Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vegan Food Pyramid

I'm writing a paper for my English Comp II class about vegan nutrition. It's thesis is, "A vegan diet can provide adequate nutrition."
This paper has made me really think: Am I getting adequate nutrition? What could I be doing better, to not only write the paper, but to be an example of a healthy vegan?
I found this picture by googling "vegan food pryamid". Here's some guidelines for a healthy vegan diet that I also found. Click on the picture above to go straight to the source if you want to! I found it to be a very imformative site.
Legumes: 2 or more servings per day
group includes beans, peas, lentils, tempeh, tofu, and meat/dairy substitutes. source of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins.
Vegetables: 3 or more servings per day
group includes broccoli, collards, kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes, etc. Source of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, and fiber
Fruit: 3 or more servings per day
group include citrus fruits, melons, berries, bananas, and apples, etc.. Source of fiber, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
Whole Grains: 6-11 servings per day
group includes bread, rice, pasta, hot or cold cereal, corn, millet, barly, bulgur, buckwheat, oats, and tortillas. Source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins and zinc.
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria commonly found in the bodies of animals. Vegetables are not reliable sources of B12. Vegans should include reliable sources of B12 in their diet by consuming a multi-vitamin, a B12 supplement, or foods fortified with B12.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Most people consume too much fat, but few peopel get enough of the healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats can be found in walnuts, canola oil, and flax seeds. For maximum absorbtion, flax seeds should be ground up in a blender or coffee grinder, then added to smoothies or sprinkled on top of other foods. Flax seeds are also rich in protein, potassium, magnesium, boron, and lignans, which may help to prevent cancer.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D and calcium are important in bone formation. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight exposure. Vegans who get little sunlight, or those who live at high latitudes, should take a vitamin D supplement or consume fortified soymilk or rice milk. Vegans should also get 3 servings of high calcium foods each day, such as kale, broccoli, collard greens, and fortified soymilk and orange juice.
WOW. I need to reevaluate my diet a bit. I haven't been taking my multivitamin regularly (and as you can see from this post, I have no excuses) and I don't eat any fortified products. If I don't clean up my act soon, I could face some consequences.
To me, this is just another reason that veganism is so healthy for people. It forces me to really think about nutrition. I have to try to get a good balance of everything in order to be healthy. As a non-vegan Weight Watcher, I hardly ever thought about these things.
Are you getting in your nutrients,
or are you like me, and have been slacking?


Lindsey said...

Kale, flax seeds, and fortified milk (almond, soy, etc.) can end up being your best friends! I think sometimes it's easy to skimp on protein if you get sick of beans, but there are definitely tons of ways to get it (which I think non-vegans find impossible to believe, lol). Sounds like you're on the right track to having a very well-rounded meal plan! I think you can find a vegan checklist online, too, which offers a printout that you can use daily to keep track and make sure you're getting enough nutrients. :)

Katie said...

Love this post! Yup, I'm a terrible slacker when it comes to getting in all my nutrients =) But I've been trying to get in more fruits and vegetables and more healthy oils. Leah, I think you're being a little hard on yourself--from the menus you post, you seem to be eating super healthy.

Leah said...

Lindsey, thanks for that tip! I'm going to look for a list.

Katie, for vegans it's important to make sure that I get enough B12, calcium, VitD, and omega3. I have been slacking, because I have not been paying attention to these AT ALL. But you are right, I eat pretty healthy overall. :-) I'm not beating myself up, I just want to improve.

melissa said...

great post! thanks! :)