Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Are there old, ugly vegans?

Since I'm a dietitian (which means I'm anal about food/nutrients/everything), I'm really worried I'm not going to get enough fat and protein from a vegan diet; my skin will dry up and wrinkle, my hair will fall out and my nails won't grow. Basically, I'm scared 21 days of veganism is going to turn me into an 80-year old woman. Extremely ridiculous, but that's what I'm worried about.

So I did a nutritional analysis on all the food I ate today with the Nutrition Analysis Tool the University of Illinois puts out.
What I ate today:
Breakfast: cinnamon oatmeal, walnuts and raisins;
Lunch: a peanut butter sandwich and apple;
Dinner: pinto bean and butternut squash stew, kale and pumpkin seeds, and basmati rice with avocado.
Its a good thing I don't have a husband because I'm pretty sure he would pack his bags after a day of rabbit food like that.

Surprisingly according to my food analysis; I ate more than enough protein and fat, the only thing I was deficient in is calcium, riboflavin, sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Not bad, not bad at all.

Unless a diet deficient in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol will make me old and ugly after 21 days, I'm good.

As for riboflavin and calcium, the main sources are animal products but there are some good veggie sources. According to Northwestern University, almonds, soy nuts, spinach and wheat germ have a good amount of riboflavin in them.

It looks like calcium is a little harder to come by in vegetable sources. Fortified cereal, oatmeal and soymilk look like the best sources. White beans and soybeans also have a good amount of calcium. The problem with vegetable sources of calcium is the bioavailability of the calcium and the amount you have to eat. Generally dairy sources have the largest amounts and the type of calcium most bioavailable to the human body. The USDA says:
"Both calcium content and bioavailability should be considered when selecting dietary sources of calcium. Some plant foods have calcium that is well absorbed, but the large quantity of plant foods that would be needed to provide as much calcium as in a glass of milk may be unachievable for many. Many other calcium-fortified foods are available, but the percentage of calcium that can be absorbed is unavailable for many of them."
So that means my best bet is to keep taking calcium supplements, and a multivitamin probably wouldn't hurt either. My former nutrition professor, Dr. Brevard, was right; take your vitamins!


Liberty Jennifer said...

the basmati rice and avacado sounds yummy

Jeann├ęsy Daisy said...

That nutritional analysis diet tool is schweet! I'd like to use it; however, I don't think I will. But...I'd like to! Good job on the veganism

Anonymous said...

We are vegetarians for 20 years with bouts with being Vegan. My husband will be 64 in March and is in great health. People never believe it when I tell them how old I am; most say I look 10 years younger than others my age.

Healthy lifestyle is the way to go!