My Vegetable Oil Fuel Car

Posted by Kardena

french-friesfryerToday we’re cruising in my veggie car to go skiing at Mammoth Mountain here in California. I’m looking forward to snowboarding and traveling a healthy way.

As some of you may know, my car runs on vegetable oil. Yes, that’s right, fry oil from restaurants!  It’s been filtered, so it’s safe to use in my car, but it’s essentially used vegetable oil.

My car is vegetarian too!  My own silly joke…

My car runs on Diesel, so I purchased a conversion kit about 3 years ago that allows me to switch between Diesel fuel and vegetable oil.

Why did I make the switch? I asked myself, is there a way that I can make a difference in the world, even if it’s in a small way.  I heard about this concept and searched out a diesel car that I could convert and here you see it in the video.  My Volkswagon Golf TDI.  I love this car!

I feel like I’m contributing to a healthier, cleaner world.

We are always voting with our dollars, so I’ve decided NOT to give money to the big petroleum companies and put my money towards a better cause.  That’s my way of making a contribution.

You can make a contribution to a healthier environment in your own expression.  This was my way.  Not saying everybody needs to do this exact project, just thought I would share Kardena’s world.

The night we left for our trip we have to get the vegetable oil tank filled and ready to go. We just fill the veggie oil tank with the dark-colored vegetable oil from a 50 gallon drum I have and we use a small pump, and we’re good to go!

FYI- I have a delivery company drop the oil to my house.  I do have the equipment to filter the oil myself (a simple pump and filter system), but really I don’t have the time to pick up the oil from restaurants and filter it at home.dsc09036

The oil tank fits very snug in my trunk.  It’s a little car but it has as much room as I need, plus I have the roof rack for skis, surf boards, mountain bikes, or travel case.  This is our travel car and it gets a ton of use with all our outdoor activities.

In the front of my car there’s a switch which allows me to go back and forth between Diesel and veggie oil. There’s even an indicator light which tells me which fuel I’m using.

The heated tank sends the oil to the engine and guess what kind of mileage I get out of it?  Try 600 miles to the veggie oil tank!, that’s about 40 miles to the gallon and Waste Veggie Oil produces half the carcinogenic particulates that diesel fuel produces.

It smells like french fries when I’m driving down the road!  Kidding…

Do you know where used trans fat waste fry oil goes when it’s picked up from the restaurants?  Most of it gets sent to companies that make pet food and feed stock!  That’s crazy!  If fried foods are not good for humans what-so-ever, why on Earth would we feed this toxic oil to our most precious doggies and kitties or livestock?  No wonder animals are having more and more health problems! Not all pet foods use this toxic oil, but as far as I know the lesser quality pet foods are typically the companies who use it.

So for me, this is more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle. Healthy inside and oueasy veggie meals ebookt!

How do you contribute to a healthier you and our sacred Earth?

Kardena Pauza

Author of EasyVeggieMealPlans.com


The Best Sources of Vegetarian ProteinMost foods have some combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat – even vegetables contain all three macronutrients! So here’s a list of some whole foods and their protein, carbohydrate, and fat content.

The reason I am showing you the three macronutrients is because people tend to eat too much of the wrong foods and they are gaining weight or stuck at a plateau and not losing weight. Typically a person is more likely to over eat on starchy carbohydrates or fat.

Some foods may contain more fat than protein, adding an excessive amount of calories in such a tiny portion. You want to be aware of these foods so you make sure and eat the right portion so you can easily lose weight.

Food Type: Protein / Carbohydrates / Fats

  • Tofu 4 oz. 8 gr / 4 gr / 4 gr
  • Black Beans ½ cup 7.5 gr / 20gr / 0.5 gr
  • Peanut Butter 1 Tbl. 4 gr / 3.5 gr / 8 gr
  • Almond Butter 1 Tbl. 2 gr / 3 gr / 9 gr
  • Cashew Nuts ¼ cup 5 gr / 9 gr / 12 gr
  • Seitan 3 ounces 20 gr / 8 gr / 2 gr
  • Tempeh 4 ounces 16 gr / 14 gr / 6 gr
  • Sunflower seeds raw ¼ cup 6 gr / 6 gr / 14 gr.
  • Soybeans ½ cup 16 gr / 14 gr / 8 gr

One food I love is ALMOND BUTTER and I could eat almond butter everyday, twice a day. The problem is it’s loaded with fat which means it’s very calorie dense. Every gram of fat equals 9 calories of energy where as protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram. You have to expend more energy to burn off 1 gram of fat than 1 gram of protein or carbs.healthy-fats

Fat is not particularly bad, it’s the quantity that’s the issue. Our body’s NEED fat for many functions so please do not cut them out completely.

