Friday, March 2, 2012

Don't End Up a Junk Food Vegan!

The benefits of following a plant-based diet are almost endless; treating diabetes, reversing heart disease, increasing the body's natural energy. . .you get the gist. However, each of those benefits doesn't come without a little effort and research on our part.

Nothing is worse than hearing about someone (especially celebrities) that "tries" to become vegan, adopts a poor unhealthy diet (aka "junk food vegan") and ends up going back to being an omnivore due to a myriad of illnesses and decreased fatigue. Oy vie! It gives those following a plant-based diet a bad rep! "NO FAIR" I shout!

So here I am to say (and very loudly I might add) that following a vegan or plant-based diet it much more than just saving animals. Whether you follow this type of diet for animal rights or health benefits it's just as important either way to learn about the nutrients your body needs to provide the utmost benefits and of course avoiding disgrace in the end by returning to your old meat eating ways. Yuck!

Below is information to start you on the right plant-based track and avoid the "junk food vegan" fatigue and yucky health issues. Simple, easy and of course yummy! I have picked items from three (Vitamins, Minerals and Water) of the six essential nutrients our bodies need to survive. (Do you know all six?)
Cheers Lemondrop Vegan (LdV)

Can I Have My B's Please

B vitamins work as part of co-enzymes. Each B vitamin has an important role within the human body and even more importantly to note is the lack of B-vitamins has great consequences on our health. Symptoms can vary from cracks in the corners of your mouth (which people incorrectly attribute to dry lips or dehydration) to overwhelming depression, mental confusion and fatigue. OK, I'm sold, get me some B-vitamins pronto! Here's an easy reference:
  • B1 - aka Thiamin - Black beans, green peas, sunflower seeds, quinoa. (Also thought to be a natural mosquito repellent!)
  • B2 - aka Riboflavin - spinach, mushrooms, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast (a LdV fav!), barley
  • B3 - aka Niacin - baked potato, mushrooms, avocado, peas, potato
  • B6 - backed potato, banana, spinach, kombu (a type of sea vegetable), avocado
  • B9 - aka Folate - Spinach, beets, asparagus, lentils, peanuts
  • B12 - unable to receive from food, recommended intake from nutritional yeast or fortified nut milks
I guess by now you can probably see that candy bars and soda aren't high on these lists!


The body's skeleton adds to bone density until about the age of 30 years. At which point, peak bone mass has been achieved. So it is important to get that precious calcium in our diets throughout our developing years. Calcium's role "makes up bone and tooth structure and plays a role in nerve transmission, muscle contraction and blood clotting." Although calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body we only absorb approximately 25 - 30% of the calcium we ingest. So how much do we really need to ingest? Although it is difficult to recommend a set amount since absorption rates take different roads for each of us, the DRI recommends approximately 1,000 mg/day but if you're eating your lovely veggies such as the ones listed below, throughout the day you will be just fine. So where are my plant-based calcium buddies?
  • Turnip greens
  • Almond butter
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Soy nuts & beans
  • Tahini
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tofu
  • Fortified milks
Too little Calcium intake and the body will develop fragile bones, osteoporosis and weak bones in children

My Love of Iron

Being deficient in iron is where non-loving vegan doctors or perhaps not so updated doctors love to hone in on and recommend meat intake as a cure all. Let's avoid that conversation with those doctors OK?!
Anemia, a condition of inadequate or impaired red blood cells is caused by the deprivation of iron in a diet. Anemia symptoms are irritability, lower IQ, weakness, fatigue, pale skin, chills and concave nails. Ugh doesn't sound fun and trust me it isn't. We should consume approximately 8 mg/day of this love mineral. This little issue of low iron can be completely avoided with a plant-based diet rich in iron, eating such goodness as:
  • Navy & black beans
  • Spinach
  • Dark chocolate (yummm)
  • Enriched cereals
  • Swiss chard
  • Firm tofu
  • Pumpkin seeds


Ok so here is a novel idea that we need to keep in our precious heads. . . .DRINK LOTS OF WATER!! Most of us know our bodies are made up of almost 60% water (for a 130lb female that is a whopping 80lbs of H2O!). This magical potion is what our bodies crave but why do so many of us avoid it like the plague?! Well I don't know, but perhaps if you fall into that category I can change your mind. Water is a cleansing agent, lubricant, temperature controller, shock absorber, carrier of nutrients throughout the body, and not to mention the beautiful skin it creates on the outside of our awesome bods. Here is a highly suggested tip though: drink water in its purest form. No soda, no juice, no coffee, just plain ol' luscious water.

Your Power Plate (

To ensure you're getting off to an even better plant-based start, I always recommend the Power Plate visual offered to us by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Keeping a visual in your head every time you eat will ensure your keeping a balanced diet and working magic on your inner and outer beauty. The nutritious food and water the world provides in its rawest forms are all you need to steer clear of the diseases and symptoms I have mentioned throughout this blog post and more importantly falling off the "vegan wagon".

Cheers to your health and to your new plant-based life!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Vegetarian - Vegan Children's Book Review

Book Review: "That's Why We Don't Eat Animals; A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians and All Living Things" by Ruby Roth

I must admit I was quite hesitant purchasing a children's book regarding the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle for my 8 y/o meat-eating son. I knew at the time my son was mature enough to handle certain information regarding the truth about factory farms but perhaps a PETA video would certainly prove to be too extreme and traumatic for such a young mind.

That being said, I am also an advocate on empowering children to make safe, responsible decisions on their own. I believe a child's autonomy is a crucial component to learning and experiencing the world around them first hand. However, in order to make just decisions children need to be provided with honest information. This also goes without saying in the matters of vegetarianism or veganism. My son was constantly inquiring during meals as to why I don't eat meat and the answer of "mommy feels bad for the animals" just wasn't cutting it anymore.

I came to the decision that hiding the truth from my son about how meat ends up in the supermarket was seriously unfair. Most children (and maybe even some adults) assume cows graze in the open fields of Vermont, hens lay eggs in straw nests and chickens are raised in beautiful red barns and then die of natural causes to then be shipped to our local food stores for us to purchase for meals.

I didn't even remotely want to become a part of a lie that had dire consequences on an animal's life not to mention the environment and a list of health issues associated with eating meat. It was to my delight that I heard about the book "That's Why We Don't Eat Animals; A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians and All Living Things" by Ruby Roth during an interview with Dr. Neal Barnard (Founder of Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine - PCRM). I read a slew of positive reviews on various websites and ordered the book the next day.

Here is what I have to say regarding the book:

This book is a MUST have for any vegetarian or vegan parent. The book is candid yet sympathetic to young readers. Beautiful tid-bits of information is given regarding each animal and their natural behaviors and habitats. It then gives upfront honest information regarding the unfair treatment of animals within factory farms. The illustration are just as straight forward but kind, able to conceal any over-the-top gruesomeness that would be inappropriate for a young reader.

As Jane Goodall had said during her review of the book: "It will make children - and their parents - think. But it will not lead to nightmares, rather respect and compassion for the creatures whose well-being is in our hands." I could not have said it any better.

This is an amazing book and I highly recommend it. For more information please visit:

As always please feel free to share your comments, questions and concerns with me!!