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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Oh the problem with MSG and it's sneaky names in your food

The dangers and prevalence of MSG will shock you!

This flavor enhancer is linked to a host of health issues, including fibromyalgia (1), obesity (2), fatty liver (3), high insulin and blood sugar (3), high cholesterol (3), liver toxicity (3), metabolic syndrome (4), high blood pressure, disturbance to the gut-brain connection (5), neurological and brain damage (6). The danger lies in that MSG is almost impossible to avoid.

Why? The reason is twofold:

1. There are over 40 different ingredients that manufacturers use that all have MSG.
2. It is not just a flavor enhancing additive—it is a natural by-product of processing proteins. These MSG by-products are found in many of your favorite organic health foods.

What is MSG?

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, got its reputation as a flavor enhancer extracted from seaweeds in China. In the early 1900′s, the process was perfected in Japan and became commercially available.
In the 1960′s, the phrase “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was coined by the New England Journal of Medicine. Twenty minutes after eating Chinese food, some sensitive people would experience tingling, numbness, brain fog, chest pressure and pain.
In the 1970′s, researchers found that pharmaceutical MSG would kill brain cells in a laboratory. Shortly thereafter, they realized that commercially available MSG would have the same effect.
MSG is simply the addition of one (mono) sodium molecule to the amino acid glutamic acid, which is found naturally in many foods. When any amino acid builds up in the body, most people have the ability to break it down in the liver without alarm. However, some amino acids, such as glutamic acid (glutamate) and aspartic acid (aspartame or “nutra sweet”), may be more difficult to convert and flush out of the body.
Both glutamate and aspartame cause the nerves to fire, and when they are in excess, the nerves can fire excessively and cause a form of neuro-toxicity. Even bland foods will taste fantastic when high levels of glutamic acid are used as flavor enhancers.

Not Just a Flavor Enhancer

By now most of us have heard of MSG’s role as a flavor enhancer. But how does this work? Concentrated free glutamic acid or MSG act as nerve stimulants and will change how the taste buds taste food. A yucky or even a really bad tasting food will taste fantastic when high levels of glutamic acid are introduced as a “flavor enhancer.”
The insidious nature of MSG is that it may occur whenever a protein is broken down in the body.
When folks are sensitive to MSG, they are reacting to free glutamic acid in the blood. Remember, MSG is made when the free glutamic acid binds with a sodium molecule. Whenever protein is broken down in the body, glutamic acid is freed from a protein (in which it naturally occurs), and you have the potential of free glutamic acid building up in the blood and a possible toxic MSG reaction.

 MSG Reactions: Whole vs. Processed Foods

While this happens naturally when ingesting protein-rich whole foods like grains, meats, dairy, and even vegetables, the glutamic acid is released in concert with many other amino acids, rather than in high concentrations on its own. As a result, unadulterated whole-food-based proteins do not cause a toxic MSG reaction in the body (7).
On the other hand, many processed foods—including organic health foods—contain processed proteins that harbor free glutamic acids.

The FDA does not require manufacturers to label these foods MSG unless the “added ingredient” is 99% pure MSG.

If MSG is produced as a result of protein hydrolysis or a byproduct of protein processing, the FDA does not require MSG to appear on the label. Moreover, a product labeled “No MSG” may still have MSG or free glutamic acid as a result of protein processing, as long as pure MSG was not added.
The truth is that protein-hydrolysis-based glutamates or MSG are found in just about every highly processed food. Even vegetable proteins are hydrolyzed to make veggies burgers and many other frozen or pre-prepared “vegan” and “health foods.”

When purchasing processed “health foods,” look for these common ingredients loaded with MSG that do not require an MSG listing on the label:

> Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
> Textured Vegetable Protein
> Yeast Extract
Unadulterated whole-food based proteins do not cause a toxic MSG reaction in the body.

The Bottom Line

MSG or free glutamates as a flavor enhancer is found in highly processed foods, usually under an alias to make it impossible to know for sure what you are eating.
MSG or free glutamic acid is also found in many health foods as result of vegetable protein breakdown or hydrolysis. These MSGs are not added into food as a flavor enhancer, but exist in varying quantities in many foods as a result of protein breakdown.
Some folks break down glutamates better than others, so when it comes to glutamates as a result of protein breakdown, this is a highly individualized issue. However, MSG as a flavor enhancer should simply be avoided.

Hidden names for MSG and free glutamic acid:

Names of ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid (7):

> Glutamic Acid (E 620)2
> Glutamate (E 620)
> Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
> Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
> Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
> Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
> Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
> Natrium Glutamate
> Yeast Extract
> Anything “hydrolyzed”
> Any “hydrolyzed protein”
> Calcium Caseinate
> Sodium Caseinate
> Yeast Food
> Yeast Nutrient
> Autolyzed Yeast
> Gelatin
> Textured Protein
Soy Protein
> Soy Protein Concentrate
> Soy Protein Isolate
> Whey Protein
> Whey Protein Concentrate
> Whey Protein Isolate
> Anything “…protein”
> Vetsin
> Ajinomoto

Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid (7):

> Carrageenan (E 407)
> Bouillon and broth
> Stock
> Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
> Maltodextrin
> Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
> Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
> Barley malt
> Pectin (E 440)
> Protease
> Anything “enzyme modified”
> Anything containing “enzymes”
> Malt extract
> Soy sauce
> Soy sauce extract
> Anything “protein fortified”
> Anything “fermented”
> Seasonings
Glutamic acid found in unadulterated “whole food” protein does not cause adverse reactions. To cause adverse reactions, the glutamic acid must have been processed/manufactured or come from protein that has been fermented (1).

The following are ingredients suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed free glutamic acid to serve as MSG-reaction triggers in highly sensitive people (7):

> Corn starch
Corn syrup
> Modified food starch
> Lipolyzed butter fat
> Dextrose
> Rice syrup
> Brown rice syrup
> Milk powder
> Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)
> Most things labeled “Low Fat” or “No Fat”
> Anything labeled “Enriched”
> Anything labeled “Vitamin Enriched”
Unfortunately, many protein powders contain processed free glutamic acid.

