How To Manage Stress & Live A Long Happy Healthy Life
There have been more changes in the last 50 years to the western diet than in all of human evolution and the experiment is clearly not working. It took 50,000 years to reach a human population of one billion in 1830. We soared above six billion in the year 2000 and passed seven billion in 2012. Wealthy nations eat increasing amounts of meat, while nearly one billion people go hungry. Agribusiness ignore the nutrient cycle, and rather than rebuilding soil, they saturate it with petrochemicals. Soil is over-tilled, overgrazed, made toxic and infertile, and turned into desert. One-third of all farmable land is now degraded. That is the deadly cost of a heavy animal based diet and contributes to our nutritional stress that is killing our gut flora. Soil and man are not separate.
How does stress affect us?
One of the main effects of stress is that it affects our adrenal glands. These glands produce the hormones adrenaline, nor epinephrine, DHEA and cortisol. When we go through life in a state of emergency the adrenals become overworked and we become prone to anxiety and stress responses.
What is the difference between stress and burnout?
When the adrenals become over-worked they eventually cannot produce hormones in sufficient amounts or cannot utilize the hormones they do produce, basically the adrenals get wiped out. This is called adrenal exhaustion (burnout). This state of exhaustion is emotional, mental and physical.
Are people becoming more stressed?
In this 24/7 busy, busy, busy existence people become more stressed due to the increased reliance on caffeine containing products like coffee and fizzy drinks, as well as chemicals in foods and excess sugar. When health is not good we become less adaptable. The over-use of mobile phones and computers, lack of being in an outdoor environment and not getting enough physical exercise also contribute.
How can we learn to manage our stress?
Adopting a wholefood natural vegan diet can make the biggest impact on stress. When we eat food it should energize us, and create vitality and adaptability. What we eat today is who we are tomorrow. By removing animal foods, processed and fast food from our diets will make the biggest impact on stress at a cellular level. We do not hear about nutritional stress but it is very real.
Ill health in any form comes from a weakened system. The problem is the food. Instead of a healing nature of blood that should be flowing through our tissues we eat foods that create or exacerbate inflammation. This is true for all who have had decades of eating a diet of animal foods. It comes as a major shock for many to hear that dairy and eggs are more acidic than meat. When you eat an egg, you are eating a whole animal.
Why do people seem to be more reluctant to deal with their stress, or admit it’s a problem whereas they will happily spend and commit to weight loss?
We live in a world where it seems the more stress you have to deal with the more important you are, it’s almost like wearing a ‘badge of courage’ kids even talk about being ‘stressed out’. We are setting ourselves up for illness if we do not address these issues. When the body becomes overwhelmed (stressed) it’s a signal to take stock and listen to the message.
Weight is often seen as a cosmetic issue, or obsession with appearance, when it often overrides more serious health issues. We are miraculous in our design; the body is a self-healing organism so when we eat in a way that nourishes us from the inside out we are better geared up to deal with life on a daily basis.
The money that is wasted on weight loss products is perhaps one of the most ridiculous marketing scams of the 21st century. Cortisol as I mentioned above is produced by the adrenals when we are stressed, the interesting point to note here is that Cortisol is a fat storing hormone, any wonder then why people find it hard to lose weight?
At MACROVegan we have a programme designed to address all of these issues. Weight Loss Nature’s Way, Reverse Diabetes, The Natural Woman and The Great Escape to name but a few. All our programmes address issues on stress, weight gain and non-communicable diseases. Our latest books How To Eat Right & Save The Planet and Go Vegan are packed with all you need to remove stress and live a long happy and healthy life.
How can food help us de-stress?
Natural un-processed foods in their whole-form are packed with every vitamin and mineral to create a healthy equilibrium that does not cause stress to the body. The modern diet is a strange mix of chemical additives and the excessive use of fats, protein and sugars. This mix puts the body under a constant pressure to either store or detoxify acids and fats. This is a constant battle within us to achieve the constant state of chemical balance that keeps us alive – we are fighting ourselves. When we treat the body kindly and only eat foods that are easy to digest and metabolize, it is like tuning in a clear channel on the radio and getting rid of the static.
Here is what I do to combat stress
“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?” This has been my mantra for over two decades. Stress ages our cells, robs us of good health and kills us before our time. It is a downward spiral. What I teach my clients is how to reverse this spiral and bring back homeostasis.
It is easy to deal with stress in such a simple way. I work hard, play hard, but rest also. Balance is the key to a healthy and happy life. Eating good healthy food, fun exercise, short 5-minute sessions of deep breathing and relaxation/mediation every day keep the stress to a minimum is my ritual. If you create healthy habits stress is not an issue.
