Mercury, Fish and EFA’s? Another Vegan Benefit

Essential fatty acids are an important part of a well balanced diet, especially if you're trying to lose weight. What is surprising is that many people don't know fat is essential to maintaining normal weight as well as many other health benefits. Our country has fallen in love with "low fat"... and in part, it's making many people fat. If your body senses a lack of fat intake, it starts storing it... and surprise, surprise, you stay fat!

Fish is routinely recommended by many as a great source of EFA's although there's one small problem.

"...nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury."
FDA / EPA What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish

"Children under age 5, nursing mothers and women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid fish with the highest mercury levels -- tile fish, swordfish, king mackerel and shark. They should also limit their fish intake to no more than 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish that contain low levels of mercury, foods such as shrimp, salmon, pollock, canned light tuna and catfish.

Albacore tuna is higher in mercury than canned light tuna, so consumption of albacore tuna should be limited to nor more than six ounces a week, the experts write.

Eating a variety of fish may reduce the potential negative effects of environmental pollutants. Try to avoid farm-raised fish, which tend to have more fat and calories and slightly less protein than wild fish. Farm-fed fish may also contain higher levels of contaminants due to toxins in their feed, according to the experts."
HealthDay

Why is mercury bad? Well, for many reasons, and the report above, directly from the FDA plays down the effects on everyone except for young children, and pregnant and nursing women. Unfortunately it's a little more serious than that:

"Canadian scientists studying the toxic effects of mercury have made a major breakthrough, showing for the first time how the metal that gave rise to the expression 'mad as a hatter' actually debilitates and destroys parts of nerve cells.

The finding, announced yesterday, is likely to raise further controversy over exposure to mercury in dental fillings and food, and provide new clues to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Three scientists at the University of Calgary exposed the brain cells of snails to small amounts of mercury and found the damage caused by the silvery-grey metal was similar to that seen in brains of humans suffering from Alzheimer's.

The protein in snail brain cells is identical to that in the nerves of human and other higher animals.

One of the co-authors of the paper, Dr. Fritz Lorscheider of the university's faculty of medicine, said the research highlights the need to reduce public exposure to mercury. The experiments used mercury levels that are typically found in people who have a large number of amalgam fillings.

"What it really means is that we . . . need to be far more concerned about sources of mercury exposure,' Dr. Lorscheider said.

A paper outlining the findings is being published as the cover story in the April issue of the British journal NeuroReport.

Almost everyone in North America is exposed to trace amounts of mercury. Fillings emit mercury vapour when people chew. Mercury concentrations have been rising in many seafoods, as fish absorb metal dispersed by coal-burning power plants and mining.

Until now, scientists have known that mercury is a potent nerve poison, causing tremors, loss of memory, insomnia, depression and personality changes, but they did not understand how."
Scientists unlock mystery of mercury's harmful effects

I don't know about you, but would you knowingly eat a poison that could cause tremors, loss of memory, depression and countless other effects. Would you feed it to your children? Especially if you had options? Since you can get EFA's from many other sources, why risk your health and the health of your children? Is it worth it?

To me, another reason for the vegan diet... for your health and your life.

Peace.

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Drive On Vegetable Oil?

Posted on July 13th, 2005 in Uncategorized by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate Comments Off on Drive On Vegetable Oil?

Would you like to make a difference for our environment and save money on your transportation as well?

Consider this - fuel your car with vegetable oil!

Sound impossible? I was surprised to learn that you can convert almost any diesel car, truck, SUV or RV to run on used (or pure) vegetable oil (which you can most likely get for free from local restaurants since they have to pay to have it disposed) for under $1,000.

Very interesting concept. The benefits claimed are:

  • reduced emissions
  • lower driving costs
  • no difference in auto performance/power
  • lower dependence on foreign fuel
  • better for the environment
  • your exhaust smells like french fries (that's what they say!)

Read more about Grease Cars.

All the best for your health (and driving)!

Mark
http://vegandiet.blogspot.com

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OK, I Just Had To Do It

Posted on July 4th, 2005 in Uncategorized by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate Comments Off on OK, I Just Had To Do It

Well, after almost 14 years of being vegan I realized that in the past few years, I've eaten mostly raw, and have continued to feel better as time passed.

Reflecting on this, well, I just had to stir things up a bit and decided to go 100% vegan/raw :). The transition has been exciting even though I've been almost there for some time, other than the few cooked/heated foods occassionally.

I've noticed some disctinct changes... although I've been vegan for so many years, I'm still going through some detox. One of the many wonderful experiences has been the increase in taste awareness and the literal "explosion" of flavors I experience. It's quite amazing. The variety of whole, raw food meals is amazing and I look forward to trying something new every day.

Continued increase in energy, needing less sleep, mental awareness, vitality, weight loss, feeling light and vibrant are just a few of the many benefits I've been experiencing.

I've found food preparation not only easier, but faster (hey, it was already fast as a vegan!) especially since no cooking is needed. Clean up is brief... I've also dropped the use of my dishwasher to less than once a week.

There have been a few adjustments and I'm sure I'll continue making them along the way.

Here are some resources I've found helpful through the transition to 100% vegan/raw:

  • RawFood.com - the store for supplies, as well as the forum and resources
  • theGardenDiet and The Anti-Aging Diet - Storm, Jinjee and their family are a real inspiration
  • VegSource.com - especially Dr. Graham's forum on Raw Food and Sports Nutrition
  • AlissaCohen.com - Alissa has some great resources on the raw lifestyle, health benefits and recipes.
  • Raw Secrets - Frederic Patenaude's take on going raw, and how to avoid the mistakes most make in transitioning. His views are slightly different than the mainstream raw movement and make sense. They are a great contribution to anyone looking for advice on going raw.

More as my journey continues. Please share your questions, thoughts and comments!

Peace, joy and health,

Mark
http://vegandiet.blogspot.com

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Dairy Groups Sued over Weight Loss Claims

Posted on July 4th, 2005 in Uncategorized by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate Comments Off on Dairy Groups Sued over Weight Loss Claims

You may recall the ads milk, cheese and yogurt producers have been running that claim three servings a day (3 a Day) of dairy helps burn fat.

The dairy producers rely mainly on one study from a University of Tennesse researcher that apparently is suspect because he receives funding from the dairy industry. Well, if you receive funding from an industry that you are conducting research for, then yes, I would call that suspect!

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which advocates a vegan diet and led by Neal Barnard MD, feels strongly enough about the fact this is largely a way to get people to eat more dairy (and feel good about it - in my opinion), that they have filed suit against dairy groups to stop using the ads.

There is more than just one study that concludes that eating dairy keeps you at the same weight or increases it, but also the dozens of side effects and links to health problems. Can these be discounted against just one study?

Read more about the suit at the Washington Post.

Peace, joy and health!

Mark
http://vegandiet.blogspot.com

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