Thinking about going vegan? Here's what you need to know.
April 03, 2023
As you are probably aware, there are many “diets” out there to help promote health, encourage weight loss, lower cholesterol, and even improve mood. One that's becoming more popular these days is vegan — a 100% plant-based diet that avoids all animal products. A vegan diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils from plants. Vegans do not eat eggs or dairy as many vegetarians do.
A vegan diet has many health benefits. It has been shown to help people lose weight, reduce cholesterol and blood sugar, and prevent cancer. The reason vegan diets are so healthy is that they have more fiber, antioxidants, and other plant-based nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and E. However, if you don’t plan well, a vegan diet can lack certain nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, selenium, and zinc. Some individuals may benefit from supplementation of certain nutrients so if you are a vegan it would be a good idea to review your diet with a dietitian to see if you are lacking in any area.
If you are interested in integrating a more plant-based diet into your lifestyle, here are a few suggestions to get started:
Start slowly and gradually
By increasing plant-based foods you are increasing fiber, so it's a good idea to start slowly to let your body adjust. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water. Try adding some beans to a soup, stew, or stir-fry. Add a leafy green salad with lots of veggies to your dinner every night. Try nuts and fruit or hummus and carrots for a snack.
Have plenty of plant-based options in your pantry and fridge
Keep pasta, rice, and other whole grains, canned diced tomatoes, canned beans, and olives in your pantry. Try some alternative grains like farro, millet, and amaranth. Use oat or almond milk instead of cow.
Substitute meat with plant-based ingredients
Mushrooms are a great choice as they have the texture of meat. Tofu is great as a replacement for eggs when scrambled with herbs and spices. Mashed beans and spices can be used to make delicious homemade veggie burgers.
Utilize recipe resources to help create tasty meals and snacks
People tend to hesitate towards a plant-based or vegan diet because they feel it will be tasteless and bland, but by adding in the right ingredients and spices you will be pleasantly surprised.
Plan ahead when you eat out
Check out the menu online and see if you can make plant-based substitutions. Some restaurants are more accommodating than others so calling ahead can be helpful as well. It might be hard to follow a vegan diet at a steak house, but you never know!
If you are interested in transitioning to a vegan or more plant-based diet, contact FitLife today to get started on the right foot.
Diet and Nutrients