Go­ing Ve­gan ‘What suits one per­son might not suit an­other per­son’

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health Plant-based Diet -

Chang­ing to a ve­gan diet re­quires plan­ning and re­search, as it’s cru­cial to com­bine cer­tain food sources to meet nutri­tional needs.

Sinéad Lough­nane, a nutri­tional ther­a­pist with Lemon Beets in Mi­dle­ton, Co Cork, says that whether a plant-based diet is best for some­one is a “per­sonal” mat­ter.

“Like any food plan, it’s very per­sonal – what suits one per­son might not suit an­other per­son,” she ex­plains.

“How­ever, I do know that peo­ple who usu­ally fol­low ve­gan plans would do their re­search and know ex­actly what pro­teins they need to com­bine to en­sure that they’re get­ting enough pro­tein, as they would if they were eat­ing meat or an­i­mal prod­ucts.

“With a plant-based diet you do need to com­bine dif­fer­ent sources of pro­tein to get a com­plete pro­tein count. So if they’re aware of that and are fol­low­ing a good plan then why not if it’s work­ing for some­one.

“Whether I rec­om­mend it de­pends on the per­son – is some­one go­ing to be more suit­able to a ve­gan, plant-based diet or would they be more suited maybe for the pescatar­ian style diet. It de­pends re­ally on the per­son’s back­ground, ge­net­ics and so on.”

Lough­nane says that many are switch­ing to the diet for health rea­sons: “It seems to be grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. I think it’s more for anti-in­flam­ma­tory rea­sons and so on.

“I know there are di­etary trends and fads as well that can oc­cur if you’re just fol­low­ing who­ever on In­sta­gram, but I think if some­one does ed­u­cate them­selves about a ve­gan diet and fol­lows it well then it can have a lot of ben­e­fits to them.

“If some­one is go­ing ve­gan I would rec­om­mend that they do their re­search or just make an ap­point­ment with a pro­fes­sional, some­one who can give them the in­for­ma­tion so they know ex­actly what they need to eat, when they need to eat and if they need to com­bine dif­fer­ent sources of pro­tein.

“With an egg you’d have a com­plete source of pro­tein whereas with plant foods you need to com­bine the two. So beans and rice, for ex­am­ple, would pro­vide you with a com­plete source.”

She says there are plenty of op­tions out there for peo­ple look­ing to meet their nutri­tional needs: “Things like nuts, seeds, lentils, beans would all be re­ally good sources of pro­tein.

“Es­pe­cially for peo­ple ex­er­cis­ing, branch chain amino acids are usu­ally con­sumed after ex­er­cis­ing to help in­crease mus­cle and even things like sesame­seeds,sun­flow­erseeds,pump­kin seeds, a lot of nuts and seeds would ac­tu­ally con­tain the branch chain amino acids. Tofu as well is a good source.”

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