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Nutrition and wellness is tasteful

  • Exercise

    Exercise is a benefit to every part of the body--mind included.

    Exercise makes you look better, lose weight, and lowers your risk of many chronic diseases, and slows down aging.

  • Healthy children, healthy life

    "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces--just good food from fresh ingredients."
    --Julia Child

    "If we're not willing to settle for 'junk living,' we shouldn't settle for junk food."
    --Sally Edwards

  • Food is medicine

    "Let medicine be thy food, and food be thy medicine."

    "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
    --Michael Pollen

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Midlife Health Checklist: How do you fare with YOUR health?

There is no doubt that the inevitable happens. We age. Some of us may age more gracefully than others, but nonetheless, we age. So what can we do about it? Accept it, but you set the terms and conditions. Do everything in your power to 'stay young at heart'. It is possible and frankly, that's the way I plan on going down with it. How about you?

According to Dr. David Agus, turning 40 is the 'turning point' where we may see life through another set of glasses so to speak. This is the time of questioning not only our mortality, but where are we now, what we have done in the past and what we will do in the future to make positive, good things happen for others as well as ourselves. This is also the time when we may focus more on how we feel after indulging in 'bad food' or too much alcohol and how different that all was in our earlier years.

Going back to aging gracefully though, we can set the terms and conditions as much as we can by eating right, enjoying life to the fullest, exercising regularly and sleeping well. We can stave off disease much better if we lead a healthier lifestyle -- no doubt.

The following 4 categories are definitely tried and true and highly recommended for us to follow as much as possible. While all of the points in the article may not apply to everyone -- which makes sense since we all have different metabolisms -- they are a good place to start with leading a healthier lifestyle. Good idea to also check with a physician as well before starting any diet/health program. Below is your midlife health checklist.

