27 September 2015

Vitamin D2 vs Vitamin D3

Your body will produce vitamin D if your skin is exposed to enough sunlight. However, exposing yourself to too much sunlight may increase the risk of cancer. Because vitamin D is low is most food, supplements are often the answer.

Vitamin D3 can be vegan, for example, if it is derived from lichen. However, usually vitamin D3 is derived from sheep and therefore is not vegan.

Vitamin D2 is always vegan.

There are many people who claim that vitamin D3 is better than vitamin D2.

The study below shows that vitamin D3 is only more effective than vitamin D2 when users take megadoses of more than 50,000 IU at a time. The Vitamin D Council recommends that healthy adults take 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. At this level, there is no difference in the effectiveness of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.


22 September 2015

Carbs at Night Make You Fat?

There is a misconception out there that eating carbs at night will make you fat because at night the body typically burns fat, but if you consume carbs, the body will stop burning fat and start burning carbs instead.

The truth is that it doesn't matter whether you eat carbs, protein, or fat. You gain weight if the calories you consume is more than the amount you burn.

Most people burn approximately 2000 calories per day without exercise. For the sake of this example, let's say this equates to roughly 1000 calories burnt at night while you sleep.

If you eat 900 calories before you sleep, you will burn all the 900 calories eaten and then burn 100 calories of stored fat, which will result in weight loss. It doesn't matter whether you ear carbs or fats as they will both be burnt.

However, if you eat 1100 calories before bed, you will gain weight as there is a surplus of 100 calories. If you ate carbs before bed, this 100 calorie surplus will be converted to fat and stored. If you ate fats before bed, the 100 surplus calories of fats will be stored as fat.

20 September 2015

Peace Between Paleo and Vegan Diets

There are many assumptions about the Paleo diet. The biggest is that it is a low-carb diet similar to the Atkins diet. For those who don't know, the Atkins diet consists of eating fatty food such as meat, butter, lard, etc.

The Paleo diet is nothing like this. A Paleo diet instead tries to mimic the diet that our Palaeolithic ancestors ate. It includes not only certified organic grass-fed meat but also vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Another myth is that the Paleo diet consists of high proportions of meat and is entirely at odds with the vegan diet. However, I don't see this.

Even though our Palaeolithic ancestors did eat meat, there were no KFC restaurants available during the Palaeolithic era where they could conveniently order a bucket of fried chicken. However, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds were widely and easily available, which meant a true Paleo diet is mostly plant based.

Furthermore, our Paleo ancestors didn't have access during the Palaeolithic era to meat produced from factory farms (CAFO meat). In factory farms, animals are confined and are injected with antibiotics, hormones, and painkillers. To mimic the sort of meat Palaeolithic ancestors ate, a Paleo dieter would either buy certified organic grass-fed meat or consume game meat. Both these meats, in my opinion, are far more sustainable and humane than meat from factory farms.

Furthermore, because game meat takes tremendous effort to prepare and certified organic grass-fed meat is expensive, this high cost helps to moderate the quantity consumed. It is as if there is a meat tax imposed.

The Paleo diet, in my opinion, is similar to a moderate vegan diet and is much more palatable and easier to understand when presented to the public.

There is no war between Paleos and vegans, in my opinion, because the two diets are very similar. A Paleo diet minus the meat and plus vitamin B12 pills equals a vegan diet.

19 September 2015

The Dangers of Overcooked and Undercooked Meat

The most dangerous type of meat is meat from factory farms. This type of meat is often described as coming from confined animal feeding operations (CAFO). Animals in factory farms have high levels of pesticides, hormones, arsenic, and antibiotics (1).

If you do get meat, a major issue comes from cooking meat. Any time you cook meat at high temperatures, whether you’re grilling, frying, or broiling, dangerous chemicals are created (2, 3, 4), for example:

  • heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are linked to cancer, and

  • advanced glycation end products (AGEs) cause oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

That being said, undercooking meat is also dangerous because cooking destroys bad bacteria (such as E. coli) and worms (such as Trichinellosis) (5, 6).

The bottom line is if you're going to buy meat, it's best to get organic grass-fed meat to avoid antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. You also need to cook the meat at just the right temperature, not too much that it produces HCAs, PBHs, and AGEs that cause cancer, inflammation, and heart disease, but not too little that bad bacteria and worms may still be present in the meat.

15 September 2015

Can Vegans Make a Difference?

Yes they can.

Although there are many who go vegan to lose weight or get more fiber or antioxidants in their diet, those who are vegan for ethical reasons should see the decision to go vegan as a form of boycott.

I hate to see animals suffering and being slaughtered in factory farms. A boycott is an effective way for the average person to really make a difference in the world.

Boycotts work because money talks.

12 September 2015

Soy-Free Vegan Coffee in the Melbourne CBD

Melbourne is renowned for its coffee. In just about all coffee shops, vegans can pay about 50 cents extra for soymilk rather than dairy milk.

I personally avoid both soymilk and dairy milk as soymilk contains high concentrations of phytoestrogens and dairy milk contains high concentrations of estrone and estradiol, which are cow estrogens. In the study below, men who drank dairy milk regularly suffered from a significant drop in serum testosterone.


As easy way to avoid soy and dairy is to order pure espresso or a long black. A long black is similar to a latte except the espresso coffee is mixed with water rather than milk. The benefit or ordering a long black is you usually get double the amount of espresso coffee, which means double the amount of antioxidants.

The problem with the long black is that the taste of coffee by itself is strong. Another problem is that pure espresso or a long black has virtually zero calories (good for those losing weight but I personally want more calories).

This is when you need to get coffee mixed with a plant-based milk. My personal favourites are coconut milk and almond milk.

For lattes with coconut milk (that is, coconut lattes), I recommend Oli and Levi. There are two Oli and Levi cafes in Melbourne. There is an Oli and Levi on Coromandel Place and an Oli and Levi on Collins Street.

If you are concerned with the cost of coconut milk or the saturated fat content, I recommend almond milk. While just about any brand of coconut milk seems to taste good in coffee, coffee with almond milk only seems to taste good if certain brands are used. Personally I like to go to Little Bean Blue on Little Collins Street. The almond latte that this cafe prepares uses a brand of almond milk that is specially designed for coffee, meaning it tastes smooth and frothy.

05 September 2015

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

bread being cut up with a knife

Do carbs make you fat?

Not necessarily.

You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn. It doesn't matter whether those calories come from carbs, protein, or fat.

However, most food that are high in carbohydrates (e.g. fruit) tend to have lower calorie densities than fatty foods (e.g. butter, oil, nuts, and meat). Fruits generally are not high in calories.

100g of blueberries has 57 calories.
100g of mango has 60 calories.
100g of banana has 89 calories.
100g of beef has 250 calories.
100g of mixed nuts has 607 calories.
100g of butter has 717 calories.