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.
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.
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.
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