(1) Diet: 
  • Drink full fat milk which may apply more especially after a good exercise session. It has been found that it can help with the reduction of muscle mass which occurs with age. It also contains calcium which is essential for bone health. If milk isn't 'your friend', there are other calcium-rich foods that are terrific such as kale, sardines, yogurt, broccoli, watercress and bok choy.
  • Avoid unnecessary supplements. Instead of focusing on taking a calcium supplement, the best thing to do is to simply eat real food. 
  • Eating portion-controlled foods on smaller plates as well as eating more slowly and deliberately leads to healthier habits that can make a big difference when it comes to better health.
  • Say No to shiny packets. Those shiny packets contain artificial ingredients from sweeteners to chemical preservatives contained in many processed foods speed up the aging process.
  • Take probiotics: According to Liz Earle, the author of The Good Gut Guide, states that "healthy bacteria and lactoferrin found in plain live yogurt can dramatically improve our levels of skin-friendly flora, which in turn leads to smoother, clearer skin, especially for those prone to adult-onset acne or rosacea".
  • Drinking coffee and tea in moderation can be a really good thing to do. It has been found that moderate amounts of caffeine is thought to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and can also improve physical performance.
  • Eat Mediterranean. Some simple 'food trades' such as swapping red meat for organic white meat or butter for olive oil are good options to follow. Additionally, if we add turmeric to our diets -- which help to fight inflammation, arthritis and depression -- we can add on to our longevity.
  • Stick to healthy fats and cut down on sugar. Yes, sugar is an ingredient to avoid as much as possible as it damages our cells and promotes wrinkles. Who wants that?
  • Alcohol doesn't have to be cut out of life after 40 for gosh sakes! It is just a good idea to drink in moderation and even stick to non-alcohol days more frequently. Looking forward to a glass or two of 'vino' with a loved one is after all part of the fun part of getting older!
(2) Sleep and mental health: 
  • Having someone to share our life with not only makes life sweeter, but its good for our health too! 
  • Its good to have a 'time out' where we can take a little time for ourselves, right? How about taking a few minutes to sit quietly and simply 'be' or how about a long bath or reading a good book? All good stuff....
  • Taking a walk is great for decreasing depression and improving our wellbeing.
  • So many of us have desk jobs now-a-days, but what about investing in a desk where you can stand instead of sit? "If you stand for eight minutes of every half an hour you are at work, and move around for at least two minutes, you can experience lower levels of blood sugar and cholesterol, reduced weight and improved concentration, according to a study by Cornell University".
  • Forming good habits helps with our overall health and wellness. So, going to sleep and getting up in the morning around the same time is good!
  • Sleep in a quiet, cool and dark place. If you don't get good quality sleep, it can negatively affect not only our mood, but even our mental health, weight and heart function.
  • It's just not good to be staring at our laptops or phones before bed. Studies have shown that exposure to the blue-white light which is emitted by those technology tools prevents our brains from releasing melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that tells our bodies its time to sleep.
  • As we age, its best not to eat too late or shortly before we go to sleep. Our digestion process will keep us up and won't allow for restful sleep!
(3) Health and Body: 
  • Take aspirin: While it has shown that taking a low dose of daily aspirin helps to lower the risk of heart attacks and even mitigate the risk of some cancers, its best to check with your doctor before doing so.
  • Don't smoke. Enough said.
  • Getting real about your skincare. This is important to be sure for reasons aside from wrinkles. There is also risk of sun damage and even potential skin cancers if not checked.
  • Exfoliation of the skin helps with removing unwanted, dead skin. Ick!
  • Wearing sun screen on a daily basis is simply a good idea. 
  • Good oral hygiene is important.
  • Unnecessary cosmetic surgery can be devastating, especially if you don't know how it will turn out in the following years -- and you don't know.
  • Looking after your feet may seem unimportant, but keeping our feet healthy allows us to be more actively mobile and that's a good thing.
  • Visiting your doctor on a yearly basis can help to avoid potential health risks.
(4) Fitness: 
  • Walk: According to the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should be aiming for 150 minutes of brisk walking on a weekly basis.
  • While it is true that pushing yourself to the point of pain upon exercising is not recommended, it is good to be somewhat uncomfortable if you are wanting to receive the best results. 
  • As we age and our metabolism slows, its best to exercise in the morning for the best metabolic results. 
  • Make every effort to stand up straight and keep a good posture. It helps to work on flexibility.
  • As we age, low-intensity training can be gentler on our joints as opposed to high-intensity training. There is less opportunity for injury and LISS can be great for weight loss and increasing fitness overall.
  • Accepting where we are. We can't go back in time, so its important to make the most of where we are now -- whatever the age. Having satisfaction can lead to better self-esteem and happiness.
  • With the inevitable muscle loss that occurs from the age of 30 and beyond, its good to make resistance training part of our weekly routine as it elevates our metabolism, can prevent osteoporosis and is fat burning too.
  • Tracking exercise progress can be easily done with the help of wearable technology like a Fitbit.
  • By taking up a new sport or physical hobby, it keeps things fresh and can add to our overall balance and health.
  • Lastly, a dog is usually a welcome addition to ones' life. If you are more on the sedentary side, a dog can help you become more readily available to exercise by walking more.
Yes, the inevitable will happen. We will age. But, most of the time, it is in our own power to make doable and healthy changes that -- with a little help from a professional and a supportive support system -- can lead us to having a more comfortable and welcoming life, wouldn't you agree?
How do you fare with your health?

Monday, May 15, 2017

15 Smart Food Swaps That Will Make You Healthier

Most people have a "love affair" with eating delicious food, right? Who doesn't like a robust portion of homemade spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna or even a simple but delicious burger? By eating some of these foods though, we tend to forget how much we are eating because -- well, the food is delicious and we are hungry!

If we merely made an effort to not only watch our portion-sizes but also make smart food swaps, we can save on some calories too.

The following are 15 food swaps that -- if followed regularly -- should lead you down the road to better health.

(1) Swap white pasta for whole wheat: Whole wheat pasta contains more fiber as well as vitamin E, B vitamins and antioxidants -- definitely more than white pasta.

(2) Swap plain potatoes for sweet potatoes. "Eating sweep potatoes means you're still getting those essential carbs, but this way they count as one of your five-a-day, unlike regular potatoes which are a starchy food."

(3) Swap white rice for brown rice or 'cauli-rice': Simply put, brown rice has more nutrients than white rice. Brown rice contains more fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. White rice has a whole lot of "empty" calories and carbs that don't do much for nutrition.

(4) Make your own oatmeal instead of the pre-packaged version. It just makes sense to make your own version of oatmeal. By making your own, you actually can see what ingredients are being added rather than being surprised by unnecessary sugar or added ingredients.
(5) Swap fruit juice for the fruit itself. "Drinking a glass of orange juice means the fruits' sugars are more readily available and more easily absorbed by the body. The other thing to consider is that no matter how much fruit juice you drink in a day, it still only counts as one of your five-a-day".

