best things to return to. With fresh vegetables, and most often the organic option, there are fewer potential chemicals and fertilizers on top of the nutrients you need. So, whether you snack on them raw, sautee with meat, or bake with another meal, there are a number of options for eating your vegetables.

Dairy should be minimized and, if possible, it is good to use grass-fed, full-fat dairy products when cooking. Everything needs to be as natural as possible

Dairy is an option while following the ketogenic diet, but it needs to be used in balance with the ratios that are intended for both health improvements and weight loss. Some of the best things to do include using the whole milk and other full-fat options that may be part of the cooking of many different recipes. You will have the ability to add the needed fat and protein while keeping the carbohydrates to an absolute minimum.

Whole eggs (including the yolk, so that you get the fat as well as the protein and maintain a proper diet balance) – Again, organic and free-range are the best option

And here we continue with the potential use of dairy, especially with the whole eggs, especially with free range and organic. When you are in need of cream and other items, it is always best to use the full-fat version, and use items like pure butter if you are cooking.

**Remember that there are substitutes for processed, high-carb foods that we have eaten over time, including pasta, bread, chocolate and more. There are ways to cook unsweetened, high-fat, natural options, that may taste different and take a little time to get used to.

**Basically, the goal is to break the addiction to sugar. It’s almost like quitting smoking or drinking. There are so many processed selections that are marketed and sold to us in the grocery as the low-calorie, low-fat options needed for our heart and circulatory systems, but that is actually ruining us because of the amount of processed sugar they provide.

 

Choosing Networks Over BNI

BNI is a business and professional referral organization that allows only one person from each profession to join a chapter. While this is similar to many other networking groups, the cost of the BNI is much higher for membership. While BNI  is the world’s leading referral organization, generating billions in revenue for member businesses annually, there is much to gain if you have the funds available to join.

This is an international organization with regional offices around the world and it has about 120,000 active members. Local chapters meet every week, where members discuss their business and work on generating referrals for other members. The organization claims to be able to dramatically improve any small businesses bottom line by providing it with a steady stream of new leads. It may sound completely positive but there are many reasons why to join or not.

Do Not Join if You Have a Low Expense Budget

Joining BNI can be expensive, with a membership fee of about $500 a year. Some hidden costs include paying for food during meetings or rental locations for meetings. You could minimize costs by ordering little, but there may be a flat admission fee anyway. With weekly incidental costs from $10 to $20, you may end up paying from $750 to $1200 a year. You should not join a BNI chapter if you are a struggling entrepreneur or if you believe that you will not be able to get a return on your investment.

Do Not Join if You Run an Internet-Based Business

BNI is good for those with traditional small businesses and those who provide their services within a specific geographical area. It, however, is not suitable for more cutting-edge, technologically savvy businesses, particularly those that leverage the enormous reach of the internet for leads. For instance, if you are an internet marketer, copywriter, or graphics designer, your time will be better spent generating your leads online.

Do Not Join if You Have an Unusual Niche

While the BNI works for local businesses, those outside the mainstream have little to gain. The BNI works for people who have more traditional local businesses like real estate, mortgage, insurance, or tax preparation. In other words, it is good for the services that most people use.

Do Not Join if You are Not Prepared to Spend a lot of Time and Effort with the Group

Those who get the most out of the BNI are those who put in the time and effort to help other members through referrals, then getting referrals by reciprocation. The BNI If you can’t make their weekly meeting a priority, make sure to attend every week and meet with other members outside the weekly meeting, and invite guests you won’t gain much.

Do Not Join if You Don’t Have a Referral System Strategy in Your Business

I placed this as the last reason, but I think it’s the most important reason. I’ve been to so many BNI meetings where all folks do is hand out business cards. This isn’t so bad until you realize that these aren’t real referrals, they are barely cold leads. What actually happens is that BNI highly encourages its members to be on the lookout for referrals and come to the meeting with referrals for the group. This is fantastic and a good practice except that a lot of folks get busy, they don’t really qualify these referrals and if you don’t have a system to process them, you will see these leads as a waste.

Bottom Line – Don’t Join BNI if You Aren’t Prepared

BNI is a wonderful organization and they will absolutely deliver on what they promise. The bigger question is – are YOU prepared to leverage your BNI membership to its fullest. This is not a magic bullet organization. There is a fee and there is work involved. You have to be ready and prepared for it. Once you have these six elements in place you’ll be ready to rock BNI.

2018 Lawsuits Remaining Against Trump…

As far back as February 2016, there were almost 170 federal lawsuits filed against the man running for president.  Now… we have plenty of locations to see where states, media companies, and many others are lashing out at the president who is proving to be much less than the leader of our nation.

On August 3 California filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over changes to fuel economy and emissions standards. This includes a battle between the EPA and automakers, whether there is a value to Trump’s proposal lock-in model year 2020 fuel economy and emissions standards for cars and light trucks versus the tougher post-2020 goals set by the Obama administration. Apparently, current administrators say these are not justified and will only raise the prices of new cars and keep older ones on the road. Safety is apparently an issue being presented here, with older cars noted as unsafe, however, different statements have been made by the NHTSA and the EPA, that Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule) will correct the national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards so that consumers have greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles that are cleaner for the environment. As of right now, there are at least 19 other states backing California in their opposition of Trump’s attempt to reverse the Act. There is only potential with the suit to keep moving forward for the safety of the environment. The NHTSA and the EPA report that current standards have been a factor in the rising cost of new automobiles to an average of $35,000 or more.

As of 9/21, there was also a published article of  “The People vs. Donald Trump: Every Major Lawsuit and Investigation the President Faces.” Donald Trump faces added lawsuits personally and in business, where he may be indicted on charges by federal prosecutors. This could burn his seat out from under him due to the question of whether a sitting president may face criminal charges. There is no real clear answer as to the constitutional nature of this situation, with lawsuits brought in state and federal court by individuals, companies, and state attorneys general against him personally and in his role as president. All of these include his company (the Trump Organization), his charity, (the Trump Foundation), and his three oldest children in a variety of potential jeopardy. After the three-year sentence placed on Michael Cohen, for his guilty pleas related to tax evasion, bank fraud, lying to Congress, and campaign-finance violations, as well as about $2 million in restitution to the IRS, fines, and forfeiture, there remains the questions as to how much of this also lies on Trump’s shoulders.

We all heard about the 11/13 CNN charge where the president was sued for barring Jim Acosta from the White House. From this point, it was a rant and rage about the ability of the president to move forward with cases like this, and eventually in the loss of this chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta regained access to the White House. With so much that Trump has to attempt at the so-called “fake” media, there is much to say for the holes he digs for himself as well. With issues like this, there is much to see in what will happen in his relationship with the media and his own appointees over the coming months in the new year.

As of 11/24, a judge ruled that the New York State’s lawsuit against The Trump Foundation can proceed. So many penalties against the president and his supposed charity could be brought to the forefront. Filed back in June, this lawsuit filed by Attorney General Barbara Underwood involves a number of allegations against the foundation and its use of funds to settle business disputes and support his presidential campaign in 2016. Trump’s three children are also named in the suit, with other judges refusing to have the case dismissed, as was requested by Trump’s attorney at the time. This one will be a big deal in the upcoming year, especially with the back and forth nature of his cooperation with Congress.

While we have recently discussed the intention of several states to sue the president for his work against fuel economy and emissions standards, there are questions (at least mine) about how many times he has been sued overall since taking office. And, interestingly enough, even as of LAST AUGUST it was still well over 100.

 

 

 

 

Organic, Non-Toxic Home Cleaning Materials

In the US, for example, one in three people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis (US National Center for Health Statistics). Some cleaning chemicals are allergy and asthma triggers, so treatment for these conditions should include reducing synthetic chemicals in the home environment. Yet the federal government doesn’t require cleaning product manufacturers to list ingredients on their products. This makes choosing healthier products difficult for consumers. Therefore, a number of questions exist in order to determine the best steps to determine the steps to clean your home in a healthier manner.

WHAT’S IN YOUR CLEANING PRODUCTS?

  1. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds or “Quats” that are often asthma triggers found in spray cleaners and fabric softeners.
  2. Chlorine Bleach fumes can contain chlorine and chloroform, which have been linked to respiratory and neurological effects and cancer. Bleach is also highly reactive and can form other dangerous gases when it contacts ammonia or acids such as vinegar.
  3. Formaldehyde, a preservative, is a known carcinogen.
  4. Perchloroethylene (“PERC”) is found in spot removers, home dry cleaning products, and upholstery cleaners. PERC is a probable carcinogen and neurotoxin.
  5. Ammonia is a respiratory and skin irritant.
  6. Antibacterials, many of which have been banned by the FDA from hand and body soaps in 2016, may still be found in cleaners. The banned substances have been linked to endocrine disruption and antibiotic resistance. However, safety data on many antibacterials used as alternatives is scant.
  7. 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, BCEE, or Butyl cellosolve) is found in laundry stain removers, oven cleaners, and degreasers. 2-BE is a skin and eye irritant that made the list of toxic substances in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
  8. Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether (also DEGME or Methoxydiglycol) is a solvent used in some degreasers and heavy-duty cleaners. It has been banned for use in cleaners in Europe because of its linked to reproductive health effects.
  9. Fragrance is a common ingredient referred to simply as “fragrance” that may contain hundreds of different chemical compounds. These may include phthalates, an endocrine disruptor. Fragrances may trigger asthma and allergies.

HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO FIND SAFE INGREDIENTS FOR SUBSTITUTIONS?

