How to Get a Balanced Vegan Diet

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It was great to tune in and hear our nutritional therapist Alice Mackintosh talking to Ella and Matthew Mills on the Deliciously Ella podcast about how to get a balanced vegan diet. Veganuary is in full swing and the number of people trying out a plant-based diet is higher than ever.

Alice has recently moved her nutritional therapy clinic to the Sky Parlour of Gazelli House, a peaceful and light-filled room at the top of our South Kensington wellbeing space, in Chelsea and close to Knightsbridge, Sloane Square and Fulham.

Deliciously Ella is a family business that aims to make vegetables cool. It started with Ella’s personal blog documenting the plant-based diet she adopted back in 2012 after being diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, a condition that affected the workings of her autonomic nervous system including her heart rate and blood pressure and led to digestive issues, fatigue and infections. 

Ella and her husband and business partner Matthew interviewed Alice (Alice has also helped Ella with her nutrition) for their podcast to find out how to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need from a vegan or plant-based diet. The Deliciously Ella community submitted questions that Alice answered on the show.

Here’s a quick summary of Alice’s key points and you can listen to the full recording here on an Apple device or here for Android.

1.     How do you make sure you get enough protein on a vegan diet and how much do you need?

It’s best to include a mix of protein sources in your diet to ensure you get a good range of amino acids. Good sources of vegan protein include beans, lentils, sprouted legumes, nuts and seeds. Aim to eat around 45-55g of protein a day (although you’ll need more if you work out frequently or are pregnant).

2.     How do you include iron in a vegan diet?

Red quinoa, kale, tomato paste and edamame beans are all great vegan sources of iron. Make sure you avoid drinking coffee at the same time as eating iron-rich foods as it can reduce your absorption rates. On the other hand, vitamin C helps the absorption of iron in the gut so aim to include colourful veggies or fruit with your meal.

3.     How can you stop beans and pulses from causing bloating?

If beans and pulses make you feel bloated, try blending them into dips as this can make them more easily digestible. It’s also worth increasing your consumption little by little.

4.     As a vegan, should I get my vitamin levels checked?

Yes – if you have a plant-based diet it’s worth getting your levels of B12, iron/ ferritin, zinc, vitamin D and omega 3 checked yearly to make sure you have healthy levels of these essential nutrients. This is even more important if you are thinking of trying to get pregnant or have recently had children. If needed, Alice recommends a high-quality nutritional supplement such as Equi London (all vegan except the Beauty Formula, which contains marine collagen). Equi London supplements contain probiotics, super grasses, algaes and high-quality vitamins and minerals at levels that help discourage deficiencies. You can shop Equi here.

To book an appointment with Alice Mackintosh and find out more about her nutritional therapy clinic at Gazelli House London, please email Harriet or Anna at