The vegan diet has been trending of late. While I’m not vegan, I appreciate the benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet as it has a positive impact on our animals and on the environment.
Over the years, I’ve seen many vegan clients who are deficient. If you’re following a vegan diet, it’s essential to be educated on the topic. Your body simply isn’t going to benefit from a diet of rice, pasta and faux meat.
I’d also like to note that as humans, we’re all biochemically unique; what works for you might not work for me—and vice-versa. That’s why it’s important to tune in with your body and note how you’re feeling. Observe subtle changes as they occur and take notes on which foods make you feel good.
If you do choose to maintain a plant-based diet, these nutrition tips will help you stay strong and healthy:
1. Enjoy regular meals:
It’s important to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. That means enjoying nourishing meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
2. Eat your greens:
They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre that keep our hearts happy and our bodies strong. Sautee your veggies of choice with a little coconut oil, add some fresh chilli and a squeeze of lemon for extra freshness.
3. Get your carbs in:
Alternate between potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin and brown rice. Complex carbohydrates are an essential component in a balanced diet.
4. Up your vitamin B12:
This is one of the vitamins that’s the hardest to obtain on a vegan diet. Eat more sea vegetables such as nori, soy and tempeh and take a B12 supplement under the guidance of a medical practitioner.
5. Focus on iron:
Enjoy dark leafy greens, lentils, tahini and nuts. This is particularly important for females during menstruation.
Contrary to what most people believe we don’t need to eat as much protein as clever marketers would have us believe. As a general guide, 0.8 grams to 1 gram of protein is required per kilogram of body weight. Alternate between organic tofu, tempeh, legumes, beans and unprocessed vegan protein powders.
7. Add healthy fats:
Ensure you’re getting in enough essential fatty acids which can be found in ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, nuts and dark leafy greens.
8. Avoid refined carbs:
This includes white bread, cereal and pasta. Opt for wholegrain varieties as they have more fibre, which promotes good gut bacteria and helps you stay satiated throughout the day.
9. Wash your legumes and grains:
A vegan diet is usually rich in beans, lentil, chickpeas and quinoa, so it’s important to thoroughly wash those foods before cooking them. This helps to ease gas and stomach discomfort. Jessica Sepel is a clinical nutritionist, best-selling author, international health blogger and the beloved voice behind JSHealth and @jshealth. She is passionate about helping people overcome fad dieting and disordered eating, having gone through her own struggles with food. Her philosophy is focused around balance, rest and building a healthy relationship with food. She recently launched the JSHealth App, which features a world-first nutrition clinic, hundreds of healthy recipes, a daily meal planner, health guides, body love support and much more.