Contents
1 What should be considered in a vegan diet?
2 What exactly is a vegan diet?
3 The health benefits of eating vegan
People who eat vegan live longer on average How does a plant-based diet increase life expectancy and quality of life?
4 Macro and micronutrient supply in a vegan diet
Where do vegans get their proteins from? Yes, eating enough protein is also possible with a vegan diet Vitamin B12 Omega-3 fatty acids Vitamin D Calcium iron What else should you look out for?
5 Alternative products and practical tips for everyday life
The right mindset
6 Arguments from ancient Greece to the present day
Ethics for all/vegan ethics: conscious nutrition for animals Vegan nutrition for the planet Vegan nutrition for the future of humanity
7 Summary

What should be considered in a vegan diet?

More and more people are developing an awareness of their own diet and the effects it has on their bodies and the environment. As a result, more and more people are adopting a vegan diet. This diet may sound extreme at first glance, but there is a long list of good reasons for eliminating animal foods from your plate. This means that the vegan lifestyle is definitely far more than just hype or a dietary trend. The number one reason is often personal health and well-being. But the reasons go further. Eating vegan also reduces animal suffering, protects the environment and humanity and so much more.

How does eating vegan benefit you and the world? What exactly is vegan, what are the benefits, what do you need to pay attention to and how does it work in everyday life? After this article, no questions will remain unanswered.

What exactly is a vegan diet?

What is a vegan diet? In short, veganism is an entirely plant-based diet and therefore a more intensive version of vegetarianism.

Vegetarian means a meat-free diet, i.e. not eating chicken, beef, pork or other animal ingredients. This also includes gelatine, for example, which is obtained from animal bones and is contained in most jelly babies and other foods. And, of course, fish, as these are also animals, even if they are often not perceived as "meat".

Vegan goes beyond vegetarianism. In addition to foods made from animals, veganism also includes products that come from animals, such as milk. Vegan therefore also excludes eggs, milk, cheese and honey. Even if animals are used elsewhere in the production process, a product is no longer vegan. For example, the process of "fining", or clarifying, certain types of beer and wine is sometimes carried out using gelatine or fish bladders. As many people don't know, the vegan or plant-based lifestyle often goes beyond diet and involves any consumption of animal products. Ethical vegans do not buy leather products, wool, silk or products where an animal can be directly purchased as a product or was exploited for it. In short: no animals and no animal products.

What do vegans eat instead?

  • Vegetables and fruit. These provide vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber.
  • Pulses such as lentils, peas, beans, soybeans and lupins. Pulses are one of the main sources of protein for vegans.
  • Whole grains and cereals. For complex carbohydrates, fiber and phytochemicals.
  • Nuts and seeds for healthy fats and other valuable nutrients.

Giving up many food categories sounds like less quality of life at first, but what initially sounds like "less" is actually "more". A vegan diet has many positive effects on health and well-being.

The health benefits of eating vegan

If you eat vegan, aren't you perhaps getting a deficiency? Is a vegan diet healthy?

If you eat a sensible vegan diet, then veganism is definitely not a malnutrition. On the contrary, it is often a sensible decision if you want to live a healthier life. A vegan diet has many advantages.

People who eat vegan live longer on average

According to the World Health Organization (WHO)1 the two most common causes of death in middle- and high-income countries are heart attacks (and other heart diseases caused by a lack of oxygen) and strokes (and other cerebrovascular diseases). Three of the biggest risks for diseases that can affect the heart and blood vessels correlate negatively with a vegan diet: vegans are less likely to have high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.2 And there are many other ways in which a vegan diet can positively improve life expectancy, quality of life and health.

How does a plant-based diet increase life expectancy and quality of life?

According to the WHO, a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables alone could prevent 11% of deaths from heart disease and 9% from strokes globally. In the case of gastrointestinal cancer, which is a little less common overall, the figure is as high as 14%, which would not happen just by eating more fruit and vegetables.3

Cholesterol is a component that is categorically only found in significant quantities in animal foods. A plant-based diet is therefore virtually cholesterol-free and therefore an ideal way to reduce cholesterol levels. Butter, meat, sausages, milk and dairy products are particularly high in saturated fats, which are directly linked to cholesterol. Fruit, vegetables, salad, rice and potatoes, among others, contain no cholesterol at all.

