Ask Patrick on Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition plus Digestive Health

  • 20 May 2019
  • Reading time 10 mins
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ask patrick

Every month I answer your questions on the topic of the month. May 2019 was vegetarian/Vegan nutrition and digestive health. 

Thank you to everyone who sent in questions. I hope these answers are helpful.

Question: where do vegans find an alternative to protein foods? Julie

Answer: Primarily beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Non GM organic soya and quinoa are two of the best. Broccoli and cauliflower also have significant protein.

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Question: I'm newly diagnosed with Hashimotos and was wondering what the best diet regime would be with regards to the gut problems related to this disease. Caroline

Answer: First of all, do have a Yorktest Foodscan to find out your IgG food intolerances. Also, get your homocysteine level tested since this is often high in auto-immune disease. Yorktest do this too. Use this code, PH50, to get £50 off each test. If your homocysteine is high take my Connect Formula – the dose depends on your level. Meanwhile, follow the thyroid guidelines in my book Balance Your Hormones.

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Question: I am 70 years old and have been vegan for a year and was vegetarian for 50 years.
What supplements would you recommend? I was iron deficient but have remedied that by taking Easy Iron. Pat

Answer: You would get absolutely everything you need in two strips a day of the 100% Health Pack, but it’s got fish oils. If you would compromise, which would be best for your health, that’s the way to go. If not, then take exactly the same supplements, but individually, as well as a vegan DHA supplement. - Biocare do a Vegan DHA. The only issue is that you also need the other potent omega-3, EPA, which is not in vegan omega-3 DHA supplements. We are not designed to be 100% vegan.

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Question: I am doing the Hybrid Diet but as a vegan. I am going through the menopause but have fibroids so can’t have too many estrogen-foods.

No sugar, no refined carbs, no processed foods.
I take supplements: Patrick Holfords Chill Food,
Vit D, algae omega-3, zinc, Vit D, vegan collagen, Vit Q10, L-carnitin

Lou

Answer: Hi Lou – I’m not exactly sure what your question is. Everything your’e doing is OK but I hope you don't confuse phyto-estrogens, eg beans, lentils, soya with ‘estrogen foods’ as they have an anti-oestrogenic effect. Meat and especially dairy are estrogen-promoting foods. The high fat phase in the Hybrid Diet is v.hard to do vegan for more than a few days. Eat lots of avocados, hybrid lattés, coconut oil, nuts and seeds.

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Question: Advice/ opinion on LOW FODMAP Diet? Elizabeth

Answer: It’s only a ‘corrective’ diet, eg not for life. Works for those with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) but mixed results otherwise eg some with IBS get benefit, others don’t. Best to read what I say about it in context in my book Improve Your Digestion.

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Question: I was disappointed to read in your recent email comparing vegetarian and meat including diets that you completely ignored the question of mental health.

Meat contains B12, iron and taurine, not to mention essential amino acids, all of which are vital for mental health. With the wave of mental health problems I feel that diet must play a part. I would be interested on your views on vegetarianism/veganism and mental health. Pippa

Answer: I am concerned about veganism and mental health, unless the vegan is specifically supplementing vitamin B12, vital for methylation, and omega-3 DHA, the primary structural fat in the brain, which becomes phosphorylated DHA through the action of B12 (and other B vitamins). Thus there are studies showing lower cognition in vegan children and more depression and anxiety in pregnancy in vegan mothers. Supplementing these nutrients is vital for vegans. Their best dfietary source is seafood, not meat, hence a pescatarian diet is the best.

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Question: What are your insights on the keto diet in general? Caroline

Answer: Read The Hybrid Diet. This whole question is covered in detail. I don't think we are designed to be keto all the time, but short periods of a ketogenic diet triggers cellular repaid if done properly. It’s all in the book.

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Question: Someone told me that I should definitely eat red meat. Where else do I get the equivalent nutrients ...I eat it now and then but I’m not really that keen. Janet

Answer: There’s no need at all to eat meat to be optimally nourished. You can actually get a better collection of nutrients from seafood. That’s what I’ve been doing for 40 years.

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Question: How do you rate Miso for health and as part of a vegan diet please? Harriet

Answer: Miso is good, has some nutrients, but it will not give you the essential nutrients – B12 and omega-3 DHA, which are missing from a vegan diet. You must supplement these.

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Question: Hi Patrick, what level of vegan diet can you recommend to keep down the inflammation of osteo arthritis, stay fit and get a good night’s sleep?

I follow a strict anti-inflammatory diet. I’m drug free and 95% pain free. I’m fine with eggs, chicken, tempeh and fish. I’m happy to keep them in my diet if this is optimal. I must stay away from spinach (too acid, hurts my joints) all milk (migraines and chills) and grains, even quinoa/spelt/buckwheat/millet (skin rashes and joint inflammation). Legumes are ok now that I use your Digest Pro. Root vegs are for me too sugary. With this in mind, what vegan protein quantities and veg, legume, seeds, nut balance is nutritionally best on my plate for daily breakfast, lunch, supper?

