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Wellness Wednesday: Essential Tips for Vegans and Vegetarians

Late last night I posted an article on protein for my Ultimate Guide to Nutrients series. I know many of my followers are vegan or vegetarian. I also have members of my extended family who are vegetarian. I decided that today’s Wellness Wednesday post was the perfect time to discuss healthy tips for vegans and vegetarians. Many people assume that, simply getting rid of meat, somehow magically makes their diets healthier. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It takes work! Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy diet.

  1. Don’t replace meat with empty carbs – It’s easy to add in empty calories any time you take out an entire food group. However, when you take out a complete food group, it’s more important than ever to watch your diet very carefully. Don’t take out the meat, then add in a bunch of processed food. A whole foods diet, containing a wide variety of foods is your best bet.
  2. Vegetables should be the highlight of your meals – Β There is a whole world of fascinating and delicious veggies out there. Take this opportunity to explore and add in those delicious foods. Veggies are jam packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. You get a lot of bang for your buck with these little gems. πŸ‘
  3. Eat whole grains – Remember tip number 1 above? You don’t want to eat empty calories. Pasta and other white foods fall into that category. You can still have your pasta, just buy whole grain pasta, and breads. You can do even better by eating whole food sources such as brown rice, quinoa and the wealth of mighty grains out there. Grains are a wonderful source of iron and B-vitamins.
  4. Make sure you’re getting enough protein – United States RDA for protein are: 46 grams/day for women over 19 and 56 grams/day for men over 19. While plants aren’t normally considered a great source of protein, there are a few that are wonderful and considered a complete protein:
    • Quinoa – 8.14 grams per cup
    • Amaranth – 9.35 grams per cup
    • Soybeans – 22 grams per cup
    • Buckwheat – 23 grams per cup
    • Hempseed – 31.56 grams per 100 g
    • Chia seeds – 16.54 grams per 100 g
    • Blue-green algae – 4 grams per tablespoon
    • Spirulina – 4 grams per tablespoon
  5. Combine incomplete proteins to improve protein intake: Certain plant foods β€œcompliment” other plant foods. Beans and rice is a common example of this practice. Beans and other legumes lack proper amounts of methionine, but have lots of lysine. On the other hand, rice lacks lysine, but has lots of methionine. Together, they combine to make a complete protein. These foods do not need to be eaten at the same time. Eating a wide variety of plant foods high in protein is key.Β slide_8
  6. Just because a product is marked vegan, doesn’t make it healthy – Β Whether a processed food is organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free or vegan, it’s still processed. These foods are still processed, still unhealthy and still high in chemicals, additives, preservatives, colorings, salt, and bad fats. They are something to be avoided.
  7. Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats – I prefer whole food sources over supplements. Foods such as nuts, seeds, flaxseeds, avocado and coconut are wonderful, whole food sources of healthy fat.
  8. Vitamin D is something to think about – Spending time outside, in the sun without sunscreen for short periods at a time is the best advice I can give on this one. However, most people get vitamin D from canned fish or fortified dairy. Some specialty milks, such as almond milk are now being fortified with vitamin D. The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU. You may also want to consider taking a supplement. While vitamin D3 is the natural form of the vitamin, it often comes from animals, and is therefore, not vegan. Vitamin D2 is synthetic, and while I don’t like to recommend synthetic vitamins, some studies indicate that vitamin D2 absorbs as well as its natural counterpart.
  9. Iron is important too – Animal sources are the leading source of iron for humans. There are plant sources of iron, such as leafy greens or Β legumes. However, they are not as well absorbed as animal sources. Eating iron rich foods with vitamin Β C rich foods will help boost the absorption. For example, a salad dressing with lemon juice and olive oil will not only boost the iron absorption, but the vitamin A absorption as well.
  10. Last but not least – VITAMIN B12Β – You absolutely MUST take a vitamin B12 supplement. The only absorbable foods with vitamin B12 are animal sources. While there are a few plants, such as spirulina, that contain vitamin B12, the human body does not have the capability to break down and absorb this form of the vitamin. Β So, supplementation is essential. The recommended intake for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms/day

Starting a vegan or vegetarian diet can be a wonderful way to live your life. But, doing it properly takes a lot of work and due diligence. At the end of the day, if you eat a whole food diet, filled with vegetables from all colors of the rainbow, throw in some whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, while supplementing with vitamins when necessary, you should be fine.

