Dr. Adam Baumgardner

Vegetarians without Nutritional Deficiencies


A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Vegetarian can be a colorful lifestyle. Make sure it is a healthy one too! (pic-Wikipedia)

I have no real issues with Vegetarians.  It is a lifestyle choice and when someone tells me they are a vegetarian I never try to talk them out of it.  I have noticed trends with many vegetarians in terms of what they eat and there are several health issues that can pop up.  This post is focused on preventing those problems from showing up. 

After all many who choose this lifestyle want to be healthy. It would be a real shame to make mistakes that lead to anything other than healthy vegetarians!

Vegetarians and B12

B12 is the main problem found with strict vegetarian/vegan diets.  This is really only found in enough quantity in meats.  It is also vital for brain and nerve function.  Damage from not having enough in your diet can be irreversible!  Therefore an alternative source should be taken by all vegetarians.  There is much literature out there on the web making statements that you can get enough from vegetables and not to worry.  Please don’t be pulled in by this.  There is no good research for these statements and blood tests prove otherwise.  As supplements go the best I have found is methylcoboalamin.  This is B12 with a methyl group attached that your brain can then use to transport neurochemicals around… double the good stuff!

 Vegetarians, skin, Calcium and Omega 3

English: Shelled almonds (Prunus dulcis) Itali...

Almonds are a great source of protien and calcium (Photo from Wikipedia)

Calcium often becomes deficient if enough vegetables aren’t consumed and even if they are other parts of a vegetarian diet can get in the way of good calcium absorption.  A supplement is helpful.  You will need both a good Calcium (not Calcium Carbonate as this takes a lot of acid to digest) and enough essential fatty acids in your diet.  Also Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain function and hormone production.  If fish is ok then fish are especially high in Omega 3 or

Mohandas K. Gandhi

You can be a vegetarian like Gandhi without the leathery skin :) (pic-Wikipedia)

you can supplement with cod liver oil or other Omega 3 supplement.  Often the bad looking skin seen on vegetarians is usually a combination of low omega 3 fats, and thyroid problems.  A good source of the precursors to Omega 3 is Flaxseed Oil.  You will want about 2 Tbl for an adult, 1 for a child.

 Soy Question and Vit D thought

Soy foods are often consumed in larger quantities by vegetarians.  This can slow down the thyroid and clog up the liver.  Supplementation of iodine or consuming large quantities of iodine rich foods is suggested as is taking in lots of green leafy vegetables to help with liver detoxification.  Selenium is also needed for good thyroid function and may not be found in large enough quantities if the right foods are not consumed.  This is found in Brazil nuts.  You don’t have to go crazy there.  A handful a day is fine.


Sun exposure isn't all bad. Turns out without enough you're in trouble!

Vitamin D can be produced by exposure to the skin or supplementation will be needed.  this is especially vital for those who don’t get any from other sources in their diet.



Good Sources from food for Vegetarians

Vitamin B12 – supplements

Calcium – Nuts, seeds, tofu

Iodine – Kelp, asparagus, green leafy vegetables (very limited), iodized salt

Omega-3 fatty acids – flax seeds and oil, hemp, walnuts, green leafy vegetables,

Vitamin D – 30 minutes to an hour in the sun without sunscreen or supplementation

Selenium – Brazil Nuts


The other major concern for vegetarians is getting enough protein.  This is where most lack as it is just easier to eat carbs.  Remember that you will have problems with both strength and eventually heart problems if you don’t consume enough proteins.  A lot of initial signs of protein depravation only come on in extreme cases so you need to pay attention to this area even if you feel ok. 

English: A chocolate-flavored multi-protein nu...

Whatever shake you pick, make sure it is the right sweetner too! (Pic - Sandstein)

Look for a protein shake that is sweetened with Stevia or dextrose, not sucralose, fructose, Splenda or aspartame.  Hemp is an excellent source of protein though it can be harder to find.  Make a smoothy or two every day from your shake to make sure that you are getting plenty of protein.  60-80 grams is a good average, but you may need more or less depending on your size and level of exercise.  Between a couple of shakes and the nuts and seeds in your diet you should be able to get enough protein in every day to protect muscle mass and energy. 

Dealing with Sugar Cravings: How to Use Sweeteners the Right Way!

Everyone is upset with sugar.They talk about how bad it is for you and how people are addicted to it and on and on and on. Most

It's so pretty... just one bite couldn't hurt... By zigazou76

people then turn a deaf ear because they are GOING to eat their dessert, They have sugar cravings to satisfy… because, I mean, who wants life without desert right? :)


What if I told you that you can have your desert and it would taste good and it would be healthy? You can you know… you just have to be smart about how you do it.


I think such a conversation would go like this:


‘What?’ You say. Are you crazy? I only turn half a deaf ear… I know sugar causes diabetes, hypertension, and weight that doesn’t come off.’


And I say ‘yup and it doesn’t stimulate hormones like Leptin and Grehlin the right way so your metabolism doesn’t kick in like it should and you stay hungry, and it effect brain chemistry so endorphins get produced and kill your will power, and because it messes with Calcium levels in the blood your teeth rot too.’


‘You’re not really making your case here’ you say!


What is ‘Sugar?’

Let’s step back for a second and define our terms though. Sugar can

A representation of the structure of sucrose a...

Table Sugar or Sucrose is half Fructose. Image via Physchim62

indicate the white stuff most people think of as sugar. That is actually cane sugar.  You might also hear it called table sugar or sucrose. Other types of sugar are found in milk, fruits, veggies, honey, etc. These are all described as carbohydrates. Individual types of carbohydrates such as sucrose in cane sugar or lactose in milk are identified by their parts. For example cane sugar is half glucose and half fructose… the same fructose you find in your apple! Some people also break things into simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple being smaller and more quickly absorbed by the body… and therefore harder on blood sugar control.


Now I’m going to give you a few keys for using sweeteners the smart way.


Some Keys to Follow

If you are the type of person that has really bad sugar cravings there is still hope! There is an excellent book called Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons. I would get it and read it. She doesn’t know everything, but it is an easy read and gives you some really good information. Three things I would note when you read her book:

1. When she says sugar you should translate that into ‘all fructose not in whole fruit’

2. For really bad cravings consider coming to see me about getting some Gymnema

3. The ‘bland’ period she describes doesn’t have to be so long. Come ask me.


Healthy Breakfasts should also taste good! image By Annie Mole

Never eat carbohydrates by themselves. Carbs, as they are called, are a short term food. If you don’t also eat some protein and healthy fats at the same time your energy will plummet and you will have to eat sooner… and you will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. A piece of white bread toast in the morning… not so great. A piece of Ezekiel 4:9 toast with some Omega 3 rich Karrygold butter and an Omega 3 scrambled egg on the side… Heaven and Healthy!


Stay away from concentrated sources of fructose. This doesn’t mean fruit, but it does mean fruit juices, sucrose, etc. Fructose isn’t metabolized in the body the way that other sugars are. It affects brain chemistry, metabolism, and the liver differently. Buffered by fiber in fruit this is ok, but take the fiber away and you start to have issues! For more on this watch this Amazing Video of a Cornell Grad MD lecturing on the effects of Fructose.


Choose Dextrose and Stevia as your main substitute in sweet foods. Dextrose is glucose and glucose (the sugar in your blood that your body likes to use) and is much better utilized in the body. You will get full quicker, your metabolism will be stimulated, and your liver will be happy! Dextrose is not as sweet as sugar. About 70% as sweet so some will add 1 ¼ cup dextrose when a recipe calls for 1 cup sugar. Stevia is very sweet, but has no carbohydrates in it so it is diabetic friendly. Use sparingly and get KAL brand to avoid the aftertaste most people don’t like in other brands.



Simple sugars should be eaten soon after exercise Image By alantankenghoe

Eat simple sugars soon after exercise. The body is primed for simple sugars after exercise. Insulin receptors are upregulated, the metabolism is up, and the muscle needs to be replenished. You should still avoid the fructose containing sugars, but even those with blood sugar issues can usually handle the simple sugars like dextrose, lactose, and others pretty well right after a good workout.


You Control Sugar, Sugar Cravings DON’T Control You!

Now, like I said, you can have your desert. Maybe it is cookies made with dextrose instead of sucrose and it is right after your workout and with some homemade trail-mix… but you get to have the cookies and not worry about paying for it later!  Enjoying the Holidays without sugar cravings and with a sense of wellbeing is so much better!


Try it Out!


Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal is a sprouted cereal that is a great alternative Image By Joelk75

Want a healthy sugar alternative to the sugar glazed breakfast cereal? Try Ezekiel 4:9 cereal with raisins, and banana cut up in it with unsweetened almond milk or raw milk poured over it. Want it sweeter because you just got back from your jog? Add a little dextrose powder!

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The Healing Power of Water

Healing Power of Water

In today’s world, we hear a lot about how eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking the right preventative measures can help us get healthy and stay healthy.   But there is one other thing that is as vital to our health as any of these that is often overlooked.  Even though it is one of the foundational elements of a healthy lifestyle, it doesn’t get the same attention as the others.  Water.  Clean, clear, potable water is vital to sustaining our lives and maintaining our health.

More than 75% of our bodies are composed of it and after air to breathe, it is the second most critical element to sustaining life.  While most experts agree that on average a person can live as long as 8 weeks without food, humans cannot live without water for more than 3 to 6 days.  This fact alone shows just how important water is to our health and wellbeing.

Why Water Matters

Our bodies use water and need water for almost every bodily function.  Water helps with circulation by maintaining the right viscosity of our blood.  It helps carry toxins and waste from our cells so they can be removed and is required for the removal process.  Some parts of our bodies are made up almost entirely of water and it is mandatory in order for our bodies to function.  We can lose as much as a gallon of water every day when we sweat, go to the bathroom, and even when we breathe.   Replenishing the water we are using and losing each day ensures our bodies have an adequate water supply to operate effectively.

What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough

Most people talk about dehydration without really understanding how prevalent a problem it is in America and how devastating it can be both in the short and long term.  When we think of someone suffering the effects of dehydration, we often picture someone in a movie who has just come out of the desert with dry cracked lips, who is stumbling and on the verge of collapse.  While this is an extreme picture of dehydration, you don’t need to watch a movie to see someone who is suffering the debilitating effects of dehydration.  Just look around you.  An estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated which means most of the people you see today aren’t getting enough water.

Everyone knows that those cracked lips and stumbling gait are indicators that someone needs water, but do you know the signs and symptoms of chronic dehydration?  They may surprise you and should help you understand why water can be said to have healing powers.  Here are a few of the signs someone is dehydrated:

·        Lack of energy and fatigue

·        Aches and pains throughout the body

·        Dry flaky skin

·        Short term memory problems

·        Impaired brain function

·        Digestive issues including constipation, nausea, and vomiting

·        Joint pain

·        Headache!  Big reason people come to see me!

How Much Do You Need?

Most experts agree that people need 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to remain properly hydrated.  The basic formula for you and your needs is your body weight divided by 2 times 1.1 as we live in a desert and then 1.15 if you drink anything with caffeine in it.  Some of that water can come from other liquids like juice and milk or from foods that contain a lot of water.  My rule of thumb here is cut it in half before you count it.  If you drink 8 ounces of juice count it as 4 ounces.  Beware of other beverages however, like soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol, which have the opposite effect and contribute to dehydration due to their caffeine and sugar content.  Remember that you are losing, potentially, a gallon of water each day just going about your business; replacing that water is as important to your health as choosing apples over potato chips and yoga over a rerun of Desperate Housewives.

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