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Monday, December 17, 2007

What should a vegan eat?

As I have said in previous blogs, I am not a nutritionist. So I am writing based on things I researched either learning from the internet, books, or asking people with knowledge on the subject. To know what you should be eating, exact amounts such as grams of protein, calcium etc, you need to consult with your own Doctor/Nurse Practitioner / Registered dietician.
When I first started doing this, personally I did not focus so much on exactly what I needed as far as amounts. I wanted to see what foods were out there to show me my options. If you go to my first post, “Welcome to my vegan journey”, you will read how I started. Reading information from PETA and taking that trip to the grocery store and whole food store. Learning about the various food substitutes and changing recipes. Before I was vegan I really just tried to eat right and get a balanced diet so at the end of the day I should have eaten what I was suppose to from the food groups. Of course, that did not always happen, but I tried. I was already taken a daily multi vitamin and calcium supplement so that I have continued. My first concern was the protein from the meat. So, I asked someone who had knowledge on nutrition if they had a handout I could read on vegetarian eating. That was during my initial transition when I started off as vegetarian. The handout was from the “American Dietetic Association”. Their website is An excerpt from the handout on protein and more is:
“Protein is found in most plant foods as well as in animal foods.Vegetarians do not need to combine specific foods within a meal as the old "complementary protein" theory advised. The body makes its own complete proteins if a variety of plant foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, plants, nuts, and seeds, and enough calories are eaten during the day.
Calcium- Many plant foods contain calcium. Some especially good sources are dark, leafy greens (example kale and mustard, collard, and turnip greens), bok choy, broccoli, beans, tofu prepared with calcium, dried figs, sunflower seeds, and calcium fortified cereals and juices. Vegans may have lower calcium needs than non-vegetarians since diets that are lower in protein help the body retain more calcium. Until more is known about calcium requirements for vegans vegans should strive to meet the calcium requirements for the general public by regularly including plant sources of calcium.
Iron- Good plant food sources of iron include dried beans, dark green vegetables (for exam. Spinach and beet greens), dried fruits, prune juice, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soybean nuts, and iron fortified breads and cereals. Foods that are high in vitamin C (for exam. Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, tomatoes and green pepper) help the body absorb iron from plant sources.
Vitamin B12- Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria in the soil and in animals. It is found in animal foods so an adequate intake of vitamin B12 is not a concern for most vegetarians who consume dairy products or eggs. It is a concern for vegans, who should add vitamin B12 fortified breakfast cereals or a vitamin B12 (cobalamin) supplement to their diets.
Vitamin D- Few foods are naturally high in vitamin D. In the U.S. dairy products are fortified with vitamin D. The body can make its own Vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. People who choose not consume dairy products and who do not receive direct exposure to sunlight on a regular basis may need to consider taken a vitamin d supplement containing no more than %100 of the daily value DV. Large doses can be dangerous and should be avoided. “

This is what I read when I first became vegetarian to give me an idea of how I could get the proper foods. Below is a website for a vegetarian food pyramid which I got from the internet which I keep on my fridge. This is a guide I use to help me with my daily eating. I tried to copy and paste it here but it would not.

website source: for the pyramid-

For sample menus and further information-

Recently, I bought a book written by Registered dieticians about getting the proper amount of nutrients from plant foods. I would recommend this book and the title is “ Becoming Vegan, the complete guide to adopting a healthy plant based diet” by Brenda Davis RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD.

Other websites that may be helpful are: (Both vegan and vegetarian eating are mentioned)

I hope this information will be helpful in showing you a vegan diet can be done. And as I said in the beginning the information presented here is not my own and you would need to consult the proper medical advice for your personal diet.

Thank you for reading my blog and come back soon.

Happy Vegan Cooking



John F. said...

Great post! This really hit home for me, since it was the first thing I learned when I became a CAN get complete protein from non-meat sources, specifically dark leafy green vegetables and legumes as well as many other sources including vegetarian based protein powders. I think that taking B12 supplements is the better alternative to consuming dairy products, because dairy products tend to contain the hormones and antibiotics that were fed to the animals to enhance growth and ward off infection.

Keep up the good work, you've got some really valuable information here.

John F.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Hey, I found your blog from Facebook Global Vegans :o). Great blog!

Gnewvegan said...

I am glad that the information is well received. I really want to try to show vegans that you can get the necessary nutrients and be happy and healthy. And feel good about your choice.. Thank you all for reading my blog and I hope to see you back...

Happy cooking