Can you survive on just plant foods?
Absolutely. In fact people don't just survive on plant foods, they thrive. There are no essential nutrients in meat, dairy and eggs, that cannot be found in fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. In fact, meat dairy and eggs contain no fiber. Something that is incredibly important for a healthy digestive system. Also plant sources are a much better way to get all your essential nutrients, because your body absorbs the nutrients so much easier, from plants than animal foods. While, yes, animal foods are high in protein, they are low in vitamins and minerals. They are also high in saturated and some trans fats.
Are all plant-based diets the same?
Absolutely not. Whole foods plant based, is the ideal for true health, and focuses on eating only foods in their whole state, or as little processed as possible. Smoothies and tofu are considered a "processed" food, because the original foods are no longer in their whole natural state. However, these are "processed" foods I still eat. Focusing on whole plant foods, leaves little to no room, for any vegan junk, however, there are still many vegans out there, who eat refined foods, and highly processed plant foods, and isolated plant proteins (fake meats etc). On the other end, there are people who eat a completely raw diet, consisting only of fresh raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. It's important to find what works for you, and your living climate, and roll with that. Being realistic and not trying to fit into your idea of "perfection" is what's most important.
Isn't eating lots of fruit too much sugar?
For our bodies to utilize food for energy, it must be converted into sugar, whether the originating food came from carbohydrate, fat or protein. Carbohydrates are the easiest to convert to sugar, and fruits are mostly simple sugars that are very easy on our digestive system and require much less energy. Fruit is also a complete package of essential nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. When you do not eat enough carbohdrates, the body must utilize protein and fat for energy, but this take a lot more digestive energy to do so, and creates toxic residues.
Where do you get your protein?
We get our protein from plant foods! There is a huge misconception about how much protein we should be consuming, and what the best sources of protein are. Plant foods - especially leafy greens have a much higher percentage of protein than any meat source, with spinach containing 49% protein. There are few plant foods that are a complete protein, but as long as you're eating enough variety, you will always get all the essential amino acids. You also do not need to eat the full amino acid profile in one meal, just over the course of the day. As far as HOW MUCH protein you should be eating per day, it really should be a matter of percentage of calories, versus grams per day. If you are eating suffient calories, you will be getting enough protein in grams. However if you're not eating enough calories from fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, beans and legumes and nuts and seeds, you will not be getting enough grams of protein per day. Focus on eating a large amount of calories from whole plant foods and you will always get sufficient protein.
Are you raising your children to be vegans?
Yes I am. I believe this lifestyle is the optimal way of eating and living, in order to fully thrive. I get one shot at raising my kids, and I choose to treat their bodies as a temple, just as I do my own. Instilling education and healthy communication about our lifestyle so that they understand why we do the things the way we do it, plays a big role in our daily lives as well . They have plenty of time to make their own decisions one day, but it's my job as their mother, to instill good values in them, so that one day, they are free to do with them what they want.
Is your husband a vegan as well?
Jonathan is not quite 100% vegan, but majority of his diet is vegan foods. He has been on an incredible journey of his own, since we started dating, in early 2012. He no longer eats any meat, dairy or eggs, and has the occasional piece of seafood. He believes himself, that he feels the difference when he eats this way, and he no longer craves meat and processed foods like he used to. He has also, in the last year, really started to make that connection and feels a pretty strong ethical conviction against eating animal products and supporting that industry.
Do you ever take medication or give it to your kids?
No to both. We focus on strengthening our immune systems naturally, through diet and using herbal and whole-food-based supplements and essential oils, to support healthy immune function. When you eat a whole foods vegan diet, your immune system is healthy and strong, and your body's ability to heal is so much stronger because it's not full of toxins that the body is already trying to fight, leaving little energy to heal an ailment or disease. If we do feel a little something coming on I choose at times, to use herbal supplements like colloidal silver, lysine and olive leaf extract, and Young Living Essential Oils to help the healing process along.
Did you really have a natural home birth, and is it safe to birth at home?
Yes I had an all natural home birth with both my children (See Haven's home birth here). Home birth is an incredibly beautiful and empowering experience, and there's nothing better than crawling into your own bed after having given birth, with your husband and baby in your arms. While I respect every woman's right to choice and how she chooses to birth her child/ren, I am an advocate for empowering women in trusting their bodies and choosing home birth. To learn more about home birth and the research based evidence on the safety of home birthing please see below, my list of recommended resources.
How do you feel about extended breastfeeding?
I am also a huge advocate for extended breastfeeding. There are many benefits to breastfeeding for an extended period, and in fact the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding "up to 2 years or more". There is no evidence that breastfeeding for extended periods of time have any negative affects on the child. However it can actually benefit the social behaviour and self esteem of the child. I battled to breastfeed both my children, and because breastfeeding was so important to me, it affected my mental health. I have done a lot of emotional healing, since If you'd like to hear about my struggles with breastfeeding Haven, CLICK HERE.
How can I learn more?
There are a TON of resources that I recommend and would highly encourage you to read/watch them and fully inform yourself on research based information, especially if you are looking to adapt a whole foods plant-based diet.
How Not to Die By Dr Michael Greger
The China Study By T. Collin Campbell
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition By T. Collin Campbell
Medical Medium Life Changing Foods By Anthony Williams
Creating Healthy Children By Karen Ranzi
Gentle Birth Choices By Barbara Harper
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth By Ina May Gaskin
Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding By Ina May Gaskin
Forks Over Knives (also available on netflix)
Cowspiracy (also available on netflix)