Non-vegans often frame a vegan diet in terms “going without” — meaning vegans choose NOT to consume meat, milk, honey or any other animal products. But to Vegans, the experience is about celebrating the taste and versatility of nature’s bounty, along with possible ethical, environmental, or health benefits of eating only plants and vegetables. We discuss what veganism is, what it isn’t, and why it seems to be growing in popularity.


  • Emily Mainquist Owner, Emily's Desserts & Author, Sweet Vegan
  • Joy DuBost, Ph.D., R.D. Spokesperson, American Dietetic Association; Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living, National Restaurant Association
  • Colleen Holland Associate Publisher, VegNews Magazine


Courtesy Emily Mainquist

Peach Biscuits####

Makes 10

My mom always made peach biscuits for summer barbecues when I was a kid. We picked peaches from a peach farm in Pennsylvania and, when we got home, I helped her cut the biscuits and dip them into the butter and cinnamon sugar. So delicious on a hot summer day, these biscuits are great served for brunch or dessert.


2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter substitute
3/4 cup soy milk

Fruit Topping

4 large peaches
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon water


1 cup evaporated cane juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
11/2 cups butter substitute

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. First make the biscuits: Using a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt on medium speed. With the motor still running, add the butter substitute 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting 5 seconds after each addition. Add the soy milk and beat the dough on medium speed until a soft dough has formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly fl oured work surface, and roll
    to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 4-inch round cookie cutter. Take any remaining biscuit dough and roll out and cut until you can’t cut any more biscuits. Set aside.

  3. Wash and dry the peaches and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Set aside.

  4. To make the coating, mix the cane juice and cinnamon in a
    medium bowl. Melt the butter substitute in a microwave-safe
    bowl for 1 minute. Dip the biscuits into the melted butter, then in the cinnamon sugar, and place on a 10 x 15-inch cookie tray.

  5. Create a well in each biscuit. Arrange the sliced peaches, slightly overlapping, in each well. Sprinkle with any remaining cinnamon sugar.

  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the apricot preserves with the water in a microwave-safe dish for 20 seconds, then spread onto the still-warm biscuits before serving.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Squares

When I was growing up, my Aunt Trisha would often make this sweet bread. Her secret was to add lots of chocolate chips. I’ve adapted her recipe to make it both vegan and gluten free. This bread is still as moist and delicious as my Aunt Trisha’s and now everyone can enjoy it.

Serves 8

4 tablespoons butter substitute, at
room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup finely shredded zucchini,
1 and 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer, whisked
with 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup gluten-free chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.

  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter substitute with the brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Stop and scrape down the sides of bowl then add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, walnuts, and zucchini.Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of bowl. Add the egg replacer mixture and chocolate chips and mix for another 30 seconds.

  3. Spread the batter onto the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.


  • 13:06:43

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's food Wednesday, don't you love it. You know healthy food is going mainstream when McDonald's adds oatmeal to its menus and fresh fruit to Happy Meals. It's no surprise that along with the trend toward natural food, vegan diets are gaining in popularity as a lifestyle choice.

  • 13:07:18

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIBut health isn't the only or even the main reason people go vegan, it's often a political or ethical choice for people concerned about the treatment of animals or for environmental reasons. And some vegans extend the lifestyle to all aspects of their lives, like, fashion and personal care. While veganism still seems extreme to some people and many think vegan diets are all about what you cannot eat, you might be surprised to hear what vegan bakers and chefs are whipping up.

  • 13:07:49

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIThis hour we'll explore what veganism is and what it's not and why people choose it. Joining us in studio is Joy DuBost. She's a registered dietician representing the American Dietetic Association. She's also director of Nutrition and Healthy Living at the National Restaurant Association. Joy DuBost, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 13:08:11

    MS. JOY DUBOSTThank you for having me.

  • 13:08:13

    NNAMDIAlso with us in studio is Emily Mainquist. Emily owns Emily's Desserts in Baltimore and Towson, Md. Her new book of vegan dessert recipes is called, "Sweet Vegan." Emily Mainquist, thank you for joining us.

  • 13:08:26

    MS. EMILY MAINQUISTThank you for having me.

  • 13:08:27

    NNAMDIJoining us from the studios of KQED in San Francisco is Colleen Holland, associate publisher of VegNews, a magazine about vegan diet and lifestyle. Colleen, thank you also for joining us.

  • 13:08:40

    MS. COLLEEN HOLLANDIt's a pleasure to be here, Kojo, thank you.

  • 13:08:43

    NNAMDIYou're welcome. And inviting calls right now at 800-433-8850. What do you know about veganism? Do you think it's too extreme or are you vegan? Why did you choose to give up animal products? You can call us at 800-433-8850. You can go to our website, join the conversation there. Send us an email to or a tweet at kojoshow.

  • 13:09:08

    NNAMDIJoy, for those who are not familiar with the terms, can you walk us through the different kinds of diets in the vegetarian spectrum, so to speak?

  • 13:09:16

    DUBOSTSure, I'd be happy to. Well, the total vegetarian diet does not include any meat, seafood or products that contain those types of selections. The Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet includes milk and eggs. And that's where you get lacto and ovo. And then, there's actually the Lacto vegetarian which excludes eggs, meat, fish and fowl, but actually does include dairy. So you see that there's different versions, actually, of those types of diets.

  • 13:09:49

    DUBOSTSo I always ask folks when they tell me are you a vegetarian, "Well, what type of vegetarian are you?"

  • 13:09:56

    NNAMDIColleen, people often talk about vegan diets in terms of what you can't eat. So what can you eat as a vegan?

  • 13:10:04

    HOLLANDWell, you can eat a whole range of food. In fact, when I went vegan, my food choices opened up exponentially. So, yes, you don't eat flesh products, you don't eat dairy products. But there are fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, foe meat products, foe dairy products, plenty of cupcakes, cookies. You name it, there's a vegan version.

  • 13:10:28

    NNAMDIEmily, some vegan -- well, let me stay with you for a second, Colleen. Some vegans avoid honey as well, why?

  • 13:10:35

    HOLLANDHoney is produced by bees which is technically an animal product. So out of -- in staying in lines with their values, they won't consume honey.

  • 13:10:46

    NNAMDIEmily, there are animal products in some surprising places, like candy. What's in candy that vegans might want to avoid?

  • 13:10:53

    MAINQUISTWell, there can be milk or gelatin, like skittles have gelatin in them. I don't even consider gelatin vegetarian. I think a lot of vegetarians wouldn't consider it vegetarian either.

  • 13:11:04

    NNAMDIIt is an animal product.

  • 13:11:06

    MAINQUISTYeah. It's -- yeah. It's not, like, a byproduct of an animal, no.

  • 13:11:09

    NNAMDIColleen, any animal products in other surprising places?

  • 13:11:13

    HOLLANDGosh, let's see. Whey is found in a lot of, let's say, protein drinks, even in -- and are some commercial energy bars. Non-fat milk powder.

  • 13:11:23

    NNAMDIWhat's whey?

  • 13:11:25

    HOLLANDWhey is a -- it's a dairy product and it just can be one of those surprise ingredients in certain foods. But, yes, things like gelatin, things like dairy powders can also be -- show up where you least expect them. Caysine and certain cheeses so -- yeah.

  • 13:11:51

    NNAMDIWhat is some of the reasons some of the people go vegan, Emily?

  • 13:11:54

    MAINQUISTWell, I went for ethical reasons, for the way they treat animals. But there's many, you know, health benefits, there's environmental benefits. So there's really a lot of reasons why people go vegan or vegetarian.

  • 13:12:09

    NNAMDIEnvironmental reasons? Colleen, some people may consider ecological reasons more important than animal rights. Because agribusinesses, it's my understanding, account for a significant portion of the world's greenhouse gases?

  • 13:12:22

    HOLLANDAbsolutely. In a 2007 study by the United Nations, it confirmed that factory farming creates more greenhouse gas emissions then all of the automobiles combined. Going vegan is the number one thing you can do for the environment.

  • 13:12:36

    NNAMDISome others argue that it takes a huge amount of grain to raise a cow and that in producing feed for farm animals, we worsen the human hunger problem, Colleen?

  • 13:12:46

    HOLLANDThat's absolutely true. It takes an enormous amount of water, of grain. We could feed the world if the world stopped eating animal products based on the grain that we feed the animals on factory farms.

  • 13:13:00

    NNAMDIColleen, what led you to become vegan, to cut out animal products?

  • 13:13:04

    HOLLANDThat's a good question. I was vegetarian, growing up for the most part, but no political reason, no ethical reason, no health reason. I just didn't like meat. But I loved dairy. And I spent a few years in Asia after graduating college, didn't have dairy for two years, felt amazing. And then I started to read up on all of the atrocities in the meat and dairy industry. And I really didn't want anything to do with it.

  • 13:13:28

    HOLLANDIt's been 16 years. I feel great, never looked back. And it was the best decision I ever made.

  • 13:13:34

    NNAMDIJoy, you're not vegan. Did you ever consider it?

  • 13:13:37

    DUBOSTWell, sure. I considered it, obviously, going through my education, we talked about the different diets. And for me, it was just a matter of personal choice that I never became completely vegetarian.

  • 13:13:49

    NNAMDIEmily, what was the most difficult thing for you to give up to become vegan?

  • 13:13:55

    MAINQUISTWell, probably -- and most vegetarians who are going vegan, it's cheese. Now, it's gotten a lot easier because there's much better substitutes like diet cheese. That's, like, everybody's going crazy, how good it is. But definitely cheese and our brains actually get addicted to cheese. There's a casomorphen in it and it acts like a drug, in, like, chocolate or, you know -- it makes you want to eat it. It makes you feel good when you eat cheese.

  • 13:14:21

    NNAMDISo you're saying my brain is addicted cheese?

  • 13:14:24

    MAINQUISTYeah, well, your body, you know, your brain makes your body get addicted.

  • 13:14:28

    NNAMDIColleen, what was the most difficult thing for you to give up?

  • 13:14:31

    HOLLANDYou know, people have asked me that over the years and it honestly wasn't a difficult transition for me. When I came back from my trip, a Whole Foods had just opened up down the street. And all I had missed was my skim milk and my cereal every morning. And there were soy milks, oat milks, almond milks. And I thought they were much better than milk and I didn't have to have any of the nasty dairy effects so.

  • 13:14:55

    NNAMDIAh-ha, your brain was addicted to whole foods, isn't it?

  • 13:14:56

    HOLLANDI was happy. It quickly became addicted, yes.

  • 13:15:00

    NNAMDIHere is Victor in Columbia, Md. Victor, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:15:05

    VICTORThank you for taking my call. I have three questions. One is, what's the relation between beans and grains, in order to get complete protein? Another is, what -- to my understanding, dairy is not complete protein. If, to add to dairy, let's say, cottage cheese and 1/4 cup of grain, would that make one sort of cottage cheese complete protein and how to get to contact to you in order to get more information about being a vegan, becoming a vegan.

  • 13:15:57

    NNAMDIWell, depends on who, you, is? Allow me to introduce our guests because we have three. I'm going to ask Joy to respond to your question. Joy DuBost is a registered dietician representing the American Dietetic Association. She's also director of Nutrition and Healthy Living at the National Restaurant Association. Emily Mainquist also joins us in our Washington studio. She owns Emily's Desserts in Baltimore and Towson, Md. She has a new book of vegan dessert recipes, it's called, "Sweet Vegan."

  • 13:16:23

    NNAMDIAnd joining us from studios in San Francisco is Colleen Holland, associate publisher of VegNews, a magazine about vegan diet and lifestyle. If you go to our website,, you'll find links to all of our guests. But, Joy, Victor is concerned about not getting enough of the nutrients that he needs. And that's one of the common concerns that we hear about vegan diets.

