This Week's Q&A: Liquid Smoke Brands, Quinoa Allergy, The Vegetarian Myth, Peer Pressure, Supplements, and Meal Replacements

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: FAQ

You've got questions...

Q: What brand of liquid smoke do you use? 

I've used a number of different brands. I generally buy whatever is available to me. I've used Colgin's liquid smokes (they have different "flavors") and Wright's, plus others I can't recall. Any supermarket should have it.

Q: I'm allergic to quinoa. Any suggestions?

It would depend on the recipe. If the quinoa isn't being used *in* something (say, *in* a bean burger recipe — like these burgers from EHH pictured), you can probably use another grain like rice, couscous or barley (check out my Everything You Need to Know About Grains post). If it's *in* something, that gets tricky. You could try chopping up cooked rice (if it calls for cooked quinoa), or TVP or couscous if it's supposed to be uncooked/dry.

Q: A friend of mine read "The Vegetarian Myth" (a ridiculous book!) and stopped being vegan. Now she's constantly trying to get me to quit too, but I love being plant-based. How can I 'defend' myself? How can I tell her she's wrong?

A: If she's trying to pressure you, my guess is she's not very confident in her choices. Peer pressure exists because there is a comfort in conformity. If we get someone else to do our bad habit (smoke a cigarette, have another shot of tequila, "just a bite" of chocolate cake), we feel less guilty about our own consumption. Feel free to point that out ;) or just keep that in mind. Here's a critique of the Vegetarian Myth by a vegan RD. I don't agree with the author on a lot of topics and issues, but her response to the book is solid. To summarize quickly: The Myth book lacks credible citations and research (annoying) and is popular because, like Dr. McDougall always says, "people love to hear good news about their bad habits" even if the "news" is false information. Sigh. 

Q: For the past several months now, a handful of friends have tried to sell me a meal supplement product. It's vegan, but I just don't see how pre-made/processed shakes-as-a-meal and tons of supplements can be good for you (in the long run). What are your thoughts? How can I tell them I'm just not interested? 

A: After reading WHOLE, I'm scared off of supplements (with some limited exceptions, like B12, D if you're in a cold climate, a true medical need (i.e., you've tested deficient), or pregnancy). 

I also trust nature more than a lab. Say something like, I'm glad you found something that works for you, but what I'm doing has been working for me so I'm going to keep at it a little more.

OR maybe something like "I prefer to eat my food whole as nature intended and not take it in some processed supplement form." If they're just not getting your polite decline.

Like Dr. Campbell says in his book, the apple is greater than the sum of its parts!! Or what Dr. Essy is always saying: the body knows how to deal with whole foods, it doesn't know how to deal with pills or isolated parts of foods as a supplement. 

Another thing you need to know: there are a lot of these "gimmicks" online. Maybe gimmick isn't the right word, but, these 'companies' that function off of pyramid selling (a nicer phrase is multi-level marketing) — meaning the sales force is compensated for the merchandise they sell, and they also scoop up a portion of sales from salespeople they get in the program. 

I've seen this happen in my circle of friends. First with cosmetics, then with vitamin supplements, then workout/meal replacement shakes, then some gardening apparatus. It always fizzles out in the end.

It kind of bums me out in a way, because I love that my friends are taking on such an entrepreneurial spirit, and everyone needs to make a living, I just think there is a better way — something better than peddling product for someone else. Why not sell your own product or service ;) (and as a true business woman, I will seize this opportunity to plug my exit strategy school — go get some free training videos!).

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