Happy Herbivore Blog

November 24, 2012

This Week's Q&A (Talking Hair Loss & Tofu!)

You've got questions...


Q: What kind of flour do you suggest baking with for a gluten-free diet?

A: There is a great gluten-free flour blend recipe in Everyday Happy Herbivore. I've also heard great things about Bob's Red Mill but have not used it myself. 

Q: How do you exchange sugars — is raw sugar okay, agave syrup, stevia?

A: You can read about sugar substitutes in the back of both of my cookbooks. I don't use stevia, but I do use raw sugar and agave from time to time.

You can also see this post: “sugar and sugar substitutes” for more information.

Q: Do you hear of vegans complain of losing hair? I have tried to go vegan 3 times in my life and during at least two of them, my hair began to come out in wads. I know that I am missing something, but I'm not sure what. I was wondering if you have any clues or have heard this before. I am 55, was 42 the second time, and 23 the first time. I don't remember losing hair at 23 though.

A: Most people report their hair getting thicker or healthier, such as shinier or less breakage. Hair loss can be the result of several things. For example, it could be a sign that you have a thyroid gland problem, an autoimmune disease, PCOS, dermatitis, etc. Your doctor would need to run tests to determine this.

One thing we know for sure is excess fat, salt, and animal protein causes hair loss. These foods damage the kidneys and create acidic blood, which causes hair loss. 

Hair loss can also be genetic — have any other women in your family experienced hair loss? 

If you're experiencing hair loss on a low-fat, no oil, whole foods diet, I would ask your doctor for a simple blood work-up just to make sure something else isn't going on. 

I also ran your question by a nutritionist I know, who specializes in plant-based nutrition and this was the response:

"What I often hear is hair thins and some falls out and comes back much stronger and fuller usually due to some changes in hormones as a result of the diet changes — 

I have never had anyone lose their hair [permanently]."

Q:  Can I substitute one of the refrigerated-in-water types of tofu (if it's the softer kind) for shelf-stable tofu (i.e., mori-nu)?

A: Yes, just take care to adjust the ounces. The refrigerated kind usually comes in 15 or 16 oz., whereas mori-nu is just 12.3 ounces. For more information on tofu, see our tofu post.

Q:  I was wondering what vegan mayo you recommend? I have seen several recipes that call for fat free vegan mayo on your site, but am having a hard time finding one that is oil/fat free.

A: I make my own usually (recipe in both cookbooks), but Nasoya does make a fat-free vegan mayo that’s available at most supermarkets and health food stores.

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