19 yr old new vegan. tips for adequate iron/vitamins/calcium/healthy body wieght/etc.

Green.Wave

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I purchased a b 12 high quality whole foods supplement. I need to get my d2 levels up so i bought d2 drops and d3 drops. I don't want my iron levels to go down. How to maintain a nutrient dense vegan diet? Any recommended foods? Supplements? Thanks
 

Mark Mywordz

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Hi GW
I applaud your conversion to plant based food but I don't understand your feeling that the plants themselves will not be enough. Vitamin D is free. I'm in overdose mode at the moment here in Spain. I would prefer a little less heat in the sun. I doubt if there are many places in the world where there is too little sunshine. The UK has more than enough, all you have to do is go out and walk, run, play football, whatever, but get outside. Few people in the West need suffer from vitamin deficiencies - unless they eat nothing but burgers and chips. What we need is a simpler diet but one based on plants - plants not plant extracts. I try to make all my food myself from the basic plants and if I buy any "products" (I hate that word) I try to make sure that they have as few ingredients as possible and no ingredients that I cannot understand, no E numbers.
I have been very much influenced by the work of Dr. Michael Greger on diet, in particular his book "How not to die".
 

Donald

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Iron is important when your body is still growing but you dont want to get too much after a certain age as I have read that it can settle in your heart leading to other problems.
Get a good vegetarian multi-vitamin at your local GNC or Vitamin world and eat a rainbow of colors everyday in the fruits and veggies you consume.
 

Slonaut

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Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, pine nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts.
More than enough choice.

https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/nuts_nutrition.html

Seeds can easily be added to sandwiches, hot meals and salads, you barely taste them and they add extra crunch.
I love eating nuts along with dates for dinner.
 
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B12 is great; just check that it's sublingual (disolves under your tongue or is a spray) for optimal absorption. You only need to take it about once a week, unless you're deficient (I was deficient before I went vegan, so it's definitely possible to be eating animal products and be B12 deficient). D3 is another good one to take. I disagree with Mark Mywordz about it being easy to take in enough sun exposure for optimal D levels, plus there's the risk of harmful rays. Check to see that your D3 supplement is vegan (many aren't). Personally, I also take an omega 3 algae supplement and chlorella (a highly nutrient dense algae which you can find in powder and pill form), but they're not necessary.

As far as iron and and many other supplements, taking those will do you more harm than good. I would focus on simply eating lots of nutrient dense, whole foods. Think of those blueberries, kale leaves, and chia seeds as your daily vitamins. You will easily take in all of your body's nutritional requirements. You can check out Dr. Michael Greger's "Daily Dozen," which is a simple checklist of helpful foods to eat daily. He includes things like flax seeds, legumes, and greens.

Bottom line: take your B12 and eat enough calories. It's easy enough. Well done for going vegan!
 

Lou

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I think many new vegans over-complicate the nutrition thing. However, it is also true that many new vegans are too ignorant.

I think the very first step you should take is to get a physical at the next opportunity. If you have had one in the last year just call your doctor and ask him to email the results.

Nowadays most blood tests are done in groups. And the common issues like D, B12, etc. don't have to request separately. they are all included. This will do two good things. You can see if you had or have any issues. and also it will be a good baseline for you to evaluate the results after being vegan for a while. Except for B12 a lot of supplements aren't even necessary. The vitamin and supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and their ads and stuff can be misleading.

A lot of people, even non-vegans are deficient in D. Especially in the winter and in the northern latitudes. Also because no one goes out without hats and sunscreen any more D deficiency is getting more common. But plant milks are usually supplemented with D (and calcium and B12). And multi vitamins also will have D (and b12).

Besides the physical, the next best thing to do is start a Cronometer account. It's free. I'll include a link to the tutorial at the bottom. You plug in the food you eat and it shows you with colored bar graphs and pie charts how your nutrition is. So at a glance, you can see if you really do need more B, or D, or iron or what. And if you need more fat or protein or calories, too.

In most cases, it's not too bad to go over 100% of the RDA. but there are a few notable exceptions. Calcium is one. Too much calcium can lead to hardening of the arteries. Iron can be a little tricky. You might be getting 100% of the RDA and still not get enough because your body isn't absorbing it all. But you don't have to worry about too much iron if you get almost all your iron from food. If you eat too much iron your body will excrete it. And your poop will be black and rock hard. So you actually have a built-in warning light for too much iron.

The only other supplement that may be necessary is the Omegas. We have already discussed them in a couple of other threads so I won't get into it again here.

As far as food goes, you might want to get Dr. Gregar's Checklist. Either print it out or get the app. It is a really good guideline on what to eat each day.

Speaking of Dr. Gregar he has written the book How Not To Die which is one of the best vegan nutrition books. he also has his own website and youtube channel.

Chronometer tutorial.
 
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Tadpole

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Spinach and chard are the greatest. Be like popeye it's the best thing for ya.
Supplements really are a waste of time-like paying to pee at a train station. Choosing a wide variety of ingredients from all the food groups on a daily/weekly basis ensures that you will have adequate intake of vitamins and minerals in the most natural form.
 
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Just eat the food plus B12 methylcobalamine supplement. Use cronometer to track macronutrients and micronutrients. A wide variety of foods will be giving you everything you need unless you have absorbtion issues.
 

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