On average for a female, you want to take in between 7-12 gr. of protein per sitting depending on your calories for the day and if you are eating it for a snack or as part of your main meal.

An extra scoop of nut butter here and there can add up to hundreds of excess calories that can sabotage your weight loss progress. It is easy to over eat on nut butters so measure out a serving and put the rest away so double dipping doesn’t happen.

What’s the Deal with Complementary Protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids, often described as its “building blocks”. We actually have a biological requirement for amino acids, not for protein. Humans cannot make eight of the twenty common amino acids, so these amino acids are considered to be essential. In other words, we MUST get these amino acids from our food. We need all eight of these amino acids for our body to make certain proteins in the body.

Only eggs, milk, meat, and fish contain all of the essential amino acids.

PLANT PROTEINS on the other hand are usually LOW in one or two of the essential amino acids. For example, grains are lower in lysine (an essential amino acid) and higher in other amino acids. Legumes are lower in methionine (another essential amino acid) and high in other amino acids.

As a result, many diet experts insist that vegetarians consume “complementary foods” at a meal – meaning that you eat two foods that combine to give you all the essential amino acids – such as beans and rice.

But that’s “OLD SCHOOL” thinking.

Recent studies have shown that this is not the case at all. Our bodies have what’s called an amino acid pool where it cycles amino acids in the blood stream and stores them until it can use the amino acids for other purposes in the body or it’s used for energy.

vegetarian protein source beansYour cells are constantly breaking down and synthesizing new proteins. Each day more amino acids are recycled in your body than are supplied in our diet. If you eat a grain source of protein in one meal and a protein source from beans the next meal, then that will be just as good as eating them together at the same meal.

As long as you have a variety of proteins throughout the day, the body will hold on to the amino acids that have not been used and place them in the amino acid pool to be used later.

Our bodies are amazing and resourceful.

As long as you eat a variety of grains, vegetables, and nuts everyday the body will have the resources it needs to build healthy vegetarian protein sourceprotein.

What about Protein Powders?

Protein powders have found their way into every grocery store and health food store. These powders can be helpful in supplementing protein when you are busy or if you are looking for an alternative to beans or nut meal.

There are a variety of protein powder options on the market now. Traditionally you would find only egg protein, whey, and soy. With newer technology and knowledge about other healthy sources of protein a new generation of protein powders has arrived.

Now you can find pea protein, hemp, rice, and artichoke protein. These next generation protein powders are great for vegans since whey and eggs are dairy-derived the selection was limiting.

vegetarian protein sources pea-proteinRemember that protein powder is a supplement and not a meal replacement. These powders supply protein but you will need to eat other foods with your meal to ensure you are power packed with nutrients.

Whole natural foods are your PREMIUM source of nutrients and digestible protein so lean on this source mainly and secondly use protein powders.

A healthy and safe portion per day is 1-2 servings. A protein smoothie with berries for breakfast and possibly a snack size portion later in the day will boost your protein intake and still give you plenty of opportunities to incorporate whole foods. A serving size of protein powder for a female is approximately 15 grams and approximately 20 grams for men and half this amount for snacks.

Be Vibranteasy veggie meals ebook

Kardena Pauza,

Author of Easyveggiemealplans.com

90 day vegetarian weight loss program


The Truth About Vegetarian ProteinThe most common question people ask me about my vegetarian diet is, “How do you get enough protein?”. You have a toned body and how do you build muscle without eating meat?”

Well, while I agree it is important to have protein in your diet, there are two things to know.

1. We really DON’T NEED as much protein as most people think.
2. It’s actually quite EASY to get all the protein you need from a plant-based diet.

It’s amazing how many people are concerned about a lack of protein, but in our Western culture, almost NO ONE needs to worry about suffering from a lack of protein.

We’ve been brainwashed by supplement companies and magazine ads into thinking we need one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, but science has NEVER shown that level of protein intake to be needed.

In fact, what we really see is people eating excessive amounts of protein and sometimes so much that they get fat and very ill!

Like I said, getting enough protein has not been a concern in our country, we see very few cases of protein deficiencies and the few cases typically are in poverty stricken areas. Typically in this situation there is an overall deficiency of calories and most nutrients not just a lack of protein.

But as long as you follow a whole food meal plan giving you at least 1600 calories, you will easily get enough protein.

According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O) you need to consume a minimum of 10% of your daily caloric intake from protein to be healthy and build lean muscle. The World Health Organization is the leading authority on human health and is dedicated to improving the quality of people’s lives around the world.

The only places the W.H.O discovered minor protein deficiencies were in underdeveloped countries that did not have access to a variety of foods and protein and consequently these people had a lack of over all nutrients not just protein. The W.H.O is attempting to deliver more legumes to these areas to balance their diet and insure they get enough protein.

Countries that eat a sufficient amount of calories and variety don’t see protein deficiencies. A variety of foods everyday is what will give you a well balanced diet.

Let’s take a look at an EXAMPLE as we review protein needs. As I mentioned in the above paragraphs, the recommended amount of protein for a vegetarian is a minimum of 10% of your daily calories.

  • If you are eating a 1,600 calorie diet, 10% of that would be 160 calories. Each gram of protein has 4 calories, so that hemp-blisscalculates out to 40 grams of protein per day. This is easy to do!
  • All you need to do is eat a ½ cup of lentils you are getting about 10 grams of protein and a hard boiled egg has 7 grams of protein. You are 1/3 of the way there!
  • Of course, it’s still easy to do if you are vegan. Oatmeal has about 7 grams of protein per serving, hemp bliss has 5 grams of protein per cup, and quinoa and spelt pasta have 10-15 grams of protein per serving.

Here’s another way to determine how much protein you’ll need. The recommended amount of protein is 0.49 grams per pound of bodyweight (NOT 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight like steroid-using bodybuilders suggest).

You can also determine your minimum amount by taking your bodyweight and multiplying it by .49. Example- If you weigh 130 pounds x .49 = 63.7 grams of protein.

However, if you are overweight and use this formula, you will dramatically OVER-estimate your protein needs. Therefore, you can use your target weight when doing this calculation. So if you are 160 pounds but want to be 130 pounds, just use the 130 pound target weight in the calculation.

These 2 methods give you slightly different amounts of protein so you can see there is NO EXACT MEASURE but at least gets us in the minimum acceptable range.

For our purpose of weight loss I have found that up to 20% of your daily calories from protein will help you increase your metabolism, curb your appetite, and help you build lean muscle. But you don’t need more than that.

Be Vibrant,Easy-Veggie-Meal-Plans

Kardena Pauza,

Author of Easyveggiemealplans.com

90 day vegetarian weight loss program


Milk Myth Busting

Posted by Kardena

cow-udderI was in Colorado last week visiting my family & friends and doing some snowboarding.  I always look forward to seeing my family!  Ok, I think I’m now traveled out from my recent Oregon trip and family Colorado visit .  I can’t wait to relax this weekend!

Let’s talk about the “supposed” best source of calcium: a.k.a: milk!

I was staying at a hotel with my parents and at the hotel lobby breakfast buffet, I saw a carton of milk with a hand drawn picture of a cow and the caption said:

“Drinking milk is an excellent source of calcium.” Or IS IT???

Then I looked up at the milk refrigerator and it said “Healthy Milk.”

I thought to myself, wow, I can’t believe the advertising, and people actually believe this stuff….It may contain calcium, but an excellent source?  I don’t think so!  I want to debunk that myth for you right now.

Americans consume a lot of milk annually along with Scandinavian countries, and many European countries.

In fact, we’re in the top 12  consumers of milk among all the countries in the world, yet the United States along with Europe account for more than half of all bone fractures in the world.  And the incidences of osteoporosis in these countries are increasing every year.  How does this happen if we are consuming cartons and cartons of milk, which is supposedly good for developing strong bones?  Why do we have high incidences of osteoporosis?

Because we’re not really consuming the BEST source of calcium that’ s easy for our body’s to absorb and milk actually has an adverse affect on our body’s.  In the Journal of Nutrition studies have shown that milk actually contributes to osteoporosis due to the high amounts of protein and the body’s inability to properly digestive, assimilate and absorb calcium form cows milk. Wow!

The truth is there are SO MANY better food options for obtaining calcium in your diet than milk. There is a list of the top 120 foods containing the most amount of calcium per gram, and this list was created by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

Do you want to know what’s at the top of the list? Seeds! Nuts! Leafy Greens! Seaweed.  Where is cows milk?! Down around #50. Pretty shocking, huh?!   Gram for gram, milk is beat out by 50 plant based calcium rich foods!

Maybe we think milk is at the top of the calcium list because we see magazine ads showing athletes with the famous milk mustache or the “Milk, it does a body good” commercial, or the happy cow cheese commercials.  These are all paid for by the National Dairy Counsel to promote their product, milk! So their message is going to be somewhat skewed. Right?  Just like the ad’s in the Breakfast buffet area I’m sitting in now.

Some of the best sources may be very surprising to you. You can get plenty of calcium and minerals from kale, leafy greens, legumes, sesame seeds, chia seeds, broccoli and tahini, among so many others.

Also, in order to create healthy and strong bones, you need more than calcium, you need minerals and phospholipids to help bind the calcium to make the bone matrix. That’s why greens and plant-based calcium are much better for you, because they contain the minerals that your body needs like vitamin D, potassium, magnesium and fatty acids.

