Risks of a Vegan Diet

The doctor told him it was critical he start eating meat. He’d been in to the office 6 times in as many months with unusual injuries, and when he finally mentioned he was vegan, the doctor understood what was going on. His lousy, vegan diet wasn’t providing enough vital nutrients for his body to repair and strengthen itself. I should mention this friend of mine was prone to eating vegan hot dogs for lunch on a regular basis. A crappy vegan diet is not much better than a crappy animal diet, and in my friend’s case it was worse.

People still perpetuate the myth that a vegan diet lacks adequate nutrition, because often times it does. What people fail to mention is that it doesn’t matter what type of diet you have, if you make poor choices and eat crappy food, you won’t get adequate nutrition. It is possible to be an omnivore, a carnivore, a vegetarian or a vegan and eat junk. However being healthy and not being nutrient deficient is easy to overcome if you know a few basics about nutrition.

Know Your Macros & Micros

Preparing healthy nutritional vegan meals is more involved than not including animal products. If you regularly ate a steak, a potato and a vegetable for dinner, simply taking away the steak isn’t going to work. Everyday you should be eating adequate macro and micro nutrients. Macros are the big building blocks of nutrition; protein, carbohydrates, and fats, while micros are essential vitamins and minerals. Macro nutrient needs are based on your sex, age and activity level.

Vegan Protein

Even though traditional nutrition has led us to believe that meat, eggs and dairy are the only available proteins for a healthy diet there are multiple sources of vegan proteins. Nuts, seeds, beans, grains, soy and tofu; spinach, broccoli, green peas, artichokes, hemp and oats are all examples of protein rich vegan foods. Incorporating many different sources of protein into your diet will ensure that you get enough protein.

Calcium

Calcium is essential for strong bones and can be found in dark leafy greens. Adding kale, swiss chard and spinach to your diet will ensure you get all the calcium you need. There are also may calcium fortified vegan drinks like soy milk and orange juice that you can add to your diet.

Vitamin D

The human body makes vitamin D, the best way to help your body increase vitamin D production is to spend time outside in the sun. A variety of vegan drinks are available that are fortified with vitamin D. You can add them to your diet during the winter or at times when you can’t be outside.

Potassium

Potassium aids in proper organ functioning. You could become low in potassium due to sweating excessive sickness, or after taking antibiotics. You can replenish your body’s supply of potassium by drinking coconut water, and eating bananas, whole grains, vegetables.

Iron

Iron deficiency may make you feels weak and fatigued. You may also have pale skin and weak or dull hair. To replenish iron levels eat beans, lentils, and spinach. You can also cook foods in cast iron cookware.

Vitamin B 12

Vitamin B12 supports the production of DNA and brain functioning. Many vegan foods are fortified with vitamin B 12 and you can take vegan B12 supplements.