Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Nine basics of a healthy vegan diet


So, you're a vegan and you think that makes you so much healthier than your meat eating counterparts? Or maybe you're an omnivore who is quick to bash vegan diets because vegans live shorter than occasional meat eaters? Of course, the vegan diet does not exist, just as the omnivore diet does not exist. In this article I will explain the basics of a healthy vegan diet. Read Eat to Live and the Vegan Health website for the science behind this.

  1. Severely limit products with added sugar and products made of white flour. They do not contain enough nutrients, and they raise your blood sugar way too rapidly.
  2. Do not eat products with trans fat.
  3. Watch the salt. To make up for the cravings for meat and cheese, some vegetarians go overboard with salty things like soy sauce, miso and veggie burgers. Too much salt is bad for you, even if you do not have high blood pressure yet.
  4. Eat Less Grains, More Greens. Vegetables, in particular leafy green vegetables, have much more nutrients per calorie than grains. Green vegetables are also an excellent source of protein.
  5. Legumes are very good for you. If you think you do not like beans, try preparing them differently. I like dhal soups and mung bean pancakes.
  6. Make sure to get enough omega 3 fatty acids: eat flax seeds, walnuts and green leafy vegetables and consider if you need a DHA supplement.
  7. Do not eat too much added oils. Extracted oils can become toxic when heated, and they contain a lot of calories, and not many nutrients. It is much better to get your fats from whole foods, such as raw nuts and seeds.
  8. Make sure to take a B12 supplement, and consider if you need Iodine or vitamin D supplementation.
  9. Don't overdo the soy. There is nothing wrong with tofu, tempeh and a little soymilk a couple of times a week, but do not eat a soy-based diet. Veggie-burgers are not health food, they contain too much salt, among other things. Make your own veggie burgers from beans or tofu.

(I published this list earlier on my Squidoo page on Vegan Health.

March 12, 2006