New vegans, transitioning vegetarians, and curious meat-eaters all have the same questions about diet and training adjustments when it comes to the vegan lifestyle.
Some questions are serious and great to be asking, some seem a bit absurd and a tad intimate, but ultimately I appreciate the curiosity and want to encourage it! That being said, I feel like a broken record. So here are the 5 most recently answered veg-related questions!
Welcome to the first installment of Vegan Q&A with memes for entertainment!
5. Are there any vitamins I should be taking that I don't get as a vegan?
Really, there's only one. B-12. Others are a good idea, but not imperative. B-12 is created via bacteria that usually grows on carcass (mmmm.... carcass...), so actual meat products and our bodies can't create it. It's a common vitamin to be deficient in regardless of diet for that reason, but vegans, as we don't eat bacteria off carcasses, get nada.
Good news? It's water soluble so you can take a ton, and just have expensive pee. You don't need to worry about overdosing on it; but it's crucial for your metabolism and therefore daily energy.
B-12 can come in a chew-able tablet, liquid sublingual, regular pill, or in fortified foods and energy drinks. Just be cautious of b-complex vitamins, as they tend to have low doses of actual 12 while they try to fit in all the others.
4. I worry about frail bones from cutting dairy out.
Do your joints hurt when you run?
Most of that calcium fear-mongering has been created by the hurting dairy industry, not by actual facts and studies. Yes, you need calcium and women especially tend to be deficient; but veganism doesn't struggle with getting it. In fact, If you're REALLY that worried about it, pick up a calcium citrate (citrate is more expensive than its buddy, carbonate, but is more easily absorbed). It's a great supplement to take before bed, as calcium is a natural sleep aid.
Other than actual supplements, calcium can be found in breakfast foods like cereal and oatmeal, as well as soy and almond milk, legumes, leafy greens (kale) and juices (especially orange).
3. Do you poop more?
Well, hello, stranger. I'm so glad you are interested in my bowel movements. That's not at all inappropriate to ask a random person on social media! Are you curious because of fruits and veggies having fiber and you thinking transitioning over will up your intake? Or is it because you know meat and dairy tend to constipate people easily?
It's easy to transition to vegan without upping fruit/veggie intake (although I think most people need more in their lives) so if you're WORRIED about fiber going through the roof, food log to keep track. Ultimately, I'm very *ahem* regular, thanks for asking. I don't struggle in this department because I have food logged long enough to know the balance of fiber and protein my bod is happy ingesting.
In general, I think most people that transition to veganism find they poop more regularly and with more healthy bowel movements (Here's a link to a poop chart, because you're obviously curious), than they did before.
2. How can you get complete proteins?
There are lots of amino acids that our bodies need to function, and 9 of them are obtained solely from food. They are called the "essential amino acids" and all 9 in a single food item makes that item a "complete protein".
A huge misconception is that you aren't meeting your protein needs without COMPLETE proteins. This is false. Your body doesn't just utilize protein from each source individually. Mixing protein sources throughout your meals will inadvertently give you all 9 essential amino acids.
Silver Hills, Ezekiel, and Dave's Killer bread are all complete proteins. Hummus with pita bread is a snack that gives all 9 essential amino acids. Beans and rice do the same, giving the bod all 9! See my point? You're getting them. Don't stress the term "complete" protein.
That being said, there are two complete proteins in the vegan world that are super swell: soy and quinoa.
High in protein and complete proteins, they round out meals nicely. I have several recipes on the blog with them. Try my Spicy Peanut Tofu recipe or my Quinoa "Fried Rice"!
1. Where do you get your protein?
We all expected to see this question on the part 1 list. *cue every vegan and vegetarian banging their head on the table in front of them cursing the world for not understanding protein*
If you don't know exactly how much protein you get in a day, stop harassing vegans and vegetarians about their intake. It's a weird question to ask someone, and leaves us unfulfilled as we don't get to tell you about our fat or carbohydrate intake either. I would much rather discuss my doughnut intake.
Even at Starbucks, the PB&J box has more protein in it than any of the meat options! A PB&J also has more protein and fewer calories than a McDonald's hamburger.
We're knocking this out of the way NOW so that future lists don't include it.
Protein is in a ton of stuff, not just dead animals and baby's milk. Here's a great list to go off of as ideas. Additionally, if you're a protein powder person, there are a ton of great protein powders out there that are plant based, which usually means they are more easily absorbed and gentler on the stomach.
If you're interested in a sample day to see how easy it is to get protein in from a mixture of sources, check out this blog post. THere are also a ton of great pre-made/frozen/processed foods and brands out there for vegans wanting to up protein intake and not miss out on favorite foods. We'll get into that next time. In the meantime, here's a great chart of some whole foods options!