About 2.5% of Americans consider themselves Vegan. These are people who avoid foods produced by animals and stick to a strict plant-based diet. Some experts feel a vegan diet isn’t optimal for our bodies. For instance, the German Nutrition Society say it’s impossible to get sufficient nutrition from it.
So, is it possible to get all the nutrients your body requires from a vegan diet?
The answer is yes. With appropriate planning, one can achieve the right balance of nutrients required by the body, pointed out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
As per the German report, there are 10 nutrients which they feel a plant-based diet cant adequately provide:
“Vitamin b12, protein, long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, iron, iodine, zinc and selenium”.
Below are some of the steps you can take to make the most of your vegan diet and get the required amount of each:
Meet with a nutritionist
Consult with a nutritionist who specializes in vegan diets. This way, you can come up with a diet customized to your needs.
Making the transition to a Vegan diet might not be easy because some people are picky eaters. A nutritionist will come up with a plan based on your preferences and also know how much supplements you may require. Going at it alone might affect your nutritional intakes, especially since too much of some supplements can be risky.
But if you can’t meet a dietician, the book, Becoming Vegan will be helpful.
Have ‘back-up’ food on the go
Much as there are enough Vegan restaurants these days, you may find it hard to get suitable plant-based meals while on the go. A vegan protein bar will give you the much required nutrients you need as opposed to skipping a meal altogether.
Make sure you have a few bars on you, just in case. You are better off packing some few nutrients than falling short completely.
Buy vegan cookbooks
The secret to a successful vegan diet is variety. Don’t eat the same meals over and over again otherwise you will get bored. No matter how healthy the meal is sticking to the same meals will make you miss out nutrients found in other plant-based meals.
Much as salads are great, top them up with protein-based pulses, nuts, whole grains, seeds and fruits. This will broaden your spectrum of nutrients intake.
Try the recipe book: Plant-Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer. And don’t forget your recommended dose of supplements too.
Consider being ‘mostly vegan’
There are those people who are strictly vegetarian; NO animal produce intake whatsoever. This is mostly based on religion, ethics or animal rights beliefs. But if you have decided to go vegan for the sole purpose of improving your healthy, being ‘mostly vegan’ might work just fine.
Here you get to meet nutritional needs by adding some low mercury sea foods, or organic eggs. This might also prevent the temptation to backslide to an animal-heavy diet.
So if its not for religion or animal rights, by all means mix it up a bit to strike that nutritional balance. This way, you will manage to eat healthier longer…