History in the Making: Dietitians of South Texas Tour Their New 100% Organic Grocery Store

In a city of McDonalds, Whataburger, Wal-Mart, obesity and diabetes, a world saving beacon of health and sustainability opens; fully equipped with the highest quality produce/products, demonstration kitchen, vitamins/herbs/supplements, beauty products, books, and, it’s love!

natural grocers
Natural Grocers 100% Organic Grocery Opens March 15, 2016

Today, I had the opportunity to get a tour of the store with the Corpus Christi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics group lead by the wonderful dietitian there, Kelsey. I was extremely impressed by this tour. A grocery store tour to dietitians? Please, as if they could learn anything more, but we all did! Like how Kelsey pointed out that the hemp seeds, walnuts, and other unstable fats are kept in the refrigerated section (polyunsaturated fats become rancid very easily, creating free radicals, so they must be kept cool). I have learned this previously but I have never seen a grocery store actually put their nuts and seeds in the refrigerator!

The sign above us says, “100% organic produce,” yes, I am the obnoxious intern that made everybody get in front of the produce section and asked the cashier to take our picture 🙂

The Tour~

Kristen gave us all a LONG list of things that Natural Grocers will NOT carry.  Including ingredients that I am quite familiar with like GMOs (genetically modified organisms), hydrogenated oils (trans fats), bleached flours, parabens (mimic estrogen and cause reproductive disorders), dairy products from cows given rBGH (recombinant  Bovine Growth Hormone), artificial sweeteners (all of them), and artificial colors and flavors, as well as so many that I have seen before but even (a nutrition nerd grad student studying nutrition) have seen but no clue what they are!

Ingredients like DBP (dibutyl phthalate) which is a fragrance ingredient, plasticizer, and solvent that is a reproductive and developmental toxin, endocrine disruptor, and a known human respiratory toxin.  Also, BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are preservatives that have been shown to be carcinogenic and cause allergic reactions in humans.  I could go on..This place doesn’t even carry chemical based sunscreens or antibacterial soaps! Amen!

A few more reasons why I’m in love with this place:

  • No bags, you have to bring your own! (or they use a cardboard box)
  • GF (gluten free) items are all marked clearly next to price on shelf
  • Local is emphasized and marked clearly with a Texas flag on shelf
  • Lots of cheap “Health Hotline” sale items
  • Bulk specialty items from mulberries and goji berries to raw buckwheat groats
  • WIDE variety of vegan items
  • Reverse osmosis water filter, only $0.25 to refill a gallon
  • Nutrition experts- these people know their stuff!
  • To reduce waste and cut cost of items: no deli/freshly prepared items (ever wonder where all the fresh baked goods from Whole Foods goes at the end of the day? Yup, in the trash #wasteful. !
  • No self serve bulk bins but still has large packages of items in bulk – reduces contamination and food waste
  • Huge wall of shelves with high quality nutritional reference and cookbooks

They even have cool events like this Saturday they have a gluten free tasting expo and health fair! Aw chocolate avocado pie food demo, and “How to live an alkaline lifestyle” is on Monday April 11th. Check out their website for more info on events.

A little bit about my internship…

I can’t believe it, I completed my food service and community rotations last semester and am now half way through my clinical rotation! Eeek! As a snob from the Boston area who  works at a raw vegan cafe called “Organic Garden Cafe” back home, I was nervous that I wouldn’t get to learn new innovations of nutrition while working as an intern in a program that emphasizes the low income communities of South Texas.

I could not be more pleasantly surprised and excited about my feelings towards this internship right now.  It brings me such joy and power to have worked with the people of this community. Diabetics who do not know what a carbohydrate is, teen mom’s going out for a cigarette, and people who are truly afraid to lose weight because they have (and their family and friends) have always been big, so if they lost weight, what would they think!? Many of these people do not want to change, and even if they did, where to even start? As my sister, the writer, put it, “You need to learn the script before you can re-write a new one.

My clinical preceptor now, Shannon Aguilar, has helped me to not only be a much more confident clinical dietitian, but to take it a step further, too.  It is one thing to study nutrition, it is quite another to actually care enough to reflect on our own lives and practice what we preach.  My preceptor, Mrs. Aguilar, is more than a dietitian, she is also a health coach, and helped me to see how important it is to learn who our audience is before we try to help.

