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Exclusive: Santa Claus goes vegetarian, reveals favorite plant-based diet books

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For years, Santa Claus has been spreading happiness and joy with his message of giving. Recently, however, the elves have been trying to persuade the jolly old soul to consider going vegetarian. They want him to live a long, healthy life.

Breaking exclusive news: The elves told us that Santa has agreed and shared the plant-based diet books that helped him make the switch:

In addition, in an exclusive interview, we talked with Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., director of nutrition education for PCRM. She gave us her advice on what Santa should eat.

"Santa Claus is looking out for his health and the health of others. Science shows that people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet have reduced risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, and dementia," she said.

Her recommendations:

  • As Santa approaches old age, he should swap milk and cookies for blueberries and grapes. The anthocyanins in these colorful fruits destroy free radicals and, based on research from the University of Cincinnati, improve learning and recall.
  • Aim for 40 grams of fiber a day and include lots of leafy green vegetables. Mint and vanilla work as savory spices, which can help keep hunger at bay.
  • If weight loss is the goal, make sure to limit intake of dairy products, oils, and other high-calorie foods, such as nuts and avocadoes.

And Susan noted that we can expect Santa's famously upbeat mood to get even more cheerful.

"Studies show the more plant-based foods you eat, the better you feel. Researchers from New Zealand tested this theory and found the more fruits and vegetables study participants ate, the calmer, happier, and more energetic they felt. The authors note the mood improvements follow the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and not vice versa. Similarly, another study found that just after two weeks of setting aside meat products, people's depression, anxiety, and stress all improved."

In addition, Santa shared his favorite vegan dessert recipe.

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nondairy milk, like soy or rice milk
  • 1/3 cup sweetener of your choice
  • 1 package (12.3 ounces) low-fat silken/firm/extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 strawberries, sliced

Directions

1. Place the chocolate chips and nondairy milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for one minute. Let it sit for two minutes.

2. Place tofu, vanilla, and chocolate chip/nondairy milk mixture in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

3. Chill for two hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in the freezer. Serve with strawberry slices.

Per serving (makes eight servings)

189 calories

7.8 g fat

3.9 g saturated fat

35.6% calories from fat

0 mg cholesterol

4.7 g protein

28.7 g carbohydrate

21.5 g sugar

2.2 g fiber

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