Everybody knows that physical exercise is an important part of being healthy. However, if you want to stay healthy, it’s not enough to just exercise and eat healthier – you have to take care of your mind as well. Your mind can affect your body just as much as your body can affect your mind. Therefore, here are a couple of things you should know about the holistic approach and how it can benefit your lifestyle.
It can help you de-stress
In this day and age, avoiding stress can be quite a difficult challenge. This is why you should have ways of coping with it whenever it starts affecting your well-being. Exercising, in general, can be great for that purpose, but you don’t need to run five miles every morning in order to relax. A peaceful meditation can do the trick as well. Depending on how much free time you have, you can do it in the morning, before bed, or just a few times per week when needed.
As one of the most common holistic exercises, meditation does have many benefits. Besides helping you deal with stress, it can also make you feel better by calming your mind. Consequently, you will become more patient, emotionally stable, mindful, more energized, and more confident about yourself in general.
It can change the way you think
Many of us tend to impose stress on ourselves by worrying about things we cannot change, criticizing our own appearance, feeling guilty about what we eat, etc. Most of us know that it is unhealthy, but not many people know that our thoughts can affect our body. So, what can you do about it?
For starters, you need to recognize situations that make you anxious or stressed out. Once you know what it is that triggers your negative emotions, you should look for coping mechanisms. For example, you can try to shift your focus to positive things or write down the good sides of everything that might seem bad at first. By improving your perception of the world – and yourself – you can improve your health as well.
It can make you fall in love with exercising
Once you start seeing the results on your body, it’ll be much harder for you to go back to the unhealthy lifestyle. Your metabolism will improve, your immunity will be stronger, you will have more stamina, etc. Moreover, improving your physical appearance can help you improve your self-image as well. The truth is, we all feel better when we look good, so it’s an endless positive circle of feeling good and looking good.
This is when you also might start looking for different environments and ways to practice mindful exercising. One of the best places to do so is, unsurprisingly, in nature. So, get your camping gear, and spend a few days meditating near a calming waterfall or doing yoga while surrounded by greenery and sounds of nature.
It can motivate you to eat healthily
You’ve probably heard of the famous quote that you are what you eat, and this is very true. The holistic approach is not just about exercising – it’s about health in general as well. After all, you can exercise all day if you want, but the results won’t be as obvious if you don’t adjust your diet as well. So, enrich your diet with healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, and fish. There are also many healthy snacks that can replace your usual chips and chocolate, like nuts, popcorn, and berries. This also implies that you should learn how to prepare healthier meals and not rely on takeout. This way, you will have more energy, and you will feel good about yourself knowing that you’re providing your body with what it needs.
That being said, you shouldn’t feel guilty about satisfying your cravings from time to time. So, don’t hesitate to enjoy some hot pizza when you go out with your friends. Also, if you’re organizing a movie night with your loved one, feel free to buy some less healthy snacks. The thing is, as long as you keep working out and eating healthy most of the time, there is nothing wrong in indulging in some delicious, a bit less healthy food choices that make you feel good.
There are many ways in which a holistic approach can improve your life, from helping you deal with stress to making you enjoy every meal. So, make sure to give it a try, and have no doubt that the results will show sooner than you might think.
Is Bread Vegan? What Types of Bread Can Vegans Eat? Is bread vegan?
Is bread vegan? The question usually emerges in a panicked tone, from the mouth of a newly transitioned or prospective vegan, or even more often, a stressed-out friend or family member trying desperately to prepare a vegan-friendly meal for their loved one. Most of us have been there, or know people who have.
So, is bread vegan? The answer is: yeah, usually. But not always. Is bread vegan?
Never fear though, here at Happy Happy Vegan we are dedicated to presenting you with as much information as possible to safely feed yourself and your loved ones a vegan-approved meal! We’ll dive more into the different types of bread, which ones are vegan and which ones are not, below, but first…
Bread: an overview
Most of us have been eating bread for as long as we can remember. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, rolls as a precursor to dinner. The basic ingredients of bread are wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt.
The most basic of breads, made only from these four ingredients, is definitely vegan. However, things get tricky when people begin to add other ingredients.
Before we talk about vegan and non-vegan options though, let’s get an idea of how exactly bread is made and what makes it so different from other wheat products and baked goods. Is bread vegan?
What is yeast and how does it work?
Yeast is the ingredient that gives bread its soft and fluffy rise. It’s what makes a loaf of bread very different to, say, a tortilla. Yeast is essentially a small fungus – like a mushroom or a mold – which means it’s okay for vegans to eat it.
It reproduces by budding off, like branches off of a tree. The scientific name for baker’s yeast is Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which literally translates to sugar-eating fungus. The name is fairly self-explanatory for what the yeast does in bread.
The yeast feeds off of the sugar present in the flour and is added to the bread dough for a quicker rise. When the yeast digests the sugar, it gives off carbon dioxide gas. This gas is trapped by the big stringy gluten molecules in the wheat flour, that give bread its spongy texture and allows it to keep its shape, which results in the fluffy loaf that we know and love.
This interplay between yeast and gluten is the reason why unleavened or yeast free bread products, like pita bread or tortillas, are flat, and why gluten-free products are always much denser and much less spongy than their gluten-containing counterparts.
For these reasons, when you are making bread you first mix all the ingredients together and knead them really well to activate the yeast and the gluten molecules. Then you let it sit so the yeast can work its magic!
Want to know more about the science behind yeast and bread? Check out this awesome video!
What would make bread not vegan? Is bread vegan?
Ingredients which can be added to bread that would cause it to be non-vegan include honey, eggs, and milk products. Therefore it is always important to check labels thoroughly when buying bread, and check recipes thoroughly when making it.
For example, challah bread which is a traditional bread in the Jewish faith is made with eggs and therefore is not vegan. The good news is that there are plenty of little tips and tricks to tweak recipes and make them vegan. For example, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water is usually a suitable replacement for an egg in a recipe, and vegan milk substitutes can generally replace dairy products in a pinch!
Some types of bread and whether they’re vegan or not Is bread vegan?
Next we will talk a bit more about specific types of breads and explore whether or not they are suitable for those following a plant-based diet:
Sourdough bread is usually vegan.
The only difference, in general, in sourdough bread from regular bread is that sourdough bread is made with a fermented “starter”. This is a mixture of flour, water, and a specific bacteria (usually lactobacillus), that has been fermenting for a while.
An instance in which a sourdough bread would not be vegan would be if the baker had used milk products in their starter. This is unlikely, but it does happen. To be sure, just read the ingredients carefully if you are buying commercially, or ask your baker if you are buying fresh.
Pita bread is another type of bread that is usually vegan.
Pita breads tend to be made from the same basic ingredients as regular bread – flour, water, yeast, salt – although since they are flatbreads they have less yeast than other breads.
Similar to sourdough, however, be on the lookout, as milk, eggs, and honey, can all be popular additions to pita bread for taste reasons.
Ezekiel bread, the brand, is produced by the company Foods for Life. All of the Foods for Life products are egg, dairy, and honey free.
Ezekiel bread is also a wonderful, completely vegan, source of protein. It is made from wheat, beans, barley, spelt, lentils and millet, all sprouted, and then combined into the bread. It contains all nine essential amino acids as well.
Here’s a fun fact for you – the word ciabatta literally translates to “slipper”, probably because of the traditionally flat and elongated shape of this bread.
Ciabatta is distinguished from other types of bread by its hard and brittle crust, and its soft and airy interior. The great news is that ciabatta breads are also usually vegan. The only time you’ll need to be careful is with the variation “ciabatta al latte” – this version of ciabatta bread is made with milk.
Naan is a traditional Indian flatbread, that is often served with Indian cuisine. Naan is delicious, but alas, it is often not vegan!
Traditional naan is made with eggs, yogurt, or other dairy products, and then usually brushed with ghee, or clarified butter. The good news is that there are lots of vegan options on the market, and sometimes even in restaurants. Just always be sure to ask about ingredients!
Remember: vigilance is key.
Rye is a cereal crop that is closely related to wheat, but is not actually wheat. It has a different, stronger taste, and is often used to make a heartier bread.
Rye breads are very popular in traditional Scandinavian and Germanic cuisine. Similar to the other types of bread, rye breads are usually gluten free, but occasionally will have milk or eggs added to try to lighten up the bread a bit. Always check the ingredients or ask your baker!
Focaccia is an Italian flatbread. It is usually baked in large flat pans, and topped with olive oil and herbs. Rosemary is one of the most popular herbs for making focaccia.
The nice thing about focaccia bread is that since it is made with olive oil instead of butteror eggs, it can usually be counted on to be vegan. It never hurts to ask and check though!
Garlic bread is a rich bread which has usually been brushed with a mixture of butter and garlic, and occasionally also topped with cheese. It doesn’t take much working out, then, that most garlic bread you buy in supermarkets, or at restaurants, is not going to be vegan due to the dairy content.
The good news is that vegan garlic bread is super easy to make on your own. You can easily replace the butter in the garlic mixture with olive oil, brush it onto a fresh baguette, pop it in the oven for a few minutes, and voila! You have your very own, easy, vegan, garlic bread. Tasty!
If you want to try and make your own bread at home, take a look at my roundup 19 Brilliant Vegan Bread Recipes: Everything From Focaccia To French Loaves
A note about breads
Holy Cow Vegan also boasts a killer vegan brioche recipe for the sweet-bread lovers among us. This recipe replaces butter and eggs with olive oil and aquafaba – so much better for your arteries and your conscience! (Aquafaba is the water in a can of chickpeas. What else were you going to do with it?) You can find the recipe here. Try eating it with some cashew cream cheese and raspberry jam. Incredible!
