Resource Centre

Sources of Iron for Vegetarians

Written by Sejal Parikh-Shah N.D. B.Sc. Iron is the most abundant mineral found in blood. The human body contains from 3.5 to 4.5 gm of iron, 2/3 of which is present in hemoglobin. The remainder is stored in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Purpose of iron in the body The most important function of iron is in the production of hemoglobin and oxygenation of red blood cells. Iron is also important for growth in children, maintaining a healthy immune system and for energy production. Iron deficiency – who’s at risk? Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia. The groups at highest risk are infants under two years of age, teenage girls, pregnant women and the elderly. Iron deficiency may be due to an increased iron requirement, decreased dietary intake, diminished iron absorption or utilization, blood loss, or a combination of factors. A typical infant’s diet in developed countries (high in milk and cereals) is also low in iron. An adolescent consuming a junk food diet is at higher risk of iron deficiency. Blood loss is the most common cause of iron deficiency in women of child-bearing age due to excessive menstrual bleeding. Individuals who engage in strenuous… Read More

Filed under: Healthy Living Nutrition Resource Centre

A Brief History of Vegetarianism

by Anne Dozell The following is a short summary of some of the highlights of “The Heretic’s Feast, a History of Vegetarianism” by Colin Spencer. (The information and views are those of Mr. Spencer.) This book is available from (where it has a four star rating based on six reviews.) Colin Spencer is a British vegetarian who once wrote a regular food column in the Guardian and has published a dozen cook books. We often hear the phrase, “vegetarianism’s time has come at last.” But vegetaranism is not a new idea. It has a long and fascinating history stretching back to the early evolution of human beings. Our Earliest Ancestors Our hominid ancestors evolved over a period of 24 million years and, according to Spencer, for all but one-and-a-half million of these years lived on an almost completely vegetarian diet, except for occasional insects and grubs. Spencer suggests that lack of a varied plant & fruit diet may have been the reason Neanderthal man died out, while Cro-Magnon man, our direct ancestor, survived. The Cro-Magnons lived in a more temperate climate and had ready access to plentiful supplies of plants and fruit, while the Neanderthals, who lived in… Read More

Filed under: Animal Issues Healthy Living Resource Centre

Bringing up baby vegetarian

No one told me it would be this difficult – or this wonderful – raising a vegetarian child. A personal account by Tita Zierer My partner, Robin and I never discussed whether to raise our child as a vegetarian. We’ve been vegetarians for virtually all our adult lives, so it was assumed that anyone sharing our household would do the same, excepting the cats. We did discuss the degree of vegetarianism with respect to dairy and eggs; we eschew these products at home, but reluctantly acknowledge traces of their presence when eating out. But actually assuming responsibility for a young humanoid raises previously unforeseen challenges and questions. In the old days, otherwise known as ‘Life Before Baby,’ I confess to idyllic notions of angelic babies lapping up strained butternut squash and tofu cheese, gnawing happily on sesame granola, drooling over soy milk and carob shakes. Epitome of health Our fantasy baby is the epitome of health – never the victim of colic or ear infections which are associated with cow’s milk, far less likely to worry about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or later, the cancers and heart diseases linked to an animal product laden diet. ‘Life After Baby’ is a… Read More

Filed under: Community Healthy Living Resource Centre