Guidelines for Your Healthy Vegan Diet for Beginners
Have you heard horror stories about people who blamed illnesses or poor nutrition on a vegan diet? Honestly, it’s a lot easier to find examples of illnesses and lack of nutrients caused by a typical Western diet or a fad diet. We created this guide to a vegan diet for beginners just because we wanted to show people how simple it can be to become healthier than you ever have been in your life by avoiding animal products and exercising just a bit of common sense.
Can You Get All the Nutrients You Need from a Vegan Diet for Beginners?
If you’re just starting out with your vegan diet for beginners, you might have reasonable concerns about missing some important nutrients. The fact that you have those concerns shows that you’re already more mindful about your eating habits than most people.The fact that you’re willing to take some time to explore good beginner’s guides to vegan diets will increase your chance of positive results.
Give us a moment to explain how you can enjoy a healthy vegan diet in a very simple way. The hottest topics about vegan nutritional requirements focus upon only a handful of nutrients. The main one is Vitamin B12, but other important topics include Calcium, Zinc, Vitamin D, and a specific kind of Omega 3 fatty acid that’s usually referred to as DHA.
Vitamin B12 on a Vegan Diet
You don’t need a lot of Vitamin B12, but you do need some. You don’t even need to consume Vitamin B12 every day, but it’s best to make a habit out of consuming it regularly. Some people try to consume this essential vitamin every day; however, others check their intake weekly. Do what works for you.
You can’t get B12 from a modern plant-based diet because it’s found in animal protein but actually produced by bacteria. In fact, it typically comes from the soil; however, the fact that both produce vendors and people typically take care to clean their fruit and vegetables means that you will never get enough from plant food. By the way, you should clean your produce and can’t guarantee that you’ll consume enough Vitamin B12 even if you don’t.
This is all you need to know about beginning a vegan diet and consuming plenty of Vitamin B12:
- You’ll need to consume this vitamin from such vegan Vitamin B12 sources as fortified plant milk, fortified cereal, a supplement, or our favorite, B12-forified nutritional yeast, sometimes called nootch.
- Don’t mess around with risking a Vitamin B12 deficiency when’s it’s so easy to avoid on a vegan diet.
- Learn more about good sources of Vitamin B12 for vegans and the amount of B12 you should consume from the National Institute of Health.
This guide can simply answer your questions about how much Vitamin B12 to consume as a vegan. The thing you will learn is that the more often you consume Vitamin B12 as a vegan, the less you will require:
- Weekly supplements: You should take 2,000 mcg if you supplement B12 on a weekly basis.
- Daily supplements: You should supplement with at least 10 mcg a day.
- Daily fortified food: If you consume such fortified food as nutritional yeast each day, you only require three mcg a day.
Calcium, Vitamin D, Iron, and Zinc on a Vegan Diet
You can get Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc from your diet if you follow our suggestions for a vegan diet for beginners. If you have concerns, you can also choose fortified food or take a supplement. Mostly, Vitamin D should come from sunshine, but lack of sunshine or sunscreen seem to prevent an obstacle these days, so people take supplements or look for fortified food.
As for Calcium, Iron, and Zinc on a vegan diet:
- Calcium: Choose dark-green leafy veggies, soy products, calcium-fortified food and plant milk, or a supplement that contains both calcium and vitamin D for absorbability.
- Iron: Consume plenty of iron by eating nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and fortified food.
- Zinc: You can get zinc from soy or tempeh, lentils, nuts and seeds, some grains, and fortified food.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
DHA is an Omega 3 fatty acid that people commonly associate with fish. Believe it or not, this is a more contentions issue than the other nutrients with doctors who advise people about vegan diets. You can get plenty of ALA, another Omega 3, from a handful of walnuts or ground flax seeds a day, but your body has a hard time converting ALA to DHA.
You may want to buy a vegan DHA supplement, but first, see what Dr. Greger has to say about vegan DHA here.
An Easy Way to Plan a Vegan Diet for Beginners
OK, now that we’ve breezed through the few warnings about nutrients that you may need to spend some time thinking about in the beginning, it’s time to show you how incredibly easy it is for you to remain healthy and get healthier on a vegan diet.Whatever the objections are to veganism, trust me, a lot more of your friends on a typical Western diet are probably even more prone to suffering from a poor diet than a mindful vegan is.
To get you started, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I’m sharing Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen checklist.
Help for Beginners Planning a Healthy Vegan Diet
You can also use the app to keep track of your food to make sure you’re hitting all (or at least, most) of the bases each day. Here’s a quick summary of the food and portions that Dr. Greger suggests as a minimum:
- Beans and legumes: 3 servings
- Berries: 1 serving
- Other fruit: 3 servings
- Cruciferous vegetables: 1 serving
- Greens: 2 servings
- Other vegetables: 2 servings
- Flaxseeds: 1 serving
- Nuts: 1 serving
- Whole grains: 3 servings
- Spices and herbs: Enjoy!
To make it easy to keep track of your diet, you can find links to his useful app. If you’re very active, you may need to eat more servings of food. Notice that this lists encourages variety. For example, you’re not just supposed to eat five servings of vegetables — you should also enjoy a variety of different kinds of vegetables.
Enjoy a Variety of Mother’s Nature’s Bounty as a Vegan
Including a variety of delicious plant foods gets pretty easy after a few days. You can combine many of the ingredients into tasty stir-fry dishes, salads, soups, or even your morning bowl of oatmeal with berries and soy milk. If you don’t include one item on one day, don’t panic, you can mostly just make it up the next day, but you should try to make a habit out of hitting most of the bases.
These are not expensive kinds of food either, so you will probably find that going vegan isn’t just a healthy decision — veganism is also frugal! If you don’t believe me, browse this article on Dollar Store vegan buys.
Did the Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Diets Leave Out Protein?
Oh for crying out loud, do you know where cows and gorillas get protein? They get it from plants. Do you know what actually makes protein — it’s plants. Your health, the environment, and even your pocketbook will thank you after you read about cheap sources of vegan protein.
You can consume lots of protein when you eat lentils, nuts, seeds, and even broccoli. Even vegans used to make a fuss about combining plant sources of protein properly to ensure you consume complete proteins. If you’re concerned about consuming complete proteins, you can try including some of these food combinations in your diet each day:
- First, soy, buckwheat, quinoa, and hemp seeds will provide you with complete protein.
- Legumes and grains combine for a complete protein, and so do legumes and seeds. Rice and beans, peanut butter sandwiches on whole-grain bread, or adding a few ground flax, chia, or sesame seeds to your chickpeas will all do the trick.
- You don’t have to eat complementary food at the same meal to benefit.
Why Follow a Beginner’s Vegan Diet Guide?
At first, it’s easier to follow a beginner’s guide to cooking, fixing your car, or starting any new task. Once you’ve gotten used to eating a variety of plant-based food and understanding your nutritional needs, good vegan dietary habits should become as automatic as the typical diet that you used to follow. It’s important to include the right nutrients in your regular menu, but you’ll probably find you have an easier time with that when you choose plant-based food.
In addition, it’s pretty smart to make prudent decisions about what you stick in your broccoli hole each day. The Earth, the animals, and your own body will thank you for your efforts. If you’ve got any questions or helpful comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below!