Vegans do not consume any animal food and often do not, either, use animal products.
For some, it is just a matter of eating, on the other side for most vegans it is about how we interpret our world overall. Vegans want to contribute to a sustainable life on our planet, leaving as little carbon footprint as possible and not engaging at all in any cruel treatment of animals.
It is always a good practice to double check any lifestyle that we adopt (or intend) to adopt. So what is missing here?
Two vitamins are missing in a vegan diet.
  1. vitamin B12: Its only source is just from animal food. If you have heard that it is also produced by bacteria in our intestines, a point for you, but those bacteria produce it for your own use. The vegan solution is via dietary supplements.
  2. vitamin D: the source is via animal foods and sunlight. In our winters, it is necessary to replenish via tablets or drops.
Vegans may have also a shortage of some microelements. Appropriate food combinations will eliminate this risk:
  • Iron, of course, is found in plant sources, which, however, only have a significantly lower absorption capacity. About 5% against 22% of animal sources. That is why it is necessary to use all means that can increase the absorption to a sufficient level;
  • vitamin C (for vegans) and omitting coffee and tea. Herbal sources of iron are (dried) fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  • Zinc: vegans have fewer options but can get it from legumes or cereal sprouts.
  • Calcium: as with iron, it is not so much about resources but absorption. We will increase it with sufficient intake of vitamin D (which in contrast may be lacking in vegans), movement and diet without sugar. Vegetable sources are broccoli, cabbage, kale, poppy, and almonds.
  • Selenium: may be in short supply wherever arable land is poor on selenium. Brazil nuts are, for example, a good source.
People who do not know veganism will most often argue that vegans lack protein.

Proteins are not a problem, it’s up to their building blocks, amino acids. Achieving a sufficient amount of all essential amino acids in a vegan diet requires always combining whole grain cereals with legumes and/or nuts. The problem lies in the mechanism of limited amino acids. We will use all the amino acids only to the least represented level. While all are well represented in meat, there is always one amino acid too little in plant sources. A suitable combination will increase the limit amino acid and consequently the usability of all amino acids.

Danica Dobisová
Psychologist and nutritional counsellor. I help people to lose weight without dieting and forever. I follow the principles of mindful eating and teach people what and when to eat and how to create healthy eating habits. Here is more information.
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