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09 Feb 2004

Vegan diet
Diet Doc,

I was a vegetarian for almost 5 years, & for some silly reason I started eating meat again! I would like to go back to my "healthy ways", but this time excluding all animal products from my diet, including meat, fish, dairy & eggs. There are many substitutes on the market. I am not doing it for health reasons only as I feel very strongly about environmental & animal rights issues.

My question is: what is your views on this type of lifestyle Doc? Is it healthy or not? I plan on still eating a wide variety of foods such as grains, proteins, fruits & veggies. Is there anything specific I should keep in mind? Am I doing my body more harm than good? And thanks for your good advice, I am an avid reader!
Answer 361 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Bunny
Thank you for your kind words. The problems with eating only foods derived from plants is that such vegan diets are deficient in the following: some of the essential amino acids which are mainly found in proteins derived from animals - so give thought to still using milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs if at all possible (i.e. a Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet); iron, zinc, selenium, and calcium - this can cause iron-deficiency anaemia and hair loss, osteoporosis, and lowered immunity; vit B12 - which causes pernicious anaemia; omega-3 fatty acids - which can lower immunity. If you are set on eating a vegan diet then you need to take the following supplements on a daily basis: 1) an amino acid supplement 2) a complete vitamin and mineral supplement such as Supradyn Forte (for the iron) 3) Calcium Sandoz 500 mg a day for the calcium 4) Salmon oil capsules to obtain EPA and DHA (omega-3). It may also be a good idea to have blood tests done on a 6-monthly basis to check your calcium, iron, zinc, and B12 levels. So do consider rather using a Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet instead.
Take great care
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