Don't Cheat Your Future (VEGAN) Self
Updated: Dec 24, 2021
Ask your local millennial today and they will be able to point you toward the Vegan cafes in your area, toward the ‘mock meat’ isle in the supermarket, serve your alternative milk at the cafe or have a heated debate with you regarding earth loving, sustainable benefits (or the bacon loving, ‘pro-meat’ non-veganism evils) of this so called ‘reborn’ but really, (not so) 'new’ way of life in the 2020s.
Veganism, or the avoidance of all animal products in the diet can be dated way back in history (thanks for asking).
In 1944 there was seemingly a great, rocking divide within the UK Vegetarian society (circa 1847) whereby particular ‘anti-dairy’ members of this society parted ways with the ‘lacto-ovo’ vegetarians (‘pro-dairy’ member) and formed a new societal group of their own (how riskae!). Apparently using the first three and last two letters of 'vegetarian', to signify ‘the beginning and end of vegetarian’, the word VEGAN was born, and such (anti-dairy) members abstained not only from meats, but also from honey, milk, butter, eggs and cheese under this new guise.
We are here today not to debate the pros and cons of Vegan eating and Vegan life, nor are we here to applaud, shame or be biased toward any approach to your eating. We are here however to get back to basics and suggest the pure obvious (to some), that being vegan, becoming vegan, living vegan, dabbling in veganism or any sort of vegetarianism can be either completely nutritionally balanced, healthy and wholesome OR it can be completely depleting, deprivational and damaging to your health. We are here to encourage you to choose the former of the two for yourself!
Simply put, you can’t go Vegan (and expect to be glowing, radiant, have great energy and be healthy for the long term) and:
Refuse to eat vegetables
Expect to use it as a ‘weight loss plan’
Expect to just remove animal products and not replace the nutrients lost via other means
Believe it or not, we see this a lot in our clinics during discussions with people choosing Vegan eating. If you do choose either 1), 2) or 3) above your health is in real trouble here.
Our philosophy is that if you are choosing veganism (or any sort of plant-based/vegetarian eating), it is your obligation to your future-self (the one travelling the world, the one caring for your grandkids, the one writing that thesis) to balance veganism well in terms of nutrients, to truly nourish your body safely (and actually enjoy your choices).
Balancing your nutrients starts with the following (think Vegan 101) essentials:
1. Focus on Protein:
In the absence of meat and animal products, there is an abundance of plant protein sources that enable your Vegan self to achieve your daily essential protein requirements. You need to form a serious relationship with:
Beans, Lentils & Chickpeas (alternate meats made from such), Quinoa, Wholegrains, Tofu, Tempeh, Nuts, Seeds and Alternate milks made from these.
2. Never, ever underestimate Iron:
There are plenty of veggie sources for you to adequately collect enough iron (think Legumes, Iron-fortified breads and breakfast cereals, Tofu, Nuts & seeds, Green leafy veggies, Quinoa, Wholegrains) for healthy blood and energy levels. To help with the absorption of Iron from these foods, it’s best to marry them (too bad commitment-phobes!) with Vitamin C containing foods (fruit and vegetables in particular). Regular blood tests are recommended to keep a good eye on your Iron levels here as you may need to add an Iron supplement.
3. Don’t opt out on Calcium
While dairy foods are generally the go-to source for calcium, there are also plenty of Vegan sources of calcium to ensure your bones, teeth and muscles stay strong and healthy. Alternate milks are not all the same. Some are like running the car on premium fuel, others are like running the car on air. Make sure the milks are calcium-fortified (as not all have calcium) and load up on nuts & seeds and green leafy veg. A bonus snack on dried apricots and figs will also boost the bones.
4. B12! B12! B12!
Unlike the other nutrients discussed above, Vitamin B12 is a little harder to come by in dietary form in the Vegan diet. The best sources of B12 are products that are fortified such as soy, rice or oat milks, nutritional yeast and some substitute meat products. However, in order to ensure your B12 levels remain within the healthy range, it’s best to take a B12 supplement as well as focussing on your dietary intake.
So, in the 2020's, with some planning, experimenting, adventuring and enjoyment, we invite you to choose your Vegan way of eating with the future-you in mind. We invite you to focus on avoiding the rookie error of simply removing or restricting food and food groups without consideration of how to manage your lifelong nutrition.
We highly recommend booking in to see us for more personalised advice on portions, serves, monitoring and troubleshooting (with or without your own bonus millennial!).