Vegan diets have multiple benefits ranging from cruelty-free food consumption, healthier alternatives, and organic nourishment. Vegan diets are also richer in certain nutrients and are suitable for weight loss agendas. It aids individuals in achieving healthy meals that lower heart disease risks and increase protection against certain cancers.
Aside from guilt-free food consumption, you can enjoy various health benefits that come with being a vegetarian. A vegetable and fruit diet is rich in fibres, vitamins, and minerals, but you need proper meal plans to combine essential foods to achieve a healthy diet–with all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
However, becoming a vegan takes discipline and a solid mindset. You can not simply jump from one lifestyle to another simply because you felt like it. Vegans usually have a goal in mind and put in extra efforts to stay committed to their objectives. Before you become a vegan, here are some of the things that you need to consider first.
Stocking up on vitamin supplements
Vitamins such as B12 are necessary nutrients for the body, but unfortunately, they can naturally occur in animal foods. Going vegan means excluding all animal products from your diet. That means you will need some B12-fortified food and supplements to keep your body healthy and avoid nutrient deficiency.
Iron is another necessary vitamin for your body. Iron is good for the blood that aids in the transportation of oxygen through various parts of the body. Iron deficiencies may cause health problems such as anaemia or fatigue, which affects your day-to-day routine and activities.
Vegan diets consist of only one type of iron, non-heme iron, readily absorbed by the body. Heme iron comes only from animal foods, meaning you need to find another source to meet your body’s iron needs.
You must not sacrifice the nutrients that your body needs to execute its typical performance. Luckily, vitamin supplements are available for vegans who need other alternatives to fill their bodies with the same vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in animal products.
You can even check out the Omvit supplement range for vegans to get an idea of the supplementary vitamins you might need. When you start stocking up on animal-free foods, be sure to take a trip to the drugstore and get yourself the supplements you need.
Look for protein alternatives
The difference between vegan and vegetarians is that vegans have strict animal-free food consumption. Vegetarians, on the other hand, consume eggs as their only source of proteins. Vegans avoid every animal product, including eggs and dairy. However, proteins often come from animal products such as eggs and meat.
Protein is vital for building muscle, body growth, and development. It is also responsible for broken tissue repairs and cell growth in the body. The average recommended intake for protein is at least 0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass. Let’s say around 54 grams for a woman weighing 150 pounds.
Although protein naturally occurs in animal products, it is not entirely impossible to look for protein alternatives if you are knowledgeable in various plant-based foods. Some sources of vegan protein may come from natural soy, lentils, quinoa, and seitan.
Get ready for the questioning looks
As a vegan, your choice of lifestyle immediately sparks attention. Whether it is from your families, friends, or co-workers, they are bound to ask some questions. Of course, someone unfamiliar with vegan practices would wonder who on earth is crazy enough to choose leaves over some juicy steak.
But, vegans know better. Choosing animal-cruelty free lifestyles are often based on moral principles rather than personal preferences. Whatever your reason is, be prepared to answer a lot of questions. Diets are a sensitive topic for most people and peaks their interest. Some even think it is good to hate on a particular belief just because theirs are different.
No matter where the conversation might be going, there is no need to feel like you are in the wrong. We are all entitled to our own choices. You are not required to live and eat in the same way as your family or friends. Learn to ignore their petty judgments and mind your own happiness.
Do not swap out meat for junk food
Potato chips and other similar junk foods are technically eligible foods in a vegan diet. However, if you simply swap out meat for white bread and other processed products, you will not obtain the necessary nutrients that your body needs to function correctly.
Indulging in these types of food does not give you the good benefits of a vegan diet. Thus, you are merely putting yourself up for failure. Rejecting animal products for processed items provide less nutritional value that affects your mood, hunger, and weight gain.
You do not wake up a vegan
Some people think that you simply wake up one day and stop eating meat because you want to go vegan. That is a ridiculous idea and may cause problematic health issues. An instantaneous change in lifestyle will trigger a different body reaction since it is not used to consuming an all-vegetarian diet at once.
Instead, becoming a vegan takes time and a careful procedure. You can start by slowly incorporating plant-based dishes into your daily meals. Gradually cut back on your animal food consumption and increase your vegetable intake. Everyone progresses at their own pace, so you do not have to pressure yourself to become a vegan within a day.
Evaluate how your body is responding to the gradual change to make the necessary adjustments. Slowly work your way to your goal of an all plant-based diet. There is no instant way to achieve this regime. You need to be patient.
Adapt certain habits
Overall, becoming a vegan requires you to develop certain habits such as become a label reader, sensitive consumer, and the likes. You have to be sure that the food you are consuming does not contain any animal products, or else you are merely wasting your time and efforts.
You do not have to deprive yourself of certain luxuries such as going to your favourite restaurants. However, this process is definitely not easy and takes a lot of discipline and a strong drive to accomplish. But, in time, you will benefit from your life choices and feel happier despite the sacrifices you had to make.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.