Plant based nutritional pit-stop

Updated: Jun 1

Hey guys, a small pit stop to give an insight to some plant based nutrition to help you with your vegan diet!


Make sure you know the difference between Macronutrients and Micronutrients!

Macro - you need in large quantities (grams)

Micro - you need in smaller quantities (micro and milli grams)


Macronutrients

  • Carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes)

  • Proteins (e.g. beans)

  • Fats (avocado)

Examples of food types containing macronutrients

High amounts of Carbohydrates and Proteins:

  • Beans

  • Lentils

  • Chickpeas

  • Quinoa

Use these to make up your protein intake.

High amounts of Proteins and fats:

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

High amounts of fats and Carbohydrates:

Processed foods - avoid.

  • Pastries

  • muffins

(not very healthy!)


Legumes!

An annoying word - sometimes I forget what a ‘legume’ is.

They include: Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas.

Very good source of carbs and fibre as well as protein!! Really good overlapping nutritious foods! Eating a variety of these legumes,on a regular basis, up to 100g a day can have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health, decreasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and managing your health! They are also very tasty and versatile. Other examples are Barely, corn, rice, potato, oats. Baby potatoes are better than an older potato, as the structure of the starch is slightly different in the baby potatoes, it is absorbed a lot slower than an older potato.

"Everything should be eaten in moderation"

Everything should be eaten in moderation, so we are not saying ‘don't eat bread and pasta’ but that when choosing starches these should be chosen most often.


Plant based Protein


High protein carbs: beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa (pseudo-cereal)

High fat protein: plants: nuts, seeds.


Amino acids are building blocks of protein. All 9 essential amino acids come from animal proteins, but some plants do contain them as well. E.g. Quinoa. Just because we can get all 9 amino acids from one sitting does not mean they are inferior to animal proteins. We can still easily get all 9 by eating a variety of plant based foods. It was previously thought you had to eat all these amino acids in the same meal in order to get the maximum benefit. It is more important that you get these pairings regularly.


Protein needs throughout the lifecycle

You don't need to eat a large amount of protein foods every day to reach your nutritional needs. There are many factors that depend on how much you need such as age, gender. Most people get enough protein from their diet even without eating animal proteins.

Both males and females need approximately 0.8g of protein for every kg of weight. So for example, if I weighed 56kg, I would need 46g per day.


  • Good plant based proteins

  • Legumes, Quinoa (fun fact - it is not a grain, it is actually a seed (sometimes referred to as a pseudocereal.)

  • Protein products, such as Seitan, are made by needing wheat flour until gluten is formed and washing away the residue - makes delicious ‘chicken’ alternatives.

  • Edamame beans (young soybeans), soya beans, tofu (soya bean curred), soy protein, tempeh (fermented soya product).

Soy products

Worried about the health effects with soy foods?


Lots of studies show that soya as part of a healthy balanced does not increase the risk of any types of cancer, and actually has been shown to reduce your breast cancer recurrence.

The earlier you start, the better it is for your health


Causes hormonal imbalance? NO

  • People think this, because they are confused about oestrogen and the soya containing pytho-oestrgoen, a different plant based hormone. Studies have shown that eating soya products does not increase oestrogen levels, and do not reduce testosterone and have no effect on fertility.

  • These misconceptions have been fuelled by animal and laboratory studies, cannot be directly translated to humans.

  • Soy is a nutritious and safe part of the diet, and may have multiple health benefits.


Surprising/ novel protein sources.

  • Pumpkin seeds - surprisingly high in protein : 100g packs in 13.23g of protein (more than - 10%)

  • Parsley (freeze-dried) - 100g contains 31.3g of protein (30%!!).

But eating 100g of these foods is not easily done, but every little helps.


Micronutrients


Many people around the world are not meeting dietary requirements.

There is a chronic underconsumption of

  • Dark greens

  • Orange veg

  • Legumes

  • Wholegrains

Less than 3% are meeting the ‘adequate’ requirements for a healthy diet.


Probably because everyone is eating animal based processed foods most of the time.


What to do?


"EAT THE RAINBOW!"


  • It is one of the best and easiest ways to encourage people to eat a variety of beneficial ingredients

  • Appeals to senses

  • Each of the different colours represent different phytonutrients

  • Phytonutrients are plant nutrients which give over and above the normal vitamin and mineral contents.

  • Have the ability to reduce disease, as the slow and prevents cell damage.

  • Keeps inflammation under control

  • Deeper the colour of the food, the better.



Examples of Phytonutrients benefits and eating a rainbow:

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin (GREENS): Helps with heart, cancer, birth defects

  • Carotenoids and lycopene (REDS): Helps with heart, cancer, memory and UTI

  • Sulphur compounds and phytoestrogens (BEIGES): Helps with heart and cancer

  • Carotenoids and Lutein (ORANGES/YELLOWS): Helps with heart, vision and immunity

  • Anthocyanins, ellagic acids and quercetin (PURPLES): Helps with cancer, anti-ageing, vision, memory and UTI

This is just the tip of the iceberg.


There are many more Phytonutrients and even more health benefits.


The moral of the story: eat a variety of plant based foods in different colours as regularly as possible, and stay away from processed foods!


Alice Eleanor Matthews Blog

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