Is a vegan diet ALWAYS healthy?

I’ve just gotten back to Utah from Eugene, Oregon and WOW what a trip it was! I was so blessed to be able to spend some quality time with my son Erik, who is a vegan chef in Eugene, hiking and site seeing…..and eating. 


Eugene is literally a MECA of vegan cafes! They are everywhere! He told me it’s harder to find meat in Eugene than it is vegan food. I chose to wait on the Cleanse America cleanse so he could take me to many of the vegan cafes in Eugene he loves!

We had a good time trying many of them out including the cafe he works at. So, it’s a good thing I am on the Cleanse program starting tomorrow!

I had lots of amazing food, I also had some not so amazing food. It brought me back to the fact that just because you are vegan does NOT mean you or your diet is actually healthy.

What do I mean by that?

Well, some of the biggest issues I see with many vegans are that they just don’t know what to eat or how to actually construct a nutritionally sound diet so they end up eating a lot of bread, french fries and junk food peanut butter.

The other thing I see, and honestly this one drives me bonkers, is the highly processed, packaged, expensive and chemical vegan food like fake meat and cheese products!

Read the labels people! 

If you are on a vegan diet for health reasons, you have GOT to get this junk out of your diet. Perhaps you could use it temporarily as a transition food or very occasionally as a “treat” but as a staple in your diet it is BAD NEWS!

Fake meat usually contains wheat gluten or textured vegetable protein, which is not very digestible and is are highly allergenic foods.

Ingredients in one fake meat product: water, isolated soy protein, vital wheat gluten, natural flavors, modified vegetable gum, potato starch, expeller pressed canola oil, pea protein, carrot fiber, organic beet root fiber, organic evaporated cane juice, yeast extract, LOTS of salt.

“If you ask Dr. Campbell, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Furhman, Dr. Popper and the other plant-based scientific Doctors what we should be eating? They will tell you a low fat, unprocessed plant-based diet. You will not find dayia or tofurkey in their suggestion list, not even in moderation.”

Taken from the website:

Agave and margarine are also in my top 5 least favorite vegan foods. Agave was originally touted to be a low glycemic sweetener and everyone, including me, started slurping the stuff up like it was no ones business. It has now been show that is just NOT the case. Agave contains more concentrated fructose than high fructose corn syrup. Here are a few quotes by leading health experts on agave….

“Agave “nectar” is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of the giant pineapple-like, root bulb. The principal constituent of the agave root is starch, similar to the starch in corn or rice, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of chains of fructose molecules.Technically a highly indigestible fiber, inulin, which does not taste sweet, comprises about half of the carbohydrate content of agave.

The process by which agave glucose and inulin are converted into “nectar” is similar to the process by which corn starch is converted into HFCS. The agave starch is subject to an enzymatic and chemical process that converts the starch into a fructose-rich syrup—anywhere from 70 percent fructose and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites.” Ramiel Nagel

“ Agave is  indeed made the same way, using a highly chemical process with genetically modified enzymes. They are also using caustic acids, clarifiers, filtration chemicals and so forth in the conversion of agave starches into highly refined fructose inulin that is even higher in fructose content than high fructose corn syrup.” Russ Bianchi, managing director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc.

 Next up is margarine. Stop eating this toxic gunk vegans! Just stop!

Margarine is made from vegetable fats like soy and cottonseed. These vegetable oils are processed under extreme conditions: high heat, high pressure and using chemical solvents designed to extract the oil.   Vegetable oils are largely made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids which breaks down easily without the added insult of extreme processing during the manufacture. The go rancid quickly thus contain high levels of free radicals that are extremely damaging to the human body.

For a full description of how margarine is made check this article out:

For health reasons alone I will never be fully vegan. I will always chose whole foods, high raw and butter over margarine and honey over agave.

When you are constructing your diet think:

  • Whole foods: They are just REAL. Eat an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  • Unpackaged foods: Less landfill material, less chemical additives for shelf life. Go on a “Package Free Diet”.
  • Unprocessed: Eat foods with as little processing as possible for the most nutrients and lease chemicals.

Here are a few guidelines to get the nutrients you need on a vegan diet.

Protein: Plant foods can provide plenty of protien. You should eat a variety of foods, including whole grains, beans and nuts, to replace the proteins in meat, milk and eggs

Calcium: Dark, leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and bok choy, contain quite a bit, but not as much as milk or cheese. Even figs, almonds and soy foods have some. Most vegans will need fortified foods (such as soy milk or orange juice) and a supplement to get enough. Although some vegans say they need less calcium because their overall diets are better for bones, the ADA says they need as much as anyone.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is good for bones, and research suggests it may also help prevent certain cancers and heart disease. The main source in the U.S. diet: milk. The sun is a good source, too, but not always in winter or for dark-skinned people. So many vegans will need fortified foods or supplements.

Vitamin B-12: This essential vitamin is only in animal foods. So vegans need a supplement or fortified foods.


As far as vegan cookbooks go, my very, very favorite of all time is the Veganomican.

If you are choosing a vegan diet or even a vegetarian or raw diet, it’s SO important to educate yourself on what you are eating. What you eat becomes your body!

Happy Whole Food Eating! :)

In love and health,

Lori Clayton, LMT, CHHC

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Assisting your body during a Cleanse

Are you jumping into a cleanse this Spring? If you are considering it or have joined one or doing your own, CONGRATS! If your still on the fence, NOW’S THE TIME!


Doing a cleanse, whether your doing all liquids or all raw foods, there are a few things to consider. It’s more than JUST what you are putting in to your body. You have got to take care to make sure you are assisting in the release of what needs to COME OUT!

What do I mean by that? Well, there are “7 Channels of Elimination” to maintain as you cleanse. There’s the bowels, blood, skin, kidneys, lymph, lungs and liver. These are the places the toxins will be taking an exit out of your body!

Just as when you are doing Spring cleaning in your home, you would never start dusting and mopping and not have a ways to get all the gunk out of your house, you don’t want to start moving toxins into your system without giving them a clear and open pathway to be removed. Otherwise, you will create bigger problems than what you had when you began.

So how do we clear the pathways? 

The Bowels

The bowel gets rid of toxins from the digestive system and the liver. It’s critical to keep the bowels moving especially while on a cleanse. If they are allowed to back up you will be reabsorbing toxins, let alone feeling “plugged up”. If you are doing a juice only cleanse you may want to do daily enemas to keep things moving along. If you are doing smoothies or raw foods, you may still need 1 or 2 enemas a week.

Regardless of the cleanse you are on, drinking lots of water is very important. General guidelines for water is half your body weight in ounces and day, so if you weigh 160 lbs you should be drinking at least 80 ounces of water. If you are active and exercising or using steam or saunas you need to increase the amount of water you are consuming.

The Blood

The blood transports toxins through the body for elimination, so good circulation is critical for cleansing. While cleansing, gentle to moderate exercising is beneficial. If you have the energy you CAN do more but don’t allow yourself to get overly tired. Going for a walk, doing yoga or rebounding are good ways to get the blood circulating.



Your skin is the largest organ of your body! It releases more toxins, via sweat, than the kidneys and bowels combined! I am a huge advocate of body scrubs and dry brushing for this reason! Dry brushing and body scrubs will assist dead skin cell removal and open up clogged pores, which in turn will allow your skin to release toxins through perspiration more effectively.

What you put ON your skin is also very important! Your skin releases toxins AND absorbs. So a good rule of thumb is, “If your can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!” However, not all skin care products willtaste that great…think salt scrubs or essential oils etc. Choose organic when possible! A simple body scrub recipe is simply 1 cup salt or sugar 1 2-3 tbls coconut oil and a few drops of essential oil if desired. Easy as that! I recommend scrubbing once a week and I often do them every other day. Dry body brushing can be done every day. Coconut oil is a great and nourishing daily moisturizer too!



The kidneys are the filter for massive amounts of blood, they remove toxic substances and maintain the body’s water balance. Drinking plenty of fresh, flitered water assists the kidneys in doing their job. Include Dandelion leaves in your juices, smoothies and salads as they have a diuretic effect and stimulate the kidneys.

The Lymphatic System

The lymph system moves wastes and toxins from the cells and the circulatory system to the organs of elimination in the body. The lymph system carries the immune cells. The lymphatic system can get sluggish due to it not having a “pump” of it’s own so it depends on movement of the body to keep it flowing well.

Exercise it so important for this purpose. One of the best ways to keep the lymph system in tip top shape is rebounding. A rebounder essentially is a mini trampoline. The bouncing movement really gets this system moving as it creates a pumping movement of the muscles. Rebounding is also an incredible overall exercise for the body! Spirulina has been shown to improve the function of immune cells as well.



Deep breathing is another, and one of the best ways, to remove toxins from your system! Deep breathing also increases the flow of lymph. You actually release 70% of your toxins from the lungs! Learning how to breath properly however, is critical. Proper deep breathing removes carbon dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood and improves overall blood quality. Breathing also increases assimilation and digestion of food by improving oxygen to the stomach and digestive organs. One of my favorite books on proper breathing techniques is Conscious Breathing by Gay Hendicks.

Time saving tip: Start the day with Dry Brushing, do yoga and focus on deep breathing, “pranayama”, then have your green juice after your practice.


The liver is responsible for over 500 functions including converting destructive toxins, as well as hormones, into less harmful substances that the body can eliminate. The liver receives blood and lymph and carries toxins away. Milk Thistle is a fantastic herb to help regeneration of the liver. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage all help detoxify the liver so include them in your juicing protocol. Cruciferous veggies also are abundant in cancer fighting chemicals!

If you are using enemas during your cleanse, a coffee enema will assist even more liver detoxification.


Nurturing yourself while cleansing

While on your cleanse take time to nurture your entire being, body mind and spirit. Use this time to heal on deeper levels. Journal about your experience, your emotions, how your body feels, the challenges etc. This is an amazing way to see your progress as well as other places in your life that need attention.

Make this time a healing and enjoyable time. When you feel like resting, rest. When you feel like exercising, exercise. When you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like getting a massage, get one! Allow yourself this time to take care of the most important person in your life…YOU!

If you are considering a cleanse, I suggest hoping onto the program that I will be doing starting April 9th with Paul Risse, Penni Shelton and Linda Heflin MD have put together!

Happy cleansing!

In love and health,

Lori Clayton, LMT, CHHC




Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Making your own Herbal and Essential Oil products!

Herbal and Essential Oil Preparations

Making your own products with herbs you have either wild harvested or purchased, or essential oils, is a fun and rewarding experience. It ensures the purity of the product. There are many things you can create from body care to vinegar. Here are a few recipes to play with. Always write down your experiments as you go, that way when something turns out really great you can duplicate it! Have fun!

Bath Salts

  • 4 cups epsom salts
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 10 drops essential oils such as lavender, pine, eucalyptus, ylang ylang, rosemary

(Avoid citrus blends as they sting in the bath)

Mix up and store in a container. Use as much as you like in the tub. I often use the entire batch. Soak for about 20 minutes in very warm water and rest at least 30 minutes after soaking.

Body Scrubs

Body scrubs are a very healthy practice. Removing dead skin cells and residue allows the skin to breathe and release toxins. Making your own product ensures you are not putting chemicals on your skin which absorbs everything. Eek! The best way to do a healthy spa treatments to do a scrub and then take a bath with epsom salts and essential oils.

  • 1 cup sea salt or sugar
  • 2 tbls coconut oil
  • 8 drops of essential oil of choice

Combine well and use on dry skin, standing on a towel in the tub or shower. Please be cautious as the oils will make the tub slippery.

Lip Balm

As I stated above, making your own products ensures a pure product. This recipe nourishes the delicate lip tissue as it moisturizes.

  • 1 1/2 tbls almond oil
  • 1 tbls beeswax
  • 1 1/2 tsp shea butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp cocoa butter
  • 8 drops essential oil of choice, lavender, grapefruit, clove, peppermint, etc
  • 1 vit e capsule

Melt oils in a double boiler, let cool slightly and add the essential oils and vit e capsule. Pour into a small container or lip balm tube. (Please see resources)

Body Butter

  • 2 tbls shea butter
  • 2 tbls cocoa butter
  • 2 tbls olive oil (You can also use herbal infused oil here too!)
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice, lavender, orange, grapefruit, ylang ylang etc
  • 1 vit e capsule

Melt the oils in a double boiler, let cool slightly and add the essential oils and vit e capsule. Stir well. Store in a container with lid.

Arthritis Herbal Oil

  • 1 tbls rosemary, crushed
  • 3 tsp celery seed, crushed
  • 1 tbls chili pepper seeds

Add to glass jar and cover with 1 cup olive oil. Let steep in a warm place for 10 days. Strain and bottle. Use as needed on effected joints.

Cough Tea Infusion

  • 1 cup thyme
  • 1/2 cup plantain
  • 1/4 cup mullein leaf

Mix dried herbs together and use 1 teaspoon herb to 1 cup water. Boil water and sprinkle herbs in. Turn off heat and steep for 5 minutes.

Menopausal Tincture Blend

  • 1/2 cup chaste berry
  • 1/2 cup dong quai
  • 1/2 cup wild yam
  • 1/4 cup hops
  • 1/4 cup valarian
  • 1/4 cup passion flower
  • 1/4 cup dandelion root
  • 1/4 cup uva ursi
  • 1/4 cup corn silk
  • 1/4 cup juniper berries

Add all herbs to a glass jar and cover completely with 60 proof alcohol such as vodka. Leave for 6 weeks, shaking daily. Strain and bottle in a dark jar. Use a 1/2 -1 teaspoon as needed.

Infused Vinegars

Stuff a jar full of herbs of choice. Pour 16 ounces of Apple Cider Vinegar to cover herbs. Use a non metallic lid. Let sit for 4-6 weeks in a pantry. Strain and bottle. Store in the fridge.

Sweet Anise Salad

  • 3 red apples, diced
  • 3 tbls lemon juice
  • 1 tsp agave or honey
  • 6 ounces anise stalks, sliced
  • 2 bananas. sliced
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup veganase or cashew cream (1/2 cup cashews blended with 1/2 cup water)
  • lettuce leaves
  • Garnish with parsley

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Tarragon Syrup

  • 1 cantaloupe, inside flesh
  • 1/4 cup coconut or non dairy yogurt
  • 2 tbls honey or agave
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • Pinch salt

Blend in blender until smooth. Chill an hour.

Tarragon Syrup

  • 3/4 cup honey or agave
  • 4 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Heat honey and lemon juice, add tarragon and simmer on very low for 10 minutes. Remove tarragon. Drizzle on soup mixture to serve.

~~~~~Enjoy <3

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment