Hi guys, as I’m sure many of you will know, I like to talk about the word balance a lot when it comes to our diets. I’ve done a few posts in the past mentioning that eating healthy food doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the full picture of health yourself. And that’s especially important when talking about a vegan diet. So, is being vegan healthy?
There are so many mixed opinions on this on the internet. When you tell people you’re vegan, or thinking about going vegan, one of the first things you’ll hear is ‘what about protein/ iron/ *insert vitamin of choice here*?’
While it’s true that you can develop deficiencies on a vegan diet if you’re not careful about your food intake, you also gain a lot. Afterall, if you’re eating a healthy and balanced vegan diet, you’re getting vitamins and minerals in abundance. All the fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of whole grains, nuts and seeds, it has to be good for you, right?
As I’m sure many of you will know, I follow a vegan diet and have done for a little over three years now. I certainly think my body is healthier for making that change. I eat better, sleep better, my digestion is better. But, after three years, there’s plenty of time for deficiencies to creep in.
Despite the myths you may have read online, there aren’t that many common vegan deficiencies. For example, did you know you’re more likely to have low iron as a vegetarian than a vegan? Lots of beans and pulses are high in iron, which are ingredients vegans commonly use to ‘replace’ meat in their meals. Vegetarians, on the other hand, typically eat more cheese as a replacement. Dairy doesn’t contain iron, making a vegetarian more likely to develop anaemia than a vegan. On the flip side of course, vegans are more likely to have low calcium or vitamin D.
Common vegan deficiencies
- Ferritin – Ferritin is an iron store in your liver, different to regular iron deficiency
- B12 – the only vitamin you can’t get naturally on a vegan diet
- Vitamin D
As you guys know, I have had quite the history with my periods and as a result of that, I’ve had a full vitamin profile and blood tests. This was beneficial for me, although it didn’t help me get any answers with my menstrual issues, it did inform me that a vegan diet wasn’t causing me any harm. No deficiencies for me, B12, calcium, iron, protein, vitamin D levels all comfortably within normal range. For those who aren’t quite so lucky to get tested for another reason on the NHS, there’s Healthlabs.
Who are HeathLabs and what do they do?
Healthlabs are a private wellness service who offer vegan vitamin testing. They offer a range of tests and services that test for different vitamin levels and deficiencies in our bodies. There are tests for people like me, who are already on a vegan diet. The basic vegan test covers 11 common deficiencies to check that you’re doing the right thing with your diet.
As well as tests for people who are already vegan, they offer tests for people who aren’t vegan. They see whether you have any allergies to animal derived ingredients and determine whether your body would benefit from a vegan diet.
How it works
Sadly, Healthlabs are currently only available in the US, but for my US followers they offer affordable testing all over the country. They have 4000 certified labs across the country where you can have your tests done. They only take 10 minutes and you don’t need to attend a doctor’s office or hospital.
Their services start at $149 and go up to $399. For those of you wanting a bargain, you can get 25% off their vegan testing using the code ‘GLOW25’.
I think the services they offer are great for anyone curious about changing their lifestyle or just wanting to check in with how healthy they are. I’m very fortunate to have been able to check in with my own health on the NHS, but this is definitely something I would be interested in if I wasn’t so privileged.
I’m aware that many people aren’t vegan, but do consciously reduce their animal intake by doing things such as meatless Mondays or go vegetarian or pescatarian with a vegan day or two a week. These tests would be a great way to check in and gauge how that’s going.
I would love to know how you eat! Is veganism something you’re interested in or do you make smaller changes in your day-to-day? Is nutrition testing something you’d be interested in? Let me know!
Until next time,
This post is sponsored by Healthlabs*