Vital Foods You May Be Lacking - A Checklist
"What do you eat?!"
The word 'vegan' seems to invoke reactions ranging from annoyed tutting to open incredulity.
"What do you eat?!" people gasp, clutching at the doorframe for support, apparently unable to contemplate life without eggs and cheese. I must be starving myself to death. I can't possibly be getting enough nutrients. They seem to think that a mainstream unrestricted diet automatically equates to good nutrition. Wrong.
Anyone can be malnourished. It's precisely at those times when you have no dietary restrictions that you assume you'll get everything you need over the course of, say, a week, but don't actually check. Cereal for dinner again? Ah never mind. I'll eat some salad tomorrow... In fact, if you're serious about living with any sort of restriction on your diet, you have to pay closer attention than most to meeting your nutritional needs.
Perhaps the question should be flipped on its head. Instead of asking of vegans: "What do you eat?!" ask the meat-eaters, "What don't you eat?" Because the chances are, they're not getting enough of something.
Anyone can become malnourished.
The word 'vegan' can be troubling as it seems to highlight the exclusions from the diet. That's why I'm with Dr Greger, of NutritionFacts.org, in preferring the term 'whole-food plant-based' to describe my way of eating: it's about what I want to eat, rather than what I want to avoid.
Speaking of Dr Greger, it was his book, "How Not To Die" that clinched it for me. If you want a sensible, well-researched account of how your diet is affecting your health, read this. It is one of the most life-changing things I have read in a long time and it galvanised my resolve to provide a whole-food plant-based diet for my family.
What's this about a Daily Dozen?
Furthermore, Dr Greger has made it really, really easy to ensure you get the right foods with his Daily Dozen checklist. The Daily Dozen is my go-to resource, my compass and guide to ensuring that I am not missing out on vital nutrition. Put simply, it's a checklist for eating well: twelve essential components for a healthy lifestyle. If you're not familiar with the Daily Dozen, I urge you to find out more. It's in the book, of course, and you'll also find that it's available as an app (very convenient, I love it) and in various printable forms (this is the printable Daily Dozen pdf that I chose to laminate for my family).
An Excellent Eating Adventure
Food is a big part of life. If it's going to be good, it has to be more exciting than self-denial and brown blandness. A whole-food plant-based diet can be delicious, colourful and fun. The Daily Dozen is your map. This blog will help you.
Whether you're vegan or a meat-eater, if you can achieve most of your Daily Dozen on most days, you are making the right choices for excellent health. It's easier than you think and you'll love it. Any tiny step you can make to improve your diet will have long term health benefits.
Are you with me on this excellent adventure?
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