Frequently Asked Questions

I get a lot of questions about the specifics of a healthy vegan diet, and I love to help people understand the answers. But I also try to keep in perspective that what works for me might not work for you, and what works for the ‘average’ person in research studies or clinical trials doesn’t work for each person individually.

As you move to a healthier, whole food plant-based diet, listen to your body and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work for you. Don’t let yourself get boxed in to one way of doing things, because there are lots of ways to be healthy.

I also try to think of the larger picture and not get too crazy about the details. I think in Buddhism they say that we will always have 82 problems. No matter how many you solve, you will always come up with new problems. Strive to create positive energy in the world, and avoid causing destruction.

Being concerned about the details is how we make positive changes, so I definitely don’t ignore them. I try to find out all I can about the best choices I can make, but I try not to get to a place where I feel overwhelmed and give up. That doesn’t do anyone any good, so I try to keep my mind and actions going in the right direction even if I’m not totally perfect (click to read more of my thoughts on perfection.

Where do you get your protein?

I’m trying to figure out to get more protein into my vegetarian/vegan diet but I want to keep it fairly simple. What would you suggest for protein substitutions? How can I increase the percentage of protein in my diet relative to carbohydrates for athletic or strength training?

Dark green vegetables, beans/legumes, and grains are all good choices for vegan protein. Also keep in mind that you might not need more protein. If you look at the protein content of plant foods, most have the recommended percentage (10-20%) for a balanced diet.

If you’re looking to increase the protein in your diet as a percentage, and decrease the carbohydrates, your best bets are protein powders and dark green leafy vegetables or greens powders on a vegetarian/vegan diet. Protein powders come at different levels of protein, but there are plenty of different types to choose from, and some are vegan. There are hemp, pea, rice and soy that I’ve seen. I’d recommend avoiding isolated soy protein (allergy and digestion issues for lots of people).

If you include more vegetables in your meals than grains or beans, you’ll increase your protein ratio. Dark green veggies in particular, like broccoli and spinach, have a higher percentage of protein for their calories than other plant foods. They don’t have a lot if you look at the grams, but if you eat a lot in the day you’d be surprised how much they add.

Can I get balanced nutrition on a vegan/vegetarian diet?

I really want to eat a vegan diet, but I’m worried about getting enough of the nutrients I need to be healthy. Is it really possible to be healthy on a vegan diet plan?

The answer to this question is absolutely YES. A few key nutrients are well-associated with animal foods and a lack of knowledge about alternatives might scare some people away from improving their diets. Regardless of whether or not you eat meat, you need to be conscious of your diet in order to get balanced nutrition.

The crucial factor in getting all of the nutrients you need from your diet is to eat a wide variety of foods, and to eat a large portion of your diet as fresh vegetables and fruit. Almost all diet plans have this in common, certainly the ones that work long term.

If you eat a variety of healthy, whole plant foods you’ll get enough of nearly all the nutrients you need – protein, vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium. The only nutrients missing from plant foods are two vitamins – D and B12 – which you can easily get from supplements.

Sometimes people look at vegans’ need to supplement as a sign that it’s not a ‘natural’ diet for humans. But that reasoning totally misses the big picture. When you look at the toxins in animal foods the way they’re currently produced, and the mass amount of natural resources used, in my opinion supplements are a healthier, more sustainable and more ethical source of nutrients than animal foods.

Also, with the declining quality of our food and diets, everyone should be taking supplements – not just vegans.

How can I transition to a vegan/vegetarian diet?

I have been a meat-eater all of my life and I saw a video on how meat is processed in factories. It really touched me, and has motivated me to become a vegetarian or vegan. I would appreciate it if you can give me some helpful tips on how to start transitioning from a meat eater to a vegetarian.

Making any kind of drastic change in your life is tough, and let me tell you Phil and I didn’t do it overnight! It took a while of slowly learning more and more, and we changed things slowly as we learned. So my first piece of advice to new vegans is to just take things step by step. It’s good to know the ultimate reason for doing things, but sometimes it can be overwhelming to change everything so drastically all at once.

Be sure that you choose healthy whole foods in your transition. One of the biggest issues new vegetarians/vegans have is that they go straight for pasta, bread and potatoes. These foods are full of starch, especially the white versions of breads and pastas. Go for whole grains and beans because they have fiber, fat, protein and vitamins/minerals in them along with the starch.