(6) Swap white bread for Rye or Wholemeal.  "The way wholemeal or rye breads are digested means that the sugar, which turns into energy, is released into the bloodstream much more slowly than in white bread." No doubt, there is an advantage to staying fuller longer by eating more nutritious foods without having those hunger pangs which may cause eating an excess of unwanted/unhealthful foods.

(7) Swap sugary energy drinks for coffee. While it is true that too much caffeine can affect blood pressure, a portion-size (1-2 cups) can be good for you. But let's be honest -- if you say you love coffee and you are an avid Starbucks fan -- drink coffee without all the added sugars and milk which only give you more empty calories. 

(8) Swap store-bought salad dressing for homemade salad dressing.  Making a salad dressing only takes a few minutes, plus there is the added advantage of knowing what all the ingredients are as well. It doesn't take much beyond a good olive oil and vinegar with a few added ingredients. Store-bought salad dressing has added sugars and unpronounceable ingredients that do "who knows what" to the body!

(9) Swap low-fat yogurt for Greek instead. Greek yogurt is naturally lower in both fat and sugar. If sweetness is what you are missing in your plain yogurt, add fresh fruit, a sprinkling of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.

(10) Swap butter for olive oil margarine.  So much depends on portion-control, doesn't it? If you typically enjoy adding a good amount to your morning toast, the olive oil option at least has healthy unsaturated fat as opposed to butters' saturated fat. 

(11) Swap the crackers (or crisps) for popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain, less processed than crackers and is lower in fat. Popcorn is delicious too. Some healthier options to add to it that won't wreck your healthy eating would be a good squeeze of lemon, a sprinkling of seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and even a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

(12) Swap regular mashed potatoes for cauli-potatoes or even another kind of roasted vegetable like turnips or sweet potatoes or pumpkin which all contain essential nutrients without the added butter.

(13) Swap pork sausages for chicken sausages.  Chicken sausages typically are lower in saturated fat than pork and they also help out with minimizing red meat intake. As has been stated in the news everywhere for quite some time, a higher risk of red meat intake can be linked to certain types of cancers and even heart disease.

(14) Swap cheddar for cottage or goat cheese. Both cottage and goat cheese are a terrific source of calcium without the large fat content. While cheddar cheese is also delicious, its best to keep that to a minimum or portion-controlled for best health results.

(15) Swap fried eggs for boiled or poached. While eggs are most certainly delicious, one can save on quite a bit of calories by avoiding the butter or oil. Another option to the fried egg would be to make it in a non-stick pan where it can be "dry-fryed" or by making it with the use of a light cooking spray.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What Do We Really Care About?

As I approach a new topic to discuss in the health & wellness arena, it seems that it has been covered, right? But, is a topic as extensive and popular as health and wellness really covered in one article or one study or one great healthy outcome statistic? No, definitely not!

Now that there is more of a focus on individualized nutrition for kids, teenagers and adults, shouldn't there also be a focus on finding out specifically what the individual really wants and needs? Sure, most people would more than likely like to drop a few "lbs", but what if that doesn't apply to everyone? Is there a "common sense" approach to leading a healthier lifestyle kinda plan that includes a fitness and mindfulness component? Would eating a bit of "everything" in a portion-controlled way be enough for someone or would eliminating sugar be the right way to go?

Let's just quiet the noise in our heads and think about it. Sure, it is important to have science-backed knowledge on what the right health & wellness aide would be for you and me, but how do you not get overwhelmed by all the media news out there on what you should eat, or where you should live or what you should do to be happy? Doesn't that all encompass wellbeing? What exactly does that mean?

Changing ones' behavior for example to something that someone else "approves" of certainly doesn't work; so how can what I do -- as a health coach -- make a difference to what you -- as my audience -- really cares about? It is wise to check with a doctor before approaching any form of diet, but what if you are relatively healthy, and just want to lose some weight, or gain confidence or improve your wellbeing? 

Check out the following articles that delve further into some of the important things we should be focusing on like overall health, wellness, mindfulness and just doing what we can to be happy. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Building your inner coach | Brett Ledbetter | TEDxGatewayArch

I posted this because so many times we focus on the things that are out of our control. Don't we do a good job of beating ourselves up over not having lost the last 10 pounds or not sticking to our healthy eating plan for the work week?

