Optimal Nutrition

In addition to offering tips to cooking healthfully, this site also provides a directory of easy-to-make vegan and vegetarian recipes which are wholefood, plant based, and low calorie recipes. Please try out the recipes and review them! Also feel free to improvise, experiement, substitute with the different vegetarian ingredients alternatives.

Buying Locally

We encourage you to buy fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits from local farmers' markets, and whenever possible, buy organic. Locally grown fresh produce smell very fragrant and taste totally fresh, more so than what is found in conventional supermarket refrigerator isles.

Organic produce is safer to eat and better for the earth (and everyone). Wash the vegetables thoroughly, and use them on the same day you prepare them.

Storing Vegetables Correctly

Vegetables retain more of their nutrients with less exposure to air (due to oxidation), and they simply taste better when are fresh. Use little or no frozen vegetables. Learn about: Chinese herbal vegetables

Try eating lots of sea vegetables for the taste, nutrition, and wonderful healing benefits, such as the radiance it gives to our hair and the way it helps our body cope with radiation from sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time. Studies in Japan have shown that civilians exposed to nuclear radiation during WWII were able to recover better when they regularly consume d high quantities of sea vegetables!
You will find seaweed at most local health food stores. Often times Asian markets carry more varieties at fair prices (Asians tend to eat more seaweed).

Use reduced sodium soy sauce, tamari sauce, or Bragg's Amino sauce in place of processed soy sauce and sauces with monosodium glutamate (MSG). When traveling and eat out, ask restaurants to exclude MSG from your order.

Unique Cooking Methods for Maximum Nutrition

There are certain foods that have a lot of nutrition, but that nutrition is only unlocked if you cook them correctly.

The most common things you should do are:

  • Cook carrots and spinach - Cooking both of these foods results in higher levels of absorption of the antioxidant beta-carotene than if eaten raw.
  • Cook leafy greens (at least lightly) - Leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.) often have large amounts of minerals like calcium. But they also contain oxalic acid which binds to minerals and prevent absorption. Cooking greens, even slightly, increases mineral availability.
  • Soaking beans and nuts - Soaking reduces the levels of "anti-nutrients" according to studies. These anti-nutrients can cause digestive issues, and some, like phytate, bind to minerals and prevent complete absorption.

Combining Foods For Optimum Nutrition

It is always good to avoid combining foods haphazardly. Bad food combinations will make it difficult for the stomach to digest. Read about: Food combining

Vegans know to avoid using animal ingredients such as white sugar (bone char), gelatin, casein (milk protein), glycerin from soap and toothpaste, silk, whey, and vitamin D3 (lanolin). For a more complete list, keep this book handy: Animal Ingredients A-Z

For more reasons to adopt a plant-based vegetarian diet, see: Why Vegetarian?

For common vegetarian cooking ingredients see: Vegetarian Ingredients and Vegan alternatives.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in articles published on HappyCow are those of the authors alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of HappyCow nor its staff.

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This information is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment and services of a physician. Any recommendations and indications are at the user's discretion. For severe or life-threatening conditions, always seek immediate medical attention. While we work to ensure that product information is correct, and list only products containing vegetarian ingredients, on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our Web site. We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. For additional information about a product, please contact the manufacturer. HappyCow assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.