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#1 Old 01-22-2017, 03:12 PM
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Simple Vegan Diet, Does Such a Thing Exist?

Is there a such thing as a simple vegan diet that hits all nutritional requirements?

I've been a lacto-ovo-pescetarian for around a decade now, and have been considering the jump to full on veganism. I have to admit, from my research, I haven't found any appealing diets, for one reason only: the variety of foods recommended to eat is insanely huge.

While the idea of having a variety of food to choose from is appealing, its mandatory requirement is not. Searching for what to eat, all the results turn up as either 14 to 21 day meal plans covering dozens of different food items, or a list of anywhere between 80 and 700 different fruits and vegetables to choose from.

As a guy with a full time career AND a family, I don't have time to cycle through a series of different meal options every day. At least during week days, I need regular meals. A good way top phrase my question: what additional foods to to eat with my broccoli, beans/chickpeas, and potatoes?
I have figured that ~35 grams of walnuts each day gets most of the omega 3 and 6 I need, and I can add nutritional yeast to potatoes for B6. Is there anything else I would need to maintain dietary health?

I am an active male, mid-30s, 6 foot 4, and 205 to 215 pounds give or take.

-Thanks!
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#2 Old 01-22-2017, 03:42 PM
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Good question. I can offer you 2 answers: (1) an anecdotal answer, based only on the experiences of myself and my wife's family, and (2) a data-based answer

(1) My wife, my wife's family, and I have been vegan for over 20 years. We have never meticulously planned our diets, yet we remain healthy. We plentifully eat a small variety of foods - beans or tofu, rice, potatoes, green vegetables, fruits, nuts. We don't select any particular ones. As vegans, it's important for us to pay attention to vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids. I take supplements for B12 and D. For calcium, I eat tofu or kale, or I eat a berry-flavored calcium antacid tablet (Tums, etc.). For omega 3's, I eat walnuts. I don't portion or weigh anything though.

(2) Take a multivitamin, and relax. We don't have to be such purists, my friend! Omnivores are allowed to take a multivitamin, so why can't we? There are vegan multivitamins that feature nutrients that are of particular importance to vegans - B12, D, zinc, iodine. It's true that it's best to get nutrients from food, but you will 95% achieve this on a simple diet of legumes, whole grains / starchy vegetables, dark green vegetables, fruits, and nuts/seeds. Large variety is not necessary! I would wager that very few long-term vegans eat a complex diet.

(Important note: If a person is pregnant or nursing, then more careful dietary planning is necessary. Also, vegan children have different nutritional needs than vegan adults. A Registered Dietitian can help you.)


For the sake of completeness and accuracy, it is worth reading this detailed nutrition webpage from Vegan Outreach. Their Registered Dietitian, Jack Norris, does a nice job of discussing vitamins/minerals that are important for vegans: http://veganhealth.org/articles/dailyrecs

As a big, active guy, you will need to focus on getting enough calories! Low-fat, whole food vegan diets tend to be low in calories, and nothing will bring you to a screeching halt like not getting enough fuel for the body. Here's an easy way to help make sure you're getting enough calories:

Use an online calorie-needs calculator to estimate your calorie needs: https://nutritiondata.self.com/tools/calories-burned

Then, just remember this calorie rule-of-thumb:

One cooked cup of beans / legumes contains about 230 calories

One cooked cup of grains / pasta contains about 190 calories

One cup of fresh (not dried) fruit contains 40-100 calories (depends on which fruit)

One cup of non-starchy vegetables contains 5-40 calories

One cup of nuts or seeds contains 650-1000 calories
.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-22-2017 at 03:52 PM.
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#3 Old 01-22-2017, 04:22 PM
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Oh brother! The idea that vegan diets need to be so meticulously planned out is mostly fallacy. Don't get me wrong--you DO need to do your research on nutrition, because it is a change from what you've grown up on, but, is your current diet all that complete? (I had forgotten you said you were ovo/lacto/pesco)

So, you need to cover B12 with a supplement.
You need to cover DHA with either complementary omega 3-6-9--or better yet, take an algae DHA. The more I look into this the more I'm sold on supplementing! Honestly, I get more eating vegan than when I was omni because I didn't eat seafood, and never gave it any thought
Check your D levels.

