Sunday, December 04, 2016


Thursday, November 10, 2016

No Oil

The facts that you should know about olive oil and other vegetable oils (including coconut oil) are:
  • Vegetable oils have more than twice the calorie density of refined sugar
  • Vegetable oils contain almost no vitamins, minerals or fibre
  • Olive oil is harmful to your arteries 
  • The Mediterranean diet was healthy because it was mainly plant based
  • Whole plant foods contain all of the essential fats that our bodies require

Olive Oil

“Isn’t olive oil good for you”?  Is the surprised reply we get when we say “no oil, not even olive oil”. Doctors, dieticians, nutrition advisory groups and the media all promote olive oil as the good oil, the heart friendly oil, the key ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet. How could they collectively get this so wrong? The following is a summary of some of the evidence that olive oil is not a healthy addition to your diet.
The ultimate junk food?Olive oil is a highly processed food – it is olives stripped of their fibre, minerals and vitamins (with the exception of vitamin E). Oils have the highest energy density of any food, more than twice that of sugar (oils =9 calories/37kJ per gram; sugar =4 calories/16kJ per gram). One Australian tablespoon olive oil =160 calories/680kJ; 100ml =810 calories/3400kJ. Even the addition of small amounts of oil to food promotes weight gain and reduces nutrient intake: e.g. 100g wholemeal pasta (uncooked) = 332 calories; add 1 tablespoon olive oil: 160 + 332 = 492 calories. That’s 50% more calories for little nutritional benefit. You could have added another 48g pasta to the meal for the same number of calories. An extra 50g pasta would give you 4.9g fibre, 2mg iron, 31mg calcium, 0.7mg zinc and 42mg magnesium. The tablespoon of oil gives you none of those nutrients, so it could be said that olive oil “displaces” nutrients. See related pages: Energy Densityand Nutrient Density.
oil tabspNB 1 tablespoon olive oil has the same number of calories as a 375ml can of Coke.

Vitamin EOlive oil contains vitamin E. In fact, many vegetable oils are high in vitamin E because it’s a fat soluble vitamin that is retained when the fats are extracted from their whole plant-food source. Vegetable oils appear high in vitamin E because they are a food concentrates – on a per calorie basis, they are no higher than the plants from which they were made. Many whole plant foods, including whole grains, are rich in vitamin E, and our digestive systems evolved the capacity to absorb this fat soluble vitamin long before the invention of salad dressing.
Fatty acid Composition:
The term “good fats” is often applied to Olive oil. This description does not stand up to scrutiny unless you are comparing olive oil to animal fats. Olive oil consists predominantly of omega 9 monounsaturated fats which are not required by humans other than as a concentrated source of calories. It may surprise you that olive oil is moderately high in saturated fats – 15% – and therefore no amount of olive oil added to the diet will bring the proportion of saturated fats down the target of less than 10% of calories.
We need some dietary fats – the omega 6 and the omega 3 essential fatty acids. The omega 6 series are found widely in food and it’s thought that the Australian diet provides far too many omega 6 fats relative to omega 3’s compared to the suggested optimal ratios of 4:1 or less. Olive oil contributes excessive omega 6’s with less than 1% omega 3’s and a ratio of 13:1.
Polyphenols are anti-oxidant phytochemicals with health supporting effects which include protection against heart disease. strawberries 100gExtra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is promoted as healthy because it contains polyphenols. Most of the olive oil used in cooking is not polyphenol rich EVOO and there are many whole plant foods that have a much higher polyphenol content than EVOO. This table shows the polyphenol content of popular plant foods, and also shows the content per 100 calories. Compare eating 100g strawberries (235mg polyphenols; 26 calories) with a 20ml tablespoon EVOO (12mg polyphenols; 160 calories).

Polyphenol content of food

Source: Perez-Jimenez et. al. (2010)

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet of Crete:
Observations of the people of Crete post World War II found a low incidence of heart disease. The people there were physically active and their diet consisted of grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes and small amounts of olive oil, wine and fish. Not exactly the Australian version of the Mediterranean diet. Fifty years later a follow up study found that those individuals who consumed the most olive oil had the most heart disease (see Vrentzos et al. 2007). A similar positive association between olive oil and heart disease has been found in Greece.
The Lyon study:
This is the study that really launched “The Mediterranean diet”, and by proxy, olive oil, as heart healthy. The study group were instructed to make healthier food choices, including eating more vegetables. The vegetable oils used were not exclusively olive oil but included omega-3 enriched canola oil.
The PREDIMED study
The study is widely seen as ‘proof’ that a Mediterranean diet with olive oil is more heart healthy than a low fat diet. However the “low fat diet” group were really a control group on a high (37%) fat diet and there was not a statistically significant reduction in heart events – although there was a small reduction in strokes in both the added nuts and added olive oil intervention groups. It cannot be determined whether the olive oil or the nuts produced these health benefits as these groups also received dietary coaching and consumed more legumes, vegetables and fruits – factors which are known to reduce cardiovascular risk. The olive oil group were provided with a weekly supply of polyphenol rich olive oil, not the ordinary stuff that most people buy in the supermarket. The data collected in this study has resulted in over 100 published research articles and whenever we read “Mediterranean diet is better than a low fat diet” it’s usually based on PREDIMED.

Effects of oil on arteries

HDL cholesterol:
Olive oil and polyunsaturated oils raise HDL cholesterol, however changing the value of a biomarker for disease does not always translate into reduced disease risk. Dr Lawrence Rudel (Rudel et al 1995) compared the effects of saturated fat vs olive oil on African Green Monkeys (which have similar fat metabolism to humans). The monkeys eating olive oil had higher HDL and lower LDL than those eating saturated fat. But at the end of five years both groups had exactly the same amount of coronary artery disease. It is interesting to note that drugs that artificially raise HDL have also failed to protect against heart disease.
Endothelial function:
Dr Robert Vogel published a study (Vogel et al 2000) on the effect of vegetable oils on the arterial flow. Olive oil reduced arterial blood flow by 31% and canola oil by 10%. It is thought that olive oil blocks the production of nitric oxide by the endothelium. Nitric oxide dilates arteries. This suggests that olive oil impairs the capacity of endothelial cells to produce the vasodilator, nitric oxide.

Australian Dietary Guidelines

The Australian Dietary Guidelines do not support the high intake of olive oil that many of our health professionals are advocating. The guidelines recommend that we choose foods from the five food groups, none of which include olive oil. Vegetable oils are listed outside of the core food groups with a note to “use in small amounts”.
The guidelines recommend that Australians “limit” their consumption of high saturated fat foods rather than just replace them with other fats. Tips to eat less saturated fat include “don’t deep fry foods” and “use small amounts of unsaturated oils if needed”.
The guidelines recognise the role of energy dense foods in promoting weight gain: “Foods with a higher energy density encourage energy intake above requirements” – and recommend that Australians limit the consumption of “energy-dense, nutrient-poor discretionary foods”. Oils are the most energy dense foods, they contain minimal nutrients and are discretionary in that they do not belong to any of the five food groups.

Related pages:


Olive oil:

Coconut oil:

Peer-reviewed studies:

The Mediterranean diet:

How to cook without oil

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Vegetarians are bullied and hated in Australia

Vegetarians are bullied and hated in Australia and our culture is caught in a cycle of overreliance on meat, self-confessed meat-lover and writer Richard Cornish says.

Cornish conducted a year-long social experiment in vegetarianism after recognising he had a bit of a problem.

When driving home with a shoulder of lamb for his family one day, he was overcome with the smell of the meat and decided to pull over and eat it on the side of the road.

"I found myself face-planted in a shoulder of lamb on the bonnet of my car," he told ABC News Breakfast.

"A busload of children drove past, faces pressed up against the window, and it was like them looking at a lion in a zoo.

"So I had a problem with meat, put it that way."

Cornish decided it was time to try a change. Apart from the physical changes he experienced — weight loss, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol — the most surprising things were the social reactions.

"I learnt what it's like to be a vegetarian. Most people hate vegetarians and they loathe vegans," he said.

"People are absolutely dreadful.

"It's that people who choose to put themselves on the outer are ripe for bullies and people say the most horrible things, and they try to trick you."

He said people would give him food with meat in it just to get a reaction. Or he would bring lentil burgers to a barbecue and see them treated as a foreign object.

"You'll ask for a vegetarian pasty and bite into it and go, 'there's meat', and they say, 'yeah, but there's vegetables, too'.

"There's a lot of disrespect for people who choose not to eat meat." 'We're not equipped to be vegetarian'

Cornish said he wasn't spreading a message that everyone must be vegetarian, but he did challenge the classic meat-centric Australian diet.

According to a 2010 Newspoll survey, 5 per cent of Australians identified as vegetarian and 2 per cent adhered to a strict vegetarian diet.

"Meat is the default position. You go into a cafe and it's burger or fish," he said.

"It's assumed everyone eats meat. And because everyone assumes it, everyone does it, so it's this circle."

He said other cultures had been built around a more vegetable-based diet and Australians could benefit from learning to cook with pulses and grains more.

"If you go to India, for example, you know that most of the diet is going to be rice and pulses," he said.

"Go to Mexico and it is beans and corn, and meat is more or less a garnish."

Cornish said Australians could make the transition to a similar diet and that the change could happen very quickly.

"I think what's going to happen is one night we're going to wake up and go, 'Oh, OK, it's cool, you don't have to eat meat'."

Cornish has written a book about his experience, My Year Without Meat, which was published this month.

How our language makes us feel better about murder

Since we hate cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, fish, deer, elk, bears and ducks, but can’t deal with the fact that we are murdering them by the billion, we refer to the murders as “culls” or “harvests” to lie to ourselves, and bolster the lies that we’ve been told by our parents, government, religion, schools and the media. 
Since we hate mice, rats, guinea pigs, monkeys and rabbits, but can’t deal with the fact that we are torturing and murdering them by the million in barbaric & unscientific vivisection experiments, we label the murders “sacrifices” to lie to ourselves again, and bolster the lies that we’ve been told by our parents, government, religion, schools and the media. 
Are you ready for the kicker?
In many parts of the world, especially America, we actually LOVE dogs and cats so much that we share our homes with them and refer to them as family members. We become outraged when someone mistreats them and even wish gruesomely awesome retaliatory violence against the perpetrators. Perusing the “comments” section of any Internet story about dog or cat abuse unequivocally proves the aforesaid point. 
Yet, we murder millions of dogs & cats in slaughterhouses that we euphemistically refer to as “shelters” because they are homeless and unwanted. Since we love dogs & cats so much, but can’t deal with the fact that we are murdering them by the million, we instead refer to the murders as “putting them down” or “putting them to sleep”. 
In other words, whether we hate ‘em or love ‘em, we always end up lying about the fact that we are murdering them because lying & murdering are what we do best!
These endless lies are instrumental in keeping animals commodified, victimized, and without the innate rights of bodily integrity that ALL beings deserve, and that ALL human beings demand or take for granted if they’re lucky enough to even have them!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Being overweight, obese cuts lifespan by one to 10 years — study

Being overweight, obese cuts lifespan by one to 10 years — study

Researchers refute earlier claims that a few extra kilos pose no health risks
13:26 July 14, 2016

Paris: Being overweight shaves about a year off one’s life expectancy, a price which soars to about 10 years for the severely obese, a large-scale study reported Thursday.

It refuted earlier findings that carrying a few extra kilos poses no perils. Instead, the study pointed to evidence that the risk of dying before your 70th birthday grows “steadily and steeply” along with an expanding waistline.

“This study definitely shows that being overweight or obese is associated with a risk of premature death,” lead author Emanuele Di Angelantonio from the University of Cambridge told journalists.
The risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer “are all increased,” he said.
Using data from almost four million adults on four continents, the study in The Lancet medical journal found that overweight people lost about a year of life expectancy on average, and “moderately obese” people about three years. “Severely obese people lose about 10 years of life expectancy,” Di Angelantonio said — which represents a one-in-two chance of dying before 70.

A large international team of researchers sifted through data garnered from more than 10.6 million people in 239 large studies conducted between 1970 and 2015 in 32 countries in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and east and South Asia.  The collating effort was described as the largest-ever pooled data set on being overweight and mortality.

To rule out the impact of other mortality risks, the team excluded current or former smokers, those who had chronic disease at the beginning of the study, and those who died within the first five years — and were left with a sample group of 3.9 million adults.

The team divided these into categories according to their Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of weight-to-height squared, and compared the number and causes of death in each group. Under the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered normal, 25-29.9 overweight, 30-34.9 moderately obese, 35-39.9 severely obese, and 40 and over morbidly obese.

The researchers found that the risk of dying before age 70 rose from 19 per cent in normal weight men to 29.5 per cent in the moderately obese group, and from 11 per cent to 14.6 per cent for women.
“This corresponds to an absolute increase of 10.5 per cent for men, and 3.6 per cent for women — three times as big,” a statement from The Lancet said.

They also found that the excess mortality risk was three times greater in men as in women.
If all overweight and obese people had normal BMI levels, this would eliminate one in five premature deaths in North America, one in six in Australia and New Zealand, one in seven in Europe and one in 20 in east Asia, concluded the study.

