If you’ve been considering the dramatic lifestyle change of going vegan, then good for you! However, while enthusiasm may be high as you’re getting started, you may have some questions or want a few helpful tips as you prepare to make these exciting changes.
If you’ve been wondering how you should get started, what exactly the benefits of veganism are, and how to make sure you’re changing your lifestyle in the healthiest possible way, then read on!
Why should you adopt a vegan lifestyle?
There are a number of advantages to switching to a vegan lifestyle. A plant-based diet is rich in nutrients that many people simply don’t get enough of. When you cut out all animal-derived products, you have to get creative in how you construct your meals. The simple act of paying more attention to what you eat will naturally result in a better awareness of personal nutrition.
In addition to being highly nutritious and often high in fibre, the vast majority of vegan foods are low in bad cholesterol and saturated fats. This makes veganism a very heart-friendly choice! A plant-based diet can also lower the risks of diabetes alongside reducing the threat of heart disease.
Many people also find that veganism dramatically improves their digestion and gut health. This diet contains a lot of fibre, which helps to regulate digestion and help you feel full and satisfied. Some of the fruits that people tend to eat more of in a plant-based diet, like dark berries, are rich in antioxidants and can help to reduce gut inflammation as well.
A vegan lifestyle benefits everyone
Not only does a vegan diet bring about healthy changes in nutrition and physical health for most people who try it out, but it can catalyse a big mental shift as well. Switching to a vegan lifestyle will naturally encourage you to be more careful about what you’re putting in your body since you’ll have to keep a close eye on the ingredients of everything you eat.
As you take note of each thing you eat, you may find yourself becoming more critical of other areas of your life that could benefit from increased attention as well. This might motivate you to search for other ways to improve your lifestyle alongside your diet.
Along with offering you the potential to be way healthier, a vegan diet makes a statement against the industrialised production of animal products and the threat that it poses to the environment. The emissions produced by industrialised cattle farms are harmful, as is the deforestation required in order to farm the grains that nourish livestock.
Last but not least, a key reason to switch to a plant-based diet is the well-being of the animals. Not only does a vegan lifestyle save countless animal lives, but it helps to prevent the suffering and unfair conditions that these animals are exposed to before butchery as well.
Misconceptions and myths about a vegan diet
While plenty of people are strong advocates of a vegan diet, numerous myths and misconceptions about the lifestyle still persist. While there isn’t enough room to cover all of them here, let’s tackle a few of the more prominent ones:
“A vegan diet will make you weak!”
No, it won’t. If your plant-based diet is complete and well-researched, you will not get weaker as a result of cutting out animal products. In fact, many people actually find that they’re stronger and physically better off once they switch to a vegan diet, and plenty of vegan athletes and bodybuilders can back this up. Plant-based, healthy eating isn’t going to make you any weaker–if anything, it will strengthen your body instead.
“You can’t feel full if you only eat plants.”
Healthy eating doesn’t mean starving yourself, nor does it mean giving up the feeling of satisfaction that follows a hefty, well-balanced meal! Adopting a vegan lifestyle can actually motivate you to increase your fibre intake and naturally regulate your blood sugar levels, helping you feel more full and satisfied when you eat a good meal.
“A vegan diet doesn’t provide enough protein or calcium.”
Again: If you’re paying attention to your nutrition and striving to maintain healthy eating habits to the fullest extent possible, then you’re going to be getting all the fibre, calcium, and protein that naturally constitute part of a healthy diet. There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein and calcium, and tons of delicious recipes that make it easy to get enough of them into your diet.
Can I be vegan and still get all my vitamins and minerals?
Alongside worrying about getting enough protein and satisfaction from their meals, many people find themselves worrying about whether or not they’ll get enough nutrients from an entirely plant-based diet. People who haven’t tried it believe that, surely, you’ll be missing out on crucial vitamins and minerals if you cut out animal products.
However, this simply isn’t the case. In fact, plenty of people who switch to plant-based diets wind up with better nutrition than they had before! Cutting out animal products leaves far more room in your diet for healthy eating and nutrient-dense foods that are rich in all kinds of vitamins and minerals that many people who rely on animal products struggle to get enough of.
How to transition to a vegan lifestyle
If you’re looking forward to starting out on the road to full-on vegan diet but aren’t sure where to start, keep a few tips in mind to try out as you move forward:
- Research plant-based, healthy eating.
- Add to your diet before cutting anything out.
- Get used to reading ingredient lists.
- Experiment with one new vegan recipe at a time.
- Ease in with vegetarianism first, then…
- Cut the non-vegan foods one at the time.
“Do’s” and “Don’ts” for a vegan lifestyle
As you get started with your transition to a vegan diet, keep a checklist of things to strive for and things to avoid in order to keep your diet on track:
- Cut important elements out of your diet before having replacements ready.
- Misinterpret “vegan” as healthy by default and load up on veggie-based junk food.
- View being vegan as a sacrifice.
- Don’t rush the transition phase.
- Get started by altering your favorite meals to fit a vegan lifestyle.
- Read labels carefully and keep careful track of your nutrient and water intake.
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Consult your doctor before making any dramatic changes to your nutrition or lifestyle.
Get a doctor’s approval before changing your diet
That last point is important enough that we’ll go over it again: Always consult your physician before making a drastic change to your diet! A health professional will likely be far more able to give you educated advice on healthy eating than anything you find after a couple of quick internet searches.
Don’t forget that everyone’s body is different. What is right for one person might spell disaster for another, and your primary care provider can give you personalised recommendations for improving your particular diet.
Stay well-informed, stay positive, and confirm your upcoming diet plans with a doctor before getting started in order to plot your optimal path to plant-based.
Finally, the transition to a vegan lifestyle might seem difficult at first, but it will become second nature and, in no time you will be a pro at ordering your food when dining out with friends or family when vegan options aren’t on the menu. So enjoy! And happy eating!