Tag Archives: nutrient collage

Where Do Vegans Get Their Vitamin D?

Everyone knows you get Vitamin D from the sun, and of course, almost every adult knows the joke version of where to get this nutrient, but I bet if you asked someone which plant foods have Vitamin D in them, they’d be at a loss.

I was even surprised to learn that the only plant based food that has naturally occurring Vitamin D is mushrooms. In fact, if I didn’t research it for this series, I probably wouldn’t have learned that. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there is Vitamin D in lots of vegetables, but the amount in other vegetables is so minimal, you can’t use them as your main source for the nutrient.

I was especially eager to do this nutrient, because as someone living in Toronto (Canada) where our weather is mostly winter, getting Vitamin D from the sun can be quite a challenge for the majority of the year. And as most people know, you can’t just go outside without sunscreen on for a few hours and ‘stock up’ on Vitamin D so you’re good for the year. (Though Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning our bodies can store some extra)

So, what if you’re vegan and live somewhere with minimal sun, and don’t like mushrooms? Does that mean you’re just screwed?

Luckily, no! Similar to B12, there are foods available that have been fortified with Vitamin D, that are vegan friendly. Unfortunately, the list isn’t very long, but there’s definitely enough to have a bit of variety. Also, as someone who used to hate mushrooms, if you just make yourself eat them (in small amounts), eventually you’ll see they aren’t all that bad.

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Starting in the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • The Sun (10 minutes outside without sunscreen in summer)
  • Orange Juice (1C = 100IU)
  • Oat/Almond/Rice Milk (1C = 85-90IU)
  • Soy Milk (1C = 86IU)
  • Maitake Mushrooms (1C = 786IU)
  • Portobello Mushrooms (1C = 634IU)
  • Shiitake Mushrooms (1C = 26IU)
  • White Button Mushrooms (1C = 7IU)

For those who may be as confused as I was, IU stands for International Units. I’m not too sure why this is the unit of measure for this particular nutrient, but I’m sure there’s some scientific/important reason other than ‘just to be different’.

It’s recommended that people 1 year to 70 years old get 600-4,000IU of Vitamin D each day. This may sound like a lot, but don’t forget our bodies can store some excess Vitamin D, and even if you’re inside, if you’re by a window that’s in the sun, you’re still getting some Vitamin D.

Also, if you make a kick-ass mushroom dish (one of my favourites is a family recipe, called Peas and Mushrooms [can you guess what’s in it?]  or you could make a stir fry, stuffed mushrooms, pasta with mushrooms… there are tons of dishes you could make with mushrooms!) you’ll have plenty of Vitamin D stocked up.

And if you’re still worried, there’s always Tinder.


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Where Do Vegans Get Their Omega-3’s?

Now, I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t really paid attention to my Omega-3 intake as much as say, my B12 or protein. Which is actually really bad, because it turns out that Omega-3’s are really good for our bodies – getting enough Omega-3’s can help prevent plaque build-up in arteries, and can help reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke – and our bodies can’t produce Omega-3’s by themselves, which means we have to get them from an external source.

Like most other things I don’t have knowledge of, I blame school. Honestly, school teaches you a lot of stuff, but as I keep getting older, I keep finding it didn’t teach me very many practical things. (Such as how to do taxes, or how to budget – even though I took both a business and ‘family studies’ class)

In school, I learned Omega-3’s were in fish, but there wasn’t really a big emphasis on them being important – we focused more on The 4 Food Groups (Grains, Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables, and Meat + Alternatives). Now, don’t get me wrong, teaching little kids that eating from all those food groups everyday is good for your health is a great starting point, I just think that as I got older (read: in high school) we could’ve went a little more in depth to the why eating the food groups are important.

Luckily though, we live in a world where I can find an answer to almost anything I desire right from the comfort of my own home, so I’ve also done my own research into all the things I’ve always wondered about.

Also luckily, I wasn’t raised on processed sugar, so I didn’t have too many bad eating habits to unlearn. (For example, I am perfectly happy eating raw broccoli [or cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, etc.] as a snack)

Also, doing this nutrient series has opened my eyes to the (apparently) minimal info I was given growing up about nutrition. This is also a big reason of why I’m so happy to share what I’ve learned – there’s no way I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t know this stuff, and I want to make things easier for others to find. I think knowledge should be shared.

