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A vigorous vegan needs to pump up her iron and protein intake

Comedian loves walks by Lake Ontario.


Penelope Corrin


Penelope Corrin will be satirizing Justin Bieber and Kate Middleton in the Royal Canadian Air Farce's New Year's Eve special on CBC. Since she saw the dolphin-hunt documentary The Cove, the 35-year-old Toronto comedian has switched to a vegan diet, but she finds it a challenge to get enough iron and calcium.

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My goal

"To keep my mind and body connected, healthy and limber."

My workout

"In the last five years, I've given my workout more of a concerted effort because I recognize the beer and fries of my 20s were not keeping my body going as much as exercise and meditation of my 30s.

"I take 60-minute walks along the waterminutes on the rebounder and drink one litre of water.

"I'm in rehearsal four days a week. After a breakfast of buckwheat and millet porridge or a protein shake I'm at the office, where there isn't much time for anything other than going from set to set. Working lunches are steamed greens, mung bean sprouts, no meat.

"Back at the studio, I shoot sketches in front of a live audience, so that's a three-hour night entertaining them and I'm done by 11. Dinner? I go out for veggie sushi. I like Fresh a lot, I love the avocado white bean dosas. Or I cook at home from Jae Steele's Get it Ripe."

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My motivation

"It's important to take care of my body so it serves me well in the long run, and the better I treat it the better I am, and I'll last longer."

My anthem

"I like to be with my thoughts and focus on the activity."

My challenge

"I love to eat out. I love having food prepared for me."

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The critique

Pump up iron

Andrea Holwegner, a registered dietitian in Calgary, warns Ms. Corrin about three potential deficiencies in a vegan diet.

"I recommend Penelope eat protein- and iron-rich foods twice a day to maintain a healthy supply, with nuts, legumes and soy, which she can get from edamame beans, tofu and breakfast cereals. A multivitamin is an important source of vitamin B12, not found in her vegan diet."

Bone up on calcium

"Soy cheese and yogurt are sources of protein, but aren't calcium-rich food choices unless they're fortified. Three cups of a soy beverage, rice milk or almond milk daily will help Penelope to meet vitamin D and calcium needs for bone health."

"Penelope won't feel the effects of a [calcium]deficiency in her 30s," Ms. Holwegner says. "It shows up in her 60s."

In the case of protein, the fullness can be felt immediately "because protein has a direct role in stabilizing blood sugar [and]providing sustained energy for hours."

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