It seems like more people are piling up the veggies and whole grains on their plates and either eliminating meat and animal products or at least cutting down. There is increasing evidence that a diet high in animal protein increases risk of certain types of disease. Others believe that by not consuming animal products they are being kinder to the planet and others choose plant based diet because of their personal views on the humane treatment of animals. Whatever your motivation it is important that you take the time to research what you need to maintain the nutrients your body needs to be healthy and strong. AT HOME on the North Shore recommends that if you are making any major changes to your diet you should consult with your professional health care provider to ensure that your personal nutritional needs are being met.

Vegans eat green and they get their protein.

If you want to see a good eye roll asked Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Annabelle Cameron about protein supplementation.

“People think that they need more protein than they really do. There has been so much emphasis on high protein diets but if you are eating a variety of whole foods you most likely are getting all you need without having to supplement, “ she says.

According to Annabelle, most people need between 4 and 8 ounces of protein everyday. She says that for carnivores that number is closer to 4-6 ounces and for vegans and vegetarians who only consume vegetable protein the number is closer to 6-8 ounces depending on their level of activity.

While our bodies utilize the protein at the same rate and for the same purpose to build and repair tissue, animal protein is devoid of fibre and also contains inflammatory fatty acids that are now being recognized for their link to disease. So for Annabelle vegetable protein is the real winner because it does what your body needs and has a host of other nutritional benefits.

From her office on the Westside of New Glasgow and her new teaching kitchen around the corner on Archimedes Street, Annabelle meets with clients with varying nutritional needs. She says that she has some clients who come to her already following vegetarian and vegan diets but she says there are more clients who turn towards that approach to fueling their bodies because of allergies.

“When you remove the big guns; meat, eggs and dairy you are pretty much left with a vegan diet.” When this happens it is Anabelle’s job to show them what to eat and how to make the transition enjoyable.

Whole foods is Annabelles mantra. She confirms that the obstacle for some vegetarians and vegans is that they eliminate animal products but they do not always replenish with nutrient dense food.

“Potato chips are vegetarian and there are many processed vegan options in the stores today but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily healthy because they are vegan based.”

“I love food,” says Annabelle. “And I do eat meat but I normally save that for when I am dining out when there are not as many choices.”

Move over eggs and bacon and make room for the Chickpeas – great sources of plant protein.

Most people picture vegetarians and vegans chowing down on a bowl of rice and beans at every meal as a “substitute” for the complete protein found in meat and eggs. As we learn more about the science of nutrition we also learn that even though it is still a good option there is a lot more to plant based eating and that all of our essential amino acids do not have to be consumed together at each meal.

The term “complete protein” refers to amino acids, the building blocks of protein. These are the nutrients that are key to building muscle, organs functioning, keeping your skin, hair and nails healthy, and keep our brains doing what brains do.

So if you are not eating meat, eggs and dairy then where do you get this macro-nutrient and how much of it do you really need? If you are a moderately active male or female adult you need approximately 57 grams of protein (animal or plant) a day. Your protein intake might increase slightly depending activity level. Protein requirements can also be unique to certain medical conditions.

The Mindful Food Pyramid

Ah! consulted with Holistic Nutritionist Annabelle Cameron to create
her vision of the perfect food pyramid


Only if it makes your HEART SING! rare occasion

sed Refined Food-Like Substances

Sweet Comfort occasionally
Homemade whole food treats, pasta, breads, local organic
unfiltered beer, local organic low sulphite wine

Organic Cold Pressed Unrefined Oils 2-3TBS if desired
coconut, flax, hemp, olive

Herbs, Spices and Herbal Teas encouraged
fresh or dried

Fermented Foods highly encouraged
Sauerkraut, lacto-ferments, organic miso, kombucha

Whole Healthy Fats at least some at every meal
Coconut, olives, avocado,
*also included in nuts and seeds

Raw Organic Nuts and Seeds ¼ – ½ c
Cashews, sunflower, almonds, hemp*, chia*, pumpkin, walnuts…

Pulses ½ – 1 c
Legumes, lentils, peas

Grains in Whole Form 1-2 c
Buckwheat grouts, millet, quinoa*, amaranth*, brown rice, oats…

Fruit 2-3 c
Whole form, not juice or jam

Generous Greens Unlimited but at least 2 large handfuls (3-4c)
Kale, chard, collard, beet greens, asparagus,
broccoli, lettuce….

Veggie-Palooza Unlimited
The more variety in kind and colour the better
no less than 5 different kinds

Non-chlorinated, non-carbonated, room temperature WATER! 1.5l-3l depending on size and activity

*complete protein source

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Crystal likes to think about her forays in journalism like interval training. " I have had a wonderful freedom to be home when I needed to be and work when the spirit moved me. In the spaces between I have learned things about myself, my family and my community that I hope will find a rightful place in the new and refreshed pages of At Home on the North Shore. "