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10 Most Vegetarian-Friendly NBA Arenas

These days, more and more hearty vegetarian meals are popping up at sports venues across the continent. So, after years of ranking the most vegetarian-friendly Major League Baseball parks and NFL stadiums, PETA has surveyed the top vegetarian-friendly NBA arenas, and the results are in:

 1. STAPLES Center 

Because Lob City is playing its best basketball in years, thanks to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, Clippers fans may have more to cheer about this year than Lakers fans do. But fans of both teams have reason to celebrate the STAPLES Center's awesome vegetarian fare. With vegan sloppy Joes, a veggie burger, vegan sushi, a grilled veggie sandwich, and a hummus-and-pita plate, the STAPLES Center's vegetarian concessions are a slam dunk for fans, no matter which team they're rooting for.

 2. Air Canada Centre

The NBA's only international team fittingly offers a menu with international flair. Fans in general seating can choose from a vegan burrito, a hummus-and-veggie wrap, a veggie dog topped with tomato and scallions, or a Bollywood veggie dog with potatoes, tamarind ketchup, papadum, and mint chutney. In premium areas, vegetable sushi and chilled Vietnamese summer rolls are on the menu. Fans flocking to see new arrival Rudy Gay won't be disappointed with his performance or with the food at halftime.

 3. Wells Fargo Center 

When Andrew Bynum will suit up for the Sixers remains a mystery, but one thing is certain: Fans looking for delicious, animal-friendly fare have come to the right place. Veggie dogs, two kinds of veggie burgers, and roasted butternut squash soup round out a starting lineup of vegetarian superstars that give Philly fans plenty to cheer about.

 4. BMO Harris Bradley Center 

    Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis were All-Star snub victims, but vegetable-loving Bucks fans are welcomed with open arms at the BMO Harris Bradley Center's concession stands. They can choose from vegan tempeh sloppy Joes, hearty veggie burgers, traditional PB&J sandwiches, fresh fruit, and baked potatoes. Meanwhile, fans in premium areas can enjoy hot flatbread sandwiches made with marinated tofu, pesto, and chipotle Vegenaise. And we can't help but wonder if the vegan energy bars are what give Larry Sanders his impressive energy.

     5. Oracle Arena 

    Second-year head coach Mark Jackson has orchestrated a remarkable turnaround for the rejuvenated Golden State Warriors. But fans crying foul because Stephen Curry was left out of the All-Star game certainly won't feel cheated when they sample the tasty vegetarian fare at Oracle Arena. A Vietnamese ginger-garlic tofu sandwich, tofu lettuce wraps, and Vietnamese noodle salad lead an All-Star lineup of healthy, animal-friendly snacks that are sure to have fans rebounding for more.

     6. Rose Garden 

      Number six overall draft pick Damian Lillard is favored to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, so it's only fitting that Portland's Rose Garden has netted sixth place on PETA's list, thanks to a variety of options like veggie burgers, vegan protein shakes, vegetable sandwiches, a broccoli stir-fry with rice or noodles, and granola with berries, bananas, and vegan protein powder at concession stands—plus, stir-fried soy strips with pineapple and teriyaki sauce in the suites.

       7. United Center 

      Between Derrick Rose's impending return and the delicious meat-free fare at the United Center, Bulls fans have plenty to smile about. A vegan tempeh sloppy Joe, a veggie burger, and a baked potato lead the charge.  

      8. AT&T Center 

      For yet another year, the Spurs find themselves with one of the best records in the NBA, and now they can tout another accomplishment: earning a spot on PETA's top 10 list. It's fitting that familiar favorites, including bean burritos and tacos, vegan apple turnovers, and, in premium areas, vegan sloppy Joes, would be found at the home of the veteran team.

      9. Bankers Life Fieldhouse 

        Indiana's faithful should be proud, as suffocating defense and physical play have kept the Pacers in the mix in the East, even without leading scorer Danny Granger. Another source of pride? Bankers Life Fieldhouse's hearty vegan sloppy Joes, veggie burgers, and garden-fresh salads, which have animal-friendly fans swarming to the concession stands just as their Pacers swarm to the ball.

        10. The Palace of Auburn Hills

        We know that the days of violence at The Palace of Auburn Hills are behind us, so if you're a Pistons fan, why not indulge in some cruelty-free fare, including vegan sloppy Joes, fresh fruit, smoothies made with soy milk, and quinoa-and-lentil salads? Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond clearly have bright futures ahead of them, and Pistons fans can, too, thanks to healthy and delicious meat-free meals.

        Bear in mind that we've just mentioned a small sampling of the vegetarian food being offered—and that these arenas are just the best of the best. Many other venues also offer a wide variety of vegetarian options, including honorable mention awardees Madison Square Garden (falafel, veggie sushi, edamame), Philips Arena (vegan sloppy Joes, pasta, baked potato), Time Warner Cable Arena (lentil veggie burger, grilled vegetable kebab, vegetarian panini), Sleep Train Arena (vegan sloppy Joes and veggie burgers), and Amway Center (vegan sloppy Joes and veggie burgers). 

        No matter which team gets your blood pumping, you can help make sure that you're around to cheer them on for many years to come by choosing healthy vegetarian snacks. To paraphrase vegan NBA champ John Salley, it's the best damn way to eat. Period.

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        11Vegetarians Have Healthier Hearts, According to New Study

        The results of a new Oxford study on the effects of a meat-free diet on heart health won’t come as a surprise to vegetarians or vegans but might give meat eaters a reason to consider a diet change that could help them live longer and also enjoy their lives more.

