Do Raw Vegans need to supplement Vitamin K2?

Raw vegans could be at risk for deficiency since K2 is only converted minimally from K1. A great vegan source is natto, fermented soybeans, or a supplement.

A lot of people are worried about getting enough calcium on a raw vegan diet.

However, in my years of researching the raw vegan diet and mentoring people to health I’ve never found that insufficient calcium is an issue.

What is a potential issue, however, is making sure that the calcium we consume gets to where it needs to go:  into our bones, instead of building up in our arteries and veins and other tissue.

We need calcium in our bodies, but we need it to be in the right places.

We want strong bones, not calcified arteries leading to atherosclerosis causing heart attacks and strokes.

That’s where Vitamin K2 (aka Menaquinone) comes in.

K2 guides the calcium we consume in our foods (or supplements) to the right places in our bodies.  A vitamin K2 deficiency can mean that calcium ends up depositing itself in our arteries, varicose veins, as heel or bone spurs.  It has been shown that some cancers like lung/prostate/leukemia are more common where K2 is lacking.

K2 deficiency also increases testosterone production and can cause insulin sensitivity.

Calcium supplements have been shown to cause 20-30% more heart attacks and strokes, and insufficient K2 intake may be the reason why.   If you supplement calcium supplements then it would probably be a good idea to supplement K2 as well.

What’s the difference between K1 and K2?

Vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting, and deficiency is easy to determine but rare.  If you’re blood doesn’t clot easily you likely are deficient.  Symptoms include easy bruising and bleeding.  It’s easy to get K1 though, from eating green leafy vegetables, and it’s present in fruit to a smaller degree.  But we don’t need much.

Vitamin K1, on the other hand, is very commonly deficient and deficiency is difficult to detect.  Often it can go undetected for years and then all of a sudden the person will suffer a heart attack or stroke.

That’s a first warning sign I never want.

Symptoms are decreasing bone-density, calcifying arteries, varicose veins, heel spurs, bone spurs, increased testosterone and insulin sensitivity.

Do raw vegans need to supplement K2?

There is some debate amongst raw vegans about whether we need to be supplementing or not.   Some say that, provided our gut bacteria is working well, that we can convert the K1 in leafy green veggies into K2.

Some say that the amount of K2 provided by converting K1 is so miniscule that it’s insufficient.   Dr Kate Rheaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and The Calcium Paradox is one such expert and author that says we shouldn’t be relying on K1 to effectively convert.

There are a few reasons why modern humans easily become deficient in Vitamin K2:

1)    Widespread anti-biotic use interferes with our gut bacteria colonies and prevents K2 from being produced internally.

2)    If we were to eat grass-fed animals or animal products such as egg yolks, butter, organ meats, goose liver, and some types of cheese, we would get some K2, but generally people are eating grain-fed animals instead and these aren’t sufficient sources of this essential vitamin.   (**As vegans we can’t rely on getting our K2 from animal sources at all.  And why would we want to eat those things, and suffer other deleterious health effects, if we could meet that nutrient need from vegetable matter?)

3)    We don’t consume as many fermented foods as humans in the past did.  Fermented foods (some) are a good source.   More on this later.

4)    Our consumption of transfats interferes with our ability to metabolise K2.

As you can see from the above, if you’re eating a raw vegan, fruit-based diet, avoiding all animal products and fermented foods, you could be at risk for K2 deficiency, even if you’re eating a lot of leafy greens.

As a raw vegan you probably don’t consume transfats, but you still may have lingering compromised digestion from antibiotic use in the past (or more recently).  And if you’ve made a choice not to eat fermented foods, that rules out another good source of K2.

If you want to try fermented food for K2 then Natto (fermented soybeans – not raw) is an excellence source.  Just ½ an ounce per day will give you all you need.

I bought some recently from the Asian supermarket and it really wasn’t too bad.  People will tell you it stinks and has a strong flavour.  It doesn’t.  It’s really quite bland and if you mix it with a little tamari it tastes quite nice.  It’s not raw though, so if you’re wanting to be 100% then it’s not for you.

Personally, I like to do my research and make my decisions based on what I feel to be right given the variety of evidence on the table.

If you don’t like natto as a source then you might purchase a K2 supplement in the form of MK-7 (which basically means it’s a long-chain form found in fermented foods).  It will be vegan, so you don’t need to worry there, but absorption may not be quite as effective as eating a food-based source.

It’s really up to you.

