Vegan diets require an extra bit of thought on the nutrients you need.
Iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, Iodine, Omega - 3 fatty acids, and selenium. (Leucine, isoleucine and valine are the most critical group of aminos for muscle growth.)
So, Protein... Protein is made up of amino acids (BCAAs), you'll get your complete protein and essential amino acids sources from meat, fish and dairy. Your body can't make these so if you don't consume these aminos in your food they NEED to be supplemented for a balanced and healthy diet. I'll say what each one of these aminos mean shortly.
If you're eating a good plant based diet with a wide variety of different plant proteins, you'll most likely pick up all the essential amino acids you need for a healthy diet. One thing to keep in mind is the quantity, you'll need to consume A LOT more in your vegan diet to achieve the same value as a diet which includes meat.
An example of plant based sources are pulses, lentils, chickpeas, hemp, pea, brown rice, tofu, nuts, seeds, and whole gains.
Another thing to keep in mind is...
In a vegetarian diet (very similar to vegan) you'll experience a decline in testosterone! 35% decrease to be exact when a study was made over 6 weeks with male endurance athletes.
Steroid hormones, you'll find zero in a vegan diet because as you'll find ZERO cholesterol in a plant based diet. Cholesterol is the building blocks of testosterone.
Protein consumption should be 30-50g maximum per meal, this is because anything higher than this can actually cause the liver to stimulate enzymes to break down testosterone and eliminate it from the body! Protein is also the most thermogenic of all macronutrients, so it burns quicker!
BCAAs supplementation, this can aid repair on damaged muscles l, decrease the muscle soreness and increase muscle function. To supplement before and after is perfect to combat muscle damage and promote muscle-protein synthesis.
Plant based diet you'll find Oxalates and phytates (phytic acid) these are plant chemicals which block the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium! So you'll need to consume foods like spinach, beets, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains.
Okay, I've gone on a little too much, so I'll list the supplements you'll most very likely need in a vegan diet and what makes them so special.
Iron makes yo an important part of your hemoglobin which is a protein found in red blood cells. This helps carry oxygen around your body, soooo yes you can see why this is so important!
Iron is abundant in plants although, your body finds it hard to absorb! This is because its slightly different to the iron you'd consume with meat. So to help this you'll need Vit C, why? Because you can't absorb Iron without Vit C. Shockingly tea and coffee can also reduce iron absorption, so avoid like the plague around meal times! Phytic acid found in plant diets can block the absorption of Iron.
This helps make new cells and enzymes to heal wounds, and break down nutrients like carbs. Similar to Iron the phytic acid found can reduce/block zinc absorption.
This is important for strong bones but also supports your immune system, blood clotting and muscle contraction.
This is important for your immune and reproductive system. It also acts as an antioxidant, preventing your cells and tissues from getting damaged. Usually found in meat, eggs and fish. For plant based you'll need Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, brown rice and beans.
This is essential for red blood cell production, DNA synthesis and a healthy nervous system. Unfortunately a long term deficiency can actually lead to irreversible nerve damage, so you need to make sure your getting enough. A blood test will help test this.
B12 is only found in animal products.
Your body is able to make all the Vit D you need from sunlight. During autumn and winter when this exposure is low its more than common for your level of Vit D to drop.
This comes from fish, shellfish, milk and other dairy products. Iodine is crucial for the formation of your thyroid hormones, this plays an important part in your metabolism and growth. In a plant based diet you'll find this in seaweed and plant milk alternatives.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
This is a type of unsaturated fat that you must get. It's important for brain function and development, cell structure, weight loss and hormone production.
The 3 types are, DHA, EPA and ALA. The first two are found in oiky fish like salmon. For a plant based sources like flaxseeds and chia seeds only provide the ALA. Your body can convert this into DHA and EPA, but it's worth supplementing just incase your not getting enough.
I hope this helps for any questions and concerns you may have on a Vegan diet as I know it's become very popular this year.