The way white pasta affects your metabolism is it will leave you craving concentrated protein – the only source of which is meat. The same thing happens with sugar, so try not to resort to too many sweets. Try making your own desserts with fruit or unrefined sweeteners like brown rice syrup.

Also make sure you eat a lot of vegetables! People often miss that because so many vegetarian and vegan recipes skip over salads and vegetable dishes. The focus is often on the differences of all the different diets, but a healthy diet should be based around a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit regardless of whether you eat meat or not.

The secret to making this switch more exciting is to use lots of herbs, spices and flavors. There is a ton of salt, sugar, chemicals and fat in processed foods to make them taste good. In order to compete, try a variety of flavors on your healthy whole foods.

Using more salt and fat/oil in recipes when you start the transition will make plant foods much more appetizing when coming from a heavy meat-based diet. You can gradually reduce the salt and fat as you get used to healthier eating.

Check out my recipe videos for inspiration – I use a lot of spices and herbs in various combinations. I also set up an online meal plan program specifically to help with the transition to healthy eating.

What do you eat in a typical day?

What do you eat in a typical day?

I actually filmed a ‘day in my life’ video specifically in answer to this question, starting from when I woke up until dinner. A typical day of food for me would be like this:

Breakfast – rolled oats, soaked overnight with ground flax and another nut or seed. In the summer, I use less oats and add lots of fruit since I don’t seem to have issues with that combination. In the winter, I might add a bit of maple syrup and some frozen berries. Sometimes I have just fruit for breakfast, and maybe baked fruit in the winter.

Mid-morning snack – I might have something small mid-morning – a piece of fruit with some nuts or seeds, or a rice cake with peanut butter – but not always.

Lunch – In the winter, I might have a salad, soup or steamed veggies, depending on how cold I am. In the summer I almost always have salads. I love to have homemade hummus or a bean salad at lunch, since this is usually my hungriest time of day.

Afternoon snack – I often have a snack in the afternoon so that I’m not ravenous by dinner time. I like to have vegetable sticks with bean dip, or something similar.

Dinner – I usually have grains or a starchy vegetable (potato, sweet potato, squash, etc.) and lots of veggies. In the summer I do more raw, in the winter more cooked (steamed, baked, sauteed, etc).

What are some quick, healthy lunches

My 1st priority will be lunches to take to work. Fast food is killing me. What are some quick, easy and healthy lunches that are portable?

Lunches can be tricky – an easy way to start is to purposely make extras for dinner and take the leftovers with you. Some things travel better than others though. I filmed a video with my tips and some recipe ideas.

What foods can I make and then freeze?

What are some foods that I can make in a large batch, and then freeze for quick dinners?

I usually make things like soups, veggie burgers and pasta sauces when I want to batch cook. I put together a list of recipes you can make and freeze.

How to make good vegan/vegetarian food for meat eaters?

I want to eat more vegetarian meals, but I think it will be hard because my husband is not vegetarian. Trying to cook a different meal for me and him every night will be a challenge!!

I agree that it would be tough to be vegetarian with a non-veg mate. I’m lucky that Phil and I are always willing to try the other’s ideas. A vegetarian/vegan meal 1 or more nights a week is a great way to start. I don’t think that everyone needs to be vegetarian or vegan – if we all just eat less animal products we can make a huge difference. It takes some time for your body to adjust to plant foods, and your husband might find that after a while he likes vegetarian night and can enjoy it more often.

On nights when you make meat, make a really tasty vegetarian side and serve yourself more of that and a smaller portion of meat. Making your husband vegetarian dishes that are really delicious might help him realize that he won’t have to be deprived of great foods if there’s no meat.

A tip when cooking for meat eaters is to use more of the fat or oil in my recipes (I use very little oil) to make it more of a fair comparison with meat. Once you both get a taste for plant foods, you can slowly cut back the oil. Try not to be afraid of salt either – it makes a huge difference in flavor with vegetables, grains and beans, and in the big scheme of getting more vegetables some salt isn’t the end of the world.

What can I make for a vegan wedding?

I’m getting married, and desperately want to serve vegan food to my guests. What can I make that everyone will enjoy? How did your guests enjoy the food you served at your wedding?

A variety of ridiculously delicious appetizers is a great way to start a vegan meal and impress everyone – meat eaters included. Although I usually focus on healthy foods for every day meals, a special occasion can warrant a few tricks to be sure your guests are impressed.

