These days, being or rather becoming vegan is more of a trend! A vegan diet is based on plant sourced food and excludes animal and animal products - meat, fish, poultry, eggs and diary.
Why People Go Vegan ?
Plant foods are alkalinising , environment friendly and ethical reasons.
Recent studies show that vegan diets are more effective in protecting against hypertension, type-2 diabetes , certain types of cancer and heart diseases as they are low in saturated fats and cholesterol free.
It can help with weight loss as you naturally don’t eat red meat and fat dairy sources , avoid milk based sugary desserts. Also a diet with more of fruits , vegetables and less grains is low in calories and rich in phytochemical and antioxidants.
Nutrients of Concern
If you are a vegan or inspired by others to turn into one soon, then make sure to include the alternatives of calcium , vitamin B 12 and protein sources to overcome any nutrient deficiency.
Milk and milk products are excellent sources of calcium and it is important to opt for alternative calcium rich plant sources such as ragi (finger millet), fox-nuts, sesame seeds, and soybean.
Vitamin B12 is of importance for energy metabolism and is mainly found in milk, eggs and meat. So, vegans should include vitamin B 12 fortified cereals, application of nutritional yeast in food or include multivitamins or B complex supplements
Protein Sources For Vegans
Legumes and Pulses :- pulses like Bengal gram dal, and legumes like soybeans, black eyed beans, chickpeas, etc are good sources of protein. The process of germination furthermore increases the nutritional value of the product by making nutrients more available and removes the anti-nutrients from it. But some people specially elderly are not able to digest legumes properly as they feel discomfort and bloated.
Nuts, Nut Butters And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great source of fibre, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorous and vitaminE ,certain B vitamins and healthy fats.
Tofu , Tempeh And Edamame
These are soybean products and contain good amount of nutrients as well apart from protein.
It is used in dishes to give a cheesy flavour and is high in protein, fibre and fortified with nutrients.
It is a blue green algae with good amount of protein and also contains decent amount of magnesium, riboflavin, manganese , potassium and small amount of other nutrients as well.
Soya Milk / Almond or Walnut Milk
These are good alternatives of dairy free milk and provide protein and other nutrients as well.
Lastly, it is important for vegans to have well planned diet ,in particular to get sufficient protein, calcium and vitamin B12 in their diets.