It does no good to beat ourselves up, right? What if instead we improved the process to get there? What if instead of saying, "I am going to lose 10 pounds in "x" amount of time"; we say to ourselves, "I am going to do something everyday that will make my chances of losing those last 10 pounds more possible instead of improbable".

Thursday, April 6, 2017

8 Free Health, Wellness and Sleep Apps to Improve Your Life

The following are some good -- and free -- health/wellness/sleep apps to look out for on the quest for better health overall!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

25 Tiny Habits That Could Totally Change Your Life

There is no doubt that we all have good days and bad days. It doesn't matter if you are a wealthy person or one of more humble beginnings; but, it does matter how resilient you are in general. 

Perhaps there is another way of looking at life -- like the glass is half empty or half full -- but, making tiny changes to the way we approach life is key. Do we get impatient when the red light is taking too long to change to green? Do we get upset because of the traffic and we are late to work...again? Do we get upset with our kids because they refuse to cooperate and get ready for school on time? What if we started by making what can seem to be a tiny habit change every day? 

Over time, I've made it a habit to really hear the sage words of people like Stephen Covey, B. J. Fogg and Charles Duhigg, who have made a mark on the way we can approach life in a healthier way. As I continue to grow in my own health coaching experience, there is so much common sense and daily life application that comes with approaching life in a different way. It is a matter of taking the small changes and making them permanent by repeating them over and over again until they come naturally. 

The following are 25 habits that can become an essential way of how we approach our lives. 

(1) Tiny Habits for Better Physical Health
  • Start your day with a tall glass of water. If it helps you to remember to drink water -- which we generally forget -- leave the glass by your nightstand so you can visibly see it in the morning -- just do it! That can be your reminder!
  • When going to Target or the grocery store -- try parking at the furthest end of the parking lot, even if there are plenty of spots in front. This way you can get a few extra steps in to add to your "no longer being sedentary" lifestyle.
  • If you are a writer, have a sedentary job, or simply are on the phone all day, make every effort to get up and stretch every hour on the hour -- do jumping jacks or push ups or something to get your body moving! You may even bypass the coffee that you thought you needed and become refreshed again naturally.
  • If you know you will be out and about going to appointments, going to the gym and the market or whatever it is -- bring a few healthy snacks with you like an apple, a small pouch of nuts or even a small yogurt. 
(2) Tiny Habits for Better Mental Health
  • Ask open-ended questions. Even if you are in a job interview, talking with the boss or speaking with the neighbor who moved in recently -- ask "deeper" questions instead of ones that just require a "yes" or "no". Get to know your audience, be interested and engaged. Don't we like the same courtesy when we meet someone new simply so they can get to know us better? 
  • Be creative and draw or write, especially when we start to feel like we are getting tired or bored of something we are doing. It does get our creative "juices" going to maybe see a problem in a new light that we hadn't seen before. How about a new perspective?
  • Be still and quiet before your day gets started -- even for a few minutes. This will help you to not only think about the day ahead, but simply will also help you to think about being present at that very moment, being grateful and just being you. 
  • Write down your thoughts -- even if they appear to be crazy or nonsensical. Sometimes we may be stressed out about something that we really didn't think was a "big deal", but apparently, it is! There is something soothing about getting your frustrations, aggravations, blissful moments and more down on paper.
  • Repeat a personal mantra or affirmation to yourself everyday. This may sound crazy, but as we have so many "head conversations" within our head everyday, it is so smart to repeat some good stuff to ourselves! How about something along the lines of..."I can do this", or "This to shall pass".
(3) Tiny Habits for Better Productivity and Work
  • Be your own hero. Okay, this may sound a bit "cheesy", but it can add some depth and insight to how you really would like to be perceived. If we can think of someone we admire and how they might handle a difficult situation, we can then try to "mirror" that mindset on handling a difficult situation. It just might add a new perspective. 
  • At the end of the day we may feel like we didn't accomplish much, right? But, if we can take a few minutes -- at the end of the day -- to review what we've done, we can pleasantly surprise ourselves. If we didn't complete what we would have liked to complete, there is always tomorrow. Oh yeah, and don't forget to be accountable for the added tomorrow task too.
  • Silence all of the email notifications. This one is pretty big, especially when we really want to accomplish some good work and priority stuff, those little "dings" are distracting! 
  • Has it ever happened that you were on your way somewhere and you got an invitation to a networking event or other career-oriented meeting and you weren't in front of your calendar? Many times we may say "yes" or "no" automatically without saying something like, "let me check my calendar first". It is just smart to not commit to something we aren't really sure we can commit to doing. 
  • Visualizing is so important, isn't it? By visualizing our success at completing a task or getting closer to a goal, we can actually believe it and do everything in our power to follow through with it -- whatever it is.
(4) Tiny Habits for Better Relationships
  • Stay in touch! In this day and age, it really is easy to shoot off a quick email to a friend or loved one simply to say -- "Hope you have a great day" or "Just checking in to say hello" or something of that nature. 
  • Cultivating gratitude is so very important. So, send out a thank you note (or email) to a friend for being a friend or send a "thinking of you" card to someone you haven't been in touch with lately -- guaranteed that it will really makes their day as well as yours, don't you think?
  • Acknowledgement of your partner by saying thanks for being there or thanks for supporting me at this really important time means so much to them...and it will ultimately help with building your own self esteem and self awareness.
  • Really listen to what the other person is saying. This one is so important, especially if it is coming from your partner or good friend because so many times we already "know" what they are going to say, right? Instead, take pause and let them finish what they are saying and really listen.
  • I've said this before, but it really is important -- don't beat yourself up if you are having a bad day. Know that tomorrow will be a new and better day with a good night of sleep. That can change your perspective.
(5) Tiny Habits for a Better Community and Environment
  • The simple act of taking a walk around your neighborhood for exercise or go to the local CVS for something you need and noticing your surrounding environment is healthy. If you see a piece of trash that is next to a trashcan, just reach over, pick it up and put it in the trash where it belongs. It just beautifies the area where you live more and improves the environment, even if it is a teeny, tiny thing.
  • Don't be so isolated. Say good morning to a neighbor or nod to someone on the street that you know, if not for a simple hello and acknowledgement. Wouldn't you like the same courtesy?
  • Have you ever admired someone who saves money by buying at a local grocery store instead of the "expensive one" in the neighborhood? What about someone who can "afford" to buy the new bestseller; but, instead go to their local library to check out a book? It's just smart to save where and when you can. 
  • In your budgeting, set some money aside for giving. It just feels good to know you have a little extra to give the "homeless" guy on a really cold night or the charity that you so admire and want to give to more frequently.
  • Lastly, borrow when you can. If you can manage by walking somewhere close instead of driving or even sharing one car -- for awhile -- it can work out great for your budget and your environment.
The above-mentioned tiny habits really do and will make a difference in your life if you start doing them more frequently. It may just improve your attitude and make you more grateful for the things that you already have now, right?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

