The Nutrition Survival Guide to Veganuary

Jumping into Veganism for the first time can be super exciting but also a little daunting. Whilst there are loads of innovative new options everywhere from KFC (I mean KFV 😂) to Greggs, getting all the essential nutrients into your diet can be a challenge. We’ve put together some top nutrition tips to stop you missing out, and when people ask where you’re getting your protein... you can wow them with your knowledge!!

Group of gardeners tending to organic crops and picking up a bountiful basket full of fresh produce from their small business

Plant Proteins

So what about this age-old protein question, believe it or not, you will not have to sacrifice your gains on a vegan diet! Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids, and different plant protein sources are rich in different amino acids. So as long as you eat a good mix of different plant protein sources you can get all the essential amino acids in your diet… yay!

If you want to go into detail, it’s particularly important to get a good balance of amino acids Leucine, Methionine and Lysine. Leucine is particularly important for muscle building, found in soybeans, Peanuts, Oats and Quinoa. Methionine is found in wheat and rice, and Lysine in beans or seeds. Therefore, for optimal health and muscle building its important to mix these up in your diet.

Fit and strong with wheat grass juice

Vitamin B12

B12 deficiency is definitely something to watch out for when switching over to a vegan diet. But the good news is once you know what to look for, it is relatively easy to consume a healthy amount of this vitamin. For example you’ll find that many plant milks and cereals are already fortified and yeast products such as marmite and nutritional yeast are naturally good sources of B12. If you’re still worried, B12 supplements can be bought for under £2.

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Omega 3

Omega 3’s are fatty acids commonly found in oily fish, therefore with fish off the menu it can be a little more difficult to get these into your diet. These are essential fatty acids needed for brain health. The important omega 3’s that your body needs are DHA and EPA, which are almost exclusively found in seafood. One great vegan source of these however, is seaweed and algae (this is where fish get their omega 3s from after all). You can get seaweed crisps and nori wrapped sushi. As it can be quite tricky to consume large quantities of seaweed regularly, vegan omega 3 supplements from algae can be useful to top you up. We found some available in Holland and Barrett!

Wakame salad, raw seaweed, Japanese cuisine, top view.

Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that many people often aren’t aware of. Having the right amount of iodine in your diet is important in keeping your thyroid functioning normally. For non-vegans it’s generally found in seafood and dairy, however, it’s still possible to get good levels in your diet as a vegan. Seaweed is also high in iodine (however so high that you should only consume some types once a week to prevent overconsumption). Nuts, fruits and vegetables can also provide a good amount if consumed regularly. Many multivitamins will additionally either contain most if not all of your daily iodine requirements.

Cute child with a basket of organic vegetables

Calcium

Most people will associate calcium with dairy products, so you may be wondering how you can get calcium without them. Firstly in 2020 every supermarket is packed with a huge range of vegan replacement milks which are fortified with calcium. So simply swapping out your normal milk for a fortified vegan one in your morning coffee can help with your calcium intake. Additionally, many foods made from soybeans such as tofu, tempeh, and natto can provide roughly a third of your daily calcium requirements from a 100g serving!!

wooden table top with glasses and a jug with almond milk, almond drink, peeled and unpeeled almonds on a kitchen table top

That’s a wrap guys! We hope you found this useful, please add comments below or share on social!  If you have any further questions about vegan nutrition, feel free to ask our nutrition expert Holly at Holly@perkier.co.uk !!

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