T Nation

Fixing Veganism


#1

What are issues that vegans may face for lack of nutritional knowledge? How would you fix it?What would a vegan “food pyramid” look like?

ex. There are benefits to fats (saturated) that are found in animal meat how would a vegan get it?

@mertdawg any input would be appreciated.


#2

I believe that @Singhbuilder is a vegan. Maybe he will chime in.


#3

In for this.


#4

The following considerations are important if you are thinking about a vegan diet (anyone please feel free to add to this list if I forgot something):

  • protein (include sufficient amino acid diversification and sufficient quantity for your goals)
  • calories
  • B12, Iron, Zinc, Calcium
  • Omega 3 fatty acids

A multivitamin can get you B12, Iron, Zinc, and Calcium. With regard to Omega 3 fatty acids, you can take algae Omega 3 supplements (this is actually why fish oil is a good supplement for getting Omega 3s; fish feed their fat little fish faces on algae).

With regard to protein, if you are strength training, it will be helpful to drink a protein supplement unless you want to be eating tofu and seitan all day. A good one is Vegan Protein Optimizer by True Nutrition. It actually has iron in it, so since some multivitamins don’t have much or any iron, you can get your iron there.

Also, many plant proteins are not absorbed as efficiently as animal proteins, and they are lower in certain amino acids than animal proteins. Thus, a vegan strength trainee will have to eat a bit more protein than the equivalent omnivore to get comparable benefits.

Vegetables and fruits are pretty awesome for keeping the pipes flowing, but most are not calorically dense. Natural peanut butter, nuts, rice, noodles, oils, starchy veggies, oats & almond / cashew milk, candy (if you have a hard time gaining weight), dark chocolate (many dark chocolates are actually vegan), etc., are good for gaining weight.

My current, cheap, college student, impatient bastard vegan diet is as follows:

Breakfast
Protein powder 1 scoop
Some breakfast thing; perhaps involving peanut butter, fruit, etc.; maybe protein bar

Snack
Protein powder 1 scoop
Black beans
Big salad with lemon oil and raspberry vinegar

Lunch
Protein powder 1 scoop
Big-ass natural peanut butter banana sandwich on wheat bread
Big salad with lemon oil and raspberry vinegar

Dinner
Protein powder 1 scoop
Lentils / rice / tofu chili / vegetable soup / going out to eat with friends
Sometimes sweet potatoes / squash & okra

Throw some nuts & candy & various other items in there (as well as the vitamins I take), and that’s pretty much it. Cheap, quick, and easy.

With regard to a food pyramid, I think you would obviously include fruits and vegetables. Everyone should have those in their diet regardless of whether they are omnivorous, vegetarian, or vegan. You would want to include some fats as well. Peanut butter, oils, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, nuts, etc. Not sure what else. Perhaps whole grains and such. Really, I think as long as you follow some of the principles I talked about above, you will be fine.


#5

Been thinking about this. Main problem is that plants don’t have muscles and organs built on protein. Their structure comes primarily from cellulose and they movebf hydraulics. Most protein in plants are really variations on enzymes. As a result, large polypepytided from plants tend to be toxic or allergenic and are “supposed” to make the plant less palatable or less digestible. Is there such a thing as hydrolyzed plant protein? Go for that. Nuts, seeds, legumes are all basically toxic armor for the reproductive mechanism of plants. Hydrolyzed amino acids and di and tri peptides though are too small to be recognized by the immune system as antigens.

I definitely think that if you are going with whole plant proteins it is better to try to stick to a moderate protein diet 120 or so grams a day. I would not go for 200+ grams of whole plant protein because whole plant proteins are, by nature, allergenic and inflammatory. Maybe hydrolyzed pea protein?