Using a bit more fat or oil than usual, and being sure there’s enough salt, will go a long way. Phyllo pastry is vegan, and you can put just about anything in pastry and it will make for a special and delicious treat. Desserts are another place to not skip out. Your guests’ last memory should be so good that they go home thinking, ‘vegan food is so delicious!’

I put together all of the recipes I served at Phil’s and my wedding, and the food was a big hit with everyone. There were no appetizers, very little of the main dishes, and surprisingly quite a few desserts left at the end of the night. I take that to mean no one was holding out for desserts to fill themselves up, because they were so satisfied with dinner.

Is it okay to raise a vegan baby

I’m currently a vegetarian, and my 19 month old is an occasional meat eater (about once a week). I’d like us both to become vegan, but I’m reluctant to do so. In your opinion is it possible for a baby to be vegan and still get all the right nutrients?

There are lots of mothers who raise vegan children successfully. It takes some planning and work, but no more than for raising a healthy child in general.

For adults, it’s a bit easier because your body’s formed already and you can tell if something isn’t working. For children, it can be hard for them to tell if something’s wrong, and to verbalize or communicate to an adult. For example, if they get tired all the time in the afternoon, is it their natural cycle or is it something they’re missing in their diet?

Keep in mind that as you breastfeed, the nutrition getting to your child is only as good as the nutrition you have yourself, so it’s really important to stay healthy through your pregnancy and the time you breastfeed.

If I ever had children, I would do a lot more research on fetal, infant and childhood nutrition – so I don’t feel like I can give too much advice on this one right now. Some really great resources for nutrition, recipes and motivation are:

Where do you get vegan/vegetarian pesto?

I can’t find vegetarian pesto let alone vegan because of the Parmesan cheese. I was wondering if you have a brand name or source for pesto that is vegan.

I have been allergic to dairy all my life, so I’ve never been able to eat store-bought pesto. Luckily, I figured out that it’s easy and cheap to make it yourself – plus you get to control the ingredients! You can bring in a slight cheesy flavor by using nutritional yeast, but it’s not even necessary for making a delicious pesto.

If you want to go traditional, put some fresh basil, olive oil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, salt and a small squeeze of lemon juice in a food processor and mix until it’s as smooth as you like it. The amounts of each ingredient are really up to you, just put them together in the proportion you like and adjust until it tastes good to you.

I also like to play with different herbs and different nuts – walnuts make an excellent (and cheaper) sub for pine nuts, and sometimes I like a mix of parsley and mint instead of basil.

You can watch me put together a pesto in this pizza recipe: Greek Mini Pizzas

What do you do for bread?

I love to eat bread! What are some vegan breads, or what would you substitute for bread? How can I find vegan pizza crust?

Most breads and pizza crusts are traditionally made without any animal products. There are certain types of bread (foccacia uses milk powder, egg bread uses eggs) that do, and commercially-made breads sometimes use dairy or egg products as stabilizers or preservatives. If you look at the ingredients, it should tell you if there is any milk, egg, whey or other animal product in there.

There are some brands of sprouted bread, that tend to be vegan and are sometimes gluten-free. Wheat in its sprouted form is also easier to digest.

The best way to know for sure what goes into your food is to make it yourself – it’s actually easy to make your own pizza crust and bread. The only ingredients you need are flour (whole grain!), yeast, water, a bit of sugar and salt.

You can watch me make pizza crust here: Vegan Pizza Crust

If you want to avoid bread, rice cakes make crispy open-faced sandwiches. Bean salads are a great lunch option in place of a sandwich, and oatmeal is a quick and healthy breakfast instead of toast.

Can I use margarine instead of coconut oil?

What can I substitute for coconut oil? I can’t find it in the store. Can I use margarine?

For lots of recipes, olive oil will work as a substitute. Coconut oil is used in baking because it’s a solid and has a mildly sweet flavor. Olive oil is liquid, and the slight olive flavor doesn’t always go well.

For baking, I’d suggest using unrefined walnut, almond or sunflower oil instead of coconut. They have mild flavors, and walnut in particular has a a great flavor for baked goods.

Margarine is highly processed, and often hydrogenated (i.e. contains trans fats). If you choose to use margarine, just check the ingredients and be aware that it can contain lots of toxins so don’t use too much.

What can I do to overcome my dairy addiction?

Several foods that I cannot give up are yogurt, milk, cheese and ice cream. What can I replace them with?