Vegetarians and vegans are only half as likely to suffer from diabetes,4 than someone who lives omnivorously. A plant-based diet is also recommended for people who already suffer from diabetes.5 This is partly due to the higher intake of fiber and legumes.

The World Health Organization has placed red meat on the list of carcinogenic foods and has initiated educational programs on this topic. Anyone who eats 100 grams more meat per day than recommended has a 49 percent higher risk of developing bowel cancer.6 People who avoid red and processed meat in their diet live healthier lives and are less likely to develop cancer.

Excessive obesity is avoidable in most cases and also increases the risk of various diseases. People who live a vegetarian or vegan diet are on average less likely to be overweight.7 People who eat a plant-based diet have a lower BMI and people who start eating a plant-based diet lose weight on average.8

These studies, which tend to be correlative, are based on various mechanisms that have a positive effect on health. Positive effects of a plant-based diet include an increase in blood flow,9 the reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation through antioxidants10 and a balanced hormone level.

Eating more or even exclusively plants, i.e. fruit and vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and nuts, is therefore a sensible rule for a better and longer life.11

Macro and micronutrient supply in a vegan diet

Where do vegans get their protein from?

Patrik Baboumian is a strongman with world records. When he was asked "How can you be as strong as an ox without eating meat?" his quick-witted answer was simply "Have you ever seen an ox eat meat?". The myth of a lack of protein or a lack of nutrients in a plant-based diet is particularly persistent. Below we take a look at the various macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) in omnivorous and vegan diets. To summarize, it can be said in advance that vegans lack nothing. For a few nutrients, it is a good idea to consciously plan foods that cover these particularly well.

Yes, eating enough protein is also possible with a vegan diet

Proteins are the central building blocks for muscles. They play an important role in metabolism and their increased satiety effect makes them a good aid to fat loss. So where do vegans really get their protein from?

As a thought experiment, it makes sense to compare two foods that are perceived as "meat with a high protein content" on the one hand and "plant-based with a high carbohydrate content and no protein" on the other - chicken breast, a typical food for fitness enthusiasts, and oatmeal and pasta:

100g of chicken breast contains about 30 grams of protein, oatmeal about 15 grams and uncooked spaghetti about 13 grams.

Protein content
Associated with high protein content
Chicken breast 30g
Associated with carbohydrates and low protein
Spaghetti (dry product) 13g
Oat flakes 15g

This makes it clear that our intuition is often based on false information and myths, because plant-based foods do contain protein, just a little less on average. Even meat eaters often unknowingly cover a large part of their daily protein requirement with plants.

Plant-based foods with a particularly high protein content are lentils, beans, peas, soy products such as tofu, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, nuts, rice, oat flakes, yeast flakes, pasta, algae, berries and quinoa.

Food Protein content per 100g
Tofu 12g
Broccoli 4g
Spinach 3g
Mushrooms 3g
nuts 26g
Rice 15g
Oat flakes 15g
Yeast flakes 44g
Noodles 13g
Quinoa 13g
Kidney beans 21g
Chickpeas 19g
Soybeans 38g
Peas 7g
Algae 18g

The WHO emphasizes that more protein is not always better, too much leads to kidney damage.12 Meat eaters often fall into this category of excessive protein consumption.

To increase the biological value by balancing the amino acid profiles, different sources should be combined, for example cereals and pulses in one meal, such as in a wholemeal bread with hummus.

Vegan athletes such as Frank Medrano, Patrik Baboumian, James Wilks, Nimai Delgado, Torre Washington and many others show how easy it is to consume enough protein and build muscle as a vegan.

