Fitness pro talks benefits and challenges of going vegan

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Even at a mere 104 pounds Melody Shoenfeld is strong. Not only can she straighten a horseshoe, she holds three American powerlifting medals. She proudly calls herself a vegan.

"I've been a vegan since 2000. It's a big lifestyle change but it's not for everybody," said Shoenfeld.

In her Pasadena kitchen she easily whipped up dishes to reveal how colorful and flavorful going plant-based can be.

Cauliflower and butternut squash. Potatoes, Soyrizo and tofu with roasted peppers, to name a few. There's even a dessert she makes with chick peas, peanut butter and a little bit of coconut sugar.

But she knows there are some who may feel they can't get enough protein. "Yes you absolutely can get enough protein," said Shoenfeld.

Vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes like beans as well as grains like quinoa all have protein, and you'll also find it in soy and soy products of which she is a fan. But for those who fear soy might upset their hormones, she said there are plenty of other plant foods to help out.

And while it's a bit tougher to eat a totally vegan diet, overall plant food is packed with vitamins, minerals, plant chemicals and fiber, although there are some deficiencies.

Iron, calcium, vitamin D vitamin B12 and even creatine might be lacking, but you can certainly find these elements in supplements or fortified foods.

Shoenfeld uses supplements along with her creative recipes which you can find in her book 'Pleasure Not Meating You,' where she helps to dispel some myths of going vegan.
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