Vegan Nutrition

Plant-based diet without animal products. Veganism is on the rise. Here’s everything you should know when starting a vegan diet.

Vegan Nutrition

This is how a vegan diet works

bowl of healthy and vegan foods

Vegan diets have become very popular. Unlike vegetarian diets, vegan diets dispense with all animal products, not just meat, and are no longer seen as a fringe movement. People’s reasons for going vegan are versatile. In addition to animal ethics and environmental protection, the interest in vegan nutrition is often due to its health benefits. Currently around 1 million people in Germany are vegan, i.e. they replace all animal products with plant-based foods. Giving up on meat and dairy products, however, does not limit your quality of life.

On the contrary, the alternative food options are so numerous that your vegan diet plan will surely have many delicious new discoveries for you. It should not pose much difficulty for you to eat a vegan and healthy diet – and to say goodbye to those extra kilos. Your Upfit Nutrition Plan will help you on your way to the desired weight and adapt to your vegan diet 100 percent.

The most common myths about vegan diets

1. Vegan diets are just a trend

Veganism is indeed booming. Every day in Germany alone, about 2,000 people become vegetarian and about 200 become vegan. The vegan diet is becoming more and more well-known and common, and more and more restaurants and grocery stores are adapting by offering plenty of vegan options. Attention to the topic has definitely risen, no question. Nevertheless, a change in diet is a serious decision that you should not make rashly. A change in diet requires research, preparation, and the removal of old habits. That being said, a vegan diet can be a positive change in your life, and it is not a trend that can simply go out of fashion, like bell-bottoms or tribal tattoos, because behind this movement is an awareness of health and the environment, as well as one’s own moral values.

2. Vegans suffer from deficiencies

One of the main reasons that people get scared away from vegan nutrition is the myth that nutrients and minerals, like iron, calcium, and vitamin B12, can only be found in animal products (our BMI Calculator can help you to determine your optimal macronutrient distribution). It is true that nutrient and mineral deficiencies ought to be taken seriously, for example too little iron creates a lack of oxygen in the blood, which can lead to poor concentration and headaches. However, red meat is not the only food that contains iron. For example, beef has 3 mg per 100 g while the following plants contain even more:

Food Iron content per 100g
Turmeric 41,4 mg
Sesame seeds 14,5 mg
Pumpkin seeds 14 mg
Buckwheat 8 mg
Lentils 8 mg

Women need 15 mg of iron per day, men about 10 mg. Vegans generally do not have a higher risk of iron deficiency.

Calcium is not actually originally a constituent of cow’s milk, but rather a mineral of plant origin. It occurs in the soil, so the following vegan foods actually contain even more calcium than cow’s milk (120 mg per 100g):

Foods Calcium content per 100g
Sesame seeds 785 mg
Soybeans 255 mg
Almonds 255 mg
Hazelnuts 225 mg
Kale 210 mg
Figs, dried 195 mg
Fennel 116 mg
Broccoli 112 mg
Olives 95 mg

During the day you need about 1000 mg of calcium.

Vitamin B12 is also not of animal origin. Animals ingest the vitamin through bacteria in the soil. Because animals are often kept in unnatural environments, they often have a vitamin B12 shortage. This makes vitamin B12 deficiency a common problem that affects many people – not only vegetarians and vegans. Nonetheless, if you follow a completely meatless diet, you should definitely take a vitamin B12 supplement.

3. Vegan diets mean sacrifice

Yes, being vegan means that you have to do without animal products. However, that does not mean that a vegan diet automatically has to be unbalanced or less tasty – so in this sense, there is no real sacrifice. For example, cow’s milk can simply be replaced with an alternative such as almond milk, rice milk, etc., and honey can be replaced with agave or maple syrup. Because of veganism’s growing popularity, there is now an alternative for almost every animal product – that is neither unhealthier nor less tasty than the original animal product.

4. Vegan diets are complicated

With vegan nutrition there is, indeed, a lot to consider. For this reason, you can start slowly. For example, try giving up meat first, then milk, and so on. Once you know which foods you can and cannot eat, the vegan diet is no more complicated than a healthy whole foods diet. An individual Vegan Nutrition Plan from us is therefore well suited as an introduction to the vegan diet.

5. Vegan diets are expensive

This is also not true, because the fact is that most staple foods of vegan cuisine are very cheap. These include oatmeal, rice, legumes, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, vegan diets are just as cheap or expensive as classic diets, and you can simply decide for yourself how expensive the foods you eat are. Here the range of prices for vegan nutrition is comparable to a non-vegan diet.

