Vegan Nutrition 101: Part 2
How to check for nutrient deficiencies
A lot of people worry that vegans don’t get enough of certain nutrients, like protein or calcium. A lot of those people are worried about their vegan friends and family, and some of those people are vegans who worry about this for themselves!
How can you tell if you’re deficient in a nutrient? Blood testing is good, and can be done with your doctor. Once a year is a a good time frame for checking in on the quantitative side.
There are a couple of shortcomings to blood tests, though.
One: For vegans, the standard blood test to check for B12 levels is misleading because it includes analogues (false versions of B12 that we get from plant foods like tempeh and seaweed) – so some people who don’t actually have enough B12 in their blood might look like they do.
Two: Each person has a different individual need for a nutrient, in general and at different times of their lives. The standard ranges tested in blood tests cover nearly everyone for outright deficiencies, but you could be in the low end of the standard range for a nutrient and not be getting the optimal amount for your body. For example, low B12 levels that aren’t an outright deficiency can cause high homocysteine levels which is a risk factor for developing dementia.
This is important stuff – not just for yourself, but anyone in your life that you care about (vegan or otherwise). So pass this page on to anyone you think should check themselves for deficiencies of those 5 key nutrients.
(And, for the record, it’s entirely possible to not get the nutrients your body needs from eating animals. There are way more than 5 nutrients I would stress to most meat eaters.)
Be sure to download the cheat sheet with all the symptoms listed out, so you can keep an eye on them.
If you want to know exactly what to in to get the nutritional balance your body needs to be healthy, check out the online meal plan program. Let’s get those nutrients in you!
The meal plan lays out all the recipes, portioned according to your individual energy needs with nutritional breakdown, weekly grocery list, and lots more to help make this as easy as possible.
Do you think you’re you deficient in one of these 5 key nutrients? Let me know if you have any questions about deficiencies down below!
Coming up next: Fats, and whether they’re evil
Now that you know which nutrients are important to get enough of, and what signs to watch for in case you aren’t getting enough, we’re going to move into some common misconceptions about diets.
First up: fats. High fat, low fat, no fat, omega-3… What are we supposed to do? It’s a mess out there, tons of conflicting information. Let’s get it straight. Stay tuned.
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- Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
- How much B12 should I take? (includes vegan supplement recommendations)
- Cheapest Source of Vitamin B12, by Dr. Michael Gregor on NutritionFacts
- Mild B12 Deficiency, and links to Cardiovascular Disease, Dementia, Birth Defects, Bone Mineral Density, by Jack Norris RD on VeganHealth
- Vitamin B12 Facts for Vegans, by Heather Nicholds on HappyCow
- Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It?, by Jack Norris RD on VeganHealth