I was researching veganism online, and some of the websites make it sound as if it's near impossible to get all the recommended vitamins and minerals on a strict vegan diet. I mean, I'm convinced that you can get all the nutrition you need from being vegan (and I feel great!), but I guess I'm just concerned because I'm so new to it and feel as if sometimes I'm taking a shot in the dark. I eat a lot of veggies, grains (mostly brown rice), and beans, but I have days when all I've eaten are almond pancakes with maple syrup, sprouts, some hemp milk, 2 pieces of vegan chocolate cake, and a vegan BLT. That was yesterday...haha. Anywho, I'm wondering how much room for trial and error there is on this diet? I'm trying to get variety, but sometimes I do have the same lunch 2 or 3 days in a row...and it's winter in New York so I don't have access to the farmer's market anymore. I feel as if it's going to take me a long time to "do it right"...I'm young, so I don't want to do it wrong and then set my self up for health issues down the line, as I know eating meat and dairy would do. Is it okay to have some less than stellar vegan eating days, and even if you are still learning about getting all the nutrition you need, is there room for months (maybe a year or two) of less than perfect meal planning? I've been doing this for months, but that's replacing years of animal-centric eating habits. It would be great to see a vegan nutritionist or macrobiotics counselor, but I don't have the money for that right now. Is getting enough nutrition really as hard as it is made out to be in general? I mean, I am definitely getting enough protein, but as for everything else, who knows! haha Thanks for the help everyone!
I try to always have a smoothie in the morning with bananas, berries (frozen this time of year), some hemp milk, and black cherry juice...to this I add amazing greens and blue green algae so i'm getting a lot of greens. Then for lunch i usually have a vegetable soup of some kind, butternut or today I had leftover homemade miso to which i added a cup of wild rice. tonight i'll make a big salad or i do steamed greens with maybe quinoa or millet. have you tried the recipes in the book. the mushroom pizza is to dye for. for snacks i'll have satsumas or other fruit, some veggies with hummus. i also always take a good multi with extra b12 and vitamin d and 2 probiotics everyday on empty stomach. always do organic everything if you can and even if you think you are eating enough greens eat more. try a different veggie every day or 5 days a week and start experimenting with the different grains. brown rice just doesn't have it all. the quinoa with basil and pine nuts and the millet with sweet vegeatables are so good and always make double for leftovers. you are doing great if you are following the book. i take a multi and extra b12 and vit. d b/c i live in laramie, wy and don't get out much with the cold. hope this helps.
I highly recommed a book called "Healing with Whole Foods". Its based on classic Chinese dieatary guidelines. The author, Paul Pitchford, discusses the energetics of food, food combining, season eating, as well as provides a variety of recipes. For me, its an essential resource. I can't recommend it enough!
The book "Simply Vegan" goes into a lot of detail about how much of which foods you should be eating to get all your recomended vitamins and minerals and which supplements you should take if you're not getting all your servings in! Another thing to remember is that most non veg people are actually "malnourished" because they're not getting the nutrients they're needing either since most people don't have balanced diets. Just because you eat meat and dairy doesn't automatically mean you're getting all your nutrients!
I tend to feel that people get a bit too stressed about "getting all of their vitamins and minerals". We've only known about vitamins and minerals for around a hundred years and people have been eating and living productive lives for a lot longer than that. The other aspect is the "recommended" daily amounts of various vitamins and minerals is not completely set in stone. For some things, they aren't really sure how much of various vitamins you really need versus the amount necessary for optimal health.
Eat a variety of whole foods and worry less. :) The biggest "worry" you should have would be B12 because that isn't in vegan food. Personally, I take a vegan multi-vitamin/mineral blend and I supplement that with an occasional sublingual B12. Covers my bases while I also eat a variety of foods.
Evie, You ask a good question. We tend to be worried about becoming ill as a result of the lack of some essential nutrient. This concept is a possibility when we restrict what we eat but it is a relatively slim one. The vast majority of what harms Americans is nutritional excess. Too much cholesterol from too much concentrated fat, protein and refined carbohydrate. Consuming a small variety of whole plant food pretty much automatically provides you with the essential nutrients. We know this works with confidence by studying other cultures. Not everyone on the planet eats like Americans. Those who consume plants benefit with improved health outcomes. Those who consume a western diet suffer degeneration. You may want to consider the superhero plan. It is very balanced.
I have always wondered about this as well and then one day it occured to me that I never had these concerns as an omni. It's amazing how the meat/dairy industry have enough power to convince us that animals are a superfood that will give us all we need. I never once wondered if I was getting enough vitamins when I lived off of a stead diet of big macs, fries, toast and cereal with some fruit thrown in there (okay I ate more than that) but the point is my plate was bland colours and faty tastes and I had no concerns. Now, I try to get as much colour as possible and I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see a brightly coloured plate. Sure, now I take some B12 for good measure but I probably should have been taking a whole bunch of vitamins before going Veg.
Join the Discussion!
Login or create an account on The Kind Life today and you'll be able to leave comments, share photos and videos with friends, and participate in community events!