Staying Healthy On A Vegan Diet

By Rebecca Carden — November 23, 2015

Vegan Diet

With so many new Vegan and Vegetarian peeps on board with us, we thought it fitting to give you the low down to staying healthy on a vegan diet and how to avoid some of the problems that can arise from a plant based diet if one is not careful.

Time and time again we have veggie customers arriving on our doorstep in a not so healthy state. Brain fog, extreme fatigue and candida are just three problems that are commonly seen by us as a result of a mismanaged diet. No joke.

Over time, as they eat with us…wow their health does a complete 360. They have their brain working again, have lost the bloat and have a tonne of energy.

Thriving on a vegan diet isn’t hard but there are crucial elements that need to be factored in.

There are four nutrients in particular that can have a significant impact on energy levels, brain function and hormones. These are Vitamin B12, Iodine, Iron and Fat.

staying healthy on a vegan diet

If brain fog, fatigue, dry itchy skin, stomach upsets and achy joints are getting you down, there is a fair chance your body may be running short on these key nutrients, some of which are not easily obtainable in a vegetarian and vegan diet.

Vitamin B-12 & Iron: These nutrients are essential in cellular metabolism and play a vital role in energy production. B-12 is typically only found in animal foods and deficiencies of B-12 in vegetarians are pretty common unfortunately. Vitamin B12 & Iron are needed in adequate levels to prevent anaemia, which can make people tired and weak. If you are eating a plant-based diet, you will need to supplement to ensure you don’t develop a deficiency or load up on Spirulina, Super Greens or Nutritional Yeast! We love savoury yeast and use it across so many of our meals, specifically those for our vegetarian and vegan customers. Nutritional yeast is inactive yeast so it doesn’t impact upon Candida growth. It is absolutely chock full of B-12 and damn it is seriously yummy.

staying healthy on a vegan diet

Iodine: This trace element is essential for proper thyroid function. The thyroid plays a key role in regulating metabolism and studies have found that vegetarians and vegans are at risk for iodine deficiency. Sea veggies are an incredible source of iodine in it’s most natural form. Skip the iodized salt, that stuff is rubbish. Reach instead for some Dulse flakes or Wakame and sprinkle it over your meals or add to your soup to boost flavour and nutrition. It doesn’t taste like fish food and it will ensure that energy conversion is happening optimally in your body.

staying healthy on a vegan diet

Omega-3 fats and MCT oils: These fatty acids are essential for health. Omega-3 provides a variety of health benefits including preventing heart disease, reducing inflammation, lifting depression and improving cognitive function. Hemp seeds and chia seeds are awesome little powerhouses of fatty acids.

Good quality fats in general such as coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil are needed for healthy, balanced hormones. If you are moody, lethargic or get terrible PMS, fat may be what your body is craving.

Fat is also needed to create and maintain myelin, the tissue surrounding nerves that protect neurotransmitters and expedite neurotransmissions. If you have brain fog or are a little more scattered than usual, chances are this is what you missing.

Abundant healthy myelin is necessary for the speedy information flow between neurons. In fact, myelin enables information to travel at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Neurons without myelin communicate at a much slower speeds.

The white matter of the brain is loaded with myelin. Smooth and fast transport of information is essential to learning and optimal cognitive functioning. If you aren’t eating fat, you aren’t nourishing your brain it’s as simple as that.

Quit counting calories, ignore all the old bad press about fat, and enjoy it for your brain health.

On the subject of fat, coconut oil is going to help combat any yeast infections such as candida that those following a high fruit, plant based diet are prone to. Relying on fruit as a main energy source will do that to you and give you a hell of a lot of gut problems if you overdo it. Raw desserts and fruit smoothies are great don’t get us wrong, but not everyday.

Veggies are where it’s at combined with plenty of fats, seeds, nuts, properly prepared legumes and gluten free grains. Don’t forget the fermented foods as well!

It’s really not hard to make sure as a vegan or vegetarian you remain nourished and that you are avoiding the common pitfalls of this style of eating.

If it all sounds to hard to you though, you know we’ve got all the bases covered for you.

If you need a helping hand finding the right balance for you, have a chat with our Nutritionist and she will be able to point you in the right direction.

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