Eating Vegan and Staying Healthy; The Problems You Might Face

It is a common know fact that meat and other animal byproducts are high in nutrition. When a person alters their diet to go vegan without taking the proper nutritious precautions it can have a serious effect on the persons health. Many ex-vegans say they experienced depression or foggy thinking without animal foods, leading them to stop the diet. This is all easily avoidable with small changes in what you eat.

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Vitamin D is a great example on how people starting the vegan diet can plan ahead to help themselves later. Plants do not need vitamin D, so they do not produce it. This makes it very tough for a vegan to get the correct amount of this vitamin each day. One usual way people get the vitamin is the sun, but for people in the Northern Hemisphere this can be very tough for about half the month’s out of the year. There are only two other options for these people: vitamin supplements and mushrooms.

A great way to boost the vitamin D in you is to let mushrooms soak in the sun during sunny times of the year, and eating these mushrooms during the winter or rainy seasons. These mushrooms have a huge amount of vitamin D and just a few are needed for each day. Read more on this at Fungi.

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Another problem for vegans are protein and iron deficiencies. Many non-vegans point out that animal products, especially their meat, have huge amounts of both so it is quite usual for vegans to struggle with getting the right amount of these necessary nutrients. While this is true sometimes, it is very easy to get enough protein on the vegan diet, just look at the gorilla, one of the strongest animals in the world. They are frugivores (only nuts, fruit and vegetables) and they obviously get more than enough protein. 

For these gorillas to keep getting enough protein they eat lots of legumes and nuts. Legumes can be a lot of things, but mostly they are lentils, beans, and tofu. Just one cup of lima beans can contain 25 percent of your daily needed iron, and 30 percent of your needed protein. One cup of lentils can contain up to 36 percent of your needed iron and 36 percent of your needed protein. Pumpkin sunflower and cashew seeds are also great snacks to keep your iron and protein high. 

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All great lentils to keep your iron and protein high

Due to the lack of dairy in a vegans diet, it is also hard to get enough calcium. Most foods that provide a good amount of calcium are products of animals, so they are not vegan. My way to take in all the calcium I need is nut based intake. Almond milk, coconut yogurt, even soy nuts are great for calcium consumption, and they all taste wonderful. To retain most of the calcium that you put in your body you should stay away from salt, and also caffeine. Many people use spinach to intake calcium, but don’t eat too much because the calcium in spinach is bonded something called oxalic which will slow your how much your body can take in calcium. Kale is a much better source of calcium for vegans because your body can retain almost all of the provided calcium. 

And finally, if you are struggling to no end with the vegan diet you might be one of the people the vegan diet just does not work for. This can sometimes happen and if you are one of those people don’t feel ashamed or upset, your body and the chemicals that come with it might not allow for you to be a full on vegan. You could definitely try the vegetarian diet, and see if still eating eggs and a few other animal byproducts helps you out, but if you still get the same result there is still many things you can do to help the cause. Also, if people try to tell you that you can’t be an environmentalist and not be vegan they are completely wrong. Join the cause, volunteer, help out, and have some fun. 

If you are looking for a guide to start your vegan diet you can check out ours here: Starting a Vegan Diet

 

 

37 Comments

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  1. Vegan is hard. No cheese? That is always my first thought. A life without cheese (an no, there are no cheese substitutes). Also, I don’t eat beans so I would have a challenge getting protein. I kinda do anyway because meat is not my favorite, like some.

    These are great tips. Even if one is not going vegan, just incorporating some of this into their diets might be a good thing. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

        • Good question! Protein is found in almost every food out there, especially vegetables. As long as you get around the recommended daily amount of veggies (7 servings) your protein will be perfect. The average meat eater gets 3x the daily amount of protein and the average vegan get 2x the recommended daily amount. Also, if you are trying to build muscle by lifting weights I recommend protein supplements to give you an extra amount every day.

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        • But vegetables don’t provide a complete protein. So, I think there really is a way to have a protein deficiency. Again, I am just talking about for me. Because, I personally don’t believe that I would want to live on just veggies. I love certain veggies, but I don’t love all veggies, so I would be eating the same things over and over. I guess the vegans I know eat a fair amount of beans and tofu to get their protein. I’ll stick to meat, oh, and cheese. Yummmmm. Vegan is such a challenge.

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        • Oh I completely understand. I am not all the way vegan either I just know what a struggle it can be. You are right that veggies don’t carry that much protein, but grains and legumes do. Gorillas, the strongest animal in the world, are frugavores which is fruits veggies and grains so obviously they’re doing something right to get protein. Vegans are a lot slimmer in the sense that after they work out they are pretty energy balanced where their net calories are 0 instead of meat eaters where the net calories might be 500 or 1000 and those extra calories go to building more muscle.

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  2. So I’m not really a true Vegan, because I will at times eat chicken, eggs and turkey, simply because I feel like my body needs it. I just cut out a lot of dairy products, (which I love) but they don’t seem to like me. Getting sick is the result of eating ice cream, cheese, etc.
    Thanks for stopping by.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, i realize this article is to help people with any questions or worries they might have about a vegan lifestyle, but reading this i think it will probably make people more scared of going vegan. saying it’s hard to get iron and PROTEIN. You will never hear anyone saying they have a protein deficiency if they are eating a normal amount of food. I have been vegan for 2 years and i got my tests done a couple of months ago and everything was perfect. Ive never worried about any nutrients like iron or calcium, ive never really eaten lots of beans and legumes and the only supplement i have is b12 (and i rarely take that, maybe 3 times a month) and still, everything was perfect. I think rather than saying oh i know its hard to get protein without meat, just eat loads of legumes… educate them and let them know thats its really not hard at all to get all the nutrients you need.

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    • Hi, thank you for your concern. I do understand that it is hard to have a protein deficiency. The average meat water gets 3x the recommended amount of protein and the average vegan gets 2x. In that part of the article I was only addressing a concern that many people have, and then giving examples of how easily it is to actually get that protein/iron that they need. Thank you for pointing out that this might be a little confusing, so I will edit the text and make it a little more clear.

      Thank you again.

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  4. I love this article, it definitely addresses solutions to problems that many non-vegans perceive a vegan diet as prone to. However, in my experience as a vegan, as well as many of my friends and admired vegan bloggers and public figures, these problems are less of an issue than you would think. Calcium, protein, and vitamin D, among many other nutrients, are present in tons of plant based food, and it’s quite known that animal products aren’t necessarily the main source for these things. I hope that you don’t actually feel that animal products are as beneficial and nutritious as you imply in your article, because you have a whole world of plant based foods with so much more to offer! Animal products, in fact, can be extremely harmful to the human body in countless ways – a vegan diet is a cholesterol free diet. I hope that non vegans will be able to see this side of the argument in the future – to see veganism as a more healthful diet that is extremely beneficial and a preventative form of medicine – rather than just a burden that will lead to deficiencies! 🙂

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    • Thank you. I also know that it is very hard to be nutrient deficient when eating bland based foods. Just look at the strongest animal in the world, the gorilla. They are frugivores (nuts fruits vegetables) and they obviously get more than enough protein. When writing an article about going vegan I must include the main points non vegans usually go to about why veganism is bad and show how they are wrong. I am going to edit the text to make it more clear, but I hope that helps some.

      Thank you again

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One thing I noticed when I went Vegan was that my breath stayed fresh and my conscience is clear. I felt that this is how we were created to thrive; Without taking other lives to for out own gratification. So far so good.

    Liked by 1 person

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