Jack Norris, RD – Vegan Nutrition

Jack Norris, RD – Vegan Nutrition
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

I’m talking with Jack Norris, who maintains Vegan Health, about how to get balanced vegan nutrition, the importance of certain supplements and the nutrients to be careful to get in order to be healthy on a plant-based diet.

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Key Points For Vegan Nutrition

  • A vegan diet is a very healthy choice, but be careful to get a reliable source of vitamin B12, calcium and iodine. You may also need additional vitamin D (if you don’t get enough sunshine), iron if you’re a woman (vitamin C helps iron absorption), zinc (since it’s hard to absorb from plant sources) and DHA (the conversion from plant sources gets less efficient as you age). Getting enough protein is easy, as long as you make sure to include legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, soy) and quinoa in your diet on a regular basis.
  • Vitamin B12 is the one nutrient that you need to take as a supplement for vegan nutrition. It isn’t available from any plant sources, not even seaweeds or tempeh. We lose the ability to separate vitamin B12 from foods (especially animal proteins) as we age, so supplements are recommended for older adults even if they eat meat, dairy and eggs.
  • A so-called natural diet doesn’t equal a healthy diet, and it doesn’t really exist at this point. All foods have been changed from their natural state – animals are no longer wild, plants are grown agriculturally and foods are often fortified with supplements.


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