And it warned that with corpulence spreading around the globe, the high mortality rate in North America “might become typical elsewhere”.

The findings contradicted earlier research suggesting that being overweight may not be a mortality risk and may even hold a survival advantage for some groups of people, such as the elderly.
In 2014, according to the WHO, more than 1.9 billion adults globally were overweight.
Of those, more than 600 million were obese.

Carrying excess weight has been linked to heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.
The study also founded an elevated risk for premature mortality among people who were underweight.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What’s wrong with eggs?

A common question I hear as a dietitian (second only to “Where do you get your protein?” of course) is “What’s wrong with eggs?”

Where to begin? Let’s start with the obvious egg facts. Eggs have zero dietary fiber, and about 70 percent of their calories are from fat—a big portion of which is saturated. They are also loaded with cholesterol—about 213 milligrams for an average-sized egg. For reference, people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or high cholesterol should consume fewer than 200 milligrams of cholesterol each day. (Uh oh.) And, humans have no biological need to consume any cholesterol at all; we make more than enough in our own bodies.

Why so much fat and cholesterol in such a tiny package? Think about it: eggs hold every piece of the puzzle needed to produce a new life. Within that shell lies the capacity to make feathers, eyes, a beak, a brain, a heart, and so on. It takes a lot of stuff to make such a complex being.

In addition to these excessive (for humans) natural components of an egg, other human-health hazards exist. Because eggshells are fragile and porous, and conditions on egg farms are crowded, eggs are the perfect host for salmonella—the leading cause of food poisoning in the U.S.

Those are some facts and figures. But how do eggs affect real people in real life? Luckily, researchers have conducted good studies to help answer that question.


In a 1992 analysis of dietary habits, people who consumed just 1.5 eggs per week had nearly five times the risk for colon cancer, compared with those who consumed hardly any (fewer than 11 per year), according to the International Journal of Cancer. The World Health Organization analyzed data from 34 countries in 2003 and found that eating eggs is associated with death from colon and rectal cancers. And a 2011 study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed that eating eggs is linked to developing prostate cancer. By consuming 2.5 eggs per week, men increased their risk for a deadly form of prostate cancer by 81 percent, compared with men who consumed less than half an egg per week. Finally, even moderate egg consumption tripled the risk of developing bladder cancer, according to a 2005 study published inInternational Urology and Nephrology.


A review of fourteen studies published earlier this year in the journal Atherosclerosisshowed that people who consumed the most eggs increased their risk for diabetes by 68 percent, compared with those who ate the fewest.

In a 2008 publication for the Physicians’ Health Study I, which included more than 21,000 participants, researchers found that those who consumed seven or more eggs per week had an almost 25 percent increased risk of death compared to those with the lowest egg consumption. The risk of death for participants with diabetes who ate seven or more eggs per week was twice as high as for those who consumed the least amount of eggs.

Egg consumption also increases the risk of gestational diabetes, according to two 2011 studies referenced in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Women who consumed the most eggs had a 77 percent increased risk of diabetes in one study and a 165 percent increased risk in the other, compared with those who consumed the least.

Heart Disease

Researchers published a blanket warning in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology,informing readers that ceasing egg consumption after a heart attack would be “a necessary act, but late.” In the previously mentioned 14-study review, researchers found that people who consumed the most eggs increased their risk for cardiovascular disease by 19 percent, and if those people already had diabetes, the risk for developing heart disease jumped to 83 percent with increased egg consumption.

New research published this year has shown that a byproduct of choline, a component that is particularly high in eggs, increases one’s risk for a heart attack, stroke, and death.

Animal Protein

Inevitably, this discussion also leads to another question: “Even egg whites?” Yes, even egg whites are trouble. The reason most people purport to eat egg whites is also the reason they should be wary — egg whites are a very concentrated source of animal protein (remember, the raw material for all those yet-to-be-developed body parts?). Because most Westerners get far more protein than they need, adding a concentrated source of it to the diet can increase the risk for kidney disease, kidney stones, and some types of cancer.

By avoiding eggs and consuming more plant-based foods, you will not only decrease your intake of cholesterol, saturated fat, and animal protein, but also increase your intake of protective fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Be smart! Skip the eggs and enjoy better health!


shared from

Friday, June 10, 2016

Monday, June 06, 2016


It is very common to hear in the plant-based community that you can eat as much food as you want without any consequence. I agree to a certain point because I promote intuitive eating, which basically just means eat when you’re hungry till you’re full. There are plenty of people who when they switch to a plant-based diet and eat intuitively, they get immediate results and lose weight effortlessly. I also understand that everyone is unique with a unique history and this can really make a difference.

In Japan, there is a practice called ‘hara hachi bu’, which means eat until you are 80% full. Many of us are so used to force feeding ourselves till we are stuffed and even if we are eating a plant-based diet, it can still be causing weight gain because our satiety and hunger mechanism is broken. Here is how you practice hara hachi bu. Eat half of what you normally would eat and check in with yourself. Are you still hungry? Can you eat some more? If you are then eat some more.

Once you begin to feel some stomach pressure, you are at the 80% full stage. It may take 15-20 meals in order to reset the muscle memory of your stomach to get used to eating less food. A lot of times when people think they are eating till they are satiated, they are really eating until they are stuffed. You will have to trust this process as it may be scary at first but over time you will become more in tune with exactly how much your body needs. Be mindful of how much you are eating. Check in with yourself to see whether or not you’re overeating.

This isn’t necessary for everyone but if you are used to stuffing yourself then this is a great practice for you. Something to be mindful of is how much salt you are consuming. Salt can act like a stimulant and can cause overeating. If the food is less stimulating then you are less likely to overeat.

The Bible Argument

The Bible Argument:

"The Bible says we shall have dominion over the animals and I take that to mean that we can eat meat and use animals however we want.  Therefore, we can eat meat."

Objection 1:    If one wants to take what the Bible says to support one's position, one will have to believe that a wife must submit to her husband, homosexuals are immoral, one must not eat cloven-hoofed animals, rebellious sons must be taken to the center of town and stoned to death, etc.  One cannot pick and choose between points in the Bible without being unfair and arbitrary. If there are any points or even one point in the Bible with which one does not agree, one has to be able to justify why that one point should not be accepted but that every other point should.  What that justification will amount to is to be some other argument for eating meat that is not in the Bible (see the other arguments below, e.g.).  Because people do tend to pick and choose what parts of the Bible they like and dislike, it may show that people have their own ideas of right and wrong regardless of what the Bible says.  It also might show that most people think that the Bible is fallible.

Objection 2:    What is intended by "Man shall have dominion over the animals" (paraphrased from Genesis 1:26) is subject to interpretation.  Maybe what is intended is not, "Do whatever you want to the animals, like torturing, eating, bestiality," etc., but, "Since I made humans with more reason than the rest of the animals on earth, it will be up to you to see that they are well cared for - do not harm (or kill) them unless it is necessary."; So someone who likes this argument needs to tell me why we should interpret the argument in the former way rather than the latter. (See Objection 4 below.)  It would seem that parents would have dominion over their children; but this does not imply that we can torture and kill them in order to eat them, right?

Objection 3:    For anyone who does not believe that every word of the Bible is true, it is not convincing.  Why are all of the other Holy Books such as the Qur'an, Rig-Veda, Dhammapada, Taoist texts, Book of Mormon, etc., wrong?

Objection 4:    First, it would seem that God wants us to eat only vegetables:  In Genesis 1:29, God says to Adam and Eve, "I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [sic] is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."; It says that man shall have dominion over the animals, but it does not say there that we shall have them for food, as it does of fruits and vegetables. (It is true that the Old Testament does have laws for meat-eating after this Genesis passage, but then we have an inconsistency to address.)  Second, there are Biblical passages which actually say that we should care for animals:  For example, we should help an ass get up if it falls down (Exodus 23:5), you must rest on the seventh day so that your ox and ass can rest too (Exodus 23:12 and Deuteronomy 5:14), you must leave a mother bird and her eggs alone - you may take her brood, but you must leave the mother bird alone (Deuteronomy 22:6-7) the just man takes care of his beast (Proverbs 12:10), if you have livestock, look after them, if they are dependable, keep them (Sirach 7)  Therefore, it is very unclear just what a defender of eating meat can glean from the Bible.  Also, in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, it says, "Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine" (Sect. 89.12-13). This text suggests that meat be eaten sparingly, but ONLY in winter, cold, or famine.  This was written when there were no other options available, and certainly does not seem to apply to warm climates such as Arizona, California, etc.  But even in Vermont, non-meat alternatives are available aplenty, so would this text not pretty much ban meat-eating in about 99% of North America?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Why Vegan?

Why Vegan?

Is anyone’s diet and lifestyle perfect? Of course not. If something you read affects you today, why not make some small changes? Surely that’s better than nothing at all. Strive for happiness, inspire someone, refuse to bury your head in the sand to what’s around you – and eat a big slice of that ridiculously tasty cashew cheesecake!

