It’s no secret that switching your diet to vegan or a more plant-based diet can have many benefits… if done right. Making that switch and ensuring you are eating a healthy diet has its challenges, and if you don’t do it right, you may find yourself facing nutritional deficiencies.
Eating a diet free of animal products means you have a more limited variety of food to choose from, and the nutrition you would normally easily find in animal products must be sourced elsewhere.
To successfully make the switch, you should be aware of the deficiencies you are trying to avoid and an alternative source to get your complete nutrition from.
BENEFITS OF A VEGAN DIET
Before we discuss the challenges that come with a vegan diet, discuss why overcoming these challenges is well worth it. Research has shown that people who adhere to a vegan diet tend “to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart disease.”
If done correctly, with a diet made up of a wide variety of unprocessed and completely natural foods, you will see positive benefits that will improve your overall health.
Losing weight can have a lot of health benefits on its own. It has endless health benefits, such as lowering your risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, and reduce blood pressure, just to name a few. Many people also seek to lose weight to look and feel better.
It can also help you feel more energized and less fatigued.
If you want to shed a few pounds, eating a clean vegan diet can be a great way to go. Studies show that, in general, a vegan diet can help you lose more weight in comparison to other diets.
Reduce Risk of Type II Diabetes
A vegan diet has been shown to lower the risk of type II diabetes, as they tend to have lower blood sugar levels and higher insulin sensitivity.
Following a vegan diet has also shown to have benefits for people who already have type II diabetes. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 43% of participants following a vegan diet were able to lower their dosage of blood-sugar-reducing medication, compared to only 26% of participants following a conventional ADA-diabetic recommended diet.
Cancer of any type is the last thing any of us want to go through. However, the risk of developing some type of cancer in your lifetime is higher than you may realize. Statistically, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the US will develop some type of cancer.
Out of those patients, 1 in 5 will die from their cancer. There are many things we can do to help lower our risk of developing cancer, including eating a vegan diet. Research suggests that those who follow a vegan diet reduce their risk of dying from cancer by 15%.
Eating a diet free of animal products, including dairy, and eating more fruits, veggies, and legumes may have cancer-protecting benefits, including against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
Lowers Heart Disease
Studies have shown that eating a diet free of animal products may reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 43% by reducing blood pressure and lowering blood sugar.
WHY VEGANS NEED TO FOCUS ON AVOIDING DEFICIENCY
The vegan diet is on the rise, and so is the number of people eating the wrong diet. A healthy vegan diet means you need to focus on eating a diet full of whole food and avoiding anything processed. One of the biggest reasons people fail to succeed in maintaining a vegan diet is because of the foods they choose to eat.
There are so many processed vegan alternatives, and a vegan diet goes bad in two ways. 1) Either you are not focusing on enough whole, unprocessed foods or 2) even worse, you are eating a diet full of junk food, providing your body with little nutritional value or variety.
Not eating the right foods is one of the biggest reasons vegan diets tend to fail.
Remaining on a vegan diet that is not making up these nutritional deficiencies can lead to greater health problems, including:
- Lower bone density
- Fatigue and weakness
- Developmental delays
- Higher risk of mental impairments
- Nerve damage
- Higher risk of heart disease
Falling into an unhealthy vegan diet is easy, especially if you don’t understand the foods you are eating. Too many people think they can just remove animal products from their diet, and they are automatically eating a healthier diet.
To be a successful vegan, you need to understand what your body needs to be healthy, the nutrition of the foods you are eating, and what deficiencies you are more at risk of.
TOP THREE DEFICIENCIES VEGANS NEED TO AVOID
When you eat a vegan diet, you are not consuming any animal products, which can be an important source of key nutrients, including protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and many vitamins and minerals.
Just because you are not consuming a diet of animal products does not mean that there is no other way to get these nutrients.
Here are the top 3 deficiencies of a vegan diet and how to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
When most people think of a vegan or plant-based diet, their first thought immediately goes to the protein source. Animal products are an easy source of protein and the most commonly eaten source.
Although there are a wide variety of plant-based protein sources that are easy to consume, this is still a large deficiency among people just starting a vegan diet and those who are not following a healthy vegan diet.
Some of the most popular sources of protein for vegans include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Some veggies (such as asparagus, spinach, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and sweet potatoes)
These are all great sources of protein, but of course, they are not the only options.
One great option to make sure you get enough protein is a vegan protein supplement, such as Detox Organics Daily Protein. Not only is this vanilla protein powder vegan, but it is also organic, non-GMO, and soy-free.
Every serving of the Detox Organics Daily Protein contains 21 grams of protein, derived from pumpkin seeds, hemp, quinoa, and brown rice.
Although the amount of protein someone needs varies by individual, for most people, this is a large percentage of their recommended daily protein intake. This protein supplement is delicious and can easily be added to shakes, desserts, recipes, or simply mixed with water or your favorite vegan milk.
The most common sources for omega-3 fatty acids include fish and eggs. However, if you are following a vegan diet, these are both sources that will not exist within your plan.
Not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can result in dry skin, poor concentration, increased joint pain, lower brain function, higher risk of eyesight problems, and weight gain.
If you are eating a vegan diet, there are alternative sources for omega-3, without having to rely on supplements.
Try adding some chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds to your diet. If you are consuming Detox Organics Daily Protein you will also be getting a dose of omega-3 through the hemp protein.
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, is an essential fatty acid, meaning that our body does not produce it on its own so it is essential that we consume it through food sources. CLA is typically found in animal products, such as beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, and pork. It can also be found in dairy products, such as swiss, yogurt, sour creams, butter, and cottage cheese.
If you are consuming a vegan diet, then this is one essential fatty acid you are most likely not getting, and not because it doesn’t exist in plant sources.
CLA can be found in white button mushrooms, pomegranate seed oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil. The reason most vegans may not be getting CLA in their diet is simply that the products they are in are not the most commonly used items.
To ensure you are getting CLA in your diet, be sure you are including one of these oils or white button mushrooms.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Following a vegan diet without awareness can lead to a deficiency in some vitamins and minerals. Three of the most common of which are B-12, zinc, and iron. Deficiency in vitamins and minerals can have adverse effects on your health, including a decreased immune system, fatigue, muscle aches, fatigue, anemia, and skin problems.
For those not following a vegan diet, vitamin B-12 is most commonly sourced from dairy, meat, and eggs. However, if you are on a vegan diet, you can still get your source of B-12 from nutritional yeast, marmite + yeast spreads, almond milk, tempeh, chlorella, seaweed, and cremini mushrooms.
Consumers of animal products often get their source of zinc from red meat and poultry, but if you are removing animal sources from your diet, you can still get this vitamin from legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Most people get iron from eggs, chicken, red meat, and seafood. If you are adhering to a vegan diet, alternative plant sources include lentils, beans, tofu, fortified cereals, nuts, seeds, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
To maintain a healthy vegan diet, be sure you include the recommended foods above to avoid a vitamin or mineral deficiency. An alternative solution is to use Detox Organics Daily Superfoods, which provides over 25 organic ingredients that provide you with B-12, zinc, and iron. This chocolate supplement is easy to include in your daily diet. Simply mix with your favorite vegan milk or add it to your favorite recipe for an added chocolate kick.
TAKE THE VEGAN CHALLENGE AND GIVE YOUR HEALTH A BOOST
Although many people may face some challenges when constructing a healthy vegan diet, they can easily be overcome with the right food sources. The health benefits of eating a vegan diet cannot be overlooked, and if you are following a vegan diet, or are wanting to make the switch, be sure to do your research, learn about the nutritional value of the foods you are eating, and avoid these three major deficiencies.
Also, be sure to check out the vegan products from Detox Organics. We make maintaining a healthy vegan diet easy and delicious!