How can I ensure that I stay healthy on a vegan diet? Also, should I be cutting gluten out of my diet?

Hello there and thank you for sending in your questions! 

An appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diet can be healthy and provide health benefits that may lower your risk for certain diseases.1 A vegan diet is made up of only plant-based foods and does not include any foods or products that come from animals (e.g. meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy). Animal-based foods provide many important nutrients and minerals your body needs therefore it may be difficult to get the proper nutrition you need to stay healthy and well through a vegan diet.

To ensure you stay healthy on a vegan diet, it is important to be mindful of your food choices and include foods that provide the nutrients and minerals that you are missing or may be lacking, such as calcium, iron, protein, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Discover "Food Sources of 5 Important Nutrients for Vegetarians" and learn more ways to help you to eat well and stay healthy on a vegan diet using "Tips for Vegetarians." 

Some people are advised to avoid gluten (i.e. proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye) for medical reasons. Unless you have a sensitivity to gluten or a related medical condition (e.g. Celiac disease or wheat allergy), it is not necessary for you to cut gluten out of your diet.  

It is important to consult with your doctor and dietitian before following a special diet to plan what is safe and best for you based on your individual needs and medical history. For most people who do not have any medical conditions, eating healthy does not require a special diet. Check out these tips on how to develop healthy eating habits here!

Hope this helps and wish you all the best on your health journey.

 


Reference:

1. Melina, V, et al. “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27886704.

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