After an indulgent Christmas you want to switch to some of the food you eat could increase your energy levels, promote weight loss and reduce your chances of developing serious health conditions. By having a vegan diet, you could feel healthier.
It’s the New Year, we all feel sluggish after eating one too many mince pies and want to start the new year off on a high. By taking part in Veganuary you could see health benefits almost instantly!
Processed foods, sweet treats and junk food are tempting for everyone whether you be vegan or not, anyone can fall into the habit of making these foods regular in their diet. To ensure you diet is healthy you should ensure you are getting all the important nutrients.
Vegans need to be aware of these nutrients as many of them are present in dairy and meat so without them in your diet you will need to find new ways to incorporate them. The key nutrients that we should all incorporate into our diets, including vegans are below:
A common misconception is that vegans are restricted with their sources of protein as they are not eating meat, eggs or dairy. However, there is an abundance of vegan-friendly products that are full of protein. According to the British Heart Foundation most adults need around 0.75g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day, as a guide a portion of protein should fit into the palm of your hand. For vegans, soy products such as tofu and edamame are packed with protein and can be substituted in meals instead of meat. Everyday products such as chickpeas, lentils, mushrooms, and nuts are full of protein. Why not give some of them a try!
People with a vegan diet can find it challenging to get their dose of B12 as it cannot be found in plants. Typically, it is found in animal products such as meat, fish and dairy products. The NHS state that adults needs around 1.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 a day, although this doesn’t seem like a lot without this daily dose you could feel tired and weak. Soya products and most breakfast cereals will contain B12, you can also purchase supplements from your local pharmacy.
Red meat and egg yolks are the richest sources of protein, however for vegans that are inaccessible. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 needs much more iron than men, men should have around 8.7mg a day and women in the age range, 14.8mg a day. Good plant sources of iron include green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, wholegrains and pulses and nuts. Fruit is a good source of iron too, it is recommended to eat dried fruits to get the iron as you eat much more in a portion than fresh fruit.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium helps you maintain strong teeth and bones; non-vegans will get most of their calcium from dairy products, so it is important vegans find calcium in other foods. There are several foods that are good sources of calcium and vegan friendly. Unsweetened soya, rice and oat milk are good supplements of diary milk that contain calcium. Almonds and dried fruits also contain calcium and can be eaten as light snacks. To absorb calcium your body needs vitamin D, you can easily get vitamin D into your body by being exposed to sunshine. In the winter months you can have fortified orange juice or take supplements which can be found at your local pharmacy.
Veganism doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You could create your own rulebook and be realistic about what you want to achieve, this way you will be more satisfied in making the change and it won’t seem like a chore. Understand your own expectations and acknowledge them, will you be strict and read every ingredient label of your products or will you take a different approach and have some ice cream on special occasions? It is completely up to you.
If you would like to look into veganism more we recommend you look at the NHS website as they break it down for you. If you Veganuary is for you then visit their website and sign up for their 31 days of coaching emails, nutrition guides and recipe ideas. Enjoy and happy new year!