Category Archives: Junk Food


As promised, here is the Q and A that followed Doug Lisle’s Pleasure Trap presentation  (click HERE for my recap of his presentation).  Doug has some great suggestions and insights.

The questions below are written exactly as they were asked.

QUESTION – When everyone around you is eating crap, how do you stay on track?

When you go to drug rehab, everyone supports you and it is acceptable to make the decision to stay away from old friends and bad influences.  The same does not hold true when you are trying to kick your food addictions.  While food addiction is not as potent as drug addiction, it can actually be a harder habit to kick because there is generally very little support and it is not acceptable in our society to distance yourself from people merely because they are bad food influences in your life.

I suggest you tell people you are conducting an experiment.  Tell them that you read a book that makes sense to you, so you are going to give this way of eating a try.  Be humble and tell people that it is probably just a wacky idea and may be wrong (that takes people off their guard), but you want to try it.

QUESTION – If you have eaten a lot of crap in your life, are you more susceptible to being sucked back into eating the crap?

We will never know because we have ALL been exposed.

QUESTION – Since we naturally want to conserve energy, how do we add exercise into the equation?

Some people like to exercise hard (though not most people) and some people like to do social exercise.  For most people, in order to stick with exercise, there has to be an additional benefit from the exercise (i.e social interaction).

QUESTION – How do you get children eating healthier and more plant-based?

I only really care about dairy.  They have plenty of years to see the light later, because they generally won’t end-up with cancer or heart disease until their 20s.

Dairy is a HUGE proponent of auto-immune disease and can make children very sick (He mentioned that some children have a 1 in 16 chance of getting diabetes…THIS is what I found when trying to research that statistic).

They can choose their later life, but we choose this for them and it’s not fair for us to choose the possibility of auto-immune diseases for them.


Filed under Children, Education, Events, General Vegan, Junk Food, Weight Issues

VIDEO – How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind


At the beginning of the year I spent some time thinking about where I want to take Veggie Grettie and setting some goals.  One of my goals was to make video available on the site…done!

The video from this past Sunday’s Doug Lisle presentation of How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind is now available on the Forks Over Knives YouTube channel.

To read my recap of the presentation click HERE.



Filed under Education, Events, General Vegan, Heart Health, Junk Food, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues


On occasion I will saunter into Starbucks for a Grande Decaf Soy Latte because they taste so darn good.  The last time my hubby and I had a date night we stopped in for a coffee between dinner and a movie.  I noticed their pamphlet, “Nutrition by the Cup” and grabbed it on my way out.  We arrived at the movie a bit early, so I pulled out the pamphlet and took a look.  My drink wasn’t awful weighing in at 170 calories, 4.5 grams fat, and 17 sugars (a bit high), but is definitely categorized as a treat.

I instinctively knew that a lot of their blended drinks were akin to milkshakes, however I was still SHOCKED by how much sugar they contain.  A Venti Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Crème (WITHOUT WHIPPED CREAM…and how many people do you see walking out of Starbucks WITHOUT the whipped cream???) weighs in at 440 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 86 grams of sugar!!!  Say what?!??!?!?!?

This pamphlet provided for great conversation with my husband.  We zeroed in on the Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème.  In his infinite wisdom my husband suggested I compare the nutrition of real strawberries with the Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème drinks.  How many strawberries would it take to meet the sugar equivalent of a Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème? 


Calories Fat (g) Sugars (g) Fiber (g)
250 2 52 1


Calories Fat (g) Sugars (g) Fiber (g)
4 <0.1 0.6 O.2

Based on this information, for the same sugars amount of sugar in the Starbucks drink I can eat 87 strawberries!!!  If I were to eat those 87 strawberries I would have given my body countless phytonutrients and over 17 grams of fiber.  Yes, I would have eaten 348 strawberry calories vs. the 250 Frappuccino calories, but studies have also shown that your body burns up to 50% more calories when eating WHOLE versus processed foods due to the extra workload created when breaking them down.  If this is true, the net calories you are truly consuming are 174…76 calories LESS than the Frappuccino.  I personally would much rather consume real strawberries or make my own blended Frappuccino at home with vegan vanilla protein powder and real strawberries.  Yikes!

image of Starbucks courtesy of

image of Strawberry Frappuccino courtesy of

image of strawberry sign courtesy of

Nutritional information for strawberries from Calorie King.


Filed under Education, Investigations, Junk Food, Product Reviews, Specific Food, Sugar, Vegan, Vegetarian

Vegan Junk Food: Blessing or Curse?


Photo Credit: Penguincake

Photo Credit: Penguincake

This is the most recent post written by Brenda Davis, RD, on Crazy Sexy Life.  Vegan junk food has become a huge problem in that people believe that if it is vegan/vegetarian, it must be healthy.  Let me tell ya… junk food is junk food. – Gretchen

Brenda Davis, RD, is co-author of seven books, including “Becoming Vegan,” “The Raw Food Revolution Diet,” and “Defeating Diabetes.” Brenda is the lead dietitian in a diabetes intervention project in Majuro, Marshall Islands and is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association.

Many people assume that becoming vegan means giving up donuts, cheesecake, s’mores, gummy bears, ice cream bars, cheezies, chicken wings, cheeseburgers and every other favorite treat imaginable. Twenty years ago, they would have been right. Today, they’d be dead wrong. Vegan versions of almost every convenience food, snack food and fast food are now yours for the taking. It is wonderful and horrible all at the same time. On the one hand, it is a bit of a relief to know that you can provide your child with a “reasonable look-alike” when their friends are enjoying ice cream bars on a hot summer day or roasting marshmallows at their highly anticipated class camp out. On the other hand, if you get a little too cozy with these processed foods you could end up with a vegan diet that is as bad as the Standard American Diet (SAD) that we’re so determined to avoid.

In this hectic world of multitasking, convenience foods have an undeniable attraction. While popping a veggie pie in the microwave is no doubt faster than preparing dinner from scratch, you have to consider the cost of cutting corners with the raw materials used to replace your brain cells (and the rest of your body!). Processed, packaged foods are carefully designed to tantalize your taste buds and keep you coming back for more. This task is cleverly accomplished with salt, sugar and fat, all of which have a nasty way of coming back to bite you in the butt.

Not so long ago, most people had no clue what the word vegan meant. Those that recognized the word associated it with extreme, dangerous vegetarian diets. Today, the word vegan is viewed in a far more flattering light. This shift is the direct result of a couple of decades of scientific evidence confirming the safety, adequacy and potential benefits of a well-planned vegan diet. You can walk into any mainstream grocery store and find products with the word vegan prominently displayed across the label. Producers use the word vegan to sell goods because consumers associate this word with wholesome, nutritious, ethical and green. Many assume that foods baring the “v” word are nutritionally beyond reproach. Don’t be fooled. Just because you see the word vegan on a label does not automatically qualify the item as healthful. Nor does it qualify the food as low-calorie, low-fat, low-sugar or “low” anything. Some of the world’s most unhealthful foods are 100% vegan – soda pop and deep-fried salty snacks being two perfect examples.

What does this all mean when it comes to our food choices? Can you afford to eat any of the tempting treats sitting on natural-food store shelves? While you don’t have to completely eschew the tasty convenience foods that are appearing in ever-increasing numbers, you best be savvy about where on the health food spectrum these foods really lie. The following guidelines will help you sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

1. Eat mainly whole plant foods – vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Make these foods the centerpieces of all your meals. Go for at least 10 servings of vegetables and fruits, including at least three servings of leafy greens, each day.

2. If you eat vegan convenience foods, do so in moderation. Frozen entrees, veggie meats, frozen whole grain waffles, packaged mixes, and the like can offer variety and enjoyment, but they should not become dietary staples. These foods tend to be high in salt and sugar and are sometimes exposed to harsh chemicals in their processing.

3. If you eat vegan snack foods and fast foods, do so in moderation. Foods that fall into this category include vegan hot dogs, ice cream, candy bars and sweet baked goods containing white flour and/or sugar.

4. If you use soy foods, stick to organic, first generation soy products such as edamame, roasted soybeans, baked soybeans, tofu, tempeh and soymilk. Minimize highly processed soy foods, especially those based on isolated soy protein or soy oil.

5. Learn to read labels! While the nutrition facts give you a lot of valuable information about salt, sugar, fat and nutrient content, the ingredient list is every bit as important. Ingredients are listed by weight, so whatever appears first is present in the greatest quantity. Take note of the sources of fat, sugar and protein in the product.

6. Make sure you take care of the nutrients of concern – particularly vitamin B12, but also vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, iodine and essential fatty acids. Ignoring these nutrients can erode most of the advantages enjoyed on a whole-foods vegan diet.

To read this post directly on Crazy Sexy Life click here.

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Filed under Education, Junk Food, Vegan, Vegetarian