FAQs

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As a plant-based eater, this is the most common question I get regarding my diet. We get our protein from plant-based foods (see the list here) which contain more than enough protein to fulfill our body’s needs. Indeed, fruits average 4 to 8% of their calories from protein; veggies and leafy greens typically yield 15 to 20% of calories from protein. Some leafy greens such as spinach, kale or broccoli contain more than 45% protein, which is higher than any meat source. We have been taught incorrectly that we should consume a large amount of protein to be healthy. In fact, how many people do you know who have been clinically diagnosed as protein deficient? Most likely, no one. Protein deficiency is so rare since the only way to reach this point is to starve yourself. Indeed, when you eat enough calories, you will automatically get enough proteins in grams. However, an over consumption of proteins leads to many illnesses such as cancer, premature aging, kidney failure, arthritis and much more.
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I personally believe that a variety of whole, fresh and organic plant-based foods, along with a healthy lifestyle, is enough to get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that the body needs. That said, the decision of supplementing is not only a matter of the type of diet one follows but is also a matter of the general lifestyle. I personally recommend avoiding as many possible unnecessary supplements but instead choose to focus on how to fulfill those needs through a holistic lifestyle.

I highly recommend to read the book “Whole” by T. Colin Campbell which reveals a lot of facts about the supplement industry and how it doesn’t make our society much healthier.

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This is another big concern that people face when they want to transition to a vegan diet. First, B12 deficiency is not just a vegan issue since meat-eaters represent 99 percent of people diagnosed with B12 deficiency.

B12 is a B vitamin which is made by microorganisms and can be naturally found in healthy organic soils, in plant-based foods and in animal products. That said, why do some people still get low in B12?

First, let’s talk about meat-eaters and B12 deficiency. Most meats do contain B12, since animals just like humans can produce it and also animals eat their foods from soil (with the dirt that contains B12). However, those foods still don’t provide enough B12 to meet our needs. This is strongly related to the quality of today’s soils and that’s why many farmers supplement their livestock with artificial B12. So why do meat-eaters still suffer from this vitamin deficiency? Well, the main reason is that B12 is easily destroyed by heat, which is required in the process of cooking. Another reason why meat-eaters are B12 deficient might be due to the fact that some of them consume many foods that bother the body’s ability to make or even absorb B12 properly. All that said, it becomes obvious that an animal-based diet isn’t necessarily the right way to get enough B12.

So what about B12 and plant-based foods? First, B12 is present in any food rich in the B vitamin complex. Therefore, most plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables do contain B12. However, the real matter is about the quantity. Is the B12 present in those foods enough to satisfy our B12 requirements? That’s the point! To this question, while many vegans have testified to have never been low in B12 after many years without supplementing, some other vegans have suffered from B12 deficiency. In fact, B12 requirements aren’t just related to the foods we consume; they are also closely linked to stress and environmental factors like air pollution. So each individual lifestyle and specific conditions have to be taken into consideration. From this point, here are two simple suggestions to avoid B12 deficiency:

  • Trust your lifestyle and the quality of the foods you eat. In this case, I would highly recommend testing your B12 level at certain points just to make sure that they are appropriate. Of course, if one day you are low in B12, it isn’t the end of the world; you just need to raise it with supplement for instance.
  • The other option is to choose to supplement on a regular basis, generally daily or weekly. There are two common forms of B12: the cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. I would recommend using the second since it’s the active form of B12 and, therefore, is more easily processed and absorbed by the body.

 

In my case, I have never tested low in B12, but I chose to supplement myself during my vegan pregnancy. I also decided to add a vitamin D supplement to my diet, along with a vegan prenatal supplement in my second trimester. I made this choice because I had just moved to Chicago, a very cold place in winter, so I wasn’t sure I would be able to get enough of this vitamin and I didn’t want to track it with blood tests all time. Again, this was my choice and I really encourage you to choose whatever makes you feel confident, especially during specific life-periods such as pregnancy.

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The answer is that eating this way may lead to several notable experiences, but the only truth is that it will help you reach your optimal weight. Whether you want to lose or gain weight, this diet is the way to go.

What happens is that the body is now provided with the necessary energy enabling it to detoxify itself from toxins that have accumulated in water weight. Most people in excess notice a dramatic weight loss after switching to this diet, specifically the first week or two. This initial weight loss is due to the release of water– not fat– and that’s why this weight loss continues over time but at a much slower pace.

Remember that our body weight is comprised of water, which represents about 70% of our total mass, as well as fat and lean tissues which include muscle and bones. Understanding our body weight composition helps to avoid some misunderstandings.

Since water weighs much more than fat, eating extra salt in the diet can impede weight loss. In fact, a great consumption of salt releases toxins that the body needs to dilute by taking on a great volume of water. That’s why eating less salt allows the body to eliminate all the superfluous water volume that has been stocked. This easily happens when you start eating a healthy high or fully raw diet, mainly based on fresh, whole and unsalted plant-based foods.

On the other hand, thin people can also start losing weight while eating raw foods. In fact, you can be thin and “overfat” and that’s why many thin people who want to gain weight sometimes need to gain muscle instead of over consuming fat.

Notice that the amount of this weight changes varies from one person to another. Those changes are the results of healing, and remember that true healing requires time. While some people may lose or gain weight immediately, others may wait months for significant weight changes. Anyway, eating the right diet will help you to reach your optimal body weight in a sustainable way!

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A high raw diet including generous amounts of sweet fruits along with a low fat intake doesn’t create high blood sugar. Even the sugar from “high-glycemic” fruits are processed efficiently when the system isn’t cluttered by fat.

In order to be used by cells as fuel, the foods that we consume need to be converted into sugar, whether they come from carbohydrates, fat or protein. However, carbohydrates have the easiest sugar conversion process. Given that fruits are mostly simple carbohydrates, they are easily processed by the digestive system and this requires much less energy. When you eat a low carbohydrate diet, the body will spend much more time and energy converting fat and protein into sugar, and this also creates toxic residues.

Before getting to our cells, the sugars we consume pass through 3 steps: first in the digestive tract when we eat them, second in the bloodstream, and finally when they move out of the bloodstream into our cells. What happens when we eat a high fat diet is that the sugar gets trapped in step 2. In that case, the body needs to make much more effort in order to move the sugar out of the bloodstream; a failure to do so will raise blood sugar, leading to diseases such as diabetes, fatigue, candida and much more.

That said, the solution to avoiding high blood sugar isn’t to consume less sugar but instead to reduce fat intake.

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I couldn’t stress enough how important education is in this journey. It is necessary for you to learn with research-based information in authoritative books and documentaries. Here are some of my favorites:

Books

The China Study by T. Collin Campbell with Thomas M. Campbell

The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham

The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our world by John Robbins

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Collin Campbell with Howard Jacobson

How Not to Die by Michael Greger

Documentaries

Earthlings

The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear by Gary

Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret

Forks over Knives

Foods Matters