Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't Forget The Veggies In Your Morning Smoothie! Amount Of Fruits And Veggies Needed Daily.

Fruits and veggies combine beautifully in a smoothie.

Follow Foods For Long Life on FACEBOOK .

How Many Fruits and Veggies Should I Eat?
Most nutritionists recommend consuming at least 5 to 7 servings of fruits and veggies a day. But there is often confusion about serving size, the number of fruits versus vegetables, the recommendations for adults versus kids, etc.. I just found an interesting GUIDELINE that may clear some of this up. The amounts vary with age, whether you are male or female and your level of activity. In most cases, the minimum is 5 CUPS of fruits and vegetables (not servings) with the recommended consumption of fruit being less than vegetables. An example of 5 cups of fruits and vegetables would be: 
1 apple
8 large strawberries
1 cup green beans
1 large sweet potato
10 broccoli florets
Now that's not so bad, is it? In fact, most people who eat a healthy plant-based diet eat at least this a day. But for others, this can be a challenge. Especially if you are racing to work and only have time to grab a bagel. Lunch is a sandwich and chips and dinner is a plate of pasta and maybe a small salad. For these people, daily fruit and vegetable consumption may barely reach one a cup. And kids have the same problem.

A 2010 study revealed the shocking statistic that a third of high school students consume vegetables less than once a day and a quarter of them eat fruit less than once a day!

Why does this matter? It matters because the people who manage to reach that 5 or more cup goal are less likely to be obese and have fewer chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. So start keeping a daily log for you and your children- even if it's just for a week. It will give you an appreciation of how much of these critical foods are actually being consumed on a daily basis.

Morning Smoothies
You all know how much I love my morning smoothie. But as yummy as it is to make your smoothie a fruit shake, we should also remember to throw some veggies in too. Here are a few example vegetables  that blend well into a smoothie:
* Spinach
* Kale
* Chard
* Carrots (my new favorite addition)
* Celery
* Parsley
* Cucumber 
* Zucchini or butternut squash 

You Need a High-Speed Blender
If you do this with the blender that you use to make frozen margaritas, you may end up with a pretty undrinkable mixture. I can't stress enough how important it is to own a good high-speed blender. I personally have a Vitamix but was recently introduced to a Blendtec. They are both excellent blenders. Yes, they are pricey but you will use it every day! Look for sales at Costco or buy one that's used. They last a long long time.

Spinach and Carrots
I love adding baby spinach and carrots to my smoothie. They both contain carotenoids that are very beneficial for eye health. Spinach and carrots are high in beta-carotene and lutein and spinach also contains zeaxanthin. Since I spend most days staring at a computer screen, my poor eyes need all the help they can get.
FYI, to get the most out of carotenoids, eat them with a healthy fat such as fresh, cold-pressed flaxseed oil.

Fruit and veggie smoothie

Fruit and Veggie Smoothie
Vegan, (or Raw Vegan), Gluten Free
[makes two (2 cup) servings]
Requires high-speed blender 

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, such as organic soy milk *
2 (unpacked) cups baby spinach or kale
1 carrot, sliced
1 organic apple, cored and cut into 8 pieces
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 packet stevia 
1 tablespoon cold-pressed flaxseed oil (check press date)
4,000 IU drop of vitamin D3 (optional, not vegan)
* For a raw smoothie, substitute with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 cup soaked walnuts

Place all ingredients except flaxseed oil and vitamin D in a high-speed blender, placing frozen blueberries on top. Blend until smooth.
Add flaxseed oil and vitamin D and blend briefly.
Serve immediately.

Each serving provides 1 cup fruit and 1 1/4 cups vegetables.

Per serving: 271 calories, 10.6 g fat, 0.9 g saturated fat, 3.7 g omega-3 and 1.1 g omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 7.6 g protein, 40.4 g carbohydrates, 8.1 g dietary fiber and 111 mg sodium. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Challenge Of Going Vegan - My Opinion Of The New York Times Article By Tara Parker-Pope

How challenging is a Vegan Diet?