  • 13:16:46

    DUBOSTSure. I know he mentioned about complete protein. And just for those who are listening, I think what he's referencing here is making sure that you have all the essential amino acids in the diet to make up a complete protein source. And we actually know that, if you consume an assortment and a variety of plant foods throughout the course of the day, you can actually get all those essential amino acids in your diet.

  • 13:17:12

    DUBOSTAnd that would include your beans and your grains and your nuts and seeds and things of that nature. An actual fact, dairy is a complete source of protein. And what again, I mean by that, is it has all those essential amino acids present. But we do know that, the position in the American Dietetic Association states that, appropriately planned vegetarian diets are helpful, they're nutritionally adequate and they provide the health benefits and prevention of treatment of certain diseases.

  • 13:17:43

    NNAMDIVictor, thank you very much for you call.

  • 13:17:46

    VICTORThank you.

  • 13:17:47

    NNAMDIHere is Robert in Falls Church, Va. Robert, your turn.

  • 13:17:52

    ROBERTHi, thank you, Kojo. I actually had the same question as your previous caller.

  • 13:17:57

    NNAMDII knew that.

  • 13:17:57

    ROBERTAbout whether or not you could get all of the essential amino acids from a vegan diet. So thank you very much for the response.

  • 13:18:07

    NNAMDIHey, we anticipated -- did you have another question, Robert?

  • 13:18:10

    ROBERTThe other question I had...

  • 13:18:18

    NNAMDII'll tell you what I'll do, Robert, I'll put you on hold as you recall your second question and we will come back to you. Here is Paul in Gaithersburg, Md. Paul, your turn.

  • 13:18:29

    PAULThank, Kojo. I've been a vegan for 18 years and I definitely have found it to be very easy. And my primary reason for becoming vegan was to prevent animal cruelty, but as I learned more and more about it, I also found my own health improving. And I was compelled by the environmental benefits of a plant based diet as well. It's something that I definitely think has been a great choice for me.

  • 13:18:53

    PAULAnd one resource that has really helped me out has been It's a great website that lists all the vegan and vegan friendly restaurants in the D.C. area. And I just want to ask...

  • 13:19:04

    NNAMDIHow is veg spelled on that website?

  • 13:19:07

    PAULI'm sorry?

  • 13:19:07

    NNAMDIHow is veg spelled in the website?

  • 13:19:09

    PAULThank you, it's

  • 13:19:13

    NNAMDIOkay, go ahead.

  • 13:19:14

    PAULThanks. And I have a question for Emily because I know she's a very esteemed baker in the community, both among vegans and non-vegans alike. And I was just wondering, what are some of her favorite places to eat in the area?

  • 13:19:26

    MAINQUISTI would say my favorite vegan restaurant is Great Safe in Columbia. They are definitely best out of all the vegan restaurants, I think. I also really like, especially in D.C., I love finding places that have, like, veggie-burgers because I always love eating, like, a veggie-burger and some French fries. And Clyde's has a really great burger-burger. And, I guess, you know, I'm from Baltimore, so more of the places are in Baltimore, like, the Yabba Pot and The Land of Kush, those are both really great vegan places also.

  • 13:20:01

    NNAMDIAnd tell Paul exactly what you're feeding me right now.

  • 13:20:05

    MAINQUISTI brought in some crème de menthe brownies from my cookbook and it's a brownie and then has a layer of, like, a crème de menthe frosting and then a chocolate ganache on top. they're really, really great.

  • 13:20:18

    NNAMDIPaul, thank you very much for your call. We're going to have to take a short break while I finish eating this brownie. 800-433-8850 is the number to call. It's "Food Wednesday," we're talking about eating vegan.

  • 13:20:28

    NNAMDIIf the phones lines are busy, go to our website,, you can join the conversation there or send us a tweet at kojoshow. Shoot us an email to It's "Food Wednesday." I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 13:22:33

    NNAMDIWelcome back to our "Food Wednesday" conversation about eating vegan. We're talking with Colleen Holland, associate publisher of VegNews, a magazine about vegan diet and lifestyle. She joins us from studios in San Francisco. Joining us in our Washington studio is Emily Mainquist.

  • 13:22:47

    NNAMDIEmily is the owner of Emily's Desserts in Baltimore and Tulsan, Maryland. her new book of vegan dessert recipes is called "Sweet Vegan: A Collection of all Vegan, some Gluten-Free, and a Few Raw Desserts."

  • 13:23:00

    NNAMDIAlso joining us in studio is Joy DuBost. She is a registered dietician representing the American Dietetic Association. She's also director of nutrition and healthy living at the National Restaurant Association and you're saying, Joy DuBost, saying to me in the break that my brain is not necessarily addicted either to whole foods or to any other food?

  • 13:23:23

    DUBOSTYes, I just wanted to clarify that point. from a scientific evidence standpoint, there is no evidence to indicate that there's an addiction with regards to in the case earlier with consuming casein but in other products as well. There's just no human studies that have indicated as such. So I just wanted to back up and clarify.

  • 13:23:43

    NNAMDIColleen, I did not get the opportunity to ask you, did you have any concerns about nutrition one of the issues one of our earlier callers raised when you went vegan?

  • 13:23:52

    HOLLANDI did not. I like a varied diet. I like all fruits and vegetables so I felt that I was getting a, you know, healthy nutrition. I think if you don't like fruits and vegetables and you're on more of a junk food diet then that's when you need to be concerned. But as long as you eat a varied diet you're going to be just fine and you're going to thrive.

  • 13:24:13

    NNAMDIEmily, how do you make sure you get protein for example?

  • 13:24:17

    MAINQUISTWell, you can get protein from legumes and grains and seeds and nuts. So I really don't even think about how much protein did I have today because I know that throughout the course of my day, you know, I eat either like fortified cereals with protein or, you know, oatmeals and I eat faux meats so I know I'm getting enough protein.

  • 13:24:40

    NNAMDIJoy DuBost, a dietician's standpoint, getting protein, how do you get it?

  • 13:24:44

    DUBOSTSure, actually the 2010 dietary guidelines go into detail with regards to protein sources for vegetarian diets and they recommend on average for a 2,000 calorie diet, which is just a reference diet amount, that you would need about five and a half ounce equivalents of soy products, vegan products like beans and peas and nuts and seeds.

  • 13:25:06

    NNAMDIOnto the telephones again. Here is Beatrice in College Park, Md. Beatrice, you're on the air, go ahead please.

  • 13:25:15

    BEATRICEHi, yes, I just had a couple of comments. So I've been a vegetarian for almost 10 years, three of that was vegan. I just recently went back and I just -- I think people...

  • 13:25:24

    NNAMDIWait, back up again. You were a vegetarian for almost 10 years, then you switched to vegan and you went back to vegetarian?

  • 13:25:30

    BEATRICEYes, just recently.

  • 13:25:31

    NNAMDIOkay. go ahead.

  • 13:25:33

    BEATRICEAnd what I noticed was that people were a lot more, I guess, sacred to meet me as a vegan because they perceive me to be more militant and I guess I just wanted to say that for the average vegetarian, being an American we get pretty spoiled because the selection here is really nice and even though in theory being vegetarian is more environmentally friendly.

  • 13:25:55

    BEATRICEWe're so used to having tons of choices at the supermarket all the time, all year around but there's more pollution from flying in things from all over the place.

  • 13:26:04

    BEATRICEAnd second of all, in certain climates, agriculture's not very productive so in some cases animal husbandry is the best way for a population to feed itself and so I think it's really a luxury that we in the West, especially in this country, get to choose to eat only vegetables and fruits and grains but also we have a variety of substitutes here that people in other places don't necessarily have.

  • 13:26:28

    NNAMDIColleen, I would like to hear about your experience in Asian and whether you consider a vegan to be a militant form of vegetarian?

  • 13:26:37

    HOLLANDWell, sure. I'll tell you about Asia first and it was quite a while ago but they eat very little animal products. They would eat it maybe once or twice a month and it was just a seasoning on their food, it was primarily plant-based and of course they ate no diary.

  • 13:26:53

    HOLLANDI know that's changing especially in large population centers like India and China, where the meat consumption is going up as the standard of living rises. But when I was there it was very clean, pure food. I felt incredible and like I said that's when I sort of got the diary out of it.

  • 13:27:11

    HOLLANDAs far as being militant vegan, I think that's sort of the myth left over from when vegetarianism first came about in the 70's through the hippies and I think that has changed drastically and it's changing everyday now.

  • 13:27:30

    HOLLANDOpera did a one-hour vegan show a few months ago. Martha Stewart devoted a program to veganism. There's always vegan books on "The New York Times" bestseller list. We win Food Network contests in our bakeries. There's more vegan cookbooks out. So veganism is definitely going mainstream so I think in the large cities it's not a big deal at all and soon it will be that way around the country.

  • 13:27:56

    NNAMDIBeatrice, thank you very much for your call. We move on -- we go back to Robert in Falls Church, Va. Robert, the second part of your question?

  • 13:28:05

    ROBERTThank you. I'm concerned about toxicity. There's a lot of phytoestrogens and phytosteroids, active molecules that are in different types of plants like soy and if you don't eat a well-balanced vegan diet and you binge a particular food, is it possible that you could get some toxic responses to that type of intake?

  • 13:28:39

    NNAMDIFirst and foremost, have you ever had any practical experience with that in your case, Emily?

  • 13:28:46


  • 13:28:46

    NNAMDINo, okay. Theoretically, Joy?

  • 13:28:49

    DUBOSTWell, I think a key point there is to have a balance and variety in the diet and not to over consume on one thing, particularly when you're trying to ensure that you're receiving all your essentials nutrients. But there has been studies with regards to the phytosterols or phytoestrogens and again, if you're consuming a balanced diet there does not seem to be any adverse effects.

  • 13:29:13

    NNAMDIRobert, thank you for your call.

  • 13:29:15

    ROBERTYou're quite welcome.

  • 13:29:17

    NNAMDIWe move onto Vinnie in Ashburn, Va. Vinnie, your turn.

  • 13:29:22

    VINNIEHi, Kojo. First off, I just wanted to say thank you so much for doing this particular show. I think it's a really important issue and I'm really happy that you and your guests are talking about it.

  • 13:29:33

    VINNIEI'm a vegan, I've been a vegan for about 14 years and, you know, when I became a vegan it was strictly ethical but as time has gone on, I realized, you know, all of the other benefits, such as health and environmental. I think especially now with all the environmental issues it's probably one of the most important changes you can make.

  • 13:29:55

    VINNIESo I had a couple of tips to give but I'll just isolate it to one because I know time is short. So I know -- the issue diary and cheese has come up a decent amount and I know for a lot of vegetarians, the reason they can't go vegan is the cheese thing keeps getting them. Like, it's, you know, this one's the final frontier, it's the last thing to give up is they just can't give up cheese.

  • 13:30:16

    VINNIEAnd I've got a vegan activist friend who -- she gave me advice a couple of years ago and it sounds pretty simple but it's one that's gotten me off of cheese, like, completely is. She said, you know, rather than (unintelligible) all the time with all, you know, nondairy cheeses just get over and make for it with was other things that are, you know, like whole, fresh foods.

  • 13:30:39

    VINNIELike, for example, when I go out to eat pizza, instead of trying to find a place that will put soy cheese or something on there that's going to be, like, heavily processed and probably doesn't taste anything like cheese.

