Make your plate colourful and whole grain. Your body will thank you for this. Different colours of fruits and vegetables provide different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Whole grains will supply your body with dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. If you suffer from gluten sensitivity make sure you use gluten free whole grains, like: buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and brown rice. In this e-book I use only gluten free products!
Here are few myths:
Vegans do not get proteins because you can get it only from meat.
This is one of the biggest myths. Proteins are in plants, vegetables, grains and legumes. I eat fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens, legumes such as beans, peas and lentils (there are around 40,000 bean varieties) and gluten free whole grains. The quinoa is a whole protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. I do sports regularly and I can build up muscle weight. With proper amount and good quality food I maintain stable and healthy weight. I feel better than when I was eating animal proteins. Not just on physical level, but also on emotional level.
Another myth is that you have to combine food, like beans and rise to create a whole protein. As dietician Julieanna Hever said:” All essential amino acids are available from plants. We do not need to complement proteins, because our body is not just absorbing proteins, but it is breaking them down and then pull the amino acids in the blood and create the protein that our body needs at the moment.” She also teaches that we need 5-6% calories from protein United States Department of Agriculture RD that recommends 0.8g/kg. Unfortunately we are so concerned about lacking it, especially athletes, that many people have 20-30% calories from proteins. Eating whole, plant based food will give you enough proteins, even when you do sports. Excessive amount of protein might cause constipation, heart disease, kidney disease and other health issues.
“A chronic excess of dietary protein almost certainly taxes the kidneys and leads to gradual degeneration.” (Williams, SR Nutrition and Diet Therapy, page 856, “The Aging Western Kidney”).
“Vegetarianism is a virtually automatic solution to our nation-wide pattern of protein abuse.” Andrew W. Saul
“Protein is found in most plant foods as well as animal foods. Your body will make its own complete protein if a variety of foods and enough calories are eaten during the day” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatright.org)
You have to drink milk and eat dairy to get calcium.
Calcium from milk and dairy products makes your body acidic .Acidic surrounding makes bones loose calcium. It is registered that in countries with the biggest consumption of dairy products the number of people with osteoporosis is higher. It is very similar to what coffee does to your body. As Dr Michael Klapper says: “Cow’s milk is for baby cow, not for a human!”
I get calcium from dark leafy greens (cabbage, salads, kale, and spinach), parsley, broccoli, sunflower and sesame seeds, nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios), lentils, beans, oats and poppy seeds. I love eating hummus made out of sesame paste and chickpeas.
You can replace milk by plant based milks made from: soy, rice, coconut or nuts, like: cashews (which is actually a seed from a tropical evergreen tree) and almonds (almond is a seed of the fruit of the almond tree). You can do plant based milk by yourself or choose it from wide range off the shelf products available in food stores and small bio shops. The plant based milk can be a base for different varieties of drinks. For example: Rice milk mixed with banana and agave syrup or Cashew milk with vanilla and dates or almond milk with cacao and dates for hot chocolate!
How to avoid iron insufficiency? You can get iron not only from red meat. In plant based diet great source of iron are: quinoa, lentils, oats, nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, prunes, hemp seeds, spirulina, cocoa nibs and molasses. For example, “from 100 calories of broccoli versus 100 calories from sirloin steak you get 5 times more iron from broccoli than from steak!” Julieanna Heaver. Care to eat vitamin C, which helps to absorb iron.
You can supplement omega 3 healthy fatty acids only from fish. Vegan source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (omega-3 fatty acid) are chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, soy beans (for example: tofu and tempeh), leafy green vegetables (from land and see).
Vegetarians have B12 deficiency. Studies show that vegans and meat eaters can have B12 insufficiency. The problem is that modern agriculture uses very sterile soil for growing food. It cannot produce microorganisms, primarily bacteria that create vitamin B12. In the past when we did not put all the pesticides and chemicals into the soil, B12 was part of it. Animals used to get B12 from food grown in healthy soil while nowadays their food is fortified with it. B12 is vital for our metabolism, brain health, nervous system and blood cells. Whether you are vegan or meat eater have your B12 checked. I supplement it and have it checked through blood test yearly.
Can I get fat from plants? Shortly and sweetly, yes. You can get it from avocado, nuts and seeds (flax, sesame, sunflower, hemp).
You get fat from seeds and nuts. When you eat diverse whole, plant based diet, eating handful amount of nuts will not lead to weight gain. What puts on weight is processed food, white flour, white sugar and trans fats.
People who do not like fruits and vegetables will not enjoy plant based diet. My experience is that well spiced food and done as a complete dish not just a fruit or vegetable salad is first time love even for those people who do not like veggies and fruits by their. By well spiced, I mean well balanced flavour by using matching herbs and playing with 5 flavours (sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami). It is not just about putting a lot of salt and oil. You can cook soup or sauce with no oil and it will be delicious. If you are not used to eating vegetables, especially dark greens, simply make a smoothie for breakfast instead of a sandwich or eggs. Need a formula?
Here you go:
- 20% greens (like spinach, parsley, kale 😉
- 70% fruits (can be apples, bananas, grapes, any fruits that you like, you can mix it up to your liking)
- 10% water or plant based milk or coconut water or fresh juice. Use as much as needed for easy blending. Do not make it too liquid because it will lose taste and become watery (unless that is what you want).The best is to add liquid gradually as you blend.
You may want to add:
- Fresh herbs and spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, vanilla
- Nutritional boost & healthy fats: chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, avocado, nuts (soaked it overnight before using)
- Natural sweeteners: dates (fresh or dry (if dry, soaked it overnight or for 30 min in warm water just before using)), raisins, honey, agave syrup;
Note: Have fun with it and create your own favorite smoothie. If you have kids smoothie might be the easiest way to smuggle that healthy dose of greens into their diet that normally they would not eat in a dish plate. My experience with kids is that when you allow them to participate in making food, including smoothie they will really enjoy eating it because they are part of the process and are proud of the end result.
I also like to have freshly squeezed juice (for example a mix of 3 apples, 5 carrots, 1 orange, and thumb size of ginger) at 7AM or 8AM and handful amount of nuts with goji berries at 10AM, two hours before my lunch or 4PM, two hours before my dinner.
It is not a myth but just want to mention about it. Why fibres are important and where to get it from? Fibers are like a broom stick in your body that removes toxins. Therefore, eat soluble fibers, like chia seeds, psyllium husk, oats and legumes. Include them in your menu and you will feel full for much longer than when eating only starchy food, like potatoes, pasta, white bread, white rice. Always, or most of the time choose whole, gluten free grain products which are insoluble fiber. Eating them improves digestion and bowel movement. Fibers can be found only in plants.
When you eat whole, plant based food you get: fibers, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. What you do not get is cholesterol (zero with pure plant diet), saturated fat, animal protein, steroids, hormones, carcinogens and antibiotics, that are widely used in industrial farming.
Statement of The American Dietetic Association “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diet are appropriate for individuals during all stages of life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.(JADA 2009)
You will find more information on nutrition of a plant based diet in „Plant-Based Nutrition” book written by dietitian Julieanna Hever and The China Study”by T. Cambell.