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Make your vegan bowl wholesome

Make your vegan bowl wholesome

Here’s how to get the most from a vegan platter
get the most of your vegan bowl
Options aplenty to make your vegan bowl awesome | iStock

Veganism or absolute vegetarianism as a lifestyle choice has gained popularity across the globe. No matter if the choice is ethical or based on purely health concerns, a growing number of research materials show that plant-based diets are associated with better health and longevity than others. 

Understanding veganism 

A vegan diet excludes all animal and animal-origin foods, such as all meats, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products. For those new to the concept or practice of veganism, here is a quick guide to understanding and getting the most from a vegan platter. 

Find the right substitutes 

Vegans need to be extra cautious about keeping the essential nutrition in their food. Preety Tyagi, a certified health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York, feels that although veganism has many takers, it may require a lot of consideration in terms of what must be consumed and how the meals must be cooked.
“Products like ghee, butter, yoghurt and cream cannot be a part of vegan recipes. Hence, those who plan to go vegan should shift to products made of plants or nuts, such as coconut, almond, cashew, soy and peanut, to meet their requirements of butter, oils, milk or yoghurt,” she says. 

B12 deficiency 

It has been a known fact that plant foods do not contain Vitamin B12. A 2013 review paper, Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets, stresses that individuals who follow a fully plant-based diet may be vulnerable to B12 deficiency and would need to take Vitamin B12 supplements or foods fortified with it. 

Vital troika  

“The [deficient] vitamins that are a concern for vegans are calcium, iron and zinc. Hence careful consideration needs to be given to their diet,” says New Delhi-based Aniruddha Shankar, who has been a diet coach for a decade. 

Tyagi suggests optimally consuming calcium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and kale. 

Expert guidance  

Shankar advises caution: for those in India planning to go vegan, nutrition experts in India can best offer appropriate, demography-specific guidance on the micronutrients and amounts to be taken. He says online information on vegan foods is geared to Western populations. “[Often] foods such as tofu [soya bean curd] – an option to meet vegan calcium requirement – are not easily available in India,” he says. 

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