I have been vegetarian for 15 years, and vegan for 9 of those years. I have gone through good health, bad health, stressful times and happy times, had my blood and body tested, used different vitamins and supplements and researched nutrition the entire time.
That said, these are still only my recommendations. I am not a doctor or certified nutritionist. But, here is what works for me, to be a healthy vegan. Please scroll down.
Thompson all in one vegan multiple vitamin
WHAT TO DO - VEGAN NUTRITION
1) DAILY MULTI-VITAMIN
Containing B-12. Liquid or powdered is easiest to absorb. I recommend one with iron in it, and which has 100% of your vitamins in just one pill.
My current favorite is Thompson All in One. It's VERY low cost, It contains iron & B-12 (great for vegans!), you only have to take ONE to get 100% of all those great vitamins (ever notice some bottles want you to take 6 horse pills?) it's powdered in a veggie cap (non animal gelatin).
The vitamin content on this pill is listed here:
A vegan cannot get b-12 though their diet unless they are in countries which have dirtier water and vegetables (it is a bacterial vitamin needed in very small amounts). Certain groups of Iranian vegans have reported no b-12 deficiencies without supplementation, possibly due to their soil composting/manure fertilizing practices which are very high in b-12.
Note to Vegans: IF you refuse to take a Multi-vitamin, at LEAST take some b-12 once a week. Stop worrying about what is natural or not - very little is natural about the meat eating diets. If all it takes to help animals is to consume a b-12 pill, then do it. Remember that all diets have their own deficiencies - otherwise the government wouldn't require supplementation such as iodine in salt, vitamins A&D in milk, etc. Not ensuring your b-12 intake will make you perniciously anemic, and can cause permanent brain damage. You will feel dizzy, spinning at the top of your head, and a cloud over your eyes. If you are deficient, take some every day. It takes about 3 months to get back to top notch form, then take it once a week or just take the multi-vitamin I recommended.
Note to non-vegans: ANYONE over the age of 50 is recommended to take a B-12 supplement. Your levels decline over 50 especially in our sanitized environment. Once I told an elderly non-vegetarian lady at the gym with no energy to take it, and she came back so peppy and happy the next week and thanked me for all her new energy with a huge kiss on the cheek.
**NOTE** some people are saying vegans do not need to consume b-12 and that deficiency is a myth. I find these people to be harming veganism, as healthy vegans will do more for the world. I became deficient and pernaciously anemic and so did some of my friends. We are all now in amazing health and vital, by taking our vitamins. It's THAT EASY! (so get over it and do it!)
SEE MY HUB ON HOW TO CURE VEGAN ANEMIA, (iron driven) if you are weak, dizzy, or have no energy:
2) DAILY OMEGA FATTY ACIDS
Did you ever get dandruff? Eat a handful of raw walnuts each day and watch what happens. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for your skin and hair, dandruff, nails, etc
Dha is the long chain of Omega 3. Eat SOME of one of the following foods EVERY DAY:
a) A cup of SILK soymilk FORTIFIED with Omega 3 and DHA
b) 1-2 Tablespoons Organic Raw Hemps Seeds (whole foods bulk bins are cheap)
c) RAW walnuts (full of OMEGA 3)
d) Ground fresh and raw flaxseeds or unheated flax oil (1tablespoon per day)
e) Non-hydrogenated margarine with OMEGAs such as NUCOA, EARTH BALANCE, or SMART BALANCE (vegan style, only use in addition to one of these other items daily, do NOT use hydrogenated margarines if possible) (I tablespoon contains 400mg, you need about 1.5 grams per day)
f) Crisco oil (NOT HEATED) Fortified with OMEGA 3 and DHA (salad oil, on bruschetta, etc)
g) chia seeds (can also be soaked in water as an egg substitute)
An explanation of food labels:
Monounsaturated fats mean OMEGA 9. Not as important to try to get, as these are NOT essential fatty acids. Your body can CREATE omega 9. However, these are still considered "healthy" fats. Monounsaturated fats are good for high heat cooking as they do not get easily destroyed (ie: olive oil).
Polyunsaturated fats mean Omega 3&6. VERY important to get in your diet as your body CANNOT manufacture these essential fats. A healthy diet should consist of roughly two to four more times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. I am not sure currently how to find out what the ratio is as currently our badly labeled foods group both Omega 3 and Omega 6 as "polyunsaturated" fats. Most American get much more Omega 6 than they need so I recommend you concentrate on getting Omega 3 in your diet. Remember, no high heat for polyunsaturated fats!
Simply put, look for food labels which contain "polyunsaturated fat"
MINERALS - I AM NOW AND CURRENTLY EXPERIMENTING WITH THE USE OF SOME MINERAL DROPS I ADD TO WATER. The drops contain tons of minerals, even tin, gold, etc. I will let you know how it goes. So far, I feel GREAT taking minerals!
3) WEEKLY ENZYMES AND PROBIOTICS
Ever feel like your stomach was a brick? These digest fats, carbs and proteins. We kill them with irradiation, anti-biotics, and more. Take them to help you digest.
