Happy Herbivore Blog

November 16, 2013

This Week's Q&A: My Hair Secrets, B Vitamins, Navigating Catered Events, Vegan Food After Dental Work, and Substituting Chickpea Flour

You've got questions...

Q: I want your hair! It's so long, shiny and healthy! Mine's frizzy and dry -- what do you use?


A: Aww you flatter me too much! The secret to my hair is, well, 1. diet (low fat, whole foods, plant-based, NO OIL), and 2. I never brush it (okay I do but only rarely). I was reading an interview with Shaliene Woodley recently (I just adore her and her frankness), who also had amazing, long hair until she had to chop it off for a role (but donated it to charity... I love her!)... anyway, she too said her hair secret was to never brush it. I've heard that a few times from ladies with long hair...

3. I don't put products in it. The only time in the last 12 months I had products in my hair was in January for the fitness photo shoot for my upcoming book, Light & Lean. (I used hairspray to reattach some strands that flew away during a round of jumping jacks). 4. I don't heat my hair with hair dryers and curling irons, etc. I will use a hair dryer sometimes -- if I'm going to an event or it's really cold outside, but I generally avoid it. I never have "movie star" perfect hair but more of a soft wave, messy 'do.

Speaking of weather, weather can be mean to your hair, too. I had all kinds of frizzies in Miami Beach. Lastly, my hair also likes to eat avocado. Put avocado in your hair. Wash it off when you can't stand it anymore. That reminds me... my pet hair is in need of a feeding ;)

Q: My doctor says my B vitamins are low. Where do you get your B vitamins?

A: The short answer for all them is mushrooms and greens. Getting more specific:

vitamin B1: sunflower seeds, cremini mushrooms, spinach, flax seeds, peas, Brussel sprouts, navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, lima beans, sesame seeds. (source)

vitamin B2: soy beans, cremini mushrooms, spinach, tempeh, almonds, peas, collard greens. (source)

vitamin B6: bell peppers, summer squash, turnip greens, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, potatoes, bananas, avocado, sunflower seeds (source)

vitamin B12: fortified foods (read what Dr. McDougall has to say about B12).

For more nutritional info and "where do you get..." see the 101 series on plant-based (vegan) nutrition.

Q: Recently got an invite to a wedding, there is no food option for my husband and I to choose. Any suggestions on a good way to respond to the meal choice? Thanks!

A: Checkout my previous post on how to navigate weddings as a vegan or plant-based. To summarize briefly, if you know the bride or groom rather well, communicate your needs and ask to speak with the catering company about options. Note that you'd be happy with rice and steamed vegetables or a pile of raw crudites. Pasta and marinara (provided its free of beef or chicken broth) would also be acceptable. Most important: be prepared to not eat. Eat before you go, take snacks in your purse or coat pocket, and remember: you're not there for the food!

Q: I just had Dental work. What can I eat that is soft and vegan?

A: Applesauce, pureed soups, mashed potatoes, vegan yogurt, vegan pudding, tofu scramble, vegetables that are cooked to a near-mush, and oatmeal :)

Q: Can I use whole-wheat flour instead of chickpea flour in a recipe?

A: I can't comment on other recipes (I imagine it would depend), but with my recipes, you must use chickpea flour. Any time I use chickpea flour it's for flavoring or because white whole wheat (or whole wheat pastry) won't work. Thankfully I've found garbanzo bean flour in every chain supermarket I've been to (even in smaller, more remote areas). Any health food store will have it, too. You can also find it at Indian grocery stores (called Besan) and online -- Amazon, Bulkfoods.com, vitacost, etc.

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