Myths and Misconceptions about Plant-Based Diets

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Good morning and Happy Saturday, Vegalicious Ones!

The following article is written by Shauna Schultz, RD. I’ve gotten her permission to share it with you all. Next week, I’m working as a substitute for Shauna as she is moving to California – so I will be speaking and doing a cooking demo promoting a plant-based diet!

Enjoy!

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Plant-based diets are gaining momentum and for good reason: they’re easy on the environment, kind to animals and help prevent and manage chronic disease. According to the most recent Harris Interactive survey through the Vegetarian Resource Group, 5% (16 million) Americans are vegetarian, with half identifying as vegan. This number has nearly doubled since their last poll in 2009, and 33% state they are eating vegetarian and vegan meals more often. However, even with the increase in plant-based diets and meals, myths still persist over nutritional adequacy (or inadequacy). Below are five common concerns and how you can meet your needs through whole, plant-based foods.

How do you get enough protein?

Gone are the days of protein combining to make “complete” proteins. Eating adequately with a variety of protein-rich plant foods throughout the day will ensure you meet your needs. Protein is abundant in plant foods and most people are surprised to learn they are getting much more protein than required (a 150 pound person needs 61 grams/day). This is equivalent to one cup cooked oatmeal, one cup soymilk, one cup lentils, three ounces tempeh and two tablespoons peanut butter. Include at least three servings of legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy, peanuts) as part of your daily protein intake to ensure adequate lysine.

Surely you aren’t getting enough calcium!

Dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. In fact, plants provide plenty of calcium and promote good bone health overall. Plant-based milks provide a convenient 300 mg or more per cup and plenty of whole foods provide calcium as well. You’ll find 179 mg in one cup cooked kale, 111 mg in two tablespoons almond butter, 88 mg in one tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, 126 mg in one cup navy beans and 200-400 mg in four ounces of calcium-set tofu.

Don’t you worry about iron?

Iron deficiency isn’t more common among vegans and vegetarians than non-vegetarians. However, the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended intake almost two times higher for vegetarians and vegans because the iron in plant foods isn’t as readily absorbed. Don’t let this deter you though–iron is easily found in plants and consuming vitamin C-rich foods at the same time can enhance absorption by up to four times! Sprouting and fermenting also increase bioavailability. Excellent sources of iron include: pumpkin seeds (5.2 mg per ¼ cup); chickpeas (4.7 mg per one cup); blackstrap molasses (3.6 mg per one tablespoon); and iron-fortified cereal can have up to 18 mg per serving.

What about heart healthy Omega-3s?

Adequate intake is easy with concentrated sources of Omega- 3s like chia seeds (four grams per two tablespoons), ground flaxseeds (3.2 grams per two tablespoons), hempseeds (1.7g per two tablespoons) and walnuts (2.6 grams per ¼ cup). Add them to smoothies, cereals, muffins or salads. Vegan supplements with DHA and EPA are also available.

Plant-based eating is too expensive!

Any type of eating plan can be expensive! Pound for pound, plant proteins are far less expensive than animal protein and provide more nutrient-density. Beyond protein, there are many ways to save money, such as buying foods that are local and in-season, meal planning and cooking at home, buying in bulk (dry beans, grains, oats), reducing the use of convenience and processed foods and growing your own food.

Shauna Schultz is a registered dietitian and owner of Catch Your Veggies, where she currently offers nutrition counseling, consulting and plant-based cooking classes. She can be reached at rdshauna@gmail.com.

Thank you, Shauna and Happy Moving! 

Happy Summer!

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Hello and Happy Summer!

It’s been a while…

…and while some bloggers get paid to blog, I happen to not be on that pay roll and that’s quite all right because I’d probably get bored to tears, run out of things to talk about and want to throw some veggie balls out the window. I get my most inspiration from being out and about, from helping others, working with people!

The real reason I’ve not been on here is that I’ve been working my tail off. First, I taught summer school for five weeks and while I was at that I found and started the process of buying a sweet little house! Yay!

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It’s a small house, but plenty big for me and my sweet four legged children! It feels very cozy…or “hyggeligt”, as we say in Danish. The whole process has been taking up all of my time! Moving is definitely not for the faint at heart. I am thankful that I have gotten this Awesome contractor working on my behalf. He is just so talented! He’s doing bits and bobs for me all over the house. I have the outmost respect for people who do that kind of work. I’ve watched him, on and off, for two whole days now, and Wow, he gets stuff done! Besides being hardworking, he is also very calm and pleasant to be around. I like that a lot!

My friend June was also here visiting from London, England. We had a blast spending three fun filled days together with me showing her all the highlights possible.

June Laughing

Like Pike’s Place Market in Seattle…

Pike's Place

…Ahh, summer! Does it get any better than this?

Sailboats PNW

I’m so grateful to be living in such a gorgeous place, surrounded by such amazing beauty, from being able to do work that I love, my wonderful friends and new opportunities that continue coming my way!

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you’re having a wonderful summer!

Hummel bi

Logging off, it’s another day of packing and moving for me tomorrow!

Different Approach – Same Results!

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Dear Vegans,

This post is solely intended for those of you who are already vegan. I need to get something off my chest today. Everyone comes to veganism in different ways and that should be more than okay. Not one shoe fits all! Some people become plant-based vegan or vegan for health reasons, others because of animal cruelty and the horrific abuse in factory farms, others because of the destruction animal consumption does to the environment. However, one approach is not less than any other – the results are still the same! First of all, we end up with a healthier group of humans, millions of animals are spared, and a healthier planet! So in the end, Why get all goofed up about how it came about when it is a win-win situation no matter which way we look at it? Well, apparently some people do!

Win Win

A lot of people have attacked Beyonce for going on a plant-based vegan diet…even vegans themselves. I don’t think this aids our common cause! These kinds of attacks on individuals or groups, just because they don’t use the right “lingo” or because someone doesn’t call themselves “vegan”, hurts our entire vegan movement. A month ago, I “spoke out” (in writing), because someone was trashing Mercy For Animals (MFA). This person thought that MFA used the words “Plant-based” or “vegetarian” too often in their campaigns and was also saying that they didn’t use the word “vegan” enough! Whaaatt? Mercy For Animals, as far as I’ve seen, uses the word “vegan” over and over again in their campaigns and I know for a fact that they do tremendous work on behalf of non-human animals!

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Here’s what I responded back:

“…I think it hurts our entire vegan movement when we bash any groups or persons on public forum. If you want them to change their behavior, it would be best to write directly to them and this may help them see another view. I know of many people who went vegan after watching MFA undercover videos. Thank you for considering the private approach instead of the public bashing.”

Yesterday, I posted the following two links on a well-known/liked FaceBook page for Vegans that were authored by two well known vegans (see below). However, when I looked today both been removed. Why? I wrote to the woman in charge of the site and asked, but have yet to get a response from her. I thought, Okay, perhaps this is just a “fluke” – so I posted them again…and got the same result. Both were instantly removed from the site! It is really GOOFY in my opinion! Why would these two not be allowed on a vegan site that supports Veganism? Personally, I don’t want to be a member of such a group that goes about censoring and erases information that is not only helpful, but supports vegans in doing a better job! Hence, I have removed myself from this group. I’m curious to hear what you think about this after you have read the following article and watched Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Both of which I had shared and that were the ones removed. Enjoy!

Click on the article below to read this excellent piece:

Let Beyonce be. About the biggest oversight in our movement.

Colleen suggests that you grab a cup of tea before settling down to watch this one!

Enjoy! It’s about 20 minutes long.

Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Watch PlantPure Nation!

