SHARON AKA “THE FODMAP FRIENDLY VEGAN”
(BPsyc, MNut Candt., Certified Yoga practitioner, Cert III & IV in Fitness)
In this Q&A session, qualified nutritionist and vegan, Sharon Rosenrauch (@thefodmapfriendlyvegan on Instagram) shares her journey to Veganism, and gives us insight into her extensive nutritional knowledge.
I always say I am vegetarian for ethical reasons, and vegan by default. What I mean by that is that I was raised in a predominantly vegetarian household, as my dad is Jewish and so we never ate red meat, and I never felt right eating another living being. True, I wasn’t the one responsible for taking that being’s life, but I still didn’t want to endorse the industry by being an active consumer. The nutritionist in me, however, recognises that the zinc and B vitamins in organic eggs (laid by ethically raised chickens) are in a much more bioavailable form and therefore I think the occasional egg is a great addition to any plant-based diet to ensure B12, vitamin D and zinc levels are maintained. It is not necessary, but it does make life easier. However, my weak digestive system means I’m unable to properly digest the album in eggs, and so I am vegan by default.
As mentioned, my weak digestive system means that I’m unable to consume eggs, so zinc is a nutrient I struggle with as my high phytate intake (found in plant-based foods) means much of the zinc I do consume I don’t absorb. Therefore, I take a daily zinc capsule and every now and then get a vitamin B12 injection. I like to ensure I’m in the upper level of the “normal range” (set by population averages …. and we are a sick population!) for B12.
Where to start! Increased energy, clearer skin, more focused concentration, better digestion (still not optimal but this is something I will always struggle with due to a range of pre-existing health conditions), and, most of all, I feel content in the knowledge that I am making a small change in the world by choosing a lifestyle where other living beings don’t have to suffer so I can obtain the sustenance I need to power my busy life.
Sometimes travelling can be a bit of a pain. Not impossible, it just means you have to come prepared. My family is from Argentina (meat-eating capital of South America), so when I go to visit my extended family I am continuously having to explain myself. They look at me like I’m a bit of an alien, but I’m not too fussed. I love explaining why I choose to not consume animal products to my non-vegan counterparts. Many people aren’t educated on the true atrocities of the meat and dairy industries, and I love being able to relate what knowledge I do have. For those who are going vegan for the first time, I would recommend seeking the advice of an appropriately qualified nutritionist or dietician, as it can be easy to become nutrient deficient in a poorly planned vegan diet (but the same is true of any unhealthy, poorly planned diet).
I think people get fixated on labels – vegan, vegetarian, paleo, macrobiotic. All these labels serve to do is create psychological prisons that are unnecessary e.g., “oh I like X food, but I can’t have it because I’m vegan/vegatarian/paleo .. whatever the case may be”. I think the best diet is the one that makes you happy, sees your blood test results come back positively, and that you can maintain. Of course I would love it if everyone could follow a plant-based diet as this would have a dramatic impact on the environment, to our furry friends, and to our world’s overall preventable health crisis, however I’m not unrealistic and realise this isn’t always an option for people. I do think including more unprocessed, plant-based foods in your diet is a goal that everyone can strive for.
Ahh there are so many, but lately my sweet tooth has been craving nothing but turmeric nana ice cream. Just blend a few pre-peeled frozen bananas in the blender with a tablespoon or so of plant-based milk (I like macadamia milk as it’s extra creamy), a scoop of pumpkin puree (just pre-steamed mashed pumpkin) then sprinkle in some turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper (to aid the curcumin absorption of the turmeric), and nutmeg. Might sound a bit odd but trust me, this tastes like bliss! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.