I adore my mom. She is one of the greatest human beings I know. But when it comes to cooking vegetarian food for me at Thanksgiving, I’m afraid I just have to remember that “It’s the thought that counts.” When I first became vegetarian nearly eight years ago, mom tried hard to make a vegetarian Thanksgiving for me that included (very dry) vegetarian stuffing, and…spaghetti. Poor mom! Like most die-hard meat-eaters I know, she thinks that just because it’s vegetarian, it also has to be bland. Not true! Here are some tips for Thanksgiving if you’re cooking for vegetarians:

1. The holidays are a hard time of year if you’re vegetarian, so go that extra mile.

Vegetarians eat more than spaghetti and green salads, but at holiday parties, family get-togethers, and at the homes of their in-laws, it seems that pasta and green salad are often their only options. Some vegetarians I know just suffer happily with a shrug of their shoulders, while others feel forgotten and left out. These days, there are a wide variety of faux meats that certainly aren’t the “real thing” but at least will make your vegetarian friend or family member feel like you are including them on the holiday.

There’s Tofurkey, which some vegetarians hate but personally I think is very tasty and turkey like. Be careful about overcooking it! Tofurkeys dry out even more easily than the real thing. And have you ever had overcooked tofu? Mmm, tastes like tire rubber. If you don’t make a faux turkey or ham, then at least make one special dish for your vegetarian friend to let them know that you’re thinking of them.

2. Don’t forget: there’s a difference between “vegetarian” and “vegan.”

Find out if your friend or family member is a vegetarian (that’s no meat – yes, including fish) or a vegan (that means no animal products whatsoever, including dairy products and egg products). There are many egg and dairy substitutes for your vegan friend, including soy cheeses and milks. From my own experimentation, I have found plain soy milk (not vanilla!) can usually be substituted where milk is called for without too much difference in the final taste.

However, just to warn you, it does tend to make whatever you’re cooking thinner. Regarding soy cheeses, make sure your vegan friend doesn’t have a problem with casein, a dairy protein, before you buy that soy cheese. Most soy cheeses are not truly vegan, so check the ingredient list before buying.

3. Don’t get stressed out: much holiday fare is already vegetarian!

While my mom hasn’t quite mastered the vegetarian stuffing yet, she makes a killer cranberry sauce from whole cranberries. This is already vegetarian! So is her green bean casserole and several other of her holiday signature dishes. So instead of fretting about what to make your vegetarian friend, think first about all the great recipes you already have stashed for the holidays, and see if there is a simple way to make them vegetarian.

For example, leave the ham out of the baked mac ‘n cheese this year, and your vegetarian friend will eat it with gusto. Many casseroles that call for meat can be made without, or the meat can be substituted with one of the many faux meat options.

4. You have permission to get creative with the grill.

Over the past five or six years, my mom has stopped cooking the turkey in the oven and has turned to the grill instead. There are other things you can grill while you’re at it that will be suitable for your vegetarian friend. There are vegetarian sausages, vegetarian burgers, vegetarian hot dogs, and even vegetarian bratwursts. All of these taste good with a little barbecue sauce, some love, and a few turns on the grill.

Another thing mom has made that everyone enjoys is grilled Portobello mushrooms. These fat, juicy mushrooms almost remind a vegetarian of eating meat (in a good way). Grilled veggies are also very yummy. Just try not to let too much of the meat juice spill over onto your vegetarian friend’s food. Some vegetarians are very sensitive to animal protein and can actually get sick if they eat something that’s been mixed with animal juices.

5. When in doubt… ask!

The best way to make sure you are satisfying your vegetarian friend’s appetite is to ask ahead of time. As mentioned previously, some of my vegetarian friends absolutely hate faux turkey, while others find it pretty scrumptious. Since they’re expensive, before you go out and buy an entire Tofurkey, ask your friend first.

You can also ask if they have any special requests that they might like for holiday dinner, or if there’s anything in particular that they cannot eat. Some vegetarians will be too shy to ask for anything in particular, but just the act of asking will be appreciated. On the other hand, they might have a great idea for a dish, and introduce you to something you turn out to love, too.

Over the years, as I have introduced my mom to more and more vegetarian options, Thanksgivings at our house have gotten easier. I am happy to report that this year I am looking forward to her excellent cranberry sauce, my favorite casserole (which she has taken the beef out of), and NO spaghetti! Thanks, mom! (And, in case you’re wondering, I might just sneak a piece of real turkey when no one is looking…)

There are the a number of myths about vegetarian diets such as the protein, the iron and the vitamin B12 myth. I feel that the protein myth is slowly becoming less of a problem although still very actual, but the biggest myth today is perhaps the calcium myth. It appears that almost everyone dealing with nutrition still recommends milk and dairy products and often in great amounts, to ensure calcium supply.

Most people believe that you have to eat dairy products for your calcium and that dairy products is the best way to prevent osteoporosis, a condition of loss of calcium and other alkaline minerals from the skeleton resulting in brittle bones. Most people believe that this can only occur when there is too little calcium in the diet but this is wrong.

All this is probably most of all the result of advertising by the dairy industry who for decades successfully “informed” us how good milk and dairy products are for our health. Many people also tend to believe that if one glass of milk per day is good, three to four glasses must be even better.

Here we shall look further into the diet which is the most important factor in osteoporosis which is a very actual problem and of especial concern to women.

Osteoporosis is not caused by lack of calcium in the diet. It is caused by an excess of acid in the diet which causes the body to draw calcium from the skeleton. It is true that dairy products contain a lot of calcium, but it is also true that people who have a high intake of calcium from dairy products have higher levels of osteoporosis. That the calcium myth survived is very much due to superficial quantitative thinking.

Modern research shows that populations have a low intake of calcium actually have a stronger skeleton. This can be explained by the fact that the populations who eat a lot of calcium rich foods also eat acid forming foods which rob the body of calcium. For instance, cheese which is very rich in calcium is also very rich in protein and if eaten in excess or together with too much other protein, would cause loss of calcium and other alkaline minerals.

Calcium and other alkaline minerals are lost through an intake of too much acid forming foods and lack of calcium has very little, if at all, (except in the case of starvation) relationship to actual intake of calcium. The world’s largest investigation on diet shows that in populations where the intake of calcium from dairy products is high, the level of osteoporosis (as well as many other diseases) is the highest. The intake of dairy products and calcium tablets do not prevent osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is prevented and cured simply by not causing it.

Many separate medical investigations all over the world have established that osteoporosis has little to do with calcium intake but a lot to do with protein intake. The British Medical Journal [date] has reported that calcium intake is completely irrelevant to bone loss.

Vegetarians do not have as much osteoporosis as omnivores. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the largest study ever made of osteoporosis in 1983. Researchers found that by 65 years of age, female vegetarians had 18% bone loss and non-vegetarians had 35%. The equivalent figures for males were 3% and 7%. The figures can be explained by the fact that although vegetarians generally eat too much protein, they do not eat as much protein as meat eaters and, moreover, that the protein is of a better quality.

A long term study showed that as little as 75 grammes daily intake of protein more calcium is lost in the urine than absorbed from the diet. Several studies confirm the fact that the more protein that is taken in, the most calcium is lost.

African Bantu women take in only 350mg calcium per day. They bear nine children on average which they breast feed for two years but they never suffer from calcium deficiency.

The skeleton acts as a storage of calcium and other alkaline minerals. The pH level (measure of acidity or alkalinity) of the blood is vital and must be kept fairly constant or we would die. The body with its innate wisdom therefore draws alkaline minerals from the skeleton if we eat too many acid forming foods. Soft drinks, medication, smoking, salt, sugar, coffee and tea may also contribute to osteoporosis. Exercise is also of great importance to prevent osteoporosis.

To conclude: cow’s milk in its raw natural state is a perfect food for fast growing calves. Too many dairy products, especially in the denatured forms sold by supermarkets may cause health problems. Problems with calcium are best avoided by maintaining a balanced alkaline forming diet.

Just as there is no single food that will make you lose weight, likewise, there is no one particular item you can eat that will suddenly make you healthier and fitter. What should he considered from the very start is that your diet is almost like a fingertprint – unique to you. Sure, there are certain rules that should be followed but these are not set in stone. Any advice that you read or hear should be thought of as guidelines only with the final adaptation of a training diet being entirely your decision.

Certainly in recent years it has become increasingly obvious that diet plays a major part in the success of a sports person. Motor racing drivers, cyclists, runners, boxers – almost any physical sport that you can think of has been taken to a new level of intensity. This has come about by the introduction of combined training and dietary regimes, designed to optimise an individual human body for success in a certain sport.

