28 October 2008

vegan MoFo: nutrition series

It seems like every time someone hears that I'm a vegan, they have some word of caution or recommendation. If they aren't telling me about how I really should at least eat fish or drink milk, they're worrying about my intake of iron, protein, calcium, or vitamin B. I do my best to refrain from pointing out how my diet is probably much healthier than their's (although sometimes I can't help myself); instead, I try to think of their concern as a genuine care for my health. And although it upsets me sometimes (especially because I try to be very aware of eating a nutritious, balanced diet), I have to admit, they have a point.

When I first became a vegetarian, I was pretty unhealthy. I ate a lot of cheese and a lot of fake meat products. Eventually, as I learned more about nutrition, I began to move away from processed foods and I began to gravitate toward "whole foods" like fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and legumes. As I became more aware of the health, environmental, and economical factors concerning all animal products (not just meat), I decided to become a vegan. I was eating salads and grains and beans and tons of fruit and vegetables. And for a while, I was incredibly healthy.

But then I discovered vegan baking.

Not that there isn't room for the occasional vegan baked good, and it's true that they may be healthier than non-vegan baked goods. But lately I've realized that I've been eating so many sweets, that I haven't had room for all the other fresh, healthy foods my body needs. Maybe for some people eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet comes naturally, but, for me, it still takes some planning.

BUT, I believe it is possible for people to get adequate nutrition through a plant-based diet. So I'm making it my goal to research the roles of iron, protein, calcium, and vitamin B in our bodies: how much of each we need, the best vegan sources, how those sources compare to non-vegan sources, other nutrients that aid in absorption, and any other relevant information. I realize a lot of work has already been done by professionals, but this is more of a personal project for me to put it into one place where I can easily understand it and refer back to it. I'm also including recipes along with nutritional information for each post, because I believe it is important to eat delicious, healthy foods.



Great job on your journey! Keep us posted on what else you are learning... and dont say goodbye to those great things that make vegan eating SO kick cholesterol infused animal cruel cupcakes BUTT!!

beauty and bread said...

Haha, don't worry! I definitely am not saying goodbye to vegan baked goods (you're right that vegan baked goods ARE so much better)! In fact, I made some orange spiced banana bread today that TOTALLY kicks butt. I'm just about to post about it...