Plant-Based Diet Mistakes: 6 Things Your Body Might Be Missing

Who’d have predicted that eating plants would have become so popular? Oat milk and hummus are officially status symbols and tofu scramble is the hot new thing. In fact, according to a report by Waitrose, one in eight Brits are now said to be following a veggie or vegan diet, with a further 20% identifying as ‘flexitarian’.
We’re not here to push any particular diet choice. Here at Free Soul, we’re all about empowering you to find the lifestyle that makes you feel your best whilst offering support to make that journey a little bit easier. So, if you’re simply curious about meat-free Monday’s, are consciously trying to reduce your meat intake or are transitioning to a fully plant-based diet, here are the key nutrients you need to have on your radar to make sure your body is getting everything it needs… 

1. Thinking About Veganism? Get Yourself a B12 Supplement

This small but mighty nutrient is needed to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and to prevent a type of anaemia that makes you feel tired and weak. B-12 is usually found in animal-derived products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, which is why veggies and vegans need to be on top of their nutrition game to avoid such deficiencies.
For veggies, milk and eggs are the best sources to help you to hit your requirements but for vegans, supplementation is key. This can be taken through a high-quality tablet or spray or by carefully consuming plenty of fortified foods. Nutritional yeast might look like fish food, but it adds a nutty, cheese-like flavour to healthy, plant-based dishes and is often fortified with B12. Just like many plant-based milks, giving you the perfect excuse to indulge your daily oat flat white habit or to devour this bowl of chocolate protein oats!
Free soul b12


2. Is it Time to up Your Iron?

Iron-deficiency in vegetarians, might seem like a cliché but it’s important nonetheless! Iron is found in red blood cells and plays a vital role in immune function and fighting fatigue. But you don’t necessarily need to eat red meat to get your fill - Free Soul protein blends, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lentils, fortified cereals, nuts and seeds… the list of iron-rich plant-based foods goes on!
Our top tip? Avoid sipping on coffee or tea whilst eating anything high in iron as this can inhibit absorption.

3. Are You Eating Complete Protein Sources? Not All Proteins are Created Equally

What do we mean by whole or complete protein sources and why is it so important? In simple terms, this is a protein that contains all nine of the amino acids your body needs to get from your diet. These amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and you need these for a whole host of bodily functions; from supporting your immune system, to building muscle and growing healthy skin and nails.
Whilst meat and animal products are complete sources, some plant-based alternatives can leave you a little short, which is where some of our favourite food combinations come in handy! We’re talking hummus and pitta, black beans and rice and peanut butter and wholemeal toast – when paired together, these options will give you all nine of the amino acids you need. This is why our nutritionist approved vegan nutrition blend has been specifically created with both hemp and pea proteins. Hemp is lower in lycine, whereas pea protein needs a boost of methionine, so when paired together you can rest easy knowing you’re getting a full range of amino acids and a healthy hit of plant-based protein too!
Free soul vegan protein blend for women


4. Skipping Fish Friday’s? Don’t Forget About Your Omega 3’s

Known for boasting brain health benefits and a reduced risk of major cardiovascular events and serious mental health conditions, your Omega 3 levels aren’t something to dismiss. Most knowingly sourced from oily fish, if you’re not eating at least 2 portions a week, it’s time to consider a supplement or upping your intake of nuts, seeds and plant oils.
For a more decadent tasting, fish-free brain boost, try our chocolate and sea salt chia pudding recipe – full of Omega 3’s from chia seeds and combined with our chocolate protein blend, full of vitamins, minerals and adaptogens to make sure your body is functioning at its best. 


5. Eating the Same Meals Day in, Day Out? It’s Time to Switch Things up 

With diet changes – particularly ones that reduce available foods - it can be easy to fall into the habit of eating the same faithful meals day in, day out. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with having favourites, it’s important to mix things up to make sure you’re getting a varied diet. Without sounding like your Mum, you should be aiming to eat the rainbow to ensure you’re getting a full spectrum of minerals and vitamins.
Not so confident in the kitchen? There’s a wealth of awesome food bloggers and Instagram accounts ready to inspire your culinary adventures. Mix up your morning protein smoothie, add new fruits and veggies to your oats or test out a fun new vegan dessert recipe on your family and friends!


6. Dairy-Free? Here’s How to Keep up Your Calcium Levels 

For the average Brit, most of their calcium consumption comes from dairy products. So for vegetarians, milk, yogurt, cheese or whey protein is an easily digestible way to look after your bone health.

For those choosing to be dairy-free, things get a little trickier. However, dark leafy greens such as broccoli and kale, tahini, fortified milks and calcium-set tofu will help you to up your intake. With women being at a higher risk of osteoporosis and brittle bones, this is just one of the many reasons why we’ve made sure our vegan nutrition blend contains a high quality source of calcium, to support women’s bone density.