How supplementing Vitamin D can be a problem

More and more these days we are aware that many people are deficient in Vitamin D, particularly those in the northern part of the northern Hemisphere where days are shorter and people are working indoors much of the time, and not getting enough sunlight on their skin.

So people are turning to Vitamin D supplements, which are important, but the problem is that while Vitamin D causes you to absorb more calcium, it has no control over where the calcium goes, and without K2 that calcium could well be depositing in their arteries.

Another good reason to make sure you’re getting enough K2.

I’ve really just covered the surface level information here about vitamin K2.  If you’d like to explore more then I recommend reading my friend Val’s very comprehensive blog post about this vital topic, and checking out Dr Kate’s book.

What are your thoughts on K2?  Do you think you should be supplementing?  Are you concerned you may not be getting enough?  What are you doing to take care of your K2 needs?  Share in the comments section below…

Raw Recipe – Creamy No-oil Tahini Salad Dressing

A creamy salad dressing makes all the difference when it comes to creating the yum factor. Here’s a super simple recipe that will last for at least a week or two.

 

On our fabulous group coaching call last weekend, one of my Fresh Start 90 Day program members, Robbie, was saying that she struggles at night time staying on her plan because she just doesn’t have time to even think about what to put on her salad to make it taste yummy.

Here’s my go-to super-simple and delicious salad dressing recipe that you can make a batch of and use every night for a week if you want to.

It’s kind of like a creamy vinegarette 🙂

It doesn’t contain any oil and you can measure out 4 tbsp (or 2.2 oz) of it per meal, if you’re following Bright Line eating guidelines with your raw vegan meal planning.  The garlic, ginger and pepper are optional.

And if you’re strictly avoiding salt then you can leave out the Tamari as well.

Here it is!…

Creamy Tahini Dressing (No Oil)

3.5 oz Tahini
7 tbsp  Apple Cider vinegar or lemon juice
2.5 tbsp Mustard
3 tbsp Coconut aminos
2 tbsp Tamari
1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove (optional)
Pepper (optional)
Ginger, grated (optional)

Directions:  Measure out all ingredients and put in your blender.  Pour into a sealed jar container.  Serving size is 4 tbsp (or 2.2oz) for a large family sized salad (the size I usually eat for my dinner meal).

Enjoy!

Please try it and let me know what you think in the comments section below…

Are cold-pressed oils better? Are oils REALLY healthy?

Is eating oil healthy? Even if it’s cold-pressed? I choose not to consume ANY oils at all and there’s a reason why…

 

I had a great question come in from Judith about my skin care routine and also about oils.

A question I get asked a lot is “are oils healthy?” so I thought it was about time for a blog post on the topic of oils for consumption and skincare.

But first, here’s Judith’s question…

Anthea,

You did a workshop about skincare during the Raw Life Summit 2016 series.
I believe you said you did not wash your face because of harsh water.  I live in the county with water that is often orangey with iron, so I started using Aloe juice and Cold pressed Coconut oil to wash this face.

Could you say more about how to care for the face with natural products you use if any?

Also, you do not eat cold pressed oil, instead you use fresh coconut and avocado. Why?

If you make a salad dressing what do you use instead of oil?   Could you explain what the benefits are of not using Cold pressed oils?

I use cold pressed oil as it is alive, or this is what I read.

–    Judith Greene

 

Judith, let me tackle the second question first if I may.

That is indeed correct – I don’t eat any oils.

The reason is:   I prefer to get my fats from WHOLE sources.  Whole coconut, Whole olives, Whole avocado, Whole almonds.

Fats from whole sources contain all of the fibre and nutrients our bodies needs for digestion and assimilation of the fat.  If we strip everything away from the whole fatty food then what we are left with is pure fat with low nutritional value.

It’s also very easy to overeat fat, so if you’re trying to keep your fat content low then it’s easier to do this when we feel satiated from eating high fibre foods, including overtly fatty foods.

The other reason I don’t eat oils is because shelf-life is limited for oils and they can very easily go rancid.

For me it’s just as easy to make a salad dressing (either in a blender or mashed in a small bowl) using whole ripe avocado, coconut or nuts and seeds)

Here’s how I make a basic vinegarette salad dressing for a one person salad…

Oil-free Vinegarette Salad Dressing

Ingredients

½ small avocado
1 tsp prepared mustard
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1tsp tamari or miso
½ clove of garlic (minced) – (optional)
Black pepper
A small amount of water to make it runny, if needed.

Directions:
Mash the avocado in a shallow dish with the mustard and garlic.  Add the vinegar/lemon juice and the tamari and mix together with a fork.  If you would like it to be more liquid then add very small amounts of water, gradually, and whisk with a fork.  Add cracked pepper.