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment! Lots of culinary breakthroughs were made by fearless cooks going nuts in their kitchen. If you can’t find a vegan recipe you like for a certain kind of bread, make one! Go crazy. As stated above, flaxseed and water make a great egg replacement, most oils (especially coconut oil) can substitute for butter, almond milk or oat milk is a solid stand-in for cow’s milk, and maple syrup will do where honey won’t.
Get in the kitchen!
A quick “is bread vegan?” recap
So, let’s summarize what we know about bread.
Bread, especially simple and freshly baked bread, is often vegan. However, we need to be on the lookout for sneaky extra non-vegan ingredients that might be tossed in!
Common offenders are honey, milk, butter, and eggs.
Flatbreads, drier or crustier breads, and savory breads are much more likely to be vegan. Breads that are usually not vegan include any bread brushed with a buttery sauce, brioche-type breads, or challah bread. Remember that the most important thing is to always read the ingredients, and if you don’t know, ask!
Do you have any favorite kinds of vegan bread? Maybe a great vegan bread recipe that you’d like to share? Feel free to leave it, or any other questions, thoughts, or concerns, in the comments section below!article by Lisa williams
article by suzanne heyn Suicide and Mental Illness
On Suicide, Mental Illness and a F$%#ed Up Society Suicide and Mental Illness
Prelude: I wrote about this on social media and it triggered a lot of people. Some of the comments got super nasty. I love discussion, but people who name call or only have venom to contribute will be blocked immediately.
I would like to say that while anti-depressant use has soared by 65% in 15 years (from 1999 to 2014), according to CBS and the CDC, suicide rates have also skyrocketed. Suicide and Mental Illness
According to NPR, “Suicide rates have increased in nearly every state over the past two decades, and half of the states have seen suicide rates go up more than 30 percent.”
The status quo isn’t working. Suicide and Mental Illness
It’s time to change the dialogue around emotional pain and stop medicalizing a spiritual problem.
The losses of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade wrecked me. Suicide and Mental Illness
I think as a society when we collectively mourn celebrities, it means something bigger than the death of a person, but the shattering of an idea that we hold to be true.
For so many of us, I included, there is a perception that celebrity, fame, reaching the pinnacle of success through the grace of your own gifts, exciting adventures, being able to do anything we want, having everything we want, create happiness.
When we mourn the loss of someone, we also mourn the loss of the fairy tale they represent.
Because we are a collective, we are not only honoring these beautiful souls that have suffered and are now dead but those parts of us that we may have denied or shoved down in the effort to “achieve” happiness that we are now forced to examine.
When my sister killed herself 21 years ago, I mourned her yes because I loved her, and yes I felt sad for her suffering, but I also mourned the part of me that would now never exist because the dance of our interlacing lives had ended.
Our society does many things well, but creating happiness and soul satisfaction are not among them.
When will we learn that getting what you want isn’t the key to happiness if it doesn’t come from an appreciation for who you are and what you already have? Suicide and Mental Illness
When will we learn not to run away from pain, but instead to see it as a call for love?
When will we learn that people who feel sad don’t need to be cheered up, but instead allowed to feel and honored for the experiences they’re navigating?
When will the spiritual community stop calling sadness low vibe and scaring people away from emotions that demand to be felt?
When will we stop calling sadness or “depression” an illness and create more space to feel, even lose their minds, without medicalizing a spiritual problem?
It’s not biology but human nature and the transforming of something natural into an illness only exacerbates the problem and stops people from getting the support they truly need.
We all deserve and are capable of living happy, thriving lives.
A true, deep happiness comes from loving yourself, living from your soul, and appreciating every step along the journey.
It comes from going deep within to identify and heal the wounds underneath unconscious programming that create any disposition towards sadness, anxiety, anger or fear.
It comes from connecting to something larger than you and allowing that connection to inspire an occasionally irrational faith that everything will be okay.
It comes from finding peace in the present moment, even if that moment is tear-soaked and full of self-doubt. Peace can come in those moments, too. I know it can.
Because with faith and hope all things are possible. With faith and hope, you never stop believing that tomorrow will be a better day.
With faith and hope, you never stop working to find your peace, your happiness.
We all deserve it. Suicide and Mental Illness
Not everyone will find it.
But everyone has the ability.
I can’t help but wonder about the traps that Anthony and Kate felt themselves living in.
What was it about their lives that made them feel so suffocated and hopeless?
When my sister hung herself 21 years ago, at 21, in her NYC apartment building, I understood. She was a lost and lonely girl, her boyfriend had killed himself a few months earlier, and our father had died a year before.
But when people like Anthony and Kate take their lives, it’s a call for all of us to do a little soul searching.
To reconnect to what really matters, what’s most important to us.
To shift the focus from what we want to get, do or achieve, and move it to something deeper, more lasting.
That will be different for every person.
But one thing is universal: We all want to feel happy. And we all have that ability.
May you be at peace. May you be happy. May you be free of suffering.article by suzanne heyn