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Published on September 24th, 2012 | by Andrea Bertoli


plant-based nutrition… and flavor!

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There are a million delicious and nutritious ways to get your vitamins and minerals from a plant-based diet. This is what most vegetarians and vegans know.  But some folks do not yet understand this (and have been mislead by the meat and dairy industry). I came across these lists that I wanted to share; these can help everyone (vegetarian, vegan, and flexitarians alike) answer THE question: “But where do you get your ________?” Fill-in-the-blank can include calcium, iron, protein, and flavor (yes, people have really asked me this!). Regardless of how you fill in the blank, the answer is the same: from a varied diet rich in vegetables, grains, and legumes!

Simple as that.

Plant-based sources of Calcium, from here:

  • tofu
  • collard greens
  • spinach
  • turnip greens
  • okra
  • white beans
  • broccoli
  • peas
  • brussel sprouts
  • sesame seeds & tahini

Plant-based sources of Iron, from here:

  • beans, including kidney, lima, navy, black, pinto, soy beans, and lentils
  • greens! Collards, Kale, Mustards (ewww, not for me!), spinach and turnip greens
  • tofu
  • veggies: broccoli, chard, asparagus, parsley, watercress, brussel sprouts
  • blackstrap molasses
  • nuts
  • cacao
  • dried fruits: raisins, prunes, dates and apricots
  • Also, it is important to have vitamin C to assist with Iron absorption. Greens and vegetables have a perfect balance of these two nutrients to assist with bioavailability! Neat, how nature works like that, right?!

Plant-based sources of Protein:

  • beans, beans, beans! (including tofu + tempeh)
  • greens!
  • whole grains: cooked brown rice has about 5 grams protein per cup, and wheat berries have about 6 grams/cup, and quinoa has 9 grams/cup! Oats are good too!
  • seeds (hempseeds, sunflower, pumpkin, flax and chia)
  • sprouts from seeds, grains, or beans
  • seaweed
  • Eating a balanced plant-based diet, with less protein than the Standard American Diet (SAD), is actually better for us. We have been mislead to think that we need high amounts of animal protein, and yet this is actually detrimental to our overall health.  Most vegetables are about 10% protein, and so eating a variety of these, especially in conjunction with beans and grains, will usually provide adequate protein!

Plant based sources of Flavor:

  • Most important, learn to love the flavor of fresh vegetables and fruits; find delicious combinations for stir-fries and sandwiches that work for your tastes.
  • Fermented foods: miso, vinegars, dairy or non-dairy yogurts, and fermented veggies all add tons of good flavor and healthy probiotics for optimal digestion.
  • Healthy, unrefined plant oils: coconut, olive, flax, pumpkin, and nut oils offer a world of flavor and give us the good fats our body needs.
  • Find your favorite pantry staples: nutritional yeast, nut butters, mustards, nuts and seeds, vinegars, quality spices and herbs, healthy sweeteners, and fresh juices can go a long way to making a simple meal really, truly delicious. Make easy homemade dressings, sauces, and marinades to make every dish personal, healthy, and delicious!

Some other sources for good Information:

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About the Author

Vegetarian chef, educator, blogger, and yogi based on the gathering isle of Oahu. Follow her foodie adventures at Vibrant Wellness Journal, Vibrant Wellness Education, Green Living Ideas and Green UPGRADER. Find more from Andrea on Facebook, , Instagram and Twitter.

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