Seeing a grocery store like this open in Boston or Vermont would have been a, yawn. Another natural grocery? But, HERE! I get to see history in the making. These people having access to this kind of world saving expertise is dream come true for me.

There is something really cool about the idea of helping people who really need it AND want it. I could talk coconut oil and kale to the organic junkies back home all day every day, but that doesn’t reverse our obesity epidemic now does it? I may have thought that my second round match was a mistake, but actually, it was the best eye-opening and invigorating experience.  To be able to explain what a carbohydrate is to someone who has no clue? Check. Next: to reverse their disease through diet and lifestyle! No matter where I end up, I hope to make a positive impact and continue to be pleasantly surprised by all that I learn from the experience.

My Recommendations For Ulcerative Colitis

Firstly, drink plenty of water about 10 minutes before your meal, this should help your intestines work optimally as well as keep you hydrated which is very important for a time like this when a lot of water could be getting lost.

The most bioavailable phytonutrients are through fresh juices because cell walls and fiber are taken away when juiced, so all that roughage doesn’t get in the way of the nutrients, making the nutrients more bioavailable.  In general, fruit is low in fiber and high in nutrients and available energy.  I am not a doctor, but I would recommend a pretty strict regime until you are healed- something like a 32 ounce juice for breakfast, a pulverized smoothie for lunch, or more giant juice, even blending fresh juice with some fruit like banana would be yummy, and a big monomeal of fruit for dinner, or another big smoothie.

If you are going to opt for cooked food and your regular vegan delicacies, I at least think you should consider supplementing daily with something high in enzymes like bee pollen.  I have heard that peoples UC has been healed just from taking a tablespoon of bee pollen a day, whether blended in smoothie or sprinkled on cereal, I don’t think it matters, the alive active enzymes will really take a burden off of your body- which is why I think raw food with minimal ruffage and fiber is best.
Lastly- boiled and steamed roots should be ok.  I do not recommend baking, for higher temperatures create acrylamide in potatoes, but boiling (212 degrees F) and a little big over with steaming is ok, and there are actually a few benefits to steaming potatoes and root veggies like beets and carrots, like it ruptures the cell walls (thus destroying the fiber) making it easier to digest.
I REALLY hope this helps!! Please keep in touch with me!  You can definitely heal yourself!  All I eat is exactly what I recommended you!! (unless I’m practicing for a demo to serve to the Mcdonalds heads :-/ 😉 )  I eat juices and smoothies and fruit all day and (well i have a giant salad at night) but totally with some steamed sweet potato!  Yum yum!


Much love!!  Good luck! YOU CAN DO IT!!


Don’t give up, never give up, we won’t stop, give it all we’ve got!
You’re an inspiration to us all, xoxoxoxxxx
Disclaimer: I am not yet a registered dietitian, or a doctor.  However I am a dietetics student who knows how to do research.  From what I know now, this is what I would recommend, but there are never definitive answers.  More research ALWAYS needs to be done!!!


Adoption of Vegan Diet in Early Childhood

NUTR 360/490: Life Cycle Nutrition

Spring 2014

Project 1: Keeping Current to Provide Guidance

            With the ever-changing culture of Americans- trying to “go green” and get healthy, vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more and more prevalent. It is necessary for us, the nutrition professionals; to ensure all ages of the population at all stages of life meet dietary reference intakes. The issue is whether or not eliminating animal products from growing children’s diets is beneficial or harmful. From the research that I have conducted, it appears that a child brought up on a vegan diet can meet recommendations and grow healthily with the use of supplements and fortified foods to meet nutrient needs. Although I will also be pointing out what research has shown about the effects of a plant based diet later in life, the population group that I focus on is from pre-conception until puberty, of all ethnicities, economic statuses, and regions. More research should be conducted on the growth rates of vegan babies in comparison to omnivorous children; as well as the bioavailability of different sources of certain nutrients.

