Profile: My Vegan Vouchers

Profile: My Vegan Vouchers

Making Veganism Mainstream – One Voucher at a Time

My name is Joanne, the founder and operator of My Vegan Vouchers.

I remember as a child, questioning what the meat was on my plate. I was a ‘good girl’ and ate was I was told to eat and put it out of my mind that it was once a beautiful animal.

When my children also questioned what was on their plate, I told them they ‘needed’ to eat meat for the nutritional benefits as society would have us believe.

As I aged and developed Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, I was told by my GP that’s ‘it’s part of life’ but thankfully one of my daughters commenced studying Nutritional Medicine and with her inquisitive mind and compassionate soul, she insisted that I give up meat for my health.

Naturally, I felt so much better and with a little research and education about the meat and dairy industry, there was no looking back after deciding to eat a plant based diet. From there it was a no brainer to stop using ALL animal products including leather etc and living a vegan lifestyle.

As my eyes opened and my soul remembered it’s compassionate side, I became determined to share my passion and encourage others to see the truth rather than follow blindly because ‘that’s the way we were raised’ and ‘that’s how we have always eaten’.

One day, I was browsing through a voucher membership I had and was dismayed that there was no option to browse a vegan category. That’s when I dreamed of My Vegan Vouchers, with “Savings on All Things Vegan” and realised I could match vegan customers to vegan businesses, creating a win-win scenario.

I decided that wasn’t enough because we need to influence non-vegans to try our lifestyle and consider a healthier option and preferably appeal to their compassionate side to help them become aware of the truth about their meat and dairy.

My Vegan Vouchers is a win for everyone! The animals, Vegan business owners, Vegan consumers and our planet!

So, I currently live in Sydney but hey, I’m not stopping there. There’s a world of vegans and vegetarians ready to go one step further, so why not spread Veganism worldwide?

My aim is to make Veganism mainstream and an easy lifestyle to lead. Yes, LEAD! Let’s lead the way! It takes passion and determination to lead others and I’m leading! Making Veganism Mainstream, one voucher at a time.

my vegan vouchers logo

My Vegan Vouchers – an International Business Opportunity

No longer is a vegan business the only one of its kind. Competition is getting stronger and your business needs an edge that the others don’t have.

Let me introduce you to this exciting opportunity.

My Vegan Vouchers is a web-based, local and international voucher service which benefits both your business and your customers.

Your participation sends a message to local and international vegans that you value their business and are supportive of the vegan community.

At NO COST to you, My Vegan Vouchers will promote your business to vegans locally (and all over the world if it suits your business) and entice them to visit you rather than your competition. Veganism is a growing lifestyle and vegans love to support each other in any way we can.

To be included, your business provides an introductory incentive which is designed to motivate My Vegan Vouchers members to purchase from you.

Customers who have a positive experience with you, will result in positive word of mouth advertising within the vegan community and are likely to return as full paying customers.

According to Nielsen’s 2013 Trust In Advertising report, 84% of consumers trust family and friends when recommending products.

You design your offer, how many times it can be used, be it once or numerous times. The terms are yours. We do ask that your offer is different and slightly better than any you offer the general public or what you currently offer through any other voucher service.

Unlike other voucher groups, My Vegan Vouchers will not take any commission from you or charge you for your participation, we will be paid by the subscriber for our service and the subscriber will deal with you directly.

Business types associated with My Vegan Vouchers include: Food, Services, Trades, Fashion, Health and Beauty, Travel and Accommodation, Homewares and anything that fits the vegan lifestyle and is cruelty free.

Wholesalers are also included which means that your business could benefit from a wholesale discount with another business in My Vegan Vouchers.

We welcome non-vegan businesses offering vegan options, encouraging new business opportunities.

As a business owner associated with My Vegan Vouchers, you will also receive your own free subscription and will benefit from advertising via social media, vegan newsletters and associations, paid and unpaid advertising to promote your business.

Let everyone, including locals, online shoppers, wholesalers, and travellers, know where you are and how to find you.

It’s easy…Register now at My Vegan Vouchers.

Joanne Lauthier

vegan vouchers business card



Veg Network’s My Vegan Vouchers Offer

Veg Network is committed to promoting the vegan lifestyle and vegan enterprises, and is proud to promote and support My Vegan Vouchers.

If you register as a customer, you will receive free shipping on any size order you make from my shop. This offer is only available through My Vegan Vouchers, so register online today!