  • 13:30:49

    VINNIEI often get a bunch of toppings, like, a bunch of fresh vegetables and it more than makes up for the lack of cheese and usually by the end of the meal all of my non-vegan friends are eating my pizza. So that's just one tip I wanted to share and...

  • 13:31:04

    NNAMDIIs that a tip you...

  • 13:31:05

    VINNIE…That's why I feel it's one to quit...

  • 13:31:06

    NNAMDI...Is that a tip you were aware of, Emily Mainquist?

  • 13:31:09


  • 13:31:10

    NNAMDII knew you were but go ahead Vinnie. Go ahead Vinnie.

  • 13:31:15

    VINNIEYes, sorry, sorry, before I go just one thing I wanted to throw out there real quick is that, a lot of the issues that are being discussed I've sort of compiled a lot of things in some restaurants and I put them online at a site and I wrote a little article I call "The Guide to Vegetarianism." So if anybody wants to read it the website is

  • 13:31:39

    NNAMDIWe'll try to provide a link to that website, thank you for your call Vinnie. We got an email from Ryan, who talks about gelatin-free skittles. "Check again in Europe," says Ryan, "Gelatin-free Skittles have been available for years. now, Skittles in the normal pack are gelatin-free but for some reason the larger packages still have gelatin." Are you aware of that at all?

  • 13:32:00

    MAINQUISTI did not know that.

  • 13:32:01

    NNAMDIAre you there? Emily can now be able to have Skittles again. Some people worry, Joy, that vegan diets are not appropriate for children. What are some of the health and nutrition issues that people should keep in mind for a vegan household that includes children?

  • 13:32:17

    DUBOSTWell, the position in the American Dietetic Association states that vegan diets can be appropriate for individuals during all stages of life and that would include infancy and childhood. The key nutrients that in general we need to be concerned about if you are vegan is Omega 3's, which is an essential fatty acid that you need in your diet.

  • 13:32:38

    DUBOSTProtein of course, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, vitamin D and B12. so in general those are the nutrients that typically you just have to be mindful of if you are a vegan but we do know also that with vegetarian diets, people typically consume, compared to a non-vegetarian diet, consume more potassium, fiber and vitamin C. So there are nutrients that you need to be mindful but again, you're over consuming on a few, which are great.

  • 13:33:09

    NNAMDIWell, is it more difficult to maintain a vegan diet during pregnancy when it's essential to get proper nutrition? Natalie Portman was a vegetarian for 20 years then she went vegan after reading Jonathan Safran Foer's book, "Eating Animals."

  • 13:33:23

    NNAMDIShe became a vegan activist but during her pregnancy, she dropped the vegan diet because she was concerned about nutrition and had cravings for the things like eggs and baked goods. She even designed her own line of vegan shoes. Is it more difficult to maintain the vegan diet during pregnancy?

  • 13:33:40

    DUBOSTI think the key here is making sure that it's appropriately planned and that there's variability within these dietary practices and so assessment needs to be done. So I would definitely encourage your listeners to consult with a registered dietician who can make that diet appropriate for their needs and demands.

  • 13:34:01

    NNAMDIColleen, do you take any supplements at all?

  • 13:34:05

    HOLLANDI personally don't. I do know vegans who take a multi and a B12 on a regular basis but for those vitamins, which Joy just mentioned, which are most important for us vegans to get, I get my B12 from fortified rice milk. I have a smoothie every morning and I make sure the rice milk I buy is fortified so I'm covered there.

  • 13:34:25

    HOLLANDI get my Omegas from flax seeds. I'll throw a handful of flax seeds in my smoothie and I'm pretty, you know, since I eat a varied diet, I get everything else I need. So I don't supplement.

  • 13:34:37

    NNAMDIEmily, where do you get your B12?

  • 13:34:39

    MAINQUISTI also buy the rice milk that has B12 in it. So -- because I prefer rice milk over a soymilk.

  • 13:34:46

    NNAMDIWe got this email from Jessica. "Please discuss the impact of so much soy in vegan foods to get proteins, specifically the iso -- pronounce that for me, please?

  • 13:34:56


  • 13:34:57

    NNAMDI"Isoflavones and estrogen. Keep in mind that soy in traditional Asian communities like Japanese do not eat meat. In addition to tofu and soy and don't eat as much as vegans. This is relevant because many times vegans say the diet is okay based on comparisons to those Asian communities."

  • 13:35:14

    DUBOSTSo the soy products, again, that kind of goes back to that one caller's question around phytoestrogens and phytosterols and there was some concern in the medical community that if you had, particularly around breast cancer, that if it was specific to an estrogen receptor that it can increase your rate or continue to have the cancer to grow.

  • 13:35:36

    DUBOSTAnd as far as I know at this point, that evidence is not conclusive, depending on who your doctor. I would talk to your medical professional, consult with them on that but again, I think it's being mindful of a varied diet that you can incorporate soy products into the diet, particularly when you're vegan and still live healthful.

  • 13:35:57

    DUBOSTIn addition to that, though, I wanted to point out that the evidence does indicate for those who are vegetarians that they actually are -- the association there is with a lower risk of cancer risk and that would include different types of cancer but overall it does include a lower cancer rate.

  • 13:36:15

    NNAMDIJoe, in Washington D.C., your turn.

  • 13:36:20


  • 13:36:20

    NNAMDIHi, Joe.

  • 13:36:21

    JOEHi, how are you doing? Thanks for having me. I'm calling in to talk about weight loss. I know that the vegan diet is -- can be premised as a fad diet or maybe doing this for the animals or for health. I'm calling specifically for health and maybe it's because Michelle Obama and this Let's Move Campaign is really trying to tackle childhood obesity and obesity in general in America.

  • 13:36:40

    JOEHow has this diet worked for weight loss? And the second part of my question is in that ADA position paper on vegetarian diets, can the dietician, Dr. DuBost, talk a little bit more about what were the findings? You know, I'm dietician and I have to say that I read that position paper and I know that heart disease and diabetes tend to be reduced when going on a vegan diet.

