Katya Miraglia, All the major world nutrition and dietetics associations declare that a plant diet, devoid of any animal products, can meet all our nutritional requirements, and help prevent and treat some of the most significant burdens of disease in the Western World including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
A growing body of clinical evidence is demonstrating that animal foods contribute to human disease and premature mortality and that a plant diet confers significant health benefits. The meat, egg, fish and dairy industries have been promoting their products to us as healthy foods because they profit from doing so. It is our human right to be aware that these products contribute very significantly to our risk of developing disease and decreasing our lifespan.
In practice, a plant diet contains foods ranging from the everyday lasagne, shepherds pie and pizza to the luxurious gourmet plant cheeses, ice creams, and chocolates. There is a delicious alternative to every animal product including flesh, fish, dairy and eggs.
Those who follow a plant-based diet typically have lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, a lower body mass index, and reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
However it is important to note that when following a vegan diet it can be more difficult to supply your body with the right amount of nutrients each day. Therefore those who choose to go vegan should carefully plan their meals each day and include a wide variety of highly nourishing foods.
Particularly, as a vegan, there are three crucial areas to be aware of day-to-day:
When following a plant-based diet you may find that at first you struggle to get enough protein. The good news is that there is plenty vegan protein sources such as natural soy, lentils, beans, quinoa, and seitan.
The NIH recommends that adults between the ages of 19 and 50 get a minimum of 1,000 mg of calcium a day. For vegans to be able to achieve this the key is eating a variety of naturally calcium-rich foods such as kale, bok choy, almonds, soy beans and figs as well as calcium-fortified foods such as cereals, plant-based milks, and tofu.
Iron deficiency is common among vegans, because they are not swapping red meat with other foods which provide the mineral. The best way to prevent the deficiency is by eating plenty of whole grains and legumes, as these are packed with Iron. Its also sensible to consume foods with sources of Vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, cabbage and leafy greens, as this dramatically improves the rate at which your body absorbs iron.