On today’s show we are answering all of your fantastic questions!
I am back with Victoria Moran in New York City. Victoria has been very busy writing over the past several years. She has published twelve books including Main Street Vegan, Younger By the Day, and her most recent The Good Karma Diet.
We’ve got some great questions from our social media fans! Victoria will be helping me answer them on today’s show!
1. What supplements do I need to take as a vegan? – Jennifer, Minneapolis, MN
Victoria: “One for sure is vitamin B12 and interestingly enough , according to the Academy of Medicine it is recommended that anyone over age 50 take vitamin B12 regardless of their diet since B12 is very hard to get from food. It grows on bacteria and since plants are cleaner than animal foods so they don’t have B12. Some people would say “well then that means it not natural to be vegan” but as my wonderful dietician friend, Jenny Messina, would say if it’s not natural to be vegan because you need B12 than it’s not natural to be over 50 because you need B12. Most humans also need vitamin D these days. You can get your level checked by your doctor. The indication these days is that 1000 international units (iu) per day is recommended particularly is you live in the north, have dark skin and therefore absorb a lot, or have light skin but protect yourself from the sun a lot. Some vegans may also want to take an algae based omega 3 supplement which is DHA/EPA. These are the major ones. Some dieticians will also recommend zinc two to three times per week. Zinc is also hard to get in any diet unless you are eating lots of oysters and most people aren’t doing that. Zinc is especially important if you find that you tend to catch colds in the winter. Your calcium levels should be find as long as you are drinking fortified milks such as almond, soy, or rice. You can get calcium from dark leafy greens but you really need to eat a lot of them, at least four cups per day to get your recommended allowance. I do not take a multivitamin. Studies show that people who take a multivitamin typically die sooner than those who do not. For men, consuming additional iron is linked to prostate cancer and heart issues. Which is why men’s formulas and over 50 formulas do not typically include iron. Additionally, folic acid (synthetic form of folate) appears to play a role in breast cancer. There are large differences between naturally occurring folate and synthetically made folic acid. I recommend everyone do the research since you are the ultimate authority on your body. See what’s out there and be smart about it!”
Dr. Dave: “Well I am definitely taking the major three that you mentioned. I am also taking a vegan multivitamin but maybe I need to look into stopping that since it may not be necessary.”
Victoria: “Well certainly if you talk to someone like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, he would tell you that beyond B12 nothing is necessary and there are a lot of physicians who believe that if you really are eating a whole foods plant based diet everything is there. And it is a funny thing I believe everything is there probably if you’re making really good choices, and getting organic produce, and eating everything fresh. But there are some problems that people run into regardless of what diet they are on. In the 40s and 50s people find that their hair tends to thin and their nails get brittle and start to break. There is B vitamin called biotin that has shown in studies that is can strengthen hair and nails. So you could consider taking that if that was something you were deficient in. Its an alternative to going into the pharmaceutical world and as an ethical vegan you want to avoid pharmaceuticals as much as possible due to animal testing.
2) Isn’t it just normal to be on medication such as blood pressure medication or cholesterol medication after age 60? – Tom, Jacksonville, FL
Victoria: “That is a perfect question. I was riding the train back from Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA last week. I was with a lovely woman named Roseanne who is from New Jersey. She is the tea lady. She got really famous back in the 80s as a teacher for collecting one million tea tags to teach her kids what one million looked like. She is a woman of a certain age and has nothing wrong with her. She is on no medication because nothing is out of whack. She went to a dermatologist for a skin issue and the dermatologist had read her chart and hadn’t even seen the patient yet and said a woman of your age ought to be on medication! And Roseanne said For what?! So just because you are over 60 doesn’t mean that you have to have those things.”
Dr. Dave: “I am on no medication and I am assuming since you just said those things you aren’t on medication also.”
Victoria: “I am on no pharmaceuticals at all.”
Dr. Dave: “When I saw this question come through, it really bothered me. I did some research a few months ago. The average American over 60 is on at least four prescription medications. I know and you know if we just eat right, plant based diet, no processed foods, salt, sugar, or oils these problems will take care of themselves. The nutrition will take care of everything instead of the pharmaceuticals”
Victoria: “Yeah a lot of them will. And if something doesn’t there are things things between here and pharmaceutical land – such as acupuncture or herbs. There is a whole other world out there before we run to drug companies in my opinion.”
