Going vegan can give you huge health benefits, but it's important to do some research and make sure that you're getting a proper nutritional balance. You might be considering going vegan for a lot of reasons. Maybe you're looking to lose weight, eat in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way or you're trying to reverse already existing heart disease or diabetes. The good news is that veganism is the answer for all of these problems! Veganism is the best way to lose weight, and it has been shown to possibly reverse the course of both diabetes and heart disease in people that are in early stages of the disease.
While eating vegan can be easy and fun, even if you eat out a lot or have a family to cook for, there are some pitfalls that you should be aware of. Here are some tips to ensure that your journey into veganism will be successful and enjoyable, and most importantly, a lifestyle change that you'll stick with!
Don't Fill Up on Sugary Treats
Most people think of veganism as a diet that consists only of fruits and vegetables, but the fact is plenty of longtime vegans can tell you that there are still plenty of temptations to be had. As the vegan movement grows in popularity, there are more and more treats that are available to vegans. While these baked goods and processed foods are delicious and vegan, this doesn't mean that they are good for you. Many vegans can fall into the trap of loading their diet with carb bombs and tons of sugary treats. They feel like since they're doing "everything right" that these eating habits will have no effect on them.
This is simply not true. Sugar has been shown to be one of the main cancer-causing foods and eating a vegan diet won't make you the exception to this rule. Try to remember that just because a food is vegan doesn't mean it's 100% okay to eat. Stay away from processed foods, foods with added sugars and sugary drinks. If you have a sweet tooth, try to work on using fruit as a dessert. Grilled or roasted fruit dishes can sweeten the already sweet fruit, and if you make the commitment to weaning yourself off overly sweetened and processed vegan treats, soon you won't miss them at all.
Get Enough Protein
When you switch to a vegan diet your main source of protein, eggs, and meat, goes out the window as these are obviously animal products. Without enough protein, you won't feel full, no matter how much roughage and fiber you eat. Make sure you eat beans and legumes to add protein to your diet. Nuts, complete grains like quinoa and even whole grain bread all contain protein. Nut butters are a great choice as well, and they make a quick snack or meal on the go.
Protein needs can differ vastly from person to person, but a general guideline is 46 grams of protein for a woman and 56 grams of protein for a man. However, if you do a lot of physical activity, lift weights, are pregnant or breastfeeding these recommendations may change quite a bit, so be sure that you're getting enough for your situation.
You Can Eat More Than Just Salads!
Veganism isn't just about raw vegetables, although most vegans eat plenty of salads. Cook grains, greens, soups, stews, casseroles and many traditional ethnic dishes can all be had in delicious vegan versions. Indian food especially has many dishes that are naturally vegan, so if you have an adventurous palate, get out there and try some new cuisines!
The more fun you have with your vegan lifestyle, the more likely you are to stick to it and the effective it will be for your weight loss and health journey!