The vegan diet. Bring health to the table

The vegan diet. Bring health to the table

The advantages of the vegetable diet for the prevention and treatment of numerous diseases and complete weekly menus

The number of people who have chosen a vegetarian diet, especially in its 100% vegetable (vegan) variant, as a lifestyle is increasing. The vegan diet is based exclusively on foods of vegetable origin, which must be consumed in a varied way and better if in whole or semi-whole form: cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and oil seeds, algae. On the other hand, all foods of animal origin and their derivatives are excluded (all meat, including fish, milk and derivatives, eggs and honey).

The health benefits

"The exclusion of all types of food of animal origin and the exclusive consumption of plant foods with protective characteristics reduces the risk of developing all diseases related to the excess of animal foods and the lack of plant foods (cardiovascular disease, hypertension , obesity, diabetes, some types of cancer, etc.) and also reduces the risk of developing iron deficiency ", assure the experts of the Scientific Society of Vegetarian Nutrition (SSNV).

The problem often arises when it is time to bring food to the table and devise the weekly menu. How many servings of carbohydrates to consume and how many of vegetable proteins? What are the foods rich in "good" omega 3 fats? To meet these needs, the NHS specialists have created the Veg Plate, a practical guide for developing nutritionally optimal plant-based diets for adults and pregnant and breastfeeding women. The method was also published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the organ of the most influential scientific society in the world in the field of human nutrition, founded in 1917 in Ohio, in an article entitled "VegPlate: a Mediterranean- based Food Guide for Italian Adult, Pregnant, and Lactating Vegetarians ".

The method. How does it work?

The PiattoVeg method favors a 100% vegetable diet, it can be used by anyone who wishes to adhere to the Mediterranean tradition, therefore Italian par excellence. It provides detailed information on the precise quantities of plant foods to be consumed starting from the different food groups, for the different ranges of calorie needs, for adults and for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The foods chosen for the composition of the dish are those derived from the Mediterranean tradition, all available in our area: cereals, protein foods such as legumes and derivatives, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, olive and seed oil.

“Foods of animal origin such as dairy products and eggs are optional, which means they are not necessary to achieve the recommended daily nutrient requirement. In fact, they were not included in the calculations to determine the nutritional composition of the intake patterns of the VegPlate portion system. Since they are not necessary to achieve the nutritional adequacy of the diet – underline the experts of the SSNV – if consumed their use must be limited, in order to adhere to the most important criterion of a standard vegetarian diet, which provides for the varied consumption of the foods that belong to each group ".

A custom method

The intake of the quantities of food proposed by the Veg Plate meets the 2014 LARNs for macro and micronutrients for adults, including the stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding. The attention to the few critical nutrients – which are critical for all types of diets, not only for vegetarians, the NHS experts point out – completes the adequacy of the diet. Once the caloric needs of the pregnant or lactating adult / woman are known, the VegPlate provides the exact number of portions to consume for each group, so that both the health professional and the vegetarian subject can build a adequate daily or weekly menu without the need for further calculations.

Here is an example of a 2000 Kcal weekly menu

MONDAY

BREAKFAST: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; 60 g of wholemeal bread spread with 15 g of tahini

MORNING SNACK: 30 g of wholemeal rusks with 30 g of walnuts; 150 g of fresh fruit (e.g. 1 apple)

LUNCH: 60 g of spelled salad with 100 g of courgettes, 100 of aubergines, 50 g of peppers and 90 g of chickpeas; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; fresh fruit salad (e.g. 1 banana, 150 g, and strawberries, 75 g)

DINNER: 30 g of wholemeal pasta with 150 g of broccoli, 50 g of onion and 15 g of pistachios; 50 g of lettuce salad and 100 g of tomatoes; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

TUESDAY

BREAKFAST: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; 60 g of wholemeal bread spread with 15 g of tahini

MORNING SNACK: 30 g of wholemeal rusks with 30 g of walnuts; 150 g of fresh fruit (e.g. 1 apple)

LUNCH: 60 g of wholemeal risotto with 100 g of spinach; vegetable meatballs made with 150 g of potatoes, 50 g of carrots, 100 g of cauliflower, 30 g of lentils and 5 g of mint; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; fresh fruit salad (e.g. 1 banana, 150 g, and strawberries, 75 g)

