Thursday, May 3, 2012

Junk Food Junks Up Your Brain

     You can be a dumb Vegan. That's a fact. Hopefully this blog is a healthy start to becoming a smart vegan. For me, once a week vegan has slowly taught me what smart vegan means and how my body can benefit from this diet. The number one benefit, the benefit I never expected, is a clearer head. I am not a Vegan everyday, maybe 4 days out of 5. However, learning about the Vegan diet has informed my choices everyday. 

     Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer is a book about memory. (copyright 2011) On page 11 he interviews 67 year old Tony Buzan founder of the World Memory Championship. Mr Buzan tells him that he makes a point of eating lots of brain-healthy vegetables and fish. Junk food in: junk brain. Healthy food in: healthy brain.

     For brain athletes, like all athletes, diet matters. The brain requires roughly 20% of the calories you consume. (For more specifics, you can read this information on the Livestrong website.) That's a lot of calories. The brain also takes them first. After all, the brain is body headquarters. 

     There are a lot of roads to a healthy diet. It's one of those topics that can result in a lively debate, especially if you say VEGAN. Is it healthy, I mean, do you get enough protein? What about restaurants? Can you eat out? You don't eat eggs either? 

     And so it goes. 

     Today, I'm cooking lentils, something I never ate as a child. Quick to cook, easy to digest. They have a slight nutty flavor. Good hot or cold.

     Lentils, are lens-shaped pulses. Pulse? New word for me too. A Pulse is a food harvested for it's dry seed. Pulses are high in protein and essential amino acids. They provide complex carbohydrates, several vitamins and iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, no cholesterol, and little fat. Lentils are not a complete protein so they are often paired with rice. 

Simple Lentil Salad
serves 4
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
1/2 cup chopped cucumber - skin and all
1/2 cup assorted bell pepper
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup oil and vinegar dressing - your choice

Mix them all together and refrigerate at least an hour to blend the flavors. Serve with additional dressing over baby spinach or romaine lettuce. 

There's a smart vegan salad. Clearly. 

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