I take my hat off to people who have chosen to lead a vegan lifestyle. It’s a phenomenal ethical choice to have made – for animal welfare, as well as for environmental reasons (it’s well documented that the meat production industry contributes astronomically to carbon emissions).
Is Healthy Vegan Achievable?
Unfortunately though, most vegans do it at expense of their own health because they’ve not been taught how to eat healthily as a vegan. I myself was lacto-ovo vegetarian for two years, and eventually wound up so sick because I just couldn’t reach the protein, iron, and B12 requirements of a 90kg man through the food options that were available to me. But that certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be done!
First stop: protein. I know you’ve read on blogs that seeds like flax contains more protein than beef, but it’s important to remember that figure is by weight, not per standard serving size. So unless you’re filling your smoothie with a dose of flax the size of a porterhouse, it’s not going to come close.
The same goes for iron. Spinach contains, per calorie, contains more iron than beef. But again, beef is much more calorie dense, so you’d need cups of spinach each day to get your iron hit. Plant-based iron is also harder to absorb, so ensuring you’ve got vitamin C in your gut at the same time is essential.
So how can you conquer the vegan lifestyle? Make green veggies your best friend, eat big servings of varied plant proteins – lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds – at every meal, and consider supplementing with B12. Keep an eye on your health and see a nutritionist if you need any further guidance on all things vegan. Then kick back and know that you’re doing your best for the animals, the environment, as well as for your own body.