Ethics and Morality

There are many reasons people might want to give veganism a go, but the reason most people choose to stay vegan involves the ethical considerations of eating animals through modern day farming practices. Due to the rapidly growing human population and the sheer demand for meat production, animals in factory farms suffer tremendously due to the strict procedures that are required to meet demands.
Over 150 billion animals are slaughtered every year for our consumption. That’s over 5000 per second. That amount of death simply dwarfs any other human war or natural disaster in history. Yet we claim it’s necessary?
There is no question that animals feel pain, experience happiness, build relationships and want to live. If we know that to be true, why do see killing them for food to be of such little significance? Why do we so deeply love and protect our pet dogs and cats, yet remain disconnected to the slaughter of equally intelligent pigs and cows?
Whether it be in the beef industry, the pork industry, chicken, egg or dairy industry, there are countless examples of extreme cruelty which are now routine practices worldwide.
If you’d like to find out more about this, some useful links are provided below.
We live in an age where there is no longer room for excuses.
Happy cow
“The question is not, can they reason? Nor can they talk? But, can they suffer?” – Jeremy Bentham.

Health and Nutrition

Deciding to follow a plant based diet can be extremely beneficial from a health and nutritional perspective. A catalogue of studies show plant based diets are associated with lower levels of chronic disease in comparison to those with a moderate to high meat intake; including a lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes and various types of cancer.
There are also some important health reasons that might make you want to consider ditching the dairy. Dairy products generally contain a high saturated fat content, as well as high levels of hormones like oestrogen, and traces of broad spectrum antibiotics used excessively in agriculture (not to mention pus, blood and faeces!).
Another factor is lactose intolerance; many people suffer from lactose intolerance to some degree (after all, cow’s milk is made for cows!), causing unpleasant symptoms like bloating and cramping. These symptoms would simply go away upon opting for milk alternatives.
For more information on why a vegan diet can be optimal for health, Forks Over Knives is a really compelling watch. If you’d like further details on data sources and references, please feel free to contact me.

 Can I get all of my nutrients from a vegan diet?

Something you may have heard about a vegan diet is that it can be difficult to obtain certain micro-nutrients. These usually include vitamins like B12, D, iron and calcium.
A plant based diet is more than sufficient to provide all almost vital nutrients, and as long as you eat wholesome, vitamin fortified food, there is absolutely no need to worry about deficiencies. Some examples of vitamin rich foods are provided below – these lists are certainly not exhaustive, you have plenty more options!
Calcium – Dark green, leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens; beans; legumes; fortified soy, almond and rice milks; sesame seeds; fortified orange juice; firm tofu.
Iron – Cooked spinach; lentils; quinoa; pumpkin seeds; peas; dried apricots; dried peaches; white beans; firm tofu; tomato paste.
Vitamin D – Almond and soy milks; fortified orange juice; fortified cereal; mushrooms. (For most of human history, we got our vitamin D from sunlight. Now, however, we rely partly the fortification of the foods we eat).
Omega 3 – Flaxseed/linseed; hempseed; walnuts. 1-2 tbsp of ground flaxseed sprinkled on your cereal or added to a smoothie provides your RDA of omega 3 (also a great egg substitute in baking!).
The only time a vegan diet may not be fully sufficient is when it comes tovitamin B12.
This is not because our bodies require animal products, but because modern day agricultural practices require plants to undergo harsh cleaning before being sold to the public – rendering them devoid of their natural vitamin B12. For this reason, it is recommended that vegans take a B12 supplement.

The Environment and Sustainability

The environmental and social impact of what we eat is staggering. The animal agriculture industry is widely regarded to be one of the leading contributors to environmental damage and climate change in our world today.
Of course, we all live in the 21st century – most of us have electricity, houses, cars and holidays. No one is suggesting we pack up and move to a mud hut! However, by making some simple changes in what we eat – we might be able to contribute a little bit less.
Some statistics…
  • 80-90% of the world’s crops (and 97% of soy) are produced to feed livestock; we could easily end world hunger with these resources.
  • It takes 2,5000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. In addition, factory farms create billions of pounds of manure each day – which ends up in our lakes, rivers and drinking water.
  • Seven football fields worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create room for livestock and the crops that feed them. As a result, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of deforestation in the world.
  • Animal farming is responsible for more greenhouse-gas emissions than all of the planes, trains, cars, trucks and ships on earth.
  • Producing just two pounds of beef creates more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving an average family car for three hours.
Some useful links: