Happy Herbivore Blog

August 4, 2012

This Week's Q&A (Talking Omegas, Oil, and Sugar)

You've got questions and we've got answers!

Q:I am wondering about how plant based eaters get enough ALA, DHA, and ELA in their diets? Is what we get through leafy greens, walnuts, flax seeds sufficient? As you recommend no oil (canola, olive, and other oils being further sources) do you feel we are receiving enough heart healthy benefits? Thanks!

A: Oil is not heart-healthy, it damages the lining of your arteries. Here is a great link by Dr. Essy which talks about how bad oil is for the heart, as well as omega's. The short answer is, yes. You get plenty on a varied, whole foods, low fat diet.

If you are unfamiliar with him, he wrote Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and is a world renowned doctor -- one of the few who changed the medical opinion that heart disease is reversible. He's saved so many lives.

Q: I have been vegan for a month or two and love it. Except my mother has been freaking out about me not getting enough nutrients. I have been taking supplements that contain almost everything I need except Omega 3's. Which I find are essential especially to a teenager (I am turning 16 soon) Do you take a supplement for this? If so which one? Other tips on nutrition would be totally awesome to!

I don't take any supplements. If you eat a variety of whole, plant-foods, you'll get everything you need (with the exception of B12, so you might need a supplement there for precaution). There are omega 3's in a lot of plant foods, like ground flax seeds and walnuts. Read more here about omegas .

Q: I'd like to modify some of your recipes so I can serve it to my 13 month old without refined sugar. Do you have any suggestions? Would banana maybe do the trick? I know subbing out sugar can be tricky, I do my best to avoid any of the straight up stuff in foods I offer him.

If you own either of my cookbooks, there is a chart for subbing out sugar (whether you want to use maple, agave, stevia, etc). If you want to eliminate all sweeteners (even things like maple) you could try using date sugar (dehydrated and ground dates) or beet sugar, or stevia. I wouldn't use bananas as a sugar substitute. Bananas can alter chemistry of baked goods since they act as a binder.

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