Archive for the ‘Vegetarian Tips’ Category

Vegan Nutrition – How To Get All the Nutrients You Need

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

For many people who decide to make the sacrifice to go vegan there are many things to consider both before making the switch and also while you are eating foods included in a Vegan diet.  The main concern that people have with a diet such as this is that there are a large number of foods that are excluded from the Vegan diet.  Excluding foods such as eggs and dairy, red and white meats and many other animal related products impacts on the nutrients that are absorbed by our bodies from the food that we consume.  People who are unfamiliar or new to the vegan diet may ask questions such as ‘how do I get enough calcium without consuming dairy products?’ and ‘will I become anaemic from less iron intake and not eating red meat?’ and ‘how do I get enough of the vital nutrients required by the body from vegetable based products only?’.  Many of these questions have important answers and the following gives information on how to receive the nutrients the body needs from foods included in the vegan diet.  It is also important to note that the source of the nutrients is not important it is more about receiving the right amount.

One of the more important nutrients required by the body is protein which is vital for the growth and repair and also the regulation of many of the functions in the body.  Proteins are found in abundance in animal foods such as meat, fish and dairy products however these foods are not included in a vegan diet.  To ensure that a person who is on a vegan diet receives protein as part of their vegan nutrition they can substitute animal based proteins with plant based proteins from soya products, whole grain products as well as nuts and seeds.

Another of the bodies requirements is a good supple of carbohydrates as these are the bodies main way of sustaining energy levels.  Carbohydrates are contained in a lot of the foods that we eat and make up a large part of our diet.  For people on a vegan diet carbohydrates are in foods such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice, fruit and vegetables.

Vegan nutrition is not as difficult as it appears when one starts to do some research on how to best structure their diet.  Eating a variety of foods and keeping in mind a few tips on what foods provide which nutrients is a good basis for someone who is looking into vegan nutrition.

Vegan Protein Sources To Keep You Feeling Full For Longer

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

People who are vegan vegetarians have a relatively strict diet that excludes products that are derived from animal sources.  The vegan diet excludes foods such as red meat, white meat, dairy products, eggs and any products that are made from or with animal products.  The practice of vegan also includes things such as not wearing makeup and products that are made of or tested on animals.  When considering the vegan diet it is important that the body still receives important nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function so alternative food sources that are vegan friendly need to be consumed in order to stay healthy.  One of the more important essentials that the body requires is a source of protein which in a non vegan diet comes mainly from the consumption of red meat.  There are however other plant based foods that can also provide protein to a person who is observing a vegan diet.

An excellent source of protein which is vegan friendly is soy and soy based products such as tofu and textured Vegetable Protein (TVP).  Tofu  is made from soybean curd and is generally sold as a small block that is spongy in texture and TVP which is a by product of soybean oil and comes as dried chips which are reconstituted with water when cooking .  There are a huge number of vegan recipes which use both tofu and TVP to add protein to a dish where meat is being substituted.

Other vegan protein sources can be found in whole grains and seeds such as barley, oatmeal, rye, couscous and brown rice.  For recipes that use pasta as an ingredient, using a wheat based pasta option will also increase the amount of protein in the dish.  For vegans who need to increase their protein intake seeds and nuts are a great source of protein.  Seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds are great to snack on and are packed full of protein as are nuts such as peanuts and brazil nuts.

For vegan vegetarians another great source of protein comes from the consumption of fruit and vegetables that are high in protein.  Vegetables such as potatoes, spinach, peas and beans are excellent sources of protein as well as many other health benefits.  Fruits can also be included as a vegan protein source although there levels are lower than other foods such as beans they still contain some protein.

Preparations to go Vegan

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

There are many reasons that people decide to go vegan such as ethics, animal rights, the environment and also health and diet reasons.  For people who are changing to a vegan diet there are many things so consider such as which foods to choose, making sure you get enough vitamins and nutrients from the vegan friendly foods and how to make smart food choices when eating out at non vegan restaurants.  If you are currently a vegan or considering the change to this diet then the following tips may just steer you in the right direction and allow you to make the most of a vegan diet.

When changing your diet for any reason it is important to make these changes slowly.  Going from a diet that had very little restrictions on food to a vegan diet can be a big change for many people so the best way to do this is to make little changes.  You may start by replacing milk with a soy based equivalent and then after a few weeks substitute something else in your diet with a vegan alternative and so on until you are only eating vegan friendly foods.

Doing some research before changing your diet is also recommended.  It is essential for people who choose a vegan diet to be informed about the foods they eat to ensure that they are receiving all the important nutrients, minerals and vitamins in the required concentrations from the food they are eating.  If your vegan diet is deficient in any of these essentials items  knowledge of vegans foods and their nutrition will help to fix this problem by either including, excluding or changing the amount of certain vegan foods consumed in this diet.

Removing meat and meat products from your diet can be a big step for some people and what makes this all the more difficult is eating food that at first try may seem to be a little on the bland side.  For people who persevere through the early changes in their diet, they tend to find that their tastes will change over time.  If you are finding the food you are eating is bland try some new vegan recipes and don’t be afraid to try new ingredients.

Lastly if you are considering changing your diet to vegan it might be a good idea to consult with your doctor before making any radical changes in your diet.  They may also be able to give you some advice on the subject as well.

Ingredients to Use In a Vegan Recipe

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

For people who are only new to the scene when it comes to being a vegan vegetarian there are a few hurdles to overcome before this lifestyle choice becomes second nature.  The first of these is to know what foods are vegan friendly and how to cook them to make great tasting vegan dishes.  To help you recognise vegan foods the following is some information on the more commonly available vegan foods and how to prepare them.

Many of the vegan friendly foods fall into the Soya category and feature products such as tofu, tempeh and TVP (textured vegetable protein) which are very versatile foods.  These products are great to cook with as they pick up the flavour of what they are cooked in and provide texture in the dish.  These products are also a good source of iron and calcium which is very important to people who are on a vegan vegetarian diet.  Soy milk and soya yoghurt are also popular ingredients for vegan recipes as a replacement for milk and regular yoghurt.  These products do taste different to the products that they are replacing however they are good to cook with, especially soy milk when used for baking.

The next big group of vegan recipe ingredients include chickpeas, split peas, lentils, peas, soya beans, peanuts, kidney beans and mung beans.  As with the foods in the soya group these ingredients contain high levels of protein, iron and soluble fibre.  Many of these items can be cooked into dishes such as a spicy curry or they can be added to a simple salad recipe.

Nuts and seeds are also important ingredients when it comes to cooking great vegan recipes.  This group of foods includes all the common nut types such as cashews, hazelnut and almond and also seeds such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and flaxseed.  These foods provide a large amount of protein in a vegan diet as well as calcium and magnesium.  Many vegan recipes use these ingredients in dishes such as stir-fry or mixed into a salad or pasta dish.

Other important ingredients in vegan recipes include oils that are a substitute for butter and cream.  These oils include olive oil, toasted sesame oil, hazelnut oil and coconut oils which are great for their aroma as well as the flavour they bring to the dish.

The vegan diet also includes fruit and vegetables, grains, herbs and spices and seaweed which are the more commonly recognised vegan foods.

Healthy Food For Pregnant Women – Helpful Hints If You’re a Vegetarian

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

When a woman becomes pregnant it is important for her to maintain a healthy diet as there is much demand on the body for nutrients and foods consumed to help nourish the baby in the womb.  Pregnant women on average need to increase their daily calories only slightly while carrying the baby and it is recommended that these calories should come nutrient dense foods.  Eating foods that have what is termed ’empty calories’ are the ones to stay away from.  These empty calorie foods include things such as soft drinks which can cause weight gain and be difficult to shed after the baby is born.

Pregnancy regardless of whether you are vegetarian or not places a great burden in the body.  To prepare for this it is important to eat and continue eating a diet that has healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables as well and calcium and protein rich foods.  Vegetarian women who are pregnant need the same amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that a non vegetarian pregnant women requires the only difference is the foods that are eaten to obtain this.  There are some great tips that can help when what food to eat which is healthy food for pregnant women.

When pregnant it is important to increase the amount of calcium rich foods in your diet.  For vegetarians that choose to eat dairy products this can be done easily by eating things such as yoghurt or milk.  For vegetarians on a stricter diet calcium can also be found in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables and also soy milks and cereals.

Another important vitamin that pregnant women need is vitamin B12 which needs to be sourced from vegetarian products that are fortified with B12.  This vitamin is one of few that is not contained in plant based foods but is required by women who are pregnant.

It is important also to check your iron in take before and during pregnancy as vegetarians often don’t get enough iron from the foods they eat.  The body needs more iron during pregnancy so it important to include dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as iron enriched products such as breads and cereals.  If you are not receiving the required amount through diet alone you may have to take supplements during pregnancy to increase your iron levels.