Molly Grace James

A Life Well Lived…


Life Well Lived

So Long Soy Milk!

I have been eating a primarily vegetarian diet for quite some time.  And of course one of the main alternatives to almost any kind of meat or even dairy is soy protein. You can find soy hot dogs, soy chorizo, soy burgers and soy cheese.  Having heard about the woes of processed foods, and steering clear of most of them, I never thought soy could be bad. It is after all considered a “health food” – or is it?

soy foods

Dr. Joseph Mercola, a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, wrote a post on the dangers of soy. I was intrigued with what he had to say.

So is soy dangerous?

“If you take the time to look into the actual science, then the answer is yes. Thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility — even cancer and heart disease.”

Soybean crops are also heavily sprayed with chemical herbicides, such as glyphosate, which a French team of researchers have found to be carcinogenic.

Processed Soy 

Furthermore, many processed foods are made with soy, like meat-substitutes. These soy “burgers” are often made with soy protein isolate, which is a highly processed food.

Basically, soy that is processed and unfermented is not healthy. Soy that is fermented from organic soy beans is beneficial.

Unfortunately, the soy in our diets is mostly from unfermented soymilk or tofu.

Dr. Mercola recommends eating only fermented soy products like tempeh, natto, miso and tamari to get the full health benefits of soy.

I am going to go with these two for now:

Tempeh: Trader Joe’s Organic 3 Grain Tempeh is a good natural source of iron with 20g of protein per serving. trader joes tempeh

Tamari: San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce is naturally brewed with 100% soybeans and no wheat.


There are some fantastic recipes out there with tempeh and I am going to try them!


Ice Cold Ideas for Hot Days: My Bottle Melts in My Hand

Glass was the original portable packaging for beverages in the 1800s. In the 1960s metal and aluminum became readily available and in the 1970s plastic bottles were introduced.  Now top soda makers like Coca-Cola are returning to the use of glass bottles due to their popularity and higher premium prices for the beverage makers.


Soda sales overall have fallen by 1.4 percent in the last year. 1 I know I prefer drinks that are healthier and contain none of the sugar or chemical compounds found in many of these drinks.

The move toward glass is a great idea in terms of the recycling options. Glass can be recycled again and again with no loss in quality or purity. But what if your bottle didn’t need to be recycled at all?

Via Coca-Cola
Via Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola rolled out a fantastic summer campaign in Colombia with “ice bottles.” Delivering ice cold soda to hot beach goers, ‘fria hasta la ultima gota’ or ‘cold to the last drop,’ frozen bottles will simply melt and require no recycling efforts. Once the bottle melts, a rubber hand grip is all that is left behind as a branding souvenir.

According to Coca-Cola the bottles, “continue to make quite a splash in South America and throughout the advertising world.” 2

Who knows, they might even stir a new wave of creative ideas in the ability of companies to offer more environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

Additional Reading: 

Is This the End of the Soft-Drink Era?


Glass Bottles Lend Pop to Soda Makers 1

Equator Cool Down: Colombians Melt for Coke’s Ice Bottle 2

Are You One of the 80 Million? Diabetes and the Red Meat Connection

Could it really be that simple? Cut back on red meat consumption to reduce Type 2 Diabetes.

red meat

JAMA Internal Medicine recently published a study on Red Meat Consumption and Type 2 Diabetes Risk. This study is extremely relevant as there are 25.8 million people in the United States, or 8.3% of the population (only 5% have Type 1), who have diabetes.1

And another nearly 80 million are in a pre-diabetic stage.

So it makes sense that researchers would want to find out more on the prevention of this condition. Researchers evaluated the association between changes in red meat consumption during a 4-year period and subsequent 4-year risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in US adults. These three studies adjusted for factors like age, family history, race, initial red meat consumption, physical activity and diet quality.2

Reduce Your Risk

What was striking about the results was how a slight increase in meat consumption could dramatically change the risk. Compared with the reference group of no change in red meat intake, increasing red meat intake of more than a half serving per day was associated with a nearly 50% elevated risk in the subsequent 4-year period.2

But the results also seemed to support the positive effects of meat reduction. During the research, the study found further evidence that limiting red meat consumption over time could aid in Type 2 Diabetes prevention.

serving size deck of cards

Currently, the recommended amount of meat consumed per day is about is between 3 and 5 oz per which is about 7g of protein per ounce. But Americans often consume much more than that recommended amount.3

In 2000, total meat consumption (red meat, poultry, and fish) reached 195 pounds per person. That is is  57 pounds above average annual consumption in the 1950s!

Americans are eating more meat overall all. Each American consumed an average of 7 pounds more red meat than in the 1950s, 46 pounds more poultry, and 4 pounds more fish and shellfish. The CDC reported that since 1990, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in the United States has risen sharply among all age groups, both sexes, and all racial/ethnic groups. 4

packaged meat

So what happened?

Higher consumer incomes, from the increase in two-income households, coupled with the lowest prices in meat in 50 years in the 1990s contributed to the increase in meat consumption.  And over the years, the meat industry marketed value and convenience products like pre-packaged meats to the ever-time crunched consumer.5

So now that we know better will we make the change? Are we willing to take measures to contribute to long term health benefits and prevention of deadly diseases?

