Vegan cookery refers to the preparation of food that does not contain any animal products. Vegan food therefore has to contain the essential nutrients people would ordinarily get from meats and other foods that come from animals. A balanced diet for vegans would include whole grains, pulses, beans and seeds, vegetables, nuts, fruits, mushrooms, and mineral foods.
Some of the basic nutrients that one has to make sure are included in vegan cookery include fatty acids. These essential nutrients are available in hempseed oil, walnuts and canola oil. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, as does flaxseed. However flaxseed has to be ground and the oil needs to be stored in dark bottles.
Iodine is one of the minerals the body needs. Most of the time, vegans can obtain this from the vegetables they eat, but in countries, such as the UK, where the soil is low in iodine, people should ensure they obtain the iodine from other sources. These sources could include using iodized salt in vegan cookery or supplementing the diet with iodine rich seaweeds, such as nori and kelp. However, care should be taken when eating these seaweeds because of the danger of getting an overdose of iodine.
Vitamin C, obtained from most fruits, is also a good source of iron. Soybeans and unsprouted whole grains are also a good source of protein, from which the body obtains iron. Raw nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of protein, which most people believe can only come from eating meat. Vitamin B12 is not found in sufficient amounts in plants and vegetables to give the body what it needs. Therefore vegans do need to supplement their diet by drinking fortified soy milk fortified margarine and supplements.
In strict vegan cookery, no milk and dairy products are permitted because they do come from animals. Therefore, vegans need to get the calcium they need for strong bones and teeth from other sources. Some of the foods that include calcium include green leafy vegetables, soy products, tofu, sesame seeds, beans and dried fruit.