Switching to a vegan diet can, of course, be great for your health. It gives you the chance to get more of your nutrients from plant-based options like whole-grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables which are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre. However, going vegan may also come with some change effects that you may not be aware of, so here are a few things to know before adopting a vegan diet. Read on for NEW VEGAN? 5 Things You Need to Know Before Making the Switch!
1. You May Need a Vitamin B12 Supplement
Vitamin B12 is naturally occurring in most animal products, so going vegan can may make it somewhat trickier to consume the requisite amount through your diet. It’s important to make sure you get enough B12 as it keeps your blood cells healthy and helps support DNA. Deficiencies in B12 may lead to fatigue and nerve problems so it’s best to look into a B12 supplement that suits you.
2. You May Need an Iron Supplement
Whilst iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme, a vegan diet only consists of the latter, found in plant-based foods, and is less easily absorbed by the body. It’s recommended that most adults have an iron intake between 8.7mg to 14.8mg per day. For vegans, it may be a good idea to take an iron supplement or try to include more vegan iron sources in your diet such as chickpeas, lentils, chia seeds and raisins.
3. Don’t Skimp on Protein!
It may be easy to forget to include vegan sources of protein in your diet. You’re no longer eating meat or chicken but you must remember to consume enough protein throughout the day. It’s essential for growth and development, helping your body repair cells and build muscle. It’s also recommended that adults get at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body mass. There are so many delicious sources of vegan protein, including tofu, seitan, beans and quinoa!
4. Don’t Overdose on Soy-Based Products!
Soy is a popular staple for vegan and vegetarian diets, it’s consumed in a vast range of forms such as tofu, tempeh and soy sauce. There are also many vegan fake meat brands out there, which resemble real meat and can be highly appealing if you’re looking for a close meat substitute. However, many of these products contain soy as a main ingredient and we should be careful to not consume excessive amounts. Consuming too many ready-made, soy-based, meat alternatives has been suggested by some as none too wholesome due to processed ingredients that may be used.
5. Expensive? Perish the Thought!
It’s commonly heard that veganism is expensive, but a typical, healthy, vegan diet is actually very affordable. You can make various delicious plant-based meals with common low-cost pantry products, such as grains, rice, beans, seeds and legumes. Some great vegan meals include vegetable stir fries, curries, pasta dishes, and so many more. Check out the video above for 5 budget-friendly vegan meals!
These are a few things to be aware of when making the transition to a vegan diet. Yes there’s a little bit of a learning curve (reading your labels), thinking it through, and experimentation involved, but be sure that the upside is so SO worth it in the long run. Going vegan will have huge, life-affirming, positive effects on your physical as well as mental health!
Are you a new vegan in the making? How do you feel about taking the leap? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram! Want more REAL GOOD FOOD? Then check out these tasty, plant-based recipes!