A Vegan Diet Primer

Vegan message board for support on vegan related issues and questions.
Topics include philosophy, activism, effective altruism, plant-based nutrition, and diet advice/discussion whether high carb, low carb (eco atkins/vegan keto) or anything in between.
Meat eater vs. Vegan debate welcome, but please keep it within debate topics.
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Lay Vegan
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A Vegan Diet Primer

Post by Lay Vegan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:09 pm

Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Consensus can be achieved through communication at conferences, the publication process, replication (reproducible results by others), and peer review.


It is scientific consensus amongst nutrition experts that appropriately-planned vegan diets are healthy and suitable for all stages of life. Dietetic organizations publish these position papers through critical analysis of current data and peer-reviewed research literature (sources in the links provided).

https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-26 ... 3/fulltext
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wrote: It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.
https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Fac ... egans.aspx
Dietitians of Canada wrote: It may take planning to get enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins D and B12 and omega-3 fats from foods or supplements. A healthy vegan diet can meet all your nutrient needs at any stage of life including when you are pregnant, breastfeeding or for older adults.
British Dietetic Association wrote: One of the UK’s longest-standing organizations that represents dietetics and nutrition, the British Dietetic Association, has affirmed that a well-planned vegan diet can “support healthy living in people of all ages” in an official document signed by its CEO.”
Is veganism the optimal diet?

There is little consensus amongst nutrition experts on there being an “optimal diet” that all humans have evolved to eat. Rather, there is a wide range of diets that may benefit individual human health, and all healthy people can and should eat a diet that that approximates to our body's nutrient needs.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines provides five overarching Guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns.

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/20 ... guidelines

Key Recommendations

Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.
A healthy eating pattern includes:
* A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
* Fruits, especially whole fruits
* Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
* Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
* A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
* Oils
A healthy eating pattern limits:
* Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium
Key Recommendations that are quantitative are provided for several components of the diet that should be limited. These components are of particular public health concern in the United States, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating patterns within calorie limits:
* Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
* Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
* Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
* If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.

Veganism is not a diet. Rather, it is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. The reality is that there are many ways to eat vegan (eco Atkins, high carb low fat, fully raw, ketogenic, macrobiotic, fruitarian) and each diet comes with its own pros and cons.

Vegan Diet Guidelines

Vegan diet recommendations do not stray very far from conventional nutrition guidelines. In general, there are 7 habits of happy, healthy vegans.
Visit VeganRD for more info.

1. Eat legumes
3+ servings per day of beans, tofu, tempeh, soy nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, soymilk, veggie meats.

2. Choose healthy fats
Include essential omega-3 fats from flaxseed, hempseed, walnuts, chia seeds or flax, hemp, walnut, soy, canola oil. Consider a supplement of DHA and EPA from microalgae Nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, vegetable oils provide healthy fats.

3. Take appropriate supplements
600 – 1000 IUs of vitamin D daily 
25-100 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily

4. Eat the Rainbow
Eat vitamin C-rich foods to improve iron absorption: Citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes.

5. Get adequate calcium
Calcium-set tofu, soybeans, fortified plant milks, almond butter, tahini, fortified juices, figs, navel oranges, bok choy, kale, and collards.

6. Enjoy a variety of vegan foods
Focus on whole plant foods. 
Opt for convenience when necessary

7. Celebrate Veganism
Health benefits are a wonderful bonus. Compassion is guaranteed.

Note: Since opposing views (unfounded skepticism & fear monger) may detract from the above information, I'll keep this thread locked. Debate/discussion certainly has its uses, but this thread should serve as a brief nutrition primer for people seeking basic information. If you have any questions about this post, don't hesitate to start a new thread.

List of helpful resources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Vegetarian Resource Group:

Vegan Health.Org

The VeganRD

Unnatural Vegan:


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