In good health
The Easy Vegan Kitchen
Here are some of my top tips to make your easy vegan kitchen work for you. The kitchen cupboard is the nerve centre of your kitchen - keep it well stocked and you will save time dashing to the shops for that single ingredient and will always have a delicious meal at hand even when the fridge is looking bare. For example, store purchased organic beans make a great addition to soups and make tasty dips that can be literally on the table in 10 minutes. You will find many delicious quick recipes in my latest book Go Vegan available world-wide on amazon.
Marlene’s Quick Bites and Roll-Overs
Cook Once – Eat Twice
Time savers are a great way to cook your food. Cook double and use the rest for tomorrow’s lunch. Cook more than you need and freeze the rest. A good idea is to freeze in small portions, so you have ‘ready-made’ meals when time is of the essence.
- Make a weekly menu plan, it makes it possible to use leftovers efficiently and makes meal preparation simpler.
- Make double the sauce and use for another dish later in the week.
- Salad dressings are easy to prepare in larger batches. Depending on the dressing, it will keep for at least a week, although some can be stored for a month or longer. Dressings are versatile and can be used not only on salads but to also dress up simple vegetable and grain dishes and adds a quick boost of flavour.
- Cut fresh vegetables enough for several days so that all the cutting is done, and you can cook quickly.
- Alternately peel and chop carrots, onions, etc., bag them and freeze. When needed, just take out as much as you require and reseal.
- Mince fresh garlic and keep it in the refrigerator for ready use. Minced garlic will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
- Juice some fresh lemons or limes at a time and store the unused juice in the refrigerator in a sealed container. This will time when putting together salads, dressings, and other recipes. Fresh lemon juice will keep for about 10 days.
- Beans will last three days after being cooked. Cook enough beans to use in a soup, stew or casserole. I cook up batches of azduki beans and freeze them in portions.
- Grains will last up to five days in a glass sealed container in the refrigerator. I make our short grain brown rice porridge in one batch for breakfast that lasts us through the working week. I simply warm the required amount each morning for breakfast. Grain and beans are good to re-use with a nut or seed garnish but make the vegetables fresh.
- Prepare larger amounts of brown rice, beans, and other longer-cooking foods and freeze them in small portions so they will defrost more quickly when you need them and will be the right amount required for the number of people you will be serving.
- Learn how to use a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking can cut standard cooking times by about two-thirds while preserving more nutrients than conventional cooking methods.
- Purchase some good organic soup stock cubes. I use miso bouillon stock that instantly delivers a delicious base for all my soups.
- Sea vegetable dishes last for days. Cook up a good amount and then use a small portion every other day. I switch between, arame, hijiki and nori.
- Always have some wholegrain pasta (brown rice is good), bulgur, couscous and other partially refined grains at hand for last minute meals.
- Have a stock of organic cooked beans and other foods on hand for when you get stuck.
- Choose two new recipes from your cookbooks every week so that you are constantly expanding you range of dishes and your familiarity with the foods.
- Adding some raw food to each meal is a winner and it’s simple as no cooking required!
Short Cuts to Healthy Eating for Busy People!
Most people think you are tied to the kitchen when you eat this way but if you organise yourself you can spend literally 20 minutes in the kitchen and have a delicious meal ready by having prepped and stored various items like vegetables, grains and bean dishes and soups beforehand. As you will see from the above quick tips, a breakfast, lunch or dinner can be put together in no time at all. It is all about planning ahead and being organised. Storing and reheating cooked food makes it possible to assist you in serving delicious healthy meals in as little as 10 minutes.
Using soba, udon, quick cooking grains, lightly boiled or steamed vegetables are all quick ways to cook something tasty up in no time.
Miso soup should be taken daily as this will help to alkalize the body: ‘Miso Broth’ quick version, recipe in my book Go Vegan. The added ginger juice will increase your cells sugar uptake, help with digestion and circulation. Make a batch of this to last you for 3 or 4 days. Miso soup with wakame and a side dish of steamed greens such as kale and collards, creates a sense of calm. I love it and live it daily. Any wholegrain porridge along with a few seeds and some ground flax and shelled hemp will set you up for the morning. You can also watch me making miso soup with vegetables on my cooking video channel.
In good health
World Vegan Day 2020
How a wholefood plant-based vegan life can transform your life and our world.
As the author of the definitive vegan cookbook Go Vegan and a dedicated health counsellor and teacher, I look at some of the reasons behind the growing popularity of veganism for World Vegan Day. However, world vegan day should be every day. Our animal kingdom are here with us, not for us.
