In our previous blog, The Green Diet: To Be Vegan or Vegetarian?, we are challenged to leap towards a green lifestyle.
Have you also taken part in that green leap towards a sustainable life?
A green diet is not as simple as it seems since you’ll have to sacrifice eating certain foods. But, if you’ve read our green diet blog, you will see how it is both healthful and eco-friendly.
Studies even show that a vegan or vegetarian diet can help do the following:
- Reduce your risk of getting heart disease by eliminating high cholesterol foods
- Lower your chances of getting colon cancer, and
- Helps in managing diabetes
Though plant-based diets have lots of health benefits, it is still important to get enough nutrients your body needs.
What Are the Key Nutrients for Vegans and Vegetarians?
Even vegans and vegetarians must make sure to get enough key nutrients our body needs to keep a sustainable life.
I’ve prepared a shortlist on where you can get these nutrients that fit your diet:
- Protein: Tofu, edamame, tempeh, veggie burgers with 5 or more grams of proteins, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, and higher-protein whole grains.
- Iron: Eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, soy-based foods, dried prunes, dried apricots, nuts, beans, legumes, and fortified whole wheat bread.
- Calcium: Cheese, yogurt, and milk, edamame, tofu, almonds, sesame tahini, calcium-fortified orange juice, soy or almond milk, collard greens, spinach, and bok choy
- Zinc: soybeans, soy milk, veggie “meats”, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, lentils, black-eyed peas, split peas, and wheat germ, cheese, and yogurt.
- Vitamin B12: Soy-based beverages, breakfast cereals, and fortified veggie “meats”.
- Riboflavin: Almonds, fortified cereals, mushrooms, soy milk, cow’s milk, and yogurt.
- Alpha-Linolenic Acid: Canola oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, walnuts, soybeans, tofu, and ground flaxseeds
- Vitamin D: Fortified soy milk, mushrooms, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice, fortified almond milk, fortified rice milk. Sunshine is also a great source of Vitamin D.
Given all these foods that have certain nutrients to keep us healthy, some people choose to take supplements to stay well-nourished.
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What are the Supplements for Vegans?
To make sure that one is getting enough of certain nutrients, people who are doing a vegan diet take supplements.
What are these? Check the list below:
- Vitamin B12 – helps in the formation of red blood cells, metabolizing proteins, and supports a healthy nervous system.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – a great source of healthful fats.
- Iron – plays a big role in building healthy blood cells.
- Calcium – in charge of bone and teeth formation, muscle function, and our heart’s well-being.
- Vitamin D – helps in regulating our mood, improves our immune system, and helps in the absorption of other nutrients to our body.
- Vitamin K-2 – helps in blood clotting and healing our wounds.
- Zinc – strengthens our immune system and improves our metabolism.
- Iodine – responsible for keeping our thyroid gland healthy.
How to Fight Fatigue on a Vegan Diet?
Whether you’re new to a vegan diet or have been doing it for a while, someday you will experience fatigue.
Here are some tips to fight fatigue:
- Get enough sleep
The most common reason for fatigue is not having enough sleep. Our body needs to have at least 8 hours of complete rest to recuperate. Once you get a good quality of sleep, you will most likely feel less fatigue.
- See doctors and be tested
Some fatigue can be cured by drinking appropriate supplements. Though, some are often associated to disease like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease which involves chronic inflammation of the thyroid.
Instead of waiting for too long, it is best to seek medication fast before it gets worst.
- More more protein
Eating protein-rich plant foods or plant-based protein powder supplements can help you feel less tired.
But remember despite the need to add more protein, you must avoid eating processed foods as they are not healthy. There are a variety of whole foods that you can eat that are also a great source of protein.
- Stress management
Too much stress can result in having low energy. Meditation, yoga, listening to music, or doing outdoor activities with friends are some ways to help you deal with stress.
If you can manage your stress level, then you’ll most likely feel less fatigue and more energy.
- Avoid too much exercise
Overexercise can lead to fatigue. If you want to maintain a healthy weight through exercise, then 30 minutes a day would be enough.
- Drink green tea
Drinking a glass of green tea can help fight fatigue. It also contains L-theanine which helps improve your focus and mood.
Eating plant-based food can often lead to feeling bloated and tired. To help improve your digestion, try sprouting your food.
If you want to know more about sprouting, you can check out our blog about growing your own sprouts.
Sugar is a good source of energy. But, instead of eating too much-refined sugar, it is best to eat natural sugars from fruits and dates. It is also healthier that way.
Though there are ways to fight fatigue, it is still best to consult medical advice if your fatigue doesn’t wear off.
Practicing a vegan or vegetarian diet does not automatically make you healthy. If not planned right, it can cause nutrient deficiencies. To ensure the sustainability of your green diet, make sure to plan it well first.