Category Archives: Nutrition

Best Vegan Sources of Protein

You need protein for the growth and repair of muscles, organ tissue and DNA, production of white blood cells, enzymes and hormones. Protein is rich in B vitamins which are good for the nervous system and helps us to cope with stress and reduce anxiety. Signs of deficiency include anxiety and skin problems. Vegans need to eat a variety of plant foods to get all the required amino acids that the body needs. As a qualified Nutritional Therapist, I have a good knowledge of the best vegan sources of protein.

52075101 - top view of various leguminous with a cookware

Here are the best vegan sources of protein:

The following foods are complete proteins containing all the essential amino acids.

Tofu – is made from soy bean mashed into a block. It is a great source of protein. However I would not recommend eating a lot of tofu as it contains phytooestrogens which mimic the hormone oestrogen. It can mess with your hormones, especially if you are a man. It is popularly believed that they eat a lot of tofu in the East, but actually they eat mainly fermented soy beans such as tempeh, miso and natto.

Quinoa – is a seed that is a complete protein containing all 9 amino acids. It is quick to cook in around 10 minutes. You can use  it in place of a grain with a main meal or in a salad.

Amaranth – is also a complete protein. It is sweet and makes a tasty amaranth porridge in place of the usual oat porridge for breakfast.

Buckwheat – is a complete protein as well. It goes well in a main meal with carrots, brocolli and a veggie burger.

Hemp seeds – You can use hemp in the form of hemp protein powder. It is great added to smoothies or on your porridge for breakfast. It is one of the best sources of vegan protein as it is a complete protein.

Chia seeds – you can sprinkle chia seeds on your breakfast porridge, add to smoothies or make chia pudding for a tasty dessert.

Other Good Sources of Protein

The following foods are not complete proteins and may have one essential amino acid missing. Therefore you need to eat these proteins with other plant-based foods such as chickpeas, nuts, seeds and beans.

Lentils – are a good source of protein. There is 20g of protein in 75g of lentils, which is 1 or your 2-3 daily portions of protein. It is delicious in a red lentil dhal. However they are not a complete protein so you need to eat them with rice or bread to get all the essential amino acids.

Almonds – these contain the high amount of protein of any of the nuts. You can have a handful of almonds as a snack, add them to cereal, oat flapjacks or in smoothies. You can also grind them up with other nuts to make a great base for raw vegan desserts such as raw mango cheesecake.

Chickpeas – you can add chickpeas to curries for extra protein or make hummus which can be used as a dip or spread.

Beans – you can also add beans to curries for additional protein or with a baked potato. You can make a delicious vegan spaghetti bolognese with kidney beans. Also you could make a tasty butter bean spread.

If you would like more information of vegan nutrition, please contact me to book an appointment for a nutrition consultation.

Copyright: peangdao / 123RF Stock Photo

Supplements for Vegans

When on a vegan diet it is important to make sure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs to function optimally. I have listed the 4 essential nutrients and supplements for vegans below. My recommendations are based on the knowledge I have learnt on my 3 year nutrition course. I want to share my knowledge with vegans so they can remain healthy on a vegan diet.

  • Vitamin B12 – is important for making red blood cells, energy and concentration. It is found only in animal products so it is vital that you take a vitamin B12 supplement. I recommend BetterYou B12 Boost Oral Spray. It is a sublingual spray that is absorbed under the tongue directly into the blood stream for faster action.


  • Omega 3 EPA & DHA – is important for brain health, building cell membranes and reducing inflammation in the body. The active form of omega 3 EPA and DHA is only found in fish and eggs. ALA is found in flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, rapeseed oil and walnuts. ALA is converted to EPA and DHA is the body but it is thought that only 5% is converted. I recommend taking Opti-3 Omega DHA & EPA supplement. The recommended amount of omega 3 for an adult is 2g per day.


  • Zinc – is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions in the body. It is also important for a healthy immune system, producing stomach acid to digest food, appetite and taste. Zinc is found mainly in animal products, especially seafood and also in fresh root ginger, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds. I recommend all vegans take 15mg of zinc daily. A good supplement is Biocare Nutrisorb Zinc Plus Ascorbate with zinc in it’s most absorbable form. Also good is Biocare Zinc Citrate.


  • Vitamin D – most people in the northern hemisphere are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D functions like a hormone and is important for bone health and mood. You can get vitamin D from animal products and mushrooms. The easiest way to get vitamin D is from 20 minutes exposure to sunlight on bare face and arms daily. In the winter months it is recommended to supplement with vitamin D as your body stores are used up after 3 months, so last until December. A good, clean vegan supplement is Cytoplan Vitamin D3 2500IU made from lichen.


It is always best to get the nutrients you need from your diet if possible. Supplements ‘supplement’ your diet and are not a replacement for a healthy diet.

Chocolate Smoothie for Vitamin B2 Deficiency

This delicious chocolate smoothie is rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin) which is used to treat angular cheilitis and seborrheic dermatitis! I developed this smoothie after discovering that I had angular cheilitis which is dry, cracked, crusting skin on the corner of the mouth.

Vitamin B2 deficiency is a major cause of angular cheilitis along with deficiency of vitamin B3, B5, B6, B12 and stress. I also have seborrheic dermatitis on my cheeks and nose which is why I knew it must be vitamin B2 deficiency, as the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis and angular cheilitis are strong indicators of B2 deficiency.

So I looked in my my nutrition textbook for food sources of vitamin B2. According to Liska et al. (2004) the richest sources of vitamin B2 are animal products such as organ meats, fish and eggs. As I am vegan I looked down the list and saw that almonds are a rich source, as well as mushrooms. These are foods that I am not eating much of. I needed a way to get these foods into my everyday diet and had the idea to create a smoothie!


Food Amount Vitamin B2 (mg)
Almonds 50g 0.46
Kale 100g 0.26
Cashews 50g 0.125
Sunflower seeds 50g 0.115
Prunes 50g 0.11

The UK reference nutrient intake (RNI) for women between the age of 15-50 years is 1.1mg. So I worked out how much of each ingredient I would need to get near to my RNI.

I am going to drink this smoothie everyday for a month and see if my angular cheilitis and seborrheic dermatits disappear! If there is no improvement it is either because it is caused by something else such as stress, or I am not absorbing nutrients well and need to work on my digestion!

I had some cacao powder to hand so added some into the smoothie mix to give a delicious, chocolatey flavour!

Chocolate Smoothie

Makes 1 litre


50g Almonds

100g Kale

50g Cashew nuts

50g Sunflower seeds

50g Prunes

3tbsp Cacao powder

200ml Almond milk

500ml Filtered water


If you have time, soak the almonds and sunflower seeds in filtered water overnight. The next morning drain and leave to dry.

Add all the ingredients in the blender. Blend well for 1 minute.

Pour into a glass and enjoy your smoothie!

Store in the fridge. Avoid exposure to sunlight which destroys riboflavin.

Liska, D., Quinn, S., Lukaczer, D. et al. (2004). Clinical Nutrition A Functional Approach. 2nd edn. Washington: The Institute for Functional Medicine. p111

Nutrition Year 1

Hi everyone!

Last weekend I had my first lectures on year 1 of my nutrition course (last year was a foundation year in Anatomy & Physiology) at the College of Naturopathic Medicine. It was great to see everyone from my class again and some new faces! There are 40 people in the class this year as group A and group B have joined together and some people have joined us from London! It has really energised me to be around so many like-minded people who I feel I can easily express myself around, with more confidence and no fear of being sneered at or criticised for my alternative health beliefs.

It’s been over a week since my last blog post which is a long time considering I was posting up to 3 posts a week during the summer break! I wanted to let you know that I am back to studying again and very busy! I will try my best to cook new recipes and write some blog posts if I have the time! At the moment I have lectures every other weekend and my first assignment due in 2 months! I’ve set myself a goal to read 20 pages of my notes every morning to read through everything in time for the exam in January. I have some recipes ideas in mind and need to finish my Therapies to Heal ME Part 2 post!

So hopefully I will have the time in between studying to blog and connect with you all again which I miss!

Healing My Eczema

Having had chronic eczema since I started university in 2006, I am thrilled to have recently noticed a huge improvement in the clarity of my skin, and I wanted to share with you some of the things that I have been doing!

Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is red and inflamed skin around the nose and cheeks accompanied by dry skin. It can cause self-esteem issues as we are expected to have perfect skin like the flawless models in magazines. The condition can be caused by chronic stress or a toxic body since the skin is the last place that toxins are eliminated from the body. Also it may be a sign of systemic inflammation throughout the body.

Here are the things I have been doing recently that have had a positive impact on my skin:

  • Source of Life – Liquid Gold Multivitamin – this delicious tropical fruit flavoured liquid supplement is packed full with over 120 superfood extracts and contains more than the RDA of vitamins and minerals that a healthy adult requires. It was recommended to me by the nutritionist at the student clinic. After a month of taking it I noticed that my eczema had dramatically reduced and people I knew commented on my clear skin! I am continuing taking it for the positive effects!
  • Drink more water – the nutritionist said I should be drinking 2 litres of water everyday. I noticed that I would have more regular and easy bowel movements after drinking at least 1.5 litres in a day which actually gave me clearer skin. This is because the toxins ingested in everyday life e.g. pesticide residues, chemicals, air pollution were not recirculating into the blood stream, but were being quickly removed from the body and therefore not reaching the skin.
  • Sleep well – After a good nights sleep I wake up feeling refreshed and look in the mirror and my skin is clear. It worth going to bed early to feel and look better the next day. Check out my post 10 Tips for Sleeping Well
  • Reduce stress – removing toxic relationships or situations from your life can greatly reduce your stress levels and improve your health. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or listening to relaxing music can help to calm down the adrenal system, reducing stress on your body. Find out more tips in my post How To Deal With Stress.
  • Omega-3 – the nutritionist pointed out that I needed more omega-3 in my diet as I am vegan. The best vegan sources of omega-3 are flaxseed, hemp seed, rapeseed and walnuts. Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory reducing redness and swelling in the body as well as repairing damaged skin cells. I now eat a teaspoon of ground flaxseed with every meal and have noticed an improvement in my skin condition! I also use hemp oil to moisturise the dry skin on my cheeks and around my mouth as it is very soothing and reduces the dry patches.
  • Vitamin D – deficiency of this vitamin is common as we tend to spend most of our lives indoors. I was diagnosed with insufficient levels of Vitamin D by the doctor and after 3 months of spending time sitting in the sunshine and taking Better You Vitamin D sublingual spray which the nutritionist recommended as it is easily absorbed, my levels were back in the normal range! Several studies have shown that increasing the vitamin D levels improved skin condition and I have definitely noticed an improvement!
  • Earthing – walking barefoot outside on the grass decreases stress on the body and reduces inflammation. Our bodies absorb electromagnetic radiation from computers, TVs, wifi, mobile phones etc and this causes a build up of positive ions in the body which cause health problems such as depression, insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation.  When we take off our shoes and walk barefoot on the earth, the negative ions we absorb neutralise the positive ions and we soon feel more relaxed and happier. That is why people feel better after sitting on the beach!

All these things have contributed to my improved skin condition, but I would say that Source of Life Liquid Gold had the most dramatic impact. I am sure a healthy diet of fresh, organic foods is also contributing to my clearer skin!

My Transition from Junk Food to Healthy Food

Here is my transition from junk food to healthy food:

Step 1: Junk Food

When I was a student at university living away from home and first became ill with ME/CFS I used to eat a diet of junk food such as:

  • Microwave ready meal lasagne.
  • Microwave ready meal salmon and broccoli in creamy sauce.
  • Microwave chips and fish fingers.
  • Pop tarts
  • Sugary Cereal
  • Pizza
  • Prawn mayonnaise sandwiches
  • Baked potato with tuna mayonnaise
  • Chocolate bars
  • Pasta in creamy sauce
  • Beef burgers

I now know that when you microwave meals it denatures the structure of the food so it is not the same food that went into the microwave!

Step 2: Gluten-Free

After visiting a Naturopathic Nutritionist who used a bio-resonance machine to detect my wheat and sugar intolerances, I altered my diet and cooked things such as:

  • Trout with wild rice, steamed broccoli and carrots.
  • Sea bass with gluten-free pasta and steamed vegetables in a creamy sauce.
  • Sausages, wild rice and steamed vegetables.
  • Gluten-free pasta in tomato sauce.
  • Steamed egg ramekin.
  • Gluten-free sandwiches
  • Rice pudding
  • Oat porridge with blueberries
  • Spaghetti Bolognese with gluten-free pasta
  • Oat flapjacks
  • Gluten-free pasta bake
  • Fish pie
  • Homemade pork burgers
  • Lamb shanks

Step 3: Reduce Processed Food

However my body become intolerant to the gluten-free pasta made from maize which I was consuming at least once a day. I developed IBS with stomach cramps, diarrhoea and even vomited once. So I had to change my diet again and ate things like:

  • Tofu with rice noodles
  • Carrot & Coriander Soup
  • Spanish Sausage & Bean soup
  • Tomato soup
  • Cheese & tomato sandwiches
  • Liver and bacon with potatoes
  • Baked potato with tuna mayonnaise
  • Pork balls with stir-fried vegetables
  • Chicken Gohan curry
  • Chicken kebabs in peanut satay.
  • Homemade chips
  • Chicken drumsticks & wings

Step 4: Vegetarian

I became interested in Detoxing the Pineal Gland and read a book where the author explains that tap water contains toxin fluorine and chlorine and fish contains toxic mercury. He also explained that meat has a very heavy vibration of death, fear, pain and suffering. I did not want to put that energy into my body as I wanted to raise my vibration. Also I had a emotive dream about a chicken in packaging that was half cooked and half still alive looking up at me with innocent eyes. I couldn’t bear to eat chicken after that and decided to become vegetarian so as not to support animal cruelty. The meals I ate included:

  • Baked butternut squash with thyme, walnuts and feta
  • Spanish omelettes
  • Baked potato with cheese
  • Potato salad
  • Greek salad
  • Hummus on gluten-free toast
  • Gluten-free pizza
  • Ratatouille

Step 5: Raw Vegan

Then I met my health-conscious ex boyfriend who had cancer and became raw vegan like him to get the benefits of detoxing my body, more energy and clear skin. I ate things such as:

  • Kale Salad with Sprouted Seeds
  • Smoothies
  • Juices
  • Raw chocolate
  • Chocolate & almond milk smoothie
  • Veggie nut mix in lettuce boats with hummus
  • Nori Rolls
  • Guacamole on corn cakes
  • Hummus and sprouted sunflower seed on rice cakes.
  • Raw carrot cake
  • Kale chips

Step 6: Mixture of Cooked & Raw Vegan

I found it very difficult to get enough calories on that diet and although my skin was clear, I felt hungry and weak. So I am now a mixture of cooked and raw vegan and seem to have a lot of energy. My favourite meals at the moment are:

Featured in the September 2014 issue of WDDTY magazine in the article ‘Why ME?’ about my recovery from ME/CFS using diet.