It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Ocean Robbins was born in a log cabin built by his parents, and grew up eating food they grew on the land together. At age 16, he co-founded an organization called YES! (Youth for Environmental Sanity) that he directed for the next 20 years. Ocean has spoken in person to more than 200,000 people in schools, conferences and events, and he has...
Ocean Robbins was born in a log cabin built by his parents, and grew up eating food they grew on the land together. At age 16, he co-founded an organization called YES! (Youth for Environmental Sanity) that he directed for the next 20 years. Ocean has spoken in person to more than 200,000 people in schools, conferences and events, and he has organized 100+ seminars and gatherings for leaders from 65+ nations. Ocean’s work has taken him all over the world, where he has seen first-hand the powerful impact of the food we eat – not just on our health, but on people and economies everywhere. He is author of The Power of Partnership, and co-author, with his dad and colleague John Robbins, of Voices of the Food Revolution. He serves as an adjunct professor for Chapman University, and has received numerous awards including the national Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service. He serves as co-host and CEO of the Food Revolution Network.
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Vegan Bacon: Why It’s Better for You and How to Make Your Own

vegan-picture

If you Google “broccoli summer camp,” “kale summer camp,” and “cauliflower summer camp,” you’ll come up empty. You’ll find summer recipes for these cruciferous stars, sure, but no weeklong vacation event dedicated to them.

When you search for “bacon summer camp,” by contrast, you’ll discover that there is such a thing. With speakers, cooking tutorials, panel discussions, butchering demos, and even a bacon film festival, Camp Bacon caters to one of the hottest foods of the past decade.

And that’s just the tip of the strip, if you will. Someone spent enough time and energy to figure out that 62% of US restaurants have bacon on the menu. The average American consumes almost 18 pounds of bacon per year – and if you don’t, then someone out there is eating 36 pounds to keep the average up. There’s a National Bacon Day in the US. And bacon has gone from breakfast meat to ubiquitous star ingredient in everything from bacon-wrapped hot dogs and steaks to desserts like cupcakes and ice cream. And if I haven’t yet convinced you that bacon makes people highly irrational, there’s a Seattle company that sells bacon-scented underwear for men and women.

These days, whenever an animal-based product becomes hugely popular, plant-based versions aren’t far behind. Thanks to a growing market, new technologies, and social media experimentation, there are now plant-based bacon alternatives that are getting closer and closer to the original. According to the online food ordering company Grubhub, users ordered vegan bacon 113% more in 2019 than the year before.

And it’s a good thing, too! Bacon comes from pigs, the vast majority of which (approximately 95%) are raised on factory farms, which carry a whole host of ethical and environmental problems. And that’s not even mentioning the health effects of bacon, which is a highly processed meat.

So in this article, we’ll take a look at vegan bacon: why it can be a much better alternative to the stuff that comes from pigs, how you can make it yourself, and recipes that use plant-based bacon.

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Are Mangoes Good for You — and the Planet?

mangofruit

Although it may not be as revered as the apple, banana, or even tomato (at least in the western world), the mango is one of the most commonly eaten fruits worldwide. And production has gone up around 17% in the last few years globally, averaging over 55 million mangoes per year.

This luscious, juicy, sweet fruit that has won fans the world over originated in India, where it has a long and revered history. One of the central rituals of Hinduism, the puja ceremony, uses water infused with mango leaves to create the proper resonance for honored deities. Indian poets also use mangoes to evoke emotions like lust and love. And contemporary Indian novelists like Arundhati Roy and Anita Desai draw upon mangoes to symbolize abundance, sweetness, and possibility.

The mango is the national fruit of India, which produces more than half of all the mangoes consumed worldwide. Other top growers include Thailand, Mexico, and the tropical regions of China. In the US, mango trees can thrive in Hawaii, Florida, and parts of California.

With billions of fans and centuries of great PR, you’d think that mangoes have it made. But due to their high sugar content, mangoes are often vilified by low-carb enthusiasts. And because they’re exported around the globe, some environmentalists express concern over their carbon footprint and sustainability.