There is a study by the American Heart Association that found that vegetarian sources of calcium are more efficiently absorbed and that vegetarians retain more of their calcium from plant-based sources than non-vegetarians.

At the Centre for Nutrition and Food Safety, School of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, University of Surrey, in the UK, a study was conducted to determine the impact of a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and a vegan diet on bone mass.  The findings were published in the Osteoporosis International Journal and they found that the bone mass of vegetarians and vegans was of “normal bone mass.”

I was just talking to my client this morning and sharing with her about milk and debunking the calcium myth.  She said her fmaily is 3 generations vegetarian from India and they drink very little milk and they don’t have concerns or problems with osteoporosis in her family.  This got me really excited to hear this from someone I know.

Why is this significant?  Over half of us are lactose intolerant and have trouble digesting and assimilating milk.  The body’s inability to properly digest milk can cause so many health problems. And so many people overlook these health problems because we’re told milk is good for us.

Here are just a few of the health problems caused by drinking milk. This is the tip of the iceberg

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Abdominal pains- constipation, diarrhea
  • Sinus Congestion
  • Ear Aches
  • Asthma
  • Skin eruptions
  • Allergies
  • Aggravated rosacea

Here are just a few of the foods that blow milk out of the water with their calcium content.

  • Raw almonds (over double the mg of calcium)
  • Sesame seed butter/tahini (triple the mg of calcium as milk)
  • White beans (double the calcium as milk)img_0102
  • Flax seeds (almost double the calcium of milk)
  • Kidney beans (you get the idea, more calcium)
  • Turnip greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • French beans
  • Brazil nuts
  • Seaweed
  • Navy beans
  • Collard greens
  • Dried figs
  • Mung beans
  • Raw parsley

You get the idea, so if you already eat these foods and foods like them.  Congratulations! You are truly doing something excellent for your bod.

Quick thought: What do cows eat for strong bones???? MILK???? No, green grass!!!

TIP: In the morning I add chia seeds or sesame seeds to my smoothie for  calcium and also for the texture!  Remember to keep it green by adding either Kale, spinach or green powder to your smoothie!

For fast, yummy, healthy vegetarian meal plans, check out EasyVeggieMealPlans.com for more nutrient-rich and calcium-packed foods!

Be Vibrant,easy-veggie-meals-ebook

Kardena Pauza,

Author of Easyveggiemealplans.com

90 day vegetarian weight loss program


Avoiding Vegetarian Pitfalls

Posted by Kardena

vegetarian-pitfallsI hope you’re ready for this one because a LOT of vegetarians are about to be SHOCKED (and maybe even disgusted) by what I’m about to reveal.

Everyday there are millions of vegetarians and even vegan dieters who are unknowingly consuming animal products – and even meat! Yes, that’s right; there are many hidden animal products in our diet.

Here are some common vegetarian foods that contain non-vegetarian ingredients:


  • May contain animal fats. Look for vegetable fat


  • Some bakers grease the tins with animal fat.
  • Look for vegetable based emulsifiers (E471, E472)


  • May contain animal fat.


  • Most cheeses are produced using animal rennet.
  • Look for non-animal based vegetarian cheese.

Chewing Gum

  • May contain glycerine that may have been produced from animal fats.


  • May contain whey and animal emulsifiers.

French Fries

  • May be fried in animal fat.


  • Mostly derived from animals (beef).
  • Vegetarian gelatin include Agar Agar, Carrageen and sea-weeds.


  • May be produced from animal fats.

Ice Cream

  • May contain eggs and gelatin that may have been produced from animal fats.


  • Most contain gelatin that may have been produced from proteins in animal bones and skin.


  • May contain animal fats, vitamin D3, whey, gelatin, etc.


  • May contain eggs.


  • May contain animal fat and/or egg

Pill Capsules

  • Mostly made from gelatin.

Potato Chips

  • May contain whey for flavoring.


  • Vegetable soups may be processed on the same equipment that process meats.


  • Whey is a byproduct of the cheese which is made by animal rennet.

Worcester Sauce

  • Usually contains anchovies.

Scary Note! When you order a vegetarian pizza or a vegetarian sub, be prepared to accept a few pieces of non-vegetarian foods. Restaurant workers don’t change the gloves for making a vegetarian sub/pizza after they’ve just made a meat version (unless you ask them).

How to Avoid Eating Too Much Sodiumsodium

When I was working with fitness expert Craig Ballantyne on his vegetarian diet, I found he was making a common mistake. Like most “lazy vegetarians”, Craig was eating a lot of foods from a can, such as Amy’s Organic Chili, black beans, and kidney beans.

However, these are all high-sodium foods, so you need to check the LABELS and compare the amount of sodium per serving with your daily recommended intake.

This goes for ALL pre-packaged foods, including pasta, oatmeal, cereals, and anything else that comes in a bag or a box with a label!

How to Avoid a Boring Vegetarian Diet

Don’t worry; it’s easy to eat a wide variety of foods and meals when on the Veggie Lifestyle. And that’s important not only for your taste buds but for your health, too.

One way to get VARIETY is to eat fruit and vegetables that are in season because they tend to have more nutrients since they are allowed to ripen on the plant longer, and because they are from local farms (which mean fewer resources are used to get to you).

There are SO MANY ways to create variety.

Think of the staple foods in the world. They are all basically the same staples; rice, flour, beans…Each country cooks and seasons these same foods in their own unique way.

Rice could be curried rice, paella, fried rice, saffron rice, etc… beans are made into soups, salads, veggie patties, and flavored with southwestern spices, Mexican spices,Indian spices, or Moroccan spices.

EXPLORE your local health food store and take some time to look at different products you normally wouldn’t take the time tvegetarian-grain-varietyo research.

For example, many people are very familiar with brown rice and know that it is healthier than white rice. But did you know there are other healthy grains you can substitute for brown rice? Grains like amaranth, quinoa, millet, and barley each have unique flavors that can add a pleasant twist to the flavor of your dish.

Collect some cultural spices and herbs and you will make amazing dishes I know you will enjoy. I don’t like buying recipe books because I only use 10% of the recipes since I don’t like or need most of them.

What I do instead is go online and search a particular dish I want to make and sometimes I combine a couple of recipes and omit some ingredients I don’t think will go well together. I end up with a really great dish. If it is a big success then I will print out the recipe and put it in my 3 ring notebook with the other super awesome recipes I’ve acquired – that I will then share with you here.


Your friend,

Kardena Pauza

Author of Easy Veggie Meal Plans for weight loss


dsc08971websizeFor the second part of our road trip home from Oregon, Mark & I drove south west to the northern California coast to enjoy the Redwoods, the Coast and get in some mountain biking. I have to tell you, Oregon and Northern California are lush and beautiful with over grown fern, dangling moss, and massive trees. It was a magical place!

We brought our cooler with us on our trip so we could eat healthy and have our vegetarian food on the road. On our drive to the Redwoods, we were running low on snacks and lunch fixens so we stopped by a regular grocery store in a little town. It was a Sunday and the local health food stores were closed, bummer….So we made the best of the conventional grocery store.

Here’s what we still had in our lunch box/cooler and our dry bag. We needed to buy more food for lunch and dinner.
• Rice protein powder/green powder
• Raw almonds
• Raw Sunflower seeds soaked in a mason jar
• Himalayan salt
• Herb seasoning
• Oat groats
• Flax crackers
• Stevia
• Cinnamon
• Ginger (for nausea on windy roads, really helps!)
• 1-2 tupperware bowls to make salad or store made food
• a sharp knife
• disposable forks and spoons

We went hunting through the grocery store for healthy vegetarian friendly breadnbutterpickleswebsizefoods. The first place I go to is the fresh produce department. We ate healthy and light while traveling. We were only driving and visiting with family so we weren’t expending many calories.

I am so committed to staying lean and healthy, even while traveling!

Here’s what we bought at the grocery store
• fresh salsa (no preservatives)
• blue corn tortilla chips (we still love chips and salsa)
• red bell pepper hummus (no preservatives) Some may contain dairy so watch out.
• Organic celery (which I love to munch on and it’s great for strong bones)
• Organic pears
• Cherry tomatoes
• Asparagus
• Avocados
• Lemon
• Mushroom
• Organic salad mix in a tub
• 2 bananas

Mark snuck some pickles in the basket on our way to the check out line. He likes the bread and butter pickles which are sweeter than regular dill pickles. I always look at labels before I buy a packaged product, especially when I am shopping at a conventional grocery store. I never trust the front of the label, you know, like if it says fat free, all natural, no trans fats, you get the idea…

So I politely asked Mark if he read the label on the pickles before he picked it and he said no. It’s so funny, I have been teaching him about reading labels since we have been dating and he still doesn’t do it! He said he assumed there couldn’t possibly have been anything bad in it, their pickles! I checked it out and wow!

I was so shocked!

These pickles were not like my grandma used to make on the farm.

Here are the ingredients.
Cucumbers, high fructose corn syrup, vinegar, salt, food coloring blue #1 and food coloring yellow #5. When was artificial food coloring & high fructose corn syrup necessary to make cucumbers? I looked at every single jar on the shelf and I couldn’t find ONE natural jar of pickles! This is very shocking! What is the world coming too?!

My point is Always, Always, Always read labels and never assume.

So we skipped the pickles. And our total bill cost us $20 each, $40 total.

Here’s how we made a super delicious lunch salad.
We had our tub of salad greens we just bought from the store, so we used the tub as our salad bowl. We chopped up avocado, mushrooms, asparagus, tossed in cherry tomatoes, and cut up cucumbers in the salad greens.

