Written by Adelle Rutch, Qualified Nutritionist
Vegan & vegetarian diets have increased in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. The ethical, health and environmental impacts are proven. From a health perspective, a “well adhered to” vegan diet should be naturally high in fibre, folate, vitamin C and E, potassium and magnesium, with the extra power of antioxidants from plant sources and lower saturated fat content.
If you are reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet, it’s important to consider how you source nutrients and dietary requirements that come from these sources.
The importance of Micronutrients
Micronutrients that are particularly important to monitor in a vegan diet include iron, B12, calcium, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids. Whether it’s from increasing your consumption of certain plant-based sources or with supplementation.
This can be due to genetic predisposition, other underlying health issues (particularly inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease) or during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Fortunately, with developed technology and research there are some great supplements available to help support and increase nutrient levels in those requiring it due to dietary depletion. It is always recommended that prior to supplementing with vitamins and minerals (particularly those that are not water soluble and stored within the body) that pathology is completed. This is to assist a practitioner, whether this be a naturopath, nutritionist or doctor to determine what dosage to recommend and how often to check levels.
Some of my favourite products to consider when kick-starting a plant-based diet include:
Herbs of Gold Activated B12. Fortunately, Herbs of Gold have a huge variety of vegan options. Always ask one of the in-store practitioners to assist you to ensure that any excipients are of vegan derivatives. B12 is not a nutrient that is available within a vegan diet, however, we are fortunate to have access to many supportive supplements to ensure that this way of eating and lifestyle can be done in a healthy way.
Free Spirit Mega Omega 3 Oil. This omega supplement is high in DHA which is hard to find in a vegan omega generally. Omega oils are essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot produce, so we must absorb them from food sources. Typically found in oily fish, nuts, seeds & algae – Omega-3 is one of the most important omega oils for brain & muscle development, maintaining healthy cholesterol, bone density, liver function and so much more.
Green Nutritionals Spirulina. Available in tablet and powder options, Spirulina offers a high form of natural iron, calcium, protein, phytonutrients & omega-3. Ramp up your smoothies with a scoop of this deep, rich green powder.
Supplementation aside, if you are unsure about the idea of a vegan or vegetarian diet, why not start with one day a week and try some of the amazing plant based alternatives available such as:
Bon Soy Almond Milk – Almond milk lattes are amazing with this super creamy almond milk alternative. Use it in baking, cooking or poured over cereal.
Syndian Sausages – Free from soy, gluten and completely plant based, as well as having low FOD-MAP options, these are a great meat free alternative.
Peace Love and Vegetables Cashew Cheese – would an ode to vegan products even be complete without a cashew cheese suggestion? Try the dill cashew cheese and you won’t go back!
Chat instore to our friendly team for further guidance with whatever journey you opt to take. Whether it be a simple meat free Monday or a full lifestyle conversion. Find delicious plant based recipe inspiration here