Going vegan can be tough enough dealing with non-vegan people doubting your decision and highlighting myths that going vegan does not provide a balanced nutritional diet. Theres a few stereotypes about vegans struggling to meet their nutritional needs, and we feel that it’s about time to put these misconceptions to rest. It is a fact supported by the British Dietetic Association that well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living during every stage of life. Check out the blog (of the Vegan Society) blog on vegan athletes here. You’ll be amazed by what a purely plant-based diet can achieve, with many top athletes saying that they can train harder, and for longer, than their meat-eating peers. So let’s breathe a sigh of relief – veganism and health can go hand in hand when done right.
The Vegan Plate: Adapted with permission from Becoming Vegan: Express Edition and Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition by Brenda Davis, RD, and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD.
Like with any way of eating, it’s good to pay attention to what you put into your body. When you are living vegan, you’ve got to keep an eye on your intake of vitamin B12, which comes from fortified foods or a supplement. Start your day with a big bowl of fortified cereal and plant milk and you’ll be well on your way to hitting your vitamin and mineral targets, while adding fortified nutritional yeast flakes to soup, baked beans on toast or a main meal will give your vitamin B12 intake a huge boost. If you’re not sure you’re getting at least 3 micrograms of vitamin B12 from fortified foods each day, you can take a supplement like VEG1. Remember, not all vegan replacement foods are fortified so double check you’re picking up the right kind.
For your very basic nutritional needs, make sure that your diet is packed full of whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables. You can use our nutrition resources to check that you’re eating foods rich in protein, iron, zinc, omega-3 fat and calcium on a daily basis. Reliable intakes of vitamin D, iodine and selenium can be guaranteed by using a supplement. The Vegan Society’s VEG1 is designed to complement your plant-based food choices.
Don’t forget to check out the resources provided by the Vegan Society page on nutrition and health for more detailed nutritional information based upon advice by registered dietitians.
And, if you feel you need an extensive and colourful reminder about your essential vegan food groups, you can always order a hand-written vegan nutrition chart for reference when you need it most.