So you have decided to go vegan. But you wonder if you are going to be able to keep up energy levels, get all the nutrition you need and be healthy on a vegan diet. The most important aspect is that you will have to give up many of your favorite foods and staples in a normal diet. The good news is the vegans are at lower risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and also lose weight. Here are 7 important tips for vegans to help you on your journey.
- Start small – instead of suddenly purging all animal products from your diet, decide to try out veganism for a week or a month and then see how it goes. If you go vegan slowly, you will be able to make a successful transition without feeling the urge to revert.
- Get hold of some vegetarian cookbooks – these will help you with detailed recipes for meals and help fill the lacuna left by the absence of non-vegetarian and dairy alternatives. Or check out online recipes if you don’t want to splurge on books.
- Make meal plans – it will be much easier if you have menus ready for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You won’t be left holding your head at the last minute.
- Stock up on staples – have the pantry and refrigerator filled with fruits and vegetables as well as lentils, beans, tofu, milk substitutes, butter substitutes. Include some vegan frozen or canned or ready to cook foods, which you will in your supermarket for when you simply are not in the mood to cook.
- Learn about substitutions – while you can have mock meat for meat, you will be better off if you learn what foods are easy to substitute. For instance you can use almond or soy milk instead of normal milk, tofu instead of cheese, vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise and also avoid processed foods at the same time.
- Include more nuts and seeds in your diet – these are rich in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and iron that can help cover the lack of nutrition found in meat. As nuts are high in calories, don’t have lots unless you can afford the high calorie counts.
- Keep a check on ready foods – that bread you buy from an artisanal or small bakery may have egg or milk, so check carefully before eating or buying. While foods in supermarkets carry labels, many edibles such as sandwiches may not tell you about the non-vegan items it contains. Where ingredients are not listed and you cannot ask anybody, simply avoid the food.
When you go vegan you will automatically be eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other edibles that are nutritionally sound and enable you to make your recommended daily allowances of important nutrients. If you are the only person in your family who is vegan, you may have to cook separately or add meat and other non-vegan food items later. It may be difficult to go vegan initially, but soon you will find that your taste buds actually taste food better and after some time, you can used to making the substitutions and develop a taste for the vegan lifestyle.