God Bless!Namaste!

Sources:

  1. http://www.eatingwell.com/article/279566/9-healthy-tips-to-help-you-start-eating-a-vegan-diet/
  2. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/tips-vegetarians
  3. https://www.thespruce.com/tips-for-vegetarian-health-3376924
About Tamara Hoerner (726 Articles)
I am a student at Hawthorn University working toward a MS degree in Holistic Nutrition. For me, the name Purple Almond symbolizes β€œGood, nutritious, whole food bringing light and life to the body, awakening the inherent healing mechanisms within.”

45 Comments on Wellness Wednesday: Essential Tips for Vegans and Vegetarians

  1. Really great article!
    We hired a nutritionist for my daughter and she has her eating all of these foods and supplements so I am really glad you are advising other on this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is very useful information. I know several people who are thinking about going vegan but they’re not sure about how to go about it. I will pass this on. Great post!

    -Fabi at Wonder Fabi

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very well written article! So refreshing to see food advice regarding veganism that is correct!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very much. I see so many vegans, including my extended family, eating so much processed food, then talk about how healthy their diet is, it can be frustrating at times. I care about people and their health. I want vegans, new and experienced, to realize just cutting meat doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Being a vegan/vegetarian takes a lot of work. Thanks again for your kind comment. πŸ™

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Wonder Fabi and commented:

    Nowadays, it seems like everyone wants to go vegan. If you have already made this decision, take a look at these healthy tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I reblogged your post and I would also like to translate it to Spanish and post in my Spanish-language blog, with due credit and a link back to your blog, of course. Would this be ok?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I see so many vegans, including my extended family, eating so much processed food, then talk about how healthy their diet is, it can be frustrating at times.
    We hired a nutritionist for my daughter and she has her eating all of these foods and supplements so I am really glad you are advising other on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great site! Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Megan Donnelly // August 8, 2017 at 5:19 pm // Reply

    Great post! Thank you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I want to do a vegetarian lifestyle but i am a little timid. I don’t eat red meat but i enjoy chicken and tuna. I don’t know how it all plays in together so i need to do more research.

    Liked by 2 people

    • These tips are a great starting point. If you do go vegan/vegetarian, eat as much whole food as possible, stay away from processed vegan “meats” and “cheeses”. And PLEASE take a vitamin B12 supplement!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. ! Thank you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  11. ! Thank you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi Tamara. Great article.

    Can you check my blog IΒ΄m just starting It .
    https://sofiaveganchoices.com/

    Do you have any suggestions ?Thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi guys just wondering if you could check out my new blog! I’ve just posted a vegan cake recipe trying post and would love some views and maybe friendly feedback:) http://tamsinsview.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great article I have been vegetarian for 4 months now! I love the transition, feel fitter than ever, despite the fact I’m hurtling towards 50 at incredible speed, I am enjoying the new lease of life that going meat free has provided. My journey towards a plant food vegan diet is centred around the fact I manage an organic kitchen garden, overflowing with fresh vegetables and fruit. I’m in veggie heaven! Join me…. and let’s talk vegetables

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great article, my wife and I are considering Veganism

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks πŸ™. If you do, just be careful. Make veggies the main part of every meal. And PLEASE stay away from all of that processed vegan food and meat substitutes. 😝

      Like

      • I will do, I gave up meat for a while and loved how good I felt from it. Just trying to get my wife on board now

        Like

      • It’s a difficult lifestyle and not for everyone. I’m a firm believer in biochemical individuality, which means that everyone has very specific nutrition requirements. There is no “one perfect diet” for every human, that includes vegan. Keep in mind that becoming a vegan may not be for her. Many ppl just need animal protein to be healthy.

        Like

  16. Go vegan for health, the planet and the animals!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for this article. Its really concise and basically jsut summed up weeks of research into one wuick read article 😁

    Liked by 1 person

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Modish Taste | Food to heal the body, mind and soul Wellness Wednesday
  2. Consejos esenciales para vegetarianos y veganos – Fabi Maravilla
  3. Wednesday Wisdom – Vegans and Vegetarians, double v β™₯ – Hope Dream Wait

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