Once day or at least once a week, take a vegetarian ENZYME pill and a PROBIOTIC PILL. I prefer enzymes with high Lipase content which digest fats. But Lipase is more expensive.
Soy yogurt also has pro-biotics. Sometimes you need to help your stomach break down vegan food, it has so much fiber and doesn’t sit in our system rotting. It goes thru fast! ;-) So chew well & find a pill with the most number of enzymes and pro-biotics in the ingredient list.
4) DAILY WHOLE PROTEINS, VEGGIES AND CARBS
The World Heath Organization recommends you only get 5% of your daily calories from protein. Fortunately, protein can be obtained from plants.
Protein is composed of "amino acids." You hear of the 9 essential amino acids, because these are the acids your body cannot create. We have to ingest them to make protein in our bodies.
When you eat the nine essential amino acids, your body then combines these with the amino acids it already makes to form your brand of human protein.
It's very important to ensure you are getting all of the essential amino acids.
Amino acids are in a variety of foods. But some amino acids are harder to get than others, and it’s been shown that the amino acids lysine (builds muscles), proline and choline, and green tea can stop the spread of cancer.
So eat a lot of variety in your diet, including healthy things like alfalfa sprouts. Vegetarians should eat quinoa (an extra healthy ancient grain with good fats and hard to get proteins, cook it like couscous), beans and rice, peanuts and peanut butter, sunflower seeds, lentils, peas, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli for harder to find amino acids.
I normally also do a good protein powder smoothie, like a hemp protein powder, or MLM veggie protein, with all the amino acids in the proper amounts in the morning with soy lecithin and chocolate syrup.
Fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks and salads, side dishes, etc, are essential! Vegetables make a vegetarian feel better. If you are "craving" something it is probably either water, or a fresh fruit or vegetable. It sounds silly to mention it to vegans, but the modern vegan can get away with eating junk food, sodas, fries, processed vegan deli slices, vegan chicken nuggets, and more.
Carbs are our body's favored energy source. They got a bad name because of refined carbs, such as white flour and sugar, cakes, cookies, etc.
But in countries where whole carbs are eaten as a base food (such as corn, beans, etc) the people are healthy and have normal body weights.
So instead of getting rid of carbs, try instead to only eat WHOLE UNREFINED carbs. This means, unrefined sugar, whole sprouted breads, etc. Of course I eat pancakes too and I love white flour. But try to balance it out with these healthy foods all the time.
A note on WHEAT GERM: incredibly good for you, wheat germ and wheat grass juice is anti cancer, containing b-17, and much more. WHEAT GERM is the part of wheat which is taken out, to create white flour, and thrown away. It is what grows the wheat grass juice. This is NOT a bad carb. Sprouted whole breads such as ezekiel breads use the entire kernel of wheat to sprout, so therefore contain wheat germ. Or, I recommend getting a bag of wheat germ and sprinkle some on your oatmeal, try to eat some as often as possible. It is chock full of vitamin E and very important hard to get amino acids.
5) WATER AND OIL
Many people know to use olive oil to cook with, but don't like the taste. IF that's you, get the "light" olive oil. It has no flavor but the same great heat resisting qualities. Sunflower oil contains vitamin e, walnut oil may contain some Omega Fatty Acids, but many oils are sensitive to heat. So any oil with sensitive omegas or vitamins, I use as salad/bruschetta oil, and I use the light olive oil to cook with.
A GLASS WHEN YOU FIRST WAKE, THEN LOTS MORE IN THE DAY! I am currently experimenting with what is called ionized water, even though I have read that it is likely a scam. It does make me thirstier, maybe because I am thinking about drinking it all the time!
Because I hate drinking water, I like to put a little sweetener in. IF you can enjoy the taste of stevia, these are natural (plant) zero calorie sweeteners you might put in your water, maybe with a slice of lemon. This and tea gets me drinking water all day long! Green tea is antibacterial and anti-cancer, so gargle with it when you are sick, and drink it a lot.
6) HAVE YOUR BLOOD TESTED
I payed a mint (at that time, $600), to have my blood tested by Dr. Klaper. But it was well worth it. He had everything imaginable tested - from my metabolism to vitamin levels, protein levels, fatty acids, parasites, vectors for degenerative diseases, and more. I took a two week food journal and had a half hour consult with the doctor. Plus, my results were put into the vegan health study (people of all diets are welcome as control groups) and I was sent a custom order form to fill my specific nutritional deficiencies, if I so wished. I was able to improve my health a lot by researching which foods contained the nutrients I was low in. Believe me, the cost (now around 800) is much better than hospital bill costs and pain costs later on in life.
Here is the Doctor's info:
Dr. Klaper's Health Study
- Clinical Research on Vegan Diet and Health
Health Study available to people of all diets to learn their nutritional deficiencies
7) MOST IMPORTANT - DON'T WORRY
Just take your B-12 and follow as many of these recommendations as you can, whenever you can. I do just fine and while I "know" I should take my multi-vitamin EVERY day, it happens more like a couple times a week. The same thing goes for all of this advice. Just do as much of it as you can, as often as you can. And then don't worry, be happy now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!