How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian/Vegan

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What Makes A Vegan Diet Healthy?
A vegan diet does not use animal products or bi-products, resulting in a diet of plant-based foods.  Consuming large amounts and variety of vegetables does contribute to one’s health.  A well balanced diet can help decrease risk of chronic disease and promote healthy antioxidants in the body.  For instance, plant foods high in fiber such as whole grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, and nuts can help reduce risk of diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease.  Fruits and vegetables, a staple in the vegetarian diet, are high in concentrated amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids.  These act as antioxidants, which protect your body from damaging free radicals.  However, there are certain dietary requirements a vegan must meet on a daily basis to consume the necessary amounts of vitamins and minerals.   

What Do I Need in Daily Diet?
As a vegetarian, you may often wonder what daily nutrients you need to obtain and maintain health.  Below are guidelines for an average adult’s body.  Take into consideration your body type and individual needs–which vary from person to person.  A consultation will help determine this for you.

Daily Needed Nutrients

Vitamins Performance Daily Intake Foods
Vitamin A 5,000-25,000IU/day Betacarotene foods: green leafy veggies, spinach, broccoli, squash, apricots, cantaloupe
Vitamin D 1,000 IU/day Fortified with D-orange juice
Vitamin E 200-1,000 IU/Day Soy, corn, peanut, safflower oils, wheat germ, nuts
Vitamin K 80-190 mcg/day Green leafy veggies, cereal, dark colored fruits and veggies
Vitamin B1-Thiamine 30-300 mg/day Wheat germ, whole grains, peanuts
B2-Riboflavin 30-300 mg/day Brewer’s yeast, nuts, fortified grain products, wheat germ, green veggies, broccoli, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens
B3-Niacin 20-100 mg/day Brewer’s yeast, whole grains, nuts, legumes, potatoes
B5-Pantothenic Acid 25-200 mg/day Potatoes, whole wheat, whole grain cereal, fruits & veggies
B6-Pyridoxine 20-100 mg/day Rice, soybeans, bananas, lima beans, peanuts and walnuts
B12-Cobalamin 12-200 mcg/day Tofu
Biotin 125-300 mcg/day Soy flour, cereal, brewer’s yeast, nuts, cauliflower and legumes
Folate 400-1,200 mcg/day Asparagus, whole wheat, deep green leafy veggies, brewer’s yeast.
Vitamin C 800-3,000mg/day F & V especially citrus fruits, green and red pepper, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries.
Minerals Performance Daily Intake Foods
Calcium 1,200-2,600 mg/day Broccoli, kale, collard greens, tortillas, calcium fortified foods.
Magnesium 400-800 mg/day Green veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, oatmeal and fruit.
Phosphorus 800-1,600 mg/day Asparagus, bran, brewer’s yeast, corn, legumes, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Boron 6-12 mg/day Leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains
Chromium 200-600 mcg/day Mushrooms, bread, brewer’s yeast, black pepper, beer, brown rice, potatoes.
Cooper 3-6 mg/day Nuts, seafood, cocoa, chocolate, meat, mushrooms
Iron 25-60 mg/day Molasses, nuts, chocolate, legumes, bread.
Manganese 15-45 mg/day Brussel sprouts, spinach, peas, turnip greens, wheat germ, beets, bananas, corn, lettuce, barley seeds, whole grain foods (oatmeal, buckwheat).
Molybdenum 100-300 mcg/day Beans, bread, cereal.
Selenium 100-300 mcg/day Brazil nuts, whole grains-whole wheat, oats, millet.
Zinc 15-60 mg/day Whole grain products, oatmeal, maple syrup.
Potassium 2,500-4,000 mg F & V

Achieving Perfect Protein in Vegan Diet

Because the vegan diet lacks animal sourced protein, which contain complete sets of amino acids—or are complete proteins, a vegan must be vigilant and make the effort to consume enough protein from other food combinations.  Certain foods, when paired together, create a perfect, or complete protein, which includes all of the appropriate essential amino acids.

Complete Protein Food Combinations
·      Black beans and rice
·      Whole grains and peas
·      Whole grains and peanut butter
·      Homemade bean soup with whole grains
·      Nuts and seeds plus legumes
·      Roasted nuts, seeds and peanuts
·      Hummus (chickpeas and tahini)
·      Lentils and almonds
·      Soy is the one plant protein that DOES contains all the essential amino acids.
·      Quinoa is a complete plant protein.

So often, people move to a vegetarian or vegan diet to feel better, but they end up feeling worse because they are not getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need.  If you’re dragging, bloated, and feel WORSE on a vegetarian or vegan diet, you’re not getting what you need.  If you would like more information or clarification on the vegan diet, or a personal consultation to better understand your body and nutritional needs, please email Robin@HealthyNestNutrition.com

We also offer complimentary 15-minute phone consultations with Robin Hutchinson, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition.  Contact 303-579-4194 to maximize your health.

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