As more and more people become health-conscious, many have discovered that vegan diet is a healthy alternative to eating animal proteins. Most people today become vegans either because they wish to live a healthy lifestyle or to promote animal charities. To many, buying vegan-labeled foods is a wiser choice that helps them keep their weight and health in check. While a vegan diet is considered healthy, it’s always best to check the contents or ingredients used in your favorite vegetarian sausages or dairy-free cookies.
How To Safely Follow The Vegan Diet
Following any type of diet entails a series of risks from the nutritional point of view. Adopting the vegan diet responsibly should not only help you stay safe but also ensure body cells are enriched with all the nutrients needed for optimal health. You ought to ensure each meal is well balanced with all the recommended and essential nutrients.A well-balanced meal should always have portions of proteins, vitamins and minerals, high-quality carbohydrates, and essential fats and oils. You don’t want to resort to eating junk vegan food.
Strict vegan diets are based solely on plant foods such as cereals, potatoes, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, and greens. Certain nutrients have a greater presence in animal source foods, such as vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium and zinc, so if the vegetarian or vegan diet is not well thought, you may be at risk of deficiency.
Plant-based foods have a non-heme form of iron that is not as easily absorbed in the body as the heme form that comes from animal-based foods.The plant-based iron absorption improves thanks to vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and other organic acids such as malic acid (found in pumpkins, plums, and apples) and citric acid (found in citrus fruits).
The primary functions of vitamin B12 in the human body include red blood cell production, cell division, the formation of nervous structure and function and maintaining normal levels of homocysteine in the blood among others. For vegans, getting enough becomes a bit complicated since their only reliable sources are in fortified foods and supplements.
Its deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia , leading to iron deficiency causing symptoms like fatigue and weakness. This vitamin is also essential for the growth and development of a baby.
Some foods have been artificially enriched with this vitamin. These include the traditional breakfast cereals, which are fortified with different nutrients, and also enriched plant drinks and milk. In addition, there are so-called vegetable meats, meat substitutes such as tofu or tempeh , and dairy derivatives like Soy or Almond Milk, as well as yogurts and shakes, that include this vitamin in their composition to increase their nutritional value.
There is also a non-animal source that can provide vitamin B12: spirulina, a seaweed that is also a source of protein and a large number of vitamins and minerals.
Harmful Ingredients in Vegan Foods
Although you may innocently buy vegan-labeled products thinking they are safe, most processed and pre-packed vegan foods contain unhealthy additives and preservatives. This is evident with ‘vegan’ processed foods with a long list of ingredients. To the health-conscious vegan, a long list of ingredients raises eyebrows for junk. Some of the elements used are unhealthy, and only designed to mimic original texture and flavor of organic foods.
Meat-free pies and soy-based sausages are good examples of vegan-foods sold that can be unhealthy. Although marketed as healthy alternatives for meat-based products, some of the soy products are loaded with genetically-modified soybeans, which are also highly-processed. Some of these products are filled with preservatives and chemical flavorings from modified starches. Most manufacturers go to the extent of using synthetic vitamin fortifier, artificial colorings, and derivatives of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in their products.
Most vegans are also duped into consuming ‘junk’ vegan foods in the pretense that they are safe. Some of these foods come in the guise of cookies, doughnuts, cakes, milkshakes, candies, chips, and chocolate.
This can be confirmed by the tons of different versions and flavors of vegan desserts and snacks on the market today. In addition to this, the internet is full of misleading vegan recipes that aren’t exactly, vegan or healthy. Just because the label says, vegan doesn’t mean it is. You need to be careful and disciplined to find the real deal. Here are a few tips how.
- 1. Never go for processed foods. Learn to enjoy raw foods, and also mix raw with cooked meals.
- 2. Cut down on vegetable fats and oils when preparing salads. Steam your vegetables instead.
- 3. Eat small portions of food per sitting. Overeating will only cause you to gain weight, or lead to other potentially dangerous health conditions. Take time to chew the food and savor the taste. You can enjoy your favorite dessert once in a while but small portions.
- 4. Choose foods high in vitamins, minerals, and iron for meat substitutes. You also shouldn’t overcook your meals to help preserve their nutrient content.
- 5. Cut out refined sugar. If possible, go for agave nectar or maple syrup.
Many vegans struggle to get enough proteins in their meal plans. Plant proteins have a deficit of some amino acids. Cereals are deficient in lysine, while pulses are lacking in methionine.it is enough to mix both in the same dish or throughout the day – lentils and rice, beans and rice, etc, to complement the amino acids that are missing, and you will get a protein of high biological value. If you consume these combinations in sufficient quantities throughout the day, not necessarily in the same food, the body gets all the essential amino acids needed to make the proteins.
Nonetheless, adding nuts, legumes, and even kale to your diet plan should help supplement your protein intake. All you need to do is add various combinations of the protein-rich foods to your meal plans.
Some of these foods will come in handy especially if looking to lose weight or stay in shape. One of the reasons, and advantages, of embracing the vegan diet is that it helps rejuvenate cell reproduction, promote good health, and even boost one’s vitality.
Switching to a vegan diet is one of the best decision you can ever make for your health. Sticking to organic and unprocessed foods is the first step to a healthy, more energetic body. The secret to enjoying all your vegan meals is keeping them balanced.
You should also eat in moderation, and only choose whole foods for optimal health. Most vegan recipes contain foods high in antioxidants and vitamins, nutrients needed for improved cell health and detoxification. Sticking to this meal plan should also help you keep fit, lose weight, and even slow down the aging process. Seek a nutritionist’s help if unsure of what foods to add to your diet plan.