Vitamin B12

Even omnivores regularly suffer from a lack of vitamin B12 and the supply of this micronutrient has often made the headlines. To ensure that you are taking a bioactive form when supplementing, you should pay attention to the name "methylcoablamin" of the active ingredient. Vitamin B12 is absorbed via the mucous membranes.13 Consequently, a practical solution is also vitamin B12 toothpaste14 which the former VEBU (Vegetarierbund), now ProVeg, has developed together with Sante. A good first step is also to check whether you are already consuming many products that have been fortified with vitamin B12. This is often the case with plant milks and energy drinks, for example. If this is not yet the case, you can start adding these to your shopping cart more often.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Sources of omega-3 or products with a healthy ratio of different fatty acids are linseed oil, rapeseed oil, soybean oil, walnuts, chia seeds and hemp oil.

Vitamin D

As with omega-3 fatty acids, the largest source of vitamin D is various types of fish, but in this case also the sun, which is obviously also suitable for vegans. It is advisable for everyone to take a supplement during the cold season.

Calcium

Plant foods are a much healthier source of calcium than milk and dairy products. Good sources of calcium include kale, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, white beans, almonds, sesame paste, dried figs, calcium-fortified foods such as tofu and plant-based milk, and calcium-rich mineral water.

Iron

No other deficiency is as common worldwide as iron deficiency. Vegan sources of iron are pulses, nuts and oilseeds, and some vegetables and dried fruit. To prevent iron deficiency, it is particularly important not to consume any other substances that inhibit the absorption of iron. For example, coffee or tea should not be drunk with or directly after a meal because of the tannins. Vitamin C, on the other hand, increases the absorption of iron.

What else should you pay attention to?

A regular blood test is recommended for everyone in order to identify and compensate for any deficiencies in good time.

There is basically nothing missing in a plant-based diet. Nevertheless, supplements can be useful, which are also completely normal in a mixed diet due to iodized salt.

Athletes can also eat a completely vegan diet15. If you do weight training, supplementing with creatine could be particularly effective, as this is otherwise mainly contained in meat. It contributes to muscle building and maximum strength.

Alternative products and practical tips for everyday life

In everyday life, not everyone asks themselves what they could eat vegan today in order to optimally cover their macro and micronutrients. Much more often, the question arises as to how a certain taste experience can now be achieved vegan: "I fancy a pizza - but how can I make it vegan?" or "What can I use as a sensible taste alternative instead of meat, fish or milk?". What do vegans eat in everyday life?

The most difficult thing about the plant-based alternative to cow's milk is deciding which of the countless types of plant-based milk you want to use. Replacing cow's milk is really easy. Soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk... There are no limits to your imagination. Creamy alternatives to cream are now also available in most supermarkets, for example under the name soy or oat cuisine.

There are two typical functions when using eggs: eggs for baking as a binding agent or for fluffing up. On the other hand, eggs are used as the main attraction of a meal, for example in scrambled eggs, where the egg's own flavor should come into its own.

Instead of eggs, you can use mashed bananas, linseed or chia seeds mixed with water, or locust bean gum to bind in baking. The consistency of egg whites can also be achieved with the water from cooking chickpeas, known as "aquafaba". It can also be made from canned chickpeas. This also makes vegan baking attempts nice and fluffy.

So no problem with baking. But what about the taste of eggs? This is even easier to achieve, as it mainly comes from the sulphur it contains. A small pinch of Indian sulphur salt ("Kala Namak") on the scrambled tofu or avocado and everything tastes intensely like an egg. Don't forget a little fat as a flavor carrier. A little turmeric can also be used for the yellow coloring property.

A delicious, hearty and healthy vegan cheese sauce can be made from soaked cashew nuts, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and the cheese wonder weapon of every vegan, yeast flakes. Vegan cheese slices have also found their way into many supermarkets.

Meat and fish alternatives can also be bought regularly in supermarkets. From chicken strips and fish sticks made from pea protein to convincing burger patties made from soybeans. The least processed alternative is traditionally tofu, which is also available as a smoked product. Properly prepared, for example diced, seared and seasoned, it gives off a delicious bacon smell in the home.

The right mindset

However, the vegan diet goes far beyond a mere substitution mentality. In her cookbook "immer schon vegan", published in 2015, established cookbook author Katharina Seiser poses the question of which traditional recipes are compatible with a plant-based diet from the outset. She comes up with a considerable number. Many recipes have always been vegan without you having paid attention to them until now.

Quite the opposite of the perceived sacrifice, the decision to go vegan can even lead to an unprecedented expansion of your own gustatory experiences. Because you will automatically become more aware of your food.

So does cooking and eating vegan always remain more complicated than an omnivorous diet? No, as with an omnivorous diet, at some point you will have internalized the basics and found recipes that you like to eat regularly. Then everything will work again without much effort and almost automatically. Until then, it's all about learning a few new simple vegan recipes, understanding what tasty things you now order in your favorite restaurants and which products are perhaps surprisingly vegan anyway. For example, dark chocolate and Oreos!

Arguments from ancient Greece to the present day

Ethics for all/vegan ethics: conscious nutrition for animals

Why don't vegans eat sausage instead of plant-based meat? Many people think this is completely unnecessary. In addition to the phenomenon of the vegan diet trend in the last decade, there is also a longer tradition that has been going on for thousands of years, namely that of ethics.

Pythagoras and his students were already ethically committed to vegetarianism, the "abstinence from the animate". He is joined in the same tradition by figures such as Zarathustra, Buddha, Leonardo da Vinci, Nikolas Tesla, Mahatma Gandhi and Franz Kafka. In his introduction to the principles of morality, Jeremy Bentham writes "A full-grown horse or a dog are incomparably more reasonable and communicative animals than an infant of a day, a week, or even a month old. But supposing this were not so, what would it matter?

The question is not "Can they think?" or "Can they talk?", but "Can they suffer?".

This focus in ethics on sentience and the potential for suffering dates back to ancient Greece, but was brought to the fore in the 1970s by the philosopher Peter Singer. Through his book "Animal Liberation", several generations have already turned their attention to the problem of factory farming. Humanity currently comprises 8 billion people. In 2013, approximately 70 billion land animals16 were killed for human consumption. In the USA alone, 44 billion animals were killed for consumption in 2020. Various video documentaries provide a good insight into the conditions of this production and show how the consumption of animal-based food leads directly to death and suffering for animals that could easily be avoided.

Countless cruel practices also continue in the dairy and egg industries.

Vegan food for the planet

Apart from the value of the animals themselves, factory farming is a considerable waste. For every calorie of animal product, up to 6 times as many calories of plant products from the animal, such as grain or soy, must be consumed. Factory farming therefore destroys more food than it produces and is therefore also responsible for the majority of the destruction of the rainforest due to the cultivation of soy as animal feed.18

The industry's CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions are one of the biggest factors contributing to climate change. Entire ecosystems are collapsing due to the waste products.

A vegan diet for the future of humanity

Even those who don't care about animals or the environment have ethical reasons to avoid animal products. As swine fever, bird flu and Covid-19 show, cramming many animals together under unhygienic conditions is the ideal breeding ground for new viruses and pandemics, which then also threaten humanity.19 Increased use of antibiotics is also leading to more and more antibiotic-resistant germs.20 Most antibiotics are used directly in factory farming21 With our approach to animal production, we are therefore simultaneously increasing the incidence of pathogens and reducing our ability to combat them. Those who care about humanity are working against this development.

Executive Summary

Acting consistently with your values instead of living in cognitive dissonance feels deeply fulfilling and meaningful. Knowing that you are not part of the problem, but part of the solution, makes you happy.

The beauty is that all these positive effects of a plant-based diet on animals, the world and humanity happen even if you choose the diet for purely selfish reasons. After all, it is also the healthier choice and makes you happier, if only because health and well-being are strongly correlated. You won't lack any macro- or micronutrients, you get all the proteins and vitamins you need with a balanced vegan diet. A vegan diet is also delicious, it's fun to experiment with new foods and it's very easy to do.

You are now well informed about the importance of micronutrients for a balanced diet. But we all know how challenging it can be to get all the essential vitamins and minerals every day. With Saturo Drinks ensure you have a complete and convenient nutrient supply - perfect for your balanced nutritional routine. Don't underestimate the effects of a deficient supply and take control of your nutritional intake!

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