Veganism is one of the best ways to do your part in lessening your personal environmental impact. As I’m sure you already know, the meat/dairy industry has countless negative impacts on the environment through methane emissions, animal waste runoff, excessive water usage, and deforestation for grazing lands. By sticking to a plant based diet, not only do you decrease your “footprint”, but your physical health may improve and you can have a guilt-free conscience.
In order to successfully be a vegan, it is very important to know what foods you can eat in order to get the full amount of nutrition that your body needs, otherwise you may develop nutrient deficiencies. In terms of protein, any form of whole grain combined with a legume equals a complete protein. This includes black beans and brown rice, toast and peanut butter, bread with bean soup, lentils and barley… the possibilities are endless. Other high protein foods include nuts, dark leafy greens and broccoli. There are several processed foods that serve as high-protein meat alternatives and these include tempeh (fermented soy and rice product), tofu, seitan (high protein wheat gluten) and soy. If you are trying to avoid soy, seitan is the way to go- it’s delicious, and mimics the texture and flavor of meat when prepared correctly.
Calcium can be easily obtained through nut milks such as almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk! You should also take B vitamin supplements to ensure that you’re getting enough, as it can be difficult with a vegan diet. Iron is plentiful in spinach, tomato, and lentils in particular, as well as legumes, grains and dark green vegetables.
So, if this class makes you more interesting in pursuing a more environmentally-friendly life, veganism may be for you! If you decide to make the switch, don’t put your health at risk by being uninformed! If you know what nutrients you need and where to get them, you can live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.