Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Getting the right vitamins on a vegan diet, vitamin malabsorption, vegan in recovery? (Masterpost - veganism)

Ive recently gotten some questions about a vegan diet and whether it is healthy or not also about getting the right vitamins and minerals on a vegan diet.

So first off, i still stand by my opinion that a vegan diet in recovery is not recommended. And this is because 1) You need alot of food (most often) in recovery and unless you are eating alot of nuts, oils and avocado it can be hard to reach the right calorie amount. 2) Your body is in a much higher need of vitamins and minerals as well as protein to repair the body and unless you are food combining right and eating alot of food as well as varied it can be hard to reach the right amount (however with a dietitian who has knowledge about a vegan diet its not impossible, but not something i would recommend you do on your own), 3) if you have an eating disorder a vegan diet can be restrictive... it doesnt have to be restrictive but if you have fear foods or dont want to eat bread, pasta, potatoes, oil, avocado, nuts etc you might end up just eating vegetables and fruit and that ISNT enough in recovery or for anymore in all honesty. 4) I wouldnt put labels on yourself... instead just be open to everything, maybe you were vegan before you became sick so you could never eat meat again but maybe you crave some dairy or eggs.... then eat it, that might be just what your body needs. Dont have any labels or restrictions on yourself in recovery, maybe in the future when your body is physically and mentally healthy then you might be able to live a 100% vegan lifestyle, but in recovery that might not be the case. Remember that eating a few plant based meals each day still makes a difference!

How to get the right vitamins and minerals on a vegan diet? I have more information about this below as well as will link to alot of my old posts about veganism that will help hopefully!

POST: how to get enough/right vitamins on a vgean diet
POST: Getting right vitamins and minerals on a vegan diet (very hepful about what the vitamins do  and where to get them, in simple terms!)

Its not hard to get vitamins and minerals on a vegan diet if you eat varied and that doesnt mean you have to eat different vegetables everyday or every meal, but like i wrote in THIS post, i vary which foods i buy each week. .Example one week i buy broccoli and potatoes and green lentils and the next week i buy red lentils, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts and that gives me a variety over time.

Variety and abundance is key to getting the right vitamins and minerals. HOWEVER it is known that the iron amount absorbed from plant based food isnt as good as from meat or fish, however its not impossible to get the right iron amount as long as you dont have another problem with the absorption of iron (which can be a reason why you might not be able to go vegan). Information below about which food sources give you iron on a vegan diet.

It's also important to take b12 supplement and even an omega 3 supplement with DHA and EPA as that is hard to get on a vegan diet. You can read more HERE

And then its of course calcium and vitamin D which you might need a supplement of depends on how you and what you eat. Both calcium and Vitamin D sort of go together and without the right amount of vitamin D calcium wont be absorbed as well, so you may be eating alot of calcium through enriched products but if you arent getting enough Vitamin D it wont be stored/absorbed as well!!

So, you can ask yourself.... is a vegan diet actually healthy when you need supplements, b12 atleast... the others you might/might not need. I often get asked this question and all i can say is that i dont eat a vegan diet because its "Healthy", but because i believe its ethically right. You can eat just oreos and vegan cheese and vegan chocolate and be a vegan... but that isnt healthy. Jjust like you can eat just bananas or just raw food but that doesnt make it healthy either.... (In fact i often wonder how healthy raw vegans actually are or fruitarians as they must be missing alot of vitamins or minerals or even enough protein?).

For an adult who is physically active, healthy and has no underlying illnesses or no problems with digestion or food absorption then a vegan diet which is balanced and varied it can be healthy.... but for someone with an underlying illness or has problem with vitamin absorption then it can be a problem.

And what is vitamin malabsorption? It can be due to many reasons but often due to an illness which effects your intestines such as celiak disease, Chrons, pancreatitis, inflammation in the intestines, injury or illness in the gallbladder, liver or pancreas. But even just having an eating disorder where the intestines are very much affected as well the digestion can affect vitamin absorption.
Because of having CF the absorption of fat and essentially fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins is decreased as well as calcium absorption is low. So it is very important for me to take supplements of those as well as enzymes to help my body break down and absorb fat. For me it works to be a vegan and have CF however if a person who has CF and is much sicker with the illness it might be hard for them to have a vegan diet because of the low absorption rate of those vitamins, minerals and fat. However in the future i might work with CF patients as well who are interested in eating a vegan diet and still being healthy!


Of course i don't want to deter you from eating plant based however knowledge is so important or going to a professional with knowledge about a vegan diet and how to help you/give you advice (i.e me in the future hahahah!). I'm not saying i have the best diet, i dont actually think about what i eat or about my vitamins or mineral levels, but in 2 weeks time i'm getting my blood tests done (and 1 year as a vegan) as well as going to a dietitian and we'll see what my blood tests say and whether i might be lacking something or not. I do take a multivitamin everyday as well as extra vitamin D as well as a vegan Omega 3 tablet, and then i need more of other vitamins and minerals because of my CF.

I would suggest, eat an abundance and eat varied. Try different vegetables, eating beans and lentils and if you like/can eating soy products is important on a vegan diet as well as fortified products to help get other vitamins and minerals.

Below is information and more posts which might help you, but feel free to comment below if you have more questions. HOWEVER i dont do meal plans, i am not fully qualified to do that yet, but in the future i will :)



Vegan staple foods to have at home
A guide to going vegan by acti-veg
Food combining as a vegan
Why you should eat varied and balanced over the week.
Did veganism make me more healthy? My opinion on different vegan diets
Is it necessary to take a vitamin supplement?
Talking about my nutrition and intake on a vegan diet 
Thinking about going vegan & 17 food cooking hacks 
Not allowed to be vegan while living at home
Vegan on a college budget and how to save money




3 comments:

  1. I think its a good plan that you have eating varied over a week, mixing up your food and then buying different beans and vegetables the next week. I am often stuck for different things I can have each day which made things rather difficult - in terms of spending and feeling like I am constantly shopping for things so I am going to take a tip from you and concentrate on varying over the week rather than the day. I have also found that when I make a chilli/curry there is always portions left over so these I put in containers and freeze - ready made meals for another time, which is useful.
    I think the biggest problem I have had is getting enough protein as I`m not so good with beans but I`m working on that (Beano is very good!)
    Thankyou for putting this post together - it was very helpful.

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    1. I noticed that you say that it is hard for you to eat beans. Sometimes this happens if beans are not fully cooked enough...try soaking your beans before cooking them (from a can) overnight. You can also try to sprout your beans to reduce the compounds that produce stomach problems.
      Quinoa is another good protein source for vegans/vegetarians as it is a complete protein.

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  2. Hi Izzy - have you finished uni now? What are your plans for the summer break and are you staying in Gothenburg for the summer or going "home"? Its lovely here in the UK at the moment - temp around 25 c everyday, feels like summer has finally arrived!
    Hope you are having a good week!

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