6 Tips to Positive Self Talk

Look good, feel good. Honored to have an article published on my fashionable friend: Kelly Schneider’s blog diamondsfordimes where she shows how to make all the latest looks affordable. Check it out!  Thinking about my love for fashion, I am reminded of the dark side. The perfectionist part of me that always wished my waist was smaller and my boobs were bigger.. anyone out there relate? Let’s love ourselves in our own skin! Gawd Dangit!

6 Tips to Positive Self Talk:


Here are some tips to turn off those thoughts going off in our heads that are just, unnecessary. Since I began making these simple changes, I have been feeling more free and beautiful everyday. I hope that you feel the same.

  1. Notice Negativity: The first step to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is noticing the negative thoughts in the first place. Those thoughts we throw around casually, “This sucks”, “I’m so dumb.” We all do it. Once we notice it happening, we can harness it and change how we think, “I am growing and learning from my mistakes.”
  2. Get the Gratitude Attitude: Instead of thinking about what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we do Try thinking through things to be grateful for when the negative thoughts come.
  3. The Opinion That Matters: The approval from others may seem important, but actually the approval from that we give ourselves is what really matters. The opinions of others will always change, but our opinions of ourselves will last a lifetime.
  4. Embrace Uniqueness: Remember in middle school when all we wanted was to fit in? Well, in adulting, only the standouts are the successful ones. Embrace what makes you special and use it to your advantage. Only after doing this can we create the best version of ourselves.
  5. Practice Self Care: Eating healthily, keeping good hygiene habits, and doing physical activity that we enjoy regularly will effortlessly add up to a positive outlook on life.
  6. Are your peeps positive? Notice the influence of others; it is easy to chime in when people are complaining. Try to be that one voice that says, “hey, things really aren’t all that bad, I’m not going to let that ruin my day.”


Fashion is nothing without a healthy body to show it off. I hope this article helped you to take control of your health and well being to shine every day in your own beautiful way. ❤

Enjoy and Control Your Health: Introducing My Mindful Eating Video!

….Whoever said you needed to give up ____ to be healthy, never heard of mindful eating.  Whether trying to lose weight, combat cravings, or simply enjoy food even more, the benefits to mindful eating are endless.

Learn to Stop Mindless Eating

As a senior studying dietetics who has learned the hard way that taking the stress out on my food never helps the way I want it to, I am beyond excited to share this short video that I put together for my Nutrition Communications class so you can start achieving your life-long health goals with mindful eating.

Anna (left) and Katie ((me!) right) dive deep into statistics and research
Anna (left) and Katie ((me!) right) dive deep into statistics and research

Find Out: What Is Mindful Eating?

Pause, take a deep breath, and flex your savor muscle.  Just like any skill, it takes practice to get good at it.  It is asking yourself, what does the food look like?  Where did it come from? Why am I eating it? What does it smell like…sound like…feel like? Do I like it?  What do I like about it?  How does it feel when I chew it?  Is it crunchy? Moist? Hot?

Get Advice From An Expert

Registered Dietitian Rachel Clark of Purdue University discusses what mindful eating is, how it has benefitted her clients, and how to get started eating more mindfully.
Registered Dietitian Rachel Clark of Purdue University discusses what mindful eating is, how it has benefitted her clients, and how to get started eating more mindfully.

I incorporated knowledge from the professor who initially taught me about mindful eating, Rachel Clark, MS, RD, CSST into the video.  She taught me how mindful eating is about eating without distractions or negative judgement, and enjoying the foods you like with acceptance.

Will it be effective for you?

Learn how to recognize triggers for eating. Just taking a second to take a deep breath and rationalize emotions can help to take just one candy bar and savor it- instead of 5 and still wanting more.
Learn how to recognize triggers for eating. Just taking a second to take a deep breath and rationalize emotions can help to take just one candy bar and savor it- instead of 5 and still wanting more.

Would you believe that people actually make healthier choices and have effortless weight loss when they eat whatever they want whenever they want, mindfully?

At least once a day, practice mindful eating.

This means stop, and do nothing, but eat.  Yes, turn off the t.v., close the laptop, and take even just 5 minutes to enjoy it.  Pay attention and appreciate its taste and texture, and be grateful for the food and where it came from.

To Watch The Video: Click HERE

15 Habits For The New Year: Resolutions To Live By

Habits are everything. Let’s make a list of the habits we are proud of and a list of the habits we are not so proud of. This year, continue to build those constructive actions that make you happy. Here, you will find inspiration for good habits to make, and how to work on them.


1.    Wake up with an intention -Will it be gratitude and happiness or complaining and dismay today? The choice is yours. Make the decision, and set an intention to stick to. Make it a habit to wake up like this.


2.    Spend time with loved ones – Let’s put an end to the habit of blowing people off for work.  Love and love and nothing else, is all we need. Workaholics (like myself) are prone to opting out of quality time. This year, put love on top.

3.    Have Fun – What do you absolutely LOVE to do? Are you doing it? Like, ever? Well, you should be! This life is too short to not do what makes us happy. Get in the habit of committing some time to fuel your fun. Trust me, it’ll make it easier to focus in the long run.

positive quote1

4.    Turn around the negativity – Beautiful people are having complainy conversations these days, so let’s put an end to it. Next time someone complains to you, it is important to be empathetic, yes, but it is also important to recognize the good in life. Try not to let the complainers bring you down. Even worse is negative self-talk. We are all guilty of telling ourselves we suck now and then. Let’s consciously make it a habit to notice the negativity and turn it around.

Check out the full article here!

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

Phytochemicals, Cancer, and Raw Food Vs. Cooked Food

Dr. Silvia D. Stan of Purdue University presented a very interesting lecture, “Cancer Prevention and Phytochemicals.”

After researching so much about GMOs and listening to Purdue University’s Food Toxicology expert, Dr. Huber’s talk, it is clear to me that GMOs pose a threat to the health and safety of Americans.

According to Dr. Stan’s talk, cancer is a disease of malfunctioning cells.  Tumors develop initially from normal cells and can either become benign (localized, non-invasive) or malignant (invasive, metastatic) tumors.  Benign tumors are more common as people get older and won’t be a problem unless they disrupt the function of the body.  For example, a benign tumor on the skin would most likely be harmless, but a benign tumor in the brain would start compressing the brain and have a severe effect.  Also, a benign tumor in the thyroid gland, would interfere with endocrine function causing hypothyroidism.  Malignant tumors are the definition of cancer, they can go to neighboring tissues and grow large tumors. They can start in one organ, say in the breast for example, and can metastasize, say into bone tissue (sarcoma), and spread throughout the body.

Tumors that arise from different tissues have different names.  Tumors that arise from epithelial cells (skin cells) are called carcinomas which account for 80% of tumors.  Examples of tumors that arise from non-epithelial cells could be sarcomas which is cancer of the bone, as well as leukemia, and lymphomas, which is cancer in the blood, and gliomas (brain or spine originating from glial cells), and neuroblastoma which are nervous tissue tumors as well.

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Dr. Stan discussed how according to the figure above, the estimated new cases of cancer is different than the estimated deaths caused by cancer as of 2013.  This means that there are still many issues with the effectiveness of the treatment of different types of cancer, so it is important that we learn how to prevent it.

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This slide goes over how cancer develops.  Dr. Stan explained how all cancers initially start off as normal tissue, and they develop progressively.  I am personally extremely interested in this again for learning about what dangers GMOs might bring to normal tissues, as well as how to naturally prevent and reverse cancer, possibly with a raw vegan diet rich in phytochemicals.  “As normal cells accumulate mutations, they start getting transformed into benign tumors, and as they accumulate more mutations, that tissue becomes more transformed, and it starts to proliferate.” As you can see in the image above the integrity of the cell changes.  The normal cells have a small nuclei and as cancer progression continues the nuclei becomes large and the cell divides rapidly and easily.  “Normal cells start accumulating mutations and for pancreatic cancer examples of this are K-ras patients and HER2, these are oncogenes which get mutated and then they get activated, and they lead to proliferation of cells.  As more mutations get accumulated, for example p16, p53, DPC4, BRCA2, those are examples of tumor suppressor genes that get mutated and therefore inactivated.  ‘Tumor Suppressor Genes’ keep the tumor small, so when they get inactivated the early lesion can grow faster and may lead to more advanced lesions and eventually the development of cancer and the metastasis to other organs.”  Dr. Stan explained how cancer development can take decades, which means there leaves a large window for preventive strategies or for preventive agents to be utilized to prevent the development or the progression of cancer.

Both hereditary and environmental factors can influence cancer risk.

Diet an Cancer: Things to Consider:

May Increase Cancer Risk:

  • Excessive Fat Intake
  • Excessive Calorie Intake

“It has been shown also that in rodents that caloric restriction can lead to reduced risk of developing cancer”

May Reduce Cancer Risk:

  • Dietary Fiber (adequate amounts are important for prevention of several types of cancer, such as colon cancer)
  • Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, especially important for maintaining health status)
  • Phytochemicals (have been shown to have the potential to prevent the development of cancer)

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“There are other factors in the diet that can lead to the development of cancer, this has to do with carcinogens.  For example, high intakes of grilled meat can lead to increased risk of some cancers.  That is primarily from the compounds that get formed during grilling.

A fellow student in the class asked if these carcinogens are present on other grilled foods, such as grilled vegetables.  Dr. Stan explained, “Different compounds are formed when different macromolecules get burned.  Meats are high in protein, and obviously are going to lead to the formation of different compounds.  There are also nitrosamines in meat products, especially in processed meats, which are going to lead to the development of cancer as well.

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There are thousands and thousands of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables.  Research is underway to determine which ones are most bioactive.

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Increased phytonutrient intake doesn’t just decrease risk of cancer, but other diseases!

“In order for a phytochemical to be effective, what do you think will need to happen?”

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“We consume different amounts of fruits and vegetables, how much of those are needed because so much is needed for a beneficial effect.  In order for these phytochemicals to work they need to be present in enough amounts in the blood.  Researchers are going to see different diets that show effect with different levels of phytochemicals.  It is important to have physiological and feasible levels to be able to make a correlation that that is going to make an effect.  So, plasma levels of phytochemicals are important for activity.”

Raw vs. Cooked Food:

“Also, how the food is processed is going to effect the amount of active compounds that work.  “Raw food vs. cooked food.”  During the metabolism and absorption some phytochemicals need to be broken in a certain way so they can be congugated, and in order to be absorbed they need the action of a certain enzyme. For example for isothiocyanates, they need an enzyme called myrosinase, which is released during chewing of the raw vegetable.  If the food is boiled, the enzyme is inactivated, so obviously that is going to effect the action of the phytochemicals.  So, the contents in the food can effect the amount of the active compound.”

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As you can see, Dr. Stan mentioned how the bioavailability and composition of phytochemicals can vary.  This made me think of organic vs. GMO as well as fruits and vegetables ripened in ethylene gas chambers as opposed to picked when ripe.  I can imagine the picked ripe, organic fruits have vegetables have more phytochemicals than GMO conventional ones.

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Confessions of a Vegan Girly Girl

As a sorority sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a 3 year Jergans tanning lotion junkie, bashful bra stuffer, and $$$ spender of all things high heels, chiffon, and trendy, I have had a pretty crazy change of priorities.


No matter how many products you use or what your skin feels like right now, I hope you know how beautiful and incredible you truly are.  We don’t give ourselves enough credit.  May your opinion of yourself be the highest of all your opinions.  Your truest, best version of yourself is always better than a sub-par replica of someone else.


You bring something unique that this planet needs.  Embrace everyday to it’s fullest potential, and show the world what you’re made of.  Perceptions from others will always change, but your perception of yourself won’t- and you will be living with yourself for a very long time.


   You are not discount material, so treat yourself right, you expensive piece of heaven you!! Let your hair down ladies, let’s see you shine ❤

happy girls are the prettiest

1. Shower Minimally

In trying to meet my vitamin D needs in the dead of winter, it is essential that I keep as many oils on my skin as possible.  When I do shower- it’s always under 10 minutes and never too hot.  Hot water really dries out my skin and strips my oils.  It’s funny- I never shower, but I really don’t smell.  Working out at the gym, sweaty people walk by and you either smell this intense urea / ammonia BO (caused from excess amino acids leaching out through the skin, causing intense body odor- sounds bogus but so true- study ammonia pathways and how it is excreted!) or you smell the strong deodorants, which have been shown in many studies and articles to contain that ammonium stuff that may be a very preventable cause of breast cancer.  In staying hydrated and eating a mindful, delicious, high carbohydrate diet, my skin naturally seems softer and I find myself sweating out the grapefruits and oranges I ate for breakfast 😀 yumm.. citrus!

