Vegetarian & Vegan Diets
Vegetarians may occasionally add animal produce into their diets as they are able to get their ‘complete proteins’ from the likes of fish, eggs, and dairy products.
In a vegan diet, no animal products are consumed at all and their diets consist mostly of incomplete proteins so it is important that they combine their vegetable sources to ensure that the body receives the correct amino acid mixture.
It can be difficult with a vegan diet to obtain a balanced intake of all the nutrients the body needs for growth, that does not mean it cannot be done with the likes of cereals, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Being a vegan it may be worth your while to get checked out every now and then to check if you are deficient in any vitamins and minerals.
Common ones are Vitamin B12, D, Zinc, Iron, and Calcium. As a parent, if putting your child on a vegan diet be vigilant with the foods you put on their plate as it is difficult to get a balanced intake of the nutrients needed for your child’s growth; this is also true in pregnancy and lactation where a higher intake of nutrients are needed.
In both Vegetarian and Vegan diets, soy is prized highly as it has a high protein content and is low in carbohydrates.
Modern soy products contain anti-nutrients that can reduce the absorption of vitamins and minerals. The toxins found in them can reduce thyroid activity which may affect your metabolism.
With that in mind, it is important to consume soybeans and their produce once they have been fermented as this neutralises the many toxins found in them.
So if the beans are not fermented they cannot be classed as a health food. If you are consuming a lot of tofu and bean curd there is a risk that you will be deficient in minerals so combine your vegetable sources to ensure that the body receives the correct amino acid mixture.
You’ll be getting some of this vitamin from fermented soya bean products but probably not enough so you may well have to take an additional supplement. As you get older you may well become B12 deficient
Soaked beans, grains such as whole wheat, rye and oats. The nuts Cashews, Brazil and Pecans have the highest content of zinc of all nuts. Pumpkin and ginger root, mustard, chilli powder, wheat germ, black pepper.
Fruits and vegetables will have small amounts but are not the best sources of zinc.
Soaked whole grains, wheat, millet and brown rice. Lima, kidney, soya beans and nuts such as almonds. Spinach and Kale, broccoli and asparagus. Spirulina is a good source it also has all the essential amino acids. Tomatoes and other fruits like strawberries also contain iron albeit in small amounts.
Many green vegetables are good sources of calcium; broccoli, cauliflower and peas and beans in higher amounts, Soaked nuts and seeds.
Our bodies make Vitamin D through the action of sunlight on cholesterol in our skin. UVB is the only band of light capable of producing Vitamin D so is our primary source of Vitamin D – make note that suntan lotions inhibit Vitamin D into the skin. Make them both work for you.