There are two widely held beliefs about vegan nutrition. The first is that a vegan diet is one fraught with perils, and that nutrient deficiency is inevitable. The second is that a vegan diet is a magical cure-all for every health issue, and that simply by going vegan you’re assured of better health than any omnivore. Both of these beliefs are silly and untrue.
Veganism does indeed get you off the hook on some health problems commonly faced by omnivores. That’s because vegan diets tend to contain less fat (especially saturated fat), and a lot more fiber. But having said that, there are a few nutritional pitfalls that vegans must take seriously. Without supplements or fortified food, B-12 deficiency is likely to occur. And vegans who don’t make an effort to seek out omega 3s, DHA, and zinc are likely to come up short.
So if you’re vegan, it’s wise to spend a few hours reading up on vegan nutrition. That way, you’ll gain the greatest possible advantages that a plant-strong diet can deliver, while avoiding risks of nutrient deficiency. We highly recommend Vegan for Life, by Jack Norris and Ginny Messina. Jack runs a terrific website called VeganHealth.org, and he blogs about nutrition at JackNorrisRD.com. Ginny writes lengthy blog entries about current nutrition topics and plant-based advocacy at TheVeganRD.com.
Ginny Messina has also coauthored a great nutrition book especially for vegan women titled Vegan for Her.