A good and balanced vegetarian diet must always give you all the nutrients that you need in order to achieve good health. In this blog, I am going to give you all the necessary foods that you need because it is important that you acquire a good balance of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrate and some fats too. There is a huge misconception in starters that being a vegetarian should eat only vegetables and not eat other foods. Always put in mind that though vegetables are healthy and can give you nutrients, they don't have everything that you need. Vegans should take enough amounts of proteins in eggs, lentils, tofu, nuts, pulses and dairy products. When combined with energy giving foods such as rice, pasta, wholegrains, potatoes and other starchy foods on a daily basis will give you your desired amount of nutrients.
This blog will be divided into two parts. I will first discuss three groups and then the other on the next part. :)
Okay! so let's get the ball rolling! First and foremost, as stated above, a well balanced vegan diet will never be complete with..
1.) Cereals, Grains and Potatoes
Why?? Simply because they contain your complex carbohydrates that are necessary in giving you energy for a hard day of work! These includes corn, millet, rye, barley, wheat, oats and rice and other starchy foods. Though these foods give you energy for work, there are also available the what we call bad carbohydrates. Put an eye on these types of carbo: REFINED sugars that are normally found in cakes, biscuits, and cereals that contain high amounts of sugar. Unable to control this will result in increase of blood sugar that may end up in having diabetes. The good ones that you should take are: UNREFINED sugars, wholemeal bread, pasta, potatoes with their skins on, and brown rice (I love brown rice and highly recommends it!). In addition, potatoes with skins provide Vitamin B and fibre as well as good amounts of nutrients and energy.
2.) Dairy and Non-Dairy ALTERNATIVES
Come on, who would not love these!! Cheese, milk and yogurt are one of my favorites and must not be removed on my diet! These dairy products are as great as meat products because they contain all essential amino acids for protein production and for maintenance and repair of the body. As a matter of fact, they are known as "first class" protein foods. However, take note that not all dairy products are good because cream, butter and cheese are high in saturated fat. Low-fat cheese must be used such as mozarella, cheddar, feta etc. Milk, yogurt and these kinds of cheese provides good amount of Vitamin A, Calcium, B12 and Vitamin D that is necessary for good eyesight, strong bones, healthy nervous system and good absorption of Vitamin C in the body. Indeed, these dairy products have good amounts of essential nutrients but they also come with the price. Good thing, there are alternatives now that you can choose from. They are soya, nuts, oats and eggs. Take note that 3-4 eggs are maximum that is recommended in a week.
3.) Fruits and Vegetables
Because you are a vegan, this should be included!! It will play a major role in the success of your diet. They are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are known to be low in fat and does not give you too much calories. Moreover, studies show that some of the natural compounds of plants have abilities on preventing cancer, heart disease arthritis and may aid in diabetes. These natural compounds are collectively known as phytochemicals that are contained inside the plant. As a tip, to have the full benefits of these natural compounds, it is advisable that you eat five (5) different kinds of fruit and vegeetables a day. Some of the vegetables may also contain anti-oxidants that can fight aging and support your immune system giving you healthy and energized body.