With our free printable vegan food pyramid and essential nutrient cheat sheets, you can learn how to eat a balanced plant-based diet. For our best nutrition advice, read the entire article on the vegan food pyramid.
Is Vegan Diet Good for You?
In comparison to non-vegetarians, vegetarians also seem to have lower blood pressure, lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and reduced risks of hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, vegetarians typically have a lower BMI and fewer cancer cases overall.
Lessened intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol as well as increased intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals are characteristics of a vegetarian diet that may lower the risk of chronic illness.
Similar associations established by nutritionists in other nations have issued declarations in that vein.
Additionally, almost all major health organizations advise us to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes while consuming less “saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol.”
Everything You Need to Know about the Vegan Food Pyramid
Vegan hip-hop fans are ecstatic as more vegan and vegetarian celebrities are added to the list. Beyoncé declared earlier this month that she had become vegan in order to prepare for Coachella, and Drake just declared that he had stopped eating meat.
Although going plant-based can be difficult at first, I imagine that most of Beyoncé and Drake’s fans don’t have personal chefs. Fortunately, learning about vegan diets and cooking is simpler than ever.
In fact, the American College of Cardiology and the American Institute for Cancer Research both endorse a plant-based diet, while the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics endorses a vegan diet.
The Power Plate is a form of the dietary vegan food pyramid.
Vegans Food Pyramid
What does the vegan diet these dieticians are referring to look like when it is “appropriately planned”?
It contains the main plant-based dietary groups and demonstrates how to put together balanced meals from various enticing and healthful ingredients.
Here is an estimated list of what you should be eating based on the official guidelines and recommendations provided by major organizations like the USDA.
Which do not particularly promote a vegan diet but nonetheless mention calcium or iron as important nutrients to pay attention to!
Vegan Food Pyramid Categories
Let’s examine the various parts of the food pyramid and provide you with more information about what each component includes.
Eat unprocessed grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, wheat berries, or buckwheat, and try to emphasize whole grains whenever you can.
Other options include pasta, bread, and hot or cold cereal.
Limit your consumption of cakes, pastries, and cookies. Eat whole grains until you’re satisfied and up your daily servings to meet your energy demands.
Whole grains should make up the majority of your calories.
Vegetables are beneficial to your health and ought to be consumed regularly, both raw and cooked. Eat the rainbow by selecting various hues.
There is no need to omit the starchy root vegetables because leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are particularly nutrient-dense and desirable to add.
Eat fruit for breakfast, snacks, or dessert to get the entire spectrum of nutrients. Include all the hues and choose fresh rather than dry. Fruit juices should be consumed in moderation.
If you’re still hungry or have a serious sweet tooth, up your portions!
In addition to hummus, bean burgers, tofu, and soy milk, this category also contains cooked beans and lentils.
Limit vegan meat replacements with isolated soy protein or protein powders and use calcium-fortified wherever possible.
Here, emphasizes the full food as well, and if necessary, increase your portion sizes.
5. Seeds and Nuts
To get adequate omega-3 essential fatty acids, focus on flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. If you’re attempting to lose weight, restrict your portion sizes.
Although nuts and seeds are very nutrient-dense, they are also very calorie-dense. Tahini, a nut or seed butter, can be used to create creamy sauces and nutritious sweets.
Foods to Highlight
When it comes to satisfying your nutritional requirements when following a plant-based diet, having some of the following items every day helps a lot!
1. Added calcium to soy products (milk, tofu, etc.)
2. (Dark) vibrant greens
3. Cultivated vegetables
Getting the Nutrition a Vegan Requires
While it’s not too difficult to eat a vegan diet and acquire all you need, there are a few nutrients and their daily recommended intakes (DRI) that deserve special attention.
The DRI is 1000 mg for the majority of adults and a little more for teenagers and the elderly. The function of the muscles and nerves as well as the health of the bones depend on this mineral.
It’s crucial to remember that good calcium absorption depends on getting enough vitamin D (more on that below). Many plant-based kinds of milk and soy products are fortified with calcium.
Due to the monthly loss of blood (and iron), the DRI for males and females in reproductive years is 8 mg and 18 mg, respectively.
The immune system, DNA synthesis, and the transportation of oxygen throughout the body all depend on iron.
When the stocks get low, our bodies can boost iron absorption by storing it.
Although it is safer to eat and has been associated to a lower risk of disease, non-home iron (from plant sources) does not absorb as well as home iron (from animal products).
By adding vitamin C to iron sources and refraining from drinking tea or coffee with or immediately after meals, we can improve our body’s ability to absorb iron.
Here, the DRI for women is 8 mg, whereas it is 11 mg for men. It’s a significant mineral that contributes to immunological function and DNA structure.
You might want to ingest a little more than the DRI if you’re a vegan because the bioavailability can be decreased by inhibitors in nuts, grains, and legumes.
The DRI in this place is 150 mcg for adults, with a maximum of 1100 mcg (more when pregnant or breastfeeding).
Iodine is necessary for human metabolism and is utilized to make thyroid hormones. Although it’s not yet apparent whether vegans and vegetarians are actually in danger of a deficiency in this area, it’s best to be cautious than sorry.
If you don’t get your 100 mcg of iodine from the 13 teaspoons of iodized salt you consume each day, you should choose a supplement.
The heavenly nutrition, ah! Let’s quickly address the protein worry here; for a more thorough explanation, see our post at the link below.
This crucial macronutrient serves vital purposes like preserving bone and muscle mass and boosting the immune system.
No particular food group is required to obtain a “complete protein” because all essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, originate from the plant kingdom.
Given that the DRI for adults is only 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, the average Westerner consumes far too much protein (which comes to around 50 grams per day for a person at a healthy weight).
How Much Food Should I Eat if I’m Vegan?
Eat at least five pieces of fruits and vegetables each day to meet your daily caloric needs, and build your meals on carbs like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and oats.
Add beans to the majority of your meals, and only consume calcium-fortified dairy substitutes. Aim to limit additional carbohydrates and choose unsaturated fats over saturated fats!
The average, inactive female needs at least 1800 calories per day to function normally, according to the USDA.
In summary, whether you’re a full-time mom, a professional athlete, or someone who prioritizes your work, you can flourish on a plant-based diet.
It is advisable to stay away from overly processed flours, oils, sugars, and salts. She also has some advice for vegans who are often on the go: “Cook more and employ strategies like batch cooking to always have healthy food ready to go.”
So there you have it: a thorough, medically authorized method to obtaining all of your nutrients from plants, as well as some wise counsel from a certified nutritionist who follows a plant-based diet.