There’s actually a wide variety of plant-based milksM/a> that you can choose from, even in most big grocery stores. My favorites are rice, almond and hemp, but you can also try soy milk. I normally don’t suggest eating too much soy because it can cause gas, but I’d definitely choose soy over animal dairy.

There are lots of great-tasting soy yogurts out in most grocery stores, and I’ve started seeing coconut and almond yogurts as well. Your best bet would be if you can find a naturally fermented soy yogurt. If you just want yogurt for the probiotics, there are liquid or capsule probiotic supplements you can take instead.

Cheese substitutes are usually processed and have lots of salt and preservatives. You can use them to help you transition, just don’t depend on them too heavily. Nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavor to sauces, and can be used to make your own nut/seed-based cheese.

Ice cream is the easiest one to substitute. There are tons of non-dairy ice creams in grocery stores – rice-, soy- and coconut-based creations of almost any flavor you can think of. You can also make your own healthy ice cream by blending frozen banana with any other frozen fruit you like.

Does a vegan diet help get rid of acne?

I read your “About” section and I saw that Phil’s acne cleared up. I had bad acne before and I still get occasional break outs. Do you think going vegan would help?

A healthy vegan diet can definitely help with acne – although I think the healthy part is probably more important than the vegan part. There are plenty of foods that are vegan that would still cause acne (margarine, potato chips, packaged cookies, etc.). I filmed a video with some of the things that helped Phil clear his skin.

What’s your opinion on a raw diet?

I’ve read that you and Phil did the raw vegan diet for a while but gave it up eventually. Was there a reason it didn’t work out and is it something you would recommend or rather discourage for people to do?

Different people will have different takes on raw. Some of the more obsessive ones are 100% raw – they won’t even include balsamic vinegar or anything that has been taken over 118 degrees F. Others are ‘high raw’, which just means that they eat a high percentage of raw food. What that percentage is varies with the person.

My favorite part of a raw vegan diet is that it gets people eating more fresh vegetables and fruit. That’s the most important shift you can make to healthier eating. The rules of raw vegan diets get people eating whole, fresh, unprocessed plant foods – which should be the basis of any healthy eating plan.

One of the benefits of a raw diet is weight loss. Another benefit of a raw diet is to cleanse toxins from the body. With so many people in developed societies overweight and clogged with toxins from so many sources (pollution, processed foods, etc), a raw diet is a pretty ideal cleanse for them and is probably why so many people are finding it helpful. As I see it, it helps to even out an imbalance in one direction because it’s imbalanced in the other direction.

After that, it is debated pretty heavily on what the specific benefits are. Raw produce has more nutrients than cooked, and cooking can create changes in the food that can either produce toxins or act like toxins. On the other hand, cooked food may lose nutrients but the ones that are left are more absorbable. Certain vegetables, like white mushrooms, actually have toxins when they’re raw that are neutralized when cooked.

Also, there are toxins in everything – the air, the water, maybe even in raw foods. Toxins are created (and nutrients are lost) when we cut produce and leave it open to the air. They’re pretty unavoidable, and reducing them is definitely a good idea. I just see some disconnect with raw vegans who preach about the toxins created and nutrients lost when you steam a carrot, and then grate a carrot and dehydrate it for several hours into crackers. Not that there’s anything wrong with dehydrated carrot crackers, just that I’m not sure they justify a sense of superiority over eating steamed carrots.

A downside of a raw diet is that it’s very easy to lose weight, because raw food has a lot more volume per calorie than cooked – so you’re filled up on less calories. That’s only a downside if you don’t want to lose weight, of course. Also, you can find yourself cold and dry in the winter. The major downside for me was also the prep time.

Extreme diets, like raw food, have a very strong tendency to become an obsession for people who try to maintain the diet after they have rebalanced – and that’s when it starts to cause problems.

You could stay on raw food permanently, but the prep can get exhausting and in a cold climate it usually creates issues with cold and dryness. In the tropics, sure. Phil and I do a high percentage of raw through the summer, and do periodic cleanses of 100% raw. Through the winter, we get too cold and dry on a raw diet.

I think that if you’re conscious of the issues I went through, and make sure you don’t let yourself get too cold, dry or light, it can be perfectly healthy. Like any diet, there are ways to be unhealthy (eating too many nuts, oils, etc), but if you keep to whole foods in balance you’ll be fine.