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Are Tomatoes Good for You?

tomatoesbasket

Tomatoes are popular today, but that wasn’t always the case. Until the mid-1800s, people in the United States and Europe avoided and even feared them. Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family of plants, which many Europeans historically considered to be toxic. (To be fair, eating the leaves and berries of one of the members of this family, Belladonna, will give you hallucinations and delirium if they don’t kill you first.)

Add the strong aroma of the tomato plant itself, and the scandalously red skin and juices, and those not familiar with the tomato’s culinary upsides might be forgiven for thinking that it was not fit for human consumption.

Early tomato marketing in the US didn’t help. A gardener from Massachusetts described them as “disgusting” sometime in the 1820s. Another chronicler of public opinion estimated that no more than 2% of the population would try that “sour trash” a second time following initial exposure.

It wasn’t just that tomato was an acquired taste that the populace hadn’t acquired. There was downright terror of tomatoes through the middle of the 19th century. One myth, widely believed in Europe, was that the mere touch of the green tomato worm could result in death.

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Meet Moringa: What Is This Transformative Superfood Good For?

moringa

I want this article to start a different kind of food revolution. You see, when I write about foods you might want to include in your diet, I generally focus on those that you can easily obtain: fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, legumes, and so on.

Today, I want to convince you to pay attention to one of the most nutritious and eco-friendly plants ever studied, even though the only way you can get it in most parts of the US and Europe is as a powdered supplement. Why? Because not only is the moringa tree an incredible source of nutrition, it also has the potential to reverse global warming, provide food for the starving, create thriving agricultural economies in some of the poorest places on earth, and even remove toxins from drinking water.

So, I hope you’ll indulge me a little until there’s enough of a market to get the attention of entrepreneurs, importers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and environmental and justice-oriented nonprofits to make moringa wide-spread.

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What Helps with COVID-19 Outcomes? The Foods & Nutrients You Should Know About

iStock.com/valentinrussanov

More than a year into the global pandemic, there’s a lot we still don’t know about COVID-19. But here’s one thing we do know: People who are obese, have hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, fare far worse if they become infected. They are much more likely to be hospitalized. And they are far more likely to die. In fact, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 94% of COVID-19 deaths are linked to other “comorbidities.” Only 6% list COVID-19 as the sole cause of death.

Since many of these comorbidities are largely preventable (and often reversible) with a whole foods, plant-based diet, it is not an exaggeration to say that the standard American diet has turbocharged the pandemic.

The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, but in the first year of the pandemic, had 20% of the world’s reported COVID-19 deaths. How could the world’s wealthiest country, with arguably the most advanced (and certainly the most expensive) healthcare system on the planet, have fared so poorly?

The sober reality is that the United States has experienced the most deaths by far of any country in the world from COVID-19. The mortality rate from COVID-19 in the US is about 40% higher than in Europe. Is it a coincidence that the obesity rate in the US is also about 40% higher than in Europe? Or is it a clue to something we urgently need to understand?

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How to Balance Hormones Naturally with Diet & Lifestyle

pregnant-woman-choosing-vegetables-

Imagine if the different organs and systems in your body weren’t on speaking terms. If you ate a big meal, your stomach might keep that news to itself, and your intestines wouldn’t release enzymes to digest that meal. Your brain would hoard the knowledge of an oncoming car, and neglect to alert your heart to pump more blood into your extremities so you could leap out of the way safely. You might be staggering from fatigue but your pineal gland couldn’t get the other systems in your body to allow you to sleep.

All these communications, and millions more, occur so rapidly that it seems like they’re not even happening. The time from someone sneaking up behind you and popping a balloon to you going into full-on fight or flight appears not to exist — it just happens all at once. In reality, the different organs and systems in the body are in constant communication, all the time. And all that data transfers thanks to little chemical messengers known as hormones.

Hormones are involved in almost all of your bodily processes and are vital to your health. They keep your body functioning optimally. And big changes in their production can trigger or signal a physical transition from one stage of life to another. But sometimes hormone levels can be thrown out of balance. Depending on the cause, hormonal imbalances can be temporary or chronic. And while modern medicine tends to treat them with medications, it turns out there’s often a lot you can do to balance hormones naturally.

What Are Hormones?

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What is Miso? Introducing a Longevity Food of the Blue Zones

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It’s a comfort food that’s good for you… A salty food that may improve heart health… A peaceful culinary offering to the West from the son of an impoverished warrior… If these sound too good to be true, allow me to introduce you to the delicious, versatile, and wonderful Japanese condiment called miso.

Miso is a popular condiment used in many Asian cuisines. In the US, it’s most commonly known as the star ingredient in miso soup. But this pungent paste has several other culinary uses. Traditional Okinawans, who are famous for their longevity and live in one of the world’s most heavily studied “Blue Zones,” often eat miso soup for breakfast.

Miso is well regarded for its health benefits, despite containing a significant amount of sodium. But if you’re unfamiliar with miso, you may be wondering what exactly it is, or how to incorporate it into your diet outside of a traditional miso soup recipe. Let’s look at what miso is and what makes it so special.

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7 Plant-Based Dinner Recipes That are Easy Enough for Beginners

iStock-115126862_20200831-151829_1 Eating whole plant foods can help you to keep your weight under control.
Since the pandemic hit, the world is facing a very challenging “new normal.” Aside from the disease itself, many of us are struggling to stay positive and productive amid social distancing, masks, food shortages, uncertainty, lost jobs, and health fears. Many restaurants have closed for dine-in service or have significantly reduced their capacity, offering contactless, curbside to-go options instead. Some people are ordering take-out, but many are eating out less entirely, moving meal prep to the safety of their own homes.

On top of that, countless night-time venues and social activities are canceled or closed. Kids are home from school with nowhere else to go. And most of us are traveling less than normal. While that may mean more quality time with those closest to us (whether by choice or necessity), it doesn’t always mean we’re making healthier food choices. Home economics is, for many of us, a lost art that we need to rediscover if we don’t want to depend on DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats for all our food.

While putting together a healthy meal at any time of the day can be a struggle, dinner often suffers the most since it’s at the end of the day. But dinner is also the meal people are most likely to eat together, making it a perfect opportunity to add more whole plant foods. Plus, dinner is a great time to create leftovers. Today’s dinner can be tomorrow’s lunch — and maybe even (if you’re the adventurous type) the following day’s breakfast!

If you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, now’s a great time to learn not just how to cook comforting, filling, and tasty meals, but healthy ones as well. And even if you’re already a cooking whiz, consider expanding your horizons with some plant-based dinner recipes.

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Is Salt Good for You? Sodium Facts You Need To Know About

salting-pizza-picture-id132001275 Is Salt Good for You? Sodium Facts You Need To Know About

Salt has long occupied a prominent place in human history. But do you have the all the facts on sodium?

For thousands of years, people who didn’t live near the ocean would travel great distances to trade for salt. Salt has been the center of many battles, often referred to as The Salt Wars. And a few British towns that end in “wich” (like Droitwich, Middlewich, Nantwich, Northwich, and Leftwich) were named for and associated with their salt works (the cognate wic sometimes related to salt works, although wic’s usual meaning was “dwelling, place, or town”). Isn’t history neat?

Our esteem for salt goes back to Biblical times. When you call someone “salt of the earth” to indicate that they embody integrity and composure in difficult situations, you’re actually quoting from Matthew 5:13. Salt was valued so highly that it was equated with currency, as you can hear in our modern word “salary,” or “payment in salt.”

But why? What made salt worth journeying, sometimes killing, and occasionally dying for throughout history?

Why We Like Salt So Much

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Can Pizza Be Healthy — and Delicious? 6 Must-Try Plant Based Pizzas

pizza Can Pizza Be Healthy — and Delicious? 6 Must-Try Plant Based Pizzas
People have been baking flatbreads and adding toppings to them for millennia. And pizza precursors span the globe. We know that Persian soldiers actually baked flatbreads topped with cheese and dates on their shields. Hopefully, they had time to clean them off before the next battle! And the Aeneas tells the story of a cryptic prophecy of Trojan soldiers eating their tables that turns out to be round breads topped with vegetables. Sorry about that spoiler, but the book was written like 27 centuries ago.