Follow Foods For Long Life on FACEBOOK .

The Challenge of Going Vegan
Several people asked my opinion about Monday's New York Times article, The Challenge of Going Veganby Tara Parker-Pope, about how switching from a meat-based to a plant-based diet “is fraught with challenges”. It was quite a dramatic article claiming that the “physical, social and economic challenges” were so great that they only be tolerated if one had a personal chef.

It went on to claim that the suffering experienced by sacrificing ones favorite animal-based foods was exacerbated by becoming a social pariah. She described the experience of switching to non-dairy milk as a “shock” to the taste buds. Really, she used the word “shock”. And the costs of eschewing meat and dairy products and buying vegan specialty foods were astronomical. Oh my, where do I start? 

What's Motivating This Life Change?
First of all, any time you make a big change in your life it’s going to be somewhat of a struggle. I stopped smoking 25 years ago. First I just quit buying. I’d smoke when I was around others who were smoking and willing to share their cigarettes. Then I quit doing that but still could hang out with smokers. At some point, I couldn’t tolerate the smell of smoke, would not even be in the same room with a smoker and couldn’t picture ever having smoked. It was a transition but I’m grateful that I made the change.
Changing what you’ve eaten your entire life is also going to be a struggle but not as awful as Ms. Parker-Pope describes. First of all, a person’s motivation has a lot to do with how easy or difficult this could be. If you have a severe medical problem that is driving you to a healthier diet, that should keep you motivated. If you are a person who just became aware of the cruelties of factory farming and no longer can bear killing animals for food, you will have an easier time passing up that Big Mac. If you just want to transition to a healthier cuisine because you want you and your family to live longer and avoid future medical problems, you’re probably making a gradual transition and enjoying new recipes, new restaurants and new food products.

Will I Be a Social Outcast?
Will you have to deal with some ridicule from your friends and family? Perhaps. You’re doing something that they’re not. Maybe they feel some guilt themselves about eating poorly. Maybe they don’t want to have to bother with fixing you a special meal the next time you go there for dinner. Maybe they don’t want their own belief system threatened as most people feel animals were put on this earth to be our food. For whatever reason, the best thing to do is just chill and do what feels right. If you’re at the stage where you are “mostly” vegan and eat meat or dairy occasional anyway, then eat it when it’s offered to you if you don't want to make a fuss. On the other hand if you are a strict vegan, for whatever reason, stick with the program. If you find yourself at a dinner where there isn’t going to be food you can eat, call ahead and tell them of your dietary preferences. If these cannot be accommodated, be polite, bring your own food if necessary and don’t get on a soap box. You don’t need to convert anyone. 
You may enjoy going to vegan potlucks or meet-ups in restaurants and hanging around with people who have similar diets. It's a good place to discuss recipes, how to answer questions like "where do you get your protein" that your friends and family will undoubtedly ask you. 

Will My Tastebuds Really Be "Shocked"?
With regard to vegan substitutes, like almond milk, being a “shock” to the taste buds, that’s just ridiculous. Mintel, a market research company, estimated the retail sales of vegetarian foods to consumers to be $1.4B in 2008 and forecasted to grow 5% a year. And this number doesn’t count food products sold to restaurants and food services businesses. The demand for this food is surprisingly from the semi-vegetarian segment, (estimated at 13% of adults who eat meat with fewer than half their meals) not the hard-core vegans. I don’t think people would be demanding more products like almond milk and tofu burgers if they were a “shock” to their taste buds. I’m not saying that some of these faux meat and cheese products aren’t bad – some of them are. But many more of them are delicious. I much prefer soy, coconut and hemp based ice cream over dairy ice cream. 

Will I have to Mortgage My House to buy a Tofu Burger?
The costs of some specialty vegan foods can be pricy but so can grass-fed beef or organic goat yogurt. Whenever you buy food that isn’t subsidized by the government, the prices are going to be high. But you can make a lot of wonderful vegan meals from beans, grains and vegetables that are very affordable. 