Pour over and mix through salad and enjoy.

You could also add these ingredients to a glass jar and shake vigorously until ingredients are blended.

How I care for my skin

A bit of background.  I suffered with acne for years.  You can find out about my story and what I did to heal my skin in this article.

A few years ago I adopted the Caveman regimen for my skin.  This is an approach where you literally do NOTHING to your skin – no washing, moisturing, exfoliating etc.

These days, my approach to skin care is still pretty minimalistic.  I splash my face with water in the shower in the morning.  Every now and then I’ll run a facecloth over it to remove dead skin, but I don’t scrub my skin.

In the summer I don’t moisturize with anything at all.  In winter I like to use jojoba oil to moisturize since it mimics the skins natural sebum and doesn’t clog pores at all (I have tried olive and coconut oil in the past and find them both way too heavy).

I rarely wear foundation or coverup anymore.  I actually can’t even remember the last time I used it.  I do use mascara, a natural blush powder and lipstick.  I go for animal-friendly products (various).

I find this routine really works for me.  My skin is never dry, nicely even toned and I rarely get any blemishes any more.  Plus it’s also a whole lot cheaper than it used to be!

What’s your skincare routine?  Leave a comment about your experience of treating your skin on a raw vegan diet and any tips you have for great skin…

How to make an amazing salad WITHOUT a recipe

I rarely use recipes when I make my dinner salads these days.  I find it MUCH easier to simply take whatever ingredients I have on hand and combine them using the 5 flavours as a guide.

I made this video to show you how I do it…

The most important thing is to know what types of foods can fit into the 5 flavour categories:

Sweet (e.g. carrot, dried fruit, beets, fruits)

Salty (e.g. celery, tomato tamari, miso, salt, seaweed)

Bitter (e.g. many leafy greens like arugula/rocket, mustard greens, beet greens)

Pungent/Spicy (e.g. mushroom, nutritional yeast, spices etc)

Sour (e.g. citrus, vinegar)

Once you have an idea of what fits, you can then choose produce and condiments which make up the five flavours.

Add a fat – like nuts/seeds, nut/seed butters, coconut or avocado – and voila,  you have a killer salad that you created all by yourself!

It’s really liberating to not have to follow a recipe all the time, and it’s really not hard.  Start experimenting and your confidence will build.

What are your best tips for creating salads and dressings from scratch?  Please share them below…

Is it okay to juice when you’re a food addict?

While juicing has many health benefits it may not help those who suffer with addictive tendencies with food.

While juicing has many health benefits it may not help those who suffer with addictive tendencies with food.

I got this lovely email about juicing and food addiction from devoted subscriber Valerie ages ago and thought I’d address it in today’s blog post…

Hi Anthea!

Do you think that juice fasting is a good option for someone who wants to be raw vegan and who also has eating disorder/binge eating problems?

Would juicing work with Bright Lines? I’ve been flirting with raw vegan for months and keep falling back to binge eating and vegan junk food. I juiced for a week, felt awesome, dropped some weight… and tonight I binged and I feel so sick and awful. I’ve been contemplating adopting a meal plan like what you follow (three meals, fruit and greens) or doing a juice fast first, and then doing that meal plan.

I’ve been uninspired by food, and then crave old fall back foods like cake and chips. Part of my eating disorder is obsessing over what to eat and when to eat and what diet to follow and constantly changing my mind about what’s best, sometimes even 3 or more times a day!

I was hoping you could maybe share some insight with me about getting some peace of mind in my food decisions.

Valerie

Why I don’t personally juice

Firstly, some clarification for people who don’t know what Bright Lines are… They are simply non-negotiable rules that you can choose to follow if you are susceptible to the influence of addictive foods or any addiction for that matter (You could have a bright line for buying things on the internet that you don’t need).

I’ve written about them many times over the past year since I began incorporating them into my raw vegan diet plan.

The four rules are No sugar (including maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup and agave), No flour, Meals (usually 3 a day), quantities (bounded quantities determined with a food scale)

Bright lines have helped me find freedom around food obsession and the yo-yo binge-weightloss cycle. I absolutely LOVE them.

carrot-juice-1623157_640Juicing is NOT recommended for people who are very susceptible to refined foods because juicing is a refining process.

There are two main reasons why I don’t currently juice my food and choose to eat the majority of my foods in their whole form:

#1 – Juicing removes the fibre lattice

Juicing removes all or most of the fibre found in fruits and vegetables – fibre which is essential for good gut bacteria proliferation and the slow transfer of glucose into the blood stream and cells.