For my on the road salad dressing, I squeezed the juice of half a lemon into the salad, sprinkled salt and herb seasoning in the veggies, drizzled a little agave nectar in the salad and sprinkled sunflower seeds on top. We tossed the salad and enjoyed our salad, hummus and celery, and chips n’ salsa in the beautiful outdoors.

With the food we purchased plus the little food we had already, we had enough food for lunch, dinner, breakfast the next morning and lunch that next day. For buying $20 each in groceries, that’s $5 per meal. Woohoo! That is powerful stuff! We could have easily spent 3 times that amount, more like $60 each. I think eating out is one of the biggest hidden money pits. People justify eating out because “everyone has to eat”. Lame excuse.

That’s what a little preparation will do for you. Saves you money and you feel great physically and mentally knowing you are taking care of you body by eating healthy.

Now we were off to do a couple days of mountain biking in the Redwoods and The Big Sur. It was truly spectacular.
After our trip we both felt great, energized, and happy that we stayed true to our path.

Do you have any tips that help you stay on track while traveling or traveling foods? Post a comment!

Your Friend,easy-veggie-meals-ebook

Kardena Pauza

Author of Easyveggiemealplans.com,

90 day vegetarian weight loss meal plan


vegetarian-nutritionThe most common argument against a vegetarian diet is that you can’t get enough calcium or iron, or that you will need to get a Vitamin B12 shot from your doctor.

However, it is easy to get plenty of calcium to build strong bones and it’s not difficult to get enough iron. The ONLY nutrient that will take a little extra effort is Vitamin B12.

Everyone thinks you need to drink milk to get calcium, but cows, horses, gorillas, and elephants, some of the world’s strongest and most powerful animals, all have built their big strong bones on a vegetarian diet.

Plant based calcium sources are easier to digest, and you don’t have to worry about being lactose intolerant when you eat plant based calcium sources.

The BEST non-dairy sources of calcium are fortified beverages (such as soymilk and orange juice) and dark, leafy greens like kale and broccoli. Other foods like legumes and almonds can give you calcium.

Iron is an important element in your red blood cells to help carry oxygen throughout your body. Iron deficiency is known as anemia and is characterized by chronic fatigue and being susceptible to infections. If these symptoms exist then you MUST first visit a doctor to verify and diagnose the issue.

Since meat is traditionally known as the best source of iron, people think vegetarians will end up iron-deficient and anemic.

However, there are many iron-rich vegetarian foods, and by eating a variety of whole foods the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients work together synergistically to maximize absorption of the other nutrients in the foods.

To better explain this, scientists have found that eating vitamin C rich foods with iron rich foods (like spinach) increases the absorption of iron. For example, because bell peppers give you 230% of your daily Vitamin C requirements (that’s more than twice as much as oranges), you can eat a salad containing spinach and bell peppers and you’ll absorb a lot of iron.

Plant SOURCES of iron range from green leafy vegetables (spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, kale), whole grains, legumes, soy beans, black strap molasses and dried fruit. And remember to eat foods rich in vitamin C to enhance absorption.

With that being said, the RDA recommends for pre-menopausal women 15 mg per day and 10 mg for men and post menopausal women.

Here’s a list of iron rich foods:

  • Broccoli ½ cup 0.7 mg
  • Tofu ½ cup 13 mg
  • Black beans ½ cup 1.8 mg
  • Molasses, black strap 1 Tbl. 5 mg
  • Raisins 1 oz. 0.7 mg
  • Parsley 3 Tbl. 0.6 mg
  • Whole wheat cereal 1/3 cup 1.1 mg
  • Oats, whole rolled 1/3 cup 2.5 mg
  • Lentils, sprouted raw 1 cup 2.5 mg
  • Buckwheat 1/3 cup 1.3 mg
  • Kale fresh 1 cup 1.1 mg
  • Beets 1 cup 1.1 mg
  • Wheatgrass juice 1 oz. 0.6 mg

As you can see, it’s not hard to get enough iron by consuming whole, natural foods. In addition, many foods – such as breads and cereals – are now FORTIFIED with iron which can help supplement your diet if necessary. However, just watch that these cereals and breads are not refined or full of additives or preservatives.

Vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 is essential for your body and is stored in the liver and released when it is needed. Scientists like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study”, say that Vitamin B12 can be stored for up to 3 years. As of right now the only confirmed way to obtain Vitamin B12 is through fortified foods or supplementation. The RDA for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms for adults.

You may need to talk to your Doctor about taking a Vitamin B12 supplement because this is the one nutrient that is not naturally found in plant foods.  So it is ESSENTIAL to make an effort to add this to your diet.

