Things to Know Before Going Vegan
According to the Vegan Society, Veganism is a lifestyle by which you choose to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty. Those who embrace the vegan way of life all partake in a plant-based diet that cuts out animal foods and products such as all meat, fish, chicken, insects, dairy, eggs and honey.
Going vegan is no easy feat, and should be applauded. For those considering to take the plunge, there are many resources available, such as Authority Health, that further explain and give advice on what it takes to become vegan.
So, if you are thinking about trying the vegan lifestyle, here are some things to keep in mind.
Do It Gradually
You don’t have to go vegan immediately and can gradually exclude animal products from your diet. If you are starting from a vegetarian regime, it will be a bit easier to renounce all animal by-products but if you are a meat eater that wants to make the change, it is suggested that you should systematically cut out meats, dairy and other sources from your diet. Working your way up to it will help you make the transition in a sustainable way.
Every person should transition at their own speed, even if it takes months. Your vegan journey is personal and should be taken at a comfortable pace. As it is a drastic change, suddenly cutting certain foods from your day-to-day will shock your system and lead to cravings and withdrawals.
While many vegans eat nutrient-rich diets, those starting out might not consume the right amount of vitamins and minerals, like B12 and iodine, if the food they eat is not varied. Veganism is a dramatic change in diet but this does not mean that all vegans need to take supplements. It is therefore highly recommended that you should consult a doctor before going vegan.
B12, calcium, Vitamin D, iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids can all be absent from a vegan eating regime. These nutrients are important for proper body function and naturally occur in things like soy, legumes and leafy greens.
As meat is generally the main source of protein in the average human’s diet, going vegan means that you will need to find a new source. Nuts, seeds, some vegetables, and soy can provide the necessary protein your diet requires. It is also suggested that plant-protein should be included in every meal. For the average person, 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight is required daily. This equates to approximately 54 grams for a 150-pound person, 72 grams for a person weighing 200 pounds.
These are some protein meat replacements to consider:
● Tofu (10 g of protein per ½ cup)
● Edamame Beans ( 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup)
● Tempeh (15 g of protein per ½ cup)
● Lentils (8.84 g of protein per ½ cup)
● Chickpeas ( 7.25 g per ½ cup)
● Almonds ( 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup)
● Spirulina (8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons)
● Chia Seeds (2 g of protein per tablespoon)
● Hemp Seeds (5 g of protein per tablespoon)
Many people choose to go vegan due to the potential for weight loss. And while a plant-based diet could help you shed some pounds, it is not always guaranteed. Wheat and grain products are still consumed by vegans. Choosing to eat a plate of pasta instead of vegetables can increase your weight. Just because something is vegan, it does not always mean that it is healthy.
One of the biggest things you should be ready for is a lot of questions from family members and friends. It is likely that they will want to know more about your decision to change your lifestyle and what they can do to change theirs. This is why you should have knowledge on the subject and educate yourself so that you can answer their questions. It is also important to understand your own motivation for going vegan - as this is likely to come up in discussions.
Every person is different. The route you take to becoming a vegan will most likely vary from others. Remember to take one day at a time and work at your own pace. By educating yourself and eating a balanced diet, you will be able to successfully transition into the world of veganism.