How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian/Vegan

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

VitaminsPerformance Daily IntakeFoods
Vitamin A5,000-25,000IU/dayBetacarotene foods: green leafy veggies, spinach, broccoli, squash, apricots, cantaloupe
Vitamin D1,000 IU/dayFortified with D-orange juice
Vitamin E200-1,000 IU/DaySoy, corn, peanut, safflower oils, wheat germ, nuts
Vitamin K80-190 mcg/dayGreen leafy veggies, cereal, dark colored fruits and veggies
Vitamin B1-Thiamine30-300 mg/dayWheat germ, whole grains, peanuts
B2-Riboflavin30-300 mg/dayBrewer’s yeast, nuts, fortified grain products, wheat germ, green veggies, broccoli, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens
B3-Niacin20-100 mg/dayBrewer’s yeast, whole grains, nuts, legumes, potatoes
B5-Pantothenic Acid25-200 mg/dayPotatoes, whole wheat, whole grain cereal, fruits & veggies
B6-Pyridoxine20-100 mg/dayRice, soybeans, bananas, lima beans, peanuts and walnuts
B12-Cobalamin12-200 mcg/dayTofu
Biotin125-300 mcg/daySoy flour, cereal, brewer’s yeast, nuts, cauliflower and legumes
Folate400-1,200 mcg/dayAsparagus, whole wheat, deep green leafy veggies, brewer’s yeast.
Vitamin C800-3,000mg/dayF & V especially citrus fruits, green and red pepper, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries.
MineralsPerformance Daily IntakeFoods
Calcium1,200-2,600 mg/dayBroccoli, kale, collard greens, tortillas, calcium fortified foods.
Magnesium400-800 mg/dayGreen veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, oatmeal and fruit.
Phosphorus800-1,600 mg/dayAsparagus, bran, brewer’s yeast, corn, legumes, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Boron6-12 mg/dayLeafy vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains
Chromium200-600 mcg/dayMushrooms, bread, brewer’s yeast, black pepper, beer, brown rice, potatoes.
Cooper3-6 mg/dayNuts, seafood, cocoa, chocolate, meat, mushrooms
Iron25-60 mg/dayMolasses, nuts, chocolate, legumes, bread.
Manganese15-45 mg/dayBrussel sprouts, spinach, peas, turnip greens, wheat germ, beets, bananas, corn, lettuce, barley seeds, whole grain foods (oatmeal, buckwheat).
Molybdenum100-300 mcg/dayBeans, bread, cereal.
Selenium100-300 mcg/dayBrazil nuts, whole grains-whole wheat, oats, millet.
Zinc15-60 mg/dayWhole grain products, oatmeal, maple syrup.
Potassium2,500-4,000 mgF & 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.

Hi! I’m Robin, the founder of Healthy Nest Nutrition. I am a board-certified holistic nutritionist in Denver, Colorado. My passion is helping people find the right diet for their bodies and then showing them how to make healthy nutrition doable and delicious!

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