Good Nutrition – or - How do you get your protein?
This is the no. 1 question I hear. The second most popular question is ‘ how do you get your calcium?’.
The truth is, that you can get everything without eating animals and animal products. You just get it without the side effects of all the toxins that are found within the animal bodies. You get it as nature meant: in a perfect fit to your digestive system.
Below are the best sources for a perfect nutrition:
“Protein is an important nutrient for growth and has many functions throughout the body, including being a major component of muscles. Protein is composed of substances called amino acids. There are 22 different amino acids but only 8 of these are considered essential as our bodies cannot make these and so these need to be provided in our diet.” From: www.humanherbivore.com/protein.html
Protein sources – Virtually all foods contain protein and vegans can get plenty of protein from plant foods such as lentils, quinoa, tempeh, tofu, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
It’s a common misconception that vegans don’t get enough protein. The actual problem is that the majority of meat-eaters consume too much protein, which can cause a variety of diseases! If you’re into fitness and increasing strength you can add vegan protein powders to your diet for convenience, although it is not necessary. For more info about vegan strength training see: www.veganstrength.org
“There are many minerals that are essential nutrients that humans need to obtain in order to be healthy. Minerals are chemical elements and cannot be synthesized by any animal. All minerals are ultimately obtained from the earth, and the content of minerals in plants varies dependent on the soil they are grown in. Iron, zinc and calcium are important minerals that humans need to ensure they obtain adequate amounts of.” From: www.humanherbivore.com/minerals.html
Calcium – sources include leafy green vegetables (like kale), collards, broccoli, okra, figs, oranges, almonds, pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, chickpeas, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, tempeh, tofu, fortified non-dairy milks, fortified soy products, fortified breakfast cereals, and fortified orange juice.
Iron - obtained from chickpeas (eg. in hummus), lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, soybeans, quinoa, tofu, raisins, goji berries, fortified vegan burgers, soy products, pumpkin seeds, cashews, figs, sunflower seeds, sesame tahini, prunes, whole wheat, parsley, and pine nuts.
*NOTE: Vitamin-C rich foods (like fresh orange juice, tomatoes, raw green vegetables) help with absorbing iron so try eating these foods in the same meal.
Zinc – sources include green vegetables, legumes, nut, seeds and whole-grains.
“Vitamins are essential nutrients that humans need to obtain in order to be healthy. The only vitamins that are not readily obtainable from unprocessed plant foods are Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. All the other essential vitamins are readily obtainable from eating a range of plant foods, including vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. It is important for anyone eating a herbivorous (/vegan) diet to know about vitamin B12 and vitamin D and where to get them.” From: www.humanherbivore.com/vitamins.html
Vitamin D – the Sun! 10-30 minutes of daily mild sun exposure, without sunscreen, is recommended. During winter or for those living in less sunny areas Vitamin D supplements are recommended.
Vitamin B12 – B12 is produced by bacteria and is found in soil, water, etc. Since most bought vegetables are washed (which is a good idea for hygiene reasons) it is necessary for vegans to supplement their diet with vitamin B12. This can be done by eating fortified nutritional yeast (adds a cheesy flavour to foods) or other fortified foods. Some non-dairy milks are fortified with B12, just check the labels.
If you are not consuming at least three serves of vitamin B12-fortified foods per day you should take vitamin B12 in supplement form. This can be either in the form of a daily multivitamin or vitamin B12 tablet or lozenge containing 50-100 mcg of vitamin B12, or a once-weekly dose of 2000 mcg of vitamin B12.