About Me & This Website

My name is Kristen Zaier and I am a registered dietitian. I created this website to provide free nutrition information for those either following a plant-based diet or interested in learning about a plant-based diet. This site offers information on plant-based sources for individual nutrients, a sample meal plan and links to useful resources and recipes. The goal of this website is to promote a plant-based diet and give people the tools and knowledge that they need to improve their health. I also wanted a space where I could gather and store information and resources that I use frequently.

I became a vegetarian in January of 1987 when I was 14 years old. At that time the decision was based solely on ethical reasons. I saw a movie titled "Faces of Death" which showed the inside of a slaughterhouse and I knew that I would never eat animals again. In the beginning I didn't really care about nutrition but I felt that inflicting that much pain and suffering onto another living and feeling being was morally wrong and I could not support such a cruel industry by continuing to eat animals. 

As many vegetarians and vegan discover, once you adopt a diet different from the norm you are often attacked and questioned relentlessly on the validity and safety of your diet. No one questions a junk food diet of burgers, fries and sodas but once they learn you have given up animal products everyone in your life will become a nutrition expert and worry about: "Where do you get your protein? Where do you get your calcium?". These questions will become very familiar to you when you adopt a plant-based diet and it is questions like these that drew me to the study of nutrition. As I have studied nutrition I have been thrilled to find that a plant-based diet is not only a compassionate choice but is arguably the healthiest diet for humans and the planet.

Plant-Based vs. Vegan Diet

A plant-based diet is a vegan diet in that it excludes all animal products. I use the term plant-based rather than vegan because it focuses on what the diet includes rather than just focusing on what it omits. Some vegan diets can be very unhealthy including a lot of refined flours, sugars, salts, oils and very little unprocessed plant foods. A plant-based diet is rich in whole plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. I share the vegan goal of compassion towards animals but I also care about my health and the health of others. I want vegans to care about their health as much as the health of animals. If the goal is to get others to adopt a vegan diet and to decrease the suffering of animals than I think that following a healthy vegan diet and showing its health benefits is essential. I will admit that from a health perspective it is possible that someone could follow a mostly plant-based diet and include small amounts of animal products in their diet and still be healthy. However, I believe that a strictly plant-based diet with no animal products is the best diet to protect against chronic diseases, protect the environment and decrease the suffering of animals. 

"My body will not be a tomb for other creatures" - Leonardo da Vinci

This is my husband Shane and me canoeing down the river while staying at The Stanford Inn (an incredible vegan resort in Northern California).

Welcome to the Plant-Based RD Website!

My Education and Experience

  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics (2006)

  • Attended San Francisco State University's dietetic internship program (2006-2007)

  • Passed national examination to become a registered dietitian (2007)

  • Worked over 11 years in northern CA hospitals as a clinical dietitian specializing in critical care and nutrition counseling for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and end stage kidney disease. Currently with Kaiser Permanente (2007-current year)

  • Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (2013) 

  • ​Certified in The Starch-Based Solution by Dr. McDougall's Health and Medical Center (2014)


Kristen Zaier, ​​Plant-Based RD