Protein Powders: Be Selective

Unfortunately, many protein powders contain forms of soy and whey protein, as listed above, that will always contain processed free glutamic acid. Since free glutamic acids are a product of processing proteins, it can be tricky to find a protein powder that does not potentially contain them. The key is the amount or concentration of these glutamates in each product, as well as gauging your own personal level of sensitivity and ability to break them down, that becomes the issue.

Don’t Stress—Just Eat Whole Foods!

A list so long can be overwhelming, and can provoke the feeling of, “What is there left to eat?” When trying to avoid MSG, the main focus should be on a diet of whole, unprocessed foods including vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds, organic and grass-fed meats and organic dairy.
Make sure your proteins are clean, preferably organic and grass-fed and cook them at home or enjoy them at a restaurant whose practices you support, rather than eating excess processed foods.
After looking at the above list a few times, you’ll get the hang of which kind of ingredient names connote MSG and easily avoid them.

As Jack Lalanne advised, “Don’t eat anything with a wrapper!” And if you can’t do that, try toavoid processed foods with more than five whole-food ingredients.

1. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2012 Jul 4. Epub 2012 Jul 4. PMID: 22766026
2. Br J Nutr. 2011 Mar 24:1-10. Epub 2011 Mar 24. PMID: 21429276
3. J Lipid Res. 2009 Aug;50(8):1521-37. Epub 2008 Nov 11. PMID: 19001666
4. Eur J Pharmacol. 2011 Jul 15;662(1-3):1-8. Epub 2011 May 1. PMID:
5. Digestion. 2011;83 Suppl 1:37-43. Epub 2011 Mar 10. PMID: 21389727
6. Acta Neurol Scand. 2010 Feb;121(2):120-6. Epub 2009 Oct 5. PMID: 19804473

Monday, September 9, 2013

Definition of Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease 


Celiac disease is a disease of the digestive system that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food.


Celiac disease occurs when the body reacts abnormally to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats†(see bottom of article). When someone with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, that person's immune system causes an inflammatory response in the small intestine, which damages the tissues and results in impaired ability to absorb nutrients from foods. The inflammation and malabsorption create wide-ranging problems in many systems of the body. Since the body's own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is classified as an "autoimmune" disorder. Celiac disease may also be called sprue, nontropical sprue, gluten sensitive enteropathy, celiac sprue, and adult celiac disease.
Celiac disease may be discovered at any age, from infancy through adulthood. The disorder is more commonly found among white Europeans or in people of European descent. It is very unusual to find celiac disease in African or Asian people. The exact incidence of the disease is uncertain. Estimates vary from one in 5000, to as many as one in every 300 individuals with this background. The prevalence of celiac disease seems to be different from one European country to another, and between Europe and the United States. This may be due to differences in diet and/or unrecognized disease. A recent study of random blood samples tested for celiac disease in the US showed one in 250 testing positive. It is clearly under-diagnosed, probably due to the symptoms being attributed to another problem, or lack of knowledge about celiac disease by physicians and laboratories. Because of the known genetic component, relatives of patients with celiac disease are considered at higher risk for the disorder.
Because celiac disease has a hereditary influence, close relatives (especially first degree relatives, such as children, siblings, and parents) have a higher risk of being affected with the condition. The chance that a first degree relative of someone with celiac disease will have the disease is about 10%.
As more is learned about celiac disease, it becomes evident that it has many variations which may not produce typical symptoms. It may even be clinically "silent," where no obvious problems related to the disease are apparent.

Causes and symptoms

Celiac disease can run in families and has a genetic basis, although the pattern of inheritance is complicated. The type of inheritance pattern that celiac disease follows is called multifactorial (caused by many factors, both genetic and environmental). Researchers think that several factors must exist in order for the disease to occur. The patient must have a genetic predisposition to develop the disorder. Then, something in their environment acts as a stimulus, or "trigger," to their immune system, causing the disease to become active for the first time. For conditions with multifactorial inheritance, people without the genetic predisposition are less likely to develop the condition with exposure to the same triggers. Or, they may require more exposure to the stimulus before developing the disease than someone with a genetic predisposition. Some of the things which may provoke a reaction include surgery, especially gastrointestinal surgery; a change to a low fat diet, which has an increased number of wheat-based foods; pregnancy; childbirth; severe emotional stress; or a viral infection. This combination of genetic susceptibility and an outside agent leads to celiac disease.
Each person with celiac disease is affected differently. When food containing gluten reaches the small intestine, the immune system begins to attack a substance called gliadin, which is found in the gluten. The resulting inflammation causes damage to the delicate finger-like structures in the intestine, called villi, where food absorption actually takes place. The patient may experience a number of symptoms related to the inflammation and the chemicals it releases, and/or the lack of ability to absorb nutrients from food, which can cause malnutrition.
The most commonly recognized symptoms of celiac disease relate to the improper absorption of food in the gastrointestinal system. Many patients with gastrointestinal symptoms will have diarrhea and fatty, greasy, unusually foul-smelling stools. The patient may complain of excessive gas (flatulence), distended abdomen, weight loss, and generalized weakness. Not all people have digestive system complications; some people only have irritability or depression. Irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children with celiac disease.
Not all patients have these problems. Unrecognized and therefore untreated celiac disease may cause or contribute to a variety of other conditions. The decreased ability to digest, absorb, and utilize food properly (malabsorption) may cause anemia (low redblood count) from iron deficiency or easy bruising from a lack of vitamin K. Poor mineral absorption may result in osteoporosis, or "brittle bones," which may lead to bone fractures. Vitamin D levels may be insufficient and bring about a "softening" of bones (osteomalacia), which produces pain and bony deformities, such as flattening or bending. Defects in the tooth enamel, characteristic of celiac disease, may be recognized by dentists. Celiac disease may be discovered during medical tests performed to investigate failure to thrive in infants, or lack of proper growth in children and adolescents. People with celiac disease may also experience lactose intolerance because they don't produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the sugar in milk into a form the body can absorb. Other symptoms can include muscle cramps, fatigue, delayed growth, tingling or numbness in the legs (from nerve damage), pale sores in the mouth (called aphthus ulcers), tooth discoloration, or missed menstrual periods (due to severe weight loss).
A distinctive, painful skin rash, called dermatitis herpetiformis, may be the first sign of celiac disease. Approximately 10% of patients with celiac disease have this rash, but it is estimated that 85% or more of patients with the rash have the disease.
Many disorders are associated with celiac disease, though the nature of the connection is unclear. One type of epilepsy is linked to celiac disease. Once their celiac disease is successfully treated, a significant number of these patients have fewer or no seizures. Patients with alopecia areata, a condition where hair loss occurs in sharply defined areas, have been shown to have a higher risk of celiac disease than the general population. There appears to be a higher percentage of celiac disease among people with Down syndrome, but the link between the conditions is unknown.
Several conditions attributed to a disorder of the immune system have been associated with celiac disease. People with insulin dependent diabetes (type I) have a much higher incidence of celiac disease. One source estimates that as many as one in 20 insulin-dependent diabetics may have celiac disease. Patients with other conditions where celiac disease may be more commonly found include those with juvenile chronic arthritis, some thyroid diseases, and IgA deficiency.
There is an increased risk of intestinal lymphoma, a type of cancer, in individuals with celiac disease. Successful treatment of the celiac disease seems to decrease the chance of developing lymphoma.