And on that note, time to share what you came for:

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Starting in the top-left corner, going clockwise:

  • Hemp Hearts (1oz = 6g)
  • Chia Seeds (1oz = 5g)
  • Flax Seeds (1Tbsp = 6.7g)
  • Cauliflower (1C = 37mg)
  • Edamame (1/2C = .28g)
  • Blueberries (1oz = 12.6g)
  • Walnuts (1oz = 2.5g)
  • Spinach (3.5oz = .37g)
  • Avocado Oil (1 Tbsp = 136mg)
  • Kidney Beans (1/2C = 10g)
  • Spirulina (1C = 922mg)
  • Nori/Seaweed (1/2C = 79mg)
  • Canola Oil (1Tbsp = 1.28g)
  • Perilla Oil (1Tbsp = 9g)

Thankfully for us non-meat eaters, Omega-3’s aren’t just in fish, and the foods that do contain them aren’t that hard to find. Another good thing? We only need 1.1g-1.6g a day, so fitting Omega-3 rich foods into our routines shouldn’t be that hard.


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Where Do Vegans Get Their B12?

B12 is a tricky little sucker for those of us who don’t eat meat.

Unfortunately, there aren’t very many plant sources of it out there. I remember back when I first went vegan, I couldn’t find any information in regards to it being in plants. The only thing I found was advice to take it in a supplement.

I’ve never been able to swallow pills, so I knew that wouldn’t be an option for me. (I used to be tongue tied as a child, and my tongue is still ‘attached’ pretty closely to the tip, so I assume this is why, though I don’t know for sure) I asked around in the vegan community, and the two things I learned that did have B12 were nooch (nutritional yeast) and fortified non-dairy beverages.


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Happy that I wouldn’t have to deal with pills and found somewhat more natural sources, I completely put it out of my mind and began my journey.

Doing research for this article, however, I’m happy to discover that there has been more research done since I first started my vegan journey, and there are a few more options we can add to our lists!

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Starting in the top left-corner, going clockwise:

  • Silk Soy Original
  • Silk Almond Original
  • Silk Chocolate Almond Original
  • Silk Coconut Original
  • Silk Cashew Original
  • Silk Oat Yeah!
  • Nooch (Nutritional Yeast)
  • Spirulina
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Nori (Seaweed)

There’s still not too many sources of B12 available, but this inspires hope that we will keep finding more sources as time and research continues. Also, with only needing 2.4 micro grams of it daily, I think this is more than enough options for a bit of variety. And of course, there are lots of vegetables that have trace amounts of B12 in them, so while they’re not enough to use as a primary source, they definitely will help boost what you do eat in a day.

The Silk options I listed here aren’t the only sources, I’m pretty sure most, if not all of their non-dairy beverages are fortified with B12, as well as other plant milks – I just listed the original of the different kinds. And I was surprised to see that the oat beverage is only 42% of daily intake, when all the other ones were 50%.


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Where Do Vegans Get Their Iron?

I do apologize that this article was a day late. As we all know, life got in the way and prevented me from finishing on top (also why there is no Throw Away Fic this week).

Better late than never though, right? Especially when it comes to learning about nutrition. This is the third installment of my Vegan Nutrient Collage series.

It’s not as common to get questions about iron, but it’s still good to bust myths. Most people know iron is in blood, so I understand the logic of ‘animals have blood, I should eat them to get iron’, but luckily for us, iron isn’t only found in blood. It’s in all kinds of plants, too!

Take a look for yourself:

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Starting in the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Lentils 6.6mg
  • Soy Beans (29.2mg)
  • Chickpeas (12.5mg)
  • Red Kidney Beans (15.1mg)
  • Oatmeal 29.9mg
  • Fortified Cereal 18mg
  • Quinoa 6.3mg
  • Brown Rice  .8mg
  • Spinach 6.5mg
  • Swiss Chard 4mg
  • Kale 1mg
  • Swiss Chard .2mg
  • Sesame Seeds 21mg
  • Sunflower 7.4mg
  • Cashews 6.7mg
  • Peanuts 6.7mg
  • Pistachio 4.8mg
  • Pumpkin Seeds 2.1mg
  • Tofu 13.2mg

With only needing 16-18mg (a bit more if you’re a menstruating woman) it’s really not that hard to get all the iron you need. As long as you eat a balanced diet, you shouldn’t have trouble getting any of the essential nutrients you need to survive.

This will be the last entry of the Nutrient Collage series for this year – but don’t worry, I’ll continue the lesson into the new year!

Next month is Halloween – the spookiest time of the year! Not to worry vegans – there’s plenty of Halloween treats we can still enjoy! Next month I’ll give you Surprising Vegan Chips so you can get your snack on. Until then, check out my Surprising Vegan Halloween Candy collage and start stocking up!


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