What do Vegans Eat?

About the Vegan Diet… 

 
A vegan diet is one that consists of only plant-derived foods. Vegans do not use or consume any animals or animal products including flesh (land or sea animals), milk, eggs, or honey.

People have their own reasons for becoming a vegan which could be health reasons, their personal belief to promote a more sustainable planet, and/or for ethical reasons such as avoiding animal-produce because of how inhumane animals are treated in factory farms. 

Veganism might cause a few raised eyebrows or doubts from others because those who are non-vegan are frequently puzzled and want to know..What do vegans eat?

The answer to the question of “what do vegans eat?” is a simple one. There are several alternatives to animal-products and by-products which are able to provide the necessary nutrients. This post will provide you healthy vegan food sources that are good for protein, fat, calcium, and iron.

Protein   
Because animal-based foods are high in protein, it’s a common misconception that vegans don’t get enough of it. In fact, vegans can get all the protein they need from lentils, tempeh, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, and even vegetables.

Healthy Fats 

Although people have the preconceived notion that all fat is bad, it isn’t. Fat is an important nutrient for our bodies because it allows the body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, and K, it also promotes good brain functioning, supports good health, protects the body, and allows your body to have energy. With the increase in processed food, many people automatically associate fat as bad but the fats that are considered “bad” for the body are called saturated fats, trans-fat and other derivatives.

However there are fats, called unsaturated fats, which occur naturally. These are found in foods such as avocados and coconuts. It is important for vegans to incorporate these in their meals but not all the time since, as the saying goes, “too much of anything can be bad.”

Calcium  
We are all aware that calcium is important for bone growth as well as making sure that the teeth are strong. In general, calcium is building block of the skeletal system and it also plays important roles in blood clotting, nerve function, muscle contraction and cell signaling. 

There is a common perception that calcium can only be found in dairy milk and other animal-based products, this is not correct. Vegans and those who consume mostly plant-based diets can find excellent sources of calcium by eating food such as: such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, sweet potato, chickpeas, leafy green vegetables-(kale, collards), okra, figs, oranges, almonds, pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, tempeh, and many more.

Iron

Iron is a very important nutrient because it is important in helping red blood cells transport oxygen to the different cells in the body. Whether vegan or non-vegan, there are a lot of sources for iron yet iron deficiency is very common in North America. I diagnose (and treat) iron deficiency in several patients (non-vegan) on a daily basis!  

Among the great sources of iron are legumes (lentils, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, Lima beans), grains (quinoa, brown rice, fortified cereals), nuts and seeds (pumpkin sunflower, cashews, and unhulled sesame seeds), vegetables (Swiss chard, collard greens), blackstrap molasses, and prune juice. It is also highly suggested when eating iron-rich meals, vitamin C rich foods should also be a part because it allows better absorption and caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee should be avoided one or two hours before and after meals.

References:

http://vegankit.com/eat#about
http://www.nomeatathlete.com/iron-for-vegetarians/

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