Tom Perry

7 Reasons Why Moderation Doesn’t Work

7 Reasons Why Moderation Doesn’t Work

Everything’s All Right In Moderation?

About 3 years ago I was advised to make significant changes to my diet by a nutritionist, due to my need to lose some weight and reduce my high cholesterol levels. I was advised to cut right down on fats, eat less highly-refined and processed foods, and eat a lot more whole plant foods. A family member responded to this advice with a familiar saying, “oh, but everything’s all right in moderation.” We’ve all heard this clichéd remark at some time, and it sounds quite reasonable, doesn’t it? Eat a little bit of this; drink a little glass of that. No harm done, eh? The problem is that this can be a huge barrier to positive change.

Thinking about this ‘everything in moderation’ idea made me realise why so many people fail to reach their goals. Goals for sustainable weight loss, eating more healthfully, cutting out harmful influences, getting fitter.

excellence mediocrity

7 Reasons Why Moderation Doesn’t Work

  1. Moderation breeds mediocrity, and mediocrity never brings outstanding results. When advice is given to promote real, lasting, positive change, how often have you heard someone say “take moderate action”? Doesn’t sound very inspiring, does it? To be, and keep motivated to progress, you shouldn’t accept mediocrity, or the Aussie attitude of “rough enough is good enough”. In most cases, it’s not.
  2. Moderation doesn’t help change habits. When someone tries to give up smoking, they are advised to quit, period; not to smoke “moderately”. When an alcoholic wants to get off the booze, moderation is not going to cut it. A heroin addict is never advised to “shoot up in moderation”. If you carry a lot of excess weight, a few less chips or donuts or melted cheese toasties, or whatever your personal vice is, is not going to create a slimmer, healthier, more energetic you.
  3. Moderation avoids taking big steps to create big change. Small steps can be fine at first to help lay the foundation for good habits, but in the long run big steps are better to create a momentum to effect change. Why? Big steps bring you closer to the desired change, quicker. Big steps make a powerful statement, and psychologically prepare you to break ingrained habits. If you want big results, you need to take bold, decisive action.
  4. Moderation is avoiding risk – when in reality it’s the risk of living and being much healthier. Now, by taking bold action I don’t mean that you take potentially harmful risks, or that you don’t follow sound medical advice. It doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes falter, and find it difficult to stay on track to your goals. But it does create a mind-set to break unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier ones.
  5. The truth is, the ‘moderation’ excuse is really about resisting change and holding on to the status quo. Dietary habits are rooted in family and cultural norms, and the thought of changing them may be to threatening some; even offensive. Change can be uncomfortable at first, but if it means ditching negative practices and embracing health and vitality, the rewards can be life-transforming.
  6. Moderation can mean poor diet and lifestyle choices. Significant change in dietary terms means not just cutting down, but cutting out foods that are detrimental to your health and weight loss goals, and especially foods that you simply don’t need. Foods such as animal fats, animal products, butter, margarine and oils, and highly processed foods high in fat, sugar, and chemicals, such as commercially produced bread, buns, processed meats, dairy products, and others. Focus instead on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes. You’ll experience a big change for the better, both in your weight loss and enhanced metabolism.
  7. The ‘moderation’ mind-set can be harmful, even deadly. When someone has serious health issues, like my recent (very) high cholesterol and blood pressure, a little moderation in lifestyle change is simply an admission of failure, which could potentially have a fatal outcome.

In a video by Dr Michael Greger from Nutrition Facts, “Everything in moderation. Even heart disease?” Dr Greger is critical of the mainstream health advice of keeping cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dl. He believes that medical authorities are withholding the full truth about heart disease to avoid recommending lifestyle changes that some might see as too drastic (or not ‘moderate’ enough!).

According to decades of data from the Framingham Heart Study, 35% of heart attacks occur in people who have cholesterol levels between 150 mg/dl and 200 mg/dl. And so a target level of only around 200 mg/dl ensures that millions of US citizens will die of coronary disease.

As Dr Greger puts it, “If the coronary artery disease epidemic is seen as a raging fire, and cholesterol and fats are the fuels, the American Heart Association has merely recommended cutting the flow of fuel. The only tenable solution is to cut off the fuel supply altogether – by reducing cholesterol levels to those proven to prevent coronary disease.”

