How To Get The Best Nutrition On A Vegan Diet
There are a variety of ways of eating that people choose for health and/or philosophical reasons. One of these ways of eating is Veganism. Vegans abstain from consuming all foods that originate from animals, not just the animals themselves as vegetarians do.
So this includes avoiding eating meat, poultry, and fish, but also excludes foods such as eggs, dairy, and honey because they are produced by animals. Vegans also avoid foods containing any ingredients that come from animals such as casein, gelatin, and lactic acid.
There are a number of reasons why someone would choose to be vegan. Some people choose veganism for ethical reasons, believing all creatures have the right to life and freedom. Some vegans avoid animal products for the sake of the environment, understanding that animal agriculture requires more resources and produces more greenhouse emissions than plant-based foods.
Still others choose veganism for its health benefits. Studies regularly show that plant-based diets reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure and vegans generally have a lower BMI than those who consume animal products.
So what can vegans eat, considering it sounds like there are a lot of foods they avoid? The truth is vegan food can be quite delicious and there are plenty of options for preparing satisfying meals.
Vegan food includes:
- grains such as pasta, bread, rice, couscous, and quinoa
- fruits and vegetables
- beans and legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- nuts, and seeds including milk substitutes such as almond and coconut milk
- tofu and tempeh
- vegan products such as plant-based burger patties, vegan mayonnaise, vegan cheese, etc
It's important throughout any diet to obtain 5-6 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day. However the most important nutrients to obtain on a vegan diet are protein and omega-3 fatty acids. In order to get sufficient protein, individuals on a vegan diet will need to combine their proteins to obtain their essential amino acids. Without combining their proteins their amino acids will be incomplete and difficult to obtain.
A vegan diet is usually low in omega-3 fatty acids because they are naturally found in animal based foods like fish, seafood, and grass fed meat. However there are some plant based sources, the difficulty is the amount that needs to be consumed. Vegans need anywhere from ___ to ___ a day. Some vegan friendly omega-3 sources are seaweed, chia seeds hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts and kidney beans.
A vegan diet can also lack some essential vitamins and minerals due to avoiding certain food groups. If you are following a vegan diet it is important to get your levels checked to make sure that you aren't deficient. There are supplements that you can use to support your body during this diet, if need be.
Here are some of the key nutrients to focus on obtaining when following a vegan diet:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These vitamins and minerals play an important role in iron levels, immune health, muscle function and so much more. Whatever reasons you have for considering a vegan lifestyle, there are a host of delicious foods for you to enjoy. Stay healthy and be happy!