EBONY MCCORKELL, APD.
Ebony McCorkell is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and chef who has
special interests in plant-based nutrition and gut health. She is
passionate about improving cooking skills and helping people create
delicious, satisfying, and sustainable meals. Follow Ebony at
www.ebnutrition.net.au and on Facebook
www.facebook.com/ebnutrition and Instagram eb_nutrition
$100 of vegan
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FEATURE ARTICLE WINTER 2020
In the Autumn edition we explored the benefits of eating
more plants. Now let’s take a look at four important
nutrients (and their dietary sources) for those interested in a
A CLOSER LOOK AT
Dietitian Ebony McCorkell takes us through some important
nutrients for those following plant-based diets.
B12 is a complicated vitamin, which takes on many forms, but
the form of B12 we need does not naturally occur in plant
foods. Foods fortified with B12 (e.g. nutritional yeast flakes,
Marmite®, some mock meats and plant milks) can assist you
in meeting your requirements, but the safest way to ensure
you’re getting adequate B12 is to take a supplement. Talk to
your doctor or dietitian for personalised advice.
In our Autumn Edition, Charlotte Miller took us through the
pros and cons of various plant milks. The key point for
vegans is to ensure that your plant milk is fortified with at
least 100mg calcium per 100ml. Other great vegan sources of
calcium include calcium-set firm tofu (scan the ingredients for
calcium or e516), soy beans, tahini/sesame seeds, chia
seeds, bok choy, kale, chickpeas and cannellini beans.
A low iodine diet can cause hypothyroidism, an enlarged
thyroid gland (goitre) and can affect fertility, pregnancy and
the development of newborns. Seafood contributes the most
iodine in the typical Australian diet, followed closely by bread
that has been fortified with iodised salt. Unless advised
otherwise, we should all use iodised salt and breads.
In my work as a dietitian, I often encounter clients
taking plant foods (e.g. Spirulina) marketed as
‘natural B12 supplements’. Unfortunately, these
have been found to contain pseudo-vitamin B12
- an inactive compound that actually inhibits our
ability to absorb B12. For this reason, such
supplements are not recommended.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, dairy
products contribute the largest amount of calcium in a typical
Australian diet. For this reason, calcium content is a key
consideration when switching to plant-based alternatives.
People omitting seafood should include sea vegetables like
sushi and nori at least twice per week. If you’re unable to
meet your iodine requirements through diet, speak to your
doctor about supplementation, as it’s important not to have
Protein is abundant in plant-based diets. As a general rule, if
you eat a varied diet with sufficient calories, you should be
meeting your protein and essential amino acid requirements.
Protein-rich plant foods include tempeh, tofu, ancient grains
(e.g. quinoa), legumes, nuts, and seeds. Try to include at least
two foods from these groups each day. Another bonus of
these high protein foods is their provision of nutrients which
may be harder to get in a plant-based diet, including iron,
zinc, and selenium.
YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE