D and B12 — Important Supplements for Vegetarians

Continuing on with my posts of supplements, I want to mention two important supplements for vegetarians — Vitamin D3 and Vitamin B12

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is commonly found in foods such as oily fish like salmon, codfish, mackerel, and blue fish. Other food sources of Vitamin D2 include fortified milk.

Known as “The Sunshine Vitamin”, vitamin D is made by the body naturally when skin is exposed to sun.  However, using sunscreen blocks our ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun!

Getting enough vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved immune system functions. Research suggests that adequate amounts of vitamin D can protect against multiple sclerosis, heart disease and the flu

So…. since I follow a mostly vegan diet, and live in the northeast where the sunlight isn’t strong, my physician recommended that I take Vitamin D supplements.


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is required for proper formation of red blood cell, of DNA, and for proper neurological function. Vitamin B12, bound to protein in food (i.e.: meat) and is released by the activity of gastric acids in the stomach.  Vegetarians and people taking medication to reduce stomach acid do not get enough B12 from food and it recommended that they take a B12 supplement. As B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, the body doesn’t store it and so it is important to take the supplement regularly.


Mote: I am not advocating any particular brand of supplement, nor am I recommending that you take these or any supplement.  These posts are just me explaining what supplements I take and why.  You should always consult with your physician prior to taking any supplement.


Some of My Favorite Supplements — Quercetin with Bromelain

Through the years I have learned about supplements from nutrition experts, doctors friends and relatives. I take a mixture of several which work for me.    People often ask me what I take and why and so I thought I’d develop a few posts about my favorite supplements.

Note: Everyone is different and what works for me, may not work for you.  Additionally, while there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of supplements, according to many physicians, there is no clear evidence that supplements work.  But as long as you don’t overdo them, I figure they can’t hurt! The worst case is that you will have very expensive pee!

Note: I am not advocating any particular brand of supplement, nor am I recommending that you take any particular supplement.  These posts are just me explaining what supplements I take and why.  You should always consult with your physician prior to taking any supplement.

Quercetin with Bromelain 

Quercetin is a flavonoid ). – A family of nutrients that give plants and fruits their color. Quercetin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Quercetin is found in foods such as onions and apples.  It reduces the manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic and inflammatory mediators.  Quercetin is often paired with Bromelain.

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples.  Bromelain supplements are yellow and smell like pineapple. Bromelain is used for reducing swelling (inflammation), especially of the nose and sinuses, and after surgery or injury.  Bromelain seems to cause the body to produce substances that fight pain and swelling (inflammation).

According to WebMD , Bromelain also contains chemicals that interfere with the growth of tumor cells and may help prevent cancer.

Lowest Calorie Alcoholic Beverages

I had a weekend full of socializing, eating and drinking.  So I’m going to take a break from posting about exercise and super food and look at how we can have our drinks and diet too!

All alcohol has calories — 7 calories per gram of alcohol.  (Compare this to 4  calories per gram of carbohydrates or protein and 9 calories per gram of fats).  A standard glass of wine, bottle of beer or shot of liquor has about 100 calories.  But “standard” and what we actually drink may vary!  And the real trouble comes in when we order cocktails with high calorie mixers.

One 4 oz. glass of wine has 100 calories, but who drinks only 4 oz of wine?  Most wine glasses aren’t even half full unless we have 6 or more oz. — bringing the calories to 125.  A bottle of beer can have from 80-125 calories. A standard shot of   80 proof liquor ( 1 1/2 oz. ) has about 96 calories.  This appears to be a low calorie choice, but the problem comes in when we add the high calorie mixers.

Check out this post from Check out this great post from PositiveHealthWellness.com for 8 delicious, low calorie summer cocktail recipes to enjoy like this Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer:

Just in case you aren’t convinced, here is a list of calories in some popular cocktails:

  • Pina Colada (6 oz): 378 calories
  • Mojito (8 oz): 214 calories
  • Cosmopolitan (4 oz): 200 calories
  • Chocolate martini: (2 oz each vodka, chocolate liqueur, cream, 1/2 oz creme de cacao, chocolate syrup): 438
  • Margarita (8 oz): 280
  • Skinny Girl margarita (4 oz): 100
  • Martini (2.5 oz): 160
  • Port wine (3 oz):128
  • TGI Friday’s Giant Sized frozen mudslide 1,100
  • Bloody Mary (5 oz): 118
  • Red wine (5 oz):120
  • White wine (5 oz): 120
  • Beer (12 oz): 150-198
  • Champagne (5oz): 106-120
  • Coffee liqueur (3 ounces): 348
  • Godiva chocolate liqueur (3 oz): 310
  • Eggnog with rum (8 ounces): 370
  • Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps (8 oz): 380
  • Vodka and tonic (8 oz): 200
  • Screwdriver (8 oz): 190
  • Mimosa (4 oz): 75
  • Gin and tonic (7 oz): 200
  • Long Island iced tea (8 oz): 780
  • White Russian (2 oz vodka, 1.5 oz coffee liqueur, 1.5 oz cream): 425
  • Mai Tai (6 oz) (1.5 oz rum, 1/2 oz cream de along, 1/2 oz triple sec, sour mix, pineapple juice): 350
  • Rum and Coke (8 oz): 185
  • Rum and Diet Coke (8 oz): 100
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade (11 oz): 98


açaí Bowl

One of my favorites to have for lunch (or breakfast, or even a snack) is an açaí bowl. Açaí is a Portuguese word and is pronounced “ah-sigh-EE” in English.  In Portuguese it is pronounced  “ah-sa-EE” 


An  açaí is  a small, dark purple, berrylike fruit with a juicy pulp. It is rich in antioxidants, high in fiber, protein and healthy fat.  The açaí is produced by a tall, slender palm tree native to tropical rain forests of Central and South America



Dangers of Too Much Caffeine

As I sit here drinking my coffee, I’m watching the news about an otherwise healthy 16 year old buy who died from an overdose of caffeine.   Two hours before he died, he drank a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte and an energy drink.  He died of arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat.  Caffeine prompts the release of natural compounds called catecholamines, including norepinephrine, a stress hormone that can speed the heart rate.

In reasonable doses, caffeine is not dangerous.  The FDA says that adults can consume 400mg of caffeine daily.  An 8 oz cup of coffee has approximately 163 mg of caffeine (of course when was the last time you had only an 8 oz cup of coffee?).

Here is a link courtesy of Dunkin Donuts, which gives a comprehensive link of the caffeine content in many popular drinks