Because of the variety of ways celiac disease can manifest itself, it is often not discovered promptly. Its symptoms are similar to many other conditions including irritible bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, intestinal infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression. The condition may persist without diagnosis for so long that the patient accepts a general feeling of illness as normal. This leads to further delay in identifying and treating the disorder. It is not unusual for the disease to be identified in the course of medical investigations for seemingly unrelated problems. For example, celiac disease has been discovered during testing to find the cause of infertility.
If celiac disease is suspected, a blood test can be ordered. This test looks for the antibodies to gluten (called antigliadin, anti-endomysium, and antireticulin) that the immune system produces in celiac disease. Antibodies are chemicals produced by the immune system in response to substances that the body perceives to be threatening. Some experts advocate not just evaluating patients with symptoms, but using these blood studies as a screening test for high-risk individuals, such as those with relatives (especially first degree relatives) known to have the disorder. An abnormal result points towards celiac disease, but further tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Because celiac disease affects the ability of the body to absorb nutrients from food, several tests may be ordered to look for nutritional deficiencies. For example, doctors may order a test of iron levels in the blood because low levels of iron (anemia) may accompany celiac disease. Doctors may also order a test for fat in the stool, since celiac disease prevents the body from absorbing fat from food.
If these tests above are suspicious for celiac disease, the next step is a biopsy (removal of a tiny piece of tissue surgically) of the small intestine. This is usually done by a gastroenterologist, a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating bowel disorders. It is generally performed in the office, or in a hospital's outpatient department. The patient remains awake, but is sedated. A narrow tube, called an endoscope, is passed through the mouth, down through the stomach, and into the small intestine. A small sample of tissue is taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis. If it shows a pattern of tissue damage characteristic of celiac disease, the diagnosis is established.
The patient is then placed on a gluten-free diet (GFD). The physician will periodically recheck the level of antibody in the patient's blood. After several months, the small intestine is biopsied again. If the diagnosis of celiac disease was correct (and the patient followed the rigorous diet), healing of the intestine will be apparent. Most experts agree that it is necessary to follow these steps in order to be sure of an accurate diagnosis.


The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. This may be easy for the doctor to prescribe, but difficult for the patient to follow. For most people, adhering to this diet will stop symptoms and prevent damage to the intestines. Damaged villi can be functional again in three to six months. This diet must be followed for life. For people whose symptoms are cured by the gluten-free diet, this is further evidence that their diagnosis is correct.
Gluten is present in any product that contains wheat, rye, barley, or oats. It helps make bread rise, and gives many foods a smooth, pleasing texture. In addition to the many obvious places gluten can be found in a normal diet, such as breads, cereals, and pasta, there are many hidden sources of gluten. These include ingredients added to foods to improve texture or enhance flavor and products used in food packaging. Gluten may even be present on surfaces used for food preparation or cooking.
Fresh foods that have not been artificially processed, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats, are permitted as part of a GFD. Gluten-free foods can be found in health food stores and in some supermarkets. Mail-order food companies often have a selection of gluten-free products. Help in dietary planning is available from dieticians (healthcare professionals specializing in food and nutrition) or from support groups for individuals with celiac disease. There are many cookbooks on the market specifically for those on a GFD.
Treating celiac disease with a GFD is almost always completely effective. Gastrointestinal complaints and other symptoms are alleviated. Secondary complications, such as anemia and osteoporosis, resolve in almost all patients. People who have experienced lactose intolerance related to their celiac disease usually see those symptoms subside, as well. Although there is no risk and much potential benefit to this treatment, it is clear that avoiding all foods containing gluten can be difficult.
Experts emphasize the need for lifelong adherence to the GFD to avoid the long-term complications of this disorder. They point out that although the disease may have symptom-free periods if the diet is not followed, silent damage continues to occur. Celiac disease cannot be "outgrown" or cured, according to medical authorities.

Key terms

Antibodies — Proteins that provoke the immune system to attack particular substances. In celiac disease, the immune system makes antibodies to a component of gluten.
Gluten — A protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats.
Villi — Tiny, finger-like projections that enable the small intestine to absorb nutrients from food.


Patients with celiac disease must adhere to a strict GFD throughout their lifetime. Once the diet has been followed for several years, individuals with celiac disease have similar mortality rates as the general population. However, about 10% of people with celiac disease develop a cancer involving the gastrointestinal tract (both carcinoma and lymphoma).
There are a small number of patients who develop a refractory type of celiac disease, where the GFD no longer seems effective. Once the diet has been thoroughly assessed to ensure no hidden sources of gluten are causing the problem, medications may be prescribed. Steroids or immunosuppressant drugs are often used to try to control the disease. It is unclear whether these efforts meet with much success.


There is no way to prevent celiac disease. However, the key to decreasing its impact on overall health is early diagnosis and strict adherence to the prescribed gluten-free diet.


American Celiac Society. 58 Musano Court, West Orange, NJ 07052. (201) 325-8837.
Celiac Disease Foundation. 13251 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1, Studio City, CA 91604-1838. (818) 990-2354. 〈〉.
Celiac Sprue Association/United States of America (CSA/USA). PO Box 31700, Omaha, NE 68131-0700. (402) 558-0600.
Gluten Intolerance Group. PO Box 23053, Seattle, WA 98102-0353. (206) 325-6980.
National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics. American Dietetic Association, 216 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606-6995. (800) 366-1655.

† It's still in question if oats are an irritant to those with gluten sensitivity or celiacs. Although it is from a different genus than wheat, rye and barley, it still contains glutinin which some people can find irritating. Although my patient base and family can tolerate oats, you must make sure they are produced at a Gluten Free facility. Like Mars produces treats at a peanut free facility to avoid contamination, oats can be contaminated by bad farming practices (planting a field of wheat next to or in proximity to oat filed) or contamination through processing, at a facility that also processes wheat, rye and barley. Pending on your sensitivity you should try oats and see how they sit with you. Bob's Red Mill has a Gluten Free facility where they processes all of their Gluten Free products. I would highly recommend this companies products.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The problem with wheat

Why Gluten is Bad for You
Gluten is a family of proteins, including gliaden and glutenin (which have been the most widely studied). They are thick, gooey proteins that make things stick together when baked, instead of falling apart.

Gluten causes problems for people who lack the genetic ability to break it down into smaller amino acids that can be absorbed. Because it doesn't get broken down, the immune system recognizes it as a "foreign protein", and attacks it. In the process, the intestinal wall is damaged. That's why gluten acts as an intestinal abrasive.
How Many People are Affected?
How Gluten Creates Problems
Where Gluten is Found
The largest amounts of glutens are found in wheat, rye, and barley, a closely related trio of grains that contain, respectively, gliaden and glutenin.
Gluten's Effects on the Body

  1. Gluten addiction
  2. Pot belly
  3. Obesity & "Hunger Attacks"
  4. "Allergies"
  5. Adrenal Exhaustion
  6. Celiac Disease
  7. Depression
  8. Anxiety
  9. Eczema
  10. Psoriasis
Gluten Addiction
  1. Over time, gluten's erosion of the intestinal wall produces a "leaky gut" which absorbs full proteins that should have been blocked until they're broken down into amino acids.
  2. Glutens are opioid-like proteins that resist the digestive process, so they don't easily break down into amino acids.
  3. When the damaged intestinal wall passes them through intact, they cause a "gluten high" that lasts for a few hours, followed by an energy crash and a craving for carbohydrates--your next "fix".
Pot Belly
Your intestines swell with water as your body fights off the damage done by gluten. That gives you a "pot belly" ot "beer gut" that magnifies the appearance of any fat you have. In reality, it's a lot more water than fat. So regaining the flat stomach of your youth might be as simple as dropping gluten out of your diet.
Obesity and "Hunger Attacks"
  1. The addiction caused by gluten and MSG causes "hunger attacks" that cannot be denied with sheer will sheer power. You can try, but you're fighting a survival instinct that goes back a lot longer than you do. So you overeat and add fat.
  2. The adrenals are too busy dealing with inflammation in the intestines (or too exhausted from doing so) to release the hormone that lets you burn fat (progesterone). So what you gain, you keep.
  1. dairy
  2. tomatoes
  3. corn
  4. soy
  5. beef
  6. pork
  7. eggs
  8. shellfish
  9. peanuts, nuts
Celiac Disease and Other Problems
  1. Arthritis
  2. Cancer
  3. Depression
  4. Dermatitis herpetiformis (intensely itchy, blistering hives)
  5. Lupus
  6. Manic Depression
  7. Migraine headaches
  8. Neurological diseases (multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ..., others)
  9. Osteoporosis
  10. Schizophrenia
Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity
  1. psoriasis (dandruff)
  2. lactose intolerance ("milk allergy")
  3. ringing in the ears
  4. sinusitis
  5. rhinitis
  6. slow, constant weight gain
  7. daily "hunger attacks"
  8. body chill and drowsiness a couple of hours after arising, and/or a couple of hours after lunch
  9. light-sensitivity (bright lights hurt your eyes)
  10. noise sensitivity
  11. insomnia
  12. massive fatigue and soreness one or two days after vigorous exercise
  13. chronic, low-level fatigue all the time
Avoiding Gluten
Absolutely Avoid
  1. Wheat, rye, barleyThese are the major gluten grains, responsible for much dietary mischief.
  2. Beer, pasta, bread Unless made from rice, nuts, coconut, or a gluten-free grain. 
  3. Gluten-based Additives
  • Fu -- dried wheat gluten
  • HPP -- hydrolyzed plant protein
  • HVP -- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • MSG -- monosodium glutamate
  • TPP -- textured plant protein
  • TVP -- textured vegetable protein 
Good Grains and Flours
  • Arrowroot
  1. Buckwheat
  2. Coconut
  3. Corn
  4. Millet
  5. Nuts
  6. Potato
  7. Rice
  8. Sorghum
  9. Soy
  10. Tapioca
  11. Coconut flour
  12. Quinoa
  13. Chia
  14. Flax
Healing the Damage
  1. Avoid gluten like the plague it is. That means avoiding wheat, rye, and barley. Eat grain-based foods made from rice, breads made with nut flours (pecan and almond are my favorite), and Indian foods made with chickpea and lentil flour. 
  2. Be alert for food sensitivity reactions. Once intestinal function is impaired, a variety of things can cause food reactions, including acidic foods and dairy products. Eliminate foods that cause problems until your intestinal tract has healed enough to deal with them.
  3. See how well you tolerate oats. If it causes problems, avoid it for a six months and try again. If it still causes problems, consider it a "gluten grain", as far as you're concerned.
  4. Drink Aloe Vera juice.
  5. Take L-glutamine, an amino acid supplement that helps to repair intestinal damage.
  6. Natural Antihistamines (nettle, vit C, quercitin, N-acetyl cysteine, MSM)
  7. Adrenal Support (B-vitamins, zinc, copper, hesperidin)
  8. There are also adrenal hormones you can take, like DHEA and pregnenolone. But they should be taken under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. The idea is that you start with a dose that's as large as you need to compensate for impaired adrenal function, and you taper it off gradually during the 3 months or so it takes for healing to occur, so that the adrenals take over the load as they grow stronger.
  9. Note, too, that healthy intestinal flora create all the B-vitamins you'll ever need--way more than you can take in supplements--so find a dairy-free acidolpholus, practice intestinal cleansing, and eat fermented foods like Kimchi.
Healing Time
Because dairy is the last food that will come back to your diet, and because healing takes 6 to 12 months, there's no point in testing dairy products until 6 months after you start the healing process. You might then test it once a month, until you find that it no longer gives you problems. At that point, you'll know that you have fully healed.
2013 Update: Modern Wheat is Poisonous
  • "Today's wheat is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago.
  • "Back in the 1950s, scientists began cross-breeding wheat to make it hardier, shorter, and better-growing. This work, which won U.S. plant scientist Norman Borlaug the Nobel Prize, introduced some compounds to wheat that aren't entirely human friendly.
  • "It also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing. (Which can produce nasty effects of its own. According to this eHow article, "Gamma rays change the molecular structure of the food, which can produce mutagens such as formaldehyde and benzene, chemicals suspected of causing cancer. Food irradiation also causes nutrients in the food to be destroyed. Vitamins A, C, E, K, the entire B group, amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids are all affected by irradiation.")
  • "According to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research, no one can properly digest gluten
  • "We do not have the enzymes to break it down," he said in a recent interview with TenderFoodie. "It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it." His concern is that the gluten protein, which is abundant in the endosperm of barley, rye, and wheat kernels, is setting off an aberrant immune response.
  • "Grains…create an immunogenic response which increases intestinal permeability, thus triggering systemic inflammation by the immune system, what can lead to any number of autoimmune diseases, including celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and so on. And this holds true for people who don't have celiac disease.
  • "Davis also believes that gliadin degrades to a morphine-like compound after eating, what creates an appetite for more wheat; his claim, therefore, is that wheat actually has an addictive quality to it.
  • "Wheat also raises blood sugar. Two slices of whole wheat bread increases blood sugar levels higher than a single candy bar. 
  • "Lectins are a class of molecules, can be found in beans, cereal grains, nuts, and potatoes. When consumed in excess, or when not cooked properly, they can be harmful.
  • "The problem with the lectins found in whole grains, is that they bind to our insulin receptors and intestinal lining. This increases inflammation and contributes to autoimmune disease and insulin resistance. It also facilitates the symptoms of metabolic syndrome outside of obesity.
  • "A common argument in favor of continuing to eat whole grains is that they provide necessary fiber. This is actually a bit of a myth…" (My favorite sources of fiber are peas, lentils, and chickpeas--three ingredients that featured frequently in dishes from India.)
What's Wrong with American Foods? (Obesity and Disease)
Aloe Vera: Ancient Healer
Coconut Oil: Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill
Conquering Allergies
Healing the Skin
Intestinal Healing
The Importance of Fermentation
What Makes Kimchi so Healthy?
Health Now Medical
A consortium of doctors, chiropractors, and clinical nutritionists who first alerted me to the dangers of gluten. Their focus on identifying root causes, rather than treating symptoms, provided the key that exposed the hidden cause of a variety of non-optimal symptoms I was experiencing.
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health
A recent book that reveals the toxic nature of modern wheat.
Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Good introduction to the subject. Contains a long list of scientific studies and peer-reviewed medical reports in support of its assertions. Much of the information in this report comes from its pages.
Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic
The first two chapters are particularly helpful for understanding the mechanics of the problem. Chapter 1 shows how a healthy digestive system works. Chapter 2 shows the effect of gluten. Both chapters are well-illustrated, so you can see what's happening.
Why You Should Probably Stop Eating Wheat
A Discovery News article that revealed the toxic compound contained in modern, hybridized wheat.
Negative Effects of Gamma Rays
An eHow artcile that nicely summarizes the problems associated with irradiating foods. (It improves profits. It's just not good for people!)
Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance
Unbelievably informative and authorative exposition of the problems that gluten can cause, most especially with respect to autoimmune diseases. 

In the latest study, one in three people were found to be gluten sensitive, even though they were showing no symptoms at all. They were pre-symptomatic. Of people with any kind of digestive disorder (gas, heart burn, diarrhea, consitpation, or what have you) one in two were found to be gluten senstive. And if any blood relative was gluten senstive, the chances were a near certainty that they were, too.

So let's say that half the people in the country have some kind of digestive problem (a very conservative estimate). If the studies are accurate, then half of those folks are gluten sensitive (25%), as are a third of the remainder (17%). That would mean that something like 42% of the population has a problem with gluten.
So as much as half the population could be affected but we don't know how big the problem really is, because doctors don't typically test for it.

In the DVD, Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance, Dr. O'Bryan gives a lecture that consists entirely of quotes from medical journals. There is no excuse for the fact that doctors are by and large ignornant of this material, and no excuse for failing to test for gluten sensitivity in every medical checkup. If they did that, we would have precise numbers in very short order.
The changes it makes in your body eventually cause sometimes-violent food reactions. Note that I didn't say "food allergies". A true "allergy" doesn't develop slowly, over time. And the severity of the symptoms don't depend on how much you have, or on how long you have been exposed. When you have a true allergy, the smallest amounts create a severe response, immediately.

The gluten grains aren't that dramatic. They immune reactions they incite slowly erode the intestinal wall, creating increasingly severe problems over a long period of time. Because of that immune response, gluten acts as an "intestinal abrasive". It sandpapers the intestinal wall it is so thin that it no longer functions properly. The glutens cause a variety of problems that collectively come under the heading,gluten sensitivity, or when severe, are said to cause a gluten reaction.
• Gliadin is the worst of the offenders. Gliadin does not occur in oats, but other gluten proteins do, such as glutenin. So oats are a "borderline" grain. It may be that they don't cause problems, or it may be that we just haven't studied glutenin enough.
Then there is triticale (wheat and rye), kamut (Egyptian wheat) and wheat products like couscous and semolina. Plus spelt, club, durum, bulgur, and einkorn, all wheat or wheat products, and all to be avoided by anyone who is gluten intolerant.

The only grains or flour from which gluten proteins are completely absent are rice, corn, potato, buckwheat, and coconut flour, arrowroot, millet, tapioca, teff, amaranth, and quinoa. Those are the only realistic grains for anyone who is gluten sensitive.
You've already seen a fairly lengthy list of harmful effects. This section will dive a little deeper into the mechanisms that cause harm, and add to the list of undesirable effects, including:
Wheat proteins break through the blood brain barrier and attaches at the opiate section of the the brain that incite feelings of euphoria, only to create feelings of misery a few hours later, producing the need for another "fix". It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the hamburgers use a wheat filler, the fries are brushed with wheat to make them crispy. The process by which wheat becomes addictive works like this:
The addictive nature of gluten means that you can't help yourself from eating more and more. Making it even harder is the fact that most people don't even know they're fighting a real addiction.

Of course, it takes a fair amount of gluten before the intestinal walls degrade to the point that the undigested proteins can pass. So it takes a long time. But bread and cereal are such a basic part of the American diet that folks who have a genetic inclination to gluten sensitivity will have begun to reflect those problems by the time they're in their teens.

As the intestinal abrasions accumulate, one very observable effect is the slow accumulation of weight, in addition to a stomach size that seems out of all proportion to the weight you've gained.

There's a good chance you're gluten senstive if you're experiencing a slow weight gain that seems unstoppable from month to month and year to year, regardless of how much you exercise. If it only stops when you starve yourself on some diet or another, only to come charging back with a vengenance when you finally stop, you should definitely get yourself tested for gluten senstivity..
You keep adding fat for two reasons:
If you wake up in the middle of the night because you're hungry, you should be tested for gluten sensitivity. If you slowly gain weight from year to year, you should get tested for gluten sensitivity. If you gain it rapidly from month to month, you may not even need to test. There is a good chance you are suffereing from adrenal exhaustion brought on by gluten intolerance. (More on that subject coming up.)
As the function of the intestinal tract degrades, you can become to susceptible to many other "food allergies", as well. In reality, you are experiencing a food-sensitivity reaction, but it feels just like an allergy. At first, you think it's the flu. You have the aching muscles and massive fatigue you experience when you're sick, and your nose is all stuffed up, too.

After a while, you begin to notice that you're getting "sick" in the middle of summer and in the spring, when the flu season is long over. So you begin to suspect grasses and pollen and every natural thing in the environment, never realizing that as your intestinal lining erodes, you are reacting to more and more of the things you eat.

You may even see a relationship to seasonal pollens, never realizing that main culprit is really gluten--especially if you were never allergic to those pollens before, and are now experiencing a reaction. It could be that they are a minor stress, well within your body's normal capacity, but in the presence of the continuous stress created by gluten, they put you "over the edge". As with obesity, the adrenals come into play here. The same cortico-steriods that are prescribed in nasal sprays are produced naturally by the adrenals. The amount the adrenals can produce determines your capacity for handling allergens. When the adrenals are otherwise preoccupied with dietary stresses, it can't produce as much antihistamine as it otherwise might. So what looks like a seasonal allergy can very well have one or more dietary reactions at its core.
The good news is that once you've restored your intestines to full health, you'll be able to add back many of the things that give you trouble. But until then, you need to avoid the ones that cause problems for a 2-12 months, until the intestinal wall heals.

When the intestinal problems reach critical levels, the diagnosis is Celiac Disease, which just means "disease of the abdominal cavity". (Informative, huh?) But long before that kind of intestinal atrophy is reached (or diagnosed), many other conditions may occur--conditions that may have gluten reactions as their underlying cause:
Much of the population has the wrong genetic makeup to deal with gluten. If you have any of the severe symptoms described above, you should definitely get a gluten test. If you display any of these early warning signs, you may want to get yourself tested, as well:
There is a very simple blood test that will tell you if gluten is the likely cause. (There's also a saliva test.) All they have to do is take a sample of your blood and look for antibodies (markers on your white blood cells). Given that gluten-senstivity is the most prevalent food reaction on the planet, it is absolutely astonishing that this test isn't part of the everone's standard medical checkup. (I can only conclude that agribusiness supplies the funding for medical schools, along with drug companies.)
Gluten can be difficult to avoid, because it turns up in so many places. But if you suffer from gluten sensitivity, once you find out how much energy you have and how much better you feel without it, you'll have no difficulty convincing your self that it is worth the effort.
Remember, gluten is addictive. So for a couple of weeks it will feel like you're giving up the whole world. You may wonder, "What on earth will I eat?" But in a matter of weeks, the addiction will be gone. You'll be less hungry, and you won't go hungry. You especially won't be having those hunger attacks that make you feel like you're starving. After a while, as Dr. Rick Peterson says, "It's just the way I eat". It may not seem possible now, but you'll look at cookies and cakes, bagels and donuts, pancakes and muffins, and find yourself thinking: "Yuch. Who needs it?"
As mentioned earlier, a food elimination diet is the best way to identify the secondary food reactions that result from degraded intestinal operation. If you're dealing with a severe problem that stems from gluten inolerance, that's a good thing to do. But the most important thing is to avoid gluten in all its forms.
Flours made from these foods do not contain gluten:
If you are gluten-sensitive, the bad news is that gluten is everywhere in the American diet. But the good news is that there are many things you can do about it:
Once gluten has been removed from your diet, there are a variety of ways to promote intestinal healing:
While your intestines heal, take supplements to offset the damage and give your body the extra ammunition it needs to function effectively:
The body's fastest growing cells are in the intestinal wall. They replace themselves every 4 months. So much healing can take place in that time, as long as you totally avoid gluten during that time. You also need to avoid triggers of "secondary allergies"--foods that cause problems because the compromised villi (tiny, hair-like projections in the intestines) can't produce the enzymes necessary to digest them.

The restoration of those villi takes additional time. Cell replacement in the intestines only takes 4 months, but cellular growth takes 6 to 12 months. The time you'll need depends on the rate at which you heal--a rate which is affected by age, but which is primarily determined by the overa-all quality of your diet and the degree to which you can successfully avoid the dietary ingredients that trigger intestinal inflammation.

Basically, intestinal healing is a process that can months or years, depending on how long gluten has been in your diet. Most importantly, it is a process which can only occur when gluten has been completely removed from the diet. Even a small amount can cause a major setback in healing, because the body reacts so vigorously to it.
To determine which foods cause you problems, it's a good idea to remove every possible suspect from the diet. Get down to a minimal diet that you know is healthy, and then try new things every three or four days. Give each one 3 days to manifest systems before you decide that it is ok, then either avoid it or add it back to your diet. (This "elimination diet" is best done under the supervision of qualified nutritionist, so you find out everything you should avoid.)

