It seems that every day you hear about more and more people becoming vegan. Celebrities, TV personalities and doctors everywhere are raving about the health benefits and the positive environmental impact this plant-based lifestyle has to offer.
The only problem is, some people find it hard to maintain this animal-free diet. Here are three simple tips that will help you stay on the wagon and continue on your path to a healthy lifestyle.
Take It Slow
Author and vegan cook Colleen Patrick-Goudreau once said:
Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.
It sounds great, but so many times people jump head first into veganism and are left feeling hungry and bored with what they are eating. It can be incredibly difficult for some people to eliminate animal products all at once, especially those who eat them regularly. Going from cheeseburgers to tofu in one day can be extreme, and you may be left feeling deprived. This doesn’t mean your body needs animal protein, it simply means your body is used to eating one way and needs to adjust. That’s why taking things one step at a time is so important. Try eliminating one food group per week, and see how it goes. Taper off dairy, eggs, meats, and fish slowly, and you should have no problem adjusting. In fact, you should feel great!
Make it Personal
Everyone has a different reason for going vegan. Whether it’s health reasons, animal rights, the environment, or all of the above, each reason should be personal. It seems obvious to know why you are changing your diet and lifestyle so drastically, but some people do it just to try it out or see what it’s like, and then give up. If you want to maintain your veganism, you have to determine why you are choosing to make this personal decision. It should be your own, and no one else’s because after all, it is your body and mind. If you have a personal reason for doing something, it is much easier to maintain because you are more emotionally invested in it.
Variety is the Spice of Life
There is a common misconception that vegans have an impoverished diet that amounts to little more than tofu and lettuce. The truth is there are so many varieties of food out there that are vegan. In fact a quick visit to a major supermarket will reveal the sheer variety of vegan foods. The most important thing to remember is that, to stay positive, make sure you are adding variety and colour to your plate so that you are getting the proper nutrition.
When people feel weak or tired on a plant-based diet, it isn’t because they lack animal protein, it is because they are not getting the nutrients and vitamins they need. It’s too easy to resort to things like bread and pasta that lack real nutritional value. A diet rich in dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach is vital to get the nutrients your body needs. They are rich in vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium. Why drink cow’s milk to get calcium when you can go straight to the source? Another great plant-based food with dozens of varieties to choose from is legumes. Whether it be beans, lentils or peas, these fibre-packed pods are high in magnesium, iron, and folate. Grains like bulgur wheat, quinoa and amaranth are also a great addition to a healthy vegan diet. Quinoa, technically a seed, is packed with protein, calcium, and iron, making it a vegan superfood. Whatever you chose to fill your vegan plate with, make sure you have a lot of variety. It’s not only important for nutrition but also to prevent boredom come mealtime.
There you have it; three easy tips that can help you start and maintain your vegan diet. Being a vegan shouldn’t be difficult and you should enjoy feeling great both mentally and physically. Spending some time preparing food ahead is the trick to veganism. If you want to eat a healthy diet, not just processed vegan food, you need to organize a little. Having meals on hand before you start is key, as your appetite may increase at first. Your body will feel different as you adjust to your new diet. Surprisingly, you may feel like you are eating more often but losing weight. You may also not overeat as before.
Guest article by Triza