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I participate in a "vegan on a budget" Facebook page. Someone posted a question asking whether any vegan items are a complete protein. Are there any?

Great question! These are vegan foods that are complete proteins:

  • Quinoa
  • Soy beans
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Buckwheat
  • Hempseed
  • Chia seeds

You can also combine legumes and grains to get all of amino acids required for a complete protein. For example, eating rice and beans together, or peanut butter on a slice of whole grain bread.

I hope this is helpful!

I am looking for recipes that can provide more iron and protein. What would you recommend? I am looking for something plant-based.

For plant-based recipes, beans are always a great option for protein and iron! Dark green leafy vegetables, like spanich, are great sources of iron. Quinoa is also a great choice for protein. Quinoa is eaten like a grain but it is a plant that is a complete protein! Swap rice with quinoa for an extra protein boost.

Try some of these recipes:

What does "gluten-free" mean?

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye and barley. "Gluten-free" means the food product has no gluten in it. Many foods are naturally gluten free; such as beans, fruit, vegetable, rice, quinoa, meat, eggs and most dairy. A gluten free diet is primarily used to treat Celiac Disease, a very serious condition where the ingestion of gluten severely damages the small intestines. Without a diagnosis of Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity, there is no clinical reason to follow a gluten free diet.

Infused delicious flavored water: Add cucumbers, lemon slices, strawberries, basil, mint, etc., then steep in refrigerator. Delicious! Do these additions bring any nutritional value?

You're right, infused waters do taste delicious! Infused water is a great alternative to sugary beverages, such as juice and soda. Water is a crucial component of our diet and helps to maintain cell function and metabolism. Although the infused waters taste great and bring variety, they have little added nutrition. You may get a few extra water soluble vitamins from the fruit and herbs added (such as Vitamin C and B vitamins), but it will be minimal.

How do I increase my potassium?

Potassium is a very important mineral in the body that helps to maintain normal body functions.  Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, maintain bone density and transmit electrical activity between cells allowing muscles to contract.  Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help you maintain your potassium levels.  Potassium supplementation should not be used without the oversight by your doctor.  Excess potassium intake can result kidney injury, muscle weakness and cardiac arrest.  

Good sources of potassium include: 

Does drinking 2 to 3 cups of black coffee while nursing a new born child have any effect on the child?

Hi there!  Drinking 2-3 cups of coffee while breastfeeding is generally considered to be safe with minimal effects on the child.  It is recommended to drink no more than 400mg of caffeine per day.  One cup of brewed coffee has approximately 100mg of caffeine.  There have been no scientific links between caffeine consumption and keeping your baby awake as minimal amounts of caffeine are tactually ransferred to breastmilk.  If you feel your caffeine consumption has an effect on your baby, it is best to listen to your instincts and limit your intake.