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vegan diet

Latinas shift to vegan diet, improving focus and productivity at work

It’s no secret that what we eat impacts how we perform. The types of food we consume contributes to our mood, energy levels, and productivity. As part of World Vegan Month this November, we are diving into the benefits of a vegan diet. 

In general, plant-based eating can improve one’s health, it’s typically more affordable, and much more eco-friendly. In fact, a vegan diet uses much fewer resources, requiring five times less water than producing animal-based foods. 

For the Latinx population specifically, it has been found that diet-related health issues common within the community can be reduced through plant-based eating. 

Latinx and Hispanic individuals are more prone to health risks such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Statistically, Latinos are also more likely to suffer from heart disease

Transitioning to a vegan diet, or simply incorporating more plant-based meals into one’s existing diet, can significantly help to reduce these health risks. Affordability also makes veganism an attractive alternative, especially for middle- to lower- income communities. 

“It’s much more cost-effective to prepare plant-based dishes using rice, beans, and vegetables than it is to feed one’s family using animal products,” said holistic nutritionist and bilingual foodie writer, Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, in an article with VegNews

Currently, about 3 percent of Latinos in the U.S. are vegetarian or vegan, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group. This number is close to the national average for adults: 3.5 percent for females and 3.2 percent for males. 

In fact, for many Mexican-Americans, a vegan diet is not far off from what their ancestors once ate in pre-Columbian times, according to NPR. Many traditional dishes by indigenous natives were plant-based. The meats we think of today as traditional to Latinx dishes–beef, bork, chicken, lamb–were brought over by the Spaniards. 

Boosting your productivity at work through plant-based eating 

In a study conducted by City Pantry on healthy eating habits, experts weighed in on how foods affect our levels of productivity and focus. 

According Dr Uma Naidoo – board-certified psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and nutrition specialist – reducing inflammation is key to keeping energy and productivity levels up during the workday. 

“Low-grade inflammation flips off a metabolic switch in the chemical pathway that produces energy,” she said. “When inflammation is present in the body, less energy is available to the brain, so it’s important to eat anti-inflammatory foods to ensure workers wake up in a good mood and stay energized and focused through the entire morning.”

Foods to avoid are those high in artificial sweeteners, added and refined sugars, trans fats, and processed meats and cheeses. 

Plant-based foods are associated with lower levels of inflammation, which means incorporating more vegan options into your diet can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. 

You might be interested: 10 Snacks to boost productivity and get you through the work day

There is no one way to approach veganism and many often transition into the diet slowly. Others may choose to only eat plant-based on certain days, such as the Instagram account Meatless Mondays, which encourages people to swap out meat at least one day a week and provides a variety of fun and fresh meatless meals to try.

To start incorporating some vegan meal choices into your diet to boost your productivity, Dr. Naidoo recommends focusing on foods with natural fats such as nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.

 “Fat is a key component for mental health. Your brain is made up of 60 percent fat and in order to perform at its best, it requires a constant supply of omega-3-fatty acids,” Dr. Naidoo explained.

As busy women and entrepreneurs, staying focused and energized is so important. If you’re feeling low on energy, it might be time to reevaluate your food choices and shake things up! And what better month to try out plant-based eating than World Vegan Month? 

Latinas in Business Intern Fe-Licitty Branch contributed to this article. 

5 hearty autumnal vegan meals to try this month

November is World Vegan Month, a time when plant-based eaters from across the globe come together to celebrate their lifestyle, educate, and share recipes. 

A vegan, or plant-based lifestyle, has many health benefits, especially for Latinos who are prone to suffer from health issues such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Statistically, Latinos are also more likely to suffer from heart disease. On average,  Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics, according to data from Go Red for Women.

Incorporating more plant-based dishes into one’s diet can help reduce these risks over time by reducing the consumption of meat and dairy, often found in many traditional Hispanic recipes. 

As the colder months approach here in the Northern hemisphere, we’re all looking for some warm, hearty comfort foods to get us through the autumn and winter. Below are a few autumnal vegan meals to try out this month from The Vegans Club on Instagram. 

You might be interested: 10 Snacks to boost productivity and get you through the work day

Leek, Chestnut and Apple Stuffing

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this vegan stuffing recipe will make a great addition to the traditional holiday meal. 

 

Carrot Soup 

Stay warm throughout the winter with this delicious carrot soup. It’s perfect for a quiet evening meal or prepare ahead for a quick lunch on the go. 

 

“Ricotta” Stuffed Delicata Squash

This colorful dish will brighten up your day! Stuffed with flavor, this vegan dish promises to leave you full and satisfied. 

 

Creamy Curry Pasta

In the mood for a creamy, pasta sauce? This curry pasta dish will do just the trick, and without any dairy! 

 

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

Finally, this flavorful Tuscan kale and white bean soup is exactly what you’ll need once the snow starts coming down. Prepare this for the whole family and bask in the tasty warmth of this vegan dish. 

 

meatless meals

5 Fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals to try 

Be adventurous this summer by incorporating more plant-based dishes onto your personal menu. Check out some of these fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals to get started! 

The summer months are often associated with BBQ-ing and outdoor fiestas or family picnics in the park. In fact, July is also recognized as National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month. It’s hard for some to think of summer without grilling and meat-filled dishes, especially for Latinos who pride themselves on their asados. However, incorporating more plant-based dishes into our diets has many health benefits. 

Statistically, Latinos are more likely to suffer from heart disease. On average,  Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics, according to data from Go Red for Women. While there are many factors that contribute to developing these issues, such as genetics, diet also plays a big part. Hispanic diets are often rich in fat from dairy and meats. By reducing one’s consumption of meat and dairy, it can help lower the risk of developing heart disease and other health issues. 

Summer is also the perfect time to be adventurous! Embrace your inner adventurer and experiment with food this season. You don’t have to commit to an all plant-based lifestyle, simply introducing a meatless day of the week can make a difference. One of my personal favorite food-stagram accounts is “Meatless Mondays.” The account offers a variety of fun and fresh meatless meals to try and encourages people to swap out meat at least one day a week. 

If you’re ready for the adventure, then check out some of our favorite fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals below! 

Try these meatless summer meals on your next picnic or party

These meals will make the perfect addition to your next family picnic or outdoor gathering, especially this week during Latino Conservation Week. What better way to celebrate nature conservation than by getting outdoors with friends and family and enjoying some delicious food together!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

 

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Fiery and Fresh Plant-based Tacos

 

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Grilled Stuffed Peppers 

 

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Pasta Primavera 

 

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Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos with Garlic Aioli

 

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Latina diet

Balancing your Latina diet this National Nutrition Month®

Every food-loving Latina knows that the Latina diet has both pros and cons. With rich flavors and a variety of local produce, Latin American cuisine can certainly be very healthy. But sometimes we can also go a little overboard on the sweets. That’s why this National Nutrition Month® the focus is on personalizing your plate to create a more balanced, healthful diet. 

National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month® started as National Nutrition Week in 1973, then as interest and excitement grew, National Nutrition Month® was inaugurated in 1980. 

Now, every year during the month of March, people are invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month® is “Personalize Your Plate.” There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! And a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan that is as special as you are. For more information and healthful tips, check out the resources provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics available in various languages including Spanish.   

National Nutrition Month, personalize your plate, balanced diet

Eating healthfully doesn’t have to be complicated! Choose nutritious foods that have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. Use these tips: https://sm.eatright.org/ERnotcomplicated #NationalNutritionMonth

Balancing your Latina diet 

As Latinas, food is a big part of our culture. While many Latino dishes are full of healthy ingredients, it’s no secret that we love our carbs and dulces. Many Latin American dishes can also be heavy on fats such as whole-fat cheeses and fatty cuts of meat. Consuming too much of these foods in unbalanced proportions can lead to many health risks such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, risk factors commonly found in Hispanic populations. 

However, there is no need to completely cut out the foods we love, but learning more about how to create a colorful, well-balanced plate will help us all be healthier in the long-run. 

Some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 

Latina diet, personalize your plate, balanced diet

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Personalize Your Plate 

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Get creative with produce by trying an assortment of colors and textures.
  • Experiment with different grains. Try substituting whole grains for refined grains in recipes.
  • Choose lean protein foods. Vary your choices to include seafood, beans, peas and lentils, as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry that are prepared in a healthful way, such as baked or grilled instead of fried.
  • Complete your meal with dairy. Include low-fat or fat-free options like milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified soymilk, or lactose free milk.

Meal Planning Tips

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Think about the foods you like from each food group – mixed dishes count, too! These are just a few examples of how different foods can be eaten as a meal to personalize your plate. If a food you enjoy is not listed here, consider which food group it meets when planning your meals.  

National Nutrition Month®

Meal plan suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Source: Personalize Your Plate to Include Foods From Other Cultures–Latin American)

You might be interested: 10 Snacks to boost productivity and get you through the work day

Building a balanced Latina diet doesn’t have to be a chore. With so many delicious ingredients and a passion for our food, us Latinas are sure to have fun cooking up some colorful, creative dishes to meet our health needs and our passion for flavor!