  • 13:37:02

    JOEAnd, you know, I think that's shocking and amazing because these are diseases that are the number one killers in America. So can you speak to the health aspects of disease prevention from a vegan diet?

  • 13:37:13

    NNAMDIJoy DuBost?

  • 13:37:14

    DUBOSTSure. Well, first off from a weight loss perspective we know that people who are vegan actually have a -- what's called a lower body mass index. So typically what you would say is they're lower weight and so I think, and what's important here, whether you're vegan or not a vegan, is calorie balance and what I mean by that is ensuring that you're getting all the essential nutrients through the appropriate of amount of calories that you need but that you're also burning those calories through physical activity.

  • 13:37:43

    DUBOSTOn the second part of that question, your caller's exactly right. vegetarian diets is associated with a lower risk of low-density lipoprotein, which is what we call the bad cholesterol.

  • 13:37:57

    DUBOSTAnd also it lowers blood pressure and hypertension and with that it lowers the risk of the heart disease as well as Type 2 diabetes mellitus and also, once again I mentioned about lowering the cancer rate and then lowering body weight or BMI. So overall the evidence is there to show that there's a lower risk of these certain diseases.

  • 13:38:17

    NNAMDICan a vegan diet in some way or the other be an unhealthy diet?

  • 13:38:23

    DUBOSTI think any diet could be unhealthful if your not consuming essential nutrients, you're not -- you're overindulging. I mean, whether you're vegan or not you can overindulge on things that need to be reduced in the diet, like added sugar and saturated fat and sodium.

  • 13:38:41

    DUBOSTSo, again, it's being appropriately planned, whether you're vegan or not, that you are consuming essential nutrients, getting the calories that are right for you to ensuring that there's calorie balance and energy balance there.

  • 13:38:54

    NNAMDIBut a vegan diet does not mean cutting out sweets. Emily, as your cookbook shows, how do you make things like butter cream cupcakes and cheesecake vegan?

  • 13:39:04

    MAINQUISTWell, I use substitutes like tofu or, you know, of course I use soy milk and I use something called egg replacer, which is a mixture of starches or you could substitute like an egg, you could use applesauce or a banana or flax seeds. And then I use like tofutti cream cheese, which is like a vegan tofu cream cheese substitute. That works really great in like cheesecakes or...

  • 13:39:30

    NNAMDIWhat's in the brownie that I'm currently eating or was eating?

  • 13:39:33

    MAINQUISTYes, the brownie, well, in the frosting it has -- I use Earth Balance, which is a non-hydrogenated like olive oil and soybean and palm oil substitute that's really great. I put it on bagels, I put it on everything, you know, make mashed potatoes, I put it in there. It's really delicious.

  • 13:39:52

    NNAMDIColleen, what are some substitutions you make when cooking?

  • 13:39:56

    HOLLANDWell, I try to eat as many Emily's Desserts as possible. I love her stuff. Even though I'm in California, we get her stuff in the office way too often. But I do love to bake, and I think it's important to remember that in traditional baking, it's not that we need butter and eggs, it's that we need fat and we need a binder. So we're just using plant based versions of those. So for the butter, you can use margarine, you can use palm shortening, you can use oil, whatever the recipe works best using.

  • 13:40:32

    HOLLANDOr for eggs, you can use the egg replacer, you can use flax seeds, you can use banana, you can use tofu, and it has the same effect. So just depending on what you're making, there's always a substitute available.

  • 13:40:45

    NNAMDIBack to the telephones, here now is Sandra in Washington, D.C. Sandra, you're on the air, go ahead please.

  • 13:40:51

    SANDRAHi. Thanks for taking my call. I'm really enjoying the show. I teach in Maryland, and I'm noticing that -- and I teach health and physical ed -- and noticing that a lot of students are overweight, and so we're trying to, in the classroom, bring about a change in the diet. And with the vegetarian/vegan diet, the fiber is so high, and so therefore, you can -- the elimination is great, so not only do you take in good foods, they're elimination good foods. I mean, the waste, I mean. They're eliminating the waste, which I find that half of your body weight is waste.

  • 13:41:38

    SANDRASo just wanted to piggy back on that. And also, about the cheeses, in the book, I have a book that I purchased, "By Any Greens Necessary..."

  • 13:41:49

    NNAMDIHold on a second, Sandra. Sandra, hold on a second. Sandra, here is Tracye McQuirt (sic) in Washington, D.C.. Tracye McQuirt, tell Sandra who you are.

  • 13:41:58

    TRACYE MCQUIRTERHi, Kojo. Thank you. This is Tracye McQuirter, and I'm the author of the book she mentioned, "By Any Greens Necessary."

  • 13:42:08

    TRACYE MCQUIRTERAnd it's a vegan how-to guide, so I'm grateful to Sandra, for mentioning it. And I was actually on your show for Thanksgiving...

  • 13:42:19

    NNAMDIYou sure were.

  • 13:42:19

    MCQUIRTER...when you talked about vegetarian Thanksgiving.

  • 13:42:21

    NNAMDII remember.

  • 13:42:22

    MCQUIRTERSo I just want to say that I'm so excited that you're having this show today, and I've been vegan for 23 years, and a public health nutrition expert focused on veganism. So I know that this is a very healthy diet. I know that this is the healthiest way to eat available. And basically, people need practical information about how to do it, what to cook, what equipment they need in their kitchen, where to shop, how to make it affordable.

  • 13:42:52

    MCQUIRTERBut once they get this information and these tools, it actually is very easy, and there was a recent survey that showed that the majority of people who become vegan, actually stay vegan and find that it's quite easy to do so. So it's just about getting the information, getting the practical skills, and then getting over the hump. But vegan food is very tasty, so that should not be an issue.

  • 13:43:19

    NNAMDITracye, thank you so much for your call. Now back to you, Sandra, how was that for you, Sandra?

  • 13:43:22

    SANDRAOh, that was great. But I just wanted to point out and to your guests as well, is that our plumbing system is so important. So getting rid of that waste by eating vegan and vegetarian is really great.

  • 13:43:39

    NNAMDIWell here's something else, Sandra. Colleen, a number of cities and school systems, including Baltimore, Md., are promoting meat free Mondays. It's not vegan, but it's a big step. Colleen, do you see meat free as gaining traction?

  • 13:43:54

    HOLLANDAbsolutely. I think there's a large portion of the population that they are on their way to becoming completely vegan, but it's not gonna happen tomorrow. So they start to take baby steps in that direction, and by adopting meatless Mondays, I think is a great step to the final outcome of hopefully getting all meat out of the diet. But I think it's a wonderful solution.

  • 13:44:20

    NNAMDIMeatless Mondays. Baltimore started it back in 2009, San Francisco recently voted Mondays as vegetarian day. You might be on to something, Sandra.

  • 13:44:32

    SANDRAYeah, well I'm thinking, too, that once we all, students as well, begin to feel different -- you know, they'll begin to have the more energy, they won't be as tired, and they'll -- you know, I think that's going to be a plus.

  • 13:44:50

    NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Sandra.

  • 13:44:52

    SANDRAAll right. Bye-bye.

  • 13:44:53

    NNAMDIWe're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation on eating vegan. It's "Food Wednesday." You can join our conversation at 800-433-8850, or by going to our website, I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 13:46:59

    NNAMDIIt's "Food Wednesday," and we're talking with Emily Mainquist, she owns Emily's Desserts in Baltimore, and Towson, Md. Her new book of vegan dessert recipes is called "Sweet Vegan." It's a collection of all vegan, some gluten-free and a few raw desserts. Also joining us in studio is Joy DuBost. She's a registered dietician representing the American Dietetic Association. She's also Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living at the National Restaurant Association. Joy, you wanted to add something to what our caller Sandra was saying earlier.

  • 13:47:28

    DUBOSTYeah, I just wanted to point out from a scientific standpoint, she was right on the money there when she was talking about fiber. And what we know is it produces a satiating effect, so in other words, it keeps you full, so you don't feel like you need to eat a couple hours later. And where you get that fiber, again, is the fruits and the vegetables and the whole grain. I also want to just provide a resource for her on the American Dietetic Association's website, which is If she looks into their program called Kids Eat Right, she might find some great resources and tools out there for her to implement at the school level.

  • 13:48:07

    NNAMDIAlso joining us from studios in San Francisco is Colleen Holland, associate publisher of VegNews, a magazine about vegan diet and lifestyle. Colleen, a lot of restaurants are getting better about including decent vegetarian options on the menu, but what about vegan options?

  • 13:48:25

    HOLLANDI think things have changed pretty drastically over the last five to ten years. Not only are there a lot more vegan and vegetarian restaurants, a lot of mainstream restaurants are now providing vegan options. And some restaurants are even jumping over vegetarian and going straight to vegan, because vegan is becoming so accepted, and in demand. So I know here, obviously in San Francisco, and most of the larger cities I visit, it's never a problem getting a vegan entrée, and if they don't have one, they're usually happy to accommodate or if it's a bit of a fancier restaurant, you can call ahead and usually they'll have no problem putting together a really nice vegan meal for you.

  • 13:49:09

    NNAMDIEmily, I know you mentioned some of your favorites earlier, but are the options in restaurants for vegans expanding here in the Washington/Baltimore area?

  • 13:49:17

    MAINQUISTDefinitely, especially in D.C.. You know, you can always find a veggie burger on the menu, or you know, there's always, you can get pasta or salads.

  • 13:49:27

    NNAMDIWell, I'll give it up and go back to the callers now. Here is Ash (sp?) in Herndon, Va. Ash, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:49:36

    ASHThank you, Kojo, thank you for taking my call. I wanted to kind of share a success story I've had personally. I've been following a diet from Dr. Fuhrman, and I've been a vegan for the past one year. And I have dropped about 49 pounds, and I've come out of my diabetes, my hypertension, and it has done wonders to me. This is basically vegan, salad being the major part of the diet, and also no processed food. So I kind of wanted to share this, and talk about the success I've had with this.

  • 13:50:16

    NNAMDIOkay, thank you very much for your call. Someone sent us an email pointing out that the D.C. City Council passed a D.C. meat free Monday resolution last summer. It encourages residents to abstain from animal products on Mondays. Back to the telephones now, here is Jenn in Herndon, Va. Jenn, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:50:37

    JENNHi, good afternoon. Thanks for taking my call.

  • 13:50:42

    NNAMDIYou're welcome.

  • 13:50:43

    JENNI just wanted -- oh, thanks. I just wanted to share my story, which I've only been vegan for about a year and a half now, and had lived in New York City and moved back to the Washington, D.C. area, and had experienced severe, pretty chronic sinus problems almost monthly, to a point where I was in bed for a week with fever, and, you know, put on antibiotics. And a friend of mine had told me about how dairy can really affect your sinuses, putting more mucus in your body.

  • 13:51:17

    JENNSo I went vegan, and noticed a dramatic change. I didn't -- I've had colds, but no sinus infections since, and feel so much better, and also realized that my body was feeling healthier and completely almost like I had been cured from this issue that I had been suffering for...

  • 13:51:42

    NNAMDIHow long have you been on the vegan diet now, Jenn?

  • 13:51:44

    JENNIt's been a year and a half now. And it was a very easy transition for me.

  • 13:51:50

    NNAMDIOkay, well, thank you very much for sharing that with us, and for your call. Joy DuBost, meat substitutes are one way vegans can get certain nutrients or keep eating approximations of their favorite meat based dishes. What should vegans look for in meat substitutes?

