Five Top Tips for Vegan Diets

Are you wanting to try a vegan diet or are a vegan?


Vegan diets are becoming increasingly popular, and many people are opting to become a vegan, from health related, ethical or economic reasons.   Vegan diets are a very strict type of vegetarianism that excludes all animal products (meat, meat products, diary, eggs and food made with animal products).  There are many vegan alternatives to animal products, but it is important to ensure you have a nutritionally adequate diet as some nutritional deficiencies can occur if you don’t eat sensibly.

TOP TIP # 1 - Calcium                                

When excluding diary, alternative forms of diary or calcium substitutes need to be considered.  By consuming large amounts of dark green vegetables (such as spinach, kale, broccoli) you should obtain some calcium.  You can also try some calcium fortified soy, almond and coconut milks which are vegan friendly.

TOP TIP # 2 - Protein                                

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and there are 20 different amino acids in the body, 9 of which are essential (the body cannot make them therefore they must be ingested).  Protein from animal products is generally called complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids (EAA), such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.  Incomplete proteins have low amounts of some of the essential amino acids and therefore it is important to combine different incomplete protein sources to get the full amino acid profile.  A good source of protein in vegan diets is from legumes.  Legumes are foods that have a pod such as; peas, beans, peanuts, alfalfa.  Seeds and nuts can also contain good sources of protein (and omega-3 oils) and smaller amounts in rice. Different protein sources over the day will ensure adequate amounts of EAA are eaten.

TOP TIP # 3 - Wholegrains                       

Stock up on plenty of wholegrains these are all safe to eat and will contribute significantly to fibre intake.

TOP TIP # 4 - Watch processed food   

As with many foods, there are plenty of vegan processed foods from vegan mayonnaise, vegan chocolate to vegan burger patties.  Processed foods usually contain some types of additive, preservative, colour, flavour enhancer,  or stabilizer which is not good for your health if consumed in excess.  Stick to healthy whole foods  where ever possible.

TOP TIP # 5 - Soaking beans                  

Soaking beans is recommended to reduce the cooking time and to remove some of the sugars from the beans, however it is not a must.  The soaking of the beans may improve the digestibility of the beans by removing some of the lectins, phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors.   If you are soaking the beans the water should always be discarded and the beans rinsed before cooking.  

Please email  rachel@megabitenutrition.com for any nutrition topics you would like to learn about.

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