I like this app-
https://veganfitness.com/part-1-dr-g...dozen-recipes/

This site offers a nice, concise view of vegan diets and nutrients-go down to the read more for different nutrition and meal planning advice-
http://gentleworld.org/vegan-faq/

My typical day starts with fruit, then oatmeal with raw wheat germ, ground flax and soymilk
lunch is usually a grain, a sort of bean or lentils, and veggies. Soup, or salad.
dinner can be quite like lunch, sometimes tofu, tempeh, or seitan
Fruits and nuts inbetween

I supplement B12, D, and algae DHA
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#4 Old 01-22-2017, 06:50 PM
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Thanks for the answers!

Based on your recommendations, I think the only thing I might have issue with are the omega fatty acids, which I think a few walnuts a day already take care of. I get WAAAY more B6 and B12 than I need with the nutritional yeast. I'll take a look for algae DHA supplements and I figure a good multivitamin will be all I need on top of it, and then not have to worry.

And I agree, I am probably just over-worrying. My diet actually wouldn't be drastically different than what I currently eat. And you're right, I might actually be getting more proper nutrients now than before.

Thanks for the resources!
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#5 Old 01-22-2017, 06:54 PM
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Hi James,

You can also use a free online nutrition planner, like http://www.cronometer.com, to plan nutritionally complete meals. It's easy to use, and there are YouTube videos that also explain how to use it.

For example, using Cronometer, I pretty quickly made the very simple daily food plan below. It supplies at least 100% of all nutrients (except vitamin B12, and possibly DHA/EPA fatty acids) on a 2000 calorie diet. A taller, more active person like you would need proportionately more calories/food.

3 cups boiled lentils
2 cups boiled whole wheat spaghetti
2 cups cooked spinach
1 orange
2 cups fortified soymilk (fortified with vitamins A, D, and calcium)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt (maybe not even necessary)

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-22-2017 at 07:05 PM.
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#6 Old 01-22-2017, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesDietrich View Post
Thanks for the answers!

Based on your recommendations, I think the only thing I might have issue with are the omega fatty acids, which I think a few walnuts a day already take care of. I get WAAAY more B6 and B12 than I need with the nutritional yeast. I'll take a look for algae DHA supplements and I figure a good multivitamin will be all I need on top of it, and then not have to worry.

And I agree, I am probably just over-worrying. My diet actually wouldn't be drastically different than what I currently eat. And you're right, I might actually be getting more proper nutrients now than before.

Thanks for the resources!
This isn't really in response to you, you sound like you do your research, but to others new to how B12 is absorbed, and the varieties of nutritional yeast
First, check the label. Not all nutritional yeast (nooch) even has B12. Red Star for instance has two different formulas You'll want their vegetarian support. My whole foods bulk bin is not fortified, and their own brand is sorely lacking. Nooch that does have it can be anywhere from very little to 120% RDA of a DAILY value per tablespoon. you need 100% if gotten daily, much more if not as often

Sorry to go on, just worry about it not getting taken seriously enough. I fortify just because I don't always get it in foods every day
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#7 Old 01-22-2017, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by David3 View Post
Hi James,

You can also use a free online nutrition planner, like http://www.cronometer.com, to plan nutritionally complete meals. It's easy to use, and there are YouTube videos that also explain how to use it.

For example, using Cronometer, I pretty quickly made the very simple daily food plan below. It supplies 100% of all nutrients (except vitamin B12, and possibly DHA/EPA fatty acids) on a 2000 calorie diet. A taller, more active person like you would need proportionately more calories/food.

3 cups boiled lentils
2 cups boiled whole wheat spaghetti
2 cups cooked spinach
1 orange
2 cups fortified soymilk (fortified with vitamins A, D, and calcium)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt (maybe not even necessary)
I do wonder about iodine. I switched back to iodized salt (from sea salt) but what about those who eat whole foods, try and avoid sodium, and don't eat sea vegetables? Aren't they at risk?