As your intestinal wall regrows, foods that gave you problems before become easily tolerated once again. So every three months or so, you can re-test the foods that are on the not-OK list.
The villi that produce lactase--the enzyme necessary to digest the lactose in milk--are at the very tips of the villi.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Vegetarian Diets

Most vegetarians I meet hate vegetables but eat a ton of carbs to fill up and very few know how to food combine to get a complete protein. Here's a great article from U of Colorado I thought y'all would find interesting on vegetarian diets. 

Quick Facts...
  • Following a vegetarian diet can be a healthful way to eat.
  • Vegetarians are categorized by which animal foods are restricted in the diet.
  • Nutritional requirements are the same for vegetarians and nonvegetarians but some nutrients require special attention.
A vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat or animal products. However the types of vegetarian diets can vary widely. While some individuals exclude all animal products (vegans), others limit the amount of animal products as part of their total overall diet. Today, in the United States, there are an estimated 4.9 million people who identify themselves as a vegetarian; this is 2.3% of the US population. About 1.4 % of the US adult population is vegan.
Well planned vegetarian diets can be healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases during all phases of the lifecycle, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Vegetarian diets have been associated with lower levels of obesity (body mass index), reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lower total mortality. Lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer, have been shown in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians.
Vegetarians tend to consume fewer overall calories; a lower proportion of calories from fat (particularly saturated fat) and cholesterol; and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals than non-vegetarians. These features may reduce the risk of chronic disease. Because of the variability in vegetarian diets, it is important for individuals to become familiar with their individual nutritional needs and potential dietary deficiencies.

Types of Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians have different dietary practices, but most can be categorized into one of the following groups:
Vegans, or total vegetarians, eat only plant foods; including fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils), grains, seeds and nuts.
Lacto vegetarians eat plant foods as well as dairy products, such as milk and cheese.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat plant foods, dairy products and eggs. Most vegetarians in the U.S. fit into this category.
Semi-vegetarians don’t eat red meat but may include chicken or seafood with plant foods, dairy products and eggs.

Key Nutrients of a Vegetarian Diet

People on vegetarian diets generally receive adequate amounts of most nutrients. However, the following nutrients may be lacking. Vegetarians should make sure they get adequate amounts of these nutrients.


Figure 1. Beans are an excellent source of protein.
Protein is needed for growth and maintenance of body tissues. It also is necessary for enzymes, hormones, antibodies and milk production in women who are breastfeeding. Plant sources of protein can provide adequate amounts of essential and nonessential amino acids, if they are reasonably varied and caloric intake is sufficient to meet energy needs. Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain essential and nonessential amino acids. Textured vegetable proteins and meat analogues, such as tofu and tempeh (usually made from soybeans and fortified with amino acids) are good protein sources. An assortment of plant foods eaten over the course of a day can provide all essential amino acids; thus, complementary proteins do not need to be eaten at the same meal.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

An increasing body of research shows the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, improve cognitive function and vision, and act as an anti-inflammatory in the body. The primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet are fish, organ meats, and DHA-enriched foods such as eggs. Based on these food sources, vegetarians may not get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. However, vegetarians can still boost their omega-3 intake by eating foods like flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil and soy. They can also choose from the increasing variety of DHA-enriched foods sold in the marketplace, such as some soy milks and breakfast bars. Finally, capsule supplements made from DHA-rich microalgae are available, but it is always important to consult a healthcare provider before taking a supplement.


Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth, for normal blood clotting and for normal muscle and nerve function. Most calcium in the American diet comes from milk and milk products. When these foods are avoided, calcium must come from other sources. Dark green leafy vegetables are the plant foods that provide the most calcium.
Certain plant components may inhibit the absorption of dietary calcium. In the context of the overall diet however, this does not appear to be significant. Calcium from low-oxalate vegetable greens (broccoli, bok choy, chinese cabbage, collards, kale) is absorbed as well or better than calcium from cow's milk. Fruit juices fortified with calcium and calcium-set tofu are also good sources of calcium.
Calcium deficiency in vegetarians is rare, and there is little evidence to show that calcium intakes below the Dietary Reference Intake cause major health problems in vegetarians. U.S. recommendations for calcium are relatively high compared to those for populations that eat a more plant-based diet. High levels of animal protein increase urinary loss of calcium. U.S. recommendations are designed to compensate for this. Studies show that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from food than do non-vegetarians.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is required to absorb calcium from the digestive tract and to incorporate calcium into bones and teeth. Few foods contain large amounts of vitamin D. The best sources–fortified milk, egg yolks and liver–are all of animal origin. Therefore, vegetarians, especially vegans, may not get enough.
Sunlight is another source of vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D from sunlight on the skin. People regularly exposed to sunlight can get enough vitamin D without having any come from food. However, sun exposure can be limited by several factors, including dark skin, pollution and northern latitudes. If sun exposure is limited and there are no animal products in the diet a vitamin D supplement is needed.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B12 is needed for normal red blood cell formation and normal nerve function. The body needs only small amounts and can store it in large amounts. Therefore, a deficiency takes a long time to develop, maybe several years. Once a deficiency does develop, however, it results in irreversible nerve damage. Thus, vegetarians need to pay special attention to this nutrient.
The human form of vitamin B12, Cyanocobalamin, is available from non-animal products such as fortified commercial breakfast cereals, fortified soy beverages, some brands of nutritional yeast and other products. A vegetarian who eats dairy products daily will get enough vitamin B12. Vegans, however, have little or no vitamin B12 in their diets and must obtain the vitamin through regular use of a vitamin B12 sources such as fortified soy milk or yeast or a vitamin B12 supplement.


Iron combines with protein to form hemoglobin, the substance in the blood that carries oxygen and carbon dioxide. An adequate intake of iron is necessary to prevent anemia. Many Americans, both meat-eaters and vegetarians, have a difficult time consuming enough iron.
Iron is found in animal and plant foods, but the iron in animal foods is more easily absorbed by the body. Also, the iron in plant foods may be less available to the body because of their high fiber content. Fiber is not absorbed into the body. It may tie up minerals, such as iron, so they, too, are not absorbed. For these reasons, vegetarians may be at a higher risk for developing iron deficiency. Because women need more iron than men they especially need to pay attention to iron.
Among plant foods, dark green leafy vegetables have the highest iron content. Dried fruits (such as raisins, apricots, peaches and prunes) also are high in iron. Eat plant sources of iron at the same meal as foods high in vitamin C (Brussels sprouts, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, cantaloupe or vitamin C-rich fruit juices). Vitamin C increases the availability of iron in the intestinal tract. When vitamin C and iron are eaten together, more iron is absorbed into the body.


