We’ve all heard of the benefits of a vegan diet. If you’ve ever considered on starting but have always thought it could be difficult and unsure how to go around it ensuring you still get enough nutrients daily. F45’s Global Nutritionist and Director of the Challenge, Lyn Green shares her 5 tips to help you ease into starting your vegan diet.
image via pinterest
1. Be conscious of your protein intake
The most common sources of protein are from animal products, so when you switch to a vegan diet, it’s important that you become conscious of your protein intake. There are many protein-rich plant-based foods you can incorporate such as oats, green beans, quinoa, lentils, almonds and tofu.
2. Keep it colourful
Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to keep your meals exciting and ensure you’re receiving a wide range of nutrients and vitamins. Try purple beets for immune-boosting vitamin C, red tomatoes for heart-healthy lycopene and blueberries to improve memory function.
3. Choose whole grains over refined grains
Vegan diets tend to be less calorific, so you may find that you’re hungrier more often. If you choose whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa over white pasta and bread, the additional fibre will keep you fuller for longer. Plus, it has the added benefit of iron and vitamin B.
4. Plan out your meals and prepare in advance
To ensure you never get caught without a vegan food option, plan, prepare and cook your plant-based meals ahead of time.
5. Join a community
For vegan recommendations, inspiration and motivation, join a community of like-minded vegans. This could involve following a few vegan blogs, joining a Facebook group.
Things to think about – i.e. protein supplements, meal supplements etc.
Supplements may be necessary to ensure your body is receiving all the essential vitamins and minerals. In particular, B12, as there are very few plant-based sources of food containing enough B12 to reach your daily recommended intake. Your doctor can do a blood test to measure you’re B12 levels and recommend an appropriate daily supplement.
Another one to be conscious of is vitamin D, which is usually found in fatty fish and dairy products. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, however it is often recommended to also take a supplement to assist in calcium absorption and support healthy bones.
Effects on a new vegan/ things to be aware of when introducing a vegan diet
Cravings are also very common when starting out your vegan journey, especially if it means cutting out dairy which is high in the sugar ‘lactose’. Try transitioning one step at a time, rather than completely overhauling your diet overnight. Look out for vegan alternatives to your favourite treats, such as coconut ice cream or no added sugar vegan chocolate.
Additionally, you may experience digestive issues when adopting a vegan diet as your gut bacteria is optimised for whatever it digests the most. Ensure there are plenty of high-fibre plant-based foods in your diet such as dark green leafy vegetables, chia seeds, flaxseeds and lentils to optimise your digestive health.
Benefits of eating a vegan diet
Research shows that a diet free from animal products is beneficial for those with obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Vegandiets tend to be rich in fibre, low in saturated fat and devoid of animal protein, cholesterol and hormones – which are all linked to disease. Eating a whole food diet of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds provides all the essential protein, vitamins and minerals the body requires. Veganism is also better for the planet, with lots of research supporting the negative effects meat-eating has on sustainability.
Stay tuned for a vegan 5 day meal plan next week!
Catch our daily and monthly horoscopes here.