  • 13:52:06

    DUBOSTWell, of course, you want to make sure that it tastes good, so that you continue to consume those meat substitutes. But along those lines, from a nutrition standpoint, you would want to look at the amount of protein that's being provided, as well as other sources of nutrients, such as zinc, and B12. So from a nutrition standpoint, those would be the nutrients that I would look into.

  • 13:52:31

    NNAMDIOnto the telephones again. Here is Joan in Washington, D.C. Joan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:52:36

    JOANHi, yes, I'm vegetarian, and I tend to over-do soy, and as I'm researching it and I've realized it hurts my body. And I came in late on the conversation, so I don't know if anyone mentioned the harm that soy does to you, like blocking the thyroid's (word?) function, blocks your digestion, hurts the vision, and it can destroy some of your body tissues. I don't know if anyone mentioned the negative part of it, and that some of the (word?) breasts that the men are developing is coming from soy, estrogen in the soy.

  • 13:53:10

    NNAMDICan you talk to that, speak to address that, Joy DuBost?

  • 13:53:14

    DUBOSTSure, and I would again encourage your listeners to go to their health care provider and talk to them, and also a registered dietician to address your particular concerns, and your family history of diseases. But consuming a varied diet that could include soy has been shown to be healthful. So I think it's more of an individual choice in addressing those concerns.

  • 13:53:38

    NNAMDIOkay, thank you very much for your call, Joan. Here is Jenny in Washington, D.C., Jenny, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:53:46

    JENNYHi, thanks for taking my call. I just wanted to share a perspective, and that is, I'm allergic to both nuts and legumes, all forms of the legumes. I can't have tofu. I can't have all of those things, so obviously a vegan diet is not really a reality for me. It's not a choice that I can make. And you know, there seems to be a lot of talk about how, you know, being vegan is the most ethical way, and I just wanted to say that, you know, even people who need to, you know, either eat dairy products, any type of animal product, you know, they can also care about animals, and eat ethically as well. So I just wanted to kind of talk about that...

  • 13:54:41

    NNAMDIWell, here's an issue that was raised by a comment posted on our website. "It's not all sunshine and daisies after you make the decision to go vegan. Unfortunately, a lot of soy is grown in the Amazon, and land there is raised to plant soy instead. There are definitely some issues to consider when deciding what the most ethical way of living is. You should continue to question your choices every day." What do you say, Joy DeBost?

  • 13:55:07

    DUBOSTI agree. I think it's a matter of personal choice, and what's appropriate for you. I know your last caller mentioned about having allergies or intolerances, so in her case, she's doing what she feels the best choice for her diet. So again, it goes back to personal choice.

  • 13:55:25

    NNAMDIWell, despite the fact that veganism means a lot of foods are off limits, some people actually gain weight when they go vegan, not like our earlier caller who gained -- lost 49 pounds in a year.

  • 13:55:35


  • 13:55:35

    NNAMDIVeganism does not guarantee, as we said earlier, a healthy diet, does it?

  • 13:55:39

    DUBOSTThat's definitely correct. You can eat unhealthful, like I said, on any diet, including vegan diets. So that's why you need to plan your diet out, and ensure that it's meeting those essential nutrients, but also ensuring that you're not over-consuming, or that you're getting enough calories that's right for you.

  • 13:56:00

    NNAMDIColleen, coconut oil, for example, has a lot of saturated fat, and then there are the French fry vegans, who -- what healthy choices would you recommend that people can easily find in restaurants or make at home?

  • 13:56:13

    HOLLANDWell I think, you know, one result of veganism becoming so mainstream and popular is that now, like I said, there's vegan versions of everything, so you could all day long eat cupcakes and French fries and cookies and -- I think it's like anything, limit it. In moderation, enjoy those, but do try to have a healthy, fresh, whole foods diet as much as possible, and then just enjoy those things on the side, and you'll be fine.

  • 13:56:37

    NNAMDIColleen, it's also important to differentiate between a vegan diet and a vegan lifestyle, the choice to wear leather, for instance, versus the choice to eat meat. Can you explain?

  • 13:56:47

    HOLLANDAbsolutely. Well, coming out of a vegan diet, which is not consuming any animal products, is the vegan lifestyle, and that's what I do with VegNews every day. And it's much more than just the food you eat, it can be what you wear, it can be where you dine out, where you travel to, it can be the music you listen to. There's just a whole culture surrounding veganism now. And I know, you know, most vegans won't wear leather shoes, or a leather jacket. They'll only buy personal care products that aren't tested on animals. They'll only buy cleaning products that don’t include any animal products, so they...

  • 13:57:25

    NNAMDIAnd I’m afraid that's about all the time we have, Colleen.

  • 13:57:28


  • 13:57:29

    NNAMDIBut, because I wanted to share this email we got from Ron in Arlington. "I've been a vegan for a decade or so, in that time, a lot of people have come to me, asking for advice about going vegan. I always give them the same three tips. One, if you decide to go vegan, don't tell anyone. The hardest part of going vegan is constantly having to defend your choice. Two, have compassion for carnivores. If you're attacked, don't take it personally. Their anger or frustration is not about you. And three, whatever you do, don't get hungry. Remember, there's always an abundance of food."

  • 13:58:00

    NNAMDISounds like good advice to me. Joy DuBost is a registered dietician representing the American Dietetic Association. She's also Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living at the National Restaurant Association. Thank you for joining us.

  • 13:58:11

    DUBOSTThanks for having me.

  • 13:58:13

    NNAMDIEmily Mainquist owns Emily's Desserts in Baltimore, and Towson, Md. Her new book of vegan dessert recipes is "Sweet Vegan." Do I have to share these brownies?

  • 13:58:21

    MAINQUISTYou don’t have to if you don’t want to. (laugh)

  • 13:58:22

    NNAMDIThank you. Colleen Holland is the associate publisher of VegNews, a magazine about vegan diet and lifestyle. Colleen, thank you for joining us, and thank you all for listening. I’m Kojo Nnamdi.

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