You know sometimes nutritional therapy and promoting good health isn't about what you need to give up in your diet, it's more about what you need to ADD to it. More often than not when you are getting all the nutrients your body needs from the food you eat, you crave less of the things it doesn't.
The Vegan diet has become very trendy this year, whether that's because people are becoming more aware of the planet and global warming, animal welfare or simply the cost of meat and fish. Whatever the reason, it's certainly been getting alot of publicity and it seems every chef worth his or her Quinoa is jumping on the bandwagon.
For March I decided to go 'Meat-Free'.
An experiment I have tried in the past, long before I qualified as a Nutritional Therapist. My experience then left me weak, pale and tired most of the time. I just thought to my self 'I'm a carnivore and this diet just doesn't suit me'. I now know ofcourse that I was probably lacking in protein, Iron and the vitamins it is more difficult to obtain from a plant based diet; eg. B12.
I'll just add in here, I am already a Dairy-Free zone due to having an IgG intolerance to Casein and Whey.
These days I am obviously more aware of meeting nutrient needs, so I thought I'd give it another go; I was simply bored with the same old, same old, and felt my body needed something different.
I have to say, I've really enjoyed it and not found it difficult to meet protein requirements as an athlete, nor have I been short of B12 or iron as I now eat a lot more beans and pulses, and most dairy alternative produce is now fortified with B12 and Calcium.
But it struck me, there are an awful lot of willing vegans out there without a clue as to what to do, and failing as I did first time around to meet their nutritional needs. I was talking to someone the other day who had simply cut out meat and dairy and was just eating veg and nuts!!!
The vegan diet IS a very healthy one, and CAN support an active lifestyle.. IF it is thought about and put together with nutrient needs in mind. Even if it's not a permanent change to veganism you make, your body will certainly thank you for the increased plant food intake for a while.
I have recently invested in some very clever software that allows me to analyse food diaries right down to micro-nutrient level.. wish I'd had this years ago! I was surprised to find that even I was short of a couple of nutrients, Iodine and Selenium, and given that commercial food production means that our food contains less important minerals than it used to, I can now focus on increasing foods containing these trace elements. Also as a precaution, I top up my diet with a good multivitamin and mineral.
If anyone else out there is concerned that their diet may not be providing everything their body needs, please do get in touch. I'll send you a food diary to complete and analyse it for you, with recommendations for what you need to add/increase to meet your nutritional requirements. You don't need to come and see me for this, we can do it all online if you wish, and it costs just £40. Just send me an email or message via the contact form.