Your guide to being a healthy vegan  
or a healthy vegetarian! 
Health Guide:  
 Fruits & Vegetables
 Legumes / Beans
 Oils & Fats
 Vitamins & Minerals
 Whole Grains
Additional Info:  
 Herbs & Spices
 Nuts & Seeds
 Organic Produce
 Salt & Sodium
 Soy & Tofu
 Sugar & Sweeteners

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Vegan / Vegetarian - Vegetables and FruitsOrganic Produce

Organic foods are foods whose growth has not been assisted by the use of chemicals. Most commercial crops are sprayed with a wide variety of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and rodent killers, with over seventy of these being known carcinogens. After spraying, the remain on or in the food and may present long-term health risks.

Vegan and Vegetarian - USDA OrganicQuick Page Summary: Eating organic produce can reduce the amount of toxic chemicals ingested and increase the amount of beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids (like omega 3 and omega 6) consumed. Eating organic produce may reduce your risk of cancer, helps the environment (rather than damaging it), and supports your local family farms. Also, organic fruits and vegetables usually taste better!

Below is a list of the top reasons we believe you should choose organic (partly adapted from an article by Sylvia Tawse, marketing coordinator for Alfalfa's Markets in Boulder, Denver and Vail Colo.).

  • Organic foods may be more nutritious – In just one example, (of many) researchers at Rutgers University in the USA, intrigued by the claim that "organic is better," decided to shop around for some answers. They went to a supermarket and purchased a selection of produce which they analyzed for mineral content. They then went to a health food store and purchased the same products but grown organically and carried out the same tests. The Rutgers' team expected the organic produce to be slightly superior in this comparison, but the results were really impressive. For example, the amount of iron in the organic tomatoes and spinach compared to the non-organic varieties showed an enormous difference. Many other essential trace elements are completely absent in the non-organic foods, whereas they occur in abundance in the organic varieties. Other studies came to the same conclusion.

  • Organic foods taste better – There's a good reason why many chefs use organic foods in their recipes—they taste better. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil which eventually leads to the nourishment of the plant and ultimately our palates.

  • Organic foods are safer for people – In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve damage, and genetic mutations.

  • Organic farming protects the environment and works with natural systems, rather than seeking to dominate them.

    Vegan / Vegetarian Organic Fruits & VegetablesSoil Erosion – Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming. However, in conventional farming, the soil is used more as a medium for holding plants in a vertical position so they can be chemically fertilized. As a result American farms are suffering from the worst soil erosion in history.

    Water Quality – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates pesticides—some cancer causing—contaminate the ground water in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country's population.

    Energy – Large-scale factory farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming 12 percent of the country's total energy supply. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the United States. Organic farming, however, is still based on labor-intensive practices such as hand weeding and green manure and crop covers instead of synthetic fertilizers.

    Biodiversity – Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. This lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often in increasing amounts. Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled—partly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.

  • Purchasing organic food helps support local farmers – Most organic farms are small, independently owned family farms of fewer than 100 acres. Organic farming cannot survive without our support.

Additionally, according to "Coronary and Diabetic Care in the UK 2004" by the Association of Primary Care Groups and Trusts (UK), written by James Cleeton, Policy Projects Coordinator at the Soil Association, a predominantly organic diet:

  • Reduces the amount of toxic chemicals ingested;
  • Avoids genetically modified organisms (GMOs);
  • Reduces the amount of food additives and colorings ingested;
  • Increases the amount of beneficial vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids (like omega 3 and omega 6) and antioxidants consumed; and
  • Appears to have the potential to lower the incidence of common conditions, such as cancer, coronary heart disease, allergies, and hyperactivity in children.

Vegan / Vegetarian Organic Fruits & VegetablesWe believe that organic methods produce the most healthful food and helps to protect our environment while eliminating any possibility of cancer-causing toxins. Best of all, it helps local farmers and their families. So whenever you can afford to do so, we encourage you to support local organic farmers and suppliers, or plant your own garden.

For a list of the best fruits and vegetables to purchase organic, please see our Fruits and Veggies page.


Where can I buy healthy vegan alternatives?
Our sister site, Vegan and Vegetarian Products Guide, lists hundreds of tasty alternatives to dairy, eggs, meat, pet food, supplements, and more that can be found in many grocery stores.

This web site is intended for information purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. This site is provided by health-minded volunteers, not professionals. Always confirm the information you read with verified medical journals and articles before using the information. Always seek the advice of your physician, dietician, or other qualified health provider before changing your diet or taking supplements.

Help spread the word about vegan and vegetarian health!
Ask your vegan, vegetarian, animal protection, or environmental organizational to link to this health guide! If you have a web site please add a link, too! You can use the code below. :-)

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The information above is for informational purposes only.
Always remember to talk to your physician if you have questions or plan on changing your diet.

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