Many people think that vegans are deficient in protein and other nutrients. Well, here is my Cronometer from yesterday showing that I am not deficient in any vitamins, minerals, and protein. In addition, I am getting enough carbohydrates (maybe a bit too much), protein, and fats.
My Iron Is In The Red
One thing I noticed was that my iron was in the red. Conventional wisdom states that vegans would be lower in iron than meat-eaters. Supposedly, it is said that heme iron is absorbed more easily than non-heme iron and that vitamin C helps increase iron intake. The foods I eat with iron were dark chocolate, oats, black beans, white rice, and curry. In addition, it showed that I ate chips and guacamole as it was Super Bowl Sunday. Also, my green smoothie consists of spinach, Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk, Organic Pea Protein Powder from Trader Joe’s, kale, goji berries, and almond butter. Most of the iron seems to come from the spinach and kale. Finally, an almond butter and jelly sandwich was where I got a lot of iron. The bread was cranberry pecan bread. This was where I got most of my iron from. And because vitamin C readily absorbs iron, I would eat blackberries and raspberries with my oatmeal. Vitamin C was also present in the green smoothie I ate, especially the kale and the goji berries. I would also eat broccoli with the black beans, white rice and curry. Finally, I ate a lot of fruit, such as apples, bananas, and grapes. Because avocado has a lot of vitamin C, the guacamole I ate has a lot and both the guacamole and the chips have a lot of iron. This was how I got my vitamin C to complement my iron intake. Not only did Cronometer showed I am getting enough iron, but my lab test results also confirm it. Finally, I got my iron checked at a blood bank when I was donating blood and my iron level was high.
How I Broke The Protein Myth
So someone would ask, “Where do you get your protein?” My answer was be from oats, black beans, tofu, Organic Pea Protein Powder, white rice, dark chocolate, curry, brown rice, tempeh, and even broccoli. I noticed that my amino acid levels on Cronometer go up when I eat brown rice with tofu, black beans, and white rice. Of course, my protein levels went up when I ate this combination. My protein and amino acid levels also went up when I consumed Organic Pea Protein Powder with my greem smoothie. I would also get protein from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or an almond butter and jelly sandwich. I learned in the Game Changers documentary that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich has the same amount of protein as a chicken leg. Sadly, a lot of people, especially the ones at the Filipino family parties I go to, do not know about this. Again, they almost always associate protein with meat and not tofu, beans, oats, tempeh, brown rice, and broccoli. They do not know that you can get your protein and amino acids from these plant sources. Again, my blood test results confirm I was getting enough protein.
How I Got Calcium
A lot of my calcium came from broccoli, kale, tofu, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, and even black beans. I would add almond milk to my green smoothies. I would add oat milk and soy milk to my homemade decaf Starbucks mochas. I would blend the kale in the green smoothies along with the almond milk. I would eat broccoli, tofu, and black beans with white or brown rice. This debunks the myth that we need cow’s milk to get calcium. In fact, we can get it from these other plant sources. So far, I have not had any osteopenia, osteoporosis, or have broken a bone. I have ran half marathons or 10+ miles during my training and I have not experienced any problems with my bones or muscles. Plus, cow’s milk has a bit too much protein and too much protein in your system makes your body more acidic, leaching calcium from the bones and making them more brittle. The excess protein could also put more stress on your renal system as your kidneys attempt to flush out the excess urea made from the excess amino acids left in your system. I get my calcium from these plant sources and I have not had any bone problems. My lab test results also confirm I was getting enough calcium.
How About My Zinc
A lot of anti-vegans and skeptics have also pointed out that you do not get enough zinc on a vegan diet. Well, a lot of my zinc comes from oats, wild rice, black beans, broccoli, and the vegetable lo mein my dad cooks that contains broccoli, tofu, carrots, and other vegetables. An article on PubMed stated that a well-planned vegetarian diet (including a vegan diet) can provide adequate zinc levels from plant sources. My Cronometer showed I am getting more than adequate. Supposedly zinc is important for your immune system, metabolism, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and the male reproductive system. They said that vegetarians (including vegans) are at risk for zinc deficiency due to the phytates and the limited bioavailability from plant sources. However, food preparation techniques to counter the phytates include soaking beans, grains, and seeds in water before cooking them. Vegetarians and vegans can also consume zinc by eating more leavened products, such as bread because leavening breaks down the phytates. My dad would soak beans before he would cook them. So far, I do not have any signs of zinc deficiency, such as hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin lesions, delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities, and mental lethargy. Therefore, I have been getting enough zinc on a vegan diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
My Cronometer also showed that I am getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. I would consume chia seeds and flax seeds via my green smoothie to get omegas. I would also eat walnuts along with my oatmeal in order to get omega 3s. It also happens that wild rice, black beans, and even broccoli have amounts of omega 3s as well. Even the vegetable lo mein my dad cooked has omega 3 fatty acids. I do not take a supplement. There’s no need to if I am getting enough omega 3 fatty acids. This is to show that it is possible for vegans to get enough omega 3s.
Of course, I take a supplement for vitamin B12. The Game Changers movie also stated that even meat eaters should take a B12 supplement. The movie explained how vitamin B12 is actually found in soil and in microbes. The farm animals actually get it when they eat the grains they are being fed in the soil. They also stated that we would consume it when we eat fruits and vegetables with little traces of soil on it. A lot of skeptics and naysayers would say that vegans lack B12 and that we need meat to get enough B12 when in actuality, meat eaters still need to take a B12 supplement anyways. I would usually take a supplement. My blood test results would show my B12 levels are perfect.
I take a vitamin D supplement and I drink plant milks to get vitamin D. I also try to be out in the sun when it’s a sunny day, but I don’t go out between 11am and 3pm to avoid skin cancer. Some of the mushrooms I eat also contain vitamin D. A supplement and those food sources are how I get my vitamin D on a vegan diet.
According to my Cronometer, I am getting enough nutrients on a vegan diet. I am especially getting enough of the common nutrients that most skeptics think I’m not getting enough of. My iron in in the red and lab test results showed I was getting a lot of iron. I am breaking the protein myth that you need to eat meat to get enough protein, propagated by old-school thinking. I am getting a lot of calcium without consuming dairy, especially milk and cheese. This shows milk does not do a body good. I am getting enough zinc and the cooking methods my dad uses increases the absorption and takes care of the phytates. I am getting enough omega-3 fatty acids without eating fish and draining the ocean of fish. Finally, I am taking B12 and vitamin D supplements, and getting my vitamin D from fortified plant milks. This is to show that I am thriving on a vegan diet and smashing all the myths propagated by society, culture, tradition, stereotypes, conventional medicine, conventional wisdom, and Big Industry.