ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is a basic omega-3 fat that can be converted in the body to the other omega-3s the body needs. ALA occurs in small amounts in beans, vegetables, and fruits, and this should be all the body needs. If more is desired, it is also found in walnuts, soy products, and, in high concentration, in flax seeds and flax oil. If these are used, there is no need for more than minimal amounts.
If you are looking for more, for whatever reason, health food stores sell vegan omega-3 supplements.
9. Sometimes eating lots of vegetables, beans, or soy products gives me uncomfortable gas; how do you avoid this? The problem with gassiness can often be found with beans. They should not be excluded from the diet, however, because they are great sources of protein, calcium, and iron, among other nutrients. But if you are new to beans, it is good to have them in small portions and always very well cooked. A wellcooked bean is very soft, with no hint of crunchiness. As time goes on, your digestive tract adjusts, so a bean that may cause a problem today may be better tolerated later on.
Also, cruciferous vegetables can cause indigestion for some people. The answer is simply to cook them well. This group includes broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage, among others. It is common for people to eat them raw or only slightly cooked, but they can easily cause gassiness or bloating. Cook them well, and the problem usually disappears. Later on, you can experiment again with lesscooked vegetables.
On the good side, rice is very easily digested, and a great food to emphasize. Brown rice is best. Also, cooked green, yellow, and orange vegetables are very easily digested. Fruit vary. Some people do very well with raw fruit; others have more difficulty at first. If you are new to any particular fruit, you might have smaller servings at first, then gradually increase.
Excerpted from Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World, by Kathy Freston. Available from Weinstein Books, a member of The Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2011