Bringing a change into your life might be quite challenging, especially if it’s something as big as starting a new diet. A whole lot of new “getting used to” awaits those who decide to try a vegan diet, so a lot of them probably give up before even trying. You can’t help but worry about how healthy your diet will be if you cut out meat, dairy, and eggs. The right mindset, a bit of knowledge and information will help you in that adventure. Keep reading if you want to learn how to approach this seemingly insurmountable obstacle.
Veggies, veggies, veggies
The most important thing when changing a diet is to go slowly. If the change is abrupt, you may find yourself being overwhelmed with everything and wonder if you can really do it. Before you cut out on meat and other products, try incorporating more and more veggies into your current diet. When you cut out red meat, white meat, and then dairy, you will be left with veggies as the center of your meal. According to Jessica from Kitchen Habit, an easy way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet is to make smoothies. All you need is a powerful blender and you can make your own healthy smoothies that are good for you, and also delicious. They are full of vitamins and minerals and will keep your body weight in check, as they’re not high in calories. However, they are high in fiber, which keeps you full for a longer time. Before you change to a vegan diet completely, test out some recipes, and get used to the food slowly, one step at a time.
A lot of people associate the vegan diet with protein-deficiency, but that’s completely wrong. Amino acids in animal-based proteins are built in a similar way as those in our bodies, and they do have a higher biological value than plant-based proteins. However, that doesn’t mean that plant-based protein isn’t of the same quality. Vegans just have to eat more protein, as the one they’re getting has a lower digestibility than the one found in animal products. There’s an abundance of plant-based food rich in protein like soybeans, beans, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, nuts, and so on. Protein is really important, as it contains essential amino acids necessary for a number of chemical reactions in our bodies. Our bodies can’t produce them by themselves, so we have to secure them through our diet. If you think that maybe you should supplement your protein intake, you can always opt for vegan protein powder and get the daily dose you’re satisfied with.
Change refined grains for whole grains
Whole-grain food is food that has its three original parts intact: the bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the skin of the edible kernel, and it contains antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber. The germ is the embryo, and it contains B vitamins, protein, minerals, and healthy fats. The endosperm is the largest portion of the kernel, and it contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. When whole grains are milled and stripped of these three layers, they are turned into refined grains. This process removes many nutrients. That’s why you should change refined grains for whole grains and enjoy the benefits of all the nutrients they have to offer. Incorporate more whole-grain cereals into your breakfast. Swap out plain-wheat toast for whole-wheat toast and whole-grain bread. Eat more bulgur, wild rice, and brown rice instead of white rice. Your diet will become so much richer with whole-grain food.
Don’t forget omega-3s
Why are omega-3 fatty acids so important for our bodies? Well, they lower your blood pressure, reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm, stroke, heart attack, and reduce triglycerides. There are three types of omega-3s: EPA, DHA, and ALA. The main obstacle for vegans is that these fatty acids are found primarily in fish. Only ALA can be found in plant-based food, and it can help you get the other two into your body. Due to chemical processes, ALA can be converted to DHA and EPA, but to a limited extent. That’s why it’s really important to eat a lot of food rich in ALA like chia seeds, brussels sprouts, hemp seed, walnuts, and flaxseed. You can also opt to get some supplements for DHA and EPA if you’re not getting them through your diet.
This vitamin has the ability to absorb calcium, which regulates our cell growth, and plays an important role in bone and teeth health. Among other functions, it supports the lungs, immune system, nervous system, and brain health. We get a lot of vitamin D when we’re exposed to sunlight, but it’s also important to supplement it with food depending on our lifestyles. Most vitamin D is found in fish oil and fatty fish, which poses a problem for vegans. You can increase vitamin D intake through mushrooms, fortified almond, and soy milk, tofu, or you can opt for supplements.
It surely takes time to completely change your diet like this, but it’s not impossible if you really want to do it. Surf the Internet for some vegan menus, think about how you can start incorporating them into your meals. Slowly increase the number of vegan meals you eat every week and start cutting out meat and dairy products. The most important thing is to get educated on vegan diets and let their benefits motivate you in your strivings.