- NUTRITIONAL WELLNESS
- KNOW YOUR SERVING
- BODY SMART
- MEAL PLANNING
- TIPS & TRICKS
- UNDERSTANDING FOOD LABELS
Vegans are vegetarians but differ from them when it comes to their selection of foods: they not only avoid meat and fish; they also abstain from milk and dairy products, eggs and animal fats. Many vegans also avoid honey.
Veganism – a lifestyle choice
It is estimated that 10% of vegetarians eat purely plant foods. This is often for ethical reasons, for instance the rejection of inappropriate methods of livestock breeding and animal transportation. Vegans often apply this approach to other aspects of their life as well. For instance, many of them do not wear clothing made of leather or wool. Generally speaking, vegans live a healthy life compared with the average population: they play sport more, hardly smoke at all and are almost teetotal.
Plant foods with good quality protein
Protein is an important nutrient for muscles, organs, the skin, hair and nails. Enzymes and hormones also consist of protein. Our body’s defences also only function to the best of their ability with protein. Animal foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products provide a large amount of high-quality protein. Plant foods such as grains, potatoes and pulses also contain protein. If vegans combine plant foods skilfully, the supply of protein is generally assured.
The following contain plenty of high-quality protein:
- Bean salad with sweetcorn
- Lentil soup with bread
- Dishes made from soya and millet
Iron plus vitamin C – a good combination
The trace element iron is vital for blood formation and transporting oxygen around the body. Iron from plant sources, for instance wholegrain products, is not as well absorbed by the body as iron from animal food sources. However, if we consume vitamin C and iron from plant sources at the same time, we can utilise them better.
Tip: drinking fruit juice rich in vitamin C at mealtimes, or having a fruit salad as a dessert, improves the supply of iron. On the other hand, black tea and coffee can reduce iron absorption. They absorb iron and other minerals which are then no longer available to the body.
Vitamin B12 and calcium – for nerves, blood and bones
Vitamin B12 is especially important for a well-functioning nervous system and blood formation. Only animal foods such as meat contain ample amounts of it. Milk and dairy products provide vitamin B12 and, in addition, plenty of calcium for strong bones. Foods enriched with vitamin B12 and calcium, for instance multivitamin juices, cereals and soya milk can help to provide for a vegan’s requirements. Although various algae products also contain vitamin B12, this is mostly in its inactive form, and cannot be utilised by the body.