Leila Page is a registered dietitian and nutritionist at OC Nutrition Coaching in Costa Mesa.
What’s a good guideline for anyone adhering to a special diet?
I recommend that people have an adequate amount of macronutrients for a balanced meal—about 20 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 50 percent carbs from whole grains and vegetables. And whole foods should be incorporated into meals as often as possible.
How can vegetarians and vegans get that protein?
They should eat complete proteins. A bean on its own doesn’t have all the essential amino acids we need. But when you combine beans and grains such as rice, farro, or couscous, you get all those amino acids. Also, quinoa and edamame are complete proteins on their own.
What are some common dietary pitfalls?
I see processed foods such as gluten-free cookies that people think are healthier, but by taking out the gluten, more fat and sugar often have to be added to hold the cookie together. Vegans should also watch out for sugary sauces, and toppings in general, that can add extra calories. And everyone should watch their portion sizes.
Page’s O.C. restaurant recommendations:
Vibe Organic Kitchen & Juice, Seabirds Kitchen, Native Foods, Flower Child, Seasons 52, True Food Kitchen, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, and Mother’s Market & Kitchen.