How to Get Your Daily Nutrients
Replacing what you remove is key for a successful transition to vegan eating. Use tips ahead as a guide, but it's also important to talk to your GP or a registered dietitian before starting a vegan diet to find out how to continue to get all the vitamins and nutrients you need.
Protein helps maintain and build strength, and is an important part of cell repair. A lot of protein is animal based, but there are lots of plant-based sources, too — including legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
According to the NHS, adults need 700mg of calcium daily to keep our bones and teeth strong. Vegan sources of calcium include broccoli, kale, watercress, soy yoghurt, fortified plant milks, and calcium-set tofu.
We need iron to produce red blood cells. Instead of red meat, you can get iron from pulses, breakfast cereals fortified with iron, dark green, leafy vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, and wholemeal bread and flour.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in oily fish, omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats that help you maintain a healthy heart. Vegan sources include walnuts, oils like flaxseed, linseed, rapeseed, and soya, and soya-based foods like tofu.
Vitamin B12 is involved "making red blood cells," according to the NHS website, and is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system. As it's only found naturally in food from animal sources, it's difficult for vegans to get enough, so you might want to consider supplementation (make sure to speak to your doctor before starting one, though). Vegan sources include breakfast cereals and unsweetened soya drinks fortified with B12, and yeast extract, like Marmite.
If you're concerned that you're not getting enough of the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals through your diet alone (whether you're vegan or not), you can also take vegan-approved supplements. However — and we've said this a couple times already but it bears repeating — before starting (or changing) any supplement routine, you need to consult a registered dietitian or your GP. This not only ensures you're taking the correct supplements for your specific diet and health issues, but it also helps you avoid the risk of using supplements that don't react well when taken together.