For those who are considering adopting a vegan diet, one of the most common concerns is whether a diet that includes only plant foods can be nutritionally adequate, and provide adequate sources of vitamins and minerals. Considering the position that animal-based foods have in the standard Western diet, this is hardly surprising. However, there is increasing evidence that suggests that not only is a whole-food vegan diet nutritionally adequate, but that eliminating animal-based foods can actually reduce one’s risk of disease and encourage overall physical health and well-being.
As explained in Vegan 1-2-3:
“In 2009, the American Dietetic Association, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, released a paper explaining their position on vegetarian diets, including vegan diets.
‘It is the position of the ADA that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and for athletes.’”
For those who are concerned about obtaining adequate amounts of specific nutrients, it’s useful to know which foods contain what. Not surprisingly, green leafies are some of the stars in this show, adding even more evidence to the case for a daily green smoothie regimen.
broccoli, green leafy vegetables (such as kale, bok choy, collard and turnip greens), tofu, blackstrap molasses, chickpeas, many beans, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, flax seeds, brazil nuts, dried figs, dried fruit.
green leafy vegetables & sea vegetables, legumes/beans, nuts & seeds, blackstrap molasses, dried fruits, watermelon, prune juice, spinach, cereals, whole grains.
brown rice, cooked spinach, beans/legumes, almonds/nuts, dried figs, broccoli, cooked oatmeal, wheat germ/bran, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, bananas, peanuts.
pinto beans, cereal grains, almonds, nuts, dried beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, brown rice, avocados, spinach, many vegetables, yeast.
raisins, bananas, raw and cooked spinach, potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, winter squash, raw cauliflower, avocados, kiwifruit, dried fruits, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, dried apricots.
pumpkin seeds, whole grains/cereals, legumes, lentils, peas, soy foods, nuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, yeast, garbanzo beans, raw collard greens, spinach, corn.
brazil nuts, certain mushrooms (crimini & shiitake), whole grains (especially barley), tofu, seeds (especially chia, sunflower, sesame & flax), asparagus, mustard seeds.
brown rice & whole grains, cereals, cooked oatmeal, wheat germ, nuts, seeds, legumes, cooked spinach & kale, black beans, almonds, avocados, pineapples, strawberries.
beans, breads, cereals, cooked spinach, strawberries.
whole grain cereals, legumes, mushrooms, peanuts, soybeans, avocados, sunflower seeds, bananas, oranges, cooked collard greens, baked potato, broccoli.
whole grains, nuts, broccoli, apples, peanuts, cooked spinach, mushrooms.
cereals & whole grains, breads, yeast, almonds, peanuts, molasses, legumes.
nuts and seeds, whole grains, dried beans, mushrooms.
legumes, lentils, oranges, whole grains, asparagus, spinach, romaine lettuce.
iodine-rich sea vegetables, kelp, vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil.
carrots, winter squashes (acorn and butternut), sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, red bell peppers and other greens.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
brown rice & whole grains, bread, pasta, oatmeal, brewers and nutritional yeast, legumes, cereals, sunflower seeds, nuts, watermelon, raw wheat germ.
yeast, beans, cereals, whole grains, spinach, broccoli, wheat germ, mushrooms.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
legumes, brown rice, green vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli.
whole grains, peanuts, nuts/legumes, soybeans, walnuts, bananas, watermelon
bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges/orange juice, grapefruit, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, potatoes, melon, berries, papayas, romaine lettuce, watercress.
The most significant supply of Vitamin D comes from sunlight exposure on the skin. Vitamin D-2 supplements are available, as well as Vitamin D fortified plant milks & cereals. Fortified vegan products contain Vitamin D-2 (ergocalciferol) as opposed to animal-derived Vitamin D-3 (cholecalciferol).
safflower/vegetable oils, sunflower seeds, raw wheat germ, nuts, peanuts, green leafy vegetables, whole wheat flour, whole grains, spinach.
green leafy vegetables, spinach, turnip greens, kale, parsley, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, soybeans and soybean oil, cabbage, green tea, tomatoes.
Red Star ‘Vegetarian Support Formula’ Nutritional Yeast, B-12 fortified non-dairy milks and cereals. Vegan B-12 supplements: VegLife (certified vegan) B-12 supplement, Twin Labs ‘Vegetarian Formula’ B-12 Sublingual Dots, etc.