Check out Gena Hamshaw at choosingraw.com for a really balanced take on a raw foods diet. She does what’s called ‘high raw’ – not 100% raw, but a large portion raw. She also talks about eating disorders, which is a common path into or as a result of a raw food diet. She’s a nutritionist, and on her way to becoming a doctor, so she has very well-researched and balanced information. Her approach is a lot more open-minded than many raw foods people, and she is one of the most eloquent and well-spoken people I have the pleasure of knowing.

What’s your opinion on soy?

I’ve heard some bad things about soy, but have also heard that vegans and vegetarians need soy to be healthy. What’s your opinion?

I don’t think soy is necessary to be healthy as a vegan, but I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with it specifically. I rarely eat soy, but it’s mostly a personal decision because it gives me terrible gas. Soy is just a bean – not anything magical or demonic – but there are a few reasons it can cause issues for people.

Soy has a carbohydrate in it that human digestive systems can’t break down, so it causes a lot of indigestion in various forms. It is a very common allergen because our bodies don’t digest it very well, and it can create allergies in young children. It has phytoestrogens, which can cause issues particularly in men and boys. It can also deplete iodine, which is why traditionally cultures like Japan eat soy with iodine-rich sea vegetables.

Fermented soy (tempeh, miso, tamari) doesn’t usually cause issues because the fermentation can break the carbohydrate down. Like any food, when eaten in excess it won’t be healthy. Soy gets overemphasized so often in vegan and vegetarian diets, but if it was kept to a more reasonable part of a balanced and varied diet it could be fine.

Is there another option than soy milk?

Soy milk is not agreeing with me. I will probably have to go back to cow’s milk.

I also had massive problems with soy milk, though it took me a while to figure it out for some reason. In place of soy milk, I would really encourage you to try almond, coconut, oat, rice or hemp milk before going back to animal milk. It might just take a few brands and flavors before you find a plant-based milk you like. Coconut milks are being made for drinking and using on cereal, rather than the full-fat canned version, and are so tasty. I like the brand of rice milk Ryza – they use brown rice to make their milks, and have an unsweetened version. In almond milk, I don’t have any particular brand, but it’s usually more popular than rice milk. Hemp milk is my favorite, but I’m not sure if they sell it outside of Canada.

Why don’t you use tofu in your recipes?

Why don’t you use tofu in your recipes?

I just don’t like the texture and taste of tofu. If it were necessary for me nutritionally, I could find a way to like it, but since I can get all of the nutrients I need from a variety of other plant foods, I don’t bother. I occasionally use tempeh in my recipes, which is a fermented soy product that uses the whole bean. Since soy is so prevalent in vegan recipes, I try to show lots of recipes that don’t use it for those who are allergic or don’t want to eat much soy. You could always add tofu to many of the recipes I make if you wanted to.

Why don’t you eat meat substitutes?

Why don’t you have recipes with veggie sausages, TVP, or other vegetarian meat substitute products?

These products are mostly highly processed foods that usually have a lot of salt and chemicals in them. I think they can be useful for people in transition, but there are so many easy and healthier options. They’re also so easy to add to recipes that I don’t feel a need to show them in my recipes.

How do you know which nutrition information to trust?

The difficulty I have with understanding nutrition is that there are so much different information given. I don’t know who is biased and who isn’t. There is way too much research information being thrown around to back up each side that I can’t differentiate which one is more credible than the other.

Scientific research on human nutrition is very difficult. Ethical concerns aside, testing on animals isn’t even usually relevant. Testing on humans takes a very long time because of our long life spans. We’re each biochemically unique, so the same food can have a different effect on different people.

People also go into a scientific test with their own existing health imbalances, and the test usually can’t control every external factor. Testing on food or nutrients doesn’t really tell us what happens when it gets into our bodies – how much is actually absorbed and used.

So, researchers do the best with what they have but those are some major challenges to overcome when it comes to human nutrition. Some things can be proven, some connections can be proven, but cause and effect relationships are really difficult to prove and other conclusions are only the best guess that can be made under the circumstances.

Bias is hard to see, but you can look for it in who sponsored the research, what conclusions were drawn, how thorough the process was and who promotes the outcome publicly.

Overall, I try to keep an open but critical mind to all research, and be especially skeptical of conclusions that say one thing is good for everyone. It’s true that research can prove two opposing views for lots of topics in human nutrition, so I find more value in looking for overall trends, and why those results were found. This usually shows who the approach will work for, and who it won’t work for.

Is a vegan diet the healthiest choice?