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Hello Vegalicious Ones,

This week, I went to see PlantPure Nation in Seattle with two vegan gal pals that I got to go along with me!  After the film I got to meet my #1 hero, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, as well as his son, Nelson Campbell who produced the film, plus Dr. Campbell’s wife and Nelson’s wife, Kim. It was extremely exciting to get to meet this “true living legend”, as one of my friends wrote. I was truly honored to meet this man who has had such a huge influence and impact on my life! As some of you know, I’ve read his book “The China Study” twice, taken his eCornell plant-based course, as well as read his other book, “Whole”. I have no real celebrity crushes…you may call me weird, but Brad Pitt or George Clooney could have walked right by and my focus would have been right there on this incredible human! Why do I admire this man so much? Because not only is he absolutely brilliant, but he’s someone who truly cares about other people! He’s a “mover and shaker” in his field when it comes to diet and health! He speaks the truth about meat and dairy – and has worked tirelessly to improve the health care crisis in this country despite great opposition. And he continues to travel around the country, delivering his empowering message of why a plant-based diet!

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He was so incredibly kind and listened!

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I even got a hug from him…

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My friends and I greatly enjoyed watching PlantPure Nation! The film supported what we all believe in about diet and health, as well as the survival of our species. We really must start a grassroots movement! The government isn’t going to support this! So we were all saying, “Bring on the pods!” after seeing film…

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There was a Q&A after the film. Here’s Dr. T. Colin Campbell answering questions from the audience! The film is coming out this summer, I believe in July, so look for it or find out about when they might be screening the film in your State by clicking on the link below:

 http://plantpurenation.com

What an amazing evening it was! My friends and I were all smiles when we left the theater…

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…and that’s The China Study, that I’m holding out in front, which he signed for me!

Have you read it yet? Again, it’s my #1 favorite book out there!

A Must Read for any intelligent human who cares about their health! As I often ask people, “Why would you or anyone else go into old age feeling crappy?”

Let me know what you think about the film after you see it or after you have read the book!

I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s a Big Cheers to One Big Happy Plantpure Nation! 

PlantPure Nation

Banana & Fig “Ice Cream”

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In Sacramento, my friend Bethany made this amazingly delicious vegan ice cream of organic figs and bananas for us, so I had to recreate it when I got back. Believe me, my Vitamix has not been sitting idle! I’ve had a few friends over for dinner and have been serving it up. The response has been the same each time, “Ooohh this is Yummmyyy!”

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Vegan Banana Fig Ice Cream

Yields 3 Servings              Prep Time 10 Minutes

Ingredients:

3 frozen organic bananas  

1 frozen organic fig

1/4 cup of organic soy milk or other non-dairy milk of your choice

Small handful (6-7) walnuts finely chopped (optional)

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Directions:

Add the frozen fig, bananas and soy milk to your Vitamix or other similar blender. Use tamper to get things blended well. Blend between 3-5 minutes. And finally, although not necessary, mix in the finely chopped walnuts…and voilà you are done! 

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Bananas are naturally free of fat and sodium. They provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. Bananas are a good source of vitamin C and can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. They are also associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Further, the fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health.

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Figs are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and iron and contain Vitamins A, B6, E and K, all of which contribute to optimal health and wellness. Figs also protect against cancer and help with kidney function among many other health benefits. 

Enjoy this amazingly healthy and delicious treat!

Vegalicious Sacramento

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Last weekend I headed to Sacramento, California, to visit with my vegalicious friend Bethany and her husband Scott. Bethany and I met over two years ago in Washington, D.C. when we were going through our Food for Life training thru PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). So, when I knew I was going to Sacramento we arranged to get together with two other vegalicious gal pals (for dinner), whom I’ve only spoken to by phone or online, but who are friends of Bethany’s as well. As I’m sure many of you already know, when you go vegan, you get this whole new tribe of friends and “family” members and it’s just WONDERFUL! Four or five years ago, I could never have imagined just how blessed I’d become just by simply switching my diet and lifestyle to a healthier and more compassionate way of living! 
Bethany & meBethany & Me

Sacramento Sign

After Bethany picked me up from the airport we headed to one of her favorite vegan restaurants in Sacramento for lunch called Baagan. Bethany ordered up some yummy dishes from her friend, the owner. Check out this sweet little place and the lunch dishes we ordered!
Baagan Baagan Inside 2 Here’s what we had for lunch. We split the Veggie Quesadilla and…

Vege Quesadilla

…Curry Panini. YUM!!!
  Curry Panini  You would think we’d be full after all of that, but we decided to split one of their amazing raw desserts.

