Today I am chatting about how to enjoy a plant-based lifestyle while addressing nutritional requirements.
From a naturopathy perspective there is no one diet or lifestyle for everyone, we are all individuals and have different requirements.
When a vegan diet is done well, it has a lot of very positive benefits for certain people.
My advice when you choose to go vegan, please take the time to do your research, look into recipes, food groups, meal plans and allow time to shop and source the best available foods for you and your body. Some people may transition to this lifestyle quickly for whatever reasons and then come unstuck.
It is important to have a healthy, varied diet, aim for “a rainbow on your plate”.
Remember the importance of good fats/oils, they are not all the same, some are highly inflammatory and are detrimental to your health. Choose good quality oils, like coconut oil and olive oil and eat avocados.
Drink at least 2L of filtered water daily to assist your eliminatory pathways and to hydrate your cells.
There are a few nutrients, vitamins and minerals that people following a vegan lifestyle need to be mindful of. This is due in part to education on where these can be sourced from, other than animal products.
Iron can be deficient in a vegan diet due to there being no haem iron in plants, but the non-haem iron is plentiful in a plant-based diet. To enable your body to receive the most iron it can from your diet, eat a variety of iron rich foods in different cooking styles, like steaming, stir-fry’s and wilted greens.
Plant forms of iron need to be taken with vitamin C to enhance its absorption. This can be done by adding something as simple as capsicum to your salad.
B12 – can be deficient in people who follow a plant-based diet, often the concern with B12 is the ability for it to be able to be absorbed by the body. Plant food forms of B12 are mushrooms and nori (seaweed).
Calcium can be deficient due to the belief/misconception that dairy is the best form of calcium in the diet. Sesame seeds are gram for gram one of the highest sources of calcium, so for vegans this is a great option, in tahini or ground up to add to cereal, smoothies or a nut milk, such as almond, coconut and sesame. Other sources of calcium are almonds, broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables.
Zinc can be deficient in a plant-based diet. Plant sources of zinc are brassica vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, nuts and seeds like pepitas & sunflowers (activated or soaked, if your digestion is compromised), parsley and whole grains.
Iodine is deficient in Australian soils. Foods like Dulse flakes, nori, celtic salt or pink Himalayan salt, which includes trace elements as well, are good sources of iodine. Please read labels and buy the best quality you can to avoid hidden additives.
If you wish to know more, please contact me for a consult.