With so many conflicting views in the media about whether a vegan diet is healthy or not, I thought some of you may be interested to see how my blood test results looked after becoming vegan. Of course, please keep in mind that there are MANY kinds of ways to eat as a vegan so not everyone’s levels of nutrients will look the same. However, including a variety of whole, plant foods in your day-to-day meals will help you reach optimal levels of almost every nutrient your body needs. The exceptions, however, are B12 and vitamin D. I take a vegan B12 supplement to ensure I have enough. For vitamin D, I get plenty of sunshine and use almond milk fortified with vitamin D. If you are eating a vegan diet and are not feeling your best, you should get your levels tested to see if there is a nutrient you should eat more of. There is no reason to be eating animal products when we can be at our optimal health eating plants! ☺
I highlighted some of the nutrients I thought people might find most important. Protein seems to be everyone’s favorite because everyone is always asking, “Where do vegans get their protein?!”. Contrary to popular belief, we can get plenty of protein just from eating a variety of vegan foods. Some of my favorite foods that are high in protein are beans, chickpeas, broccoli, tofu, peanut butter, vegan protein powder, spinach, lentils, and quinoa. Do not worry about ever being protein deficient, it is not possible unless you simply are not eating enough calories. I also highlighted calcium because everyone thinks we need cow’s milk to reach out calcium needs. This is definitely not true at all! Why would we ever need another animal’s milk in our body? I get plenty of calcium by incorporating plenty of vegetables, beans, and legumes into my diet. I also like to use non-dairy milk in my smoothies, cereals, protein shakes, and oatmeal. Almond milk, soy milk, and other nondairy milks are often fortified with calcium and other nutrients (sometimes even b12!).
Just remember, if you are feeling unhealthy on a vegan diet, get your blood tested to see if there is a nutrient you can improve. Any nutrient deficiency can be improved without animal products. For example, if you are low in iron, you can take a vegan iron supplement or add more iron-rich foods into your diet such as quinoa, collard greens, tofu, lentils, and mushrooms. I hope this post helped calm the worries that anyone may have about whether vegans are prone to deficiencies. I have never felt better than I do now and I want others to have the ability to feel this way too!