Are Vegans Really Missing Nutrients?

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Here is something that has always intrigued me. A claim that, just because you eat a Vegan style diet, you aren't getting enough of the right types of nutrients. And since we are around the time of the year that focuses on us eating lots of food, why not just leave this right here?

Having a background in personal training, I wasn't ever sure that I was completely sold on this. Now I will state that I do not have a background in nutrition, but being a personal trainer does require some knowledge of the topic. Trainers do often provide meal plans for their clients as well.

So naturally when curiosity peaks, I did some research on the topic to share with you guys. Selfishly I also wanted to ensure that I was incorporating anything my body may have been missing.

Just so we understand each other, when I speak of vegan eating habits, I am referring to the eating of a plant based diet only. In case you are wondering what is the difference between being vegan and vegetarian, vegetarians still consume dairy and eggs. 

So now that we have the cleared up, on with the research findings!

The following nutrients are claimed to be missing from the vegan diet:

  1. Vitamin B12

    • One of the eight B vitamins. Also called cobalamin, are micro-organisms that have a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system via synthesis of myelin, and the formation of red blood cells.

  2. Calcium

    • Essential for healthy bone growth and development, muscle contraction, heart action, and normal blood clotting.

  3. Iron

    • The mineral that is essential for transportation of oxygen throughout the body via hemoglobin in red blood cells

  4. Zinc

    • An essential trace element for its physiological role such as a cofactor of many enzymes

      • Further detail - enzymes are biological molecule that speed up the rate of virtually all chemical reactions in cells

Let's take a look at each one individually.

  1. Vitamin B12 can also be found in many soy and rice beverages. Also, soy based meat products are often fortified with it. The best way to prevent the under consumption of this vitamin is to eat fortified foods two to three times daily or consume enough supplementation to offset. Either one daily, of at least 10 micrograms, or one weekly, of at least 2000 micrograms.

  2. Calcium is probably one of the easiest things to supplement for, majorly because this is something that both vegans and non-vegans consume with the same food. I would almost argue that this is probably one of the things thrown out by major food corporations to fight against a lifestyle that doesn't include their products. Foods that are high in calcium can include kale, okra, spring greens, dried figs, almonds, and chia seeds.

  3. Iron is another assumed "missing" product of the vegan diet. While I certainly fail to see the correlation that this will be missing if you are a vegan, some may argue otherwise. If you're looking to add more Iron into your diet, look to consume foods such as lentils, chick peas, beans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, kale, raisins, quinoa, and fortified cereals.

  4. Zinc is pretty much found in anything that Iron is found in, with the exception of some wholemeal breads. So yet again, we are failing to see any correlation of this missing from a vegan diet.

Now cooking vegan style foods is another great topic, but we will save that for a later post!

I hope this helps provide a little more clarity on why it isn't truly difficult to consume a vegan diet. As always, thanks for tuning in, and that is your Daily Dose of Dapperness!

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