Here is a list of common, environmentally safe ingredients that you can use alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications. The vast majority of cleaning projects can be tackled with nothing more than vinegar, baking soda, soap, and water, but other ingredients are useful for specific jobs.

ARE THERE QUALITY HOMEMADE, NON-TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS?

1. Baking Soda – Trusted for over a century, baking soda cleans, deodorizes, softens water, and scours.

2. Soap – Unscented soap in liquid form (along with soap flakes, powders, or bars) is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Castile soap is one example of an excellent, versatile cleaning ingredient. Avoid using soaps that contain petroleum distillates.

3. Lemon Juice – One of the strongest food acids, lemon juice is effective against most household bacteria.

4. White Vinegar – Use white vinegar to cut grease; remove mildew, odors, and some stains; and to prevent or remove wax build-up.

5. Washing Soda – Washing soda or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. It cuts grease; removes stains; softens water; and cleans walls, tiles, sinks, and tubs. Use with care, since washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.

6. Vegetable or Olive Oil – Use in homemade wood polishes.

7. Alcohol – Alcohol is an excellent disinfectant. However, some safety concerns with isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) make other forms of alcohol the more cautious choice. Vodka is a potent odor remover, and other forms of ethanol (grain alcohol) can be used for cleaners and disinfectants.

8. Cornstarch – Use cornstarch to clean windows, polish furniture, and shampoo carpets and rugs.

9. Citrus Solvent – Citrus solvent cleans paintbrushes, oil and grease, and some stains. But beware: citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.

10. Oxygen Bleach – Oxygen-based bleach (usually made from sodium carbonate and/or peroxide) gently removes stains, whitens fabric, and has a number of applications in household stain removal. Many common brands of oxygen bleaches have a number of additional (and less benign) chemicals, so it’s best to look up the brand in the Environmental Working Group’s cleaners database before using.

11. Hydrogen Peroxide – A common disinfectant for wounds, hydrogen peroxide can also be used for disinfecting in the kitchen or bathroom. Its mild bleaching effect makes hydrogen peroxide an excellent stain remover for fabrics and grout. It may cause skin or respiratory irritation, so handle with care.

With all of these available to either work independently for natural cleaning or combine for their useful benefits, there is much to gain for both the natural atmosphere of your home and the health of your family. Considering the dangers of the many chemicals that come in the cleaners purchased from the store, there are alternatives for all of these in some natural form, providing an incredibly pure and safe option to cleaning the house.

Natural Alternatives for Breast Cancer Treatment

Most common treatments are hormone therapy and surgery, but there are natural options out there. While these are not necessarily the options for everyone, it takes some intense education to convince oncologists that there are options like these which avoid some of the horrid side effects of pharmaceutical and hormonal therapies that have been proven to reduce tumors. Even those which have been studied extensively have not been proven to be completely effective, so there needs to be the consideration that there are more options out there.

Green Tea

Green tea contains chemicals known as polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. The major group of polyphenols in green tea are called catechins, and the most important catechin seems to be epigallocatechin gallate (sometimes called epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG). EGCG may help cause certain types of cancer cells to die in much the same way that normal cells do. This effect is important because cancer cells are different from normal cells in that they do not die when they should — they continue to grow and spread.

The Chinese have been drinking green tea for at least 3,000 years and it has been popular in some other Asian countries for at least 1,000 years. In recent years, scientists have begun to study its health effects more closely in laboratory and animal studies and in observational human studies.

Many laboratory studies have shown green tea acts against cancer cells in cell cultures. Test tube studies have suggested that compounds in the tea may help stop new blood vessels from forming, thereby cutting off the supply of blood to cancer cells.1

The Ayurvedic herb, Ashwagandha

According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:

  • Ashwagandha is often used in formulations prescribed for stress, strain, fatigue, pain, skin diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy. It is also used as a general tonic, to increase energy and improve health and longevity and topically as an analgesic.
  • Ashwagandha is rich in iron and also reduced the growth of breast, central nervous system, colon, and lung cancer cells without affecting normal cells.
  • Ashwagandha was shown to prevent chemotherapy-induced neutropenia in mice.

In a small study of breast cancer patients, ashwagandha also alleviated chemo-induced fatigue and improved the quality of life. This shows this herb to be more than a treatment but also quality follow-up care.

The Gerson Therapy and Juicing

Called the “Gerson Therapy,” Dr. Gerson developed this natural treatment to help hundreds of cancer patients activate their body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself by recommending:

  • Organic, plant-based foods
  • Raw juices
  • Coffee enemas
  • Beef liver
  • Natural supplements

Frankincense Essential Oil Therapy

now research trials highlighting frankincense’s potential cancer-fighting abilities are filling medical journals. Specifically, Indian Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) has been shown clinically to being a potentially effective treatment for:

  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Stomach cancer

According to researchers out of Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, the potential cancer-killing effects of frankincense are due in part to its ability to influence your genes to promote healing.