World Vegan Day is an annual event celebrated by vegans around the world every 1st November. The event was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then Chair of The Vegan Society in the UK, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the organisation and the coining of the terms "vegan" and "veganism".
The benefits of veganism for humans and the natural environment are now well recognised, with many high-profile celebrities endorsing it as a way of life. The word vegan comes from the Latin word Vegetus, which means strength of mind and body, and there is much evidence to support veganism as a way to improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Many sports stars have grasped veganism as a way of life including tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, Formula 1's Lewis Hamilton, footballers Jermain Defoe and Jack Wilshere and former world champion heavy-weight boxer David Haye.
So what is fuelling this movement towards veganism?
Human activity is causing environmental degradation, which is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution. It only takes one grain of sand to turn the tide. That one grain of sand is each and every one of us. We can make a tremendous difference and minimize our impact on land and water resources by referring to four distinct areas: human, social, economic and environmental - known as the four pillars of sustainability. It’s simple in its essence that a sustainable world would meet the needs of everyone. We should all be able to meet our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We are depleting our natural resources and education is the only way to reverse this downward spiral.
For the animals
Ending the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, but for many it remains the key factor in their decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Having emotional attachments with animals may form part of that reason, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom. Specifics aside, avoiding animal products is one of the most obvious ways you can take a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere.
Save the environment
Many people have adopted a vegan lifestyle because it's better for the environment. Meat-based diets use more resources, including land, water, and energy to produce food, and create twice as many greenhouse gas emissions than the production of plant-based foods.
Improve health and physical fitness
We are living in difficult times. The need to understand health and have the skills to lead an earth friendly way of life has never been so important. The health benefits of a vegan diet are plentiful with a focus on wholegrain, beans, vegetables from land and sea, fruits, nuts and seeds. Many of these foods offer fibre, antioxidants, and several essential nutrients. Consuming an animal-based free diet means a decrease in saturated and trans-fats, which can contribute to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
The body uses amino acids to build and repair muscle and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. All plants contain protein, which builds and maintain body tissue. Plant-based protein sources contain fibre and complex carbohydrates which make them a more powerful fuel for the body. Plants can help to improve cardiovascular health, overall endurance and muscle growth, while also providing more energy and reducing recovery time after physical exercise.
Improve mental health and wellbeing
Managing mental health and wellness is an issue regularly reported in the media. There is no one cause of mental illness and often it is unclear. According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression. Connecting the gut and brain to mental health is a fascinating area of research. The gut-brain connection is now recognised as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine. There is no shortage of evidence that what we eat is an important factor in a variety of neurological diseases. What has been discovered is that gut bacteria play a significant role in psychology and behaviour as well as digestion.
The human gut contains almost 95% of the body’s serotonin, “the happy chemical” neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, social behaviour, sleep, memory, and sexual desire. A lack of serotonin is an important factor in depression. Production of this essential chemical depends on the micro-organisms in the gut that are nourished by our diet. Our physical condition can either help us manage our mental state or exacerbate the stress we encounter. The key to this mystery may be inflammation. The foods which most exacerbate inflammation are those that are mostly present in processed foods. These include simple sugars, fructose, dairy foods, eggs, alcohol, meat, hydrogenated fats, palm oil and some fruits and vegetables such as tomato and pineapple. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants, a plant-based diet, has a profound benefit in stress reduction. Eating a diverse and balanced vegan diet can produce profound changes in the gut biome within days, and our mental wellbeing.
Recent NHS research has highlighted that that one in three people in the UK are obese, and there has been much publicity about the risks of being overweight during this pandemic. People are seeking a better understanding of what different foods do to their bodies in the desire to lose weight. One path to sustainable weight loss and good health is to eat a wholefoods plant-based vegan diet. Grains are a major source of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals and a US study has found that some cultures that have based their dietary principles on grains, beans and vegetables have no weight issues until adopting a standard western diet. Along with my husband Bill Tara I have been expounding the benefits of a vegan way of life for decades. Go Vegan is available world-wide and is packed with nutritional advice and tasty recipes.
Bill and I have recently launched the online MACROVegan Health Coach Course, focused on providing a learning experience for everyone who wants to contribute to a healthy world. Unlike other similar courses on plant-based nutrition, this course delves deeply into the ancient history of this approach to understand the impact it has on our world today.
With the start of National Vegan Month beginning on the 1st November, I encourage everyone to adopt this way of life for humans and nonhumans alike. There is nothing new under the sun. As I mentioned above, it only takes one grain of sand to turn the tide. Join Bill and I in service for a healthy world right now and be that grain of sand that turns the tide for future generations.
In good health