Project 2 Professional Interview on Vegan/Vegetarianism Matthew Fleming, Sheryl Heichel, Melva Avila, and James Brennan Basic Nutrition M/W 7:25 Project 2 Interview In our project we choose to study the topic of Vegan and Vegetarianism. We took the opportunity to be able to interview two people, who would aid in our research of the topics. The first person interviewed was Lauren Roynestad, a Vegan herself (a lazy Vegan as I would call it), who has been a Vegan for about 2 years now. In her diet she doesn’t eat any animal products, besides the occasional egg in a necessary need for protein. Our second person interviewed is Jo Ann Roynestad, a Certified Health Coach and Owner of Georgetown Health Counseling, who has tried these diets and studied much about them. Both of these candidates were able to back their information up, but also relate to each other, since they are Mother and Daughter. Lauren is Jo Ann’s daughter, and Jo Ann helps Lauren with her diet if needed, so they are both well informed. So let’s just get on with the questions, we came up with a variety of questions we could ask someone that is actually a vegan/vegetarian as well as a series of questions that only a health professional would be able to answer such as Jo Ann. Below are the answers we got form the interviews. Interview 1: Lauren Roynestad (Vegan/Vegetarian) 1. Why did you choose to become a Vegan/Vegetarian? I first became I vegetarian because I saw a pig slaughtered in a documentary about the meat industry and it was horrifying. I later became a vegan because I saw a lot of health benefits in that life style. 2. How do you feel being on this diet? (Better than before? Energy levels, clean feeling?) After becoming a vegan, I have felt a lot clearer. My body feels healthier and cleaner as well as my mind. My energy level hasn't changed much. 3. Why do you choose Vegan? (No Dairy, animal products, etc.?) I choose to be a vegan mostly for the health benefits. I see no reason to drink any other animal’s milk or any other products made from that milk. It (cow’s milk) simply was made for a calf, not a human. Imagine someone telling people to feed a calf, human breast milk; just doesn't seem right to me. Also, I do not eat eggs because I am allergic to them as well as eggs gross me out 4. What types of food and nutrients do you intake daily? Everyday I make sure to get all of the vital nutrients I need. I eat hummus, other beans, tofu, or quinoa for protein. I always eat them with some king of complex carbohydrate like brown rice, quinoa, or any other type of wheat. I also eat some kind of leafy green for my calcium; my favorites are kale, escarole, and broccoli. I eat a lot of different nuts and seeds like walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pistachios, etc. 5. Do you supplement? And what Supplements do you need to take to get your daily recommended values? I do make sure to take my vitamins every day. I take a B complex supplement, a vitamin D, and a daily multi-vitamin. 6. What are the positives and negatives in your diet without the meat proteins or animal products? Some positives of my animal-free diet are; the proteins that I intake don't cause high cholesterol, they don't have a high fat content, or any hormones that are usually in animal protein. Some negatives are that I have to be very particular with what I eat and how I eat it; I have to eat my proteins with a carbohydrate so that I get a complete protein, I have to remember what I ate so I get all the nutrients I need, and it is also very challenging for a vegan to find food outside of their own house that is a substantial meal. 7. What makes it difficult being on this strict diet? One thing that is most difficult about being a vegan is dealing with the people that don't understand or accept my diet. Others have actually been very rude to me because of my diet. Also, eating outside of the house is really difficult because most places will cater slightly to vegetarians- but not vegans. 8. How do you think people view or react to your choice of being Vegan/Vegetarian? Most people that find out my diet choice tell me how awesome it is that I can do that and have the will power to stick to it. (Truthfully it's not hard after the first 4 months of no meat.) They think it's strange and that I eat almost nothing, then I go through the long list of some things I eat; it usually turns into a science lesson on different vegetables. Then there are others that just tell me I'm crazy or stupid; how we need meat and milk, how I'm going to be a terrible parent and kill my children with my diet. When I know that my children are going to get to choose how they eat. The only thing I'm not going to let my kids have is milk, everything else is fine. It is quite hard for me when people approach my diet like this; all though I do live in an old farm town so a lot of the people down here are very set on their food opinions and are not openminded. One of my favorite times was when I told someone that I was a vegan was last year; a girl in my class asked me what a vegan was and I explained. She said, "but the bible says you have eat meat," (which I do not think that the bible directly tells its followers that you MUST eat meat,) so I replied with, "I'm an atheist." From that moment on I think she didn't like any vegans and thought they were all atheists, which is not true. This is just a small narrative on the reactions I receive about my veganism*. In Lauren’s interview we were able to view into the daily foods and challenges of the Vegan/Vegetarian diet. The way Lauren was explaining her situation it seemed like a lot of people she talks to are unaware of what Veganism is, and don’t know how to act on it. Lauren struggles in many restaurants because of the lack of places that don’t use any animal products in the foods, even some cooking oils Lauren has to ask about. Her choice was swayed by the movie Food Inc., but stuck with the Veganism do to the health benefits she realized and felt from the diet. She seems now after being on the diets for a couple years; she has got it down pat and able to share her experience with us. Lauren was a great candidate for this interview because it really gave our group a visualization of how it is to live like a Vegan or Vegetarian in our society today, and how hard it can be. Interview 2: Jo Ann Roynestad (Certified Health Coach) 1. What is your view on Vegan/Vegetarianism? A plant based diet provides all necessary nourishment, however, it is important to supplement B12 and B6 as these are mostly animal protein based and necessary for good health. Also, an education in essential amino acids is important if an individual is considering a plant based diet. 2. What would you tell people who want to become a Vegan/Vegetarian to make sure they stay healthy? I would ask that they be sure that their diet is diverse; to insure that they would be getting all of their nutritional needs. Again, essential amino acids are an important consideration as your body cannot synthesize these on its own; it relies on the intake of proper protein. Considering that most plant proteins are not complete and need complementary proteins to be complete, a diverse diet is absolutely necessary in a vegetarian or vegan. 3. What types of Nutrients do people who choose to be Vegan or Vegetarian lack in because of the diet? Usually B vitamins, calcium, and essential amino acids. 4. What supplements should these people who choose to become Vegan/Vegetarian need to take to keep a balance in the body, due to the lack of meat and certain oils? A multi vitamin is important, however, concentrating on B vitamins and calcium is very important in Vegetarian and Vegan diets. Magnesium and D promote the absorption of calcium in the body, so this must be considered as well. 5. How would you explain to people choosing this diet about how to pick their foods and where you can buy these types of food? Plant based diets are not hard to follow; supermarkets, farm markets and local food shops carry everything necessary to sustain a health vegetarian or vegan diet. I would suggest that the individual does some self educating or speak with a nutritionist/nutrition coach for some tips on how to stay healthy and get all necessary nutrients in a vegetarian or vegan diet. 6. What types of foods to you suggest to clients to consume while on this diet? Lots of fresh fruits and all types of vegetables, beans, whole grains, (quinoa especially!), dark leafy greens (calcium), lots of water, tofu and tempeh based meals. I would caution a person attempting this diet to avoid soy based processed products, such as fake meats, soy milk, soy ice cream, etc. These products are just as bad as any conventional junk food and the manipulation of soy is suspected to be a link to some reproductive organ cancers in women. 7. You attempted the Vegan Challenge, how did that turn out for you? I was not as careful with my intake of nutrients and did not have a successful transition to a vegan diet. I am, however, attempting this type of diet again paying more attention to nutritional needs. The changes in my physical health were amazing on a vegan diet, including, but not limited to, reduced skin inflammation, reduced cellulite, and increased mental clarity. 8. Why do you choose not to go fully Vegan or Vegetarian? I did not get the amount of protein necessary to sustain good health. Jo Ann Roynestad has been a Certified Health Coach for a number of years now, and has started her own health counseling business at home called Georgetown Health Counseling. Jo Ann was another great candidate for the interview because not only is her daughter Lauren, who we interviewed, a Vegan, but she has also tried the diets out herself. Jo Ann was able to give us the more informational side to the diet, as opposed to what Lauren was able to explain to use with the life of the diet. Jo Ann filled us in on the research behind the diets with the nutrients necessary, how she would counsel a person attempting the diets, and how they can survive on the diets for lifelong health. Even though Jo Ann wasn’t able to completely go onto the Vegan or Vegetarian diets, because of the lack of proteins her body wanted, she still uses her knowledge to life a happy healthy life with well balance diet of vegetable and most proteins. This interview really helped our group see the clinical aspect of the diets and gave us some clues on what to look for in our articles. Sheryl Heichel Article #1 Due to the rise in prominence of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, the debate has risen as to whether these dietetic choices can negatively impact their health. Some have argued that such a lifestyle is not conducive to healthy living. While it should not be taken that vegetarianism does not have potential nutritional deficiencies, a healthy vegetarian diet is achievable if pursued with care as some vitamins are hard to get without the use of animal products. In the July 2009 issue of the American Dietetic Association Journal, they claim that a well planned vegetarian or vegan diet can be appropriate at any period in a person’s life. Pregnant and lactating vegetarian women experience no difference in the health or growth of their child as a result of their diet. However, they must consume a higher amount of iron than non-vegetarians because of the lower bioavailability of plant-based iron sources. Other vitamins that tended to be lower for these vegetarian women were B-12, vitamin C, calcium, and zinc; special attention must be placed around these vitamins. It is recommended that infants raised on a vegetarian diet be breastfed by their mothers, if this is not an option, vegetarians can use commercial formulas whereas vegans only have soy formula. As the infants grow, solid food should be introduced just like with a non-vegetarian diet, only substituted nutritionally for vegan/vegetarian items; for example, strained meat could be replaced by mashed tofu. Their whole diet should be monitored to ensure proper nutrition as these developing years are crucial. Vegetarian children and adolescents report similar growth and development to their omnivore peers. Vegan children require more protein because of the differing protein availability and amino acid composition. Adolescents with these diets tend to eat higher amounts of fiber, iron, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C than their peers. The diet is also linked with eating less sweets, and fast food. The main nutrients to keep a careful eye on during this period of life are vitamin D, iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12. With adulthood, certain nutrients require a higher daily allotment. Among these are calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-6. Vitamin D is needed in a larger dose as it is not as readily absorbed by the skin as you age and plant based sources are scarce. A more nutrient dense diet is required as the aging population’s energy requirements lessen giving them less wiggle room. Vitamin B-12 may need to be supplemented as older people tend to have GI problems that interfere with its absorption. Athletes have no trouble performing on a balanced vegetarian diet. A common belief held is that they cannot get adequate protein from their diet; this is not true in the least, and vegetarians do not even have to resort to supplementation to achieve it. The only real performance concern is that they may have lower muscle creatine levels. In that case, supplementation will help boost performance. Studies suggest that vegetarian women athletes are more likely to have amenorrhea, but this result can be overcome by consuming higher levels of fat, calcium, and iron. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be held at any point in a person’s life. They will not leave a person with less than adequate nutrition unless they do not pay careful attention to their diet as it can be easier to be malnourished on a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet does not instantly guarantee a bill of good health, however when followed well, it can produce many benefits that an omnivores diet generally doesn’t provide. James Brennan Article # 2 According to some physicians there may be a direct correlation between vitamin D and calcium deficiencies in people with vegan diets and the possibility of them developing osteoporosis. In the International Journal of Nursing Practice they looked over all of the current literature as of 2006.The conclusion that they came two after analyzing and discussing their findings from three different; highly credible; internet journal search engines was that there is still not enough information to draw on. The believe that there are many questions left unanswered and that more research needs to be done. They also call for more quantitative rather than qualitative research, since this will give a more definite result to the correlation of low blood calcium/vitamin D levels in vegans and the development of osteoporosis. Due to this lack of significant research and information the International Journal of Nursing Practice urges nurse's to ensure that their patients know the how to obtain proper levels of calcium and vitamin D so they can build strong bones. James Brennan Article # 3 There have been several studies on whether or not a vegan diet is better than the American Diabetes Association for diabetics to control their weight and improve blood sugar levels. In a study performed by Neal Barnard and his associates they discussed this very matter. According to Barnard the evidence obtained from both clinical and observational trials indicate that low-fat vegan diets work just as well as normal diabetic diets for weight reduction and glycemic control. He also states that the vegan diet is much more effective at lipid management then that the normal ADA approved diets. He also states that larger clinical trials are needed to confirm the effectiveness of these diets in diabetes management, but the amount of positive observational success drive home the need for further expansion of dietary guidelines for diabetics and to endorse vegetarian and vegan diets. Melva Avila Research has continually proven that vegetarian and vegan diets are effective in helping to prevent and treat many chronic diseases. Research has shown that vegetarian and vegan diets improved body weight, glycemic control, plasma lipid concentrations and reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. However most research has been in a clinical trial setting and not much has been proven outside of a clinic. In January 2009, Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism released an original paper on a worksite vegan nutrition program that documented research on whether or not a vegan lifestyle is well accepted and helps improve health-related quality of life and work productivity. They also included a secondary study to investigate the cost and feasibility of the nutrition program. Work productivity is a major concern for corporate environments. It has been reported that individuals with diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension had more missed work days and more lost productivity compared with individuals without these conditions. Along with these findings, the researchers decided that a worksite offers a convenient and supportive environment for health promotion programs and can reach a large population that would not be normally interested in organized health promotion programs. A well-accepted program could dramatically lower employer’s health care costs. When compared to health weight individuals, individuals could have up to 78-111% higher health care costs. The participants in this study were individuals with a body mass index greater than or equal to 25 and/or have a previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes from two large corporate sites at GIECO. They made one site their control group and one their experimental group. The experimental group had weekly group instruction on a low-fat vegan diet led by a physician, registered dietitian or cooking instructor. The vegan diet consisted of vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. In order to study costs and feasibility, no meals were provided. Instead the company cafeteria offered daily low-fat vegan options. The control group was asked not make any changes to their diet. Both groups were asked not to alter their exercise habits. After 22 weeks, the findings indicated that a low-fat vegan diet was highly acceptable in a corporate environment. The vegan group diet participants reported increased satisfaction with their diet and improvements in physical functioning, mental health, vitality, and work productivity compared to the control group participants. They also found that this worksite vegan program was effective at reducing costs while losing weight. They found that their findings were consistent with a previous 2 month and 14 week study. An analysis of 22 studies reported an average decrease of 26% in health care costs, 27% decrease in sick leave, and 32% reduction in workers’ compensation cost for employees that participated in worksite health promotion and wellness programs.