HOW TO THRIVE ON A VEGAN/PLANT BASED DIET:
Well-planned vegan diets contain all the nutrients we need to remain strong and healthy. When people go vegan, they often eat more fruit and vegetables, and enjoy meals higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat. Below you will find information to help you learn more about how to make plant-based nutrition work for you.
- Make sure that your diet contains a variety of fruit and vegetables – eat a rainbow!
- Choose higher fiber starchy foods, such as oats, sweet potato, whole meal bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice
- Include good sources of protein in most meals, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, soy, soya alternatives to milk and yogurt, or peanuts
- Eat nuts and seeds daily, especially those rich in omega-3 fat
- Eat calcium-rich foods daily, such as calcium-fortified products and calcium-set tofu
- Ensure that your diet contains a reliable source of vitamin B12 (either fortified foods or a supplements)
- Ensure that your diet contains a reliable source of iodine (arguably a supplement is the best option)
- Everyone should consider a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter, and year-round supplementation should be considered by people who do not regularly expose their skin to sunlight, and those with darker skin
- Use small amounts of spread and oil high in unsaturated fats, such as vegetable (rapeseed) and olive oils
- Season food with herbs and spices instead of salt
- Drink about six to eight glasses of water a day
- Consider a supplement containing long chain omega-3 fats from microalgae, particularly for infants and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Vitamins B12 and D, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fats make sure that you are getting enough
- Keep active-exercise increases your health but also helps you to lose weight faster
- Tofu, tempeh and seitan: These provide a versatile protein-rich alternative to meat, fish, poultry and eggs in many recipes.
- Legumes: Foods such as beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Sprouting, fermenting and proper cooking can increase nutrient absorption.
- Nuts and nut butters: Especially un-blanched and unroasted varieties, which are good sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.
- Seeds: Especially hemp, chia and flaxseeds, which contain a good amount of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
- Calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts: These help vegans achieve their recommended dietary calcium intakes. Aim for varieties also fortified with vitamins B12 and D whenever possible.
- Algae: Spirulina and chlorella are good sources of complete protein. Other varieties are great sources of iodine.
- Nutritional yeast: This is an easy way to increase the protein content of vegan dishes and add an interesting cheesy flavor. Pick vitamin B12-fortified varieties whenever possible.
- Whole grains, cereals and pseudo-cereals: These are a great source of complex carbs, fiber, iron, B-vitamins and several minerals. Spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are especially high-protein options.
- Sprouted and fermented plant foods: Ezekiel bread, tempeh, miso, natto, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and kombucha often contain probiotics and vitamin K2. Sprouting and fermenting can also help improve mineral absorption.
- Fruits and vegetables: Both are great foods to increase your nutrient intake. Leafy greens such as bok choy, spinach, kale, watercress and mustard greens are particularly high in iron and calcium.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 in cyanocobalamin form is the most studied and seems to work well for most people.
- Vitamin D: You can choose D2 or vegan D3 forms such as those manufactured by Nordic Naturals or Viridian.
- EPA and DHA: Sourced from algae oil.
- Iron: Should only be supplemented in the case of a documented deficiency. Ingesting too much iron from supplements can cause health complications and prevent the absorption of other nutrients.
- Iodine: Take a supplement or add 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt to your diet daily.
- Calcium: Calcium is best absorbed when taken in doses of 500 mg or less at a time. Taking calcium at the same time as iron or zinc supplements may reduce their absorption.
- Zinc: Taken in zinc gluconate or zinc citrate forms. Not to be taken at the same time as calcium supplements.
FOODS TO AVOID:
- Meat and poultry: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
- Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
- Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc.
- Eggs: From chickens, quails, ostriches, fish, etc.
- Bee products: Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.
- Animal-based ingredients: Whey, casein, lactose, egg white albumen, gelatin, cochineal or carmine, isinglass, shellac, L-cysteine, animal-derived vitamin D3 and fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids.