Tag Archives: healthy eating

Vegan nutrition

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WHAT IS VEGAN?

Vegan is a person who don’t eat, wear or use anything that comes from an animal. For example vegans don’t wear leather, use cosmetics which are tested on animals or eat animal products. So there are many things to write about veganism but on this post we are going to look into vegan nutrition. Stay tuned if you want to know more about vegan cosmetics or get some awesome vegan recipes those posts are coming soon!

Of course like in every type of diet it’s really important to make sure that your vegan diet is versatile and that you are getting all the nutritions. In my opinion eating on a vegan diet is very simple and getting all the nutritions doesn’t require a lot of work. That might be because few years of being vegan I am used to all of that. But still many people think that being vegan is really difficult and that you can’t get all nutrients on a vegan diet. I am going to tell you the most important things in vegan nutrition so after reading this you can easily follow healthy vegan nutrition rich diet!

 

PROTEIN

First let’s answer the most asked question about veganism “Where do you get your protein?” From plants of course! Actually all the protein is originally coming from plants. Animals can’t produce protein on their own so they also have to get it from their diet. Animals are getting their protein from plants and when we eat the animal we are getting our protein from that. Actually we need to feed 8 kilos of plant protein to an animal in order to get one kilo of animal protein.

If we are looking for high protein plants we have a lot of options for them!  For example chickpeas, lentils, tofu, soy, oat, nuts, spirulina, chia seeds, hemp seeds, quinoa and beans. We just have to be careful because meat and plant protein are a bit different. Meat has a complete amino acid profile and there is some vegetables which contain all of them like soy, hemp, quinoa and spirulina but most of vegetables does not. So in order to get all essential amino acids you have to keep your vegan diet versatile. Legumes lacks methionine and cysteine, and wheat lacks lysine. That’s why it’s good to combine different type of plant protein sources for example you can eat beans with grains and oatmeal with nuts and seeds. You can add peanut butter to whole wheat bread or make hummus from chickpeas and tahini.

 

B12

There is only one essential nutrient which is impossible to get from plant based diet. That’s vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a bacteria which we can’t produce on our own so it’s necessary to get in our diet.  Some animals can produce it in their intestinal and some animals are getting it from supplement and that’s why it is possible to get B12 from animal products. Of course vegans don’t eat any animal products so we have to get it somewhere else. We used to get B12 by just eating wild living plants and drinking water but modern world is so sterile that B12 bacteria doesn’t live in our ground anymore so only what we have left is supplementing it.

B12 deficiency can lead to serious nerve damage so it’s really important to every vegan supplement it. We have a lot of options of vitamin B12 in Anni’s vital shop. My favourite is Nordic Health B12 Boost spray. Just spray it under your tongue and that’s it! No need to get glass of water and swallow pills. Four sprays of this contains 1200ug of vitamin B12, 40ug of chromium, green tea extract and it’s sweetened with xylitol.

 

CALCIUM

When I tell people that I am vegan after asking about my protein the next question usually will be “How do you get enough calcium without cows milk?” Well easily! There are a lot of plant based calcium sources. Tofu, sesam seed, nettle, broccoli, kale, tahini, spinach, almonds, hazelnuts… Also many plant milks and yogurts are fortified with calcium. Of course if you are having hard time to make sure that you are eating some of these every day you it would be good to supplement it.

 

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IODINE

Iodine is necessary to us and our body can’t make it on it’s own so we have to get it from our food. Iodine is really important to our thyroid and if we aren’t getting it enough it can cause thyroid insufficiency. Mostly iodine is found in the ocean and that’s why seaweed is iodine rich. There are not so many iodine sources so it can be little bit difficult to get from food. Besides seaweed it’s found in fish, dairy and eggs, which obviously aren’t vegan. Nowadays it’s also added to some salts.

If you are vegan and don’t use iodine fortified salt or eat seaweed it might be good to supplement it. We have a great selection iodine supplements in Anni’s vital shop. I really like the solgar kelp one. It is made from seaweed named kelp. One capsule of these contains 200ug iodine which is 133% of daily recommendation.

 

OMEGA 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for us so it is really important to make sure that we are getting them enough from our food. When we say omega 3 people tend to think that it’s only fish where it’s coming from but actually there are also many plant based sources for omega 3. For example chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and avocado contains omega 3. If it’s difficult to you make sure that you are eating some of these every day it might be good idea to supplement it. For that there’s also vegan options. We have a good selection of those in Anni’s vital shop. Products that I like to use are Pharma Nord Omega 7 and Biosym VegOmega-3. Omega 7 is made of sea buckthorn oil and it contains omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 in a good balance. VegOmega-3 is made from algae and it has high content of omega 3.

 

VITAMIN D

It’s really difficult to get enough vitamin D from food, no matter what type of diet you are on, because fish and wild mushrooms are almost only food that contain even a little bit of vitamin D. Of course following vegan diet you can’t have it from fish so that is leaving you only mushrooms and I wouldn’t count on them. What we have left is supplementing it or getting it from the sun. Our skin can produce vitamin D from the sun if suns UV rays are close enough. For example in Finland there is only three months during whole year when suns UV rays are close enough to get you vitamin D from the sun. In Spain of course we have a little bit more sun than in Finland but even here it’s actually really hard to get it from the sun because you would have to be in the sun without clothes every day. That’s why I would recommend to every vegan and also non vegan to supplement vitamin D. There are two types of vitamin D. Our body can use either one so just take care you are getting one of those. D2 is always plant based and usually D3 is animal based, but there are some exceptions. Vitamin D3 is absorbed better than vitamin D2. We have in Anni’s vital shop Veg D-3 which contain 75ug vitamin D3.

 

MULTIVITAMIN

If you feel like you need a little more help to get all the vitamins and minerals, we have multivitamins which are specially made for vegans. Sometimes life can get a little busy and we don’t have so much time to make sure that we’re getting every nutrient so multivitamins can be good option for those periods of life. In our selection we have three different multivitamins which are specially for vegans. SpektroVEG, Longo Vital Vegan and Omni Vegan. They all contain a good amount of essential vitamins and minerals. These has also iodine, vitamin D and b12 in them so if you choose to buy one of these it might be only supplement you have to take.

 

 See you in the shop!

Milla – Anni’s Vital Shop, Los Boliches

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Festive food – watch out for those sweet treats!

 

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At this time of year, it’s very tempting to throw caution to the wind when it comes to what you eat.

From Christmas puds and yule logs to mince pies and candy canes, Christmas treats often come packed with sugar.

However, simple sugars are a source of calories that provide little in the way of nutrition or satiety (the feeling of fullness). As a result, it’s quite easy to consume sugar foods in excess, especially as they have an addictive quality and especially during the festive season. Simple dietary sugar can cause blood glucose highs and lows, the latter causing poor concentration, fatigue and of course sugar cravings, starting the cycle all over again.

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This overconsumption of sugars can lead to weight gain while being overweight or obese elevates the risk of type 2 diabetes development. Latest research has also indicated a link between higher levels of glucose in the brain and worsening symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
While sugar is not the sole cause of diabetes, it is a large contributing factor, but thankfully it’s something we can do something about.

Dietary considerations

The World Health Organisation has recommended that daily sugar intakes should be no more than 5% of total calorie intake (approximately 25g/day for an adult). Starchy carbohydrates (wholegrain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice ,etc.) are generally more slowly absorbed than their counterparts, making you feel fuller for longer and steadying blood sugar levels.

Adequate fruit and vegetable intake is vital, but the emphasis should be on vegetables. Vegetables offer a high density of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and typically low instrinsic sugar. Fibre-rich foods, healthy fats (such as oily fish) and lean protein are all healthy additions to a diet.

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Type 2 diabetes and obesity

If you’re overweight or obese, you may be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, as the pancreas struggles to produce enough insulin for the body’s needs. Fat tissue stored around the abdomen especially contributes to diabetes risk as it is considered highly hormonally active.

This tissue has been shown to produce pro-inflammatory compounds known as cytokines, which can cause pancreatic issues including diabetes. Working towards reducing this excess weight through exercise and healthy eating choices can significantly lower your diabetes risk.

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What else can you do to reduce your risk?

There are natural steps that can be taken to control blood glucose levels and to ensure that we can make the most of available sugars in our foods.

Research published in Panminerva Medica in June 2014 showed that an extract of maqui berries (known as Delphinol) can assist in the control of blood glucose, by reducing the rate at which glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream from the digestive tract. The active ingredient delphinidin was shown to inhibit the sodium glucose co-transporter (SGLT), which facilitates the uptake of glucose from food into the intestinal tissue and the blood, thus avoiding the sharp spikes in blood sugar which can result following eating.

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Chromium and blood glucose

The role of the trace mineral Chromium (found in small quantities of green leafy vegetables, poultry and nuts) in blood glucose management is well established. High blood sugar can also be a sign of chromium deficiency, and it can even resemble diabetes.

Adequate chromium intakes are necessary for optimum function of insulin and therefore, blood sugar regulation. When choosing to supplement with chromium, chloride or picolinate forms are common and typically have very low bioavailability (0.5-2%), meaning poor absorption from tablet to bloodstream.

ChromoPrecise® (an organically bound chromium yeast) demonstrated up to ten times the bioavailability of chloride or picolinate forms and has been approved by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) after extensive investigation. It has also been confirmed that ChromoPrecise helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

Be sugar smart

Controlling blood sugar can have a massive impact on health, beyond reducing the risk of developing or furthering diabetes. Good sugar control can be useful for:

· The maintenance of healthy weight
· Stable energy and concentration levels
· Controlling sweet and sugar cravings

So while it’s tempting to sink your teeth into some sweet Yuletide treats, being sugar smart could help you enjoy yourself way beyond Christmas and into the New Year.

 

Photos by Tiina Arminen