How To Be a Healthy Vegan

Posted on Apr 27th 2018 by Florida Blue

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Have you thought about trying a plant-based diet? Being a vegan means you abstain from all animal products (including meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs and even honey). Studies have linked vegan diets to lower rates of heart disease and stress.

The key to eating healthy on a vegan diet is planning. Planning is crucial so you don’t miss out on essential nutrients or end up eating too many processed foods. Make sure to choose a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains to eat with each meal.

Here’s a list of key nutrients vegans need to watch:

  • Protein: You don’t need meat to get protein. It’s also found in tofu, tempeh, edamame (soybeans), quinoa, lentils, chickpeas and beans. Nuts like almonds and walnuts, and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, also contain protein.
  • Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, so look for foods fortified with B12 or talk to your doctor about taking a supplement.
  • Calcium: Look for cruciferous vegetables like kale, turnip, collard or mustard greens, soy foods and fortified plant milks.
  • Vitamin D: This key vitamin is necessary for calcium absorption. The good news is you can get it from the sun. Besides sunlight, look for foods fortified with vitamin D like plant milk, orange juice and cereals.
  • Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are important for eye and brain development.  Your body can make it in small amounts from ALA (a type of omega-3 found in flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil and soy).  You can also find foods fortified with Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Iron: Beans, legumes and leafy greens are good sources of iron. Eat vitamin C-rich food to boost how well your body absorbs it. Tip: Don’t pair foods rich in vitamin C with calcium-rich foods because they can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb iron.
  • Zinc: This nutrient is found in whole grains, soy, nuts and beans. It’s not absorbed as well from plant sources. 


Roasted Eggplant Hummus

What’s yummy, healthy and perfect for noshing this spring? This vegan recipe for hummus.


1 medium eggplant
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
1 lemon, juiced
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Pomegranate seeds, optional for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees.

2. Cut eggplant in half. Spread one tablespoon of olive oil on the inside of the eggplant.

3. Place the eggplant on a roasting pan, inside facing down.

4. Roast the eggplant 25 to 30 minutes until the inside is tender.

5. After the inside is cooled, scoop the inside out of the eggplant and throw away the skin.

6. In a food processor, combine the roasted eggplant, remaining olive oil and other ingredients.

7. Purée to desired consistency and serve.

Serves 6-8 people

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