How to be Vegan and Stay Healthy

Published : May 28, 2024 5 mins read

Veganism is a lifestyle and dietary choice that abstains from consuming any animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey, and often extends to avoiding other animal-derived products such as leather and wool. It is gaining popularity due to growing awareness of ethical, environmental, and health-related concerns. Many people are drawn to veganism for its alignment with compassion for animals, reducing environmental impact, and potential health benefits, including lower risk of certain diseases and improved overall well-being.

One common misconception about veganism is that it may lack essential nutrients. However, with careful planning and knowledge of plant-based sources, vegans can easily obtain all necessary nutrients, including protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins, to maintain optimal health and well-being. In this blog, we will understand how you can stay healthy by following a vegan diet.

Understanding the Vegan Nutrition

Key nutrients in a vegan diet play vital roles in overall health. Protein supports muscle growth and repair, iron is essential for oxygen transport, calcium is crucial for bone health, vitamin B12 is necessary for nerve function, omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health, and vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and bone strength.

• Vegan Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D3

Vegans can obtain calcium from various plant-based sources such as fortified non-dairy milk (soy, almond, oat, etc.), tofu made with calcium sulfate, leafy greens like kale and collard greens, almonds, sesame seeds, and fortified orange juice. For vitamin D3, options include fortified plant-based milk, fortified orange juice, mushrooms exposed to sunlight, and vitamin D3 supplements derived from lichen or algae.

• Vegan Sources of Iron

1. Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and soybeans are rich in iron.
2. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens are excellent sources of iron.
3. Whole Grains: Quinoa, fortified cereals, oats, and brown rice contain iron.
4. Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and almonds are good sources.
5. Dried Fruits: Raisins, apricots, prunes, and figs provide iron in concentrated amounts.

• Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12

1. Fortified Foods: Many plant-based milk alternatives, breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast, and meat substitutes are fortified with vitamin B12.

2. Fortified Yeast Extracts: Some nutritional yeast products are fortified with vitamin B12.

3. Fortified Vegan Meat Substitutes: Certain vegan meat substitutes, such as veggie burgers and tofu dogs, may contain added vitamin B12.

4. Supplements: Vitamin B12 supplements, either in the form of cyanocobalamin or methyl cobalamin, are widely available and recommended for vegans to ensure adequate intake.

• Vegan Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

1. Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil: Rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor to EPA and DHA.

2. Chia Seeds: High in ALA and easily incorporated into smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods.

3. Hemp Seeds and Hemp Oil: Contain a good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and can be added to salads or blended into dressings.

4. Walnuts: A tasty snack rich in ALA.

How to be Vegan and Stay Healthy

Planning a Balance Vegan Diet

Here are things you can consider before making a vegan diet plan for you

1. Include a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables

• Aim for a colorful assortment to obtain a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
• Incorporate leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, and others.

2. Focus on Whole Grains

• Choose whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley, and whole wheat bread to provide fiber, B vitamins, and minerals.

3. Incorporate Protein-Rich Foods

• Include legumes like lentils, beans, chickpeas, and soy products (tofu, tempeh, edamame) for protein, iron, and fiber.
• Incorporate nuts, seeds, and their butter for additional protein and healthy fats.

4. Include Calcium-Rich Foods

• Opt for fortified plant-based milk alternatives, fortified orange juice, tofu made with calcium sulfate, leafy greens, almonds, and sesame seeds.

5. Ensure Adequate Vitamin B12 Intake

• Consume fortified foods such as nutritional yeast, plant-based milk, breakfast cereals, and meat substitutes, or take a B12 supplement.

6. Obtain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

• Include flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and algal oil supplements to provide omega-3 fatty acids.

7. Don't Forget Healthy Fats

• Incorporate sources of healthy fats like avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, and their oils in moderation.

Benefits of Vegan Diet

1. Improved Heart Health

• Vegan diets are typically lower in saturated fats and cholesterol, leading to reduced risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels (1).

2. Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases

• Research suggests that vegan diets may lower the risk of certain chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and obesity (2).

3. Weight Management

• Vegan diets tend to be lower in calories and higher in fiber, which can aid in weight management by promoting feelings of fullness and reducing calorie intake (3).

4. Enhanced Nutrient Intake

• Vegan diets often include a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, providing ample vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

5. Environmental Sustainability

• Plant-based diets have a lower environmental footprint compared to diets high in animal products, as they require fewer natural resources like water and land and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Potential Longevity

• Some studies suggest that plant-based diets may contribute to increased longevity and overall well-being by reducing the risk of chronic diseases and promoting better health outcomes.

7. Digestive Health

• Vegan diets, particularly those rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can support digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.

8. Clearer Skin

• Eliminating dairy products from the diet may improve skin health by reducing inflammation and acne breakouts associated with dairy consumption in some individuals.

9. Ethical and Compassionate Living

• Adopting a vegan lifestyle reflects values of compassion, empathy, and respect for all living beings, contributing to a more humane and sustainable world.


Adopting a vegan lifestyle offers numerous benefits for both personal well-being and the planet. By prioritising nutrient-rich plant foods and avoiding animal products, individuals can enhance their health, reduce their environmental footprint, and promote ethical living. With careful planning and awareness of vegan sources of essential nutrients, maintaining a balanced vegan diet is not only achievable but also rewarding. Embracing veganism signifies a commitment to compassion, sustainability, and holistic health, paving the way for a brighter and more compassionate future for all.


1. Is being completely vegan healthy?

Yes, being vegan is completely healthy. Choose a diet providing all necessary nutrients. However, it requires attention to ensure adequate intake of protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients

2. How do I start being a vegan?

Starting as a vegan involves gradually transitioning to plant-based foods while ensuring balanced nutrition. Begin by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds into your meals. Educate yourself about vegan nutrition and explore new recipes.

3. What foods do vegans avoid?

Vegans avoid all animal-derived foods, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products (such as milk, cheese, yogurt), eggs, honey, and any products containing ingredients derived from animals, like gelatin or certain food colorings.


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