Anonymous asked: i really want to go vegan because i love animals so much and feel so guilty eating any animal products and it makes me sick, but my mom is a bit skeptical about the vegan diet and isn't so open-minded. anything i can do to introduce her to the idea? and also, do you have any tips for beginners?
I’m glad to hear that! But to make things clear, veganism is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle. Plant-based is the diet. Veganism includes not supporting zoos/aquariums, animal testing, fur and any form of animal exploitation.
Anyway! First things first: research, research, research!
Vegan Coach was one place that really helped me learn about veganism.
The site format has changed so I’m not 100% sure where everything is anymore, but there is information on iron, B12, calcium, omega-3 and anything that people worry about before going vegan. I’ll also go over that a little later in this post.
Here is a general vegan food pyramid.
So I was going to provide you with other vegan health links and info but i decided I’m just going to use stuff off of vegan coach. The stuff that Patty (founder of vegan coach) has is really great.
Here you can find out pretty much everything about protein that you want— even how much you need. For example, most people seem to think they need a TON of protein when that isn’t the case. I happen to be the example, I’m 105lbs so I need about 47 grams a day. Since I’m active I aim more for 60, and even that is extremely easy.
So… where can you get protein from (pulled directly from the site):
Next, let’s discuss these powerful protein sources.
BEWARE: You will encounter some technical terms such as “grams of protein”.
But fear not, my friend, because it will all become clear in the end.
Hey, that rhymes. :)
Legumes top the list for great sources of plant-strong foods with protein. These include beans, lentils, and organic soy products such as tofu and tempeh.
1 CUP OF MOST COOKED BEANS AND LENTILS contains right around 15 grams of protein.
1 CUP OF COOKED ORGANIC SOYBEANS contains around 30 grams of protein.
1 CUP OF FIRM ORGANIC TOFU contains about 40 grams of protein.
1 CUP OF TEMPEH contains approximately 30 grams of protein.
1 CUP OF SEITAN contains approximately 52 grams of protein. I like seitan — but I consider this a “fun food” and don’t recommend you base your everyday diet on this protein source. That’s because it’s high in wheat gluten, and is difficult for most people to digest.
Meat analogues made with soy (fake meats) are another option for you to consider. Personally, I try to eat very little of them because they’re not a whole food, which as you may know is what I recommend. But if you DO want to add these to your diet, PLEASE do so sparingly. Try to base your diet on whole foods with protein versus these highly processed soy foods which are usually loaded with sodium and many times are not organic — and it’s really important to try your best to eat organic soy. Read the labels to determine how much protein you will find in these foods.
Nuts, seeds, and their “butters” are also fantastic foods with protein that you should include in your diet.
1/4 CUP OF MOST NUTS can range anywhere from approximately 4 grams of protein to 8 or 9 grams.
2-3 TABLESPOONS OF SEEDS provides around 8 grams of protein, with the exception of FLAX SEEDS which will provide you with around 4 grams.
3 TABLESPOONS OF TAHINI provides you with 8 grams of protein.
While everything listed above is a protein powerhouse, there is protein in vegetables and fruit as well, so protein isn’t a problem!
Patty doesn’t have a page on iron anymore, but there is a ton of iron in dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, mustard greens, dark lettuces, swiss chard and so on. There is also a lot if beans and legumes. You can increase the amount of iron absorbed from a meal if you also eat something high in vitamin C, such as an orange.
Pulled right off the vegan coach site again:
- All dark green leafy veggies*, including Kale, Broccoli, Collard Greens/Mustard Greens/Turnip Greens, Bok choy, and green leafy lettuces (such as romaine, red leaf and green leaf), okra
- Green Beans
- Most nuts, especially almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios
- Most seeds, especially flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (AND sesame tahini);
- Pseudo-cereals such as quinoa and buckwheat;
- Beans, especially Soybeans (and soybean products - always buy organic), White Beans such as Great Northern and Navy, Kidney, Aduki/Adzuki, Garbanzos, Pinto, and to a lesser extent Black;
- Calcium-fortified foods such as OJ, non-dairy milks, cereals, tofu (be sure the label for these foods shows that they are calcium-fortified);
- Blackstrap molasses;
- All Dried Herbs. The drying process removes the water content from the plant, leaving the concentrated nutrients behind.
B12 and Vitamin D
Vegan Coach will tell you to supplement. I don’t, and most vegans on this site I know do not. It certainly is not a bad idea, but if you don’t you should be fine. However this is something you should really keep track of. Cereals, fortified milk replacements, fortified drinks (i.e. vitamin water), orange juice, and some fortified tofu’s have it. So, it really shouldn’t be a problem.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Again, it’s pretty easy. You don’t need very much a day. Chia seed, flax seed, peanut butter (in particular the omega-3 fortified ones), some fortified drinks, seaweed, beans, winter squash, leafy greens and more are full of omega-3 so again, as long as you eat a variety of foods you’re all good. All of these also have omega-6, and oils like olive oil have omega-9.
Moral of the story is: eat the rainbow (not skittles) and you’ll be perfectly fine. Most carnists and even a lot of vegetarians suffer from some degree of malnutrition so it’s something they need to be worrying about, but they don’t.
Show these things to your mom. Maybe they’ll make her go vegan too. They’re mostly reasons why to go vegan. You should go vegan for ethics, not health, because as stated above, it is a lifestyle (though plant-based is better than doing nothing).
(taken from vegan-veins ask again because I’m a pleb and misplaced these again):
Vegucated (on Netflix)
Food Inc (Not that great because it still supports “humane slaughter” but it shows the reality in factory farms) (Also on Netflix)
Food Matters (focuses on the health related benefits of veganism) (On Netflix)
Forks Over Knives (also focuses on health aspects of veganism)
This may seem like a lot to remember, but it really isn’t. At first its a little tough but you catch on really quickly. I love being vegan, it’s one of the best things I ever did.
If you need any more help, don’t be afraid to ask!