Vegging Out : Pros & Cons Of a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet

 

 

Am behind on the A – Z blogging challenge, but since I plan to see it through I want to continue and  finish this week. Just 5 more letters !! whew !! Then I will probably have to take a blogcation since I will seriously have run out of ideas ! Now blogging the letter V and decided to do a post on Veggie/ Vegan diets. I am not against them. No ! But, there are some nutrients that vegans and vegetarians need to focus on when they are totally vegging out as in depending on a vegetarian diet for all their nutrients. That is the focus of this post.

 

 

Just to clarify some terms :

Vegan Only plant-based foods
Lacto-vegetarian Plant-based foods
Milk
Milk products
Lacto-ovo vegetarian Plant-based foods
Milk
Milk products
Eggs
Flexitarian (semi-vegetarian) Plant-based foods
Occasionally consume or consume in limited quantity any or all of the following: Fish, meat, poultry

 

Pros of a Veggie diet:

I’m going to keep this short because everyone know eating loads of vegetables is healthy for you. You get mega doses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals when you eat a veggie/ vegan diet. Not to mention fiber and people who are on veggie diets have lower cholesterol levels than their carnivorous counterparts ( most times )

Cons of a Veggie Diet :

Protein deficiency : One of the reasons it is not recommended that infants and young children be completely vegan UNLESS they are getting a good dose of high quality vegan protein in their diet. Is this possible ? Yes , it is !

Good sources of protein for Vegans/Vegetarians :

Food combining protein sources to give a higher quality protein :The reason for this is that plant proteins  tend to be limited in a particular essential amino acid while another plant food may be higher in the limiting amino acid.  For example, beans are low in the amino acid lysine, while rice is rich in lysine. So combining the two will give you a more complete protein. When the amino acids from two or more foods together make up a complete protein with sufficient levels of all the essential amino acids, these food pairings are called “complementary proteins”.

There are two ways to do this !

1)   by eating a variety of plant foods with ‘incomplete proteins’ throughout the day, you  can easily get enough ‘complete protein.’ From green leafy veggies to tubers, from barley to quinoa, from lentils to tofu, from macadamias to brazil nuts, eat a variety of high protein foods.

2) By actually food combining certain proteins food combinations you can come up with a dish that is more complete protein. I am  going to give you some examples here.

  • Beans and tortillas
  • Beans or Lentils with rice
  • Stirfry veggies with nuts or beans
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Cottage cheese with Spinach ( veggie combo)
  • Yogurt with rice ( veggie combo)
  • Macaroni and cheese( veggie combo)
  • Veggies with bean or lentils. Click here for my delish spinach lentil soup ! It has coconut in it !
  • Tofu with rice
  • Pasta with beans
  • Bean soup with crackers
  • Hummus with pita bread or vegetables
  • Chickpeas and rice.

You could also drink a few protein shakes a day to get some quality protein . Read this post to get some good information about whey protein shakes.

Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is found in seafood, dairy, eggs, and meat. It is also found in some plant foods,  but unfortunately, the B12 that has been found in plant foods can’t be used by humans. Supplement is necessary to maintain B12 levels. Also recommended  to  have your B12 level checked by your physician every 6 months. Vitamin B12 is needed for producing and maintaining new cells, including nerve cells and red blood cells. It is also needed to help make DNA.

Other supplements you may want to include in your diet if you’re vegan/ veggie are Omega 3 ,Iron and Zinc. All of these are mostly animal based, but you can get them through Veggie foods.  Click here for a list of Veggie based Iron, click here for a list of Omega 3 foods that are veggie and click here for a list of vegan Zinc foods. With the evolution of fortified almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk getting calcium is no longer an issue for vegans. Just make sure the milk is fortified with calcium by taking a peek at the food label. Some brands are not fortified with calcium, so double-check before you buy it!

Hope you found this rant on vegging out useful. I was vegan for few weeks during Lent and it was tough!!!  I did come up with some neat vegan recipes though :) So hats off to all the vegans out there. Just watch your diet and make sure you’re getting everything you need to totally veggie out. Check back tomorrow to read my post on W.  I am blogging a lycopene rich watermelon smoothie that has SPF ! Yes the Sun Protective Factor in a drink !

Comments

  1. Yet another post thats right on time! Thanks Sunithi! I was Vegan for 10 days (today is day 10) and now I'm transitioning into a Flexitarian (minus the red meat)! The 10 days was fairly easy but doing it long term could indeed be too much for me.

    • Glad you liked it ! I think being a flexitarian works best for me too. That's quite balanced. Thanks for the Fb share. Will ck in eve :)

  2. Really dig the combos you provided ! Flexitarian too, but go vegan once in awhile, so the goof combining tips are really good. Love the red chicken :) Very informative post !

    • Sunithi Selvaraj, RD says:

      Me too ! Flexitarian but do the vegan when I detox. Glad you liked the chicken :) and the food combining combos !!

  3. I love the recipe! I’ll be coming back here!

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Quinoa is a good source of protein and is packed with antioxidants. It’s a great protein addition for vegans/vegetarians. Black beans are loaded with fiber and heart healthy photo-chemical! Flax adds some healthy fat and omega 3 while the Eastern spice add to the antioxidant power of this dish! The nice part about a quinoa black bean burger is combining of the different protein sources to make a more complete protein! To read more about combining protein sources to optimize protein intake for vegans click here. […]

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