Archive for February 19th, 2014

Supplementation for Vegans

Disclaimer: I’m not a dietician or a doctor, so don’t take the following as medical advice.

IF I was to become a Paleo-vegan (I won’t), a version of veganism that follows the most healthy practices of Paleo to be added in, it would look like the following. But even that healthful diet won’t be enough on getting all needed nutrition. Have a read about any possible needed supplementation below.

1. A vegan version of the Paleo diet

– No glutenous grains, at any point (no wheat, barley, rye, and most common oats). Always read labels to make sure you’re not eating gluten.

– Avoid vegetable seed oils and margarine (they’re either trans-fats, or too high in omega-6). Don’t fear the good fats, and use liberally: coconut oil (for medium heat cooking), extra-virgin olive oil (for salads), avocado oil (high-heat cooking), coconut cream.

– No excess sugars/carbs. Keep it between 100 and 200 gr net carbs, depending on your physical activity. Avoid artificial sweeteners and soda.

– Avoid GMO corn. Organic, whole corn is fine.

– Avoid GMO soy. Whole, organic soy is fine, tamari gluten-free soy sauce is ok too. Non-GMO unpasteurized miso is ok too, as long as it doesn’t contain gluten/barley in it. Natto is ok. Eat logical amounts of soy, don’t overdo it. Soy can mess up with your estrogen if eaten a lot, as a replacement for animal products, rather than as a legume.

– No processed foods. This means: no things like tofu, cereals, cakes, sweets, egg/meat-like substitutes, which are extremely processed and industrialized. Eat limited amounts of gluten-free pasta/pizza/bread or soy milk, since these are still considered quite processed or have additives.

– Legumes, rice, quinoa (which aren’t allowed on normal Paleo) are a go in this veg*n diet. From these high-carb foods, lentils are the best in terms of their nutrition/carb ratio. Make sure you soak legumes for 24 hours before cooking. Sprouted lentils are best, avoid peanuts.

– Also eat plenty of fresh veggies, tubers, fruits. Some nuts and seeds are ok, but don’t overdo it with these, as they’re extremely high in anti-nutrients and Omega-6. For nuts, it’s best to soak them first, to render their anti-nutrients inert.

– Cook with garlic, ginger and turmeric very often. These are the 3 most potent “herbs”.

– To get enough B1 on this diet, you’ll need nutritional yeast (sprinkle it on kale chips).

– Eat different types of sea vegetables 3-4 times a week. You’ll need the iodine.

– Drink plenty of no-fluoride-added water (spring water). Herbal teas are ok, caffeine is out.

– Walk barefoot on soil almost daily, out in the sun, showing some skin too (for UV and D3).

– Meditation, yoga, exercise (weights and short sprints — not endurance or aerobic/cardio).

2. Supplementation for vegans and vegetarians

Of course, we should be getting most of our nutrition via alive food (some of it raw, too). Supplements can only go so far, compared to real food. But on veg*n diets, some compounds and vitamins either don’t exist at all, or they’re found in very limited quantities. Vegans might need all of the supplements proposed below, and vegetarians most of them. Even full Paleo eaters might need a few of the supplements proposed, since our modern food options are lacking.

– Compounds that the human body needs and are found only in meat or fish:

– Taurine
– Carnosine
– L-acetyl-carnitine
– Creatine
– The bio-available version of B12 (sublingual)
– The retinol version of vitamin A
– A vegan DHA supplement. Chia/flax only offer the ALA version of Omega-3, not the DHA version, which is the one bio-available to humans. This is the only supplement that you might need to take a bit more often than the rest.

– Compounds found in limited quantities in plant food:

– Coq10 Ubiquinol (not ubiquinone). Mostly found in offal normally. It’s the life of our mitochondria, and one of the most important nutrients. In the western world, where people don’t eat offal, pretty much everyone is deficient of it (veg*n or not).
– Calcium. Might be an idea to drink almond milk, or minimally-processed coconut milk with added Calcium, if you don’t want to supplement with it or eat dairy.
– Magnesium Malate (20 mins before sleep). Almost everyone needs more magnesium, even folks on full Paleo, due to our soil/water being depleted of it after the Industrial Revolution.
– Zinc. Mostly found in oysters. Boosts the immune system.
– Lysine. Mostly found in pork meat. Helps fighting various viruses.
– D3 2000 IU. Taken in mornings. Use only if you’re not going out in the sun a lot, or if your blood test shows that you’re deficient of it (definitely check D3 out via a blood test).
– K2-Mk4. Take this, unless you eat natto (fermented soy beans) routinely.
– PQQ. Mostly found in animal hearts. Provides neuroprotection, cognition and cardioprotection.
– Iron. Take this only if your blood tests show that you need it, if your doctor approves it, and if you’re not in menopause. You gotta be careful about this one.
– Collagen types I, II, and III. Since you can’t drink bone broth on vegan-paleo, you might need collagen (especially if you’re low in CoQ10, which helps produce it). Also an interesting supplement if you’re over 35 years old, or have joint/knee pains.
– Choline, but only if you’re not eating eggs.
– B1, but only if you’re not using nutritional yeast on some of your snacks.
– E tocotrienols, but only if you’re not eating almonds, or other seeds and nuts daily.

IF you’re a female, trying to get pregnant, you might need folate for 6 months prior to getting pregnant (make sure it’s folate, not folic acid). Discuss this further with your doctor.

DO NOT take all these vitamins every day. I’d say, just spread them around in the week, taking no more than 3 per day. Do a list of what to take on each day of the week. Give your body a rest for some weeks in the year, and don’t take any such pills at all. Also, don’t take A and D3 together, as they’re antagonists. Use cronometer.com to track what you’re eating every day (enable the “net carbs” option in its preferences)!

3. Further actions

Finally, set money aside to have blood tests once a year. Check D3, iron, Mg, B12, DHEA/s, thyroid (including T3 and REVERSE T3, that most doctors don’t test), Calcium, A, E, HS-CRP (inflammation status), liver status, estrogen, cortisol, insulin, cholesterol/trigs status.