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
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#8 Old 01-22-2017, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by silva View Post
I do wonder about iodine. I switched back to iodized salt (from sea salt) but what about those who eat whole foods, try and avoid sodium, and don't eat sea vegetables? Aren't they at risk?
Some vegan multivitamins include iodine. You can also buy iodine supplements. Here is an article about dietary iodine, written by Dr. Reed Mangels, Registered Dietitian for the Vegetarian Resource Group: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/foodan...-a-vegan-diet/
.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#9 Old 01-23-2017, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by David3 View Post
Some vegan multivitamins include iodine. You can also buy iodine supplements. Here is an article about dietary iodine, written by Dr. Reed Mangels, Registered Dietitian for the Vegetarian Resource Group: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/foodan...-a-vegan-diet/
.
I understand that, but wonder about the wfpb folks who avoid adding salt, and don't eat sea plants--should they be made aware of needing iodine? WFPB people seem to fit the low sodium, no supplement category. We don't focus on iodine much here.
I was in that category myself years back and while I don't know if i lacked iodine my blood pressure sure dropped too low. My doctor just recommended I add salt. I am naturally low blood pressure, so it really contributed

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#10 Old 01-25-2017, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by silva View Post
I understand that, but wonder about the wfpb folks who avoid adding salt, and don't eat sea plants--should they be made aware of needing iodine? WFPB people seem to fit the low sodium, no supplement category. We don't focus on iodine much here.
I was in that category myself years back and while I don't know if i lacked iodine my blood pressure sure dropped too low. My doctor just recommended I add salt. I am naturally low blood pressure, so it really contributed

I've found 2 peer-reviewed studies on vegan diets, iodine status, and hypothyroidism.

The first study, published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, compared rates of hypothyroidism among vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians, and omnivores: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3847753/. The data was extracted from the Adventist Healthy Study 2 in the United States, one of the largest population studies of vegetarians and vegans. The study found that vegans tend to have a slightly lower risk of hypothyroidism, compared to omnivores. The study also found that lacto-ovo vegetarians tend to have a slightly higher risk of hypothyroidism, compared to omnivores.

The second study, published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the iodine status and hypothyroidism risk of vegetarians and omnivores: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/525s.full . The data was extracted from the Oxford Vegetarian Study in the United Kingdom, also one of the largest population studies of vegetarians. The study found that (1) the iodine status of vegetarians may be low, BUT (2) vegetarians and omnivores have about the same risk of hypothyroidism.

So, even though vegans tend to have lower iodine levels than omnivores, this doesn't appear to cause a higher average risk of hypothyroidism. It reminds me of the topic of vegans and iron. Even though vegans tend to have lower bodily stores of iron, we have the same average risk of iron anemia as omnivores: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/353.full and http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/59/5/1233S.abstract

For these reasons, I imagine, mainstream vegan organizations don't strongly emphasize dietary iodine. Rather, they tend to focus on vitamins B12 and D. Vitamin B12 is almost absent in non-supplemented vegan diets, and there is a worldwide epidemic of vitamin D deficiency among the general population (including omnivores).

This doesn't mean that iodine isn't important. Everyone should be aware of it. And, for people (vegan, vegetarian and omnivorous) who are pregnant and nursing, special care should be taken to get all adequate nutrients.
.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-25-2017 at 07:10 PM.
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#11 Old 02-02-2017, 02:22 AM
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Hi, definitely exists. I prepare my lunchboxes in 15min same with cooking it's maximum 30 min. The good thing is that you can make some things like burgers, ravioli and many other and you can freez them! That's a grat solution. Making a hummus takes less than 5 minutes. You can cook a soup and while doing that you can make many other things, and soup would last for a 2 days at least.


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#12 Old 02-07-2017, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by David3 View Post
Hi James,

You can also use a free online nutrition planner, like , to plan nutritionally complete meals. It's easy to use, and there are YouTube videos that also explain how to use it.

For example, using Cronometer, I pretty quickly made the very simple daily food plan below. It supplies at least 100% of all nutrients (except vitamin B12, and possibly DHA/EPA fatty acids) on a 2000 calorie diet. A taller, more active person like you would need proportionately more calories/food.

3 cups boiled lentils
2 cups boiled whole wheat spaghetti
2 cups cooked spinach
1 orange
2 cups fortified soymilk (fortified with vitamins A, D, and calcium)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt (maybe not even necessary)
Thank you for this, I found it super useful.
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