Do I Really Need a Personal Chef?
Perhaps the silliest part of the article was how overwhelmingly difficult it is to use vegan ingredients and cooking techniques. Is substituting a tablespoon of Earth Balance buttery spread for 1 tablespoon of butter difficult? Is stirring up a tablespoon of ground flaxseed in 3 tablespoons of water versus cracking an egg beyond your culinary capabilities? Is pouring a cup of soymilk in your smoothie more difficult than pouring a cup of low fat milk? Is substituting ground meat with a can of lentils or pinto beans in your chili too hard to handle? I think not. In fact you’ll find ~300 simple recipes in this blog that will not overwhelm anyone. Check them out!

Bottom Line
So if you are interested in eating more plant-based foods, don’t be intimidated or discouraged by Ms. Parker-Pope's article. And don’t feel as though you have to go hard-core vegan overnight. It’s a journey and you may never get completely there. But if you end up eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and less meat and dairy than you did before, you have succeeded on many levels. You will be healthier. You will be a more compassionate eater. You will save the planet from the abuses from animal agriculture. Ignore the naysayers and take your own path. Do it for your own reasons. Develop some new culinary skills. Have fun with it and don't beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon and sneak a burger. Someday you may look back and wonder how you ever ate some of those unhealthy foods.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Paula Deen's Interview In Prevention Magazine - The Misinformation About Type 2 Diabetes Continues

Paula Deen's Interview in May 2012 Prevention Magazine.

Follow Foods For Long Life on FACEBOOK !

Prevention Magazine
I like reading health magazines. Rarely do I agree with everything that's printed in any one particular magazine but if you read enough of them you'll gain little bits and pieces of information on health, recipe ideas, exercise and new products. Prevention is an interesting magazine that I've read off and on over the years. It's on the "health light" side of the spectrum and contains way too many drug advertisements but I always learn something new from each issue and it occasionally inspires me to write about a topic. This month they interviewed Paula Deen whose media empire was created by popularizing fat and sugar ladened Southern recipes and who "shockingly" announced having type 2 diabetes .

I've been biting my tongue on the whole Paula Deen situation for some time now. Really, is there much to be said about it? A person consuming a cup of sugar a day in her "sweet tea" and promoting a diet of overly rich food getting type 2 diabetes is as shocking as the Marlboro man dying of lung cancer. But  after reading her interview and knowing what influence she has on so many people, I feel inclined to comment.

Paula Deen is a famous Southern cook. Her media empire includes 2 cooking shows, a cooking magazine and 14 cookbooks. She also has a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. So needless to say, she has great influence over the diets of millions of people. Her cookbooks have collectively sold over 10 million copies!

A while back she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but didn't disclose it for 3 years. During this time she continued making millions promoting rich, unhealthy food to a nation already suffering from obesity. While personally dealing with this health issue and also trying to develop a roll out strategy that wouldn't jeopardize her successful business, she worked out a lucrative endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk to recommend their diabetes drug Victoza. 

Needless to say, this created a public relations nightmare for Ms. Deen and this extensive interview with Prevention Magazine is an attempt to smooth things over.

The Interview
From a public relations standpoint, I think it was well done. It was very human and most people struggling with weight and food control issues will definitely be sympathetic and relate to her story and her actions. But because she is a person with such strong influence on others, I take issue with her now selling her tainted view of diabetes. In particular, Ms. Deen feels that diabetes "is not something we chose." She made a point of sharing that she feels no blame for this and wants the 25 million other people out there with diabetes not to blame themselves either.  She also said "We have been trained to think that diabetes is caused by your diet, and it's just not true. There have been no studies that have proven that one certain food causes diabetes." She certainly doesn't deny that lifestyle is part of the puzzle, but she doesn't stress how critical diet is in turning around this horrible disease. 

Her Approach
She stopped drinking sweet tea which amounted to 1 cup of sugar per day.
She eats somewhat better (less processed carbs and smaller portions) but she continues to eat "the real stuff" but in smaller portions.
Walking has become part of her daily routine.
She takes 3 drugs: Victoza, metformin and Actos.