7 Essential Habits of Highly Mindful People

This article just called to me, not so much because mindfulness is the latest "trend" to talk about, but because being mindful is simply a smart way to live. Haven't we had someone in our life -- whether it is current or in the past -- that really made a strong impression in our lives? Someone we've looked up to or greatly respected because they were so wise despite going through difficult times? These people that we've looked up to were mindful and thoughtful in their approach to life, wouldn't you agree? There are 7 essential habits that those that we've grown to admire more than likely followed and that made them stronger individuals. Regardless, the habits mentioned below are good habits to keep.

(1) They hold their thoughts lightly. It is easy to get caught up in the "warp speed" that life takes us in whether it is in getting to your meeting on time in the morning or completing job tasks that have a deadline of "by the end of the day" no matter what! This is when it is good to assess your own thoughts to approaching the day -- are you believing you can complete those tasks on time? will they be good enough for the boss? do you doubt your own capability to do a great job? One does not have to believe everything that comes to mind! How many negative thoughts clutter up our mind in a day? Many! But, we have the capability to not believe in those negative thoughts. This is where a positive mindset comes into play -- use it over and over again, believe in yourself and it will become a habit.

(2) They feel what they are feeling. There is no doubt that many times one can "read" someone's face, especially if they are unhappy, sad or angry. I don't suggest that we become so transparent, but it is important to acknowledge that we may not always have a perfect day! There are days that are tougher than others, even if you are typically an upbeat and positive person. After all, how can we continuously have all peaks and no valleys? That just isn't life. By becoming more mindful, we know that the tough times will pass, and when they do, there can be another peak!

(3) They accept the temporary nature of things. Once again, a mindful person recognizes that a bad day or going through a difficult time won't last forever -- there will be better days ahead. Just as an amazing weekend with friends or a loved one won't be a constant we can rely on, we can simply look forward to the good times ahead. When the "peaks" or good times are over, mindful people recognize that life is constantly changing and much of how we work and approach life can influence our good and bad times.

(4) They meditate. Not everyone needs to call it meditation, especially if you aren't used to it. But, it is important to take a few minutes of quiet time for ourselves to simply be in the moment and be aware to enjoy the silence and see where it takes us. If negative thoughts come to mind, we have the power to change that and think of something beautiful or a special memory of good times you've had in the past. It is invigorating.

(5) They do one thing at a time. We've heard so many times about how people are so busy because they have a million things to do, right? But, it does make sense to do one task at a time well and move on to the next instead of trying to do a great job at 2 or 3 things at the same time! As Stephen Covey mentions in his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", time management is most effective when we've lived -- or attempt to live in a state of perspective and balance instead of constant crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects. By living more purposefully, we can minimize arising problems that may not even arise if we've prepared for what may be ahead of us.

(6) They turn everyday tasks into mindful moments. If we make gratitude part of our daily way of thinking and living, we can turn the everyday tasks ahead into ones that we can be thankful for even being able to accomplish on our own. As easy as it is to take a shower in the morning to get ready for your day, think of those that can't even do that on their own! So many times we take our everyday tasks as merely tasks that need to get done. We don't question ourselves every morning by saying, "How do I take a shower again?" By being grateful for the everyday tasks of life, it begins to set the tone for the rest of the day.

(7) They protect and nurture their bodies and mind. We've all heard and learned over the years that your body is a temple and so we need to take care of it and keep it healthy! After all, this is the only body we get in our lifetime, right? There is nothing like knowing that once you've reached a certain age that you've done a fairly good job of taking care of yourself. In observing other people around us, one can see that some have taken care of themselves better than others, right? Doesn't everyone want to live a healthy life? Absolutely yes! So, it is just as crucial to eat well, sleep well and exercise too. It pays off in the end!

Life is short and goes by so fast, doesn't it? Isn't that reason enough to live life as purposefully as possible by following the 7 essential habits as mentioned above?

Monday, March 6, 2017

10 Nutrition Mistakes That Vegans Make

I recently attended a vegan cooking class at the invitation of a friend. I'd like to consider myself to be open-minded even if I don't follow a particular diet -- such as veganism. The class was interesting to me though because the focus was on how foods fight cancer. Hence, this cooking class was targeted to people who may suffer from cancer or have a family member who suffers from cancer. 
Regardless, eating a healthy diet -- whether or not cancer is the motivator -- should be at the forefront of the way we think about eating. Imagine if we minimized processed foods, minimized sugar in our diet and simply ate more fruits and vegetables? We would be so much better off with regard to our health!
The thing is though, as individual as people are, shouldn't our diets also be individualized? No doubt there are many people within the healthcare world -- like physicians and nurses and registered dietitians -- who follow such a diet. We know of them either from work or a book that they've written as an example. But, how long have they been on such a diet? Is this kind of diet sustainable in the long run? They may very well have the knowledge and discipline to be sure to eat the right amount of nutrients/minerals/supplements. But, what happens to those vegans that are following the rules of veganism, but fall short on eating enough nutrients/minerals/supplements? 
The bottom-line is -- even if I myself am not vegan -- I really do respect those that are vegan for various reasons whether they've been told that they need to improve their heart health or minimize their chances of getting cancer that runs in their family.
But, if people are going to go down that "vegan rabbit hole", know what you are getting yourself into by avoiding some of the nutrition mistakes that vegans can make as written in the article here. Animal foods like meat, fish, and dairy are not "evil", but in fact, are very nutritious. It really does matter where the source of your protein comes from though. One can learn more from food service companies that do support local agriculture and safe sustainability guidelines.
You can't put a price on your health -- or that of your loved ones -- but, you can become more informed by doing your own smart nutrition research. If you don't know, ask a reliable source! There are some great informative resources available now-a-days. Many times people who are on a specific diet such as this one can become "judgmental" towards those that don't follow it because of environmental reasons or animal cruelty. But what happens to us if we neglect our own health and wellbeing?