The TRUTH About Veganism – Dr. Mona Vand – Saturday Strategy


The TRUTH About Veganism – Dr. Mona Vand – Saturday Strategy

Today’s Saturday Strategy tips are from Dr. Mona Vand from Los Angeles. Dr. Vand is a Board Certified Pharmacist and dedicated vegan whose main focus is helping her patients maintain optimum wellness through diet, exercise and lifestyle. Visit her website here or follow her on facebook.

My Story

I first became a vegan because my brother was having some heart palpitations, and the Cardiologist told him to go vegan because it would reduce stress on his body. My father went to the same doctor who told him he should go vegan as well.

Out of respect for my family, I felt that we should all go vegan.

When cardiologists and doctors are actually encouraging you to go vegan so that you can stay off medication… that reason is pretty powerful.

For me, the journey to becoming a vegan started because of health reasons. Eventually, it also turned into reasons of animal cruelty and environmental factors. Now my list of reasons for being a vegan is quite long.

11150452_640785786021840_5688269745689792082_nOut of everyone in my family, I’m the only one who has stuck with it! I’m still working on getting the rest of my family to live a vegan lifestyle.

Most people are surprised to hear that I am also a pharmacist. I know a great deal about how to make medications that address people’s health issues. My main goal, however, is to educate and empower the next generation to become health-conscious individuals who know how to use diet and lifestyle, and medication when needed, to achieve optimum wellness.  

So, You Want To Be A Vegan?

I love the vegan lifestyle. It has countless benefits for your health and is also a powerful movement in healing our environment.

There are some challenges that most beginners face when transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. These challenges may make or break their resolve. I’m going to share three of the most common struggles beginner vegans face and give you some advice of how to overcome them.

Three Of The Most Common Mistakes Beginner Vegan’s Make

#1 “I Can’t Go Out To Eat”


A lot of people, when they start the vegan diet, starve themselves! They think they can’t go out to eat, they think they can’t have fun with friends, they think they don’t have options anymore. It’s downright depressing!

This is one of the biggest reasons people choose NOT to continue a vegan lifestyle.  

The truth is, you DO have options as a vegan, you just have to know how to find them. You don’t HAVE to go to grassy, vegan restaurants in order to find good, filling food. You can go pretty much anywhere!

I can find PLENTY of vegan options at a steakhouse. All you have to do is think outside the box a little.

For example: on a traditional steak plate, the only non-vegan option is usually the steak. You can get the mashed potatoes with no butter, you can get green beans, rice, mushrooms… I usually have more on my plate than everyone else does! It’s all about a change in focus.

Still not convinced? Check out last week’s Saturday Strategy on how to eat out as a vegan!

#2 Read The Labels


A lot of foods that we think are vegan are not.  

Here are some big culprits:

  • Whey (milk protein) is often used as a filler in granola and protein bars.
  • Marshmallows contain gelatin (pig skin).
  • White sugar is sometimes processed with bone char.
  • Jello/Jelly contain gelatin (pig skin).
  • Some canned veggie soups are made with beef stock.
  • Vitamins/Supplements often contain animal bi-products.
  • Fortified orange juice gets its omega-3s from fish.
  • Stout beer is filtered with isinglass, a membrane from fish bladders.
  • Worcestershire Sauce contains anchovies.   
  • Cake mixes often contain “lard” which is usually another term for beef fat.
  • Bread often has eggs, milk, whey, butter, honey and omega-3s from fish in the ingredients. 

Moral of the story: read the labels! Become familiar with the terms used to describe ingredients derived from animals.

#3 Have The Right Mindset


One of the biggest issues people run into when becoming vegan is their MINDSET. They enter it with an “all or nothing” mindset and end up disappointed.

A lot of people get really hard on themselves if they make a mistake. The bottom line is: we’re human! It’s not like a drug addiction where if you go back once, you’re done. If you make a mistakes sometimes, it’s okay!

If I’m traveling and I have to eat a protein bar with whey because there is no other option, I’m not going to get down on myself. I just get back on track as soon as I can and focus on remembering WHY I’m doing what I do.

When you slip up, stay positive. Get back on track as soon as possible and give yourself a pat on the back for your commitment to the vegan lifestyle.

Kale and Avocado Vegan Burrito Bowl Recipe
  • Brown Rice
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Lime marinated kale
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ jalapeno, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Avocado salsa
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup mild salsa
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Seasoned black beans
  • 2 cans organic black beans
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Garnish
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Hot sauce
  1. Cook rice as usual and add salt.
  2. For kale salad, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, chopped jalapeno, cumin and salt. Toss in the kale and gently massage mixture into leaves. The more you massage the leaves the less bitter the kale.
  3. For the avocado salsa, combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix well.
  4. For the beans, warm 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and saute the shallot and garlic until fragrant. Add the beans, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Cook until warmed through, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. To serve, spoon rice, beans, kale mixture and a spoonful of avocado salsa into a bowl. Garnish with tomatoes and hot sauce if desired.



If you are thinking about or have chosen to go vegan, congratulations! You have made a big step towards improving your health and becoming a more conscious member of the planet.

You’ll find that there are countless resources available to you as you make the shift into this lifestyle. Recipes, restaurant guides, forums, facebook groups… our modern day is a great time to join the vegan movement because you will have more support and information than perhaps ever before.

Good luck! And remember, we’re in this together!


Drew Canole

Drew Canole

CEO at
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.

As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
Drew Canole

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