Vegan Diet

There’s been a lot of social awareness of the meat and poultry industry and how animals are treated lately. In order to support humane treating of animals a lot of people are converting over to being vegan. However, what if the vegan diet doesn’t suit you? And how would you know??

Here’s some tips which we see in clinic which might help you navigate around some sustainable humanitarian choices.

  1. 3 major nutritional deficiencies in the vegan diet:
    1. B12 – found in meat.
    2. Iron – challenging to get good amounts from plant based sources.
    3. Essential amino acids – protein. These are the 12 amino acids we can’t make ourselves and the only sources which contain them all in one hit are animal based products. On top of that it is very hard to consistently group these amino acids together from different sources it takes a lot of digestive energy.

This doesn’t mean the vegan diet is’t suitable for humans but what it does mean is that many people will find it challenging to maintain a true vegan diet depending on the levels of toxin exposure (even environmentally in a city) and how busy they are. This is for two major reasons: we need proteins for the liver to work properly such as: detoxing everything out of the body in a timely and efficient manner (including hormones we make ourselves), making and maintaining normal skeletal muscle and making hormones (including female, male and everyday hormones to sleep and be awake).

Is it possible to get B12 & iron from plant based sources?

Yes, except for B12. We do make some B12 in our digestive tract but not a lot. Therefore finding a good B12 supplement or book in for intra venous B12 will be important for someone converting to vegan diet. Iron from plant based sources is challenging as the amounts of iron in plants can be low and therefore more food is required to obtain a decent amount of iron (depending on the persons requirements), which can in turn demand more from the digestive system. It might be best to source out a good iron supplement to help with iron levels too. Your Naturopath can help with good bio-available options of both of these nutrients as many iron supplements can make people constipated.

 

  1. Plant based diets can be really healthy but if not done correctly are high in carbs.

I’ve seen a lot of people start a vegan diet but still have a lot of breads, grains and therefore high carb foods in their daily diet. Breads and grains are nutritionally poor protein substitutes. Depending on how well the individual’s body processes carbs or how active they are will depend on the outcome. For some it will result in poor immunity. For others it may result in weight gain. For others again it may result in what seems like no weight gain but in actual fact they’re losing muscle and gaining fat, so they will start to notice less muscle tone. This is called sarcopenic obesity or skinny fat.

  1. Plant based diets can be really healthy but if it’s any healthier than what the previous diet was it means there was a lot of non-healthy foods in the diet.

These people will probably feel really good for a while, comment on how healthy they feel but if they were previously eating a lot of take aways, drive through foods and had their hands in the cookie jar it’s a poor comparison to a healthy diet with some meat for protein. Therefore a vegan diet maybe good for a period of time to detoxify and then re-introduce some good meat based protein a couple of times a week.

Choices:

  1. We don’t need to have meat every day. It may be best for you to have meat, poultry and fish twice weekly with the other meals being vegan options.
  2. There are some Happy Meat SourcesĀ available. Source out some local, organic, sustainable and humane meat brands. This may mean dong some research and chatting to your local butcher as to the source, but it is well worth it!

 

Georgia the Naturopath ?

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