For my first detailed article, I decided to start with the comprehension of food in general. In order to understand and appreciate the vegan diet, we should first understand what we are eating and what our body needs.
Food is a substance consumed by living creatures such as people and animals to provide them with the necessary energy therefore, nutritional support. It keeps the body working, growing and it helps it repair itself when needed.
Food is composed of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein, whereas micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. These are essential components that our body needs in order to function normally. Each and every one of these components has a different role and guess what? A football team cannot successfully execute a play and score if not all players play their role. Therefore, YES, WE NEED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE COMPONENTS.
Let’s go into more details now. What are the functions of these components?
Macronutrients are our main source of energy. Scientifically speaking, the three macronutrients in nutrition are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. These three components are the sum of the calories we consume.
- Carbohydrates: the primary functions of this component is to provide your body with energy.
- Protein: the building block of our body. Everything in our bodies from tissues to muscles is made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals
- Fats: they are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help to absorb vitamins, protect your organs and help keep your body warm.
All of these macronutrients are found in every single thing we eat. Some contain more carbs, some more protein, and some more fat. But every single food we consume has all of these components.
The question here is: Why do we talk about protein deficiency when protein is in everything we eat?
I’m here to tell you that this has nothing to do with the meat we eat. If you don’t get enough protein you will have protein deficiency. For instance, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, vegetables… These are all filled with protein. Having protein deficiency because you are plant-based is simply a myth. The problem is, that the person you are using as a reference is simply someone who doesn’t eat right.
In other words, all the essential amino acids that proteins provide are found in so many things other than meat. That’s a subject to discuss more in details next time.
The truth is we are all victims of a global marketing strategy that every single industry benefits from. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the “THE GAME CHANGERS” says that the concept of men eating meat in order to be strong is marketing and only marketing…
It’s crucial to understand that all the mentioned macros can also be bad and not healthy if it’s processed and not in a natural condition. For example, fried nuts are bad and high in saturated fat whereas raw nuts are rich in proteins and are considered good fats.
Regarding protein, the ones that come from plants are much healthier than protein that comes from animals for the simple facts that it is not processed, it does not contain saturated fat, doesn’t cause cholesterol and other diseases and does not contain injected hormones.
Micronutrients are basically the minerals and the vitamins our body needs for energy production, immune function, growth, bone health, fluid balance, etc.
Micronutrients are essential just like macronutrients for proper nutrition and long term healthy life preservation. Other than calories that are the fuel to our bodies we also need nutrients to function properly. We consume these vitamins through the food we eat, the water we drink, the sunlight we are exposed to. Without these vitamins, we might experience some fatigue, muscle weaknesses, brain fog, poor bone structure…
Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are full of vitamins, just like macronutrients. The only difference is that not all vitamins are found in all food. That’s why we need to include varieties of different food in our diets and always avoid processed food. Every single micronutrient that we need can be found in a vegan diet even B12, calcium and all the vitamins and minerals that you have a doubt about…
In conclusion, we can all survive and be healthy by having a vegan diet. It is very simple and straight to the point. Avoid processed food and consume a large variety of natural food as much as you can. If you do all this you will no longer have to worry about any deficiencies or malnutrition possible.
The vegan diet is the best diet for athletes who follow these steps. So, keep reading our articles that come from a place of care to our bodies, minds, and environment and educate yourselves about veganism.
Please share your experiences, worries, questions, and thoughts in order to help me choose the best articles for you.
Stay healthy & take care of your body.