Baagan Dessert

Raw carrot cake dessert with a coconut topping and a sauce that was simply out of this world! 
This was a quick trip, so later that evening we drove to meet up with our two amazing friends Linda and Kayle. Linda is also a PCRM Certified Food for Life Instructor…she’s 71 and looks to be in her fifties. Unbelievable! This IS what a vegan diet can do! Our gorgeous friend, Kayle, whom I’ve interviewed about being a two-time cancer survivor (found under Cow Girl Kicks Cancer Twice) is getting rollin’ with giving paid talks and she also has her own awesome vegan t-shirt and accessory line (link is at the end). For dinner we all met up at Nectar Cafe in Auburn, California.

Nectar Cafe INectar Cafe

Here’s Linda & Bethany…Can you believe she’s 71? 

Linda & Bethany

Kayle & Me

Kayle & me

And the four of us…

Four of us

We had a blast laughing and talking…and listening to some great music, but you really want to see what we ate, don’t you? I had the Thai Green Curry and it was so delicious!

Thai Green Curry

Kayle had the Tacos

Tacos

Linda and Bethany split the Jamaican Burger and Pad Thai dish.

Nectar Burger

Pad Thai Dr. Neal Barnard’s phrase runs through my head when I get served vegan food like this. He’ll say, “This sure isn’t suffering!” Isn’t that the truth? With so much amazing vegan food out there, why would anyone not consider this more compassionate, healthier diet? Well, the best part of it all wasn’t the food, but connecting with these amazing women that I’ve known now for over two years.  (No, that is not a man growing out of Linda’s neck…LOL!)

Linda & me

The next morning, we all got up early. Ate a delicious oatmeal breakfast with blueberries and other goodies. Then Bethany and I drove downtown Sacramento to join about two hundred other people for free yoga in the park. It was awesome!
Yoga in Park Yoga In Park I     Yoga & Me More vegalicious weekends like this, please! 
Afterwards, we checked out the art market that was going on in the park. I bought a few things and then we ran a few other errands and later met up with Bethany’s son for lunch. We were going to go to…
Classy Hippie Cafe  …but unfortunately Bethany hadn’t gotten his message earlier. You have to call ahead to order if you’re going to go there for lunch. Call at least the day before! I thought this was a great name for a cafe! Well, instead we headed over to Shine. Their menu and food did definitely not disappoint! YUM! 

Shine IShine       Thai Salad

Thai Salad with Grilled Tofu
Veg Samosa Veggie Samosa
This was such a great weekend! The weather was perfect and I got to visit with some of the sweetest people I know, plus check out the cool t-shirt that Kayle gave me. I wore it on Vegan T-shirt day! Yes, there is such a day!
What did you wear?
Giddy UP  And then…SIGH…it was time to say goodbye to all of these lovely, lovely humans and head back home. I hope you enjoyed taking this little trip with me!
What about you? Have you taken any vegalicious trips lately or are you planning to?
Please feel free to share or recommend your favorite place to travel to! Who knows, we may just run into each other one day!

Palms

 **Link to Kayle’s “Cowgirls and Collard Greens” shop**:
http://www.cowgirlsandcollardgreens.com/shop/
 Check out this Vegan pin! I bought one from Kayle. I love a bit of vegan bling! 

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Enjoy and Eat More Veggies!
Much Health & Happiness,
Nina

Plant-Based Vegan Interviews

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Happy Friday,

I’m honored to be featured on PCRM’s Food for Life News for May 2015, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight some AMAZING AMAZING people whom I’ve had the privilege of interviewing my first two years on a whole foods plant-based vegan diet! These incredible people not only shared their personal stories of transformation with changing their diets, but adopting this lifestyle! You don’t want to miss out! Simply follow the link below: 

You can Heal Your Life

Two Years Of Plant-Based Vegan Interviews

Happy Vegalicious Reading!

PS. I get to hang out with this lovely woman, Ms. Kayle, this weekend!

Link to PCRM’s Food for Life May 2015: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/ffl/newsletter/food-for-life-in-the-news-may-2015