There have been studies in the past relating to vegan children having lower growth rates than omnivore children as well as press about vegan babies dying from malnourishment. In 1982, a study was done in a vegan religious community. Twenty-five infants of this community who were seen at the hospital showed evidence of protein-calorie malnutrition, iron and vitamin B12-deficient anemia, rickets, zinc deficiency, and multiple recurrent infections. Evidence of growth retardation was also found in 47 infants seen at the local mother-child health clinic1. It is clear from an anthropometric and dietary assessment of the nutritional status of vegan preschool children2 that deficiencies may occur on macrobiotic diets (more strict vegan diet often not including fortified foods) if the use of fortified foods is prohibited, macrobiotic children may suffer deficiencies of vitamin B12 and vitamin D. However, the article concludes that studies of growth and development of vegetarian children show that when vegetarian children are fed well-balanced diets that follow appropriate guidelines, they grow well. Often, their diets come closer to recommendations by nutrition experts.2 Health parameters in well-nourished vegetarian children may be closer to optimal than children following more standard American patterns.2 In 2002, a vegan couple from New Zealand was accused of child abuse after ‘failing to provide the necessities of life’ for their six-month-old child. Their son died of medical complications due to vitamin B12 deficiency after the parents left the hospital against medical advice to treat their son with herbal remedies. Second Opinions. Vegan Child Abuse.3  Also in 2005, despite the significant available literature on the potential risks of alternate diets, strict vegan parents were taken to court and charged with neglect after one of their children died of malnutrition. 4 My findings may make it seem like a vegetarian or vegan diet in early childhood is a bad idea. However, these studies are based on vegans who have very low calorie or very limited diets. Also, growth charts vary- especially comparing breast-fed infants to bottle-fed babies. Most vegan parents begin with breast-feeding. Growth charts based on formula-fed infants may make it seem that breastfed infants are not growing well because formula-fed infants grow faster than breastfed infants do.5 More research needs to be conducted on comparisons of adaptation of a vegan diet in early childhood comparing standard American diets with well-planned vegan diets. I could not find any recent studies that show that vegan children can have growth rates, which do not differ from those of omnivorous children of the same age. An area of concern for vegans is getting adequate amounts of vitamin B12. One study 6, examined the role of maternal vitamin B12 on fetal growth. Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that is only bioavailable through consumption of animal products and supplements (the vegan supplements are made by the B12-producing bacteria, not animal products.)7 It is still confusing to me why fermented foods like miso and kombucha that contain the bacteria that B12 grow from, and have B12 on their nutrition labels, are not considered a bioavailable source of B12 given that the claim this article makes is that they do not contain the active forms of the vitamin. Another suggestion for a recommendation for the future would be to study bioavailability further and have that coincide with what is written on nutrition labels. Low maternal vitamin B12 status and protein intake are associated with increased risk of neural tube defects, low lean mass and excess adiposity, increased insulin resistance, impaired neurodevelopment and altered risk of cancer in the offspring.8 We can conclude that B12 supplementation is necessary for a healthy baby and adaptation of a vegan diet early in childhood. Although there is need for supplementation, vegetarian diets often contain more fruits, vegetables, and fiber, with less fat and cholesterol, and people who consume them are likely to have reduced risk of chronic disease, weight gain, and weight related illnesses.9 With this in mind, it is necessary that recommendations provide information about healthy vegetarian diets to further promote foods that need to be increased to increase overall health. It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, child- hood, and adolescence, and for athletes.10

In trying to find a natural cure, beneficial effects of fasting followed by a vegetarian diet in rheumatoid arthritis are confirmed by randomized controlled trials.11 The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets may not only be able to prevent chronic disease and weight gain for children later in life, but they can even reverse and lessen the symptoms of these chronic diseases for older adults who already have them if they switch to a more plant based diet.

Vegetarian and vegan diets are appropriate for people of all ages and all stages in life, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescents, and for athletes.16              

References Cited:

  1. Shinwell, ED, and R. Gorodischer. “Totally Vegetarian Diets and Infant Nutrition.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 1982. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6812012&gt;.
  2. Mangels, Reed, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA, and Julia Driggers, RD, CNSC, LDN. “The Youngest Vegetarians- Vegetarian Infants and Toddlers.” Can.sagepub.com. ICAN: Infant, Child & Adolescent Nutrition, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://can.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/content/4/1/8&gt;.
  3. Groves, Barry, PhD, RD, FADA. “Child Abuse by Vegan Parents.” Child Abuse by Vegan Parents. Second Opinions, 9 June 2002. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/child_abuse.html#.Uu7h5SjpbHM&gt;.
  4. Grinberg, Emanuella. “Child Abuse by Vegan Parents.” Child Abuse by Vegan Parents. Court TV Online, 18 Oct. 2005. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/child_abuse.html#.Uu7h5SjpbHM&gt;.
  5. Mangels, Reed, PhD, RD, FADA. “Feeding Vegan Kids.” — The Vegetarian Resource Group. The Vegetarian Resource Group, 2 May 2013. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. <http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php&gt;.
  6. Rush, EC, P. Katre, and CS Yajnik. “Vitamin B12: One carbon metabolism, fetal growth and programming for chronic disease.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219896&gt;.
  7. Board of Trustees at the University of Illinois. “Vitamin B12: What Vegans Need to Know.” – McKinley Health Center. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008. Web. 02 Feb. 2014. <http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/vitamin_b12/vitamin_b12.htm&gt;.
  8. Rush, EC, P. Katre, and CS Yajnik. “Vitamin B12: One carbon metabolism, fetal growth and programming for chronic disease.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219896&gt;.
  9. RD Resources for Consumers. “Vegan Nutrition for School-Age Children.” Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, July 2010. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://www.eatright.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442471778&gt;.

10. “Balancing a Healthy Vegetarian Diet.” Student Health. Student Health Services UC San Diego, 2007. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. <http://studenthealth.ucsd.edu/pdfdocs/balancehealthyvegediet.pdf&gt;.

  1. Michalsen, Li C A. “Fasting Therapy For Treating and Preventing Disease- Current State of Evidence.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 16 Dec. 2013. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24434759&gt;.

15. King, Debbie, MS, RD, LD. “Raising Vegetarian Infants.” Vegetarian Nutrition. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 16 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <http://vegetariannutrition.net/vegetarian-kids/raising-vegetarian-infants/&gt;.

16. Craig, W. J., and A. R. Mangles. “Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2009. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864&gt;.

17. Mangles, Reed, PhD, RD, FADA. “Pregnancy and the Vegan Diet.” VRG Health, Environment, Ethics. The Vegetarian Resource Group, 2005. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/veganpregnancy.php&gt;.

List of Articles for Step 1B:

12. Rush, EC, P. Katre, and CS Yajnik. “Vitamin B12: One Carbon Metabolism, Fetal Growth and Programming for Chronic Disease.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219896&gt;.

13. Turner-McGrievy, Gabrielle M., PhD, MS, RD, Sarah B. Hales, MSW, and Angela C. Baum, PhD. “Transitioning to New Child-Care Nutrition Policies: Nutrient Content of Preschool Menus Differs by Presence of Vegetarian Main Entree.” Www.eatright.org. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. <http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/2212-2672/PIIS2212267213012501.pdf&gt;.

  1. Mangels, Reed, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA, and Julia Driggers, RD, CNSC, LDN. “The Youngest Vegetarians- Vegetarian Infants and Toddlers.” Can.sagepub.com. ICAN: Infant, Child & Adolescent Nutrition, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://can.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/content/4/1/8&gt;.

    This section will be turned in for review separately, then corrected for inclusion in the final project with the list of articles becoming the References Cited section of Step 1B.

B: Review of the Literature
(insert text here as described page 3)

            According to research so far, vegetarian diet patterns are likely to cause good health and if recommendations are met using supplements or animal products, it is possible to raise healthy vegetarian and vegan children. These three articles go over vegetarian diet recommendations and the necessity for nutrients found in animal products or supplements early in life. The first article, “Vitamin B12: one carbon metabolism, fetal growth, and programming for chronic disease,” goes into the necessity of vitamin B12 in the diet. The other two articles, “Transitioning to New Child-Care Nutrition…” and “The Youngest Vegetarians; Vegetarian Infants and Toddlers,” go more in depth about the plant-based nutrition. The “Transitioning…” article suggests how vegetarian diets provide optimal nutrient content while “The Youngest Vegetarians..” describes nutrient recommendations for meeting the needs of vegetarian infants at different stages of growth. The articles show that it is possible to raise a vegetarian or vegan child healthily. However, there isn’t much recent research with data that proves that vegan children meet the same height and growth averages as vegetarian or omnivorous children; there are only alternate suggestions of obtaining nutrients. Also, these alternate suggestions of obtaining nutrients are from supplements- there isn’t much research out there on the bioavailability of various plant super foods and fermented foods that could potentially be used for vegans. As benefits of plant-based diets are becoming better known, more research should be done on the topic.

            The article, “Vitamin B12: one carbon metabolism, fetal growth, and programming for chronic disease,” is a selective literature retrospective cohort review article that goes into how vitamin B12 is not only important for growth and development of the infant, but maternal vitamin B12 is also very important. The purpose of the study was to examine the possible role of maternal vitamin B12 on fetal growth and its programming for susceptibility to chronic disease. Research was reviewed using human and animal studies particularly in the context of a vegetarian diet that may be low in B12. “Low maternal vitamin B12 status is associated with a slew of problems for the baby.”12 The review points out that vegan diets are often low in protein and vitamin B12 and high in carbohydrate- suggesting a necessity for supplementation.

The second research article, “Transitioning to New Child-Care Nutrition Policies” was an observational study with the goal to examine changes that occurred at a large, child-care center during the implementation of new nutrition standards. These changes observed were those in the nutrition content of menus before and after implementation of the new standards, as well as the influence of vegetarian meals on the nutrient content of menus. Also, parent opinions and support for these changes were examined as well as parent support for adding more vegetarian entrees. took place at a large, university-based child-care center serving 200 children at 6 weeks and older in Columbia, SC between June and December 2012. This observational study involved a survey to parents and analysis of nutrient changes of menus before and after the nutrition policy change. The study concluded “adding more vegetarian menu items improve the nutrient content of menus while keeping energy intake, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol levels at a more optimum level.”2 Also, there is high parent support for meeting nutrition needs by adding more vegetarian menu items. 13

The third article, “The Youngest Vegetarians”, was designed to examine key nutritional issues for the youngest vegetarians, from birth to 2 years; which is the time period of rapid growth when nutrient needs are high. It includes recommendations and research from credible sources in a collective manner that shows clearly the nutritional needs of infants at this age and how these needs are best met without the use of animal products.

            There is still little research following the growth of vegan children whose nutrient needs are definitely met. Still, the combination of these articles shows that babies can grow and develop normally if they are given a well balanced vegan or vegetarian diet. There would be less confusion if more available primary prevention tools were available describing how to prevent malnutrition in vegetarian or vegan babies. The articles did a good job showing scientific evidence of the need for supplements and what nutrients to increase, as well as a growing interest in plant based diets. Healthy vegetarian and vegan diets may benefit the high prevalence of chronic disease in America. However, more research needs to be conducted on how early in life adopting a plant-based diet will be beneficial.

References Cited:

1. Rush, EC, P. Katre, and CS Yajnik. “Vitamin B12: One Carbon Metabolism, Fetal Growth and Programming for Chronic Disease.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219896&gt;.

2. Turner-McGrievy, Gabrielle M., PhD, MS, RD, Sarah B. Hales, MSW, and Angela C. Baum, PhD. “Transitioning to New Child-Care Nutrition Policies: Nutrient Content of Preschool Menus Differs by Presence of Vegetarian Main Entree.” Www.eatright.org. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. <http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/2212-2672/PIIS2212267213012501.pdf&gt;.

  1. Mangels, Reed, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA, and Julia Driggers, RD, CNSC, LDN. “The Youngest Vegetarians- Vegetarian Infants and Toddlers.” Can.sagepub.com. ICAN: Infant, Child & Adolescent Nutrition, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://can.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/content/4/1/8&gt;.

C: Credible Sources of Information for Populations Affected

#1 – Title: Raising Vegetarian Infants

URL: http://vegetariannutrition.net/vegetarian-kids/raising-vegetarian-infants/

Date: October 16, 2013

Sponsor/Author: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Information provided:

            This pdf file shows how to raise a vegetarian baby, what foods a mother can feed a vegan baby, and how to make sure that a vegan or vegetarian baby is healthy. This is a primary prevention paper educating the public about how babies can grow and develop normally if they are given a well-balanced vegetarian diet. The pamphlet even provides a sample menu for an 11-month old vegan infant, as well as a table of dietary reference intakes for key nutrients for infants.


            This information is all quite credible since it comes from a reputable source. It also provides some easy to understand guidance and recommendations. However, it is not easily accessible, and the majority of mothers out there might not understand how to meet the dietary reference intakes.


#2 – Title: Pregnancy and the Vegan Diet

URL: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/veganpregnancy.php

Date: 1999

Sponsor/Author: The Vegetarian Resource Group

Information provided:

            This webpage goes in depth about nutrient needs for a pregnant women. It educates about weight gain, nutrients of concern, and how to obtain nutrients and have a healthy pregnancy with a vegan diet.


            This article is taken from a book written in 2005, so it is quite outdated. However, the more recent “Raising Vegetarian Infants” from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, uses this article as a reference. If such a credible source as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is still using this outdated information for its own articles, I think it is safe to say that it is still credible.


#3 – Title: Vegetarian Diets For Pregnancy

URL: http://pcrm.org/pdfs/health/pregnancy_factsheet.pdf

Date: Feb 2005

Sponsor/Author: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Information provided:

            This article provides charts to help a pregnant women plan balanced vegan meals. It goes over guidelines for good health during pregnancy, with menu ideas, breast-feeding information, as well as all of the nutrients of concern during pregnancy and how to meet those needs.


            The sponsor, “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” seems quite credible. However, this article (as is every other article I could find on this subject) is quite outdated. I do think it has good information, but new research should be done and new guidelines should be made accordingly.


D: Providing Guidance – Option # 2


A questionable health conscious mother might ask this question. Parents want to do whatever they can to provide the most quality care to their children. If there is evidence out there that a vegan or vegetarian diet will help their child be healthy in the long run, they will do what they can to provide that for them.


  1. Are there any notable benefits to raising a child vegetarian or vegan?


            It is clear that later in life, well-balanced vegan and vegetarian diets may not only prevent, but help to reverse the chronic diseases are a problem in America.13 More studies definitely need to done to provide current advice on whether or not vegetarian and vegan children have normal growth patterns during their most rapid stages of growth.14 Increased phytonutrients, fiber, and antioxidants of concern do appear to be beneficial during pregnancy and child birth, helping them go smoothly as well as decreased incidences of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes in vegetarian and vegan mothers. 2 One can conclude that a vegan pregnancy and a baby-raised vegan can be healthy, but it is still unknown whether or not this baby is necessarily healthier than omnivorous babies. However, vegan mothers are much more concerned about meeting their nutritional needs than omnivorous mothers, so often the help and guidance ends up making them meeting their nutrient needs better than omnivorous mothers who wouldn’t look to intensely at their diet pattern.1


A vegan or humane mother who is considering how to meet her needs without the use of animal products would ask this question. She is looking for what nutrients are of extra concern if she isn’t consuming animal products during her pregnancy and how those needs might be met. If the information is easily accessible and sounds easy to accomplish, she is likely to go forth with trying a plant-based pregnancy and upbringing.


  1. What are the nutrients of concern for vegan babies and mothers, and how should those nutrient needs met?


            It is still recommended that the first food babies consume is breast milk. 15 Vegan mothers need to consider their nutrient intake prior to conception. “Low maternal vitamin B12 status and protein intake are associated with increased risk of neural tube defect, low lean mass and excess adiposity, increased insulin resistance, impaired neurodevelopment, and altered risk of cancer in the offspring.” 1 “Breast milk levels of vitamin B12 have been postulated to be proportional to maternal dietary intake rather than maternal vitamin B12 stores.”2 Key nutrients of concern are protein, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc. After 4-6 months, or when babies begin to show that they are ready for solid foods, the first solid food for vegan infants should be baby cereal fortified with iron and zinc, mixed with breast milk. It should be thin in the beginning of introduction, made thicker over time. As cereal is accepted, one new food can be started every 3-4 days. When baby is 7-8 months old, or is ready, add foods like well-cooked and mashed or pureed dried beans, mashed tofu, and soy yogurt. A mix of iron and zinc fortified infant cereal, breast milk, whole grains, soy and soy products, as well as other beans and legumes, vegetables, and fruits in the diet, prepared in a fashion that is easily digested by the infant (chopped, steamed, mashed, pureed, etc) would meet the needs of a typical 11-month old vegan infant. 14


A vegan woman who would like to have a child in the near future who is concerned about her nutrient status would ask this. It is good that she is aware of the concerns about nutrient stores prior to pregnancy, and she is preparing to take action in the right direction to seek advice to ensure her child will not be malnourished.