Other Non-Red Meat Options:

Soy: Soy contains protein, isoflavones, and fiber, all thought to provide health benefits. Soy from tofu or tempeh is an excellent source of dietary protein, including all essential amino acids.

tofu tempeh

Lentils and Beans:  Are high in protein and fiber and low in fat, which makes them a healthy substitute for meat. They’re also packed with foliate, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.


Quinoa: This grain is a source of high-quality protein, as it contains all the essential amino acids.


Salmon: Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep blood from forming clots and protect against irregular heartbeats that may cause a heart attack.


Almonds:  Contain fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. In fact, one serving (about seven almonds) has more calcium than any other type of nut — 22 milligrams.

almonds health

Eggs:  Protein packed, but one large egg has 186mg of Cholesterol. Consider substituting servings of vegetables for servings of meat, or avoid high-fat dairy products for that day.

eggs 1

Read more: Vegetarians May Live Longer 

References: 1

Changes in Red Meat Consumption and Subsequent Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 2

USDA Portion Guidelines3

CDC Report4

USDA Factbook 5


Redefining Beauty: Seeing the Beauty in “Different”

When I was six, I learned to see a new type of beauty. That’s when my little sister was born. My little sister Anna has a rare chromosome anomaly and would never grow up to look “normal” like me or my brother.  And why should she?  She is beautiful.

Beauty is about living an exuberant life.

With her beautiful blue eyes that shine when she smiles, she lives in the moment more than anyone I know. She has an insatiable desire to go swimming, watch Denise Austin Pilate’s workouts and get dressed up in frilly dresses.  I want the world to know that individuals like her are beautiful.

Me, Anna and dad
Me, Anna and dad

That is why it was so refreshing to learn about fashion photographer Rick Guidotti and his organization Positive Exposure. His non-profit organization is dedicated to highlighting the beauty of genetic diversity and challenging the stigmas associated with differences in appearance.1

Photo by Rick Guidotti
Photo by Rick Guidotti

NBC recently featured Guidotti. He has an extensive background in the fashion world working in New York, Milan, Paris, and London for everyone from Elle to Yves Saint Laurent.1 However, after seeing startling images of those with certain genetic conditions he decided to photograph their true beauty.

I love and appreciate what he has done.  His photographs capture the vibrancy, joy and beauty of so many remarkable individuals. There is so much beauty that comes from individuals who are not seen as ‘conventionally’ beautiful.

you are beautiful

References: 1


Happy National Running Day!

Some people claim everyone can run. Our ancestors ran, thus we should be able to run efficiently. running for fitness

All I can say is certain exercises are more beneficial for specific body types or fitness needs.  I have a definite love hate relationship with running.

After running Cross Country in high school and for two years in college by body and feet needed a break!

running in college

Now, I find that I have fallen back in love with running and more specifically an outdoor track nearby.  After listening to my body and finding a way to incorporate various exercises into my routine running has a place with yoga, weight-lifting and zumba.

So on National Running Day will you be enjoying a run?

Travel Rejuvinate Your Mind, Spirit and Body


Where will you go?

High Dollar Donors: Taking a Job with Philanthropy in Mind

We all know that volunteering our time to worthy causes significantly helps those organizations. We also know that donations in the form of financial gifts allow for continued operations.  Both are important and matter tremendously.

donations accepted

But what if you selected a career that allowed you to donate half your resources to charity? Some with the intellectual and career ability are selecting jobs with philanthropy in mind.

And as mentioned before, this is not simply a donation to a favorite charity on occasion. Some individuals have chosen high paying careers with the express intent to donate half of their income.

These individuals may not be on the same level as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates financially speaking, but their donations will have significant financial outcomes.

The Washington Post chronicled Jason Trigg, an intelligent MIT graduate working on Wall Street. His salary doesn’t go into fancy cars, expensive vacations or nice dinners. Instead he donates half his salary to Against Malaria Foundation, where $2,500 is what is required to save one life.

Via Against Malaria's site
Via Against Malaria’s site

In many cases, donating on this level might not be feasibly. But in other cases, opting for this type of giving would mean a serious reevaluation of current living standards.  So would you donate half your income to charity?

Want to Live Longer? Cook at Home

We take vitamins, work out and generally practice healthy habits in the quest for living well. And hopefully longer, too. Longevity and health it seems go hand in hand.

After reading a blurb in Women’s Health Magazine stating – “People who cook 5+ times/week are 53% more likely to be alive in 10 years than people who don’t cook” – I had to check it out.


They were referencing a study published in Public Health Nutrition, a Cambridge University journal. A group  of 1,888 men and women over age 65 who lived in Taiwan were evaluated during the course of the study.

At the start of the study, they interviewed each participant about several lifestyle factors, including cooking habits, household circumstances, shopping habits, diet, education, transportation and smoking.

food choices

During the initial survey, researchers found that 43 percent of participants never cooked. Another 17 percent cooked one to two times per week and 9 percent cooked three to five times in a week. Nearly 31 percent cooked five or more times a week.

Ultimately, the researchers found an association between frequent home cooking and longevity.

“The pathways to health that food provides are not limited to its nutrients or components, but extend to each step in the food chain, from its production, to purchase, preparation and eating, especially with others.”


The secret is linked to the act of purchasing and preparing the foods, not simply the nutritional benefits of those foods, as well as  the communal element of a shared meal.

Cooking at home takes time and prep work, but it just might add years to your life!


Huffington Post: Healthy Living

Cambridge University’s: Public Health Nutrition

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