Health vs. "normal" eating

hopeful

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Hi everyone,

I have been thinking about something for the past week or so... I have been vegan for about 5 1/2 weeks, but I was a vegetarian for about 12 years before that. Last week, I had a yearly wellness check at the doctor, and it turned out that I am very deficient in vitamin D. So, I started thinking about the way I am eating, and I have tracked some of my recent days into the cronometer site I have seen mentioned here. In general, I have fallen short on protein, vitamin 12, vitamin d, and calcium. I think some fortified soy milk will help- it did today when I added some in. Oh, the other piece is that I need to lose some weight, so I am trying not to eat too much. Anyway, when I eat a typical amount, I am probably closer to achieving all nutrient levels in my diet. But, now I am consistently falling short.

The other thing is, how much should I focus on getting all these nutrients and how much should I just eat intuitively/"normally?" I had been having dessert almost everyday, but I am cutting back because it provides calories but barely (if any) nutrition. I really want to be able to go about my day, eating as feels good to me, but I don't know if I should be focusing at every meal on nutrients?

I have looked at meal plans for vegans, but I am not sure if they have the needed nutrients. I was hoping for some guidance from other vegans on this site on how to get enough nutrients without being obsessive?

I am sorry if this is obvious to other people. It's really not obvious to me. After having anorexia for a long time, I re-learned how to eat intuitively. Then a med change led to massive weight gain. Now my weight is slowing declining again (in a healthy way). But, my point is that intuitive eating has not always been my forte.

Also, I am not trying to be down on a vegan diet. I know meaty diets could have the potential for fewer vitamins. I think I just noticed the shortages because I happened to have my blood drawn for my appointment. I am not blaming my blood work on veganism. I like being vegan. I just need to work on how to be a bit healthier about it.
 
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nobody

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For me, it is too hard to worry about getting all the required nutrients from food so I take supplements: B12, D3, K2, iodine, calcium, magnesium, DHA and EPA (omega 3 from algae) are the main ones I take and usually I get the calcium and magnesium from this "bone structure multivitamin" that has a whole bunch of other nutrients too. Alternately, I have this other bottle of "Cal-Mag" that just has calcium, magnesium, D3 and K2. But I also have a bottle of just D3 and a bottle of just K2. I take B12 every day and I was taking 6000 IU of D3 every day but recently I decided to taper that off a little because it may be a bit much, I'm not sure. Sometimes the amount in 1 pil is like 20,000 times the recommended daily amount. I'm not sure why that is. Like my bottle of iodine pills for instance...Vegan RD recommends 90 mcg per day and one capsule of this iodine is 12,500 mcg (12.5 mg). I used to take one of those every day but now I only take it a couple of times per week. The bone structure multi I mentioned has 50 mcg of iodine, so I'm getting some anyway from that.
 

Forest Nymph

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I was a vegetarian before becoming vegan and I've been vegan for about 3 years. I had a great complete physical a few months ago.

I recommend a few things: regularly drinking fortified vegan milks, eating a varied diet full of actual whole foods (fruit, veg, beans, grains) as well as yummy products like Tofurky, and if you know you don't eat a lot saving certain snacks or desserts for once or twice a week so you aren't nutrient deprived. Pair tofu and beans with vitamin C sources like tomatoes, citrus fruit and peppers (I eat lemon or lime juice like its going out of style and also tend to have cravings for orange juice or tomatoes/marinara/salsa etc).

Its common for people of all diets to be vitamin D deficient in winter. Buy a vegan multivitamin you take once a week as "insurance." If you only take it once or twice a week a multi will last a while.
 
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mikek

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Is vitamin D deficiency anything to do with being vegan?

From the NHS website

How do we get vitamin D?

Our body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin when we are outdoors. From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight.
We also get some vitamin D from a small number of foods, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs.

Vitamin D is also added to all infant formula milk, as well as some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives.


it carries on
https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/vitamin-D-sunlight.aspx
 
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hopeful

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Thank you all for your feedback! I hadn't been taking a multi-vitamin, but I should. Also, I hadn't been drinking any fortified beverages or eating fortified cereals or anything. I started drinking more fortified beverages since my post. I think the multi-vitamin may be the key, though, because I am falling short on a lot of nutrients when I track my food. I am only seriously deficient in vitamin d, but I bet that is improving.

Thank you!
 
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hopeful

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Is vitamin D deficiency anything to do with being vegan?


I think it's not. I just need to continue drinking recently added fortified drinks. The weather here is often cold and I consequently stay inside a lot in the winter. I think the low vitamin d just brought my attention to my health more, which is sort of good but caused me some anxiety as well. I am certainly going to remain vegan, and I know it's not the cause of my low vitamin d level, but I just need to make sure to get more sun and/or drink more fortified beverages.

:)
 
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hopeful

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I recommend a few things: regularly drinking fortified vegan milks, eating a varied diet full of actual whole foods (fruit, veg, beans, grains) as well as yummy products like Tofurky, and if you know you don't eat a lot saving certain snacks or desserts for once or twice a week so you aren't nutrient deprived. Pair tofu and beans with vitamin C sources like tomatoes, citrus fruit and peppers (I eat lemon or lime juice like its going out of style and also tend to have cravings for orange juice or tomatoes/marinara/salsa etc).

I re-discovered Boca chic'n! Yum! That has helped me get more protein. I know that getting enough protein isn't a problem on a balanced vegan diet, but I think eating a lot of fruit at times might make it harder for me. I am not super concerned about protein, but I wanted to let you know that I took your suggestion! Thank you! :)
 

Jamie in Chile

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Vitamin D is mainly a sunlight issue but also is lower for vegans - on average. I suggest you take a tablet/supplement while increasing your exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D depends on the person - if you are rarely outside and have dark skin for example, you might want to supplement every year through the winter. This has already been reccomended by health professionals for the UK.

I wrote a blog covering the basics of vegan nutrition (for healthy people without specific conditions or pre-existing issues) in 5 minutes. https://whytryveg.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/vegan-nutrition/

For a more detailed look, read sources 1 and 2 in the link of my blog above. I am not an expert and my blog is heavily based on what I've read from nutrionists and in scientific studies, rather than my own ideas.