Sample Health Plans for Vegan Men and Women

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A vegan diet is a plant-based diet that does not include any animal products. This means that vegans do not eat meat, dairy, eggs, or honey. Veganism is a lifestyle choice that is becoming more popular each year. Some people choose to be vegan for health reasons, while others do it for ethical or environmental reasons.

There are many benefits to following a vegan diet. For example, vegans tend to have lower rates of heart disease and obesity than people who eat meat and dairy. They also consume fewer resources, since raising animals for food requires a lot of land, water, and energy. And finally, by not eating animals or animal products, vegans reduce their contribution to the exploitation and suffering of animals.

Of course, following a vegan diet is not without its challenges. A vegan diet may be lacking in protein, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients. This can result in health problems for vegans, including anemia and weakness. While a vegan diet can be healthy, it is important to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.

The goal of this article is to provide you with a healthy vegan diet plan that you can follow without missing out on important nutrients and risking your health.

Vegan diet plan for women

The following plan is designed for a typical, healthy vegan female and aims to provide such a person with sufficient nutrition to support proper body functioning.

Reference intakes for women(1):

  • 2000 kcal
  • max. 78g of fat or 35% of total energy
  • max 24g of saturated fat or 11% of total energy
  • At least 267g of carbohydrates or 50% food energy
  • Around 45g of protein (more if you’re physically active)
  • 30g of dietary fibre
  • Maximum of 6g of salt

General advice and guidelines(1,2,3,5):

  • Pay special attention to vitamin B12 (fortified products such as fortified oats, cereals, soy and almond drinks etc.) and folic acid if pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Consult a doctor if you aim to participate in physical exercise if pregnant
  • Slightly increase your caloric intake throughout the stages of pregnancy as pregnant women need more calories as the fetus develops within their wombs
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes completely if pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Aim to hit the daily reference intakes, do so by noting down what you eat or through the use of smartphone applications and internet websites such as Fitatu, MyFitnessPal or Cronometer
  • Pay special attention to iron as women between 19-50 years of age require more iron compared to men and elder women
  • Pay attention to adequate calcium intake as 1 in 10 adults do not provide this mineral in adequate amounts and women usually
  • Increase the fruit and vegetable intake to at least 5 portions a day as fruit and veggies provide your body with vitamins, minerals and other healthful micronutrients such as antioxidants (which protect your body from oxidative stress), polyphenols (which may lower heart disease risk, improve digestion, offer some protection against certain types of cancer and improve brain function) and anthocyanins (which can also lower blood pressure, inhibit tumour formation and cancer cell proliferation, have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and improve visual acuity)
  • Limit the alcohol intake to a max of 14 units per week, which can be found in 6 medium glasses of wine, 6 pints of lager or 14 single shorts of spirit (a week total)
  • Aim to get physically active and physically exercise for at least 150 minutes a week
  • Aim to stay at a healthy bodyweight, if you struggle to do so, do not hesitate to contact a dietitian or nutritionist
  • Make sure that you provide enough protein, which can be achieved through the consumption of legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans, soy including tofu and seitan), certain whole grains (e.g. quinoa, buckwheat),
  • Watch out for excess soy as overfeeding on soy may increase the risk of developing food allergies and intolerances (since soy is a very cheap protein source it’s pretty much ubiquitous)
  • Base your meal on starchy carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta or potatoes, prefer wholegrains if possible
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to provide adequate hydration
  • Reduce the intake of refined sugars and fats that are present in sweets and snacks such as crisps, chips, chocolate bars etc.
  • Provide calcium and vitamin D from dark, leafy greens such as broccoli, cabbage and okra (but not spinach), fortified unsweetened vegan (soy, rice, almond etc.) drinks, fortified tofu, sesame seeds and tahini, legumes, brown and white bread (where calcium is added to the flour by law) and dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, figs and apricots, where a 30g portion of dried fruit would count as 1 out of your 5 a day
  • Provide iron from pulses, whole grains, iron-fortified cereals, dark leafy greens such as broccoli, spring greens or watercress, nuts and seeds and dried fruits
  • Provide vitamin B12 from fortified vegan products such as yeast extracts (Marmite), fortified vegan drinks (soy, rice, almond drinks)
  • Provide omega-3 fatty acids from rapeseed oils, seeds and nuts (especially walnuts), linseed oil, chia seeds
  • Provide zinc (which strengthens the immune system) from whole grains (e.g. buckwheat, wholegrain pasta etc.), legumes nuts and seeds
  • Provide protein from legumes such as soy (e.g. tofu and seitan), chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas or protein high grains such as quinoa
  • Be aware that vitamin D3 can be synthesised by your skin upon UV light contact, therefore regular sun exposure is recommended and if that cannot be achieved then consider implementing mushrooms into your diet (especially shiitake mushrooms as they contain higher amounts of D3 than other ones)
  • Provide healthy fats from products such as avocados, flax oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds or tahini
  • Consider adding spices such as turmeric, chilli, cumin, garlic, pepper, rosemary and thyme for additional health benefits

This plan is a health plan for a typical, healthy, vegan, female individual. It provides one with basic nutritional guidelines, advice and reference intakes to adhere to. By following this health plan one ensures that most of the nutritional requirements are met and that the diet is healthy and varied. Sources of certain micronutrients and macronutrients have been listed to provide one with a better understanding and easy-to-follow instructions. Such a plan can serve as a good source of knowledge and instructions for healthy, vegan females that want to make sure their health is not compromised and their bodies are receiving essential micronutrients in adequate amounts. Additional instructions for pregnant and breastfeeding women have been mentioned as well an increased amount of iron for women 19-50 years of age has been highlighted. A similar goes to calcium as approximately 1 in 10 adults do not provide a sufficient amount of this mineral within their diets.

Vegan diet plan for men

This health plan will aim to provide a typical, healthy, vegan, male with basic nutritional guidelines that intend to keep one’s health at optimal levels and ensure that adequate amounts of micronutrients and macronutrients are provided within the diet.

Daily reference intakes for a typical male(4):

  • 2500kcal
  • 55g of protein (more if you are physically active)
  • max of 97g of fat
  • max of 31g of saturated fats
  • at least 333g of carbohydrates
  • 30g of dietary fibre
  • maximum of 6g of salt per day

General advice and guidelines(2,3,4):

  • Pay additional attention to the protein intake as men tend to need more protein than women, especially if they are physically active and regularly exercise, which tends to be the trend in men (what can be seen is that men are usually more likely to perform resistance exercise than women)
  • Aim to hit the daily reference intakes, do so by noting down what you eat or through the use of smartphone applications and internet websites such as Fitatu, MyFitnessPal or Cronometer
  • Make sure that you consume enough calories as men usually have greater energy requirements than women
  • Increase the fruit and vegetable intake to at least 5 portions a day as fruit and veggies provide your body with vitamins, minerals and other healthful micronutrients such as antioxidants (which protect your body from oxidative stress), polyphenols (which may lower heart disease risk, improve digestion, offer some protection against certain types of cancer and improve brain function) and anthocyanins (which can also lower blood pressure, inhibit tumour formation and cancer cell proliferation, have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and improve visual acuity)
  • Limit the alcohol intake to a max of 14 units per week, which can be found in 6 medium glasses of wine, 6 pints of lager or 14 single shorts of spirit (a week total)
  • Aim to get physically active and physically exercise for at least 150 minutes a week
  • Aim to stay at a healthy bodyweight, if you struggle to do so, do not hesitate to contact a dietitian or nutritionist
  • Make sure that you provide enough protein, which can be achieved through the consumption of legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans, soy including tofu and seitan), certain whole grains (e.g. quinoa, buckwheat),
  • Watch out for excess soy as overfeeding on soy may increase the risk of developing food allergies and intolerances (since soy is a very cheap protein source it’s pretty much ubiquitous)
  • Base your meal on starchy carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta or potatoes, prefer wholegrains if possible
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to provide adequate hydration
  • Reduce the intake of refined sugars and fats that are present in sweets and snacks such as crisps, chips, chocolate bars etc.
  • Provide calcium and vitamin D from dark, leafy greens such as broccoli, cabbage and okra (but not spinach), fortified unsweetened vegan (soy, rice, almond etc.) drinks, fortified tofu, sesame seeds and tahini, legumes, brown and white bread (where calcium is added to the flour by law) and dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, figs and apricots, where a 30g portion of dried fruit would count as 1 out of your 5 a day
  • Provide iron from pulses, whole grains, iron-fortified cereals, dark leafy greens such as broccoli, spring greens or watercress, nuts and seeds and dried fruits
  • Provide vitamin B12 from fortified vegan products such as yeast extracts (Marmite), fortified vegan drinks (soy, rice, almond drinks)
  • Provide omega-3 fatty acids from rapeseed oils, seeds and nuts (especially walnuts), linseed oil, chia seeds
  • Provide zinc (which strengthens the immune system) from whole grains (e.g. buckwheat, wholegrain pasta etc.), legumes nuts and seeds
  • Provide protein from legumes such as soy (e.g. tofu and seitan), chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas or protein high grains such as quinoa
  • Be aware that vitamin D3 can be synthesised by your skin upon UV light contact, therefore regular sun exposure is recommended and if that cannot be achieved then consider implementing mushrooms into your diet (especially shiitake mushrooms as they contain higher amounts of D3 than other ones)
  • Provide healthy fats from products such as avocados, flax oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds or tahini
  • Consider adding spices such as turmeric, chilli, cumin, garlic, pepper, rosemary and thyme for additional health benefits

The provided plan aims to supply typical, healthy men with basic nutritional advice and guidelines to follow. These instructions intend to keep one’s health at optimal levels and ensure that the correct amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients are delivered within the diet. It also provides one with some additional advice that relates specifically to men and proposes some changes within the lifestyle habits to improve the general health and wellbeing of male, vegan individuals. A list of crucial nutrients and their sources have been listed to prevent malnutrition as following a strict, vegan diet might be challenging and requires some knowledge to begin with if the diet is to be health. This plan makes sure that one understands the principles of healthy eating in relation to vegan men and lists simple, easy to implement cues that can be adhered to to promote health, wellbeing and provide additional protection from malnutrition and certain diseases such as obesity, some types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and others.

References:

  1. British Nutrition Foundation, Women, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/lifestages/women.html?start=2
  2. NHS, The Vegan Diet, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/
  3. British Nutrition Foundation, Women, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/lifestages/women.html?start=2
  4. British Nutrition Foundatoin, Men, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/lifestages/men.html?start=3
  5. Linda Little, Women Need More Calcium, Say Experts, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/news/20051007/women-need-more-calcium-say-experts

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