Foods fortified with Vitamin B12 include non-dairy milks (soy and rice milk), veggie “meats” and breakfast cereals. But look at all the ingredients in these foods to eliminate refined products or additives and preservatives.

I personally use “Living Vitamin B Nano Plex” as an excellent source of Vitamin B12. It is the first Vitamin B12 made from probiotic fermentation which is more bioavailable to the body. Another option is taking B12 sublingual (dissolve under the tongue). I recommend methylcobalamin which is naturally occurring.

Cyanocobalamin is a commonly used synthetic B12 supplement that’s also used in fortification of foods because it can be produced so cheaply. When cyanocobalamin is metabolized in the body the by product created in small amounts is cyanide. We are not exactly sure the impact on the body but I don’t feel comfortable using it.

So there you have it – a couple of great vegetarian nutrition tips to increase your iron and calcium absorption, while skipping the special B12 appointments with your doctor.

Your friend,easy-veggie-meals-ebook

Kardena Pauza

Author of Easy Veggie Meal Plans for weight loss


vegetarian-lifestyleI have to admit, with all the “labels” we give to eating styles, it sure can be confusing to a new vegetarian. The broad definition of a vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat.

Vegetarians eat all other foods from fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, and oils/fats. From this foundation there are subgroups that choose to eat or avoid certain foods. People choose their diet based on many different reasons and from many different perspectives.

Some people choose to be vegetarian for health reasons, religious reasons, or maybe they grew up vegetarian and it’s always been a way of life, while others believe the slaughter of animals is inhumane. Whatever the reason, we should honor their choice.

• Eats less meat than average person.

• A person who eats no or little meat but may eat fish.

• A vegetarian who also consumes fish.

• A vegetarian who eats all dairy products but no eggs.

• A vegetarian who eats dairy products and eggs, no beef, lamb, pork, poultry or fish.
• This is the one of the most common types of vegetarian.

• A vegetarian who does not eat any animal products. Some vegans do not use animal products such as wool, leather, honey or animal tested products.

• A vegetarian who only eats foods that don’t kill the plant (apples can be picked
without killing plant, potatoes cannot) and consumes mainly raw fruit, grains & nuts.

Raw Foodist
• A person who only consumes un-cooked, un-processed, typically organic foods. They
don’t consume any animal products and believe that the greater the percent of raw
food in the diet, the greater the health benefits.

Primal Raw
• Someone who eats raw foods and includes raw meat prepared a certain way.

How is a Vegetarian Diet a Healthy Diet?

Let’s start by looking at what is NOT a healthy diet. There are some well documented health risks by eating processed meats and high-meat diets.

One of the by-products of digesting meat is uric acid. Uric acid creates an acidic environment in the body setting up an environment for inflammation to deposit in the muscles and joints, causing gout.

Consuming processed meat has also been linked to many types of cancer including colon cancer. Processed meats are ground up, mixed with sodium, flavoring, preservatives and chemicals and shaped for selling as sandwich meats or other foods. Nitrites and nitrates are commonly found in sandwich meat and have been linked to health problems.

And of course we can’t forget the serious risk of food poisoning caused by bacteria in meat. Almost every year we are terrorized by food-poisoningan outbreak of E.coli or some other bacteria in hamburger meat or Listeria (bacteria found in a meat processing plant in Canada that killed 20 people in 2008).

On the other hand, you can AVOID all of these diseases by eating a plant based diet that will easily give you all the protein you need while helping you achieve optimal health.

As Hippocrates said:

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

I look at food as my first defense against nutrient deficiencies (rather than using supplements) and I believe in being PROACTIVE rather than reactive with my health. So many people wait until they are really sick before they will change their lifestyle.

But why wait when you can start changing your health today through better nutrition?

I wasn’t going to wait until I got seriously sick to take action so I researched the healthiest foods on the planet. My goal has been and vegetarian-super-foodsstill is to fill my diet with super foods that have been studied and found to contain the highest amounts of vital nutrients and to incorporate these super foods into my daily diet so I will stay in optimal health living a vibrant life into my 80’s and 90’s even past 100!

If you have been neglecting your nutrition, then I want you to march down to your doctor’s office and talk to your doctor about the changes you should be making.

You should also have a physical exam every year after age 35.

This will insure you are addressing the correct issue and you will have a clearer picture of what your next step should be. Self diagnosing a health problem can be dangerous and you may lose precious time if you misdiagnose. Doctors have amazing testing capabilities so utilize these resources.

How to Remove Meat from Your Diet:

If you need help cutting back on meat in your diet, here’s how to do it:

If you are currently eating red meat, then start switching to more chicken and fish. Then start substituting the Easy Veggie Meal Plans meals – one per day – in place of meat entrees.

Your next step is to try a totally meatless day – that’s the first step in the Veggie Lifestyle. I know you can do it!