The pizza as we know it and love it today seems to have originated in Naples, Italy. They had to wait for European exploration of the New World for the key ingredient, tomatoes, which are native to the Americas and weren’t grown in Europe until one of the first explorers brought back some seeds or cuttings. These strange-colored eggplants, as they were first described, were found to be delicious when seasoned with salt, pepper, and oil. Soon they were dubbed “golden apples,” or pomi d’oro.

And one day, perhaps, two distracted Neapolitans were walking on the piazza, one holding a flatbread and the other a stewed tomato, when — bang! — they bumped into each other. And thus was born the classic Italian pizza. (Okay, that might or might not be literally accurate, but it makes for a fun story!)

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Healthy Pantry Foods You Should Have On Hand

Healthy Pantry Foods You Should Have On Hand Healthy Pantry Foods You Should Have On Hand

Having a well-stocked pantry is always a good idea. And in uncertain times, it becomes all the more important. No matter what happens in the world, you’ll be healthier, your stress will be lower, and your immune system will be optimized if you have plenty of good, healthy food to eat! Here are some pantry foods (and freezer foods) you might want to consider stocking up on. As always, going organic can help you steer clear of exposure to glyphosate and other pesticides.

This is the list my family put together, based on the pantry and freezer items we stocked up on. I’m posting it here because I hope it might help you and yours, too!

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Are Bananas Good for You?

pileofbananas Are Bananas Good for You?

Bananas aren’t just for monkeys. In fact, among humans, they’re one of the most popular fruits in the world — and for a good reason. They’re delicious, inexpensive, and they even come in their own convenient packaging.

But is this delicious fruit good for you? Are they sustainable? And are there any downsides to this beloved fruit, other than the danger of slipping and falling on a peel? And what are some of the best ways to enjoy bananas?

History of Bananas

Bananas are the fruit of the Musa acuminata plant. The word “acuminata” means tapering or long-pointed and refers to the flowers, not the fruit itself. Before the banana was called the banana, around the 17th century, it was named “banema” in Guinea.

Bananas originally came from the Indo-Malaysian region, stretching down to northern Australia. Historians guess that people started spreading the wonder of edible bananas in the Mediterranean region in the 3rd century, B.C. It wasn’t until the 10th century, A.D., that bananas are presumed to have first arrived in Europe and began their spread around the globe.

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Healthy Vegan Soul Food

africanamerican-women-in-kitchen-cooking-picture-id930515542 Healthy Vegan Soul Food

Soul food is a variety of cuisine originating in the Southeastern United States. It has been a cultural staple among the African American community for centuries — starting as a means of survival during the many decades of slavery and evolving into many modern-day variations.

Writing for the blog, Black Foodie, Vanessa Hayford tells us: “During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, enslaved African people were given meager food rations that were low in quality… With these rations, enslaved people preserved African food traditions and adapted traditional recipes with the resources available. Over time, these recipes and techniques have become the soul food dishes we are familiar with today. This food genre… was born out of struggle and survival.”

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The Truth About Chocolate: How to Choose Healthy and Ethically Produced Cacao Products

choosingchocolate The Truth About Chocolate: How to Choose Healthy and Ethically Produced Cacao Products

Few foods generate as much passion as chocolate. Perhaps it was inevitable with a plant given the scientific name of Theobroma (Greek for “food of the gods”) cacao.

These days we may still consider chocolate to be a heavenly substance, but we consume far more of it, in vastly different ways, than the ancient Mesoamericans who first harvested and prepared it. And this, of course, has health consequences.

Is chocolate bad for you? Should you limit your consumption, or try to get it out of your diet altogether? Or is it actually a health food?

