Hi everyone! I'm Jaki and am from Australia. I've been vegetarian for about 5 months now and have recently decided to take that next step to being vegan. I have never felt better or happier than I am as a vegetarian and after reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, I no longer had an appetite for dairy. Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Life was my first thought as a source and aid for going vegan.
My only concern is getting the right amount of iron and calcium. Has anyone had a problem with this and is anyone taking supplements?
Welcome and Congrats! This is the best thing you can possibly ever do for yourself. In regards to protein:
How Much Is Enough?
The USDA thinks that about .36 grams per pound of body weight per day is enough. If we throw in an extra safety factor to acount for issues unique to vegetarians, we get .45 grams per pound of body weight (or measured a different way, ~10% of calories). So if you weigh 100 pounds, 45 grams is your daily RDA of protein. If you weigh 125 pounds, it's about 56 grams. 150 pounds, 68 grams. (Some sources cited in Diet For A New America think you need even less.)
Many non-dairy milks are now fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and/or vitamin B12. Many orange juices are fortified with calcium.Shake calcium fortified non-dairy milks before pouring as the calcium can settle to the bottom.The calcium in kale, broccoli, collard greens, and soymilk is all absorbed relatively well.The calcium in spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens is not well absorbed, due to their high content of oxalates, which bind calcium.Calcium supplements can inhibit iron absorption if eaten at the same time. (4).In addition to the calcium in the leafy greens listed on the right, leafy greens also contain vitamin K which is good for bones.The Daily Value for calcium on food labels is 1,000 mg. Therefore,if a food label says it has 25% of the daily value, it means it has 250 mg of calcium per serving.Table 5. Plant Foods High in CalciumFoodServingCa (mg)cow's milk (for comparison)1 C300typical calcium supplement1 tablet300-500soymilk, fortifiedb1 C200-300tofu (if 'calcium-set')1/2 C120-300orange juice, fortifiedb1 C250blackstrap molasses1 T187sesame seeds2 T176collard greensa1/2 C133veg baked bean1 C128navy beans1 C128kalea1/2 C90tahini1 T64broccolia1/2 C50almonds2 T50aCooked | bRead the label for calcium amounts | T - tablespoon
Hope that was helpful. Also you may like my blog as we are doing a clinical health study on plant-based (vegan) diets that starts on Saturday. We are switching 8 people from their existing diets to vegan diets and monitoring changes in their lipid profiles, bmi, fasting glucose,A1C's,etc. The participants will be blogging about their experience for the entire 60 days of the study. I thought it might be of particular interest to you since you are transitioning about now too. Hope the info helps.Kind Regards, Jenna (www.theplantrx.com)
Thanks so much for all the info! It is very helpful indeed and I'll be sure to refer to it. The only reason why I'm now concerned about calcium is because a colleague of mine told me about when she had no dairy for 20 years and she now has teeth problems from the lack of calcium despite drinking alternative milk. Hearing that just got me a little concerned!
Thanks for the link, I'll definitely check it out. :)
Bravo to you for making such an amazing choice! I found so much amazing information in the book "Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. I highly recommend it for sorting out all those vitamin and mineral questions. I also recommend a Podcast by Colleen Patrick Goudreau called "Vegetarian Food for Thought". It's free to subscribe to on iTunes and it is an amazing source of information and thought provoking threads, not to mention meal ideas.