Thriving On A Vegetarian Diet


Being the mom to two teenage girls who flip-flop between eating meat and not eating meat definitely has it’s challenges. I can never be quite sure that they are getting the nutrients they need for their growing bodies.

Just because I am a holistic nutritionist does not mean my kids eat healthy all the time. Oops, did I just let the cat out of the bag?? Seriously though, my kids are probably just like yours, sometimes they listen to their mom and sometimes they don’t.

I still worry; as vegetarians are they eating good-quality protein so their muscles will recover after gym class, are they getting enough iron now that they have their period, are they getting enough calcium so they don’t have to worry about osteoporosis when they are older? And all the other stuff moms worry about…

Protein and vegetarian diets

Let’s chat about protein and vegetarian diets

One of the most common concerns with respect to vegetarian or vegan diets is protein. From personal experience I can tell you that when I tell someone my daughter is vegetarian they inevitably ask how she gets her protein.

Why I absolutely love seeds

Believe or not but seeds are loaded with amazing nutrients!

And yes, I absolutely love seeds! They are really powerhouses. Though we don’t usually think about  seeds as replacements for animal protein in our diet, they can be a great addition to a vegetarian meal to increase its nutritional value.

At last count, I had the following in my pantry:

My Favourite Cookbooks

As I am sure you have come to realize, I like to cook. I also love taking cookbooks out of the library, book marking the recipes I want to make and then if there are enough that I really enjoy, buying the book. To get my list of books I go to the local bookstore and write down all the books they have featured at the front of the store.

At any given time, I’ll have 3 or 4 books sitting on the kitchen counter with little pieces of paper sticking out indicating the recipe I want to make.   My criteria for choosing the recipes are as follows:

What is a pea protein beverage?

Yes, you read that right, pea-protein!

The non-dairy beverage category has been growing by leaps and bounds as more and more people look for options to dairy milk. What used to be a category of primarily soy and rice milk now has so many other plant-based options; almond, cashew, oat, hemp, flax and coconut. I could go on and list the different combinations of these as well.

The latest and greatest innovation to hit this category is pea milk, made from yellow peas. Not to worry the milk does not taste like peas but rather contains the pea protein.

There are two brands currently available in my neck of the words in Toronto; Ripple and Dream.

When Ripple was launched in the US the feedback from consumers was tremendous, they loved the creaminess of the milk and were thankful that is was fortified with calcium and vitamin D, so in terms of nutritional value it was similar to cow’s milk.  I heard all this news via a few Facebook groups that I belong to.

However, when Ripple was launched in Canada it was not fortified. I emailed them to ask why and this is what they told me: “Canadian fortification regulations are much different than they are in the US. Unfortunately in Canada we are not allowed to supplement our milks with just Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. We could not meet the longer list of fortifications that are required so we were forced to remove our added calcium and vitamins completely from our Canadian formulas.”  This is really unfortunate as those who tend to drink these beverages could benefit from the fortification.  I would say most other products in this category are fortified with Vitamins D, B12 and calcium. Key nutrients for those who follow a plant-based diet and do not drink cow’s milk or eat animal products.

Dream is also a pea-based plant drink that recently launched. It too is not fortified. I emailed the parent company Hain-Celestial to ask them about fortification at the same time I emailed Ripple and have not received a response as of yet.

As far as how the two compare, here is a run down:


Dream – water, pea protein, cane sugar, sunflower oil, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, xanthan gum, natural flavour .

Ripple – pea base (water, pea protein), organic sugar, sunflower oil, DHA algal oil, dipotassium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, flavour, sea salt, organic guar gum, gellan gum.

Their ingredients are pretty similar though the products definitely taste and look different. As far as all these weird sounding ingredients, what do they actually do?

  • Gellan gum – It is used in plant-based milks to keep plant protein suspended in the milk.
  • Xanthan gum -It is an effective thickening agent and stabilizer to prevent ingredients from separating .
  • DHA algal oil -Algal oil is a vegetarian DHA oil that does not come from cold-water fish like fish oil. It is a source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Sunflower lecithin – This is used as an emulsifier or stabilizer.
  • Dipotassium Phosphate- It is used as a food additive or preservative used to prevent the beverage from becoming lumpy.


Nutrition Facts per 1 cup
Dream Ripple
Calories 110 90
Fat 7% 3%
Sugar 7 g 6 g
Sodium 8% 5%
Protein 8 g 8 g
Calcium 4% 8%
Iron 0 15%

Note these nutritional facts are from the unsweetened, plain varieties.

How do these two compare price-wise?

The Ripple 1.42L jug was $6.99  The Dream product is smaller so total dollar amount is less at $5.49 but on a per ml basis is more expensive.

Last but not least is the taste comparison. In our house, Ripple won hands down. We liked the taste and texture of Ripple better than Dream. It was much richer and creamier. Will I be buying it on a regular basis, probably here and there.  However, my preference is to drink non-dairy beverages for the calcium content and the other products in this category are fortified so they can contain up to 30% of your daily calcium requirements.

But, if you are looking for a great-tasting high protein non-dairy beverage to drink, add to smoothies or even bake with then I would recommend Ripple.

If you have tried these two drinks, let me know what you think. Want more info about shopping for vegan or vegetarian food? Sign up for my newsletter!





Are your kids eating breakfast?

As we have all heard many times “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  This especially holds true for our kids who are going off to school and need to have the ability to stay alert and focus throughout the day. They need fuel to support their bodies and brains.

Why I chose a vegetarian diet

My path to giving up meat


For me choosing to follow a mostly vegetarian diet did not happen overnight. However, the decision to give up meat was easy.  Meat just lost its appeal.  The thought of biting into a piece of fat or chewing off a bone turned my stomach. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

That was my first step towards following a mostly vegetarian diet (I will eat fish on occasion).  For a few years I didn’t eat any red meat. I decided to give up chicken while eating with my grandparents one evening. Seeing the bones and veins turned my stomach again.  I decided I just couldn’t eat it either anymore. I had no idea of the health or environmental implications. At the time, these issues were not topics the media followed.  Following a vegetarian diet was not mainstream at all.  Some people thought I was weird. There weren’t many cookbooks or resources available.

Is your daughter always hungry?

Does this happen in your house?? You prepare a nice meal for everyone, clear the table, load the dishwasher and clean everything up only to have your daughter come back to the kitchen an hour later to make a snack because she is hungry. This happens in my house and it drives me crazy! Maybe I should be more strict and tell them the kitchen is ‘closed’ like my mother did when I was a kid but I have a hard time saying no when my kids say they are hungry.  Should they have eaten more at supper, should I have made sure they ate a nutritionally-balanced meal with lots of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates?