Let’s Talk About Supplements

One of the first things you often hear as an argument against going vegan is that “vegans have to take too many supplements.”  I find this interesting considering that grocery stores are full of vitamins, protein shakes and other supplements that are marketed to non vegan customers.  One can absolutely get almost all of the nutrients that he or she needs on a whole food plant based diet.

However, let’s discuss some supplements that may be beneficial to include in your daily routine (these supplements are important for vegan and pre vegans as well).

Some vegans may argue against this one, but I think that everyone should be taking B12.  B12  comes from a bacteria found in our soil but because our soil is so depleted these days, we are not getting enough of it.  In addition, most of us wash the soil off of our fruits and veggies so the amount ingested is so small. Some would argue that you could not wash your produce and also not brush your teeth for awhile (ewwwww!) and you could get an adequate amount of B12.  I think I would rather take a supplement :).

Quick note about how omnivores get B12: did you know that animals are often given B12 supplements during their “production”.  So, people who are eating meat are also getting B12 through a supplement.  It is just secondary through the animal’s flesh.

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(Image found on Google)

Other supplements that are commonly deficient in plant based diets, according to Dr. Fuhrman in Super Immunity, are Zinc, Iodine, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

I recommend getting a blood test to see if you have any deficiencies.  In addition, I love the Chronometer App and website.  It allows you to track your nutrition throughout the day and will tell you what nutrients you are missing from your diet.

For extra insurance I take a multi vitamin created by one of the most influential plant based doctors. **I do not sell this vitamin or get paid to endorse it.  Please check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.

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I hope that helps.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions about supplementation.  I always love to hear from you ❤

What do vegans eat?!

You have decided that you are ready to go vegan, you’ve found your “why”, you have studied all of the benefits, but now you are wondering…..what do vegans eat????

The short answer is that vegans eat everything that non vegans eat!  They just happen to do so without including animal products of any kind 🙂

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Let me explain with a little bit longer of an answer…..

A vegan diet is one that doesn’t consist of any animal products: meat, dairy, eggs, fish or honey.  And depending on your “why”, you may eat differently than other vegans.  If your reason for going vegan is strictly for the animals, then you may go the vegan junk food route in which there is literally a vegan version of everything: vegan sausage, vegan ice cream, vegan burgers, vegan pizza, vegan fish, vegan chicken nuggets, so and on and so on.  However, if are transitioning to a vegan diet for health reasons, then you may stick with a whole food plant based version: vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains.

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For fun, imagine going grocery shopping.  All you have to do is avoid animal products.  What’s left?  Everything else! And the options are endless: fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, potatoes, herbs, tofu, seitan, tempeh, rice, plant based milks, plant based ice creams, vegan meats, vegan cheese, nuts and seeds……

To show you how easy it can be, let me take you through a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit, hemp seeds and a green tea

Lunch:  a giant salad with lettuce, red cabbage, peas, sauerkraut, cucumber, tofu, pumpkin seeds, bell pepper, avocado, and miso/lemon dressing

(you absolutely don’t have to eat salads, but I enjoy them!)

Snack: a giant smoothie (which will sometimes include a plant based protein powder)

Dinner: pasta, vegan sausage, veggies and marinara sauce, chickpea salad sandwich, potato soup, Mac and cheese or a baked sweet potato

Dessert: if I have dessert it’ll often be fruit or “nice cream”

The trick to switching to a vegan diet is to not complicate things and to try to make it fun!  This should be something that you are excited and are empowered to try.  And if you get stuck, there are tons of resources on the Internet.  Go to Pinterest and type in “vegan” __________________ (pizza, Mac and cheese, sausage, burger, etc).  You will find a recipe for anything that your heart desires.

Best of luck and please remember that I am always here for you if you have any questions or if you need support ❤ 

 

 

The Surprising Foods that May Contain Animal Products

Sometimes the hardest part about switching to a vegan diet, is the surprising amount of foods that contain animal products (that you would never even think of!).  Most people know that giving up animal products means giving up meat, dairy, eggs, fish and honey.  But did you know that switching to a vegan diet may mean that you need to find a vegan wine or beer alternative?  Or that your gummy vitamins could be made from insects?!

Here are some ingredients that are made from animals and which foods you may possibly find them in:

*Bread products may contain L-cysteine, which often comes from feathers, to keep them soft.

*Gelatin is made from the connective tissue of pigs and cows.  It is used in Jello, Gummies, and many candies.

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*Refined sugar, which is found in a plethora of sweet foods, was possibly lightened with bone char, derived from the bones of cattle.

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*Isinglass, comes from fish bladders, and is often used in the making of beer and wine.

*Shellac, an insect-based product, is sometimes used to wax fresh produce or in candy.

*Deep fried foods and fresh pasta often contain eggs.

*Whey, casein, lactose are all derived from dairy and can be found in many packaged foods and protein drinks (dairy can also be found in vitamins and pain medications).

*Cochineal, or carmine, is red food coloring that is made from insects (although we are discussing food, this one is often found in cosmetics).

*Some food additives are also derived from animals.  These include; E120, E322, E422, E471, E542, E631, E901, E904.

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The easiest way to avoid the use of animals for your food is to stick to a whole food plant based diet.  However, if you want to purchase foods that have been processed, please look for “Vegan” on the label and make sure to ALWAYS read the ingredients.