The Truth about Type 2 Diabetes
Thankfully in the same issue of Prevention Magazine Joy Manning wrote an article, "The Food Cure", about the ability to treat and reverse type 2 diabetes with food and exercise. Her take is that diabetes is preventable even if it runs in your family. It's also curable with diet and exercise. She gave an example of a 49 year old, 245 pound type 2 diabetic who lost 55 pounds on a low-fat, plant-based diet and an exercise regimen. Within 6 months the person's blood sugar was restored to a normal range and she reversed her diabetes without ever taking a single drug.
Some other interesting "food facts" in the article are:
* 1 1/3 servings of leafy greens can cut your risk of diabetes by 14%.
* Eating lots of beans and soy reduces the risk by almost half.
* Drinking sugary beverages can increase the risk by 26%. Cutting them out of your diet can improve blood sugar in a few days.
* Eating bacon can increase your risk of diabetes by a whopping 50%.

My Opinion
I strongly believe that our bodies have the amazing ability to prevent and reverse most diseases when given the right environment. That includes healthy foods, clean water, clean fresh air, exercise, and other factors like minimizing stress and having a positive attitude. Of all diseases, type 2 diabetes is perhaps the most preventable and reversible with diet and exercise. Ms. Deen's half-hearted approach of eating a bit better and taking 3 different drugs is not my idea of "giving people hope", which was the goal of her interview.

Her comment about continuing to eat the "real stuff" but in smaller portions projects the wrong message. It creates a vision of someone choking down fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains and leaving room for the coconut cake. I work diligently each day creating delicious and healthy recipes so that you and I can eat well, stay healthy and not feel deprived.  HEALTHY RECIPES ARE THE REAL STUFF!!

Here are some dietary guidelines for those trying to prevent or reverse diabetes without drugs: 
* Your meals should be composed of mostly vegetables (about 1/2 your plate) - non starchy ones like greens, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, etc. Include raw veggies whenever possible.
* Eat some protein at every meal in the form of beans or tofu, an occasional pasture-raised egg, high omega-3 wild caught fish or lean poultry. Beans are the best form of protein because they are high in fiber which helps control blood sugar levels. Hemp seeds are an excellent protein source and contain omega-3 fatty acid. 
* Enjoy some complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn and other whole grains. 
* Include "good" monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such raw nuts, flax, chia, hemp and other seeds, avocados and olives.
* Include whole fruits such as apples, berries, pears, peaches, etc.

Avoid the following: 
* Saturated fats from high-fat dairy and animal products especially ice cream, cheese, hot-dogs, bacon, hamburgers and sausage. All foods that contain trans fats.
* Sugary drinks such as soda, juices and "sweet tea".
* Highly processed "white" foods such as white bread, rice, pasta and sugar.
* Foods high in sodium.

Here's a Sample Menu!

1/2 grapefruit
 or plain oatmeal with chopped apples and walnuts.
Cup or two green tea

Oatmeal contains beneficial fiber that controls blood sugar levels.

Eggless Egg Salad Sandwich with lettuce, sprouts 
and sliced tomatoes on Whole Grain Bread

Always select whole grain bread for your sandwiches.

Green Salad with lemon and extra virgin olive oil

Barley is a wonderful grain that is also high in fiber.

Chia pudding is packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
Blueberries are one of the highest foods on the antioxidant scale!

3 cups air-popped popcorn with nutritional yeast

Real Hope
There is hope for diabetics but not the kind of hope that Paula Deen is trying to sell. She hopes she can continue to convince people that her recipes aren't going to kill you. And that you can eat them in moderation along with a handful of pills and live a long and healthy life. That is simply not true.

Diabetes is a serious disease and to cure it takes some serious commitment . The complications include neuropathy, cataracts, skin infections, heart disease, hypertension, depression, hearing loss, gum disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, stroke and more. But there is hope - REAL hope!

With a change of diet, which can be painless with the many recipes I supply on this blog, diabetics can turn their lives around. Once a person eats better and loses some weight, they will feel better and have the energy to exercise. Continuing to eat the unhealthy foods that lead to diabetes, no matter what portion you eat, is not a good idea while you are trying to make this change. These are trigger foods and controlling portions will be quite difficult. So its best to cut them out completely until blood sugar levels are back to normal and you feel secure in your new eating regimen. 

Eat as if your life depends on it because it does!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Healthy And Delicious Vegan Easter Brunch Featuring Spring Vegetable Curry On Farro With Green Lentils

Vegan Easter Brunch Menu

Follow Foods For Long Life on FACEBOOK .

Easter Time
This time of the year is all about renewal. The buds on the vineyard have just broken through and we're enjoying calla lilies, camellias and daffodils. These signs of growth together with the long awaited extra hours of daylight are indications that spring is here and the cycle of the seasons presses on, even if we're not quite ready for it. 

Easter is often a time for gathering friends and family together whether you observe this as a holy day or a celebration of spring. To help make this a special occasion, I've put together a delicious vegan menu with an abundance of fruits and vegetables.

[Serves 8]

Mixed Greens, Mango, Avocado and Cashews 
with Mango Poppy Seed Dressing

Spring Vegetable Coconut Curry
with Cauliflower, Peas, Bell Pepper, Onions and Mushrooms

Farro with Green Lentils *

Creamy Vanilla Chia Pudding with
Fresh Strawberries

* (Farro not gluten free. Serve brown rice 
as side for gluten sensitive guests).

Mixed Greens with Mango Poppy Seed Dressing
Vegan, Gluten Free
Requires high speed blender
[makes 8 servings]

For the dressing (make the day before)
1 medjool date, pitted and cut in quarters
1/2 cup So Delicious coconut milk beverage
1 cup mashed, ripe mango or mango pulp
1/3 cup shredded or sliced carrot
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
pinch black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup raw hemp oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

For the salad
1 lb container pre-washed mixed greens
2 avocados, thinly sliced
large mango, thinly sliced
several slices red onion, separated
1/2 cup cashews

To make salad dressing, soak medjool date in coconut milk for 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator. 

Place date, coconut milk, mango, carrot, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a high speed blender and process until smooth.

Running the blender on low, slowly drizzle in hemp (or olive) oil until combined.

Add poppy seeds for a few seconds to combine. Store in a 1 pint container and refrigerate until needed. (It keeps well so make early the day before since you need time to soak the date.)

Mango poppyseed dressing.
Dress salad or serve on side.

To make the salad, place greens in a large salad bowl. 

Place avocado, mango and onion slices over greens and top with cashews. Serve with dressing or dress  greens first and place avocado, mango and onion slices on top.

Prepackaged organic greens are very convenient, especially when you're entertaining.

*   *   *

Farro with Green Lentils
(Makes 5 cups, 8 servings)

5 cups water
1 Rapunzel vegetable bouillon with sea salt and herbs
1 cup farro, rinsed
1 cup green lentils, picked through and rinsed

Place water and bouillon in 5 quart Dutch oven or large pot and bring to boil. Mix to dissolve.

When using bouillon, do not add extra salt.
Use less if on a sodium restricted diet.

Mix in farro and lentils and bring back to boil.  Lower heat and cook on a low boil, covered, for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and moisture is mostly absorbed. Turn off heat and keep  in covered pot. It will continue to absorb moisture as it sits. Set aside until needed.

Farro and green lentils cook in the same amount of time.

*   *   *

Spring Vegetable Coconut Curry
Vegan, Gluten Free
[make 8 (1 full cup) servings]

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound white button or crimini mushrooms
1 tablespoon Penseys sweet curry (or to taste)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Penseys hot curry (or to taste)
1/2 cup veggie broth or water
15.5 ounce can light coconut milk
4 cups cauliflower florets (1 medium cauliflower)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas (or 1 can, drained)*

In a 5 quart Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil and sauté onions and peppers for 5 minutes. 

Add garlic and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms soften. 

Stir in sweet and hot curry. 

Cook onions, red pepper and garlic.
Stir in sweet and hot curry.

