Live Longer

Good Monday to you, faithful reader. I hope this calm before the storm (if you live on the Eastern Seaboard of North America) has you thinking about safety and living for a long time. And speaking of longevity, loyal reader MKM of London, Ontario passed on a gem of a health study which has been making the rounds lately. In a report on preliminary findings from the extended Seventh Day Adventist Health study from Loma Linda University in California, researchers are reporting that vegetarian men live an average of 9 years longer and women 6 years. The Seventh Day Adventist church advocates a plant-based diet, as well as promoting non-smoking and avoidance of alcohol. About one-third of the church's members follow the prescribed vegetarian diet and 96,000 of these form the basis for the study, which dates back to 1958.

The Huffington Post article noted this key piece of the research which may explain this longevity: "Not only that, the studies also indicated that the kinds of foods frequently consumed in vegetarian diets — fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes — can reduce a person's risk for diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, control body mass index and waist size, and boost brain health." This information was echoed in an unrelated Science Daily article showing how a plant-based diet can remedy chronic diseases. The evidence just keeps piling up, people. I'm only reporting on a fraction of it. But it is amazing how consistent the findings are regarding the health-building properties of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Put another way, the findings of this study could be seen to say, "Consuming the Standard American Diet could shorten your life by as much as 9 years." That's a lot of life to give up to convention and habit. It's called the "S.A.D." for a reason. What you do with your 9 years is up to you, but I'm guessing time with loved ones, fulfilling your bucket list, enjoying grandkids, etc., would make the list for most of us. If you are Delmar Holbrooke, a Seventh-Day Adventist from Loma Linda, California, you would be planning a big day for your 90th birthday. Delmar's plan for his upcoming birthday is to ski in the morning, come down for a round of golf mid-day and then cap it off by hitting the beach for some surfing in the late afternoon. I'm guessing it will end up with a vegetarian feast for his party. And good for him.

One great way to "lean in" to this healthier way of eating is through Meatless Monday. This one day a week is a great way to try new recipes, enjoy new kinds of food and put a new emphasis on increasing our consumption of healthy, plant-based products. And speaking of which, a few weeks ago I looked in our fridge and realized that we had almond milk, almond cheese and almond yogurt all at the same time. That had to be a first. There are so many great new, meat-free products cropping up in the market these days that it is becoming easier and easier to be meat-free. The featured product of the week is Amande cultured almond milk yogurt - I like to buy the mild-flavoured plain and eat it with fresh fruit for some sweetness. Delicious!

And lastly, speaking of delicious, this brings me to the recipe of the week. This is an old family favourite that we make about once a month or so on average. We have adapted ours from one we originally found in Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, host of the "Post-Punk Kitchen." In another coincidence that is a first to my knowledge, this week's recipe on "Cooking up Comics" is an alternate version of the same thing. That gives you three options, but of course we think ours is the best. Hope you enjoy it!