Is a Vegan Diet Right For You?

Veganism has become increasingly popular in recent times. People go vegan primarily to focus on personal health goals like managing their weight. Secondarily they are concerned about animal welfare, and thirdly for the health of the environment. A vegan diet is purely plant-based and excludes:  

  • Meat.
  • Fish.
  • Poultry.
  • Eggs. 
  • Honey.
  • Milk.
  • Butter,
  • Cheese. 
  • Whey.  
  • Mayonnaise. 
  • Gelatin. 


Is The Vegan Diet Healthy?

Health is the number one reason people turn to veganism. Studies show that plant-based diets may lower body mass index, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. ref. In another paper blood pressure was significantly lower in the vegans when compared to western diet. ref. Further research showed vegans have a lower blood pressure than Lacto-ovo vegetarians. Other studies have linked vegan diets may lower levels of: 

  • Cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

In contrast, “The influence of diet on anti-cancer immune responsiveness” study showed that the anti-cancer effect of a vegan diet remains scarce when compared with the data from the Mediterranean Diet. ref

History

Over 2,000 years ago Pythagoras promoted benevolence among all species and followed what he called a meatless diet, later it was named the “Pythagorean diet”. In the 1800s the vegetarian movement began. ref In November 1944 Donald Watson proposed an alternative to vegetarianism and called it veganism, here are his definitions of what it is to be a vegan: 

  • “Veganism is the practice of living upon fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains and other wholesome non-animal foods” quote from Donald Watson.
  • It excludes meat, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, milk, butter and cheese 
  • And aims to encourage production and use alternatives to animal products.


What Is A Vegan Diet? 

It is a meatless diet purely plant-based with a wide range of foods, very similar to a vegetarian diet without dairy and eggs. 

It includes:

  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables 
  • Legumes 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains 


Do I Need To Supplement A Vegan Diet?

Yes, it is vital for a vegan to eat a diversity of foods to acquire a full reach of minerals and vitamins to keep your body healthy. Mineral deficiencies are common here are the main ones: 

  • Iron
  • B12
  • Zinc
  • Calcium 

If you think you might be deficient in a mineral or vitamin, it would be wise to see a health care professional for blood to test to confirm any suspicions you might have before you start supplementation. 

Wrong Ways To Do A Vegan Diet 

Along with many other diets like gluten free there is a lot of vegan junk foods and processed vegan-friendly foods. Be selective and eat whole plant-based foods. Avoid process foods they usually contain higher amounts of carbs, sugar and sodium. Furthermore, this may lead to an increase in chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Here is a list of food to minimise on a vegan diet:

  • Sugar
  • Sugar-soft drink
  • Fruit juices 
  • Processed foods 

Tips For A Healthy Vegan Diet?

The best way to do a vegan diet is to include a wide range of Macro Foods, Mineral and Vitamins, so your body has the best opportunity to be healthy.

 Macro foods

    • Carbs: Fruit and vegetables, whole grains 
    • Protein: Legumes (chickpeas), lentils, beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), soy, tofu (GMO-free)
    • Fats: Flaxseed, olive oil, avocados, nuts & seeds

      Minerals Foods 

      • Calcium: Almonds, tahini, dark green vegetables, bok choy, kale, broccoli, spinach. 
      • Vitamin B-12 is the most common deficient with vegans. The best way to manage this is with B12 supplementation.
      • Omega-3 fatty acids: Walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybeans, or supplement.
      • Iron: beans and peas, lentils, dark leafy green vegetables, prunes or supplement. Caution iron is a toxin in high dosages and can destroy the liver, always get iron studies (blood test) checked out before taking iron.  
      • Zinc: Whole grains, soy, legumes, nuts, wheat germ, or supplement. 
      • Iodine: Essential for a healthy thyroid, get this from sea vegetables like kelp.

Diet Guidelines 

Always check with your health care professional before starting a new diet. Food and herb-drug interactions do happen. With that in mind, this diet may prevent:

  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight loss


The Key Points

  • A vegan diet is a purely plant-based diet with a wide range of foods; fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains. 
  • Vegans do not eat dairy, eggs, honey, or any animal product. 
  • To keep the diet healthy limit process foods and sugar.

To conclude 

If there are any aspects of your diet, you would like to discuss or clarify, please feel free to contact me through this web site or if it is of a more private nature contact me through my direct email. Ultimately, my goal is to provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision on what diet best supports your health needs.

Diets Covered 

In wisdom and good health
Brendon.
Phone: +61 409 278 320

Brendon-Groves-Naturopath-Practitioner
Written by: Brendon Groves Clinical Naturopathic Practitioner and Founder of Groves Naturopathics
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