Plant Shift

love ♥ living ♥ vegan

Following a plant-based or vegan lifestyle, is about food, drink, clothes, shoes, body treatments, hair products and more. 

It's a conscious decision to think, walk and possibly, talk a better lifestyle. 

I support individuals who are thinking about making the shift, as well as, those who have already begun their plant-based journey.

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How do vegans get enough iron if they don't eat meat?

It's funny, as a vegetarian, I didn't get asked about where I source iron from. However, when I shifted to a vegan diet, one of the questions I'd be asked is 'But where do you get your iron from? Don't you need to eat meat for it?' Some of us are comfortable in answering such questions, others don't want to, and for some, they'd like something to help them articulate a response.

Whichever category you fall into, it's worth reading what Gary L. Francione & Anna Charlton have to say about vegans and iron.

But…Will I get enough iron if I don’t eat meat?


We need iron for the formation of blood. Women need more iron than do men and pre-menopausal women, and especially pregnant women, need more than post-menopausal women. Iron is a central part of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to our tissues. It is also a constituent of certain enzymes. Iron is found in two forms, heme iron, which is about 40% of the iron found in meat, poultry, and fish, and non-heme iron, which makes up the other 60% of iron in animal tissue and all the iron in plant foods. Heme iron is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron and this leads some people to fear that a vegan diet will not have enough iron.

Have no fear.

Studies have shown that iron deficiency anaemia is no more common among vegans than among the population generally. Many plant foods are actually higher in iron than animal foods. Spinach has 15.5 mg. of iron per 100 calories; steak has 0.9 mg. per 100 calories. Lentils have 2.9 mg per 100 calories; a pork chop has 0.4 mg per 100 calories. Whole grains, dried fruits, nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds, and beans are also good plant sources of iron. Moreover, vegan diets tend to be higher in vitamin C, which increases the absorption of non-heme iron.

It is easy to obtain all the iron you need on a vegan diet, whether you are a man, woman (pre- or post-menopausal, or pregnant) or child. Indeed, it is easier to get all the iron you need from plant foods than from animal foods, and you’ll certainly have to consume fewer calories of plant food to get the iron you need.

Related content

Where do vegans get their protein from?
How do vegans get enough calcium if they don't eat dairy products? 

Link to a book by Gary L. Francione & Anna Charlton: An exploration and rejection of the various excuses — the “Buts” — that keep us eating animal foods.

Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Science without humanity, Knowledge without character, Politics without principle, Commerce without morality, Worship without sacrifice.
— Mahatma Gandhi

What are the ethical reasons for following a vegan diet?

One of the things that I've found interesting whilst on this journey, shifting from a vegetarian diet to vegan one, is the variety of reasons that exist for doing so. Some of these reasons include, to heal or save the environment, to feel healthier, to cure bodily conditions, to pacify the effect of allergies and ethics. This video discusses the ethical reasons for following a plant-based diet.

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Does the NHS recommend a vegan diet AND can you follow a vegan diet if you're pregnant?

As you may have read in previous posts, my decision to go vegan was an emotional one. It was based on watching a video about dairy-production; so I wasn't thinking about my health at the time. However, a great by-product of following a vegan diet was that my health improved. I suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I found that it became virtually non-existent when I shifted to a vegan diet. I also had more energy and I lost weight. I didn't need to, or want to lose weight, but it happened naturally, because I was eating better. As for being pregnant; this is a precious and often emotional period of time for mums-to-be, so I wouldn't feel comfortable telling anyone that they should be vegan whilst being pregnant. This is because I haven't done it myself, so how could I say it with conviction? This video has solved that for me; because there's a healthy mum-to-be who talks about how great she feels being vegan during her pregnancy, as well as, how she feels after the birth of the baby.

The video covers 2 main things. You'll meet someone who's worked for the NHS for over 15 years who recommends a vegan diet to those who have health issues and you'll hear from a mum who was vegan whilst she was pregnant.

Whilst watching the video, can you spot any information that helps you answer the following questions?

  1. Which three conditions do vegans suffer from LESS?

  2. Do vegans need to worry about Calcium or B12 intake?

  3. Is Vitamin D something that only vegans need?

  4. Can mums-to-be remain on a vegan diet without putting their unborn child/children at risk?

  5. What about infants? Will they get what they need on a vegan diet?

  6. Does being vegan help babies suffer less?

More about this film...

The entire film lasts 30 minutes. It explores the benefits of being vegan. Some of these are: -

  • an exciting lifestyle

  • eating delicious food

  • consuming healthy food

  • tackling the ethics behind making this shift

  • global challenges that we face now and in the future.

It was produced by The Vegan Society. Will you make the connection and become part of the solution?

"I think and speak clearer since I cut the dairy out. I can breathe better and perform at a better rate, and my voice is clearer. I can explore different things with my voice that I couldn't do because of my meat and dairy ingestion." Common (hip-hop musician)