Happy Saturday my friend!
Thanks so much if you gave me your feedback last week – was super interesting to read. Across the board, you guys are wanting to see more nutritional/health information inside each recipe, more “Top Benefits of xxx” posts, and also a sneak peak into What I Eat in a Day…
So I’m super excited to roll out these new ideas over the coming months.
In terms of the “Top Benefits of xxx” posts, are there any particular foods you’d like to learn more about? Comment on this post below and let me know, or send us an email here. If you’re not sure what I mean by a “Top Benefits of xxx” post, have a look at this one I wrote on Cacao a while back here.
Meanwhile, let’s dive head first into a bit more of that nutrition/health information today.
If you’re considering moving to a more plant-based diet, now is the time to do it. From boosting your gut hormones to increasing satiety; reducing plaque in the heart’s arteries and increasing your life span; to tackling depression and keeping you slim. The latest scientific research shows that, yes indeed, a plant-based diet is the ultimate one for your health.
But of course what’s a stack of scientific research without a plant-powered recipe to get you inspired?
This one has a Valentine’s slant to it, because even if you’re not big on the commercial side of V-day, it’s still a great excuse I think to share some fabulous food with your number 1 partner in crime.
These creamy Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecakes totally fit the bill. Think…
- Rich dark chocolatey base with crunchy cacao nibs dotted through,
- A divine white chocolate filling (sans the dairy),
- All topped with a fresh raspberry puree (thanks to the current summer bounty).
Give them a go this weekend, and let me know what you think! There’s enough here for you to do a sneaky taste test before hand, whilst still saving plenty for the big day…
5 Reasons to Go Plant-Based in 2019
1. Boosts gut hormones and satiety
A 2019 study by the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine Czech Republic and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Washington, found that a vegan diet can increase gut hormones and satiety more than an energy and macronutrient-matched meat and cheese based meal.
Three different groups were tested – healthy men, obese men, and men with type 2 diabetes. Gut hormones (which are involved in the regulation of glucose metabolism, blood sugar, and satiety), were up to 31% higher after a plant-based whole foods meal, while satiety (how full you feel) was up to 25% higher.
Want to improve your gut health, AND stay full longer? Give a plant-based meal a go!
2. Reduces depression
A systematic review of 11 studies across 5 different countries on plant-based/vegan vs other diets, showed that a vegan diet can improve both physical and emotional well-being, and significantly reduce depression.
Vegan diet eaters in the studies had lower blood sugar levels (eg HbA1c – a key risk factor for diabetes), lower animal-derived cholesterol levels (a risk factor for cardiovascular disease), and also incidentally lost twice as much weight over the trial period (~23 weeks).
3. Reduces heart disease and plaque in the arteries
Over in the Netherlands, a 2018 study on 5,905 individuals showed that a higher intake of plant-based protein, and lower intake of animal protein (eg. meat, seafood, dairy), was linked to a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Another study in Brazil across 4,500 adults, showed that plant-protein consuming peeps were 60% less likely than their animal-protein chomping comrades, to have plaque build-up in the arteries around the heart (atherosclerotic calcification). Vege protein in fact was shown to be a protective factor against heart disease, with animal protein a risk factor.
Yes – the concept of 100g of chicken breast being the sole place you can get your protein is definitely on its way out.
Where to find your plant protein though? Check out my Top 75 Sources of Plant-Based Protein post here – there’s bound to be a bunch of placed you didn’t quite realise protein existed.
4. Makes you slimmer
If you’re hoping to lose weight this year, then packing a few more plants is the way to go.
In a review of Asians in the US on a vegetarian diet, participants had a lower average body mass index and waist circumference than their omnivorous friends. They also showed lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and incidence of fatty liver.
5. Extends your lifespan
Finally, the style of your plant-based diet certainly counts.
An extensive analysis of 30,000 US adults, showed that the quality and type of plant-based diet matters, much more so than the quality of your meat/dairy selection.
Those eating more plant-food wholefoods, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, veges, and nuts, had 30% lower mortality rates than the average. In contrast, people who tried to choose “higher-quality” animal products (eg organic, less processed, lower fat) had no change in mortality.
Eating animal products that are organic or free range will certainly reduce your exposure to toxins, chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics. However it won’t nearly impact your health as much as simply dropping meat altogether, and switching to high-quality plant based foods instead.
That’s it! 5 key reasons to go (even more) plant-based this year. Every day I read more and more research supporting why a plant-based diet is optimal for our health. Give it a try, see how it works for you – I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed.
PS – another awesome update – Canada is taking stock of the plant-based movement too. Their latest Food Guide (see the pic below) has completely ditched dairy, and is encouraging more plant-based vegan sources of protein than meat. Their recommendations are now almost now bang in line with my own favourite balance! ½ your plate being vegetables, ¼ of your plant being plant-based protein containing foods, and ¼ being whole grain/complex carbohydrates.
So for this coming Valentine’s day, give these loved-up cheesecakes a try! Perhaps they’ll be your first foray into plant-based eating for 2019. Easy to make, and taste divine – I hope you love them.
Til next week my friend, as always, stay happy and well.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 1 c dates
- 1/2 c oats
- 1/2 c almonds
- 1/2 c cashews
- 1/4 c cacao powder
- 1/4 c cacao nibs
- 3 tbsp cacao butter melted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 2 c cashews soaked
- 1/2 c water
- 1/3 c liquid sweetener e.g. coconut nectar / brown rice syrup / yacon etc
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp white miso
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 c cacao butter melted
- 2 c raspberries defrosted/fresh
- 1 tbsp liquid sweetener coconut nectar / brown rice syrup / yacon etc
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp agar powder
- 1 tbsp coconut oil melted
- Fresh and/or freeze-dried raspberries to top
- Blitz all base ingredients, except the cacao butter and nibs, in a food processor until relatively fine.
- Add the melted cacao butter and blend again until sticky.
- Finally, add the cacao nibs and pulse lightly to combine (you want to keep these chunky to give the base some texture).
- Press the mixture into the base of 6 large muffin tins – unlined if you’re using silicon, or lined with biodegradable wrap if using a regular metal tin.
- Blend all filling ingredients, except the cacao butter, in a high speed blender until super smooth.
- Add the melted cacao butter and blend again til well combined.
- Pour evenly into the muffin tins, flattening the mixture as needed, then place in the freezer whilst making the topping.
- Blend all ingredients, except agar and coconut oil, until smooth.
- Sprinkle over the agar, and blend again for around a minute, until the mixture heats up slightly (this activates the agar to make it set).
- Finally, add the coconut oil and blend again.
- Remove your cheesecakes from the freezer, pour the raspberry coulis on top, flatten again (I used a spoon to draw circles on the top), then pop in the freezer overnight to set.
- Bring out 10-15 minutes before eating, then go for it! One cheesecake shared between two, or just go a full one each if you’re extra keen.
- Make it paleo: you can make it paleo by swapping the miso for nutritional yeast and swapping the oats for almonds, cashews or buckwheat.
- I always use activated nuts in my base if possible – they’re crunchier, taste better, are more digestible, and the nutrients are more readily available Find out how to activate your nuts (and why) in this blog post I wrote here.
- For your cashews, soak them beforehand for 1-2 hours in cold water, or do a 5 minute hot soak in hot/boiling water. I often skip this part as have a powerful blender (a Vitamix). If your blender isn’t quite as strong though, pre-soaking will definitely reduce the load on your blades.
- You can also try adding 1/2 c freeze dried raspberries to the raspberry coulis – totally optional, but really amps up the flavour!