Training is tailored to suit the sport. There is no point in extensive weight training and muscle gain if you intend to run 26 mile marathons. Similarly, a diet as tailored to suit the sport. To customise a diet to suit your specific training needs the best approach is to consider how the body reacts to training and to the food that is provided. This is the common element that can be applied to any sport.

A certain degree of scepticism has crept in during the past few years.

Scientists constantly seem to come up with foods that one day are very good for you and, sometime later, must be avoided at all costs. To answer this there are a few hints that should be followed as a first step to a healthy diet.

Avoid excessive amounts of processed food Avoid excessive amounts of food and drink that are high in fat, sugar or alcohol Try and maintain a dietary balance that covers carbohydrates, protein and fat

Basically, remember the phrase everything in moderation.

Food is fuel for the body.

How is this fuel used in training?

That is dependant upon the type of training that you do. There are two basic types of physical activity, aerobic and anaerobic. We have all heard of aerobic exercise and the term conjures up images of people in brightly coloured leotards, standing together in a large room, working up a sweat by following the moves of the instructor. But aerobic exercise can take many forms, distance running, cycling and swimming for example and can easily be remembered as exercise that may make you breathless. After all, the term aerobic indicates exercise with oxygen.

Anaerobic exercise is not such a common term. This is the sort of physical activity that you repeat until your muscles give up on you. Weight training is the best example although sprinting, jumping and kicking are also considered to be anaerobic. It may leave you breathless but will certainly make the muscles that you have been exercising feel weak.

There are few physical activities that are entirely aerobic or anaerobic. Instead one or other type will predominate.

The body burns fuel to create energy which, in turn, allows you to perform various physically demanding activities. This fuel is called glycogen. The main stores for glycogen are the muscles as this is where fuel is needed. As you exercise, the glycogen stores are depleted. If you are performing aerobic exercise then, once the body has warmed up, it will start using fat deposits for its energy source. Anaerobic exercise will, when the body has warmed up, only use glycogen. Once the stores have been depleted, your muscles will tire and you will have to stop.

What fuel should be used?

For general meals you should consider foods that take time to be absorbed by the body. If a food is absorbed too quickly then, if you are not training, fat may be a by-product. Slow absorption allows the body to process all the incoming food in good time to avoid fat build up. Such foods would include various pulses, certain fruits (apples, dates, peaches) and yoghurt.

If you have just finished training then you can select foods that can be quickly absorbed. This is because the body can refuel at a much faster rate for anything up to two hours after intense physical activity. Such foods could include wholegrain bread, brown rice, muesli, raisins, bananas, sweetcorn, pasta and potatoes. As mentioned previously, avoid eating any one of these foods exclusively. Mix between low and high absorption groups but ensure that the appropriate food type predominates.

It is quite possible that you do not feel hungry after exercise. If this is the case then you may consider eating a power bar or an energy drink. Some of these are better than others. Check the label of contents and apply the food hints given previously.

One last issue. Many people imagine that eating a high protein diet will ensure super athlete status. This is not true. Excess protein could easily end up as fat on your body. What do you need protein for? The body always needs a certain amount of protein to build cells, enzymes and some hormones. But if you participate in a sport that requires strength then you will need some extra protein in order to allow for the growth of new tissue. If you are a body builder then your protein needs will be even greater. Good sources of protein include skimmed milk, cottage cheese, certain pulses and some nuts.

As well as being low in sugar, fat and salt, vegetarian diets are generally high in carbohydrates and fibre. A good supply of catbohydrates is essential for successful training and sports participation. Without sufficient fuel your body will be unable to maintain the energy levels required to succeed.

In the past I wrote about what causes your white blood cells to decrease. Anything that you ingest (eat) that is not biological correct in the human will increase your chances of undermining your immune system (white blood cells.) Someone was said that we bury ourselves with our mouth — how true. In this great land of ours we eat anything that moves, from cockroaches to lobsters to animals. Below is a little synopsis about the dangers of eating animal products.

A point I would like to illuminate is that no matter what you do or say or feel you cannot, I repeat, cannot negate cause and effect. If you disobey nature, you will pay the price sooner for some and later for others. Our biologically correct foods are fresh fruits, some vegetables, and some nuts and seeds, all in a raw untampered condition. Anything else creates problems.

Objections to the use of all animals products

Animal products leave an overload of toxic acid residues in the body.

