Nourishing Your Vegan Journey: An expert guide to essential nutrients

In a world where plant-based lifestyles are gaining momentum, the concept of a vegan diet has transcended its niche status to become a mainstream choice for many health-conscious individuals. In fact, the number of vegans in UK has quadrupled to 1 million in the 10 years since the Veganuary campaign was launched1. If you’re on this transformative journey, you’ve likely got questions about protein sources, Omega-3s, and potential nutrient gaps.

In this guide, Revive Active Brand Ambassador & Nutritional Therapist and Educator Nicola Sainty explores the “ins and outs” of a vegan diet, emphasising key nutrients and introducing how super supplements can be your trusted ally in optimal nutrition.

The vegan diet explained

A vegan diet is a plant-based eating approach that eliminates all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and even honey. Instead, it emphasises whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

For some, the foundation of a vegan lifestyle extends beyond dietary choices, often aligning with ethical, environmental, and health-conscious values.

The importance of supplementation  

While a well-planned vegan diet can be nutritionally rich, there are specific nutrients that may require attention.

Vitamin B12 supplementation is recommended by the Vegetarian Society for those avoiding animal products. This water-soluble vitamin plays an important role in helping the body to make brain chemicals that support mood and over all brain function as well as contributing towards the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Revive Active has a range of supplements accredited by the Vegetarian Society as approved to bear their vegetarian and vegan trademarks, making them a fantastic supplement for those avoiding animal products.  You can learn more here about the supplements here: https://reviveactive.com/collections/suitable-for-vegan-diets

To stay strong on a vegan diet, make sure to include iron and zinc from plant foods in your daily meals.

Some wonderful plant-based sources of iron and zinc are:

  • Lentils, chickpeas, and beans
  • Tofu and Tempeh
  • Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Quinoa, oats, and fortified cereals
  • Spinach, kale, and Swiss chard
  • Apricots, raisins, and figs
  • Brown rice, quinoa, and oats
  • Mushrooms, especially shiitake and portobello

Calcium is abundant in plant-based foods especially those of the green and leafy variety like broccoli and Bok Choy not to mention the tiny little nutrient powerhouses, poppy, sesame, and chia seeds. Calcium requires adequate Vitamin D levels for it to be used in the body to build strong bones and teeth.

The Sunshine Vitamin

In the Northern Hemisphere, long and dark winters limit our exposure to sunlight, making it crucial to supplement with vitamin D year-round, especially during darker months. Vitamin D supports muscle function, a healthy immune system, and aids in calcium absorption for strong bones and teeth. Opt for Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) supplements for optimal wellness. Our Zest Active formulation is a great choice for those on the go.

Omega-3 boost

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation. While fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel is a readily available source, people following a vegan diet can obtain Omega-3s from other sources such as:

Algal Oil which is derived from algae and is a rich source of DHA, a crucial Omega-3 fatty acid which contributes to maintenance of normal brain function.

Chia Seeds are packed with Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), a plant-based Omega-3.

Top Tip: Some people find that soaking chia seeds in water makes them easier to digest. Chia seeds can easily be added to your breakfast such as overnight oats and can even make a delicious chia pudding too.

Ground Flaxseeds are another ALA-rich option, easily incorporated into smoothies, cereals, or salads.

Powering up your protein  

Protein is a vital macronutrient that plays a crucial role in muscle development, immune function, and overall well-being and for some it can be difficult to achieve adequate levels of protein from a vegan diet but not impossible if planned out well.

Some non-animal sources of protein can be found in:

Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans are versatile, protein-packed staples.

Quinoa: A complete protein, rich in essential amino acids.
Tofu and Tempeh: Derived from soybeans, these offer a protein punch and adapt to various culinary styles.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds are excellent protein sources.

Top Tip: Nuts and seeds are easy to add to any meal like your breakfast smoothie, overnight oats and even your salads. We recommend trying out making some Energy Balls as they make a little powerhouse snack during the day and some people find that they hit the sweet spot without reaching for refined treats like cakes and biscuits.

Whole Grains: Brown rice, oats, and barley contribute to your daily protein intake.

I love this deeply nourishing plant based Red Lentil Curry recipe because it’s quick and simple to make and packs a tasty punch.

Good to know: Some people have trouble digesting grains. As with anything food related, each person is different so it’s important that you listen to your body and adapt your meals accordingly.

Putting Food First

At Revive Active, we believe in a “food first” approach however, we know that life can often get in the way of best laid meal plans and so we feel assured that our super supplements provide everything you need to help your body function optimally.

Embarking on a vegan lifestyle is not just about what you exclude; it’s about taking the opportunity to embrace an exciting world of diverse, nutrient-dense plant foods.

References:

  1. ‘I feel healthy, physically and mentally’: five people on how Veganuary changed their lives | Veganism | The Guardian
About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4246 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.