Just remember though, it’s best to do a transition to allow your taste buds and routines to change over time. Going “cold turkey” might not appeal to you because your new diet will be so unfamiliar.

Start with baby steps and go from there.

Just follow the Easy Veggie Meal Plans and listen to the Quick-Start call for more secrets to success.


flat-absI thought I’d change it up today and give some exercise tips to go along with the veggie nutrition tips.

At this time of year, my new clients are always asking me, “I want to get flat abs, what ab exercises do I need to do?” or “I’ve been doing lots of crunches but I can’t get a flat stomach.”

I hear this so many times that I want to share some tips I have learned from my years of training hundreds of people.

Tip #1:  Get flat abs throughout the day.

As funny as it sounds, what you do all day will directly impact your belly.  You can activate your abs throughout the day to create a flatter stomach.

Many times when you sit at a desk while on the computer, you may be slouching and relaxing your belly. Doing 10 minutes of abs in the gym won’t reverse 8 hours of slouching throughout the day.

By sitting straight up in your chair and not using the back rest, you are engaging your abdominals muscles (keeping them pulled in) and training them to stay flat and not relaxed, pushing outward.

Tip #2:  Doing endless amounts of crunches and sit-ups are not going to give you a flat belly.

Getting a flat belly is about a healthy diet and excellent fat burning exercises. Most people have decent abs, they are just hiding under a layer of fat!

Tip #3:  You can overwork your abs.

Doing crunches everyday will not ensure flat abs.  You do need to build your abdominal muscles so that when you decrease your body fat, you have that defined, ripped look.

Your abs need to rest and recover just like your body does after a workout.  Working your abs everyday will not give them enough recovery time and time to rebuild.

Tip #4:  Perform ab exercises with passion and intensity.

Flopping up and down like a fish will not cut the mustard.  I am not impressed when someone tells me they can do 1,000 sit ups.

This does not demonstrate proper form to me and they are probably using momentum to perform the exercise and not engaging the muscle fibers making the exercise useless.

Here’s the SECRET:  Squeeze your abs in every exercise. I guarantee by intensifying each repetition, you will get faster, and better results.

More veggie meal plans and a “veggie detox plan” coming soon!

Your friend,



dsc08876-web-sizeI love being spontaneous and adventurous!

My husbands work schedule opened up last minute and we had the opportunity to go see my sister, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in Oregon for Christmas.

We loaded up the car with mountain bikes on top and headed to Oregon to surprise my family.  I’ve never surprised my family like this and I was kind of excited & nervous to see their reaction.

First of all wow, how humongous is California?  It felt like we were driving forever and we couldn’t get out of the state. 

What was I thinking driving all that way?

We finally made it on Christmas day late in the evening close to 8pm. Mark and I surprised everyone!  Their jaws dropped with shock and excitment to see us.  We had a great time catching up and everyone couldn’t get over the fact that we were there.  Luckily my aunt had extra room for us to stay on such last minute notice.

Brought my goodies with me!


As you probably guessed, I brought a cooler of food with us on this trip becasue highways are mostly lined with fast food joints and overpriced water.  I didn’t make a salad at home before we left because we were in such a hurry to leave, so I threw all the veggies and whatever I had in the frig in a cooler.  I had a couple of canvas bags filled with non perishables like baked organic blue corn chips, a couple green bars, raw almonds, oat groats, and protein powder.

When we got hungry we would pull over at a rest stop and make a salad in a bowl I brought.  We would chop, slice and dice. Shake salt, herbs, and lemon for salad dressing right on top, toss it and salad was served.  I also love dipping veggies in hummus so that was another snack I brought with us.

I brought a gallon of water and 2 smaller bottles of water.  This way we could refill the smaller bottles and keep them in the front seat with us and put the gallon jug in the back.  Buying water at a regular grocery store is always cheaper than buying it at a convenient store. Better yet, if you have filtered water at home, use that!  Even when I have had to buy water at a convenient store, check out the price of a gallon versus a liter of water.  The gallon is usually maybe 20 cents more than the 1 liter so better to just get the big jug.  You’ll drink it all anyway!

I endulged!

I have to confess, my relatives made cookies and they were sure to give us some even though I told them we didn’t need any.  Sooo, I diddsc08897-web-size fall off my program a couple times I have to admit.  My body and stomach let me know it wasn’t happy about my choices so it was easy for me to get back on my program.

We practically made it to Oregon driving on vegetable oil, almost 600 miles! Wow! I’ll share with you the details of my veggie car in another post.  I’ve had my veggie oil burning car for over 4 years now.

How did you do on your diet program over the holidays?cb20easyveggiemealsebook20final4

Kardena Pauza

Author of Easy Veggie Meal Plans for weight loss