Juicing with fruits has been shown to raise blood sugar levels too fast, causing an insulin spike and then subsequent blood sugar crash. Insulin blocks leptin (the hormone which tells you when you’re full) in the brain causing you to want to eat more and more, even when you’re full, or not physically hungry.

Green juices that do not contain ANY fruit at all may not have the same effect in some people, however there is another major reason why I don’t consume even green juices right now…

#2 – Drinking your food can lead to subsequent overeating

I don’t juice and I RARELY even blend my food these days because I found that when I drank my food my brain would barely register that I had had a meal and that made me want to keep eating more and more.

pomegraniteclose-up-1835135_640It turns out that chewing is a crucial part of the healthy digestion process. Chewing triggers salivary glands to produce the right kind of enzymes to digest your food, but it also prepares your stomach and your brain for what’s coming down your oesophagus.

Chewing helps your brain come to terms with the volume of food you are eating, and combined with the fibre lattice it helps you register when you’re full.

Since I’ve been eating my meals in whole form I am far more aware of my meals and I reach satiety point more effectively.

I do sometimes blend a part of my meal. So for instance, this morning I took about 1/4 of my meal of fruits, cucumber, celery and hemp and put it in my blender. Then I transferred it to a bowl and put the rest of my chopped ingredients on top of the bowl. I ate it with a spoon and enjoyed every bite.

Eating your food with a spoon or fork, or with your hands also helps your brain register just how much you’re eating.

Special Note

If you find you are lower on the susceptibility scale for compulsive overeating then you may be able to tolerate green juices and blended foods without a problem. But if you’re very sensitive to refined foods then drinking your calories will really set you up for a whole lot of heartache.

It was tough letting go of juices and smoothies at the beginning, but now I really don’t miss them at all. I eat the most wonderful meals, I enjoy every single bite and I’m so grateful for the freedom that I experience from food obsession.

I don’t believe I’m getting any less nutrition because I’m not including juices in my diet currently.

I encourage you to try eating all your food whole and see for yourself 🙂

Please comment below about your experience with juicing. Does it work for you?

My morning routine sets me up for a rawking day

Routines are the BEST.

Without my morning routine I pretty quickly become unstuck.

 Here’s what I do to set myself up right for the day…

5am – Wake up and usually lie there for about 30 minutes thinking about stuff.

5.30am– Get up and stretch for a couple of minutes. Drink some water if I’m thirsty. I don’t usually feel thirsty much since I eat about 4L of water in my daily fresh fruits and veggie meals.

5.35am – Meditate for 20 mins (I set a timer, sit on the couch with my two whippets flanking me, and try to zone into my breathing and body sensations)

5.55am – Read an inspirational reading for 5 mins – At the moment I’m reading Daily meditations for recovery.

IMG_1979

Not a great recent pic of me (no make-up, hair unbrushed) but it gives you an idea of what I look like at 45 on a mostly raw (about 95%) diet of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds.

6am – Workout for 45 mins to an hour. I either toddle off to the gym or take the dogs for a run with my friend Lucy. She has two daschunds, I have two whippets (the polar opposite dogs. LOL)

7am – Get my kids ready for school (and try not to have conniptions when my youngest son spends 20 mins in the shower and then misses the bus!), make breakfast, shower and dress.

Current daily food plan. The fruits and veggies change from day to day, but the total calorie count stays the same (unless I'm losing or gaining weight)

Current daily food plan. The fruits and veggies change from day to day, but the total calorie count stays the same (unless I’m losing or gaining weight)

8am – Post pictures of my fresh n’ fruity breakfast and daily food plan on the Fresh Start program Facebook page. I love being accountable to my group – It helps soooooo much in keeping me on track.

Eat a MASSIVE family-sized salad bowl of fruits and greens (leafies, cucumber or celery) with some hemp, flax or chia. It usually looks something like this…

My breakfast: Mango, Oranges, fresh Raspberries & cucumber

My breakfast: Mango, Oranges, fresh Raspberries & cucumber

8.30am – Start my day of work feeling energized and ready for the day. 🙂

Me at 45 years old at my ideal weight :) I love this lifestyle.

Me at 45 years old at my ideal weight 🙂 I love this lifestyle.

I hope you enjoyed that little insight into my morning world 🙂 🙂

What do you do to set yourself up right for the day?  Please share in the comments below…

Want to completely transform your health and vitality or find your ideal body weight? Come and check out my Fresh Start 90-Day program.

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