Veganism - is it good?

As a mother, I constantly hear from other parents that their children do not want to eat vegetables and fruits. Honestly, two of my three sons are also going through a period of not eating vegetables right now. They always ate fruit and I hope they will stay that way. We all know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, no one is questioning that. However, when a loved one decides to eat only plants, we suddenly wonder if it might be harmful. After all, we have eaten meat and eggs and drank milk for generations, and that is why we were strong and robust. So, is it possible to be healthy without eating animal products?

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1. The protein issue

The first question herbivores are asked is protein. Where do you get your protein from if you don't eat meat, fish or eggs? Our body needs 0.8 g of protein daily for every kilogram of body weight. The average male weighing 70 kg needs 56 g of protein, and the average woman weighing 58 kg needs 46 g of protein per day.

Apart from people suffering from extreme hunger, it is really rare for someone to be deficient in protein. On the contrary, most people consume much more than the recommended norm. And more in this case is not necessarily better. So let's look at some protein-rich plants.

A cup of cooked lentils contains 17 g of protein, a cup of cooked black beans - 15 g, a cup of cooked chickpeas - 14 g, cooked quinoa - 11 g, and dark rice - 5 g. 100 g of tofu is 10 g, and a handful of almonds provide 8 g of this ingredient.

Less known, but very rich are hemp seeds and chia seeds (Spanish sage) and spirulina. In addition, we have spinach, oatmeal and broccoli, which provide less of it. What's more, besides protein, plants are a source of many other important nutrients without the unnecessary fat found in the meat.

2. Dairy is harmful?

If protein is not a problem, what about calcium? If you don't drink milk, your bones and teeth will be weak. On the contrary.

Recent studies show that consuming dairy products may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Calcium is present in the body in the bones and in the blood. Interestingly, its amount does not only depend on how much we consume. Physical exercise and vitamin D have a positive effect on the rate at which bone tissue rebuilds, while animal proteins, salt, caffeine and smoking flush calcium out of the body.

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The world of plants is rich in easily digestible sources of this valuable mineral. Soybeans, spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, quinoa, any beans, dark rice, almonds, figs, oranges or spirulina will provide us with enough of it.

3. Anemia? Nothing of that!

Then what about the iron? If we don't eat red meat, where will we get this important building block of blood from and protect ourselves from anemia? It turns out that many of the plants rich in protein and calcium also provide our body with iron. All green leaves such as spinach, kale, beans, dried fruit and nuts are a great source of iron, and unlike meat, they do not clog our arteries.

We should also remember that vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron, so if we have broccoli or paprika on a plate next to spinach, we do not have to worry about anemia.

Some people wonder where vegans get the omega-3s they need for healthy brain development. We don't need to eat fish or fish oil in capsules. The small but strong seeds of linseed, chia and hemp provide enormous amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. The same goes for walnuts, and to a lesser extent also beans and various kinds of seeds.

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Finally, let's look at vitamins D and B12. These are the only vitamins I take as a supplement. And vitamin D only during the cold, gloomy months. Why are they important? The main task of vitamin D is to support calcium absorption and strengthen the immune system. Our body naturally absorbs this vitamin through the skin when we are in the sun for at least 20 minutes a day. Besides, it is found in very few foods - mainly fish.

Various breakfast cereals and orange juice are also fortified with vitamin D. However, in a climatic zone where sunny days are limited to several months, it is safest to consume vitamin D in a supplement. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in building blood, DNA and nervous tissue. It also supports the immune system.

As I wrote last month, for optimal health on a vegan diet, it is worth remembering about additional vitamin B12 in a tablet or liquid.

If you have questions about veganism, I am happy to answer them. Please write to [email protected] After four years on a plant-based diet, I feel great, which I wish you too.

This and other texts can be found in the latest issue of "My harmony of life", on sale on June 13, 2017.

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