Category: Health

Do You Have To Eat Meat To Get Good Iron?

It’s a myth that many believe … that you have to have meat in order to get good amounts of iron.

Here in New Zealand, we have  Olympic athletes who advertise on our  T.V. for the meat industry, touting Beef and Lamb being rich in protein and iron.  Kind of saying – eat this and you’ll be an athlete like me.

Sadly I have some news that hopefully will dispel this crazy myth that meat iron is good for us.

Yes, we need iron.  In simply language we need it for healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen around our body.

Meat iron is called heme iron and it differs considerably from plant iron … and here’s why.

Iron is regulated by the intestines.  So when we don’t have enough, the intestines will increase the absorption of iron into the blood.  When we have too much iron, the reverse happens – the intestines decrease the iron.

But, here’s where it gets interesting.  You see, it does NOT work for heme iron.  The intestines can only regulate plant iron!!!!

Heme iron also is a pro-oxidant.  That means it can generate cancer-causing free radicals.  Quite honestly you don’t really want to have heme iron in your body at all, plus, how many meat eaters do you know who are really into their antioxidants?  Check out my post on Antioxidants

So if you are relying on meat for iron, or your doctor has told you that it is the best source, understand that because the intestines can’t regulate it …. too little will lead to anemia, but, too much (which the average meat eater has), you run the risk of cancer and heart disease.

iron in meat

BUT – I haven’t finished yet!!!!!  This next bit is really interesting.

I have it on very good authority that the meat industry is looking at ways to have additives that will

“suppress the toxic effects of heme iron”

This reminds me of the Tobacco Industry who knew back in the 1920s & 30s that cigarettes caused cancer, but nothing was done until 1969 when finally the public were made aware of the dangers.
So does this action from the meat industry sound familiar???

I leave you to ponder on that, and I’d love you to leave a comment.




What do You Know About Antioxidants?

How much to you know about antioxidants?  And what about Free Radicals?

I’m pretty sure you will have heard about antioxidants and know that you should be having them – maybe you know why or maybe you don’t.  Well let me say, that these little critters are the best!!!!

So lets start with the free radicals:
Free radicals are the little blighters that go about damaging our cells and cause the aging process … think wrinkles!  The antioxidants are the heroes who set about tracking the free radicals down and destroying them.  O.k., fairly simplistic view, but that’s it in a nutshell – oh free radicals also increase the risk of cancer because of the damage they do to cells.
About Antioxidants
If we don’t get enough antioxidants the body can go into oxidative stress, put in layman’s terms, can rust!  Just like a car will rust if not looked after, so can our bodies.  Oxidation = rust.

When you age you can get little brown spots on the backs of your hands … very common.  Check your own hands or, if your too young, check out your mother/father or grandparent.  Those little brown spots are often referred to as “age spots” they are, in fact, wee pockets of oxidated fat = rust spots!!!

So what foods are the best?  Well plant foods are 64 times better than animal foods.  For example.  The humble Iceberg lettuce (which is mainly water), has 17 units of anti-oxidants as opposed to a piece of Salmon which only has 3 units.

Here’s a list of the top 10 foods that contain the most antioxidants:
•    Goji berries
•    Wild blueberries
•    Dark chocolate
•    Pecans
•    Artichoke
•    Elderberries
•    Kidney beans
•    Cranberries

How can you tell if the vegetable or fruit is rich in antioxidants?
A good rule of thumb is to go by is, if it goes brown after you’ve cut it, then it won’t be high in antioxidants.  
For example:  Cut an apple and it will go brown pretty quickly.  Cut a melon and it won’t got brown at all = more antioxidants in the melon than in the apple.

So next time you’re out, do yourself a favour and get some berries to put into your morning breakfast.


How To Stop Being Hungry On A Vegan Diet

Just gone vegan?  Here’s how to stop being hungry when going vegan.

So many new vegans tell me just how hungry they get.

Well, some of you may already know that I do suggest taking things slowly for example starting with two or three days a week going completely animal free.

But some of you may see a movie like Speciesism or Earthlings and just decide that you can’t go another day consuming animal flesh and by-products.

And when you jump right in, then hunger can be quite a factor.

So just how do you tackle the hunger and stop it from happening ?

The first thing you have to do is make sure you are getting enough protein such as beans, nuts, pulses etc and enough fats ..  again nuts, seeds and oils like coconut or olive.  Then there are the carbs (which seems to be especially true for men) and this can be potatoes and other root vegetables, bread or rice.

Get a list from the internet on both vegan carbs and vegan protein.

Unfortunately many new vegans think they just need to subtract the animal and they’ll be right.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case. you need to replace the protein and fats.  The beauty is that you’ll replace with much healthier protein and fats.

Another thing you can do is don’t go so long between meals.  Be prepared by having snacks at the ready.  Hummus and crackers are excellent as are a things like Sundried tomatoes with avocado or olive tapenade on pita.  Of course there’s fruit, I find a banana fills me up long enough before the next meal.

And last tip – Slow down … like really slow down.  This is so much better for your digestion anyway and  if you have gone to the trouble of preparing the meal, the least you can do is enjoy it.  So turn off the T.V. (unless you live alone) and enjoy your family and the meal together.

If you have any other tips, please leave a comment below … would love to have them added here.

Until next time – be a conscious consumer and enjoy life.





Clean Eating – Nutrition Made Easy

Brand new book in “The Good Life” series!!  
As the title of this post says “Nutrition made easy” – that’s what this new book is all about.  As a vegan, I really can’t count the number of times I have been asked what food I have for protein or calcium or B12 or whatever the person asking the question is stumped over.
I keep saying, I don’t think about it.  Just like a meat-eater generally doesn’t stress over whether they are getting the right nutrients, then really speaking neither should a vegan or anyone having meat free meals.

Hence the reason to write this book:  A Clean Eating Nutrition Guide
Now, I’m the first one to tell you, that I’m not a nutritionist nor do I work in the “health” industry, but through my own experience, extensive research and educating myself, I certainly try to keep on top of the latest studies that come out from the experts.
This book is for those who just want to be sure that what they are eating is right, for those who want eating animal free meals to be stress free and for those who want to know which foods contain which nutrients.
You really will be surprised just how easy it is!
Here’s one review:
“The author makes it perfectly clear that she is not a ‘professional’ in nutrition, she’s better than a professional, Fee has gained her knowledge through her own research, understanding and more importantly – her experience! She does not present ‘professional advice’ rather what feels like sage advice from a good friend.
Book 3 contains the high standard of writing and explanation that we readers have become accustomed to from Fee’s work.”
– Flip’n’Chip
So, grab a copy while it’s on the launch special of $0.99 USA – this offer ends the night of Monday 28th July NZ time.
Oh, and if you can …. I really will appreciate an honest review back on Amazon.

Here’s the link again:  A Clean Eating Nutrition Guide

Could A Vegetarian Diet Help Lose Weight?

If you are under the mis-conception that vegetarian style eating is not nutrient rich or has the protein that the body needs – then please think again.

A study that has recently been published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in June (111: 819-827, 2011), has found that instead of being nutrient deficient a vegetarian diet is actually nutrient dense.

The study analyzed the diets and nutrient levels of 13,292 adults who were either vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

Of course, vegetarians already know this which is why, generally speaking, they are a lot healthier and slimmer than the average meat eater.

We (vegetarians) consume far more vitamins A, C and E, we have more fiber and more thiamine, riboflavin, foliate, calcium, magnesium, and iron than non-vegetarians. Which, getting back to the “lose weight” bit means that if you follow a healthy vegetarian diet you will lose weight and be able to manage it all without comprising the quality of food intake.

Just one more reason to switch to a plant-based diet – for fat loss and health.

Organic Food is Marketing Hype – debate

I was surfing around the internet yesterday (as I do) for inspiration for the next blog and I came across a debate on “Organic food is marketing hype”.  Naturally, being into organic food I clicked the link and proceeded to watch the most interesting debate I’d see for quite some time.

Now this particular video is about ½ an hour long……needless to say I did press the pause button once in order to get a cup of coffee and another time to go to the bathroom – but I digress.

For those of you who haven’t got the time, can’t be bothered or aren’t really that interested – here’s a quick overview.

On the first team – the ones that say that organic food is marketing hype there was:

  • An English guy, John Krebs who was the chairman of Britain’s Food Standards Agency (their version of the FDA).
  • A farmer (the only one), Blake Hurst who grew corn, soy beans and flowers (obviously not organic), he’s also a writer. 
  • Last was Denis Avery, director of Hudson Institute for global food issues and who also writes extensively on food policies.
On the opposing team – (that Organic food is not marketing hype)
  • First a lady, couldn’t catch her name, but she is the director of technical policy for the consumer’s union whose specialty is labeling especially the organic labeling.  In other words she educates the public on what is organic and what it means.  She was an excellent speaker and managed to refute the opposition’s arguments with ease.
  • Next was Jeffery Steingarten who is a food critic and writer – author of the book “The Man Who Ate Everything” (wouldn’t mind reading that one).
  • Last on this team was Charles Benbrook  the chief scientist at the Organic Center – this center produces science with the goal of persuading us all to go organic. He, also was great.

(I hope I’ve got all the names correct).

At the beginning of the debate a poll was taken from the audience:
  • Those for the motion = 21%
  • Those against the motion = 45%
  • Those undecided = 34%
I’m not about to tell you all their arguments, but needless to say it certainly raised some very interesting discussion.  The funny part was that team one definitely showed their contempt for organic farming.  The opposing team, on the other hand, tried to stick very close to the actual subject saying that is wasn’t marketing hype and presented very good evidence in support.

All sorts of things were raised from whether it’s healthier to the actual farming practice of organics – why it is expensive to the environmental impact as well as whether organics could feed the world. Not to mention the pig poo!

At the end of the debate the moderator said that it was “different to other debates we’ve had” – “it was spirited and interesting” which, I must admit, it was.  Certainly neither side would have changed their view!

At the end another poll was taken and the results were glaringly in favor of the organics

  • Those for the motion = 21% – so they obviously hadn’t changed their minds.
  • Those against the motion = 69% – go organics!!!!
  • Those undecided = 10%
I’ve put the video here if you do have the time (and are into watching debates) then I hope you enjoy.

ORGANIC FOOD IS MARKETING HYPE (Full Debate) from Intelligence Squared US on Vimeo.

OMG! Now That’s Not Good!.

I happen to walk through the lounge the other night torch in hand, yes, I was about to go out on snail patrol, and on the T.V. was a doco about the journey of cotton from grower to T-shirt.
Now I’m not about to give you a lesson in cotton growing so I’ll cut to the chase.
What made me stop in my tracks and stand watching the screen (torch still in hand) was the amount of chemicals used, but wait … there’s more – cotton is used in our food! I just didn’t realize the extent.

Let’s start with the chemicals. Growers (obviously not organic growers) put chemicals onto their crops at every stage …. and I mean EVERY stage – before, during at end – yup, they even spray to defoliate the plants for easier harvesting.

O.k. that’s the spraying – now for the food.

Did you even know that cotton is used in our food? Well, cottonseed oil is used in a lot of processed foods such as tortillas and honey roasted peanuts among others. It’s also used as a cooking oil.

But that’s not all – meat eaters out there think on this ……. cottonseed oil, the seeds and straw are all fed to the dairy and beef cattle – 1 and 1 makes, you guessed it … entering the human food chain via meat and dairy.

Now, because cotton is used in the manufacturing of garments it isn’t regulated like food products are which means the growers can have a grand old time spraying away without any worries.

I’m going to stop there …… I didn’t get out on snail patrol that night, I just put the torch down and sat down like a stunned mullet!

I’ll leave you with one more sobering fact: The World Health Organization estimates that 20,000 cotton workers die yearly from contamination.

Take another look at the food you’re eating and the cotton clothes you’re wearing … any chemicals there?

Enjoy good food and love animals


Thank Goodness I’m Vegetarian

As you’ve probably guessed, I do surf the net a bit and try and ferret out useful information for the FaceBook Page.

I came across this article the other day which I found very disturbing and got me thanking my lucky stars that I’m vegetarian.
Now, I’m not going to relate the article here – you just have to read it yourself …. it’s not long  Animal Death Toll Ends Cloning Trials   what I am going to do is add my penny’s worth.

For starters it took this research company 13 years …. 13 years (shake the head), to figure out that there were just too many deaths and other nasty things happening to the poor cattle, sheep & goats before they finally ended these trials …… Good god, are they thick?

But whoa … wait just one second – what do I read further down the page?  Trying out new technologies – and here I quote “the trials include creating animals that will produce proteins with pharmaceutical benefits” but wait …. there’s more “one goal was to produce a drug like Herceptin……”  Eh? Herceptin?  I thought that was for breast cancer – Are they planning on producing meat that will have a drug like Herceptin in it?????  What does that do to those who don’t have breast cancer …. or the guys?????
I’m sorry – this is all just too much – I can’t get my head around pharmaceutical meat ……. I’ll stick to being vegetarian, then I won’t have to worry!!!

Meat Vs Vegetarian For Protein

The other day a friend and I were discussing the dairy and meat industry and just how much of an effect it has had on the way we live.

You have to hand it to them that both industries have done such an amazing marketing job over the last few decades that the majority of people actually believe that you have to eat meat to get protein and that you have to have dairy in order to get calcium.

So let’s get something straight here.  First of all protein.
It’s a fallacy that protein only comes from meat.  Protein also comes from a variety of other sources including vegetables, grains and nuts.

Now for the calcium and this really does take the cake.  Move over Mrs Cow there are other excellent sources of calcium including spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens and collard greens.  Others like basil, thyme and peppermint leaves are right up there as well along with tahini (sesame seeds) and….the list goes on.
I’m not disputing the calcium in dairy, in fact, real live active cultured yogurt comes out as number one, however, as with animal protein, the body can find it difficult to absorb animal based products, so I’ll just stick with the vegan choices for my calcium.

Then again ……. my friend and I will keep discussing the benefits of  being vegetarian  while eating the beautiful organic cheese and olives … so excuse me while I go and pour another wine!



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