A life without meat needn’t be difficult

Being a vegan, or vegetarian, can sometimes make eating quite complicated as it is essential to make sure that you meet all the nutritional requirements of the body without consuming meat. Fortunately, there are people who keep on top of the latest health recommendations to make sure that people who choose to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle get all the nutrients they need.

When you’re considering how much you need to eat as a vegetarian it is important to look at the amount of calories a person requires. This doesn’t change whether you are a vegetarian, meat eater, or vegan. For men the average amount required is around 2400 calories a day, although as you get older the amount of calories you require actually goes down.

If you are very active and do regular exercise then you should be consuming more calories than this. Depending on your level of activity, 10 to 20 percent to the above number would be recommended. For women the average calorie requirements are significantly lower with only 2000 calories required everyday. Once again, for particularly active women 10 to 20 percent should be added to the above figure.

It is also important to make sure that as a vegan you get enough protein, generally around 0.8 grams of protein is required for every kilogram you have of body weight. This works out at around 10 percent of your calorific intake comes from protein. Therefore people should be consuming around 60 grams of protein every single day.

The vast majority of people’s calories come from carbohydrates and with someone who eats a regular diet, which includes meat, they should be consuming around 45 percent of the calories from carbohydrates. If you are vegan the amount of calories you are going to need to get from carbohydrate foods increases and so would be wise to eat more of this type of food. The amount of calories coming from fat should be limited to 35 percent for both vegetarians and those who eat meat.

With vegetarians it is important that more fat comes from omega-3 oils. These can be obtained from eating things such as green vegetables, walnuts, tofu and flaxseed. It can also be a good idea to take diet supplements such as EPA and DHA in amounts of 200 milligrams or more per day.

Vegans might face some nutritional concerns over consumption of several vitamins including B12, D, as well as calcium and iodine. You should consider using supplements to meet these nutritional requirements if you are not getting enough through your foods. Women should also make sure that they have enough iron in the bloodstream, something that can become particularly low during ministration.

Vitamin D is usually acquired through sun exposure, but for those who don’t spend a great deal of time outside, they may need to supplement this vitamin by consuming it. This can be a particular concern for people who live in the northern hemisphere, where there is generally less sun exposure throughout the year.

It is also possible that those who are not consuming iodised salt might not be getting enough iodine into the system. It is possible to supplement your iodine intake with pills and you should consume around 150mcg a day extra.

If you are considering taking iodine supplements it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor first as taking too much iodine can be a health risk. It is also a good idea to make sure that you get most of your calcium through food, rather than supplements.

If you are unable to get enough calcium in your diet then you should take an extra 600 milligrams every day. This is not the healthiest option and should only be used as second best to obtaining the required minerals and vitamins from plants. If you are ever concerned about not getting enough vitamins, simply involve a daily multivitamin tablet in your routine.