The vegan diet is currently a very popular nutritional trend. It is a very restrictive version of a vegetarian diet, which consists of eliminating from the menu the meat, fish, eggs, milk and its products, and even honey, which is a product of bees. So how does a vegan pyramid of proper nutrition look like? Is there any risk of deficiency when using this diet? We will also present a few recipes for vegan milk, a drink that is a vegan substitute for standard cow’s milk.
What is veganism?
Veganism is a lifestyle that mainly involves the use of a radical variety of vegetarian diet, that is, which is based on vegetable products. Unlike vegetarianism, veganism completely excludes from the menu not only meat but also milk, cheese, eggs, and honey. However, veganism is not only the use of a meatless diet but also the elimination of animal products from all other aspects of life.
Vegan pyramid of proper nutrition
Despite the exclusion of all animal products from the vegan diet, it is considered a very varied way of feeding. The vegan pyramid indeed deviates from the pyramid of healthy nutrition and physical activity, which is in force in Poland but combines the emphasis on the recommended high consumption of vegetable products.
At the base of the vegan food, the pyramid is, of course, vegetables and fruits. It is recommended to eat mainly raw, as least processed vegetables and fruits. It is also worth paying attention to the fact that they are colored – orange, yellow, green or blue. Then they provide our body with various vitamins and minerals. In the vegan diet, the ratio of fruit to vegetables should be 1 4.
At the next level of the pyramid, there are cereal products, which are a very good source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. Of course, it is best to choose whole grain products, such as whole-grain sourdough bread, oatmeal, buckwheat, millet, all kinds of groats, brown rice, wholemeal pasta. At the next level of the vegan pyramid, instead of dairy, there are vegetable drinks, preferably enriched with vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 acids. You can prepare them, for example, from soybeans, nuts, coconuts or cereals.
The source of protein in the vegan diet are legume seeds. It should be included in the menu every day to avoid possible protein deficiencies. Legumes are worth eating with the addition of raw vegetables, which are a source of vitamin C. At the penultimate level of the pyramid, there are omega-3 acids. Due to the lack of fish in the vegan diet, it is worth to bet on plant sources of fatty acids, e.g. rapeseed oil, linseed oil, olive oil, linseed, chia seeds or nuts, mainly Italian ones.
At the very top of the vegan food, the pyramid is sugar. He is indeed vegan, therefore the temptation to limit it is large. This does not mean, of course, that it is recommended to eat it. Both those who come to life in the standard Pyramid of healthy nutrition and physical activity, as well as those who are on a vegan diet, should limit to a minimum the consumption of simple sugars, highly processed, fried and fatty foods.
In addition to the above-mentioned permitted products in the vegan diet, hydration is equally important. It is worth consuming water in the amount of about 1.5-2 l / day. Also, you can include all vegan drinks in the diet, such as coffee, tea, natural fruit and vegetable juices.
Some useful tips before starting a vegan diet
If we are considering the transition to veganism, it is worth doing it gradually, systematically, never from day today. It is necessary to eliminate meat, fish, eggs and dairy products from our daily menu, however, each of these products must be eliminated one by one, eg every two weeks we exclude one group of products from the diet. It is also worth learning to replace traditional culinary techniques, such as frying, their healthier counterparts, such as steaming and baking. Thanks to this, the vegan diet will contain more nutrients contained mainly in vegetables and fruits.
Risk of shortages in the vegan diet
Undoubtedly, a diet based on plant-derived products is helpful in the prevention of many diseases and achieving a slim figure. However, to achieve satisfactory results, the vegan diet must be properly balanced. Unfortunately, when eating a vegan diet, the occurrence of nutritional deficiencies is highly likely.
The most common shortages concern:
– proteins – to avoid its deficit, one should consume green leafy vegetables, legume seeds, nuts, seeds, tofu, quinoa and vegetable drinks;
– calcium – to minimize the risk of deficiency of this mineral it is worth to diet full of green leafy vegetables, broccoli, almonds, dried apricots, hazelnuts, tofu, sesame, amaranth, quinoa, and enriched plant drinks;
– iron – to minimize the risk of shortage, one should consume legume seeds, nuts, cereal, green leafy vegetables, beets and beetroot leaven, seeds and parsley;
– omega-3 fatty acids – mainly due to the non-use of marine fish, it is worthwhile that the vegan diet abounds in products such as rapeseed oil, linseed oil, olive oil, hemp seeds, nuts or seaweed.