  1. What supplements should I start taking to ensure I have my nutrient needs met prior to, and throughout my pregnancy?


            Before thinking about individual nutrients, it is important to know how much weight the mother will need to gain and how many calories to take in throughout her pregnancy. This can be figured out by using the pre-pregnant BMI. If the potential mother is underweight, she will have to gain 28-30 pounds, whereas an obese potential mother, will be recommended to gain 11-20 pounds.17  Fortified beverages and cereals may provide the necessary vitamin B12 prior to pregnancy. It would be a good idea to have blood tested for levels of iron to ensure there is no iron deficiency anemia prior to pregnancy. Iron supplements during pregnancy are commonly recommended along with iron-rich foods because iron needs increase. Vitamin B12 definitely needs to be supplemented because as far as research shows now, there is no plant food that produces naturally bioavailable vitamin B12. Levels of protein, calcium, vitamin D, folate, DHA, and iodine in the diet should also be checked prior to supplementing, and work with a professional to get supplements necessary or to change your dietary habits to meet your needs better.6

Friends? Boyfriends? Superpowers? Do vegans lose all their friends?

It’s funny when people ask me, oh are you still talking to so and so? Because in my head sometimes I hear it as, : Like wait do you have friends anymore?

Recently, I don’t mind this question. I am too inspired. I just want to wake up and accomplish my goals. I am a beast at blowing people off … :-/


I feel like I am consumed in an unhealthy relationship with a boyfriend who takes up all my time so I never see my friends anymore, but I don’t have a boyfriend…


Funny how I love accomplishing goals and being inspired. In the back of my mind I have always thought things like, “aww I really want to be able to do a backflip before I die” (accomplished with senior year varsity cheerleading OW OW!!! WORKED MY @$$ OFF!!) or “I really want to be able to just run up a tree and do a back flip” here’s a list of the aspirations following my main goal of becoming a superhero:

  • I really want to go to Living Light Culinary School and learn how to “cook” incredible raw vegan healing food
  • I really want to go to Institute of Integrative Nutrition and become a holistic health counselor
  • I really want to go to “Conscious Eating”’s author Gabriel Cousens’s retreat in Arizona, Tree of Life
  • I really want to go to Hippocrates in florida and see them cure cancer
  • I really want to jump off really high cliffs and not be scared
  • Do 3 pull ups

Things like that. Being a strong superhero. Getting better at the activities I enjoy.  Looking fear in the face, loving challenges. Another disease, another challenge for the unstoppable ME.


I would fall asleep thinking about these aspirations of mine. Getting excited about all the things I would do… once I got my degree. Because that’s what you do after high school. You go to college. So I was excited to study dietetics, nutrition, fitness, and health at Purdue! Where I have been a pretty good wanna-be superhero 🙂 .. anyways..


When the superhero goal became a fuzzy glimpse in the distance, the universe sent me the most compassionate lad, halfway through my sophormore year, who has done all of my aspirations. Well, 5 outta 6. Holistic health counselor, raw vegan chef from Living Light, went to Gabriel Cousens, can do well over 3 pull ups, jump off high cliffs, and do fucking back flips off of trees.. and gives food to homeless people.. and is.. ya know.. a fucking angel.


The universe sent me a superhero, whose time spent with me is always short, (or at least seems short), sweet, and much needed.  Containing all of the superhero qualities I desire, like strength, and the know how to save the world.

All I want to do now is accomplish my goals and inspire others by doing what I love. Because, from dealing frusteratingly with my sister and observing sick people that I care about, a superhero can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved, no matter how great their powers.


We possess the most complex superpower. At my early stages of aspiring to be a superhero, I had no idea how complex our powers really could be.

They mess with peoples culture, their belief system, their comfort zones, and their habits. Though our superpower is extremely effective, it only works if the necessary individual accepts the stages of behavioral change.

I can’t help people. People help people. As my mom says a hundred times over,


So- that being said- it is very difficult to not be a frusterated crazy person about veganism!

Is that a superpower maybe? Speaking up when necessary? Where’s the line between obnoxious/ anti social and effective and life saving? Where’s the line between being weird because you don’t see your friends as often as you used to, or as you should, or being fucking awesome for being inspired and loving what your doing and having enough passion to enjoy doing you and accomplishing more and more goals everyday?!

I am struggling with this idea, this balance. It seems I have been seeing people who are excited and passionate about the same things as I am lately. I do want to see old friends and have close relationships, but they seem to be slowly fading. At first I was really upset about it, but lately, eh, I suppose people are always changing, and as we grow older new relationships form that resonate more and more with who we grow up to be.  Which is nice 🙂 I met incredible friends at the Thai Fruit Fest! Its weird coming back from school for the summer. And its weird being all of a sudden so fucking inspired and passionate with saving the world and inspiring people and getting stronger and smashing it.