DINNER: 30 g of wholemeal pasta with 15 g of pine nut pesto and 10 g of dried tomatoes; 50 g of corona beans with 200 g of artichoke bottoms; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

WEDNESDAY

BREAKFAST: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; 60 g of wholemeal bread spread with 15 g of tahini

MORNING SNACK: 30 g of wholemeal rusks with 30 g of walnuts; 150 g of fresh fruit (e.g. 1 apple)

LUNCH: 60 g of carbonara wholemeal pasta topped with 30 g of seitan, 80 g of tofu, 50 g of onion and 1 g of curry, sprinkled with 15 g of sesame seeds; 250 g of sautéed zucchini with 50 g of onion and 2 g of thyme; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; fresh fruit salad (e.g. 1 banana, 150 g, and strawberries, 75 g)

DINNER: 30 g of bean soup with 30 g of bulgur; 250 g of baked peppers; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

THURSDAY

BREAKFAST: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; 60 g of wholemeal bread spread with 15 g of tahini

MORNING SNACK: 30 g of wholemeal rusks with 30 g of walnuts; 150 g of fresh fruit (e.g. 1 apple)

LUNCH: 60 g of barley in fried onion (50 g) with 100 g of porcini mushrooms; 200 g of baked pumpkin with 50 g of leek and 5 g of rosemary; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; fresh fruit salad (e.g. 1 banana, 150 g, and strawberries, 75 g)

DINNER: 30 g of wholemeal pasta with 5 g of garlic, oil, chilli and 3 g of marjoram; 90 g of chickpea hummus with 10 g of parsley, 15 g of tahini and lemon; salad of 50 g of rocket and 150 g of tomatoes; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

FRIDAY

BREAKFAST: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; 60 g of wholemeal bread spread with 15 g of tahini

MORNING SNACK: 30 g of wholemeal rusks with 30 g of walnuts; 150 g of fresh fruit (e.g. 1 apple)

LUNCH: 30 g of wholemeal pasta with 15 g of pine nuts and 10 g of basil; 60 g of cannellini bean cream with 3 g of thyme; 200 g of grilled aubergines with 5 g of parsley; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; fresh fruit salad (e.g. 1 banana, 150 g, and strawberries, 75 g)

DINNER: 60 g of wholemeal risotto with 150 g of asparagus and 50 g of onion; 80 g of marinated tempeh with 10 g of dried tomatoes, 200 g of ripe tomatoes and 10 g of black olives; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

SATURDAY

BREAKFAST: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; 60 g of wholemeal bread spread with 15 g of tahini

MORNING SNACK: 30 g of wholemeal rusks with 30 g of walnuts; 150 g of fresh fruit (e.g. 1 apple)

LUNCH: 60 g of quinoa salad with 10 g of olive paste, 100 g of peppers, 5 g of capers and 5 g of basil; 45 g of broad beans with 150 g of chicory and 5g of garlic; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; fresh fruit salad (e.g. 1 banana, 150 g, and strawberries, 75 g)

DINNER: 200 g of raw zucchini spaghetti seasoned with 100 g of black cabbage pesto and 15 g of pistachios; 30 g of kamut with 50 g of onion, 45 g of peas and 2 g of cumin; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

SUNDAY

BREAKFAST: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; 60 g of wholemeal bread spread with 15 g of tahini

MORNING SNACK: 30 g of wholemeal rusks with 30 g of walnuts

LUNCH: 60 g of farrotto with 50 g of artichokes, 50 g of onions, 5 g of garlic; 30 g of borlotti bean salad and 200 g of beetroot; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 200 ml of vegetable milk (eg rice) with added calcium; fresh fruit salad (e.g. 1 banana, 150 g, and strawberries, 75 g)

DINNER: 30 g of wholemeal spaghetti with 100 g of pepper cream; 60 g of red lentils with 50 g of tomato paste and 5 g of rosemary; 100 g of green and red cabbage salad with 50 g of fennel dressed with lemon, ginger, 15 g of almond flakes and 30 g of sultanas; 30 g of wholemeal bread; 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

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