These general guidelines are adapted from information provided by the late Kathleen Jannaway in a number of Movement for Compassionate Living publications, and from Liz Cook's beautiful laminated vegan nutrition wall-charts. For a much more in-depth overview of the subject see Steven Walsh's Plant Based Nutrition.
Protein for Body BuildingEdit
Recommended daily amount (RDA); 1-3 years 14.5g, 4-6 years 19.7g, 7-10 years 28.3g, average adult. 45-50g (approx 2 oz)) Whole cereals - wheat, oats, barley, rye. Also quinoa, a grain alternative from South America that can be grown in gardens here (see page). Pulses - peas and beans: haricot, czar, field - ripe and dried. Nuts and seeds - almonds, hazels, walnuts, acorns (see page), beech and pine, sunflower, marrow, pumpkin. Potatoes - small percentage, but high value. Leaf curd. Cereals and pulses taken together yield increased value.
Sugars, Starches and Fats for Energy (Carbohydrates)Edit
(Shouldn’t be a problem in a balanced diet, oils should be cold-pressed however) All of the above - they will be used by the body for energy if enough cheaper energy foods are not provided. All fruits - raw, dried, cooked. Vegetables - all kinds. Wholemeal bread. Pasta Oil for cooking can be obtained from sunflower and rape seeds, and beech nuts. It may be possible to grown olives in some southerly parts of the UK, but it is unlikely that yields will be high enough to provide a sustainable source of olive oil.
Vitamins for Healthy FunctioningEdit
A (retinol) - carrots, greens (especially dark green), broccoli, spinach, parsley, endive, apricots, peppers, tomatoes.
B12 - essential for health, and especially important for women of child-bearing age. Vegans should note that B12 is not present in plant tissue. However it is widely present in the environment, including the soil, and may possibly be found on some plants, eg, on leaves, etc if not washed too thoroughly. B12 is always synthesised by micro-organisms. It is obtainable from bacteria grown in laboratories and added to processed foods, especially yeast extracts (check label for RDA).
Other B vitamins (B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B6 (Pyridoxin), Folic acid, Pantothenic acid)- yeast extracts, green leafy vegetables, nuts, pulses (peas and beans), bean sprouts, mushrooms, currants, other seeds, whole cereals. C (ascorbic acid) (RDA; 0-1 year 25mg, 1-10 years 30mg, average adult 40 mg. Nb easily destroyed by light and heat)- fresh raw fruits and vegetables, especially blackcurrants, rose hips, parsley, peppers, leafy greens, broccoli and alfalfa sprouts. D (calciferol) - sunlight. D2 produced by sunlight on yeast is added to vegan margarines. E (tocopherol) (Shouldn’t be a problem in a balanced diet)- wheatgerm, nuts and seeds, pulses and vegetable oils. K (phytomenadione) (Shouldn’t be a problem in a balanced diet) - dark greens, cauliflower, tomatoes, seaweeds. Cooking can destroy many vitamins, hence the need for raw fruits and salads daily. Vitamin pills should only be taken on professional advice: they are usually unnecessary and excess can cause toxicity.
Iron (RDA; 0-3 months 1.7mg, 7-12 months 7.8mg, 7-10 years 8.7mg, average male adult 8.7mg, average female adult 14.8mg)- dark greens, beans & pulses, almonds, oatmeal, wheatgerm, parsley, figs, raisins, apricots, pumpkin seeds, millet. Absorption of iron is aided by vitamin C. Calcium (RDA; 0-1 year 525mg, 7-10 years 550mg, 11-18 years 900mg, average adult 700mg)- dark green vegetables - especially kale, spinach, broccoli - also haricots, almonds, oatmeal, hazels. Vitamin D is essential for the utilisation of calcium. Brittle bones in elderly women are probably caused by hormone changes and lack of vitamin D. Zinc (RDA; 0-3 years 4-5mg, 7-10 years 7mg, average male adult 9.5mg, average female adult 7mg) - wholegrains, pumpkin seeds, almonds, wheatgerm, oats. Iodine (RDA; 1-3 years 70mcg, 4-10 years 100mcg, average adult 140mcg)- green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, kelp Magnesium (Shouldn’t be a problem in a balanced diet)- Green leafy vegetables, almonds, brocolli, wholegrains, wheatgerm, prunes. Phosphorous, sulphur, potassium (Shouldn’t be a problem in a balanced diet)- wholegrains, wheatgerm, pinto beans, chick peas, pumpkin seeds, potatoes, yeast extract, many fruits and vegetables, nuts. Others, eg, fluorine, copper, cobalt, chromium, manganese, etc (Shouldn’t be a problem in a balanced diet) - brewers yeast, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, wholegrains, almonds, beans and pulses, seaweeds.
(Not usually a problem with a plant based diet) Wholegrains. Nuts. Beans & pulses. Wheatgerm. Oats. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Please note that the above information is for guidance only. Amounts required for health vary greatly: a good rule is to eat to appetite and watch your weight. If it settles at the recommended level and you feel well, you are eating enough. If in doubt or you have specific health concerns, seek qualified advice.