Vegan Food - Forbidden Food

paleo foods - meat and herbs

Your vegan diet plan consists of only plant-based foods. However, within the plant-based realm, you have a wide variety of options: fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, potatoes, nuts, and seeds provide you with the nutrients you need and enable you to eat a varied and balanced diet. Your vegan diet plan offers you a lot of freedom to decide for yourself what and how you eat.

Hidden Ingredients: These foods are not vegan

Food Is not vegan because: Alternative
Classic gummy bears Contain gelatin derived from pork or beef bones Vegan gummy bears
Store-bought bakery products Many industrial bakery products contain the amino acid L-cysteine, derived from pig bristles or bird feathers Organic bakeries are safe, as L-cysteine is banned under organic regulation
Wine and beer Gelatine is normally used to make wine and beer However, there are vegan methods for wine extraction
Honey Honey is a raw material that is extracted from insects. Whether or not this is considered an animal product is a discussion that every vegan should have with themselves. The extraction of honey is something that some vegans regard as the exploitation of bees, so they refrain from using it Agave syrup, maple syrup
Noodles Some noodles contain chicken eggs There are plenty of pasta products that contain only durum wheat semolina
Chips Many chips contain veal, pork, or poultry flavors There are lots of vegan chip options available
Granola bars Some bars contain gelatin to hold the bar together There are many vegan alternatives, especially in health food stores and organic markets. Otherwise, you can also check the ingredient list of the conventional bars in the supermarket, because not all contain gelatin

Is a vegan diet healthy?

vegetarian foods - vegetables, potatoes and herbs

Vegans are characterized by the fact that they do not eat foods that are of animal origin or that contain animal additives. A vegan diet is a good way to lose weight because vegans often become more mindful of their diet and conscious of their health than other people. As a vegan, your awareness of the ingredients of foods will improve over time, and this awareness will help you achieve other goals – like personal health and weight loss. Only when you are conscious of what you eat, will you eat in a healthy and balanced way – and by no means must you give up delicious food if you become a vegan. On the contrary, vegan dishes can be just as flavorful as traditional dishes .

Typical mistakes in a vegan diet

low carb vegan zucchini pasta

1. Starting spontaneously without a plan

Changing to a vegan diet takes some time. A change in diet is a process that takes about 6 weeks. In this transition phase, your body learns new routines. In the meantime, you should listen to your inner cravings and provide your body with the best possible care so that, in a moment of weakness, an animal product does not end up on your plate. Your change to a proper vegan diet therefore needs some planning and time. Do your research in advance to learn what you can and cannot eat as a vegan.

2. Just omitting the animal products

If you simply omit products like milk, meat, and eggs, without somehow replacing the nutrients they contain, you will either give up quickly or develop a nutrient deficiency. You cannot just skip out on important nutrients and expect to stay healthy. You should instead provide your body with nutritious alternatives. This does not mean that you replace meat products with meat substitutes, but instead that you get inspired by the variety of healthy foods available that provide you with the nutrients you need.

3. "Veganize" your previous diet 1 to 1

“It’s not the exceptions that count, but the habits in everyday life.”

This point is similar to point 2. A typical mistake is that you simply replace sausage, cheese, etc. with vegan substitutes and thus eat exactly as you did before. Although this may be vegan, it is by no means healthy. Processed vegan foods, such as soybean schnitzel or veggie mayo, are heavily industrially processed and therefore have a very low nutrient content. Instead of nutrients, you eat a lot of fat, sugar, additives, and flavor enhancers. So processed substitutes should not be the basis of your vegan diet. Instead, you should eat wholesome vegan foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Of course you can treat yourself to a vegan piece of cake, a scoop of vegan ice cream, or a soybean schnitzel every now and then, but that should be the exception – as with the classic diet.

4. No B12 supplementation

Although vitamin B12 is formed by microorganisms, it is only present in trace amounts in plant food. An adequate supply of vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, the formation of red blood cells, the homocysteine metabolism, as well as the energy metabolism. Therefore, vegans must supplement this vitamin in case of actual deficiency.

5. Eating too little

Often, vegans feel food cravings after first when beginning their diet change. This is often because unprocessed plant foods have a lower calorie density than animal or heavily processed products. That said, vegans often do not eat enough in the beginning because they are scared of eating too much. If you do not eat enough calories, your body may start screaming for greasy, high calorie foods. But if you manage to meet your calorie needs with a full, balanced diet, you will not be hungry and have fewer cravings.

Vegan recipes and vegan food

healthy vegan recipes - chickpea and pumpkin bowl

The Vegan Recipe Database is steadily expanded by Upfit nutrition experts and is optimized to give you all the vegetable variety without sacrificing flavor. Our vegan cuisine integrates easily into your everyday life, and offers you plant-based treats and inspiration every day, for every occasion.