I don’t mean to be anti social or antisocial seeming. But with veganism, and that weird superpower I was talking about about speaking up, ya know?  I think that a perfect situation can be a perfect opportunity. There are times when it is ok to say true to yourself and be honest (like when asked), and there are times when it is necessary to keep your mouth shut. I will never give anyone a hard time. And I hope nobody gives me a hard time! I am open to eating animal products if I so desire, honestly. (which I haven’t desired in a while! haha) It is the people who need to be saved who I am worried about.

All in all, I am the happiest luckiest girl in the world. A huge shout out to friends ❤ I am so lucky to have many great people in my life.  I have a superhero, not a boyfriend.. but I know he loves to make me laugh. 😉 And I can’t wait to accomplish everything on my list. I’m certainly working on it ❤

Xoxo the aspiring superhero

Lettuce Have Healthcare Tacos!


Arriving home from Purdue, my father left me a wonderful surprise gift!  A DVD of a Naturopathic Medicine course by Dr. Mimi Guarneri!  I am so inspired and excited watching it!


It’s funny how much I already know- like I think it is kind of silly how it is such a breakthrough that they are prescribing yoga and the elimination diet to people to heal!  Haha!  I’ve been interning with Christine Lucas who has been doing that for years!  Finally people are catching on- I can’t waaaaiiiiit to get my ND!!



From what I have seen of the DVD so far, they emphasize how health care these days is actually not health care at all- it is sick care!  The system is fantastic at diagnosing and treating issues quickly!  Applause to the sick care system!  But for chronic disease, lifelong issues and truly making people healthy, finding what the cause is and truly 100% curing the issue… not so much… The doctor in the DVD painted a picture:


If you planted a tree and your tree’s leaves started to wilt and turn brown and dry out, what would you do?  You would give it more water and give it plenty of sunlight, right?  Well if your tree were given to an MD in America, the problem leaves/ branches would be chopped off- not truly healing your tree, just a quick fix.


😀 So inspired to continue shining my light!  Go vegetarian diets, fun exercise, relaxation, sleep, sunshine, and love ❤ !  Happiness is in your power to change perception!  Take care of your beautiful body!  And enjoy these simple recipes!


Mango Tomato Corn Tacos:

Serves 1-2, takes 5 minutes prep time

  • 2 organic Haitian mangos, diced
  • about 1 cup of thinly sliced zuccini
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 2 cups of organic corn
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce

Measurements are up to you, and you can use any yummy veggies and fruits you like! Maybe chop them different than I did? Whatever!  Just mix em all together and fill your romaine leaves and choww dowwn!


It’s funny how I loveeee salad so much- people think you need to be super disciplined to enjoy your greens.  Not this girl!  That crispy soft romaine! MMMM!!! Too delish!  Plain as it is- crave worthy fo shoo!


I also made Black Bean and Corn Burgers for my family for mother’s day.  They are one of my mom’s favorite vegan recipes, and they were pretty good as an addition to my mango corn tomato tacos!  Give it a go!

They are high carb and almost fat free!  Perf for raw till 4-ers!

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil (optional- could just use a little water to cook the onions)
  • 3 cups (or 2 cans) cooked black beans, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt (I didn’t use any salt)
  • black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3 cups quick oats, plus extra as needed
  • 3/4 cups fresh (or frozen and thawed) organic NOT GMO PLEASE corn
  1. Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil for eight to ten minutes, or until golden, soft, and fragrant.
  2. Add 2 cups of the beans, the cumin, the paprika, the chili powder, the sea salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the sauté pan till all is warm.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  4. Add the oats to the bowl of a food processor and pulse them a few times. Add the onion, garlic, and bean mixture. Process everything together, until it’s well combined but still has texture.
  5. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the last cup of black beans and the corn and mix well with your hands. Check for seasoning and season to taste. If the mixture is too mushy to form into patties, add a little more oats or bread crumbs.
  6. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, shape mixture into patties.  I think it made 8? Transfer burgers to a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (or until golden), flipping once through.  No cooking spray or parchment paper needed!  These guys don’t stick!
  7. Enjoy with a deep breath and a smile 🙂 ❤ xoxo Dream big, carb up!!