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Why Vegan America kicks Vegan Canada’s Ass

Why Vegan America kicks Vegan Canada’s Ass

    One of the first things that nearly every American asks me about or rather comments on is how medical is “way cheaper” in Canada. I’m going to burst that bubble for you right here right now. Our taxes are higher, hospital and clinic waits are longer and private medical bills are gigantic– never mind asking about the cost of prescriptions. What does this matter to Veganism you ask? This fact pretty much paints a picture of what it’s really like to be Canadian – lowest of the low on the free trade totem pole but somehow we’ve managed to make everyone believe we’ve got it going on.

    I’m going to let you know a few key details to back up my claims. I’m from Vancouver, lived in Calgary and Halifax, stayed in almost all Provinces and major cities, drove 3 weeks clear across Canada. I have traveled to about 50% of America’s states and live in Pittsburgh, PA as a Vegan Fitness Pro. With that being said, here are the five undeniable ways that traveling and living in the United States as a Vegan kicks ass over Canada.

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    1. You don’t have to cook all your own protein from scratch

    You can find plant-based food (for better or for worse) almost anywhere in America. From Giant Eagle in Pennsylvania to Whole Foods in California to Publix in Florida and every Traders Joes in between, most states seem to have a “regular” grocer that has a frozen and refrigerated aisle with at least a small showing of vegan and vegetarian items from microwaveable to baked goods to ethnic all-in-one dishes. You’ll actually never starve if you’re near a decent amount of infrastructure. In Canada, you’re lucky if you can smuggle a few Tofurky products out of Safeway or Save-On-Foods. You can visit a specialty health food type grocer and spend 25% more than the products are actually worth if you want variety beyond Yves veggie ground rounds or sub-par tempeh.

      2. Variety

      In America we have access to large-scale vegan food manufacturers from all over the continent as well as overseas. Gardein, MorningStar, Beyond, Nates, Soymage and a host of small time guys I’ve never heard of. There are soy, wheat and vegetable based proteins a Canadian could never try in the Motherland because choices are limited to one or two producers. I find myself procuring items I’d never consider eating just to see how they taste. Pushing my shopping cart in a frenzy, like a kid in a Stevia-based candy shop skipping down the frozen food aisle going “look look look” to my poor underwhelmed husband. Not that I’m a huge supporter but take a look at what Wal-Mart USA sells for Vegan goods HERE.

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      3. Consideration of diet restrictions

      While this isn’t as widespread as it could be, certain states are absolutely fabulous at putting together menu options for Vegans, Vegetarians and Gluten Intolerant folks. I’m tipping my hat in the particular direction of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York. If you don’t see something on the menu odds are restaurants will accommodate any request for a creative one-off meal sans flesh. Even in large Canadian cities like Calgary, Alberta herbivorous diners will continuously suffer through meals of lettuce and vinegar while Omni’s gnaw on the gigantic array of bovine and poultry available. Long story short, there’s more culture and creativity where food prep is concerned. I’ll go one step further to let you know that there is an actual dog patio at an Omni restaurant in Pittsburgh with a full two page vegan menu. Read ’em and weep Canadian Food Inspection Agency, there is a fair and wonderful workaround for this stuff, lets be creative.

        4. Actual Vegan Restaurants

        Apparenlty it’s fun for Canadian restaurants to sign up for Yelp and click the Vegan and Vegetarian option descriptors for sport. All to once again offer lettuce and vinegar or pizza as plant-based options to unassuming Canuck patrons. Neat, I’m sure that doesn’t get old at all, right? While this still does happen in the US the odds that a diner will find dedicated or partially dedicated plant powered kitchens, that actually design macronutrient based menu items including protein, are far higher.

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          5. Amazon

          Holy mother of mothers just like Netflix in Canada being a useless shadow of Netflix US, so is Amazon north of 49. Where the flag is star-spangled, consumers can have delivered bulk amounts of vegan supplements, kitchen staples, and medicinals at a fraction of the cost all while sitting in their offices and actually getting work done instead of running to 10 different stores to hunt down cruelty-free items. Shoppers could save at least 5 hours per week and $500 per month buying on Amazon.com. Just don’t get too carried away buying a 50-pound bag of vital wheat gluten as a reasonable kitchen necessity. Hail Seitan?

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            It’s not that Canada isn’t awesome because believe me there are people and places there that will knock your socks off. However, when it comes to accessing the basics as a health conscious person who takes matters of nutrition and quality food very seriously there is simply no matching the good old U.S. of A. Some folks might brag on Canada’s freedoms, politeness and overall better quality of life but this Vegan has to disagree in all categories. If you’re relocating to the US as a plant powered person you will have absolutely no reason to ever eat anything but the best food available ever again.

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            Sasha Williams

            Plant Powered Lifestyle Designer

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            Last Updated on August 12, 2019

            12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

            12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

            Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

            But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

            I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

            Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

            1. Nuts

            The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

            Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

            Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

            Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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            2. Blueberries

            Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

            When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

            3. Tomatoes

            Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

            4. Broccoli

            While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

            Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

            Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

            5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

            Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

            The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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            Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

            6. Soy

            Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

            Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

            Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

            7. Dark Chocolate

            When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

            Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

            8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

            Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

            B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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            Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

            Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

            To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

            9. Foods Rich in Zinc

            Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

            Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

            Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

            10. Gingko Biloba

            This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

            It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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            However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

            11. Green and Black Tea

            Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

            Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

            Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

            12. Sage and Rosemary

            Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

            Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

            When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

            More About Boosting Brain Power

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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