The ‘moderation’ advice is misguided at best; and at worst, downright dangerous. It allows people to justify and keep following bad habits, while the reality is many people do not consume unhealthy foods ‘in moderation’.

Obesity continues to increase, and is now considered the most serious health issue facing the developed world. Obesity and being overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke and certain forms of cancer. My country, Australia, is today ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world. The prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years; becoming the single biggest threat to public health. An article in Web MD referred to the US obesity epidemic as “astronomical”.

Clearly, the ‘everything in moderation’ advice isn’t working for our obesity epidemic.

What’s the alternative?

How to Switch from Moderation to Motivation

What do you do, then, if you want to give up or reduce your consumption of meat, dairy, eggs, sweets or junk food? Or perhaps you want to start working out regularly, drop a dress size (or two!), or just start eating healthier? What mindset and motivational words help you the most?

Author and motivational expert James Clear talks about attempting one key change at a time, creating small habits that lead to larger ones, and focusing on the behaviour, not the outcome.

In another one of his articles, James writes that the very words we use when we set out on a quest to eat healthier or exercise more make a difference. Maybe a big difference! As James says, saying ‘no’ to unnecessary commitments and daily distractions can help you to focus and recover, while saying ‘no’ to temptation can help you stay on track and achieve your health goals.

In one study, a group of students were split into two. One group was told that when faced with temptation, they would say “I can’t do X”, while the other group was told they would say “I don’t do X”. When offered the choice between a chocolate bar or a granola health bar, 61% of the “I can’t do X” students chose the chocolate bar, while only 36% of the “I don’t do X” went for the chocolate.

The same researchers formed a group of 30 women for another study, that were split into 3 groups of 10, and told to think of a long–term health and wellness goal that was important to them. If they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, the first group was told: “just say no”; the second group was told “I can’t…miss my workout today” (for example), and the third group was told to implement the ‘don’t’ strategy, such as “I don’t miss workouts”.

After 10 days of implementing these strategies to meet their health goals, the women reported their findings:

  • Group 1 (the “just say no” group) had 3 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 2 (the “can’t” group) had 1 out of 10 members who persisted with her goal for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 3 (the “don’t” group) had an incredible 8 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.

gym room

Why “I Don’t” Works Better Than “I Can’t”

As James explains, “every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that is a reminder of your limitations. This terminology indicates that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.”

However, adds James, “when you tell yourself “I don’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that reminds you of your control and power over the situation. It’s a phrase that can propel you towards breaking your bad habits and following your good ones.”

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, the director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University, “I don’t” is experienced as a choice, so it feels empowering. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. “I can’t” isn’t a choice. It’s a restriction, it’s being imposed upon you. So thinking “I can’t” undermines your sense of power and personal agency”.

So next time you’re offered food you know you shouldn’t eat, or you think of avoiding exercise, don’t think “a little bit in moderation is okay”. Just try saying: “I don’t eat that” or “I don’t skip workouts”, and let me know how it works for you!

Tom Perry

Your Biggest Questions on the Plant-based Vegan Life-style – Answered

Your Biggest Questions on the Plant-based Vegan Life-style – Answered

Get Vegucated!

achieve superior health bookAre you ready to make the switch to a healthy, whole-food plant-based vegan diet?

If you really want to make a change to a more ethical, healthier diet, it is important to become educated in food and nutrition. This may include reading recipe books and magazines; books and articles on health and nutrition and online information. This information helps build your knowledge and confidence in following a healthy vegan lifestyle. Please refer to my ultimate plant-based resources guide, (if you haven’t already, please subscribe to get your free copy now!) and click on the links for further information.

You could also talk to a supportive doctor, or dietitian for advice and dietary guidelines. There are local or online vegetarian/vegan groups, societies and forums, where you can gather information, ask questions, and meet up with like-minded people.

Like me, I suspect that the more you find out about a healthy vegan diet, the more you’ll realise and appreciate why it’s so good for you, animals and the environment.

Plant-based Nutrition Q & A

“I can honestly say that being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins.” – David Carter, 300 pound NFL lineman

plant-based dietitian

Julieanna Hever

Before you get started on your plant-based journey, you may be wondering about getting enough good nutrition. This information is based on plant-based dietitian Julieanna Hever’s book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, and nutritional guidelines from vegan dietitian Amanda Benham’s website, the Human Herbivore .

I highly recommend that you consult with your doctor and a registered dietitian (as I have done) before making any significant changes to your diet.

There is so much conflicting information out there, and different, competing diets, that it’s sometimes hard to know the truth. Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) that might help you decide:

1 How do you get enough protein on a plant-based diet?

“Protein is not the key to weight loss—in fact, animal protein is one of the biggest factors behind the obesity epidemic, and, in virtually every study, animal protein is correlated with weight gain.” – Dr Garth Davis, author of Proteinaholic

green beansOne of the most common questions vegans get is ‘where do you get your protein?’ Animal foods such as meat and eggs are viewed by many as the gold standard of this macronutrient. Plant foods, on the other hand, are often seen as deficient and lacking in ‘complete’ protein.

The truth is, if you consume enough calories from a variety of whole plant foods, you will get enough protein. Even mainly carbohydrate foods such as bananas, potatoes and rice have 5, 8 and 9 percent respectively of their calories as protein.

The real plant–food superstars of protein though are beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. For example, lentils have 36 percent of their calories as protein, and leafy green vegetables have almost half their calories from protein. Soybeans and its by–products such as soybean curd, or tofu, are high in protein, which does have all essential amino acids.

To get enough protein, you should have at least 3–5 servings a day of vegetables, legumes, beans and whole grains. *If you want a free copy of my short E-book, the Top 5 Sources of Plant Protein, please enter your details below to subscribe!

If you’re skeptical that plant–based foods can provide you with enough protein think about the sheer bulk and muscle power of such plant—eaters as gorillas, elephants and rhinos.

In the human race, consider the ultra–fit vegan athletes that don’t rely on any animal products for their super–human achievements, such as herbivore strongman Patrik Baboumian, former professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion Brendan Brazier, and American MMA (mixed martial arts) and UFC fighter Mac Danzig. Patrik Baboumian, an Armenian–German with 50–cm biceps, was quoted regarding his change to a vegetarian, then later vegan diet:

“I was amazed by the great gains in lean body-mass and strength I got with the meat-free diet,” says Patrik.

2 Don’t carbohydrates make you fat?

“High-fat, high-protein diets (like the low-carb diets) are consistently associated with higher, not lower, rates of several cancers, heart disease, and other diseases. (while studies show that) Plant-based diets show the opposite effect.” – T. Colin Campbell, PhD

vegan shepherds pieAlong with protein and fat, carbohydrate is one of the three key ‘macro–nutrients’.  are our primary fuel source, responsible for managing your heart rate, digestion, breathing, exercising, walking, and thinking. Carbohydrates provide energy more quickly than any other fuel source, and are the only type of energy our brain can utilize. So why have carbohydrates, or ‘carbs’ received such a bad rap from trendy high–protein diets?

There are two main sources of carbs — simple and complex. Simple carbs have simple sugars. These include table sugar, molasses, honey, alcohol, white bread, white pasta, white rice, cakes, doughnuts, fried chips, sugary cereals, fruit juices, candy, chocolate, and milk.

The problem with most simple, or refined (‘bad’) carbs is that they are nutritionally empty because they have been stripped of their fibre, minerals, and vitamins. They are digested quickly by the body and cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar levels. A diet high in refined carbs (and which often are mixed with animal products, fat and oils) leads to increased risk of chronic disease and weight gain.

You want to base your diet on complex, or ‘good’ carbs from whole food sources, including vegetables, whole grain breads and pastas, beans, peas, brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, fruits, and whole grain cereals. These complex carbs in their natural state come with large amounts and varieties of vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals.

We all know vegetables and fruit are good for us — and so are whole grains, derived from rice, oats, rye, wheat, wild rice, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, amaranth and sorghum.

Whole grains are filled with fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They have zero cholesterol and are naturally low in fat. They’ve been shown to decrease cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Don’t be misled by the ‘no or low-carbs’ lobby. A diet based on vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains improves health and is ideal for weight control. It’s not that carbs that are bad for you — in fact the opposite is true. It’s the type or source of carbs that really matters most.

A diet high in unrefined carbohydrates is best for weight loss. Vegetables, whole fruits, beans, and whole grains provide a huge variety of tastes, textures, and natural fibre packed with life-sustaining nutrients. Studies show that reducing fat and eating whole plant foods is better for boosting your metabolism and losing weight than cutting carbs.

Do you get enough iron on a plant-based diet?

The American Dietetic Association’s 2009 Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets summed it up:

“Incidence of iron deficiency anemia among vegetarians is similar to that of non–vegetarians.”

Plant based diets tend to be higher in iron that other diets.

parsleyThere are two dietary forms of iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is found in animal flesh, and nonheme iron is supplied by plants, including leafy greens, legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), soy foods (especially tempeh and tofu), quinoa, brown rice, tahini, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, blackstrap molasses, and dried fruit, such as raisins, prunes, and apricots.

Heme sources of iron are absorbed better than nonheme, however this can backfire if blood levels of iron are too high. High iron blood levels have been associated with increased insulin resistance and heart disease. Also, iron from animal products comes with saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.

To enhance iron absorption, include a source of vitamin C with your nonheme iron-rich plant food. For example, eat tomatoes with your spinach salad or strawberries in your green smoothie to maximize absorption. Also, avoid coffee or tea, especially when consuming iron-rich foods, as they inhibit absorption.

4 If you don’t have dairy products, where do you get calcium?

“An important fact to remember is that all natural diets, including purely vegetarian diets without a hint of dairy products, contain amounts of calcium that are above the threshold for meeting your nutritional needs….In fact, calcium deficiency caused by an insufficient amount if calcium in the diet is not known to occur in humans.”  – Dr John McDougall

soy beansCalcium is plentiful in plants. The most healthful calcium sources are green leafy vegetables and legumes, or “greens and beans”. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, dried figs, sesame seeds, tahini, beans, soybeans, soy-nuts and tofu are all good plant sources of calcium.

Calcium absorption is determined not only by how much calcium you consume, but also intake of vitamin D.

If you eat your leafy greens and get plenty of fresh air, sunshine and exercise you will have strong bones to last a lifetime.

5 Where do you get omega 3 fatty acids if you don’t have fish?

“Omega-3 fatty acids are important in the normal functioning of all tissues of the body, but they are best obtained through a plant-based diet, not fish oil supplements.” – Dr Neal Barnard

algae omega-3The principal omega-3 fat is alpha–linolenic acid (ALA), can be found in many vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. This is then converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenonic acid (DHA) by the body. This makes ALA the only essential omega-3 fatty acid, and the best source of ALA is ground flaxseeds. Fish oil, while a source of EPA and DHA omega–3s, can include unstable molecules that may oxidise and unleash dangerous free radicals. Fish only get their omega–3 fatty acids from a plant-based source: algae, so I recommend focusing on this clean, green vegan source of EPA & DHA omega–3 (as I do).

6 What about Vitamin B12?

“Make no mistake: vitamin B12 is important. But so is keeping our perspective, given the millions who are crippled and die from the onslaught of chronic disease that could be prevented, stopped, and reversed with a B12-fortified, plant-based diet.” – Dr Michael Greger

Vitamin B12 is important for the nervous system and brain, as well as for the formation of healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency, though rare, can have dire consequences including anaemia, nerve damage, depression, psychiatric disorders and even death, and even low levels of the vitamin can have negative health consequences.

Although Vitamin B12 does not naturally occur in plants, there are many vegan foods such as some meat alternatives and soymilks that are fortified with B12. The most reliable way that I have found to ensure adequate levels is to simply take a daily supplement.

Extend your cooking repertoire

veggie chefIf you’re not sure how to cook plant–based dishes, why not buy or borrow some popular cooking books on the subject? There are literally thousands of vegetarian and vegan recipes online that you could try out; most of them free (see resources guide). You might be able to join a local cooking class in healthy vegetarian cooking (such as Indian food), at a local adult learning centre or community house.

If you find completely vegan recipes a little daunting, you could start with recipes that you know and like well, and simply replace the animal food with a plant food alternative. For example, for chili con carne or casseroles you could replace beef mince or chunks with veggie mince, or with beans or lentils. Instead of chicken pieces in a stir–fry or curry you could add strips of marinated tofu; and instead of cream, milk or cheese in a soup or sauce you could try silken tofu, soymilk or soy cheese.

“Eating vegan doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it is the most exciting way to eat! Fresh and organically grown plant-based foods are among nature’s most healthful and delicious gifts.” – Lynn Bennett, The Vegan Chef

There is vast range of healthy, tasty plant–based dishes, recipes and cooking lessons out there. So there is no excuse to get started on your healthy veganic journey today. Enjoy the ride!

Tom Perry