Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Beginners Guide To A Healthy Vegan Diet

With the correct knowledge, a Healthy Vegan Diet is quite easy to obtain. The first thing you need to know is what makes your diet healthy? Basically, you need protein, fat, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamin B12 among other things. Contrary to what many believe it is certainly possible to have adequate amounts of these in what you consume as a vegan. The key to a healthy vegan diet is diversity in what you eat.

I believe the most common myth about veganism is that vegans do not or cannot get enough protein. This is simply not true. Tons of typical vegan food choices contain plenty of protein. Things like potatoes, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanut butter, tofu and soy milk are all great examples. Not only can you get plenty of protein with a vegan diet, you don't get a lot of the fat and bad things found in, what most people will tell you is the best source of protein, meat.

Fats are something you really don't have to worry too much about unless you eat tons and tons of junk food. Most vegan dishes are typically low in fat.

A vegan diet will not provide you with vitamin D, even a healthy vegan diet. Vitamin D can be obtained by spending time in the sunlight. Most sources say 10 – 15 minutes of sun a few times a week are plenty. Plus, it's great to get outside and breathe some fresh air anyway.

Calcium is what makes our bones strong. It can be found by eating dark green veggies like spinach or broccoli. Soy milk and tofu are another good source of calcium. A healthy vegan diet should contain a fairly high amount of calcium, this is an important one to remember.

Zinc is easy, just make sure to get some nuts and grains in your stomach and you're good to go.

Iron is another easy one, beans and more dark green veggies. A healthy vegan diet contains a lot of dark vegetables so that makes this especially easy.

Vitamin B12 can be a tricky one. Many foods are supplemented with it. Make sure to read labels and you may want to consider taking a supplement (although it is very possible to be a healthy vegan without supplements, I do it and I would consider myself very healthy).

There are a ton of really easy vegan dishes to make that contain a whole slew of everything we just discussed. Oatmeal, pasta (one of my favorites and super cheap), lentils and rice (throw a vegan bullion cube in there), and probably my favorite and easiest to make, vegetable stir fry with some tofu or vegan chicken replacement thrown in. These are all great dishes to get you started and in the future I'll be making some posts with some more detailed recipes. There are a lot of prepackaged vegan meals out there as well so keep your eyes open while shopping, these can be great time savers when you're in a hurry.

To sum everything up make sure you focus on getting enough protein, vitamin D and calcium, most of the other essentials come along with that. Just make sure to vary what you're putting in your stomach and you'll be eating a healthy vegan diet in no time.