I’ve been reading lately about some vegans who had to go back to eating meat because they were having health problems. Is a vegan diet the healthiest one out there?

A big part of the unhealthy aspect of animal foods is caused by industrial production. The most blatant problem is the hormones and antibiotics given to the animals. Then there’s also the herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers used to grow their food. These toxins accumulate in the fat cells of animals, and is passed on to their milk and eggs.

The bacteria and diseases that infect animals aren’t always controlled, and we’ve seen lots of instances of food contamination and epidemics already.

Those issues are enough for me to choose a vegan diet as the healthiest option I have available to me. Add in the environmental, ethical and social problems, and I’m even more convinced that it’s the right choice.

To me, the most important part of creating a healthier and more sustainable diet is to reduce animal foods and be conscious of the production of all our foods – vegetables included.

I encourage people to make vegan recipes because I think they’re an important part of shifting our culture towards a more plant-based diet. Even if someone isn’t ready to go fully vegan, it can be really good to just start the shift, or do it as a cleanse for those who have eaten too much meat for too long.

I don’t want to push my choice onto others, but I try to show how fun, easy and tasty it can be to eat plant foods in the hope that I can inspire and motivate a shift. If you don’t want to totally eliminate animal foods you can still be healthy – and you can still have fun making healthy vegan recipes as a part of your overall healthy eating plan.

Why are you a vegan/vegetarian?

Why are you a vegan/vegetarian?

My first reason was the environment, closely followed by health. My main issue is with the mass production or industrialization of the meat, egg and dairy industries. I also have ethical issues in terms of how animals are treated with the current system, and social concerns about the impact our consumption in the developed world is having on developing countries.

There are so many facets of the issue that it’s hard to give a short answer, but it really all centers around the WAY we produce meat and the huge amounts that are eaten. The scale of it.

I feel incredibly healthy, energized, happy and totally satisfied eating a vegan diet. I strongly believe that it’s the best choice I have for my health, the environment, the animals and the world. But I also don’t believe in rigidity when it comes to health and nutrition and I don’t like to push my views onto others. I just want to encourage having fun making healthy vegan food.

What is your opinion on eggs and dairy?

What is your opinion on eggs and dairy? Should they make a part of a healthy diet or not? What about the animal rights and environmental issues?

Laying hens and dairy cows are treated just as badly as chickens and cows raised for meat, and with just as much of an environmental impact.

Many of these issues are created by the huge demand for animal products. Keeping all of them – including eggs and dairy – to as small a part of our diet as possible is crucial for future sustainability.

Are animal foods better than plant foods?

You seem to show a lot of good sides of eating plant based foods. There are also other certified nutritionists who claim that animal products are more easily absorbed in the human body. Who is right?

Well, we’re both right! There are a lot of benefits to eating plant foods, and most people would be healthy on a diet of mostly plant foods. There are some people who need a heavier diet, but there are ways to do that with plant foods as well.

Raw plant foods are difficult for humans to digest because we don’t have the digestive system to fully break down cellulose, which is the cell wall of plants. Herbivores, like cows and elephants, are able to live on just raw plants because of their digestive system. Resourceful creatures that we are, though, we found some ways to make plants more nourishing for ourselves. Cooking, marinating with salt and blending will all help to break down cellulose and make plant foods more digestible.

Animal foods are more similar to our body’s cellular structure than plant foods, since animals themselves are more similar to us than plants. There are certain nutrients – vitamin D, iron, protein, essential fatty acids – that are changed by animals when they eat plants into forms that they can use. Some animals are better at converting those nutrients than others, and some humans are better at converting them than other humans.

A lot of the issues converting nutrients for humans can be resolved if they optimize their health and digestive system. I don’t think humans need to eat animal foods to be healthy, and with all of the other problems with the environment and ethics I choose not to eat them.

Is eating tropical foods sustainable?

I love tropical foods, but I don’t want to contribute to unsustainable, environmentally harmful agricultural practices that I read about happening overseas and out of sight and out of my ability to research and know whether if sustainable practices are truly being used or not.

I hear you. My personal struggle comes with pineapple. I love it. But I feel guilty every time I eat it or buy it. Even organic – how do I know what organic really means in another country? How do I even know what it means in my own country?

My current outlook on the situation is that I try to eat the majority of my diet as locally or sustainably as I know how to. I think of tropical or exotic foods as treats, and don’t eat them too often. I don’t use a whole lot of coconut oil, and when I get a pineapple I savor every bite.