Try an ‘alter-Nativity,’ cruelty-free noche buena
The revered story goes that the child Jesus was born in a manger, in the company of farm animals. Never did the story say that the divine family had them for the very first Christmas feast. So, why should we now?
Aside from being true to the simplicity and compassion of the first Christmas, partaking of a whole-food, plant-based noche buena and Christmas feasts devoid of animal flesh is demonstrably beneficial not just for the prevention of cancer, but also to maintain a healthy heart and to prevent obesity, eye disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and other serious diseases. Cornell University’s nutrition biochemist T. Collin Campbell, PhD, who authored the book “The China Study” with Thomas M. Campbell II, MD, stressed that this diet can benefit everyone regardless of his or her genes and personal dispositions.
Some suggested dishes to make up this holiday feast could include: meatless embutidomade from mushroom, whole-wheat “vegemeat,” and vegetables; whole-wheat vegan carrot cake with dairy-free butter sauce; vegetarian “kaldereta” (a mix of tomato sauce, coconut milk and fried or baked tofu); tomato and “malunggay” lasagna; meatless pastel in dairy-free creamy mushroom sauce; tofu stroganoff consisting of tofu, shiitake mushroom (dried or fresh) and a dairy-free cream sauce of cashew nut with blended tofu, and baked vege-ham in cranberry sauce.
These are all simple, cruelty-free, and still thoroughly tasty. Dean Ornish, MD, author of “Reversing Heart Disease,” said that this is not a diet of deprivation.
“It is a diet vibrant with color and rich with the flavors and textures of many different foods—fresh vegetables, tangy herbs and spices, chewy, wholesome grains, savory beans, elegant pastas, and sweet, enticing fruit dishes,” said Shirley Elizabeth Brown, MD, and Martha Rose Shulman in Ornish’s book. The two authors described vegetables, grains and dried beans as the backbone of the diet.
Derived from plants
Better energy is derived from plants. Nutrition specialist and fitness sports trainer Rea Frey, author of “Power Vegan,” said: “Eating nutrient-dense, energy-efficient foods can help give the body a break. As compared to a piece of meat, a handful of seeds (which packs just as much protein) is a lot easier and kinder for the gut to break down. Not only that, but if we’re constantly cramming our mouths with what we don’t need, we put constant strain on our bodies, which can lead to a host of health problems over time.”
And looking at things on a much bigger scale, a plant-based diet puts less stress on the world’s resources. Worldwide meat production (beef, chicken and pork) emits more atmospheric greenhouse gases than do all forms of global transportation or industrial processes. This study (“The greenhouse hamburger: Producing beef for the table has a surprising environmental cost: it releases prodigious amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases”), published in the February 2009 issue of the Scientific American, was written by Nathan Fiala, a doctoral candidate in economics at the University of California, Irvine.
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