As with iron, zinc is a mineral that is present in plant foods but better absorbed from animal sources. As a result, some vegetarian diets may not provide the recommended amount of zinc. Even so, true zinc deficiencies are not usually a concern. Vegetarians can make sure they consume zinc by including foods such as soy products, legumes, grains, cheese and nuts. Like iron, zinc can be better absorbed when eaten in combination with vitamin C-rich foods.


Vegans especially who remove certain foods from their diets may be at risk for iodine deficiency. Whereas iodized salt is a source of iodine, kosher and sea salts are not. Besides iodized salt, vegans can get iodine from seaweeds, soybeans, sweet potatoes and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.

Planning a Nutritious Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarians should follow the diet principles recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Well-planned vegetarian diets can effectively meet these guidelines and be a health-supporting dietary alternative. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines include adaptions to the healthy eating pattern for lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans. The recommendations, as outlined in Table 1, for non-vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, and vegans are similar for fruit, vegetables, grains and dairy. The overall amount of protein is also similar; however, the types of protein foods and amounts for each of these foods vary.
Table 1: Daily food guide for vegetarians: Suggested daily servings, based on a 2000 calorie diet, from each of the food groups.
 USDA Food PatternLacto-Ovo Vegetarian AdaptionVegan AdaptionWhat counts as a cup or ounce equivalent (oz-eq)?
Fruit2 cups2 cups2 cups1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit
Vegetables2.5 cups2.5 cups2.5 cups1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens
Grains6 oz-eq6 oz-eq6 oz-eq1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal
Dairy3 cups3 cups3 cups1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soymilk (soy beverage), 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese. Note: Vegan ‘dairy group’ is made up of calcium-fortified beverages and foods from plant sources.
Protein Foods5.5 oz-eq5.5 oz-eq5.5 oz-eq1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds
     Seafood8 oz/wk
26 oz/wk
4 oz/wk
     Eggs4 oz-eq/wk
     Beans &
10 oz-eq/wk13 oz-eq/wk
12 oz-eq/wk10 oz-eq/wk
     Nuts &
13 oz-eq/wk15 oz-eq/wk

Vegetarian Protein Options

Beans and Peas

Dry beans and peas, as well as lentils, are considered legumes. Vegetarians, as well as meat-eaters, find that legumes are an excellent food to extend or replace meat. Legumes are low in cost, high in nutritive value, and contribute iron and B vitamins to the diet. Like most plant sources their protein quality is low. If small amounts of animal food (milk, eggs or cheese) or other plant foods (such as grains) are included in the diet, they can become valuable contributors to protein needs.
Dry beans: Rich in protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Many varieties of dry beans include black beans, garbanzo beans (also called chick peas), kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans and pinto beans.
Dry peas: Good sources of protein, iron, potassium and thiamin. They are green or yellow and can be purchased split or whole.
Lentils: Disc-shaped legumes similar in size to peas. They are rich in protein, iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.

Soy Products

Soy products include tofu, soymilk, tempeh and other products. All are derived from soybeans and are a rich source of plant-based protein. Protein in soybeans contains as much complete protein as meat and they are a good source of B vitamins and essential fatty acids, including some omega-3s. Soyfoods are generally low in saturated fat and trans fat and are cholesterol free. They also contain isoflavones which may help lower the risk of some chronic diseases. The following are common soy products that you will find in the marketplace:
Soybean: A legume, which is an excellent, inexpensive source of protein and iron. Soybeans are used to make a number of vegetarian substitutions for meat, dairy and eggs.
Soy cheese: A cheese-like product made from soybeans. Soy cheeses come in most of the same varieties as dairy cheeses, such as parmesan, mozzarella and cheddar. However, some soy cheeses are not vegan as they contain the animal protein casein.
Soymilk: A milk-like product made from soybeans, with the same amount of protein and less fat than cow’s milk. Not all soymilks are vegan as some contain the animal protein casein.
Tempeh: Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh is a replacement for meat.
Textured Vegetable Protein: Commonly used as a substitute for ground beef; TVP is derived from soy flour.
Tofu: Made from curdled soymilk and pressed into blocks. It is a replacement for meat, eggs and cheese and can be eaten fresh or cooked in many different ways. Tofu is an excellent source of protein. Types and uses of tofu:
  • Extra-firm tofu: frying, roasting, grilling or marinating
  • Firm tofu: stir-frying, boiling or to use as filling
  • Soft tofu: pureeing
  • Silken tofu: pureeing, simmering, egg substitution, used in vegan desserts and smoothies

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. Additionally, they are rich in fiber, folic acid, potassium, antioxidants (vitamin E and selenium) and phytochemicals. Nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega 3 fatty acids). Seeds have a similar nutrient profile to nuts, thus they’re considered interchangeable with nuts. Because nuts and seeds are high in fat portions should be limited.
Tree nuts: Includes almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
Seeds: Includes pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and flaxseed. Seeds have a similar nutrient profile to nuts.
Nut Butters: Peanut butter is the most popular but other nuts and seeds make healthful butters: sunflower, almond, hazelnut and soy.


A vegetarian diet can be a healthy way to eat. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your energy and nutrient needs. For vegetarians, it is important to:
  • Be conscious of protein-rich foods. Your protein can easily be met by eating a variety of plant foods, such as beans, peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds.
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
  • Include whole grains and other fiber rich foods.
  • Get enough calcium and vitamin B12.

Well planned vegetarian diets can be healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases during all phases of the lifecycle.


'Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets' Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009, Vol. 109, No. 7, pp. 1266-1282.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2010). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (6th ed.). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Print Office.
'Vegetarian Glossary of Terms' American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved December 15, 2011
*L. Bellows, Colorado State University Extension food and nutrition specialist and assistant professor, food science and human nutrition. 8/94. Revised 1/12.
Colorado State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating. CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned.