A Vegen’s Bible – The Green Monster’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition With a Ton of Links

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If you’re interested in plant-based nutrition, but are wondering if you’ll get be able to get enough nutrients, or you’re just curious about how to incorporate more plant-based foods into your meals, then you’ve come to the right place. Plant-based nutrition isn’t a hard concept, but there are many concerns from a wide range of topics, about if obtaining proper amounts of nutrients is possible without animal foods in the diet. Our country has prioritized processed foods and a large amount of animal-based foods as being a part of the American tradition, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the ability to eat a whole foods, unprocessed diet without eating animals and obtain all the nutrients we need in the process. Wondering about where you’ll get your protein, calcium, iron, and B vitamins? No need!

When basing your diet off of whole foods, you’ll want to be sure to eat a variety of vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. These foods all contain a variety of nutrients that will sustain someone who’s not eating animal-based foods and in the meantime, add more fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants into your diet.

A whole foods vegan diet can give your body everything it needs, though we understand many of you may still have some questions of concern about nutrition and a plant-based diet. To help you out, here are some some of the most common areas of concern, along with answers and information to explore. We’ve also included a list of important nutrients you need and where to find them in a plant-based diet.

 

Transitioning

 

What’s the Healthiest Way to Transition Into a Vegan Diet?

 

 

Can I Really Get Enough Nutrients On a Vegan Diet?

 

DIGESTIONCONCERNS

 

 Will I Have a Hard Time With Digestion? 

 

fiber

 

I’m Looking to Add More Fiber to My Diet. What Are the Best Sources?

 

Athletic and Energy Concerns MG

 

 I’m an Athlete and Need Plenty Of Energy. Will a Plant-Based Diet Make Me Tired or Weak?

 

Diabetes and HD MG

 

 I Have a History of Heart Disease/Diabetes. What Are the Best Foods For Me to Focus On?

 

PREGNANCY NP

 

 I’m Pregnant or Looking to Get Pregnant. Is This Lifestyle Safe and How Can I Support Mine and My Unborn Child’s Health Needs?

 

REC READING

For additional resources other than the posts above, feel free to check out some recommended books from some of the most popular, nutritionally-backed vegan books on the market, along with some popular vegan recipe books you might enjoy. These books can help answer any questions you have about a vegan diet, provide additional nutritional information, give insight from vegans who made the transition, provide recipes and how-to’s for those looking to achieve certain health goals, and also provide you with amazing vegan recipes to cook right at home! There are always new vegan books coming out on the market, so keep your eye out for ones you might enjoy from trusted sources. See all of our recommended readings for more information here!

Rec-Movies

Many people who embrace a plant-based diet have either seen a film that inspired them to do so, or they continue to watch and learn about others who have benefited from a plant-based diet through documentaries and true stories caught on film. We thought it would be helpful to share with you some inspirational films, as well as some that can provide nutrition information and insight to health on a plant-based diet. Keep in mind that there are many ways to incorporate plant-based eating into your lifestyle and not one exact way works for us all. That’s the benefits of these films, which will show you helpful ways and varieties of living a whole foods, plant-based diet. We hope they’ll motivate you as much as they have us! See all of our recommended movies about a plant-based diet here.

How, what about your nutrients? Here’s where to find them!

 

NUTRIENTS

 
  • PROTEIN

    There are many delicious forms of protein that you can include (and it’s not all tofu!) that can be used in limitless ways to get enough amino acids. Many of these foods are higher in protein per ounce than animal sources and include fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These foods support the body’s muscular system and promote an alkaline environment, while animal-based foods promote inflammation and lead to an acidic body.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Protein here.

 

  •  HEALTHY FATS
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    Healthy fats are important for nervous system function, metabolism, digestion, heart health, and brain health. Animal-based fats promote high cholesterol, and aren’t necessary since the human body can produce enough cholesterol on its own without needing dietary cholesterol from other sources. Plant-based sources on the other hand, lower cholesterol when eaten from whole foods and can help nourish the body at a cellular level. Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Healthy Fats here.

 

  • COMPLEX CARBS

 

  •  VITAMIN A (beta-carotene)
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    You’ve probably heard of  Vitamin A before, as its also called beta-carotene (an important antioxidant) when obtained through dietary sources (versus supplements). Vitamin A is easy to get in a plant-based diet and is essential for healthy aging, protection of the skin and other major organs, and also aids in the production of healthy blood.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin A here. 

 

  •  B VITAMINS
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    B vitamins are one of our body’s most important needs for energy, brain focus, and a healthy nervous system. They are found in our food supply, but originate from the soil. Due to the farming practices today, careful caution should be observed to get the best sources into our daily diets. A diet rich in B vitamins will produce a healthy body that is energetic, mental focus, a positive mood, and a healthy gut.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: B Vitamins here. 

 

  • VITAMIN D
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    Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient for bone health, digestive health, and overall metabolic health. It is a fat soluble vitamin present in very few foods, added to some fortified foods, and available as a dietary supplement. It’s most abundant source is from natural sunlight which is the preferred way to get the recommended amounts.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin D here. 

 

  •  VITAMIN E
  •  

    The term vitamin E encompasses a group of eight compounds, called tocopherols and tocotrienols, that comprise the vitamin complex as it is found in nature. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant in the body. It helps protect cell membranes against free radicals that cause damage to your skin and also prevents the oxidation of unhealthy cholesterol (LDL) that can lead to heart disease. Learn more about the benefits, food sources, and get recipes, product recommendations and helpful reads in out Plant-Based Nutrition 101: Vitamin E here. 

 

  •  VITAMIN K
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    Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is most known for its role in essential blood clotting. It is also necessary for growing strong bones, preventing heart disease, and other crucial bodily processes. Vitamin K is even referred to as “the forgotten vitamin” because its most of its benefits are frequently overlooked.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in ourPlant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin K here. 

 

  •  CALCIUM
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    Milk is often glorified as the best source of dietary calcium, but due to the acidic residue dairy leaves in the body and the negative effects it can have on the body, it’s best to choose plant-based sources. Plant-based  foods are filled with calcium, and can certainly meet your needs without the need from dairy cows. Considering cows should get their calcium from the grass and soil, so can we! You’d be surprised to know many plant-based sources are also higher in calcium than dairy sources and also come with many other benefits as well.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Calcium here. 

 

  •  MAGNESIUM

     

    Magnesium is a crucial mineral that’s responsible for over 400 different reactions in your body. It affects your mood, weight, sleep health, regularity, heart beat, energy, metabolism, how you feel through the day physically, and can even affect PMS and depression. It is obtained through the soil and our food, along with fortified supplements.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Magnesium here.

 

  •  IRON
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    Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, needed for healthy red blood cell function and oxygen production. It also supports a healthy metabolism and is necessary for growth and development, and the synthesis of hormones and connective tissues. Plant-based foods are loaded with enough iron to sustain your body for the long haul. Even sources that are listed as non-heme sources, can still be absorbed in the body.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Iron here. 

 

  • ZINC
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    Zinc is an important mineral needed for healthy immune function and regulation of hormones within the cells. It also plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Zinc is easy to find in a plant-based diet since many whole foods are rich in this essential mineral. It is the second most abundant mineral in the human body.  Learn about the benefits, food sources, products, recipes and more in our Plant-based Nutrition 101: Zinc here. 

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