Dr. Dave: “I agree.”
3) I have trouble sleeping. Even if I have had a hard day I have trouble getting to sleep or I don’t sleep well. I’ve tried everything. What should I do? – Mercedes, Lima, Peru
Victoria: “I am certainly no expert in that area but as I mentioned last week I love ayurvedic medicine and I read and study a lot about ayurveda. They believe sleep disturbance is a vata disturbance. I know we don’t have a lot of time so I won’t go into a lot of detail but the idea is that there are three basic body types, most people have a predominance of two. One of these types of vata tends to be flighty, and happy, vivacious, and enthusiastic. But when vata is out of balance it is very hard to be grounded and very hard to sleep or stay steady. It is very easy for this type of person to have sleep disturbances, if the temperature is not right, it’s too cold or you’re under a wind, or if you have been traveling a lot. All of these things are upsetting to that part of your constitution that needs to be grounded and needs to be calmer. You may want to look for an ayurvedic doctor and I am sure there are some in Peru. Or you may want to read Deepak Chopra’s book Perfect Health which I have read many times. It is an elementary introduction to ayurveda but it is not so basic that you won’t learn something from it each time you read it. You also may want to do a sleep assessment of your bedroom. Do you have shades to block out light? If not you may want to get a sleep mask. Is the room quiet? Turn the TV off one hour before going to bed. In ayurveda, if you can get to bed early by about 10pm without a full stomach (dinner should be eaten two to three hours prior) and wake up early by about 6am; you will be influenced by the energies of nature or wake up energies. They will help you get started early in the morning and keep you feeling good all day.”
Dr. Dave: “Is going to bed at ten o’clock early? Did I hear that right?”
Victoria: “For a lot of people it is.”
Dr. Dave: “These days ten o’clock is considered late for me. I try to be in bed somewhere between nine and nine thirty. But I am more of a morning person. I love your suggestion about having dinner a few hours before bed. But what do you think about something like chamomile tea before you go to bed. Does that help?”
Victoria: “It’s supposed to. Chamomile tea or anything warm with calcium in it such as almond milk or soy milk would work the same way.”
Dr. Dave: “Mercedes is kind of asking the wrong person. I am one that as soon as my head hits the pillow, I am out. But I sleep so easily. But I will tell you this Mercedes. If there is anything going on in your life. If there is stress at work or something like that, it can also affect your sleep. I went through something about a month or so ago that I was trying to get worked out and it was very stressful for me. And I found myself not being able to sleep well at all and waking up throughout the night. So if there is something at work, a relationship, or whatever it may be make sure you have that in check to because it can affect your sleep as well.”
4) Have you come across any medical reason that would make it necessary for someone to actually need meat? – Lori, United Kingdom
Victoria: “I have never read or heard about such a thing.”
Dr. Dave: “That was quick! Neither have I! I don’t know of any kind of medical condition that requires you to eat bacon. I don’t think there is anything out there.”
Victoria: “In the old days they would say things like eat liver for iron deficiency (anemia) but we know now that we can get iron from plant foods. And also if you need to supplement you can supplement. Young women for example, about the same number who are vegan and are omnivore, tend to have iron deficiency. It’s just something that some people are more prone to get than others. But you don’t need liver.”
5) What are your thoughts on GMOs and how can we avoid them? – Mitchell, Vancouver, WA
Victoria: “My thought is, I don’t know. My feeling is, they’re incredibly creepy! What I have read is that we absolutely want to avoid them. The classic book on GMOs, Seeds of Deception, really tells the story. I think some of the doctors will say well have you ever known anyone to die from GMOs? Well no personally I have not but the people that work in fields where these crops are grown, there are documented cases of illness and problems. So I certainly don’t want to be eating them. What we can do is to avoid the big ones, the foods that we know for sure that if you don’t get them organically will probably be grown GMO. Those crops would be corn, soy, cotton seeds, canola, some Hawaiian papaya, and some squashes. Also take political action. I don’t like the idea that Monsanto wants to rule the world. And certainly as a vegan the idea that animal genes can be put into plant foods, I don’t like it all. And I think you are wise to be concerned!”