And what about reports of child labor, slavery, extreme poverty, and environmental degradation related to the chocolate trade? Is it possible to obtain “guilt-free” chocolate? If so, how can you tell which chocolate products contribute to the welfare of chocolate farmers and their communities?

A Brief History of Chocolate

The Theobroma cacao tree is native to Central and South America. The Azteks believed that the seeds were gifts from Quetzalcoatl, god of wisdom. For several centuries in premodern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to be used as currency.  Both the Mayans and the Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage, and death.

For much of its history, chocolate was served as a bitter drink, either heated or fermented into alcohol. When Columbus introduced cacao beans to European high society following his return from the Americas, it started a cacao craze that led to European colonization and enslavement of large areas of Mesoamerica and West Africa in the rush to grow and control cacao plantations.

The industrial revolution in 19th century Europe applied new methods to chocolate production. Alkalizing salts reduced bitterness. The “Dutch cocoa” process separated cocoa butter from the liquor and made it easier and cheaper to produce in large quantities. In the US, early 20th century inventors and entrepreneurs Milton Hershey and Franklin Mars turned chocolate from a local, artisanal product into a mass-produced industrial foodstuff. Hershey’s milk chocolate in particular, combined with epic amounts of sugar, was sweet enough to convert an entire nation into chocoholics.

These days, Americans consume about $18 billion worth of chocolate each year, for an average of just under 10 pounds per person. And keep in mind that’s just an average: some people abstain, so there are folks who eat way more than that!

There’s no question that chocolate can be delicious – but what about its effects on your health?

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Gluten-Free: Is it for Everyone?

pasta Gluten-Free: Is it for Everyone?

Millions of people around the world have gone gluten-free in the last decade. A 2015 Gallup poll found that around one-fifth of Americans and many Europeans prefer gluten-free foods. 

So it makes sense to ask the question: should we avoid gluten? Is it bad for our health? Should everyone go gluten-free, or just certain people? 

Ordinarily, these questions would lend themselves to pretty straightforward scientific inquiry. Researchers would examine different populations, explore the biochemistry of gluten in the human body, and conduct randomized trials to see the results of different dietary patterns.

All this work is already out there — and we’ll talk about a lot of it in this article. But talking rationally about gluten has become difficult for a couple of reasons. First, there’s a lot of money in convincing as many people as possible not just to avoid gluten, but to purchase manufactured gluten-free analogues and substitutes. By 2020, the gluten-free foods market is projected to reach $7.59 billion in the United States alone.

Second, gluten has become a pawn in the culture war between vegans and meat lovers. Many in the Paleo and keto communities cite gluten concerns as evidence that plant-based diets are inferior to those containing large amounts of (gluten-free) animal products.  

When financial interests and cultural forces intersect, the truth often suffers. The “You’re-either-with-me-or-against-me” attitude can undermine the good-faith pursuit of truth, and the millions of dollars at stake can fund pro-industry propaganda at the expense of facts.

What to Expect in This Article

In this article, we focus on the actual evidence. We explore what the science says about gluten, who can benefit from avoiding it, and whether it might actually be beneficial for some people.

And we want to remind you upfront that you know more about your body than anyone else does. More than the marketers trying to sell you their products. More than the scientists searching for trends in large populations. And more than your social media friends and acquaintances sharing the latest blog post on why you should never touch wheat. Or why your so-called gluten-intolerance is nothing but a placebo effect. So read on, and consider what we’re learning from scientific inquiries, along with your own experience of what your body is telling you. 

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Non-Dairy Ice Cream: Is It Better For You?

icecream Non-Dairy Ice Cream: Is It Better For You?

“I scream, you scream…” — you know how it goes. Ice cream is one of the most beloved foods in the world. The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year. And with the plant-based movement in full swing, more and more consumers are opting for non-dairy ice creams.

You may know that my family is intimately familiar with ice cream. My grandfather, Irv Robbins, co-founded Baskin-Robbins. At the time, most folks seemed content with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry — the classics. But he thought there should be more flavors — 31, in fact! And he brought smiles to a lot of faces.

Unfortunately, in case anyone on the planet missed the memo, ice cream is not a health food. It turns out that despite its delicious flavor, eating a lot of ice cream doesn’t do any favors for your long-term health.

Why Ice Cream Isn’t Healthy

A young woman holds an ice cream cone on a yellow background
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Ditching Dairy? The Lowdown on Non-Dairy Milk — Plus a Look at 10 Popular Plant Milks

iStock-894828772_milkalternatives_featured-happy_lark-2 Ditching Dairy? The Lowdown on Non-Dairy Milk — Plus a Look at 10 Popular Plant Milks

Non-dairy milk comes from plants — like soy, nuts, seeds, or grains like oats or rice — instead of cows. And with dairy in decline, the popularity of milk alternatives is at an all-time high.

One of the first American advocates for soy milk was Henry Ford, who opened a soy milk plant in his Michigan research center in 1934.

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Does a Good Sweetener Exist? A Review of 14 Popular Sugar Substitutes

various-types-of-sugar-picture-id954574688 Does a Good Sweetener Exist?

Sugar is heavily ingrained in our food system today, but what can be even more overwhelming is the number of sugar substitutes you can choose from. Should you use sugar alternatives? Are they better than sugar? And how do you pick the best one(s) for you?


If there was an award for the most overused food ingredient with the least nutritional value, sugar would likely win in a cakewalk.

I’m not talking about sugars naturally found in fruits and vegetables. I’m talking about added sugars — mainly plain ‘ol white sugar and its troublesome twin, high-fructose corn syrup.

There’s really nothing beneficial about sugar — besides the temporary appeasement of your taste buds — but most of us eat way more of it than we should.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and nine per day for men. But the average American consumes 94 grams every day or over 350 pounds a year.

So, what about alternative sweeteners or sugar substitutes?

Approximately 145 million people in the United States are estimated to have used sugar substitutes in 2018. Sugar substitutes attract consumers because they’re labeled as being naturally derived, or calorie-free, or simply because they’re not sugar.

But what are sugar substitutes made of? And how do they rank in nutritional value? Are certain sugar substitutes better for you than others?

Before I get into all of that, let’s examine why sugar is not a health food.

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Everything You Need to Know About Avocados

avocado Everything You Need to Know About Avocados + 15 Science-Backed Reasons to Eat These Fabulous Fruits

Avocados are popular and loved by many. In fact, consumption in the U.S. has risen more than fourfold in the last 20 years. But how much do you know about the creamy green fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!)? Are there avocado health benefits you should know about? Where do they come from? And are they sustainable? Keep reading to find out!

You can find avocados almost everywhere — from grocery stores and farmers markets to chocolate pudding recipes.

Once considered a delicacy, this green tree fruit is now a common addition to tables and menus all over the world.

People’s love affair with avocados has gained traction in recent years. The growth in sales outpaces that of any other fruit. And in 2015, The Washington Post dubbed avocados “America’s new favorite fruit.”

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The Incredible Power of Diet in Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease + 15 Heart Healthy Foods

healthy-food-clean-eating-selection-in-wooden-box-picture-id918035290 The Incredible Power of Diet in Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease + 15 Heart Healthy Foods
We now know the importance of lifestyle factors like diet in the prevention and reversal of heart disease. What are the best heart healthy foods? And what other factors contribute to heart disease? Read on to find out!

Do you know anyone, perhaps a friend or family member (or maybe even yourself), who has had a heart attack?

Chances are you do. According to the American Heart Association’s 2018 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, about 92 million American adults are living with cardiovascular disease.

And every 40 seconds, a heart attack occurs in the U.S. alone.

Heart disease has become a global epidemic. It’s the #1 cause of death on the planet.

It’s affected my family, too. I never even got to know my great-uncle, Burt Baskin, because he died of a heart attack six years before I was born.

How Heart Disease Affected My Family


You see, my great-uncle Burt was one half of the ice-cream company, Baskin-Robbins. And the other half was my grandpa, Irvine Robbins.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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