Getting started

For starting any diet, you should take some photos of you.
They will help you when you are halfway and struggling with the lack of motivation. And in the end it is going to be great to see how far you got…This is my starting pic:

vegan start

To make this sacrifice interesting, I am looking for traditionally vegan meals what are originated from different countries all over the world. Therefore I can widen my gastronomical knowledge and provide nice diversity for this diet.

Some basic guidelines:

Lipids, sugars, proteins. There is no barrier for the first two, but proper intake of the latter causes some problems in vegan diet. Proteins are built up from amino acids (20). Between amino acid we can distinguish essential amino acids (EAAs). Probably the most difficult part of a balanced vegan diet. But why are they so important for us?
They are 9 (phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, lysine, and histidine) and they are “essential” not because they are more important to life than the others, but because the body does not synthesize them. When they are present, we have complex proteins, when not incomplete proteins. The lack of EAAs leads to diseases like phenylketonuria (PKU) or due to the decreased bioavalibility  of proteins, certain activities functions can be reduced or inhibited. (Read more)
The roles of proteins in shorthand:
-building material (connective tissue, tendons, bones)
-enzymes
-hormones (growth hormone, insuline…etc)
-immunity (antibodies, antigens)
-transportation (mineral balance)
-source of energy

You can see quite important to consume adequate amount of complex proteins (0.8g/bodyweight kg).
Almost all animal origin protein are complex, all the meats, fish, dairy products (e.g. gelatine is an exception). While we know only a few complex plant origin proteins including soy beans, quinoa. Therefore in a vegan diet we have to play a puzzle game with EAAs. If one of them is missing, that EAA is limited in that food. For instance in rice Lysine is limited. To complete it we should eat rice with high Lysine food, like beans, corns.

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 12.12.31 PM

In general legumes with grains give complete proteins, but there is no rule for eating them together in every meal.

For further information about vegetable composition and concerns of high soy intake: LINK

Also some guidelines about supplements for vegans.

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