Learning about Nutritional Needs & some Social Media Inspiration
Tackling nutrition research and needs head on when transitioning to a vegan diet is vital. What I share here are things I have been learning in the process of adjusting to a vegan diet.
Some people prefer to get advice directly from their doctors while others are avid researchers of information everywhere, in books, online etc. Others enjoy getting advice from friends and fellow community members.
I am all of the above!!! The internet can be an incredibly rich resource for a lot of very straightforward dietary and nutritional info. I also enjoy consulting my physician on questions that may relate very specifically to my own health or a particular concern. I also definitely enjoy reaching out to seek the wisdom of friends who have been studying nutrition for years as well as are familiar with the specific needs and common deficiencies of a vegan diet.
Anyone starting light research on changing to a vegan diet will find the following information quite readily in many other sources. I aim to present it as a reference and also encouragement.
Committing to veganism for the sake of animals is an easy decision for many but I know that hasty decisions with diet and not doing your research on how you need to modify your diet can have dire consequences. This is but one launch off point. There is so much more to learn beyond what is in this post and at these links but I hope to provide a good reference point.
Any vegan nutrition site will likely mention the need to start supplementing your diet with B12 immediately! Read the Vegan Society’s article on B12 here: What Every Vegan Should Know About Vitamin B12
The following supplement guide is a straightforward rundown of Vitamin & Supplement needs: Vegan Vitamin & Supplement Guide
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Recommendations for Vegetarians is a very informative (and interesting) page to study to understand the role of Omega 3 in our diets.
The European Food & Information Council offers a brief yet very informative piece on Omega 3 & Omega 6 here: The importance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Plenteous veg also offers great information at 14 Best Vegan Sources of Omega 3.
I was recently reminded of the need to always be ready to do more research when I shared a vegan meme with a chart of plant based calcium rich foods. A friend of mine commented on the chart that some calcium rich leafy greens are also high in oxalates which inhibit calcium absorption. She then shared the helpful Meeting Calcium Recommendations on a Vegan Diet.
And of course nearly every vegan is asked, at some point or another, where do they get their protein!!! The most direct advice in terms of cooking to meet protein needs is to pair your grains with your legumes. Rice & beans, peanut butter sandwich, etc. As animal proteins are “complete” (amino acids or the “building blocks” of protein) and plant proteins are not, you need to focus on creating a complete protein profile. Rice and beans, for example, is a meal comparable in protein sufficiency to a meat meal.
Iron is easily found in many vegan foods and can be woven through meals to satisfy the body’s needs. A good tip is to pair your iron rich foods with foods high in Vitamin C to aid in better iron absorption. Iron in the Vegan Diet includes a list of plant based iron rich foods and there are many more like this.
Vegan Diets: Sorting through the Nutritional Myths at free from harm’s website offers a good overview to begin with. Also at their website is Eating Animals: Addressing Our Most Common Justifications, a great article addressing some issues that people transitioning to veganism might struggle with as well as often be confronted with in discussion with many people who don’t understand or support veganism.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has a very informative article summarizing some of the current knowledge on vegan diets as well as offering practical tips for an optimal vegan diet: Health effects of vegan diets
The Mayo Clinic offers a very straightforward rundown on nutrition and how a vegan diet needs adjusting here: Getting adequate nutrition
Always be ready to do more research!
Now, for some community references & inspiration! Below are some links of pages I like to follow for recipe ideas, inspiration & general solidarity!
*Note: most of the links will take you directly to their Facebook page but they all have websites outside of FB that you can look up as well.
General vegan community & animal welfare pages.