DOCX - Rowan University

Project 2
Professional Interview on
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
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
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
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.