1. Leaves a high amount of acid-ash residues in the blood, fluids, and tissues.
2. Uric, phosphoric, and sulfuric acids.
3. Calcium reserves are used (osteoporosis) up.
4. Calcium urate residues are deposited in the soft tissues and calcify (arteriosclerosis).
Animal products are high in fat.
1. 30 – 70% fat, depending on the cut. Additionally, dairy products, whole milk, cream and
2. butter and cheese are high fat foods.
3. Animal fats are high in saturation and cholesterol.
4. Cooked fats in the bloodstream reduce oxygen availability (Rouleaux Effect).
5. Heated animal fats are linked to cancer.Animal foods are fattening. Fat contains about 3 times the calories of carbohydrates and twice the calories of protein, ounce-for-ounce.
Animal products contain man-made poisons in abundance.
6. Animals are walking reservoirs for accumulated poisons, which they pass on to you. Pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers should not be part of any diet.
7.Animal products stimulate overeating.
8.The stimulation received from eating animals products produce overeating. They make you feel good. They act like drugs.
9. Animal products contain no fiber.
10.Animal product putrefy in the intestinal tract. Leaving ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, purines, and other poisons reducing the functioning of intestinal flora, and interfering with the synthesis and utilization of Vitamin B-12, etc.

I hope you enjoy your rigor mortis on your dinner plate!

Energy, enzymes and raw veggie diet! Are they the road to optimum health for vegetarians? Some doctors, vegetarians and juice advocates think so.

Many new vegetarians turn to a diet high in dairy fat, pasta, tofu and canned or packaged foods to replace the standard “American Fare” of cooked carbohydrates and animal fat. Many believe, as a result of this, new vegetarians often complain of lack of energy, feeling lethargic or having pasty look and not feeling “On top of the world.”

Well this could be the answer for many! Simply adding raw, uncooked, LIVE foods to your diet. Some adamant “live only” advocates will tout raw uncooked food as a cure all for every disease and malady known to man kind. Others think that juice is the only solution. The truth most likely lies somewhere between the two.

Although I am a big proponent of live, fresh food, I also know from experience that the all raw-food diet is one that only the most disciplined can achieve. It is very hard, for instance, to eat raw dried rice, even after its been soaked for 24 hours. Cooking breakes down the plants cell walls as well the starches and enzymes. Here-in lies the problem. It is those very enzymes that we need for that super energy feeling.

The solution is a balance of raw and cooked foods for most. If one starts with a 50% goal of raw-live food and adjust it to their own circumstance, they can find the energy, taste and not have to make such a radical dietary change that they cannot adjust, and fall back on old ways. Juice is a super way to start adding raw food to your diet. Not the juice in the bottles and cartons in the supermarket, they are usually long “dead” by the time you buy them. FRESH juice made at the time of consumption, with a home juicer is the kind that really delivers on taste, enzymes and live food goodness.


In the stomach proteins are broken down into amino acids. In the U.S. we are stuffing our stomachs with loads of protein every few hours and producing huge acid foments. This is very good for the makers of Rolaids, Tums, and other antacids, but not very good for our bodies. Most folks constantly assault their stomach linings with hot coffee, alcohol, preservatives, greasy donuts and burgers, dairy products, synthetic and laboratory created chemicals, and over cooked food of every description. Raw foods, on the other hand, do NOT create acid pools in your stomach and pass through the digestive track much faster than cooked food

We now know that leukocytosis occurs whenever folks consume cooked food. Leukocytosis is a large increase in the number of white cells in blood. It could be temperature, or perhaps the body sees cooked food as an invader of unknown origin, no one is sure at this time. We do know that eating is an immunological stress and eating cooked foods are an even greater stress. The body expends a full 60% of its engry resources on digestion. This is why so many people report a super energy boost from fasting. 80% of all immune tissue is packed around the intestine, as if waiting to fight an invading army. Could this be a clue that raw is better for us?

So if you crave more energy and want that veggie glow, try incorporating at least 50% to 75% raw veggies/juice/fruit into your diet. If you have a hard time leaving that cooked food behind, try “lightly” steaming vegetables (2 to 3 min.) that will keep most of the enzymes and other nutrients in your food. Dried un-sulfured fruit and veggies are also very useful in the winter months to help us retain robust health. Remember, enzymes are destroyed at 108 degrees so try to keep your fixins KooL for good health and good digestion.