What's Wrong With The Vegan Food Pyramid?
Try This New Spin on the Pyramid and Learn How to
AVOID NUTRITIONAL GAPS
What's the problem with the vegan food pyramid? After looking at dozens of them, I realized that they don't have the basic information needed to insure optimal health. So I've adopted a slightly different approach to this pyramid to give a more accurate picture of what you really need in order to avoid nutritional gaps.
|Take a look at the improvements!|
Nutrition Essentials instead of Food Groups - While it is helpful to know about the different types of foods available in the different food groups, the standard food pyramids fail to present the six essential elements that are necessary for a balanced diet. Without these nutrional components in your diet, you could experience health issues down the road.
Grams instead of Servings - The term "serving" is very problematic, and since interpretations of what a serving actually is can vary so much, it is difficult to determine whether you are getting too much or not enough. In addition, you can follow serving recommendations and still fail to get enough of a specific element in your daily menu. On the other hand, recommending grams per day is much more in line with food packaging and insures that you get enough of what you need.
Sample Menus - One of the big questions I always have when I look at a vegan food pyramid is, "Okay, so how do I use this?" To address this conundrum, I've put together a couple of sample menus to show how the food pyramid can be used to cover all nutritional bases.
Carbohydrates - You need between 180 - 230 grams of carbohydrates per day (20-70 if you want to lose weight). Most people think you can only get carbs from grains - not true! Click to find out more.
Protein - 20 - 50 grams per day. Vegans need less protein than non-vegans because plant proteins absorb more efficiently. The numbers for meat-eaters are higher because they only absorb about half the protein they consume. Vegans have many options when it comes to protein including, legumes, quinoa, and the vegan protein superstar, hemp!
Fiber - 25 -35 grams per day. Vegans have an edge when it comes to getting enough fiber. Click to find out more.
Fat - 30-35 grams per day. Good fats are essential for good health and vegan sources of fat are the best!
Calcium and Other Minerals - 1000 - 1500 mg per day. Calcium is always of great concern to people who are condisering becoming vegan. There are many delcious plant-based foods that are better sources of calcium than any dairy product.
Vitamins (B12 and D) - B12 - 2-5 mcg per day, D - 1000 IU per day. Eating a variety of plant-based foods will get you all the vitamins you need, but B12 and D can be a concern for vegans. Click on the link to find out more.
Keep in Mind:
Although these are not part of the vegan food pyramid, they are still important in maintaining overall health.
Acidophilus is important for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. These "friendly" bacteria populate the intestines and help to keep harmful bacteria and yeast (candida) at bay. It is important to keep their population healthy and to replenish them after a course of antibiotics.
Most probiotics are cultured using milk products, but there are a few vegan and vegetarian brands. I personally would recommend Jarro-Dophilus.
Iodine is also essential for healthy Thyroid functioning. The best source of iodine is seaweed. You can take a kelp supplement, or throw a little dulse into a green smoothie.
Body Ph balance can be a good indicator of overall health. A vegan diet promotes alkalinity, but you can help it along by eating a lot of greens, drinking fresh lemon in water and using organic apple cider vinegar in your salad dressing.
Understanding the vegan food pyramid helps you become a better label reader! When you are perusing the labels of pre-packaged foods, make sure you recognize and can pronounce all the ingredients!
Here are some things you will want to avoid:
- Saturated and Trans Fats (basically if you see the words partially hydrogenated anywhere, run away!)
- White foods like white potatoes, white rice, and white flour - these are all calories and no nutrition!
- Refined sugar in all its sneaky forms, particularly high fructose corn syrup. Learn more about bad sugars and not so bad sugars on the Natural Sugar Substitutes page.
- Chemical sugar substitutes like aspartame (Nutra-Sweet), saccharine (Sweet 'n Low), or sucralose (Splenda). More information about these horrible additives can also be found on the Natural Sugar Substitutes page.
- Find some great vegan sugar substitutes on the Vegan Sugar page.
For more information about buying organic, and some great recommendations about healthy living in general, please visit my friends at thenaturalguide.com.
The nutritional basics of the vegan food pyramid can not only be the basis for great health and well-being, it may also promote longevity. For more information about this expanding new field, please visit my friends at Secrets of Longevity. This site has plenty of high quality longevity articles and tips on the best methods to naturally help you with life span development.