And of course, I am always here to help you!  Contact me anytime ❤

 

*This information can be found in the book Vegan Recipes and Preparation by Saskia Fraser

 

 

How much fiber are you getting and why this is important…

For anyone who has made the transition to being vegan, you know that the question that you get asked most often is, “Where do you get your protein?”  I think instead, people should ask, “Where do you get your fiber?”

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Fiber is incredibly important to our overall health and longevity.  Not only does it help us feel full after a meal, but it also helps to eliminate unwanted toxins and excess hormones.  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states that, “without adequate fiber, hormones and other chemicals are continuously reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.”  In addition, did you know that fiber has the ability to control cholesterol levels and to clean out the intestines?!  Did you also know that ANIMAL PRODUCTS (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy) CONTAIN NO FIBER???!!!!!!  It’s no wonder that colon cancer and skyrocketing cholesterol levels are so common.

So, where do you get fiber and how much should you be getting daily?

Fiber is found in plant foods including: beans/lentils, soy, vegetables, fruit, and grains.  The recommended amount is 40 grams per day!  Make sure to give your digestive system a few weeks to get used to the change.  Do not add it all in at once 🙂

I hope that helps, and remember next time someone asks you about your protein, make sure to ask them about their fiber :).

 

 

I’ve decided to go VEGAN…now what???

You have watched the documentaries, you have figured out your “why”, and you are motivated to make the transition to being vegan.  But now what do you do????  Although going vegan was the best decision that I ever made, I find that it can be daunting in the beginning to know where to start.

I would love it if everyone could go vegan overnight, but this may not be the best strategy for long term success (and this should be your goal: to sustainably go vegan so you can stay vegan for the remainder of your lifetime).

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Here are some approachable ways to make the change.  You know yourself better than anyone, so choose a level that will work best for you.

*Eliminate one animal product every two weeks: for the first two weeks, you would eliminate dairy.  The next two weeks you could eliminate poultry.  The following two weeks, you could eliminate fish.  So on and so on….

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*Switch one of your meals to being vegan at one time: for the first two weeks you could have a vegan breakfast.  For the next two weeks you could add in a vegan lunch.  The next two weeks you would add a vegan dinner.  And then all you have to do is add in vegan snacks!  Pretty soon all of your meals will be vegan without the overwhelm.

*Find ways to make your favorite recipes or meals vegan:  if you are like me, you probably have 3-4 meals that you truly love and eat over and over.  Start with your favorite recipes and switch them to being vegan.  You could try vegan cheese in your macaroni, plant based milk in your oatmeal, chickpeas in your tuna fish salad, tofu in your breakfast burrito, pesto on your pizza.   Click here for more ideas. Pinterest is also an amazing resource for vegan recipes.

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*Veganize your restaurant experience: if you are someone that eats out a lot, maybe your first step should be to try to “veganize” your restaurant meals.  If you have a favorite restaurant, look up the menu ahead of time and study what you could possibly eat as a vegan.  If it’s an Italian restaurant, you could try a marinara pasta and lentil soup.  Stir frys are great at a Chinese restaurant and you certainly cannot go wrong with veggie fajitas at a Mexican restaurant.  There will always be something vegan to eat at every restaurant and if you are struggling, you can always ask your server for help.

In addition, to going to old restaurants, it can be fun to try something new.  Visit a vegan restaurant to see what they have to offer and to see how yummy vegan food can truly be.

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                                                          (photo from Veggie Grill)

If you are having a difficult time finding a vegan restaurant near you, make sure to add Happy Cow to your phone.  It is a free App/website that will show you the vegan options in your area.

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There are so many ways to start your vegan transition.  Every bit counts and every small change will add up in the long run.  Just remember that it should be fun!  You are making the commitment to your health, the planet, the animals and this is something that should be celebrated!!!

And please remember that if you ever get stuck, that I am here for you to offer accountability, support and resources.  Contact me anytime!!!  I mean it…..

See you next time!

 

The First Step to Going Vegan

I often talk to people who are thinking about going vegan but they have no idea where to start.  It can seem like an overwhelming process to someone who has been consuming meat for their entire life.  But it doesn’t have to be stressful or confusing.

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I believe that the first step to going vegan is to find your “why”.  This can seem like a simple process, but it is also a crucial one.  Are you considering going vegan to save animals, to reduce climate change, to protect your body from disease, to increase your energy, to improve your skin, to lose weight, to improve your digestion, to align with your morals and spirituality or to save our planet?  The reasons are endless!

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So how do you find your “why”?  I highly recommend watching the following documentaries to see what resonates with you the most:

*Forks Over Knives on Netflix  (Health)

*What the Health on Netflix (Health)

*Cowspiracy on Netflix (Environment)

*Food Inc. on Netflix (all encompassing)

*Earthlings on Youtube (Animals)

*Dominion (Animals)

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I also recommend visiting a local sanctuary.  Not only will you get to be up close and personal with animals who have been rescued from the animal agriculture industries, but you will also get to hear their stories and to learn about what happens to animals destined to be on our plates.

(Two of my favorite,  local sanctuaries are Farm Animal Refuge and Sale Ranch Sanctuary).  If you aren’t local, there is always Google 🙂

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Now that you have your “why” make sure to post it everywhere!  Post pictures of your why around the house, on your computer, on your phone and on your refrigerator.  Changing old habits isn’t always easy and having this reminder will give you constant motivation so that you will stick with the transition to going vegan.

I hope that helps!

If you have already found your “why”, please comment below with your reason. I would love to hear from you!