Turmeric and Curcumin 

A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells suggest that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to fight cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It seems to be most effective against breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells. In fact, a 2007 laboratory study showed that the combined treatment of curcumin with chemotherapy eliminated more bowel cancer cells than chemotherapy alone.

Curcumin also interferes with cancer development, growth and spread. And researchers have reported that curcumin blocked the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents. Overall, evidence suggests that in general turmeric works well to help stop cancer in its tracks and is especially effective in helping to treat breast cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer.

Mistletoe (the Viscum Album plant)

Mistletoe is often used as an alternative secondary treatment for breast cancer in Europe. Though this treatment is not provided here in the United States, there is one famous American case of breast cancer treatment with mistletoe—celebrity Suzanne Somers used this treatment. There are not many published clinical results on the use of mistletoe as a cancer treatment, but it has received a great deal of publicity because of its unlikely relationship to medical science.

Mistletoe leaves and berries are potentially poisonous. Therefore, because Iscador extract is made from the entire plant, it must be handled and administered carefully. The extraction process begins with the grinding of the entire mistletoe plant. The plant is then soaked in water, fermented and finally filtered to produce the Iscador extract. Mistletoe treatment is commonly administered by injection, just under the skin. As daily treatment progresses, more concentrated Iscador extractions are administered. Side effects may include redness or welling at the injection site and a possible fever, though the fever may play a positive role in the benefits of Iscador.

Clinical research has been extensively practiced for years on the effects of mistletoe and its medical benefits, but the benefits of Iscador in controlled groups of cancer patients is still minimal. In the United States, very few approved clinical studies using mistletoe have actually been performed, as mistletoe is closely restricted because of its severe toxicity. Most published results are anecdotal, including observations and highly publicized stories like that of Suzanne Somers. However, European studies of the cancer treatment benefits of Iscador have been completed for decades. Thousands of cancer patients have experienced a relevant prolonging of life and increase in quality of life after receiving Iscador treatments. These results in Europe and the anecdotal benefits of mistletoe as a secondary cancer treatment may someday lead to its acceptance as a controlled cancer treatment method in the United States.

 

Can You Maintain A Balanced Diet as a Vegetarian or Vegan?

There are many reasons for determining more of a balanced diet than simply cutting calories or fat. Questions exist as to the ability to keep a healthy and balanced diet without the inclusion of meat. Plenty of healthy proteins are available from dairy and other dietary items, but there is still the complete removal of meat in general. The question then remains as to how much of meat intake is needed in order to have a quality protein level to help maintain certain overall balances.

Many hormones and additional nutrients are available at greater levels in red meat and poultry that help keep balances of nutrients, fats, proteins, and more all at once. Meats are a good item to have balanced with vegetables and carbohydrates to help start and maintain an overall daily balance. Sometimes there is much to be said for the limitations of the vegetarian and vegan diet that do not allow as many choices to help keep that balance going.

Lack of Balance in the Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

A meatless diet can be healthy, but vegetarians — especially vegans — need to make sure they’re getting enough vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns that vitamin B12 deficiencies in vegetarians and vegans occurs because this vitamin occurs most naturally in animal products. A lack of vitamin B12 can also lead to anemia and blindness. Additional results can be muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness. Therefore, to counteract the increased risk, vegans should take B12 supplements, or eat fortified cereals and veggie burgers. Information is growing on this topic, but B12 has also been found in varying amounts in mushrooms, particularly in the outer peel, but it’s too soon to consider it a food source of the vitamin.

There are also vegans and ovo-vegetarians, who eat eggs but not dairy, who need to find foods that make up for the calcium missing in their natural diets. Some of these include dark green vegetables, tofu, edamame, soy nuts, butternut squash, calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages. Absorbable calcium is critical to protecting against osteoporosis or thinning bones, and if this step is ignored it can become gradually dangerous throughout life.

Although There are Benefits…

While there are many positive effects of the many fruits and vegetables that are eaten with different vegetarian diets, these risks require a great deal of caution. With the increase of nutrients that comes with eating so many vegetables and fruits, there is increased disease prevention on many levels along with much other protection. However, with the concerns for bone health and other strength needed to keep a longer period of life, there is much to consider in order to keep an overall daily balance.

Among all of this, there is much to consider between the benefits and the risks, with the need to make sure that all aspects of health are managed well. Basically, there would be no reason to take on any diet that doesn’t have the proper vitamins to help keep our systems healthy, just like there is no reason to eliminate proteins and fat completely because they are needed to help with muscle health and others.

If you look here you will be able to see the recommendations provided by the Mayo Clinic on planning the most balanced vegetarian diet to help maintain the strongest health!