Dr. Dave: “Also I think when somebody says have you ever known anyone to die or get sick from GMOs, what kind of question is that anyway?! The answer is we don’t know. It’s not like your body is going to come out and say I’m sick and it’s from GMOs. There are all kinds of issues that people have and how do you know that some type of allergy, or autism or anything is not caused by GMOs. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
6) How can we get our kids to eat healthy without being critical of their weight or appearance? – Charlotte, Orlando, FL
Victoria: “That is such a perfect question for me Charlotte because I was once an overweight kid. My dad was a diet doctor and my mom worked in a “reducing salon” which was sort of the precursor to today’s health clubs. So I know what it’s like to be a kid who is criticized for stuff like that. Whenever someone would speak about my weight it always just made me want to go have another cookie. It’s very counterproductive. The best thing to do is to celebrate healthy food. When you wake up on a Saturday morning make a big deal about going to the farmer’s market. When the first strawberries come out on the spring and the first pumpkins are ready in the fall, teach your kids that they are not just for jack o’ lanterns. You can make soup from them too. There are orchards where you can go to pick your own fruits or vegetables. Don’t forget to get kids involved in cooking the food too. There is a great book by The American Vegan Society called Apples, Bean Dip, & Carrot Cake. It is a wonderful kid’s cookbook because everything is really easy, really healthy, and they photograph actual kids making the recipes. Whenever you can teach children to make something healthy and present it to the family they have stock in that.”
Dr. Dave: “Great answers. I appreciate that! Before we leave, I want to thank everyone very much for being a listener/viewer. Make sure to check out my website at www.davidmadow.com. There is lots of stuff happening there. We have show notes for each episode and you can watch each podcast there. I am also hanging out on Facebook all the time at www.facebook.com/davidmadow. Victoria was kind enough to give me a stack of her newest book, The Good Karma Diet. We are going to have some giveaways on my Facebook page. Stay tuned because you may win one of these for free! And if you don’t, make sure to go to your local book store and pick one up. It’s a great book! Thanks again Victoria for being a guest. I appreciate you inviting me into your apartment to do these podcasts. Let’s make sure all of the listeners and viewers know how to get in touch with you.”
Victoria: “www.mainstreetvegan.net. From there you can find out the academy, my books, weekly radio show, the blog and everything else going on at Main Street Vegan.”
Dr. Dave: Thanks Victoria. Good luck with all your traveling! And your academy! She has a lot going on, make sure you check her out!
Victoria Moran has been a Main Street Vegan® for 31 years and is an obesity survivor, maintaining a 60+-pound weight loss for all this time. She’s the bestselling author of twelve books, including Creating a Charmed Life (in 30 languages around the world) and the plant-based weight loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet, and the iconic Main Street Vegan. Her latest book is The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion. Her college thesis became Compassion the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism, originally published in 1985 and the first work on vegan philosophy and practice to come from a major publisher. Victoria is also an inspirational speaker, corporate spokesperson, certified holistic health counselor (HHC, AADP), graduate of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation/eCornell program in plant-based nutrition, host of the Main Street Vegan radio show/podcast, and founder and director of Main Street Vegan Academy, training and certifying vegan lifestyle coaches.
Cited by VegNews among the Top 10 Contemporary Vegetarian Authors, Victoria appeared twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show and she’s one of the celebrity coaches for PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Her articles have appeared in Yoga Journal, Mothering, Natural Health, Woman’s Day, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, VegNews, and Vegetarian Times. Her work has been noted in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, Self, Elle, Glamour, Allure, and O, the Oprah Magazine. She was named Vegan of the Year 2012, sharing that honor with male counterpart Michael Greger, MD, and she speaks extensively for vegetarian/vegan festivals, health events, women’s conferences, associations, corporations, and religious groups.
Moran lives with her husband, writer and musician, William Melton, in a LEED-certified green condominium in New York City’s thriving Harlem neighborhood. They’re co-writers of the feature film in pre-production, Miss Liberty, and co-humans to a rescue-dog, Forbes. To keep in touch, please:
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