November is World Vegan Month! Will you be participating by giving up animal products?
Nowadays, veganism isn’t just for the likes of Pamela Anderson and Bill Clinton. Everyday folks are embracing a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle free of animal products. Since November is World Vegan Month, it’s the perfect time to go vegan—maybe for 30 days, a week, or the rest of the year. This Meatless Monday, we’re going to break down some vegan sources of five nutrients that are essential for herbivores and carnivores alike. So if you’re thinking of going meatless on every day of the week, keep these in mind. Protein Build muscles without meat by including protein-packed (and delicious!) beans and lentils, soy (such as tofu), and all sorts of nuts and seeds in your meals. Iron Vegetarians (and vegans) need about twice as much iron as meat eaters. Stock up on iron-rich ingredients including soy foods, almonds and sesame seeds, prunes, dark leafy greens, and blackstrap molasses. Vitamin B12 There are very few nonmeat sources of this vital vitamin, so stock up on cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast, fortified soy drinks, and fortified veggie burgers. Calcium When I swapped dairy milk for almond and soy varieties, my farm-raised mother was stupefied. “No cows’ milk? What about your bone density?” Fortunately, her worries were unfounded, as calcium is available in a bevy of nondairy sources.
Vitamin D Bone-boosting calcium can’t do its job without vitamin D, which aids the body’s absorption of minerals. Besides stepping outdoors on bright days, vegans can obtain the sunshine vitamin from fortified nondairy milk. Will you give veganism a go? Beyond including these foods in a vegan diet, don’t forget to supplement if you aren’t meeting the recommended daily intake of a certain nutrient. Vitamin D supplements, for example, are especially important when overcast winter weather darkens our days. Let us know if you’ll be trying out a vegan challenge—or if you already maintain a vegan lifestyle—by leaving us a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or right here on our blogs.