Add veggie broth, coconut milk and cauliflower. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in peas, cover and cook another 5 minutes until peas are cooked and cauliflower is fork tender but firm. 

Add veggie broth and cauliflower.

After 5 minutes, add peas.

When veggies are cooked, place curry in a large serving bowl and serve.

Don't overcook cauliflower or it will fall apart.

*   *   * 

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Fresh Strawberries
(make pudding at least a day early but add strawberries when serving)
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 8 servings]

4 cups sweetened vanilla non-dairy milk soy, hemp or coconut milk *
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 to 4 (1 gram) packets stevia extract, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups thinly sliced fresh organic strawberries

* You may use unflavored non-dairy milk and add 1 or more teaspoons vanilla and additional stevia (or other sweetener) to taste. 

Combine chia seeds with milk, stevia and cinnamon and stir vigorously with a fork for several minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes and stir again until the chia seeds are well blended and separated. Let the mixture sit out for an hour, stir one more time and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight, until thickened and firm. This is a good dessert to make a day in advance in order to give it time to set. 

When ready to serve, mix in strawberries. Place in a large serving bowl.

This sweet, creamy dessert pairs perfectly with the spicy curry dish.
Other brunch ideas
Check out this Raw Vegan Easter Brunch Menu.

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Can Vitamin D Help You Live Longer? A New Study Suggests It Might!

Carlson drops contain 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 per drop.
Put a drop in your morning smoothie!

Follow Foods For Long Life on FACEBOOK .

Let's Recap
Over 2 years ago I wrote about the importance of vitamin D when the Institute of Medicine made an attempt to increase the recommended adequate intake of this critical vitamin. Unfortunately, they missed an opportunity to increase it enough.

Vitamin D is one of the things I continually harp on whether I'm writing in my blog or having a discussion on nutrition. Why? Because it is associated with bone health, cardiovascular disease, depression, arthritis, cancer, asthma in children, dementia, and the list goes on and on. Ramagopalan, et al shows that vitamin D receptors are involved in the expression of 3,000 human genes and has far reaching importance well beyond bone and calcium metabolism.  What's most disturbing is that MOST people are deficient in this vitamin! In fact, if our health care providers just spent a few penny's a day handing out vitamin D to all of its deficient patients, we would have a much healthier population.

Recent Study 
Research at the University of Kansas Hospital published in The American Journal of Cardiology  studied 10,899 patients with regard to serum vitamin D levels and their cardiovascular health. The mean age of the patients was 58 +/- 15 years and 71% of them were women. They found that:

* Only 29.7% had normal serum levels of vitamin D and 70.3% were deficient. (Let me point out here that their definition of deficient was less than 30 nano grams per milliliter (ng/ml). Many doctors today use a higher number like 50 ng/ml which would significantly increase the number of those regarded as "deficient"). 

* In the study population, vitamin D deficiency was associated with hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy and diabetes

* In fact, the risk of all-cause mortality was 164% higher for those in the study with vitamin D deficiency.

* For those who were deficient, supplementation with vitamin D significantly improved survival.

The researchers note that "these findings could have clinical implications for the usual recommended daily allowance for vitamin D". They point out that many previous studies have not shown consistent benefit but that those studies were done with doses of 400 to 800 IU per day which "might not be adequate to ensure optimal serum levels, with more appropriate daily supplement doses suggested as 1,000 to 2,000 IU." I can only hope that studies such as these will influence the Institute of Medicine to increase the recommended adequate intake of vitamin D to levels that will actually prevent disease and guide people to achieve optimum health.

What to do
As always, I recommend you ask your doctor to test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Normal range is between 30 to 74 ng/mL. I now aim for 50 ng/mL. Many naturopaths recommend Carlson vitamin D3 drops (they come as high as 4,000 IU per drop) as they are very effective in raising vitamin D serum levels. (Note vitamin D3 is derived from lanolin and not considered vegan - vitamin D2 is from vegan sources). 

For an optimum vegan diet I continue to encourage supplementation for vitamin D, vitamin B12 and EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.