        The Worldwatch Institute reported in October that global meat consumption was dramatically slumping. The U.S. Cattle and Beef Industry statistics show that beef consumption in the United States has fallen from 28.1 billion pounds per year in 2007 to 25.6 billion pounds in 2011. The latest USDA report predicts that in 2013 Americans will eat a half-billion fewer chickens and 400,000 fewer cows compared to 2006, as well as 12 million fewer pigs compared to 2007, and 22 million fewer turkeys than in 2008.

        The Counting Animals’ study suggests that 70 percent of the waning beef-consumption and 93 percent of the chicken-consumption decline is due to the increased awareness and reduced desire to eat animals by a generation knowledgeable about the health risks and appalled at the cruelty of factory farming and mass animal-slaughter operations. (See: Vegan Influence? Meat Consumption Slumps, Food-Animal Veterinarians Decline)

        Now a new study led by Dr. Francesca Crowe at the University at Oxford and just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has confirmed that, as a group, people who maintain a diet free of meat and fish are one-third less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease.

        "If people want to reduce their risk of heart disease by changing their diet, one way of doing that is to follow a vegetarian diet," Dr. Crowe recently told Genevra Pittman of Reuters Health.

        However, she added, you don't have to cut out meat altogether - just scaling back on saturated fat can make a difference. Not surprisingly, among the foods that are major offenders are butter, ice cream, cheeses and meats, because all typically contain high levels of saturated fat.

        The Oxford study tracked almost 45,000 people in Scotland and England, with participants initially providing a detailed report of their dietary habits, lifestyle and general health in the 1990’s.

        Dr. Crowe states that at that time about one-third reported that they ate a strictly vegetarian diet, without meat or fish. Over the next dozen years, 1,066 of those in the study group were hospitalized for heart disease, including heart attacks, and 169 actually died of heart-related conditions, according to the Chicago Tribune.

        The research team confirmed that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to develop heart disease than carnivores, taking into consideration the participants' ages, exercise habits and other health measures. They attribute the lower heart risk primarily to lower cholesterol and blood pressure among vegetarians in the study.

        The researchers admit that lifestyle differences between vegetarians and meat eaters that could also factor into the disparity in heart risks, and body weight can also be an issue. When weight was factored in, the effect dropped slightly to 28 percent.

        Studies which suggest that non-meat eaters have fewer heart problems are not new; however, the researchers stated that until now it wasn't clear if other lifestyle differences, including exercise and smoking habits, might also play into that.

        “Now, we're able to be slightly more certain that it is something that's in the vegetarian diet that's causing vegetarians to have a lower risk of heart disease," said Dr. Crowe in the Reuters Health report.

        Meat eaters had an average total cholesterol of 222 mg/dL (desirable level is no higher than 200 mg/dL) and a systolic blood pressure--the top number in a blood pressure reading--of 134 mm Hg, compared to 203 mg/dL total cholesterol and 131 mm Hg systolic blood pressure among vegetarians. Diastolic blood pressure--the bottom number--was similar in both groups, the researchers reported.

        The difference in cholesterol levels between meat eaters and vegetarians was equivalent to about half the benefit someone would see by taking a statin; such as, Lipitor, Crestor, etc.

        Still, Dr. Crowe noted, the researchers couldn't prove there were no unmeasured lifestyle differences between vegetarians and meat eaters that could help explain the disparity in heart risks.

        But the healthy-heart effect is probably at least partly due to the lack of red meat--especially meat high in saturated fat--in vegetarians' diets, she added. The extra fruits and vegetables and higher fiber in a non-meat diet could also play a role.

        Related Articles:

        Vegan Influence? Meat Consumption Slumps, Food-Animal Veterinarians Decline


        Is UCLA Going Vegan?


        Vegetarian Paul McCartney Turns 70, Still Rocks



        http://bit.ly/YGvv40 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online January 30, 2013 .





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        11Venus a Vegan: Tennis Player Struggles with Diet

        After a seven-month hiatus, tennis champion Venus Williams is back on the court. But after going vegan for her health, what she really wants is a nice, juicy serving of meat.

        In 2011, Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an immune system disease whose symptoms have plagued the star for years. The meat-free, dairy-free, vegan diet helps manage the symptoms of Sjogren's by reducing inflammation in the body.

        But it hasn't exactly been an easy transition for Williams, who joked about stealing from the plates of her meat-eating friends.

        "I think it's pretty well known I'm a cheagan." Williams explains about her tendency to cheat on her vegan diet.

        It's not just meat that the athlete has had to give up, she's also had to say goodbye to her favorite cherry pies, whose sugar load can exacerbate symptoms of Sjogren's. Williams has additionally added more rest days to her training schedule.

        It may be tough for the tennis champ to forego her favorite meals, but it certainly seems to be paying off on the court. Williams' start in the Australian Open looks promising, with a 6-1, 6-0 win Monday against Galina Voskoboeva. Williams finished 2012 at No. 24, after an impressive move of over 75 spots.

        Venus' remarkable comeback should come as no surprise. Both she, and younger sister Serena  Williams, have always stunned on the court. The pair won the Olympic gold in London for doubles, and Serena Williams won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

        Now in her 20th season, Venus Williams, 32, seems stronger and more determined than ever. She discusses the new period in her life as 'Venus A.D' referring to herself after diagnosis.

        "I love the game, and while I'm here, I'm going to go for it." Williams remarked.

        Williams will play a second-round match with Alize Cornet, and may soon face the No. 2 champion, Maria Sharapova.

        ''When you're a young person, you just don't think it's ever going to end, and you're on top of the world. Now, I realize, all these opportunities, I try to make the best I can of them.''

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