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    RAISING VEGAN CHILDREN AND TEENS

    INFANTS Even the most confident vegan adults might feel a little nervous about a vegan diet for their newborn baby. Infants typically triple their weight in the first year of life and need enough nutritious food to see them through this early growth spurt. Can a vegan diet satisfy their needs? During the first months of a baby’s life, this isn’t even an issue. All infants start out as vegetarians. Or, to be more correct, they begin their lives as “lactarians.” For the first four months or so, infants don’t need anything other than breast milk. It’s the perfect, complete food for a newborn. Unless they are given B12 supplements…

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    A HEALTHY START Vegan Diets in Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding

    Family members, friends, and even your health-care provider might express surprise and concern at the idea of a vegan pregnancy. But vegan diets can easily meet the nutritional needs of you and your growing baby. The proof comes from a 1987 study of 775 women living on the Farm, a vegan community in Tennessee.1 The researchers looked at weight gain in pregnant women and birth weights of their babies—two important measures of a healthy pregnancy. They found that the women’s vegan diets had no effect on the birth weights of their babies and that their own weight gain during pregnancy was adequate. In fact, these women actually gained a little…

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    VEGAN ON A BUDGET

    Making the change to a vegan diet won’t automatically save you money, but it’s easy enough to plan healthy and enjoyable meals with a budget in mind. There’s a balance, though: The best way to cut back on food expenses is to eat out less frequently and limit pricey convenience foods. But that usually translates to more time spent cooking, and not everyone has that time. Here are a few ideas that will help you save money without spending hours in the kitchen. • Cook beans and grains from scratch but in large enough quantities to stretch for several meals. Leftovers don’t have to be the same old thing. Serve…

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    MAKING THE TRANSITION TO A VEGAN DIET

    When you go meatless and dairy-free, what on earth do you eat? Some of the best food you’ve ever tasted! It would seem that dropping entire food categories from your menus would leave a diet that feels very restricted. But upon going vegan, many people find that their food horizons actually expand as they explore new menu items like crusty barbecued Indonesian tempeh, sweet almond milk, crispy falafel croquettes, and tangy sesame butter sauce. Dining at a vegan table is anything but dull! But what if exotic fare isn’t your thing? What if you have neither the patience nor time to follow a recipe? That’s fine. You can build healthful…

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    Stocking the Vegan Pantry

    Your vegan pantry will depend on your food preferences, of course, as well as your cooking style. Gourmet cooks may have shelves filled with specialty condiments and exotic ingredients from international grocery stores, while non-cooks may opt for a little (or a lot) more convenience. You can find the majority of these foods in any conventional grocery store. A few require a trip to a natural foods store, and depending on where you live, some may be available only by mail order. Pantry Basics Dried and canned beans: You’ll find black, navy, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, and lima beans, plus lentils, black-eyed peas, and split peas in most grocery stores. Check…

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    THE VEGAN FOOD GUIDE

    Food guides have been a part of nutrition education in the United States for nearly one hundred years. They’ve come a long way too. The first one, published in 1916, had five food groups: fruits and vegetables; meat, fish, and milk; cereals; simple sweets; and butter and wholesome fats. It was produced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the same group that produces the food guide pyramid for Americans today. While pressure from agriculture and the food industry shapes current food guides and keeps them friendly to animal foods, the trend has been toward a greater emphasis on plant foods. Even so, government food guides are not especially…

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    VITAMIN K

    Although vitamin K was discovered in the early part of the twentieth century, its exact function in the human body wasn’t understood until 1974, which is pretty recent in the world of nutrients.   Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, and most people get enough to support that function. But research suggests that vitamin K also contributes to bone health. Older people with higher vitamin K intakes and higher blood levels of vitamin K appear to be at lower risk for hip fracture. Because of some errors in measuring vitamin K content of foods, there is evidence now that people have lower vitamin K intakes than previously thought. This…

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    IRON, ZINC, IODINE, AND VITAMIN A Maximizing Vegan Sources

    Protein, calcium, and vitamins B in vegan diets. But there is a handful of other nutrients that deserve 12 and D get most of the attention consideration, namely iron, zinc, iodine, and vitamin A. We’ll touch briefly on vitamin K, riboflavin, potassium, and selenium too. MINERAL ABSORPTION ON VEGAN DIETS Minerals like iron and zinc are absorbed less well from plant foods than from animal products. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important is the presence of phytate in the diet. This phosphoruscontaining compound is found in whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. (Smaller amounts are found in vegetables too.) Phytate binds minerals, making them…

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    FATS Making the Best Choices

    Studies show that, on average, vegans consume a little less than 30 percent of their calories from fat. That’s a bit lower than the average for non-vegan Americans, but not by much. The big difference is in the type of fat that vegans consume since plant foods are much lower in saturated fat than meat, dairy, and eggs. The term “fat” is a big category that includes a number of different fatty acids, two of which are essential to our diet. Actual requirements for essential fats are low, but there may be advantages to eating some fat-rich foods overall. In this chapter, we’ll look at three issues: the longchain omega-3…

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    VITAMIN D

    Adequate vitamin D is every bit as important as calcium for maintaining bone health. But is vitamin D a nutrient? Not exactly, since we can make all we need when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. In fact, for most of human history, this is where people got their vitamin D since it occurs naturally in very few foods. But as people moved away from the equatorial zones and began to spend more time indoors, vitamin D deficiency became a problem. In the early 1900s, rickets (soft bones that don’t develop well in children) was a significant public health problem that led to fortification of cow’s milk…

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    Cookies Reciepe For Vegan Diet #1

    Cookies I f I were trapped on a desert island and could have only one kind of baked good with me, it would be cookies. Well, first I would lobby for a dessert island rather than a desert island, but if I couldn’t get that second s, I would be happy with the cookies.   From experienced pastry chefs to beginning bakers, everyone loves cookies. They are flexible (with add-ins such as nuts or chocolate chips), they are hand-held and they are a cinch to whip up. What’s not to love? • CHOCOLATE CHIP PEC AN COOKIES • LEMON DROP COOKIES • SHORTBREAD • CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SHELLS • SNICKERDOODLES…

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    PROTEIN FROM PLANTS

      Nutrition researchers declared more than thirty years ago that plant foods can provide adequate protein.1 But “where do you get your protein?” is a question that most vegans have heard more times than they can count. Many of the questions about protein in plantbased diets stem from confusion over what it means for proteins to be “complete.” COMPLETE AND INCOMPLETE PROTEINS Proteins are made of chains of twenty different amino acids. Some amino acids can be made by the body (generally from other amino acids) and therefore we don’t need a dietary source of them. Others— the essential amino acids (EAAs)—must be supplied by the diet. Proteins in the…

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    CALCIUM, VITAMIN D, AND BONE HEALTH CALCIUM

    For most of human history, people got their calcium from plants, primarily wild, leafy greens. Dairy foods didn’t become part of the human diet until around 10,000 years ago and even then they were consumed only in some parts of the world. Calcium-rich greens were so abundant in early diets that some nutritional anthropologists speculate that people consumed as much as 3,000 milligrams per day of calcium from these foods, or about three times our current recommended intakes. 1 The cultivated greens that are available to vegans today are lower in calcium than the wild vegetables available to our ancestors, but they can still make a significant contribution to calcium…

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    IS A VEGAN DIET NATURAL?

    It wouldn’t be right to ignore the four-hundred-pound gorilla in the room, so let’s ask the obvious question: Since vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods and vegans must take supplements, doesn’t that make a vegan diet unnatural? Many vegans have bent over backwards to convince themselves and others that humans evolved as vegans and that supplemental vitamin B 12 is only needed because we have moved so far away from our natural environment. But there is a tremendous amount of evidence that humans evolved eating some animal products. While B12 is not needed in large amounts, it may take more than can be picked up from unwashed produce…

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    GETTING B12 FROM FORTIFIED FOODS

    Plant foods are reliable sources of active vitamin B 12 only if they are fortified with the vitamin. On food labels, the Daily Value for vitamin B12 is 6 micrograms. So if a food provides 25 percent of the Daily Value, it contains 1.5 micrograms. Nutritional yeast is a popular choice with many vegans. Its cheesyyeasty flavor is great mixed into bean and grain dishes or sprinkled over popcorn. Nutritional yeast is grown on a nutrient-rich culture and contains only the nutrients that are in that culture. So don’t assume that every type of nutritional yeast is a good source of vitamin B12. Red Star brand Vegetarian Support Formula is…

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    MEETING VITAMIN B12 NEEDS

    There are a couple of important things to keep in mind about supplementing with B12. First, B12 supplements should be either chewable or sublingual (dissolving under the tongue) since research shows that, in some people, B12 isn’t well absorbed from pills that are swallowed whole. Also, the body is used to getting little bits of vitamin B12 here and there throughout the day. When confronted with a big dose of B12, it absorbs just a tiny fraction of the whole amount. So when you take vitamin B 12 infrequently, you need rather large amounts in order to get enough. The RDA for vitamin B12 is just 2.4 micrograms for adults.…

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    VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY

    Overt deficiency occurs when vitamin B12 stores drop to near zero. The megaloblastic anemia that occurs with B12 deficiency is reversible with vitamin B 12 therapy. Sometimes B12 deficiency anemia is “masked” by the vitamin folic acid (also called folate), which can step in and do vitamin B 12’s job. So you can be deficient in vitamin B12 but not have anemia if your diet is high in folate. This may sound like a good thing, but it’s not since folic acid won’t prevent the nerve damage that can occur with B12 deficiency. If B12 intake is low and folate intake is high, B12 deficiency can go unnoticed until it…

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    VITAMIN B12

    The Gorilla in the Room You may have heard that vitamin B vegans. But among nutrition professionals (including those of us 12 is a controversial topic among who specialize in vegan diets), there is no controversy at all: All vegans need to take a vitamin B 12 supplement or consume foods that are fortified with this nutrient. Vitamin B 12 is needed for cell division and formation of healthy red blood cells. It’s also needed to produce myelin, the protective sheath around nerve fibers. Overt B 12 deficiency can produce a condition called macrocytic or megaloblastic anemia, in which blood cells don’t divide and reproduce normally. Deficiency can also result…

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    VEGAN SOURCES OF VITAMIN B12

    All of the vitamin B 12 in the world is made by bacteria, and that includes bacteria living in the digestive tracts of animals and humans. It seems like we could just use what these bacteria produce, but they are too far down in the intestines to be of any use to us. We absorb vitamin B12 in our small intestine; the bacteria producing it live in our large intestine. There are also molecules that are very similar to vitamin B12 but that have no true vitamin activity for humans. These are inactive B12 analogues. Most methods for measuring vitamin B12 in foods don’t differentiate between true vitamin B 12…

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    Baking Diet Part 2

    Vegan baking means using no animal products. No eggs, no milk or cream, no butter and, for some people, no honey. This also means products that contain these things are out, like commercially made frosting or Cool Whip. Vegan baking may seem impossible, especially if you are someone who has been subjected to some awful vegan baked goods. But it’s not veganism that makes them bad. Think of how many conventional baked goods you have had that were lackluster or downright gross. Dry, crumbly cakes, hard cookies, soggy pies—we’ve all eaten them. And let’s be honest…the first time you ate a vegan baked good, didn’t you expect something to taste…

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