Your dogged hard work and foresight is inspiring. Your Chill Food and Digest Pro supplements really work for me. After years of few answers your book “Say No To Arthritis” shines a positive beacon on clear info which actually works. I’m following it right through to stability. I share it regularly. Anita

Answer: For arthritis you are better avoiding meat and dairy, but eating some fish and eggs. Have you tried Kamut khorosan wheat? I’ve not had a single person react to this. Holfordirect.com sell khorosan bulgur – it’s delicious and cooks in 8 mins. This, and quinoa, are key anti-inflammatory proteins.

For the arthritis have you tried Theracurmin? It’s excellent. For both the sleep and inflammation I
recommend Newton Wood’s pure Epsom salts – absorbable magnesium.

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Question: Hi ,I like to ask if I want to be pregnant what should I take before and after to have healthy child ? As a vegetarian it is difficult to not scare of pregnancy and have healthy child .
Mrs Fathi

Answer: Read my report - https://www.patrickholford.com/advice/supplements-healthy-preganancy. It’s all in there. In my range I recommend Optimum Nutrition Pack 92 strips a day), 1 x Connect and 1 x 1200mg Lecithin capsule or teaspoon of lecithin powder. Do this BEFORE and DURING and AFTER. Also, read my book Optimum Nutrition Before, During and After Pregnancy. Optimum Nutrition pack has omega-3 fish oils. Personally, I’d recommend you take these, even if you avoid all fish. We are not designed to be vegan and pregnant.

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Question: I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for a year now and though I’ve always had digestive problems (since baby), it somewhat sorted itself out when I became vegetarian.

However, of recently I’ve been experiencing constipation to some extent. Most of my meals are vegetable based with very few white starches (and I don’t eat a lot of junk food at all). How is this possible and what can I do to make sure I have daily bowel movements?

I’ve also considered incorporating fish back into my diet for better nutrition. Would you recommend this? Carmen

Answer: To be honest, the easiest is to have a teaspoon of Carboslow (glucomannan fibre) in a large glass of water in the morning before breakfast, ideally of oat and chia porridge. This, plus drinking enough water and taking 2 grams of vitamin C a day should keep things moving.

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Question: Am a follower of yours for years and enjoy educating myself through your research and seminars. Just recently I’ve read that a good supplement to take as an addition to a vegetarian diet is Resveratrol. What are your thoughts on it in terms of value for money vs health benefits? Maggie

Answer: Resveratrol is good for anyone which is why I take it daily in my AGE Antioxidant Formula, which also giving alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione and other key anti-oxidants. It is also in both the 100% Health Pack and the Hybrid Diet Pack. I have written about it in Ten Secrets of healthy Ageing.

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Question: What supplements are most important for vegetarians to take? Heather

Answer: It’s all in this report - https://www.patrickholford.com/blog/can-vegans-get-enough-nutrients

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Question: Please could you advise me. My son (15 yesterday), has had digestive issues since he was 12. Looking back he had them since weaning, but they really took a turn for the worse aged 12. We did the York Test and it showed that he had food intolerances to gluten, wheat, eggs, dairy and yeast. We eliminated these and he instantly improved. We also took supplements to help heal his gut and then tried to reintroduce the foods. He didn’t do well with this and so we totally removed them. He has never felt 100% but was ok. Then he started to get very anxious. Last year he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He suffers with anxiety and his digestion is all over the place.
I cook nearly everything that he eats from scratch. He only drinks water nothing fizzy or sugary. He should, by all accounts be a very healthy teenager, he is very “food aware”.

I’ve started him on your Mood Food and Awake Food. He said that he didn’t feel too good on the Awake Food. He takes Omega 3 Fish oil daily. He used to have probiotics but feels more comfortable without them. I also used to give him fermented foods, but again says that he feels more comfortable not having them as they made him bloated and gassy. He hasn’t really attended school for the last year as he feels so fatigued, drained and anxious.
Do you have any advice for us? Many thanks for your time. Sophie

Answer: I don't know where you live but, if at all possible, please bring him to the Brain Bio Centre, the clinic of our Food for the Brain charity. They have the most experience. Gut and mental health issues often go hand in hand and they can unravel what’s going on. The telephone number is ‭020 8332 9600, website www.brainbiocentre.com.‬

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Question: Im going for a big goal in the gym and have been given macros to count.

120g of protein is proving challenging to get into my diet each day, particularly with plant based meals.

Could you advise on some high protein veggie meals I can include please. Ruth

Answer: The maximum protein you could every need to build tons of muscle is 1.2g per kg of lean body mass or 1.4kg of body weight. Check what yours is. You probably have to use pea protein powder. Read my report on sports nutrition. 

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Question: Hi Patrick, do you recommend beans and lentils with lectin content as a safe type of sleep-starch for Vegans with arthritis? Does pressure cooking these destroy enough lectins so the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? Many thanks in advance, Anita


Answer: It depends if you react to them. Much better than ‘all lectin containing foods are bad’ is to find out which ones you react to with a Yorktest FoodScan which measures your specific IgG food intolerances. I wrote about lectins, eg Grundy’s book, in the Nov 2018 issue. If you’re a 100% Health Club member you get £50 off the Yorktest (order through holfordirect.com) and can read my report on lectins.

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