2. Toss The Deodorant

Haha, hippie freak much?  Yes, and proud of it.  Like I said, deodorant = disease.  I am happy to admit I do use a natural deodorant that the compassionateclimber made.  I just put it in an old BAN deodorant container and use it just the same.  I’m not sure of the recipe he used, but this recipe from wellnessmama looks good:

1. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler over medium heat until barely melted. UPDATE: Combine in a quart size glass mason jar with a lid instead and place this in a small saucepan of water until melted. This will save your bowl and you can just designate this jar for these type of projects and not even need to wash it out…

2. Remove from heat and add baking soda and arrowroot (If you don’t have arrowroot, use more baking soda)

3. Mix well

4. Add essential oils and pour into a glass container for storage. 5. It does not need to be stored in the fridge.

6. If you prefer, you can let it cool completely and put into an old deodorant stick for easier use, though it may melt in the summer!

This recipe from crunchybetty also looks good, and easier too.

 3. Cut Back On The Hair Care

I used to have an itchy dry scalp.  Washing my hair less (I wash my hair 2-3 times a week), keeping the natural oils, helps a lot.  Of course I still workout and get sweaty- can’t tell.  In fact, my bestie Caroline curled my hair on Friday, it’s Monday night, and I got compliments on my beautiful curly hair all day long!  WTF hahaha.  Gotta love minimal living.  Caroline’s like you’re hair’s still curled?!  My friend Elizabeth is like, “It looks so good!!”  Yup. Not washing it.  Not to mention the more I wash and straighten/ curl my hair the more dead and drab it becomes with more and more dead ends, which means more frequent trims, which means more $$$ flying out of my poor college student pocket!  Kale no!

4. Makeup is Unnecessary

Sigh I’ll admit.  I still like to wear make-up.  It’s a practice I’m working on though.  I only wear it a few days a week, like definitely on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s when I teach (because my classes are events and should be treated as such) Or when I need to look super professional.  I have noticed it is kind of unnecessary though.  Like I used to rely heavily on the foundation to cover up redness or bumpiness.  My skin is really pretty smooth and uniform these days, seriously can’t complain.  I recently bought some natural vegan mascara from Sunspot that I feel better about using occasionally, and am looking for more natural products to help ease my transition.  I know Karyn’s Raw has an amazing line in Chicago that I would like to look further into.

5. Coconut Oil Is The Wonder Product

Face, hair, lips, and legs, I put this stuff everywhere!  Chea on these frigid days I will definitely put a little on my face after I shower.  Coconut oil is perfect on my ends when I straighten my hair too- or if you’re looking for an all over deep conditioning treatment!  Lost your lip gloss- again?!  Slather on some coconut oil! Leaves a beautiful non-sticky shine and moisturizes like heaven!  Post-shaving, this stuff brings incredible smooth moisture and soft skin.  Not to mention- coconut oil is the perfect massage oil and naturally anti-fungal and anti-bacterial yummy smelling lubricant.  Have fun ladies!  Keep that coconut oil close by!


Deep Dish Mexican Inspiration Pizza

Deep Dish Mexican Inspiration Pizza and Guacamole! The crust, so flakey, light, and crisp!  Absolutely delishh with a nice bite of warm refried beans and soy cheeze with cooling, crunchy, flavor-filled veggies!!

Thank you, Jesse Fabrikant.DEEPDISHMEXPIZZA

Jesse has infinite passion and excitement.  He wants nothing more than to share his zest for life- inspiring others.  Such a positive light to be around, Jewish Jesse made a beautiful Shabbat dinner for his friends and I.  Jesse, the rock-climbing vegetarian, views fears as opportunities. “The more something scares you, the better the opportunity.”


I connected with Jesse in so many ways!  He reminded me so much of myself in his mission to find and pursue his purpose on this planet.  He, too wants to be the best, happiest, and most passionate version of himself.


(No, there is no pot growing in that hydroponic! Lots of yummy herbs though! 🙂 )

After being on our parents’ path for so long (high school, college…) it is time for us to listen to our hearts, and follow our own paths.  What that might be, it is up to us. Let it be challenging, scary, and let everyday be the f&^%ing best day you could ever imagine.  It can happen…  It is happening right now 🙂  You can get inspired by Jesse by visiting his brand new website at www.themoderncitizen.wordpress.com.  He climbs, and composts 😀


For the pizza!?! :

The Dough:


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil (or substitute with apple sauce)
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 Tbs white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/ 45 degrees C)







  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl.  Mix in oil and warm water.
  2. Spread out on a greased and floured deep dish pan.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20-25 minutes, or until just golden perfection 🙂

The Toppings:


Up to you!! This is what we did:

  • Refried beans spread out on the bottom
  • shredded daiya cheese (then put back in the oven for a minute to melt the cheese a little)
  • organic frozen corn, thawed
  • diced tomato
  • diced bell pepper
  • cilantro, chopped
  • guacamole (on the side to dip the crust in, or to dollop on top 😛 NOM!
  • eat mindfully! Shabbot Shalom!


  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime, squeezed for juice
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
  1. Mash avocados with lime juice to form a smooth consistency
  2. Fold in the tomato, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno
  3. Mix well and be merry! Mmmm Mmm MMMMMmmm!


5 Tips: Create The Best Version Of Yourself


Infinite Waters has a deep understanding of enlightenment.  I invite you to check out his videos and read this article I wrote with his inspiration in mind.


Rethink your existence. Everything you do is a choice. Realize that you are free. We were brought up to do, to provide, go to school, go to work and to make money. Guess what? We’re human beings not human doings. At this time in your life, realize every second you spend in a day is 100 percent your choice. You choose to wake up to go to 7:30 a.m. class. Nobody is forcing you. So quit complaining! If it doesn’t serve you, let it go. I am looking forward to using what I learn in my classes in my future. If you really don’t want to go to class, I suggest you seriously reconsider what you are doing with your life, open your heart and listen to your passions. Once you realize you are free, you can embrace happiness and practice becoming the best version of yourself.

Be yourself. It all starts with self-love. There will always be people with opinions who think you are this type of person or that type of person. What you do have the power to change is your opinion of your self. When we embrace who we are, full throttle, is when we really start to live to be the best versions of ourselves. There is something within you that nobody else has to offer. Be yourself and grace the world with your presence .

Love is greater than fear.  Fear means False Evidence Appearing Real. I can think of too many things I do out of fear: fear of the future, fear of consequences, fear of disapproval, fear of judgment, fear of disappointment… the list goes on. I’m practicing turning this around, as I begin to do more things out of love.  My list looks something like this: love of dancing, love of yoga, love of friends, love of learning, love of trying new things, love of a good challenge. Everyone has a different list of what they love or what brings them joy. We are all beautiful and unique so, let what brings you love guide you to find the best version of your self.

Cure your “disease to please.” We don’t have to act small to get people to like us. In your attempt to please your parents, teachers, or even your friends, have you lost who you really are? In college, it is easy to fall into the party scene. Friends want you to go out with them. Don’t forget who you are in your journey to providing the most positive contribution possible to this planet.  The only person you have to please is yourself.  Letting go of relationships that no longer serve you may open doors to relationships that do serve you.

There is no such thing as a mistake.  Okay, hold up. Yes, there’s definitely such a thing, but it’s really all about how you look at it. Some people look for ways to make more mistakes so that they can learn and become wise. Others, like me, will misplace her keys and a week later, lose them again. What is huge about this is, not letting it get to you. Why worry?  Why stress? There is nothing I can do in the meantime besides think, look, and keep moving forward. Complaining, crying or freaking out is not constructive.  Like I said, I’m still working on this one, but in striving to become the best version of myself, I practice noticing when stress pours over me and laughing at it  as I try to let it go and move on.

I also suggest eating plant foods. Feeding your body the medicine nature grows for us is fundamentally beneficial for your own well-being. Maybe you think my suggestions are bogus or too spiritual. But, in my journey, I have noticed as I embrace what I love, opportunities fall into my lap. So much serendipity. At the CoRec, I get to share my passions for dancing, yoga and even the amazing and delicious raw vegan cuisine in the demo kitchen! If that wasn’t enough, you’re reading my article as the health fitness columnist for this newspaper and my little diary of a blog www.vitaminkatie.wordpress.com, that only my mom read, now has over 100 followers!

Every day is the best day ever.  Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just how I look at it .