Veganuary: get all the right nutrients

January 24, 2018 7:04 am Published by Leave your thoughts

 

A lot of people hover around veganism, but are a bit worried about jumping in wholeheartedly – and one common concern is that a vegan diet might be short on vital nutrients. As every successful, happy and healthy vegan knows, this doesn’t need to be the case at all! But most vegans would probably agree that it takes a little bit of research to make sure that nothing at all is missing from your diet. In a society that’s still heavily based around eating animal products, it’s important to seek out good alternative sources of nutrition. (Fortunately, you’ve got Naturally Good Food right behind you!)

A vegan diet can be entirely healthy - just make sure you tick all the right boxes.

Make sure you get all the right nutrition this Veganuary

Worried about nutrition?

As it did last year, the website promoting Veganuary (the campaign that encourages us all to ‘go vegan’ for a month) explains very clearly the nutrients you need in a vegan diet and where you can obtain them.

Let’s say, ford instance, that you’re worried about not getting enough iron in your diet as a vegan. The website has the following tips:

Or try green leafy vegetables - and watch what you drink

Eat raisins, prunes and apricots for iron

  • Eat a significant source of vitamin C with your meal, as this helps you absorb the iron content of the meal. Eating an orange or drinking orange juice achieves this.
  • To prevent loss of iron absorption, don’t drink tea or coffee with meals.
  • Incorporate some of the following foods into your meals: dark green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, sweet potatoes, peas, tofu, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, apricots, molasses, beans, artichokes, pumpkins and pumpkin seeds.
  • Follow advice as to when, in specific cases, an iron supplement might be necessary.

And what if you’re worried about protein intake? Well, the website suggests that you do what the animals do – eat the original source of the protein. So feast on pulses and nuts, seitan and quinoa, seaweed and other green vegetables, and whole grains (brown rice, wholewheat bread and pasta). A lentil bolognaise, hummus wrap – or just a humble peanut butter sandwich – all tick the protein box!

With tofu, wholegrains, seitan and quinoa as well, you've got the protein element easily covered

Feast on pulses and nuts, for protein

Maybe you’re concerned about calcium instead? This vitamin is absolutely essential for your body’s growth and development, of course, and you need to make sure you get enough of it. And that’s perfectly possible in a vegan diet. How about non-dairy milks, the website suggests, like coconut milk or hemp milk? How about tofu, Brazil nuts or dried figs?

That’s just a few of the worries the Veganuary website addresses. To see their full Nutrition section, click here.

But what about supplements?

If you’re vegan and have a good diet, the only supplement you’ll need to take is B12. Non-vegans obtain their B12 from animals – but crucially, it isn’t made by the animals themselves, but created by bacteria that live inside them. A vegan form of B12 can thus be produced by ‘farming’ the bacteria directly. It’s this B12 that you’ll find in vegan supplements or in products such as yeast extract. Chlorella and spirulina are also reputedly good sources of non-animal B12.

No worries!

So there’s really no need to worry about a vegan diet. With the right products, you can tick the same nutritional boxes as non-vegans. The British Dietetic Association confirms this: ‘well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages’. We agree – why not give it a go this Veganuary?

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This post was written by Yzanne

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